Addressing Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin Trevorrow is not ready for that world. We’re great with Gareth Edwards directing the spin-off, Rogue One, and Rian Johnson with Episode VIII, but Episode IX…? Not vibing the selection. There is a new hope (you like that, fellow nerds?) J.J. Abrams will step in to direct the ninth installment, because he is so impressed with Rian Johnson’s story. If he doesn’t, here’s to hoping he and Mickey Mouse might look to one of the following guys, instead of a guy who painted Jurassic World by numbers.
7. Ghost of Irvin Kershner
Nothing like a smarmy quip to begin a list. It’s not that there’s an ax to grind regarding Colin Trevorrow–more like a hatchet–we just need to see more from him. So, we’ll start with someone who is no longer living, but did a lot. The new, Disney-led Star Wars needs its Irvin Kershner. As all Star Wars fans are well aware, Irvin brought us the next level affair of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Sadly, the world lost Irvin in 2010. He enjoyed 87 years on planet earth, so there’s no complaining about his grand exit, but his influence was sorely missed on the Star Wars prequels, and we’re hopeful it is tapped by Rian Johnson on Star Wars: Episode VIII. J.J. covered the nostalgia in Episode VII, now it’s time to move forward. We call upon the Jediesque blue flaming ghost of Irvin.
6. Joe Carnahan
Sure, this is an out-there choice, but it could work. The reason we don’t see Joe doing bigger things like Star Wars may be due to his independent spirit. Regardless, throwing down on an epic scale is familiar territory for Joe, and he is experienced in working with practical FX than most others who are making big budget films in 2016. For those who don’t know Joe, he was once attached to what was supposed to be a Daredevil trilogy owned by 20th Century Fox, but they dallied, and he lost the ability to mix up the genre; however, that’s more proof in the puddin’. Joe is versatile. Watch Stretch, then watch The Grey. The same guy is doing these films. He has a love for getting outside the box, yet is capable of handling egos like Will Smith (Joe is also directing Bad Boys 3.)
5. Sam Mendes
Sam has to get away from the James Bond franchise. Spectre was not good. Sam seems stale in his status quo. He needs a shake up. He needs to direct a really great drama. A drama story that took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Sam can do big budget. He might very well be the perfect choice for a really thick, heady, heavy Star Wars. Rumor has it, that’s where Episode IX is going. The hard sell: imagine Sam, the director of American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, getting several weeks to rehearse with Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Mark Hamill and Adam Driver. A story built upon the complexities of relationship. Then, allow the incredible science fiction and fantasy elements to paint the canvas…? Sam Mendes. And he could give James Bond back to Martin Campbell.
4. Alex Garland
In terms of directors who are fresh, and new to the directing scene (like a Trevorrow), why not Alex Garland? Alex is known for his superior writing skills. From novels to screenplays, the guy has a way with words. His foray into directing–Ex Machina–has put him on the map of directors who must be considered for progressive projects. What does that tell us? He’s a damn fine storyteller, whatever the medium. Alex is another guy who loves to push the envelope, whether in written word, or in the case of Ex Machina, his film direction. Would it translate to the Star Wars franchise? Absolutely. And we’re guessing that J.J. Abrams and Alex Garland would get along swimmingly. And to have some of Alex’s unique story ideas in that mix? Give it to us.
3. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Now, we’re talkin’ crazy! How can you deny a mention of the hottest director on the planet? We are in the age of the Mexican filmmaker. Every nation has enjoyed its run of influence, from the Russians to the Germans, French and Italians. It is refreshing when international masters are embraced by what can be a standoffish Hollywood culture. Especially when these directors have a tendency to be a little artsy-fartsy. Bottom line: win some awards, and make money with your movies, you’re beloved in this city. Alejandro directing Star Wars? Wow. Where would that film go? Maybe it’s better to ask “Where wouldn’t it go?” What makes Alejandro so appealing is his approach to addressing darkness–a recurring theme that is crucial in Star Wars. We also presume he’d bring along Emmanuel Lubezki to shoot it.
2. Christopher Nolan
You know someone has reached a pinnacle when it becomes a cool thing to criticize them. Regardless of the praise that Christopher Nolan has garnered from critics and fans, the smartest people in the room will tell you: he’s a hack. Sweet mercy. In the grand scheme of everyone directing films, people choose to pick on a guy who is advancing what was dismissed as an archaic, dying medium. That makes him the perfect choice to direct any episode of Star Wars. Here’s the deal: J.J. is in the same camp as Chris Nolan. All of these Star Wars pics are being shot on film. There is a simple reason for that, but it’s another discussion for another time. We’ll never see Christopher Nolan take a bite out of the Star Wars galaxy, but if power swells to favor The First Order, Nolan could offer it the goods.
1. Steven Spielberg
Why didn’t George Lucas ever give Steven Spielberg an opportunity to throw down with this Star Wars characters? Perhaps Steven knew George would push too hard to backseat direct, much like he did on that embarrassing fourth installment of Indiana Jones? Who knows. It would have been great to see Steven bring home the original trilogy by directing Return of The Jedi, but it’s not like he was hurting for projects. But now… how can Steven not stamp his legacy on this world created by his good friend. Steve and J.J. are tight. It’s not a stretch to say that J.J. Abrams is his generations Steven Spielberg, so why not reach out to Steven for Episode IX? It’s easy to imagine the cinematic craft Spielberg would bring to the story, and when it comes to the perfect balance of brass and sentiment, who does it better? No one.