Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow would be stepping down following creative differences. While Star Wars has come back with the full force of its fandom since The Force Awakens in 2015, Lucasfilm has struggled to strike a balance between individual directors’ voices and the franchise’s brand. First, Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Legacy) came in for expensive reshoots for Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One. Then, earlier this year, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) left Lucasfilm’s untitled Han Solo movie mid-production and were replaced by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind).
Now, Trevorrow’s departure leaves Lucasfilm in an uncomfortable situation. It’s likely that Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm, will not want to delay finding a new director for Episode IX. It’s likely that Lucasfilm will try to use Trevorrow’s exit as an opportunity to generate new buzz for Episode IX, but it’s currently unclear if they will opt for a seasoned filmmaker, like Ron Howard, or a relative unknown, to fill Trevorrow’s shoes.
We’ve generated a wide list of fan-favorite, seasoned, and up-and-coming directors who could and should have the opportunity to direct a Star Wars film in the future – maybe one of them will be able to make Episode IX a reality.
Honorable Mentions (or who probably won’t be directing)
There are some directors who would do a fantastic job with Episode IX, but are unlikely to take on the role. This includes Patty Jenkins, the director of the recent blockbuster hit Wonder Woman – it’s clear that Jenkins is an expert filmmaker, but she’s already busy with the Wonder Woman sequel, and it’s unlikely that Star Wars would fit in her schedule.
In a similar vein, Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk shows that he’s at the top of his game. However, the Dark Knight director would likely come with a big price tag and want greater creative control than Lucasfilm would allow. Brad Bird (Tomorrowland, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) of Pixar fame is busy with Incredibles 2, and Pete’s Dragon‘s David Lowery has a host of upcoming projects including a remake of Peter Pan (2018). Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) is tied to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid movie, and has made it clear on Twitter that he will not leave the project for Star Wars.
Taika Waihiti, the director of the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok (2017), also commented on Twitter, saying that fans shouldn’t hold out for a Star Wars film from him.
I'd be fired within a week.— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) September 6, 2017
A number of talented filmmakers have already worked to bring Star Wars to life, including J. J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards, Tony Gilroy, and Ron Howard. All of these directors have successfully worked with Lucasfilm previously; however, since Gilroy and Howard have already been brought in as “fixers,” and Ron Howard’s work on the Han Solo movie will likely extend into Episode IX pre-production, it’s unlikely that Lucasfilm will recycle them again.
Finally, if Lucasfilm wanted to return to its creative roots, Kathleen Kennedy could try to pull George Lucas out of retirement. Alternatively, if Lucas wasn’t interested, Kennedy could also ask close friend and visionary filmmaker Stephen Spielberg to step up.
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