11. James Ponsoldt
James Ponsoldt’s films show his range as a director. From the romantic dramedy The Spectacular Now to the biographical drama The End of the Tour, he has a number of engaging and creative films under his belt. Even though he’s not yet forty, Ponsoldt is a veteran director, with more feature film credits than either Rian Johnson or Gareth Edwards under his belt. However, his most recent film and foray into science fiction, The Circle was a critical and commercial flop, which might deter Lucasfilm from contacting him. Since Star Wars star John Boyega also starred in The Circle, however, he may be able to pass along a recommendation to Kathleen Kennedy.
10. Jennifer Phang
Jennifer Phang may not have been the first person you would consider for helming Star Wars, but she has made quite a name for herself at Sundance. Her film Half-Life premiered there in 2008, and she returned in 2015 with her feature-length film Advantageous – a science fiction film that won the Special Jury Award for Collaborative Vision. Since then, she’s dabbled in television and shown off her wide range of abilities as a filmmaker. Phang would certainly shake things up, and offer a viewpoint that Star Wars has never seen before. Still, while Phang as an artist would deliver an amazing film, she may not be the solution to Lucasfilm’s PR problem; as a relative unknown, her name may not carry enough weight to generate buzz or drive fans to come out to see Episode IX.
9. Colm McCarthy
Colm McCarthy has directed quite a bit of television, including Sherlock, Doctor Who, and Peaky Blinders. Recently, he began to transition into feature length films with The Girl With All the Gifts , an innovative take on the “zombie” film. McCarthy has shown his range, his style, his storytelling craft, and his interest in science fiction – he fits a similar profile and style to that of Rogue One‘s Gareth Edwards. McCarthy is tied to a couple of projects that haven’t started filming, as well as an upcoming episode of Black Mirror , but if Lucasfilm wanted him for Star Wars, it seems like his schedule could clear out.
8. Jordan Peele
Get Out has made Jordan Peele the breakout director of the year. The film effortlessly mixed horror, humor, and social commentary to create a film that was spooky, complex, and laugh-out-loud funny. As of August of this year, Get Out was still the most profitable film of 2017. Peele might not seem like the most obvious choice for Episode IX, but he is a world-class storyteller and director whose personal brand could thrive within the galaxy far, far away. Plus, Peele’s profile and popularity are aided by his work on the sketch comedy show Key and Peele (2012); if Lucasfilm wants to make a headline, Jordan Peele is a headline.
7. Dave Filoni
If Lucasfilm’s problems stem from having directors whose creative visions clash with the Star Wars brand, then perhaps the solution is hiring someone on the inside. Dave Filoni, the director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, could be the man for the job. Filoni’s enthusiasm and love of Star Wars come through in Clone Wars and Rebels; many Star Wars fans sing his praises, especially after he re-introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn into the Star Wars canon in Rebels season three.
Filoni also clearly gets along with Lucasfilm executives, including Kathleen Kennedy. His cinematic vision clearly shines through in his animated series, and since he’s already immersed in Star Wars lore, he would be able to tie together the stories of the extended universe in the finale of the sequel trilogy.
Page 3: A TV Giant, Man Made Moon, Fresh off Bladerunner, not a Deus Ex Machina, it's About Time, and the Obvious Choice
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