Bad news, everyone. Kathleen Kennedy finally watched The Book of Henry and realized that they shouldn’t allow the man who orchestrated such a trash fire anywhere near the flawless and perfect franchise that is Disney’s Star Wars: A Star Wars’ Star War. That’s right: Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow, the man who never smiles, was removed as director of Star Wars: Episode IX. I mean, actually, it’s probably good news that Trevorrow got booted from the project. Him, Josh Trank (remember that guy?), and the Lego dudes can all go to a bar and get messed up on blue milk together.
But on a serious note, this opens the scope for Disney to bring some fresh blood into the project and maybe fulfill some seriously nerdy dreams.
In reality, reports indicate that Rian Johnson, director of the upcoming Episode VIII has been friendly, open to collaboration, and production has been the smoothest Disney Star Wars experience yet. Kennedy will more than likely just bring him back to complete IX, especially since he had already written a story treatment for IX that Trevorrow threw out and rewrote. I can’t imagine that’s gonna stick. Johnson will probably re-re-write the script to accommodate the unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher.
But hey, we can dream, right? I picked out a few potential replacements, some realistic, some not, and made a case to let them take over the reigns of the runaway Goliath that Star Wars has become.
The Russo Brothers
Hits: Captain America: The Winter Solider & Civil War, upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, some great episodes of Community and Arrested Development.
From humble TV beginnings (and a shitty Owen Wilson comedy), the directorial duo of Anthony and Joe Russo have proven themselves worthy to handle big-budget franchises. With their focus on writing, character, and mood, the brothers seem to have a handle on how to wield emotional weight effectively and craft stories around layered characters. Some of their action choreography is a little flat, and their color palette definitely seems muted, but that’s probably owed more to Marvel’s in-house editing and colorizing rules. I think, if also allowed to write, these two could step up and Richard Marquand the hell out of IX and land the first part of the trilogy safely, balancing fun character moments and actual plot development. I don’t doubt that a light saber fight staged by these guys would be anything but stellar.
Hits: Most of your childhood memories, ET, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan
I’ve been saying this for years: why not just let long-time influence and friend to original creator George Lucas take a stab at the space fantasy? Maybe this isn’t ideal timing, since modern day Spielberg, while not awful, is definitely a shadow of his former self. Maybe he would have too personal of a stake in the franchise to really take any risks or do anything flashy or showy. But hot damn if this still wouldn’t be the most amazing thing to ever happen to anyone ever. His love of characters, ability to see the forest without losing the trees, and his mastery of the setpiece would leave me feeling super safe and happy. He could even sneak in an ET reference like they did in Attack of the Clones. I wouldn’t even be mad.
Hits: Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, Eraserhead, Twin Peaks
I don’t know if you remember this, but David Lynch was actually the first choice to helm Return of the Jedi way back in the day. Because nothing screams “space opera” like David “I let Dennis Hopper huff nitrous and fondle the female lead” Lynch. I just want to see a surreal, psychological drama about The Force and how Lynch would turn the simple act of turning on a lightsaber into a psychosexual metaphor pertaining to birth and/or death, or his take on how the Dark Side is literally just the idea of Carl Jung’s Shadow consolidated into a lifestyle choice. You have to admit, you do secretly hope The Black Lodge leads into the Mos Eisley cantina. They make a damn fine cup of blue milk, damn fine!
Hits: The Hurt Locker, Point Break, Zero Dark Thirty
An Oscar-winning director with a proven track record of mastery over multiple genres, including gritty war and lighthearted, slightly homoerotic action? I sincerely wonder if she was considered for Rogue One, which seems right up Bigelow’s alley. Her penchant for being able to capture the intensity of the moment, bringing the stress of life-threatening situations right close up into your face would serve the grittier aspects of the series well. She’d have to ditch the handheld, but her formal work is just as well crafted as her newer work. She’s also dabbled in the weird with Near Dark and Strange Days, so her ability to craft an alien world wouldn’t be in doubt whatsoever. Hand it over to the ladies! An already strong, nigh Mary Sue female lead can only be bolstered by a talented female director.
1980s John Carpenter
Hits: Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, The Thing, Starman, They Live
I would imagine this to be about 1988 John Carpenter, specifically. He’s gotten all his best work out of him, as listed above. Combining all the elements from the above films, specifically his low-key sense of effective action, his ability to create tense moments and situations, and his sense of passion and warmth for the characters he creates, this would be one engaging Star Wars flick. Carpenter’s work usually contains plenty of fun character moments, some interesting firefights, and wonderful sword choreography where applicable, while also leaving plenty of room for dark or downtrodden beats, and maybe a surprise death or two. We can only imagine how wonderfully wacky or spooky his take on the franchise would have been. Or may be. Old, modern day John Carpenter is still kicking around, making amazing electronic music. Let’s rustle up the grump and see if he’s down to cause Big Trouble in Little Nar Shaddaa!
Hits: The Dark Knight, Inception, Memento, Dunkirk
Okay, before you say anything: I know. I know, I know, I know. This is the safest, most-whined about opinion on the dearly (thankfully) departed IMDb message boards. But, come on. This would be a great goddamn Star Wars movie and you know it. He can handle space stuff, as Interstellar demonstrated, his action is generally the most competent part of the films he makes, he has the ability to craft such a wonderful story in such a grand of scope it’s almost mesmerizing, but he also has the ability to be subtle and to lace stories with pathos that shines through even the clunkiest of dialogue. He humanized The Batman is a way that literally changed Hollywood forever. He turned a massive, often forgotten military evacuation into the most tense film of summer. Lets see what he could do when he gets his hands on Kylo “Wanna Know How I Got These Scars?” Ren.
1920s Buster Keaton, if he Time-Traveled to the Modern Day
Hits: The General, Steamboat Bill Jr., The Cameraman
The Great Stoneface himself would make for quite the interesting, modern day Star Wars film! Well, first, we’d have to clean off the “time goop” that accumulates when you travel forward in time, per the manual. Nobody quite knows what it is, perhaps a residue from the alternate dimensions breached during the transportation process. Then, after bringing Mr. Keaton up to speed on modern social acumen and educating him on how far film technology has progressed in a century, I’m sure the greatest physical comedian to have ever graced the silent film era would be…okay, no, he’s just freaking out still. He has no interest in helming the ninth picture in a franchise he knows nothing about. What a wasted opportunity.
Hits: Blue Ruin, Green Room
The two films that Saulnier have made so far have already established the man as a brutal, pull-no-punches filmmaker who has his foot firmly grounded in a bloody and bruised reality. Imagine someone coming to the Star Wars universe who could seriously bring some serious seriousness to the sometimes dark and bloody galaxy. Saulnier’s impressive attention to detail combined with his ability to craft slow-burning suspense that doesn’t disappate even after a cathartic action scene makes him a great choice to make a gripping adventure tale that people aren’t invested in simply because they’ve already watched eight or nine other parts of the story. I believe Saulnier would inject some visceral talent into the world, which should be dusty and run down, much like the world in either of his other films. He can bring to life the dark underbelly of Star Wars, while also showcasing the vulnerable humanity of our protagonists. It might be a bit out of left field, but I almost put Shane Carruth up here for goofs and giggles. Saulnier is a less wackadoo choice than that Primer guy, yknow?
Hits: I made a music video to “Magic Dance” from the Labyrinth soundtrack in high school
If you really want to win the fans over, why not let an actual, honest-to-goodness, talentless hack-fraud take a stab at the franchise that has defined a significant portion of his life and friendships. I won’t let you down, coach! I literally have a LARP-ready light saber, in addition to my former roommate and myself having big ol practice fights in our apartment’s parking lot, much to the chagrin of my love life. I have so many ideas for Star Wars and I have cool ideas about light sabers and maybe we could do a fight where they flip over each other and then they just punch each other for a bit because masculinity still needs to be exerted even in a galaxy far, far away but wait what about also if Rey is like Luke’s cousin which means there’s another secret Skywalker out there just pumpin’ out Skywalkers and the whole family of Skywalkers fights, uh, Snoke and his clone army and they all look like Hayden Christensen and it’s just swoosh and clinnnk and vwommmm. Is…is that a pitch?