PoP! Top 6-Pack: Director Suggestions for STAR WARS VII

The PoP!-Stars narrow it down to the cream-of-the-crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys, and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.

Last week, the Walt Disney Company shocked the world when it announced that not only did it acquire Lucasfilm but that it will be working on the first installment of a brand-new Star Wars trilogy to hit theaters in the summer of 2015. Early speculation on this new trilogy seems optimistic that Star Wars creator George Lucas will step back from behind the camera in order to give other filmmakers a chance to play in the massive universe he created over thirty-five years ago. This of course leads to the big question of which director or directors will be given the coveted job of helming the next Star Wars film. This article profiles some of the most likely candidates for the job and delves into why they would be good choices to take over one of the most popular and iconic movie franchises of all time.

Duncan Jones

With two science-fiction films under his belt, this young English filmmaker (and son of rock legend David Bowie) has established himself as one of the freshest and most capable voices within the genre. His excellent 2009 debut film Moon and his 2011 follow-up Source Code were modest hits when they first came out, and both have garnered worldwide critical acclaim and sizeable cult followings among audiences. Both films were also nominated for Hugo Awards, which celebrate the best in all forms of science-fiction. The enormous credibility and respect Jones has within the sci-fi community all but guarantees that he will at least be on the short-list of potential names to take over the Star Wars saga.

Rupert Wyatt

One thing that Disney will no doubt look for in a director for their new Star Wars trilogy is blockbuster potential. British filmmaker Rupert Wyatt achieved a great deal of mainstream success with his 2011 film Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which surprised nearly everyone when it became one of the biggest moneymakers of that year. It was also one of the best-reviewed films of 2011, which shows that Wyatt can make a movie that is both substantial and highly entertaining. With Rise, he was able to make a computer-generated, non-human protagonist into one of the most memorable movie characters in recent memory, a skill that will come in handy with all of the CGI effects that the new Star Wars films are guaranteed to have. Wyatt won’t be directing the next Apes movie, as recently reported, but the talent he exhibited in Rise would be a perfect fit within the world of Star Wars.

Brad Bird

One complaint many viewers had with the last Star Wars trilogy was the overabundance of CGI effects that did not convincingly mesh with the live action characters. One way Disney can prevent this in their films would be to hire a director who has excelled in both animated and live-action features. A veteran of Disney’s own Pixar Studios, Brad Bird produced two of the most popular and visually stunning computer-animated films ever made in The Incredibles and Ratatouille, and just last year with Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, he showed the same amount of visual inventiveness with live action. Bird’s short but impressively diverse body of work proves that he would be a prime candidate to give us a Star Wars trilogy that could effectively marry the visceral thrills of the original trilogy with today’s visual ingenuity, which the Prequels failed to do.

Alfonso Cuaron

Of all the directors on this list, Mexican auteur Alfonso Cuaron is arguably the most versatile, given the wide variety of films on his resume. Cuaron’s past movie output shows that he can handle intimate character pieces like Y Tu Mama Tambien and large, effects-heavy blockbusters like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which many feel is the best film in that highly popular franchise. The only science-fiction film he has tackled so far was his 2006 masterpiece Children of Men, which was much more about ideas than special effects, but it effectively created a world that was both familiar and slightly alien, which would be a considerable boon to a new series of Star Wars films. A Cuaron-directed Star Wars trilogy could potentially give the films that dirty, lived-in look that made the original trilogy so visually effective and that was largely absent from the Prequels.

Joe Johnston

This veteran director of all-American adventure fare like The Rocketeer and Captain America: The First Avenger already has experience with Star Wars, having worked as a concept artist and effects technician on the original 1977 Star Wars film, as well as on other Lucasfilm projects such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Willow. Johnston’s penchant for big, effects-heavy blockbusters that usually maintain a lighthearted sense of adventure would make him a decent choice to direct the newest Star Wars trilogy, even if he isn’t the most high-profile director in Hollywood. Since he will not be helming the Captain America sequel and has experience within the world that Lucas created, he would be an available director that could be trusted to maintain the spirit of the original films, which is what longtime fans are hoping from this new trilogy.

Andy and Lana Wachowski

Finally, if Disney is looking for a non-traditional trilogy that dares to do new things with the Star Wars universe, they should look no further than this renowned sibling writer/director team. They already achieved  major sci-fi cred with their 1999 classic The Matrix and are currently in the public eye thanks to this year’s much-talked-about film Cloud Atlas, which they co-directed with Tom Tykwer. While they do tend to let their themes get in the way of entertainment sometimes (e.g. the Matrix sequels), they proved in their underrated 2008 Speed Racer adaptation that they can loosen up and make a movie that’s pure fun. Hiring this talented filmmaking duo would all but guarantee a Star Wars film that is both visually inventive and thematically interesting.


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Ben Gilbert is an avid comic and movie fan, father of two amazing kids, and husband to one awesome chick. He resides in the hills of East Tennessee and still doesn't quite know what he wants to be when he grows up.

Comments (11)

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  1. Jason Knize says:

    I think your shortlist is the only shortlist Duncan Jones is on.

    How about P-Jax or Guillermo Del Toro?

    Oooooooooooo! CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!

  2. Ben Gilbert says:

    I doubt Jackson or Nolan will want to dive back into another franchise anytime soon. Del Toro would be interesting, but I don’t think his sensibilities would be a good fit for Star Wars.

    • Jason Knize says:

      I’d have to disagree. I think Del Toro’s affinity for practical effects is the perfect fit to bring Star Wars back to its roots. Working off of someone else’s script, he might nail it.

      I’d be hard pressed to imagine anyone, including P-Jax and C-Nolan, turning down Star Wars.

  3. Dax Mann says:

    Two words: Joss Whedon

    • Ben Gilbert says:

      While Whedon would be a great choice based on what he did with FIREFLY and SERENITY, I think the Marvel movies are going to keep him plenty busy for the next few years.

  4. Yetti Gold says:

    Dear Disney and LucasFilm,

    Congratulations! You now possess the power of the force and with it comes a great deal of responsibility. So here’s what you’re going to do:

    STEP 1 – you’re going to set the new films (Episode 7, 8 and 9) 30 years after episode 6 (Jedi) and you’re going to have the FULL original cast back playing themselves as older people. DID YOU HEAR ME? You are going to cast Harrison Ford as Han Freaking solo, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Leia, Billy Dee Williams as Lando and even Denis Lawson back as Wedge Antilles. HERE’S THE CATCH: THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE THE MAIN CHARACTERS. They are older now and you can use them as side characters revolving around NEW lead characters. We don’t care what new characters take over leading roles but you HAVE to bring back the old cast for this all to be LEGIT and to come FULL circle. PLEASE don’t cast new actors in these roles and don’t CGI faces to make them look like the actors 30 years ago (Like in Tron Legacy) PLEASE!!! You can even kill them off in the first scene, just don’t replace them.

    STEP 2 – DON’T LISTEN TO ANYTHING GEORGE LUCAS SAYS! You paid him $4 Billion so tell him to shut up take his money and go make Radioland Murders Part 2! Put somebody in charge of directing who knows what we want. WE WANT EMPIRE STRIKES BACK ON CRACK. That means ACTING, ACTING, ACTING, ACTING, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, DRAMA, DEATH!!!!!

    STEP 3 – Whatever you did to make AVENGERS as good as it was, do the same for STAR WARS! I feel the force is strong with you and your company can pull this off. The prequels were the worst films EVER MADE! They showed us just how evil the dark side of the force can be when it seduced George Lucas and took over his ability to distinguish right from wrong! Please redeem the Star Wars Universe. DO OR DO NOT…THERE IS NO TRY



    • Ben Gilbert says:

      I love everything about this comment.

    • Jason Knize says:

      Personally, Luke, Leia and Han don’t need to be in the new movies. I’d love cameos from the three actors, but they don’t have to reprise their original roles. I’d rather Luke have died a warrior’s death, and Han and Leia spoken of only in legend.

    • Je says:

      I’ve been watching Star Wars since 1977! George Lucas is the mastermind behind EVERY filmed episode of Star Wars. Compare the EU to the films. No comparison. Lucas is totally unique. Take those “detailed treatments” Lucas wrote for 7-9, and treat them like the fucking bible, the way WB did with the first Potter film.

  5. Sexton Hardcastle says:

    No Michael Bay or Ewe Boll!?

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