There was a great disturbance in The Force last week when Lucasfilm announced that they had parted ways with Colin Trevorrow, the director of Star Wars: Episode 9, which is set to begin production in January, with a May 2019 release. Trevorrow marks the fourth director to part ways with Lucasfilm since Disney acquired the company in 2012. The first was Josh Trank, who was set to helm one of the yet unnamed spinoffs films, but who lost confidence after Fantastic Four was a critical and commercial flop in 2015. Following Trank were Chris Lord and Phil Miller, famous for The Lego Movie and the Jump Street films, who were notably fired near the end of production on the upcoming Untitled Han Solo film. This news sent shock waves through the film community considering the film was nearing completion. They have since been replaced by veteran filmmaker Ron Howard.
Now we come to Trevorrow, who was announced as the director of Episode 9 shortly after Jurassic World became a commercial hit, grossing over $650 million domestically, and over a billion and a half worldwide. Clearly, the success of Jurassic World instilled some confidence in the Lucasfilm executives of Trevorrow’s ability to create a successful tentpole sequel. That confidence must have been shaken, however, when his latest film, The Book of Henry came out in June to dismal reviews, and even worse box office returns. So, it should come as no surprise that Lucasfilm decided maybe it was time for a change. Now, the biggest question in Hollywood is, who’s going to replace him? It’s a question I’ve been racking my brain with consistently since the news first broke. So below, I’ve compiled a wish list of 10 directors that I think could be a great fit to helm the final installment of this current Star Wars Trilogy:
Joseph Kosinski – I might be alone on this one, but I’m a big fan of both TRON: Legacy and Oblivion. I feel like I enjoyed these films more than the average person, but I can’t help it. They’re beautifully shot, and they’re just fun films that I find are easily re-watchable. I love the sci-fi aesthetic of these films and I think they could transfer over to the Star Wars universe. His next film, Only The Brave, comes out in October, and it looks promising.
Patty Jenkins – This one should be an obvious choice. Wonder Woman was the biggest hit of the summer, grossing over $400 million at the domestic box office. Money aside, it was just a damn fun movie. DC has been struggling with their current movie universe, and Wonder Woman finally got it right. Patty knows how to get a great performance out of her leads, Gal Gadot was amazing as Wonder Woman, and Charlize Theron won her Best Actress Oscar for her role in Jenkin’s 2003 film, Monster. Imagine what she could do with Daisy Ridley?
Kathryn Bigelow – Kathryn is on fire right now! In the last decade, she’s given us The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, and last month’s Detroit. To date, she is only the female director to win the Best Director Oscar, with The Hurt Locker, which also won Best Picture. Her films are big, layered, and astounding. Despite her wave of serious dramas, Bigelow used to make fun genre films, including cult classics like Strange Days and Point Break. Now, who wouldn’t want to see her make a return to fun, sci-fi action?
Ryan Coogler – Ryan broke onto the scene with 2013’s heartbreaking Fruitvale Station. He followed that up with 2015’s hit Creed, which took us back into the ring, this time by focusing on Apollo Creed’s son, with Rocky Balboa taking on a supporting role, and earning Sylvester Stallone a much deserved Oscar nomination. Creed was absolutely fantastic, and it hit on all the right emotional notes that would be perfect for Star Wars. His next film, Black Panther, comes out next year, and is one of the next installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The trailers are promising, with the action, look, and aesthetics looking like they can easily fit in with a galaxy far, far away…
Dan Trachtenberg – This one is a bit of a gamble. Trachtenberg only has one feature film under his belt so far. Fortunately, that film is last year’s surprise hit, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This film came out of nowhere; literally. No one knew this movie even existed until they released a teaser trailer during last year’s Super Bowl, and then released the film itself only about a month later. This film was incredible! It was fun, it was scary, it was just expertly crafted in every aspect! It’s one of the best science fiction films I’ve seen in years, and it also gave us one of the best female heroines we’ve seen in years. Dan Trachtenberg may have only directed one film so far, but it’s the perfect one to make before stepping up and doing Star Wars.
Steve McQueen – I’ll admit, this choice is a little unconventional. So far, McQueen has only directed serious dramas such as Hunger and 12 Years a Slave. He’s never done sci-fi. He’s never done action. But, he is just one of the most promising up and coming directors working today. His third film, 12 Years a Slave took home the Oscar for Best Picture. His next film, Widows, comes out next year, and sounds like it will dive into the action/thriller genre, so he is evolving with his filmography. I know the timing is tight, with him still working on Widows, but if they could make it work, it’d be really interesting to see a serious dramatic director take on Star Wars.
Matt Reeves – This guy is just flat out one of the best sci-fi directors working today. Between Cloverfield, Let Me In, and the last 2 Planet of the Apes films, he just gets it. War For The Planet of the Apes is a science fiction masterpiece, and one of the best films to come out this year. He’s slated to helm The Batman next, but once again, if they can get the timing right, his vision would be perfect for Star Wars and you know it!
Denis Villeneuve – Denis is one of the most exciting and visionary directors working today. Not many directors get me as excited these days as this guy does. With films like Prisoners, Sicario, and last year’s Arrival, it appears that he can just do no wrong. Also, let’s not forget about next month’s Blade Runner 2049. If you read my last blog, you should know I excited am for this one. He’s clearly on a roll with sci-fi and the thought of his directing a Star Wars film gets me excited beyond words. The one thing that keeps this from becoming feasible is that he’s slated to direct Dune after Blade Runner. Of course, I’m very excited to see his take on Dune. Seeing Jodorowsky’s Dune filled me with great regret that we never got to see that film, and David Lynch’s version left much to be desired. Villeneuve is a perfect choice for Dune. I’m just saying, if he could push it back a couple years in order to make Episode 9 first, that’d be fine with me.
Alfonso Cuaron – He gave us back to back science fiction masterpieces with Children of Men and Gravity. Gravity alone has some of the most beautiful space photography ever made. I believe these two films alone show how great he could be for Episode 9. His next film, Roma, is a family drama that takes place in Mexico in the 70’s, which sounds like a return to his early work. I have no idea what the progress on this film is, but maybe it’ll be far enough along that Cuaron could jump back into sci-fi come January. Pretty pretty please!
Christopher Nolan – What can I say? Christopher Nolan is the biggest director working today. I’m more excited about his future as a director than anyone else working today. Films like Inception and Interstellar showcase his experience with science fiction, and all of his films show his absolute dedication to his craft. Dunkirk is my favorite film of the year thus far. Hell, I just saw it for the third time last night! His love for using IMAX cameras would apply beautifully to Star Wars. As of yet, he hasn’t announced his next project yet, so I’ll put that in the positive box. My big concern is that I don’t know how realistic it is that he would agree to a Star Wars film. I really don’t see him leaving Warner Bros to work with another studio. This is more just a big wish for me, that will probably never happen. It would be really damn cool to see though!
Bonus: Alex Garland – I remembered this one at the last minute! How could I forget?! Alex Garland gave us Ex Machina in 2015, one of the best science fiction films of the year. It also happened to star 2 actors from the Star Wars universe, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, so, I mean, it’s kind of perfect. His next film, Annihilation, comes out early next year, and everything I’ve read about it sounds very promising.
That about wraps up my list! Of course there are plenty of other great directors I think would be great as well, but I really wanted to limit the list at ten (well, 11). Trust me, I could go on forever with this. I would like to finish by saying that I omitted Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams from this list for a reason. Rian Johnson is heavily rumored to take over Episode 9, which makes perfect sense considering he wrote and directed The Last Jedi, and wrote Episode 9 as well. I would be totally fine with it. He’s one of my favorite directors working today, as well as J.J. Abrams. However, the point of my list was to showcase different directors who have to yet to make a Star Wars film. If Rian Johnson does indeed sign on to helm Episode 9, I would be more than thrilled. Now, who’s your dream director for Star Wars?