It's not surprising to think of major Hollywood directors putting their plans on hold for a crack at Star Wars: Episode 7, especially if success means two more jobs potentially guaranteed. But as more and more names roll in, exactly how these directors could put their signature stamp on the film has us scratching our heads. With the most recent additions, even more so.
A knack for action and fantasy is an obvious must, so Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Cowboys & Aliens) apparently campaigning for the role makes sense. But if the rumors are true, and Disney is considering David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en), then fans could be in for a surprise.
Even if Disney has the director's list down to a 'couple' names, it's becoming clearer that most of the world won't know until the decision if finally made. Matthew Vaughn (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass) still remains the front-runner, with Ben Affleck out, and Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible 4 - Ghost Protocol) optimistic about the forthcoming film's quality, but not directing.
But according to a brief mention by Deadline, Favreau is "panting after" the director's job while Fincher, who briefly worked for ILM as a teen, may also be interested. It's little to go on, but the mere mention of those two names is sure to attract plenty of attention from both devoted fans of Star Wars and cult films.
We'll file Favreau's interest in Episode 7 under 'logical but far from a lock' for now. He made it clear when the Disney/Lucasfilm merger was first announced that he had hopes for what stories could be told. After proving his talent for action and drama with Iron Man - legitimizing Marvel's movie universe in the process - he left that franchise to a new master, meaning he has some free time on his hands. Our memories of Iron Man's best moments do raise our hopes, but the mixed bag that was Cowboys & Aliens gives us pause.
As for Fincher, well, let's just say that we'll believe that when we see him land the job. His abilities aren't in question, but it would be difficult for anyone to argue that his penchant for crime, drama, and darker themes would be a wise move for Star Wars. Particularly if the rumors of Disney mimicking Marvel's commercial formula prove to be true.
Of course, with names like these being thrown in the mix, we have to ask ourselves: How much influence will the director be allowed to have? Episode 7's script is already finished, with 8 and 9 possibly being written at this very moment. Given the amount of money Disney has riding on this film being a commercial success, the notion of handing over the reins completely seems hard to believe. They might end up betting the farm on a name they trust, but could also make Joss Whedon's constraints for The Avengers seem like a cake walk.
Since the plot of Episode 7 is already established, the director Disney hires will be charged with controlling the style, feel, and tone of the film. With that in mind, directors applauded for their dramatic talent may be a proven quantity, but not necessarily the kind of figure who will think commercially for the foreseeable sequels and spin-offs.
Favreau makes more sense - and Disney could do a lot worse - but the question inevitably becomes: Do we want a director who can deliver a summer blockbuster, or an exceptional film?
We're glad we don't have to make that call. But if the choice was yours, who would you pick? Obviously we'd all like profits and ticket sales out of the equation, but is there a director who could manage both sides? Sound off in the comments.
Star Wars Episode 7 is due in theaters in 2015.
Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.
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