The franchise will need a replacement director ASAP.
Yet another director has decided to “mutually part ways” with the Star Wars film franchise over creative differences. On Tuesday (Sep 5), the Walt Disney Company announced that Colin Trevorrow is no longer directing Star Wars: Episode IX for Lucasfilm Ltd.
That means Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy will now be searching across the galaxy for a replacement director.
Kennedy is known to play hardball with the directors she chooses to helm the Star Wars films. As a producer on all the upcoming films, she just fired Phil Lord and Chris Miller (of 21 Jump Street and The Lego Movie) from the Han Solo project last June for attempting to improvise the story. And this was when they were more than halfway done with production.
Our bet is that Kennedy is looking for a director who is more of a team player and can work well with Lucasfilm Studios, rather than with someone with an experimental, visionary attitude. So here are five potential directors who are equally capable and can play ball.
1. Rian Johnson
As the number one name floated to replace Trevorrow, it looks like Rian Johnson will probably get the job. He’s already completed the upcoming Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (with no reshoots on the horizon), so it makes sense for him to continue the story of Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren.
Lucasfilm planned for him to direct two Star Wars movies in the first place, so the only question is: Will he answer the call?
2. Christopher McQuarrie
If Lucasfilm isn’t only looking at the obvious, they should consider director Christopher McQuarrie. He’s been working in the Hollywood blockbuster game for a while now, starting out as a writer for The Usual Suspects (winning an Oscar for that), moving on to Edge of Tomorrow, and then directing Jack Reacher and Mission Impossible 5: Rogue Nation.
Evident in his work is a flair for combining dramatic story elements with heart-pounding action, which is exactly what the final chapter of this third Star Wars trilogy needs. Directing Episode IX should be no Mission Impossible for McQuarrie.
3. Tim Miller
Hot off 2016’s surprise hit Deadpool, which was both critically acclaimed and financially successful, director Tim Miller would be a good candidate for Lucasfilm’s consideration if they don’t feel too burned out from taking risks.
Miller actually worked on some Star Wars property before Deadpool, namely as the visual effects supervisor on the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game. He’s also familiar to Disney from his stint as a second unit director on Thor 2. Disney might want to keep their talent more in-house since Miller has been freed up of his directing duties for Deadpool 2.
Miller’s experience with turning a relatively low-budget movie like Deadpool into a mega success makes the idea of his taking over Episode IX with its even bigger budget an exciting prospect.
4. Michelle MacLaren
Kathleen Kennedy is always going on about how important it is to see women in major roles on-screen in the Star Wars franchise, which gave rise to the awesome character of Rey. But what about behind the camera, Kathy?
Never mind her gender — Michelle MacLaren’s achievements are impressive all on their own. She’s a bona fide superstar for directing episodes of TV’s most prestigious shows, including Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.
Several movie deals with MacLaren directing have fallen apart in recent years, notably Thor and Wonder Woman. Let’s give her this one.
5. Steven Spielberg
We know he said he’d never direct a Star Wars film but we just had to sneak in this one because: Could you imagine??
Many a Star Wars fan would love to bring legendary director Steven Spielberg into this galaxy-spanning franchise. With his illustrious career dating back to the era of the original trilogy’s release, perhaps Spielberg can recapture the magic of that time and direct a Star Wars film that takes us back to what made these movies so special in the first place.
J.J. Abrams, who directed Episode VII: The Force Awakens, modeled his directing after studying Spielberg himself. The Force Awakens was great, so think about what the OG of directors could make. Let’s all tap into the Force and make it happen.