Lucasfilm Was Right To Get Rid Of The Directors
Should Colin Trevorrow have stayed on Episode IX? Honestly, no. He is an acquired taste at best with few real fans. Safety Not Guaranteed is a niche film without the breakout indie qualities its reputation deserves. Jurassic World was successful but that was more brand - the film itself missed much of the point it was explicitly trying to satirize. And that The Book of Henry was an ill-advised handling of delicate subject matter has been done to death. He wrote none of those films which means he's not totally to blame, but that he could sign off on a whimsical tale about cancer and domestic abuse (seriously, The Book of Henry is not good) shows he's not a barometer for quality. Given he was going to be wrapping up the new trilogy and perhaps episodic Star Wars as we know it, Colin's not ideal.
Should Lord and Miller have stayed on Han Solo? Perhaps not either. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street (also 22) and The Lego Movie are all going to be regarded as modern classics, but they're unique products quite openly made by two men renowned for their free-wheeling - two of which came from a different medium. And word says they were beginning to make big changes to the Star Wars Story gameplan. Considering that Solo is a movie mainly hyped on its script (a co-work of Lawrence Kasdan and son Larry) they're not a perfect fit. That's not to say their movie wouldn't have been good, but it may not be what Lucasfilm wanted.
Should Josh Trank have stayed on Boba Fett? No. Simply, Fantastic Four sucked and whatever the true production story is he messed up.
Why Did They Hire Them in The First Place?
With the above considered, firing (or showing the door to) these three make perfect sense. However, all of the traits that make them problematic within the confines of this studio/franchise were implicit before they were fired. The discussion isn't about - as many fans celebrating Ron Howard or hoping for Rian Johnson's return - why it's a good idea to get rid of them. It's why they were hired in the first place.
The objections to each respective hiring has already been outlined but perhaps it all boils down to something more fundamental: an understanding of Star Wars. Lucasfilm keeps hiring directors from the generation that saw the original trilogy as kids and were inspired to make movies because of that. These are people with staunch beliefs of what Star Wars is that are no less true than what a multi-billion dollar congolomerate thinks, but probably aren't as synergized or profitable.
We're not a movie studio. We've never made a movie. But we've visited enough sets, talked to enough filmmakers and, damn, seen enough films themselves to say that hiring someone totally wrong for the job is a bad idea. That drive to get interesting filmmakers seems to have overridden any sense of quality control at Lucasfilm. Maybe it's looking at the successes at Marvel around the time of the Disney aquisition, but there's more than enough cases to prove the notion of hiring indie directors hoping they turen into cinematic superstars (an issue we can trace back contemporarily to Christopher Nolan) is not the way to go.
The reason Star Wars avoids the negative press thats greets other studio's comparable creative mistakes is that Lucasfilm has two good movies under its belt. The Force Awakens was a strong, evocative return of the franchise and Rogue One showed people would come out and care about obscure characters and events (defying the aforementioned director issues in the process). This gives the fans a sense of trust in the studio's choices - surely if they can make those two work everything else will work out fine - but as much as we love Star Wars the mounting issues are serious.
There's a lack of understanding. We previously caught flack for suggesting Kathleen Kennedy should step down, but it's clear that there's an ideological flaw in Lucasfilm that needs addressing. Whoever's hired to replace to Trevorrow, you have to hope they're suitable - we can't keep letting Star Wars off.
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018