There has been weeks of predicting who will direct the new Star Wars sequels at Disney. The same names always seem to come up: Brad Bird, Edgar Wright, Jon Favreau, Joss Whedon, etc. So I decided to come up with a list of five directors who should be considered. They are all risks, but I think that Disney and Lucasfilm need to be creative with this.
Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall
This one would never happen and it would be a very tough sell to many fans and audience members. But when looking at updating familiar franchises the new Winnie the Pooh movie is the perfect example how to do it right. It respected the previous versions while subtly improving on it without completely changing it. Winnie the Pooh had heart, humor, strong characterization, and works as a perfect introduction for new audiences. There was also creativity in the simplicity of that movie which would be a good direction for Star Wars to go, as it can be needlessly complicated.
Anderson also directed Meet the Robinsons, which while it had its problems did feature strong sci-fi and emotional elements. Anderson and Hall have worked on Tarzan, Emperor’s New Groove, and Tangled so they clearly have a lot of experience and imagination. I think that Disney should consider them, but I don’t see the internet reacting well.
It seems like after Amazing Spider-Man was announced everybody hated Raimi’s Spider-Man all of a sudden. But the fact is that those movies were influential, well-loved and took risks. Raimi can work with characters and story alongside special effects (alright I know Spider-Man 3 was a let down, but was it really that bad?). This is the director of the Evil Dead trilogy; he is capable of working with suspense and action.
Also the new trailer for Oz: The Great and Powerful just came out. Star Wars really is structured like a fantasy and could use a director who can handle those elements. If Raimi can make his stamp on the Oz franchise and make it successful Disney might do well to consider him for Star Wars. I can see many people being upset if he is announced but there are enough reasons to consider him.
I had never seen a Planet of the Apes movie or cared to, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes was one of the most surprising movies of last year. If Wyatt could resurrect and improve that failing, forgotten franchise he may have what it takes to do Star Wars. Also worth noting is that the special effects did not overtake Planet of the Apes, the motion capture worked with the story which is something that the Star Wars prequels didn’t have. Wyatt is not returning for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and doesn’t seem to have any projects lined up, but since he’s free Kathleen Kennedy should at least get a pitch from him.
I saw this mentioned on a forum and thought this was an inspired candidate. It is definitely a risk, but this is a risk that could pay off. Seth MacFarlane clearly has a passion for Star Wars and he has already worked extensively with the franchise. He knows what works and doesn’t work with Star Wars. I was also very impressed with Ted. While he does have a ways to grow, as a director the movie was creative and completely enjoyable, I think that he is on his way to a solid directorial career. I think that going with a director who can have fun instead of taking things overly serious is what Star Wars could use more of. He is also a creator that Disney would do well to get in business with.
Also a plus, he is extremely personable and impeccable in interviews and onscreen (terrific job on SNL this year). He would be able to be the front man for these sequels and get people excited for it. Also while he is incredibly busy, he is way overdue to leave Fox animation.
Joe and Anthony Russo
Really surprised that these two haven’t been mentioned yet. Joe directed the Star Wars paintball episode of Community (and its spaghetti western predecessor). The important thing to take away from that episode is that it was beholden to Star Wars tropes and iconography while advancing the story for the characters. Which is what these sequels need, use what’s established while telling your own story. The episode also didn’t make fun of Star Wars or use generalizations about the franchise, it demonstrated a deep knowledge and respect for it. Also associating with Community is the perfect way to get the internet on your side.
Marvel is already using these two to direct Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which comes out in 2014. That probably won’t leave them enough time to work on the sequels, but if Marvel and Lucasfilm can cooperate they may just be the perfect candidates.