Without a doubt, Star Wars is still one of the most beloved American franchises. Although last year had its drawbacks with many fans reacting adversely to both The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars remains alive and well. While Bob Iger might say he is going to slow down production on films, the overall content machine over at Lucasfilm is still busy busting out TV series, videogames, books, comics, and more.
This year alone will see the return of Star Wars Resistance, the premiere of The Mandalorian, the release of Jedi Fallen Order, and the penultimate chapter of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker. With the future of Star Wars looking bright, any project is possible (and hopefully any creative team is too). Looking ahead, here are some directors who should get a Star Wars film, and what each film could be about.
10 Rachel Talalay
Rachel Talalay might not be a name many are familiar with, but her work has not gone unnoticed by genre fans the world over. One of the most talented directors working in television today, Talalay boasts over 60 filmmaking credits including tenures on Riverdale, Doom Patrol, American Gods, and Supergirl. Her best work, however, has been across the pond and series such as Sherlock and especially on Doctor Who.
Rachel brought some of the best Peter Capaldi era episodes to the screen, showing not only an eye for out of this world landscapes and visuals but of complex characters as well. Her understanding of the multilayered character of The Doctor shows that she would be prime and ready to tackle a project that has been at the works at Lucasfilm since the Disney acquisition. If the company was to finally tackle a Yoda centric film or TV series, Talalay would be prime to handle the reigns. An ancient alien being with power beyond belief, but the humility to rarely use it, sound familiar?
9 Dave Filoni
If one person has earned the right to direct a live-action star wars film, it is Dave Filoni. The creator behind such series as The Clone Wars and Rebels, Filoni is one of the longest-running creatives working at Lucasfilm today. Before the acquisition, Filoni was the Padawan to George Lucas' Jedi Master.
Filoni has a deep understanding and connection to this world and its characters. His experience in animation shows his adaptability as a director and writer and would be primed and ready to take on a live-action feature. Now working alongside Jon Favreau on The Mandalorian, there has been no better time to give him the keys to a live action film. In terms of what kind of story best suits him, Filoni could do wonders with a film set during the Old Republic. He has brought back much of that mythology through his shows, and it proves his deep knowledge of this lesser known, yet popular, era.
8 Justin Lin
Justin Lin has solidified his ability to handle a wide range of projects for modern audiences. In terms of high action, there is no denying his work in the Fast and the Furious franchise. Lin has also dabbled in the world of comedy, directing a few episodes of Community (including the beloved classic Modern Warfare). In terms of science fiction, Lin directed the criminally underrated Star Trek: Beyond back in 2016. To say he is multifaceted is an understatement.
Justin Lin would fit right into the world of Star Wars. His experience in the Abrams-verse of Star Trek shows that he understands how to play in a similar enough world, with similar stakes in regards to size and budget. Lin could handle any number of Star Wars stories, but some sort of ensemble piece à la Rogue One (but maybe with a lighter touch) would be right up his alley.
7 Joe Cornish
Joe Cornish, the director of Attack the Block and this year's The Kid Who Would Be King, is pairing his indie sensibilities with pure heart and fun. These two films are equally throwbacks to an age of genre summer blockbusters audiences rarely see anymore, as well as fresh takes on classic film and story tropes.
Looking at his past work, Attack the Block blends practical science fiction adventure with a deep heart and humor. The Kid Who Would Be King holds its roots in the same heroic storytelling tradition as Star Wars and owes much of its tonal sensibilities to the franchise as well. Cornish would be a prime fit for a Star Wars film in the same vein as the original, featuring a young hero finding their place in a larger world. So many of his films feature misfits though, so perhaps someone even more downtrodden or unlikely than a farm boy. Not to mention, Cornish loves his creatures. He would relish a chance to utilize those practical Star Wars effects.
6 Matt Reeves
Although he might be busy with The Batman, Matt Reeves would be a fascinating addition to the Star Wars universe. His work on the Planet of the Apes reboots was some of the best genre work in years. Although Star Wars has leaned more towards its practical effects in recent years, Reeves could bring his CGI sensibilities to new alien characters in the same tradition as Caesar.
His Star Wars would be far darker than anything seen before though. Looking at his battle sequence in War for the Planet of the Apes, Matt Reeves would do an excellent film focusing on a group of soldiers in the Star Wars universe. Immediately Republic Commando comes to mind, but it could be set during any era and still hold the same effect. The idea of getting more clone wars content does sound appealing though, especially if it is live action. Or, he could continue his roots and have a creature heavy Star Wars films with a similar CGI protagonist as Caesar.
5 Dean DeBlois
After seeing his excellent conclusion to the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, Dean DeBlois could do no wrong. His ability to blend family-friendly sensibilities with excellent fantasy storytelling has not gone unnoticed. How to Train Your Dragon's action sequences are jaw-droppingly animated and choreographed. DeBlois could be given any fantasy property and it would get audiences excited, but Star Wars would be something special.
The way DeBlois choreographs his flying sequences would be an incredible sight to see in the Star Wars universe. So much of the DNA of this franchise is focused on pilots, but never has a single film focused on a squadron of them. Perhaps with the newest book, Alphabet Squadron, more interest could be garnered toward a pilot focused film. No matter what, DeBlois captures the joy of flight perfectly and it would enhance Star Wars for the better.
4 Patty Jenkins
Patty Jenkins is an incredibly versatile storyteller. Although she is most known for her iconic take on Wonder Woman, Jenkins has traversed a vast range of narratives. She has a definite interest in the world of true crime, both through her Acadamy Award winning film Monster and her recent mini-series I Am The Night. Obviously, she is a talented filmmaker and would be more than capable of helming a Star Wars film, but it is her narrative interests that are so exciting.
Jenkins obviously has a knack for telling female-centric stories, not to mention high budget tentpole features. She could tell a great Jedi-focused narrative for a character similar to Rey, but that has been seen before. Why not blend her interest in the world of true crime with the Star Wars world? Jenkins could tell an excellent female bounty hunter story, expanding on the fascinating criminal underbelly. Even better, why not give her a Sabine Wren solo movie?
3 Ryan Coogler
This is a no brainer. Ryan Coogler has climbed the ladder to be one of the most exciting directors working today. His first film Fruitville Station is a heartbreakingly honest look at gentrification and race, and Creed rejuvenated an entire film property. It is more than apparent that he can easily handle a big budget property through his groundbreaking achievement, Black Panther. It just feels natural that he would get an even bigger chance with a property such as Star Wars.
Coogler's Afro-futuristic sensibilities were revolutionary in Black Panther. Wakanda was one of the most well organized and creatively imagined worlds since Lord of the Rings. Nothing is more exciting than what he could do for Star Wars. The set and costume designs of Black Panther mirror many of the flamboyant and out of this world aesthetics of the Prequel era. Coogler could rejuvenate the prequels by telling a contained story set during the clone wars. Preferably, some sort of political thriller set on Coruscant would be outstanding.
2 Guillermo Del Toro
When it comes to inventing eye-popping practical sets and creatures, no one does it better than Guillermo Del Toro. Fresh off his Oscar win for The Shape of Water, studios everywhere would be lucky to have him work on their project. Although he has not had a great time working in the structured studio system (Oh, what The Hobbit could have been), there is no denying he loves his monsters, sci-fi, and fantasy.
Guillermo working on a Star Wars film would be a dream come true. He would thrive in this newfound love for the old practical tools. Paired with creature designer Neal Scanlan, the pair would do wonders. Del Toro would be perfect for a film focusing on the criminal underbelly, utilizing all the strange creatures that make it up. Imagine an even better version of the Cantina scene of Jabba's palace, and that would be Guillermo's Star Wars.
1 Taika Waititi
One of the most exciting actors and directors working today, Taika Waititi is a powerhouse. No one has a more diverse yet uniform filmography. Though each film might be drastically different in format or scope, each has is signature heart and wit. Taika has proven that he not only stays true to his voice as a creative but can play nice with the studio bigwigs. Obviously, his most applicable experience for Star Wars was on the iconic Thor: Ragnarok.
Though incredibly silly, Ragnarok had a defined world with established rules and aesthetics. While he will be directing an episode of The Mandalorian, he deserves his own film. Time will tell what his version of Star Wars looks like, but it is clear he holds an interest in the misfits and criminals that surround bounty hunters and scoundrels in the outer rim. No matter what, a fresh take on Star Wars' humor would not be a bad thing.