Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss of Game of Thrones fame have recently exited a Disney project that would have had them working on a whole new Star Wars trilogy. It was apparently set to chronicles the origins of the early Jedi Order. It was also reported that Last Jedi director Rian Johnson might not have his trilogy post-Rise of Skywalker either. As of now, things are looking pretty uncertain for the future of the Star Wars franchise. It is in desperate need of direction and vision. It needs a true auteur and director to set a new status quo after the age of the Skywalker Saga has passed.
Lucky for them, we have a few directors in mind to take up the lead. For too long the franchise has been stuck in the past, rehashing old plotlines and using nostalgic callbacks to carry it through. No more! After Rise of Skywalker, we don’t want to see anymore Stormtroopers, Resistance fighters, Darth Vader knock-offs and we definitely don’t want any more damn evil Emperor. We based our following choices on a variety of reasons from their ability to handle large franchises to their experience with the sci-fi film genre. So without further ado, these are the directors we believe should have their own cinematic trilogy in the Star Wars universe.
1. Joss Whedon
Before George Lucas’ prequel films and Disney’s takeover of the franchise, the original trilogy was a space western at the heart of it. It was about a group of rebels and outlaws refusing to be tamed by a cruel and tyrannical empire. In the wild frontier of space, there were bounty hunters, smugglers, mystical warriors and simple traders. We’ve had enough of the Skywalkers and exploration into Force, in my opinion. Perhaps it’s time for the franchise to go back to its space western roots with a fresh new crew and more grounded adventures. Who better to do it than the man responsible for the iconic sci-fi space western series Firefly and it’s epic follow-up in 2005’s Serenity. I’m talking about Joss Whedon.
Whedon has shown that he’s more than capable of working within the realm of science fiction and fantasy with TV series like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dollhouse under his belt. All of them critically acclaimed series with fleshed-out settings, interesting characters and epic stories to be told. Oh, and did I also forget to mention that this is the man behind the very first Avengers film? I know there’s some bad blood between Whedon and Marvel Studios but that’s all in the past. Whedon’s knack for creating character-driven narratives, building strong diegetic components and eye for action makes him a worthy successor to the franchise. We might not have Han Solo anymore in the Star Wars universe but with Whedon at the wheel, I get the feeling another badass smuggler is just around the corner.
2. Matt Reeves
Yes, I know he’s kinda busy with The Batman at the current moment but hear me out. For the past few years, Reeves has proven himself a masterful storyteller. I am of course talking about his work in 20th Century Fox’s rebooted Planet of the Apes films. Picking up from where Rupert Wyatt left off with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Reeves takes the franchise from glory to ever greater glory. Developing the character of Caesar from revolutionary to national leader to a religious messianic figure. Watching him tell a story of persecuted people rise from the ashes of the old world with a premise as rightfully absurd as supersmart apes, was amazing. It could have been dumb and unrewarding, and it should have been but he made high art out of it. Now, imagine what he could do if he was given the rights to Disney’s Star Wars property. The stories he would tell!
A big part of what made the original trilogy so memorable was the characters, seeing them grow and develop. Luke Skywalker maturing from brash padawan to Jedi Knight. Han Solo learning to care about those around him after spending a life of selfish ambition. We have full confidence that Reeves could craft a new trilogy of films full of complex characters with engaging arcs. He made a monkey, admittedly played by master motion-capture artist Andy Serkis, feel like a living breathing person. I’m sure aliens and outlaws shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for him.
3. James Gunn
Say what you want about the man’s past (namely his tweets) but James Gunn’s take on the Guardians of the Galaxy films were inspired. He took a relatively obscure property full of space pirates and aliens and turned into a deeply engaging, human story about trauma, relationships and identity. Themes that have resonated throughout the Star Wars films. We’ve witnessed the rise, fall and redemption of the Skywalker family throughout the decades. We’ve seen bonds of brotherhood broken in Revenge of the Sith, the sins of the father addressed in Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. And finally, the search for one’s place and identity with The Force Awakens and Last Jedi. In spite of all of the grandeur of space battles and lightsaber duels, the stories of Star Wars have always had an intimate, emotional core to them.
We would love to see Gunn make his mark on the franchise with his own crew of misfits, outlaws and warriors. Gunn also has an amazing ability to inject moments of levity and humour amidst the wider drama at play. Achieving it without having it be at the expanse of the gravity of the story. This is because the majority of the laughs stem from the dysfunctions of his characters, which are eventually explored in meaningful ways in his films. Right now, we know he’s a little tied down working on a soft reboot/sequel of DC’s Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. When all that’s done, perhaps the director might want to try exploring a different universe far, far away from Marvel Studios.
4. Guillermo Del Toro
Something I’ve found severely lacking with Disney’s new trilogy of films is a distinct and unique visual style. A lot, if not all, of the designs of characters and creatures, feel far too reminiscent of the original trilogy. I get that big corporate CEO boy Bob Iger wanted to play it safe but the level of sheer laziness as seen in Force Awakens and Last Jedi is inexcusable. They pretty much just updated the Empire with newer looking Stormtroopers and shinier Resistance soldiers. The planet environments seem like rehashes of the worlds we’ve seen in the original trilogy. We need a serious change of pace and a different side of the galaxy we’ve yet to see. Hellboy’s Guillermo Del Toro is just the right guy for the job. If anyone can expand upon the visual diversity of the Star Wars universe, it’s Del Toro.
Believe or not, visuals are far more important than people think. The way characters and creatures are designed, and the way costumes are used says a lot about the world. We’ve seen Del Toro magically build fantastical settings from the ground up with films like Pan’s Labyrinth, Pacific Rim and Crimson Peak. Bursting from the seams with colour, light and wonder. You know…instead of merely adding a coat of monochromatic paint to existing Stormtroopers armours. He isn’t just an aesthetic visionary. He’s able to weave a cohesive plot that blends all of his quirky and impressive visuals into a grand tale. Del Toro can draw beauty and wonder from the most unlikely of places, even from a tired old franchise.
5. Denis Villeneuve
Your first thought to this may be “Who the hell is Denis Villeneuve?”, and the long and short answer would be: a cinematic genius. He is the director behind beautifully grim and thought-provoking thrillers like Prisoners and Sicario. More importantly, we believe that he is on the verge of becoming one of the most influential sci-fi directors of this generation. He explored the meaning of time, language and the human experience in Arrival. He orchestrated a riveting and masterful sequel to Ridley Scott’s legendary sci-fi neo-noir Blade Runner. Dare I say, this man is the new Ridley Scott! Even as we speak, the man is pushing for higher heights. In 2020, we shall see him to do the impossible. He will succeed where Alejandro Jodorowsky has failed and will adapt Frank Herbert’s Dune for the big screen. He is attempting to adapt to screen what many have called unadaptable.
If Disney truly wishes to see the Star Wars franchise become more than the same story simply retold in a different context, then it requires a director of fierce ambition. Someone who both respects the source material and is not afraid to address its flaws. Some would say that director Rian Johnson attempted to do so but in my opinion, he failed to bring about any true progression to this new trilogy. Villeneuve has shown himself adept at juggling high metaphysical and philosophical concepts while at the same time having them fit in the context of an accessible story. It would be utterly fascinating to see how Villeneuve handles the Force.