We are currently living in the Golden Age of the shared cinematic universe, and the film that deserves a lion's share of the credit for that is Joss Whedon's The Avengers. Illustrating that combining multiple film properties under one umbrella could have tremendous benefits, the overwhelming critical and commercial success of the 2012 superhero blockbuster caused several other studios to pursue similar routes, most notably the DC Extended Universe at Warner Bros. Marvel's parent company Disney even double-downed on the practice by purchasing Lucasfilm, turning new Star Wars films into an annual occurrence.
It's become common knowledge now that Lucasfilm is doing much more than a sequel trilogy in the Skywalker family saga in this era. In between the numbered episodes, the studio is releasing a standalone anthology film, with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the young Han Solo movie already confirmed. With Disney CEO Bob Iger already having discussions about what the 2020s have in store for the galaxy far, far away, it's clear that the Star Wars train will keep chugging for a while. This means that Lucasfilm is continuously on the hunt for filmmakers to lend their talents to the franchise. Could Whedon be one of them eventually? He's certainly game for it.
In an interview with Complex, Whedon was asked about returning to the world of big-budget tentpole filmmaking following his two Avengers installments. Some may recall he appeared very worn down by the process during publicity for Age of Ultron, but some time away from the Hollywood machine seems to have recharged his batteries. Whedon expressed interest in doing one of the many Star Wars spinoffs coming through the pipeline:
I mean, it’s a fun thing to do, to put yourself in the service of something if you think you can add an interpretation. It’s no different than any other storytelling. There are some times when you get micro-managed to death but with Marvel, they let me make two movies that were very much mine. So do I want to make James Bond movie? Yeah. Anne Hathaway does Catwoman again? Sure, I’m in. Do I want to make a Star Wars movie? Yeah. I was like, “I don’t want to make a Star Wars movie. Like, god dammit, why?” But I saw the trailer for Rogue awhile ago and I was like, “I want to do that.” To make a Star Wars movie and not be wed to the bigger picture.
Given Whedon's history, it's understandable why he's leaning towards a Star Wars anthology as opposed to one of the saga films. Though everything is part of the same canon (and has to go through the Lucasfilm story group), there's admittedly more creative freedom allowed in the spinoffs, which are designed as standalone movies. The episodes, of course, are part of a larger narrative and fit into the longterm plan for that story. There's a reason Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow were hired to direct Episode VIII and Episode IX so early in advance. All of the details may not have been ironed out yet, but Lucasfilm has a strategy for the sequel trilogy and need their filmmakers to go along for the ride (while also making their projects their own). Something like Rogue One has the leeway to blend genres and tones, and the idea of that is certainly appealing to someone like Whedon.
Whedon's desire to jump into the Star Wars universe is exciting for fans, and many of them would be happy if he signed on for a movie. The question would be finding the right fit. Lucasfilm is said to be developing a trilogy for Alden Ehrenreich as young Han Solo, and Whedon's witty style could be perfect for the smuggler. There's also been much discussion of a film centered around Ewan McGregor's Obi-Wan Kenobi, and odds are Boba Fett will be the star of his own standalone one day. The possibilities are virtually limitless, and it would be interesting to see what Whedon could do with that giant canvas. With his penchant for crafting genre entertainment and memorable characters in mind, he would definitely be a valuable addition to the galaxy. Lucasfilm would be wise to at least have a discussion with him.
- Star Wars: Rogue One / Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016) release date: Dec 16, 2016
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018