Despite a disappointing end to the hit series Game of Thrones, showrunners David Benioff and D. B Weiss managed to not only secure themselves a lucrative, multi-year Netflix deal, but also the opportunity to create the first post-Skywalker saga Star Wars trilogy. The trilogy had been officially slated for a 2022 release, but, recently, news has broken that the duo has stepped down from the project.
As we fast approach The Rise Of Skywalker, questions will now linger, if this project is still to go ahead, who will take the reigns? Here we look at 10 directors who would make fantastic replacements for the pair.
10 Guillermo del Toro
Arguably the unlikeliest candidate on this list due to the two-time Oscar winner's outspoken desire to quench the thirst of his imagination. However, Guillermo del Toro would still create a fantastic trilogy of Star Wars films - especially as a fully-fledged member of the nerd community.
From his work in the incredible Pan's Labyrinth to the Oscar-winning The Shape Of Water, Del Toro's status as one of the world's finest visionary auteurs is solidified. With the 2021 release of his film Pinnochio, time may be too short, but one cannot help but imagine the potential of the worlds he could create and populate with a narrative that would likely pack a deep, emotional punch.
9 Patty Jenkins
Versatile, reliable and talented, Patty Jenkins is a fine choice to finally bring a female voice to the Star Wars director's chair. Jenkins has a short filmography ,but a great one with the impactful Monster and the DCEU's first critical success in Wonder Woman, as well as a fantastic TV career.
With Wonder Woman: 1984 releasing next year, it is not out the realm of possibility for Jenkins to ride that wave into a galaxy far, far away. She does not even need to direct all three films, perhaps she could pawn off her scripts to other directors for the second two to focus on her personal projects. Simply, there is no denying the quality of film Jenkins could bring to the Star Wars universe, especially with such a skilled female outlook.
8 Ryan Coogler
Young, fresh and with three out of three films directed fantastically in his short filmography, Ryan Coogler could do wonders in the Star Wars universe as a replacement for Benioff and Weiss. Fruitvale Station was a passionate, emotional debut for Coogler, before reinvigorating the Rocky franchise and mixing nostalgia with the skill to create the phenomenal Creed and finally creating an immersive, awe-inspiring world and film in Black Panther.
Take all the qualities of these films and the potential in a Star Wars trilogy for the young writer/director is limitless. While Black Panther 2 is currently slated for 2022, it is not completely out of the realm of possibility for Coogler to do both projects, especially since both are under the Disney banner.
7 Barry Jenkins
Another Jenkins, another filmmaker who could bring diversity to the Star Wars director's chair and another fantastic auteur. Barry Jenkins is yet to do but is open to, a blockbuster picture. What he has done is quality films including one of the best films/coming of age stories of the 2010s in the best picture winner Moonlight.
Bringing to fruition a more grounded, personal Star Wars story would be fantastic and fresh for the franchise. With Jenkins himself being a massive nerd and Star Wars fan, the Oscar winner would make a phenomenal choice to do this while staying true to the universe and creating beautiful films in the place of Benioff and Weiss.
6 Edgar Wright
One need not look far into Edgar Wright's career to realize the innovative filmmaker's love for various pop culture phenomena. Combine that with his vast talent and brilliant track record and an Edgar Wright led Star Wars trilogy is a fantastic prospect.
Wright does have a relationship with Disney also, he was slated as the Ant-Man director before creative differences got in the way, and on top of that, the auteur even made a cameo in The Last Jedi. With tight scripts and excellent direction, it is no wonder Wright craves creative control. If he is granted that, with not much officially stated for Wright in the next few years, the new Star Wars trilogy would be in fantastic hands if given to Wright.
5 Dave Filoni
While Filoni is unproven in the world of film, and even in the world of live-action, his passion, love, and capability as a storyteller in the Star Wars universe are unparalleled. If Filoni can prove himself in his directorial work on The Mandalorian, there is no reason that he cannot at least be at the head of writing the new Star Wars trilogy.
Filoni has created some of Star Wars' finest characters, scenes, and stories in its history through The Clone Wars and Rebels and hs well earned his shot at the big time. If Lucasfilm did not feel completely confident in his ability to direct three features, they could easily bring in other filmmakers, such as Jon Favreau, to help bring Filoni's story to the screen.
4 Christopher Nolan
The current king of blockbusters, Christopher Nolan does not make bad films, nor do his films perform poorly at the box office. With freedom and the ability to unleash his take on a Star Wars story, there is no doubt that the acclaimed filmmaker could create beautiful worlds, craft great characters and weave an amazing story.
Whether it would be a darker take on the universe such as in his Dark Knight trilogy or a more mind-bending trifecta of films like Inception, there is no limit to the potential quality of a Christopher Nolan directed and written Star Wars trilogy. With Tenet releasing next year we are unsure of Nolan's plans beyond that, but if given creative freedom, a Star Wars fan the level of Nolan is sure to be tempted if Disney come knocking.
3 Ava DuVernay
Thoroughly talented and critically acclaimed, Ava Duvernay is the perfect candidate to be the first female Star Wars director. With award-winning and critically acclaimed films, documentaries and TV shows under her belt, she has chosen her projects well. Not confined to smaller, personal projects, DuVernay has also gone big with Disney blockbuster A Wrinkle In Time.
DuVernay is no stranger to Star Wars either, as the Selma director famously influenced shots of The Force Awakens, gaining the approval of its director J. J. Abrams who, on the film's commentary track claimed DuVernay would “kill it” as a Star Wars director. There are some unbelievably talented female filmmakers out there, from Greta Gerwig to Katherine Bigelow, but it seems evident that Star Wars and Ava DuVernay are a perfect match.
2 Denis Villeneuve
Villeneuve's films are beautiful if not excellent with his love for sci-fi combined with his phenomenal filmmaking skills being tailor-made for a franchise looking for a fresh slate of films such as Star Wars.
His work on Arrival and Blade Runner: 2049 is enough to make an undeniable case for the French-Canadian filmmaker. But, throw in more grounded character-based films which still pack a gorgeous gut-punch such as Prisoners and the prospect of having Villeneuve at the helm of the world's biggest blockbuster franchise is as sensical as it is mouthwatering.
1 The Russo Brothers
From a pair of friends to a couple of brothers, from Game Of Thrones to the MCU, from a disappointing finale to a grand culmination, there is nobody better to take over from Benioff and Weiss than the Russo brothers. They have turned in the best films of the MCU. On top of that, the pair are outspoken, lifelong Star Wars fans, giving them a personal investment in the franchise
The pair can handle big blockbusters excellently, creating great film instead of just cheaply looking for a quick buck, with - through the MCU - a close connection to Disney and the ability to make insane amounts of money. What else could a Star Wars fan, or Disney themselves, want as a replacement for Benioff and Weiss?