Star Wars is set to come back in a big way this December, when the saga's seventh episode - J.J. Abrams' The Force Awakens - makes its highly-anticipated theatrical debut. Disney/Lucasfilm's plan is to thereafter release new Star Wars films annually, with "Anthology" standalone installments (like Gareth Edwards' Star Wars: Rogue One) arriving in between the "Episodes" (read: films in the sequel trilogy).
The second of these anthology projects (allegedly a Boba Fett origin movie) hit a snag when director Josh Trank voided the director's chair. That film is not expected to hit theaters until 2018, so Lucasfilm still has plenty of time to find a replacement, and fans are no doubt thinking of dream candidates. Tell us, Star Wars faithful - how does Joss Whedon sound?
A report from LR claims the Avengers: Age of Ultron director is currently being courted by the Star Wars story team and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to helm one of the upcoming projects they have on the docket. LR says that Whedon's decision to quit Twitter in the aftermath of Avengers 2 criticism is merely a smokescreen so he can discuss a gig with Lucasfilm in secret (as opposed to the reason Whedon provided).
One of the first thoughts fans may have is Whedon possibly being in the running to make Episode IX, but that seems unlikely at this point in time. A couple months back, it was reported that Abrams was Lucasfilm's top choice for that film (after being pleased with how Force Awakens turned out), so one of the two remaining anthology films seems the more plausible option. Another possibility that LR floats out is Whedon boarding the live-action Star Wars TV show rumored to be in development - but that's pure speculation, at this stage.
It's important to consider where Whedon is at mentally right now. He helped run Phase II of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and launched the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV show), so he's obviously drained and has expressed his desire to take a break before pursuing a new project - something of his own creation, no less. Trading in Captain America's shield for a lightsaber would seemingly be counter-productive of those goals.
But that's not to say Whedon would never consider directing a Star Wars film at some point down the line. Yes, it is another massive franchise and helming such a project would be daunting (rivaling his Avengers jobs), but the standalone anthology movies may allow filmmakers more freedom than the Episodes VII - IX trilogy (since they are not connected to the core narrative). Whedon could just play in this sandbox as a one-off and let his imagination run free.
There are probably those who would be hesitant to hand Whedon the keys to this ship, but most would agree: he'd be a valuable asset for Lucasfilm to have. Still, it's best to wait and give Whedon a chance to recharge his batteries post-Age of Ultron first, before we start assuming he's going to jump right back into the world of big-time franchises.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18, 2015; Star Wars Anthology Rogue One on December 16, 2016; Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017. We'll keep you updated on the second Anthology film.