*UPDATE: Hey, remember when that time I said Matthew Vaughn was an unlikely candidate for directing Star Wars: Episode VII? It was roughly forty-five minutes ago. Yeah, funny story:
“I’m hearing that Matthew Vaughn, the director of Kick-Ass, Stardust, Layer Cake, and X-Men: First Class, is in talks with Lucasfilm to helm Star Wars: Episode VII. My sources tell me this is the main reason he dropped out of the X-Men sequel (which Bryan Singer is now directing). Hit the jump for more. (Collider)”
Collider’s track record with scoops is solid. And it also doesn’t discount the list we ran earlier. What’s surprising (or not surprising given the magnitude of the property) is Vaughn’s potential willingness to burn his bridges at Fox. But if Collider’s source indeed speaks the truth, this was likely too good an opportunity to pass up.
Story developing, we’ll have more if any announcements are made…
Market Saw 3D might not be a site you’re familiar with, but they’re gaining some traction thanks to their reliable Star Wars reporting and a source they seem pretty confident in. They were among the first to report on a rumored new trilogy (in 2009) and now this same source is seemingly spilling the beans on Disney and Lucasfilm’s Episode VII director shortlist. I’d take this all with a grain of Tatooine sand for now, but rumors like this at least get the baseless speculation going for what is undoubtedly the most coveted directing gig of all time.
I’m linking to the article so you can run the full gamut of rumors, but for me the real meat is in who Disney’s potentially looking at for director. Even if it’s bunk, it’s not hard to imagine a few of these names being on the real-deal shortlist. My thoughts after each name:
This name feels the safest to cross off the list immediately. The director, while brilliant, seems to have difficulty sticking to big name properties he’s been announced for. He dropped out of both the Robocop remake and The Wolverine when he was already into preproduction on both. An inspired choice, but not necessarily a safe one. Disney needs a sure thing if they’re going to make that looming Summer 2015 window. I’d love the choice, I just don’t see it happening.
I feel the same way about Spielberg directing Star Wars as I do Lucas; give me late 70s / early 80s Spielberg and we’ve got a party. But the Spielberg of 2012 feels all kinds of wrong for this. War Horse was an overextended mess and some of the dialogue in the Lincoln trailer sounds laughably heavy-handed. If anybody can climb out of a rut, it’s Spielberg (Renn’s seen Lincoln and is already a fan), but aside from a producer role his time revisiting old properties feels like it’s at an end. As it rightfully should be.
Whedon is already playing in the Disney ballpit. Having just directed The Avengers to box office glory, he’s now established himself as the driving creative force of Marvel Studio’s live action future. Would he so quickly leave that cushy gig behind for Episode VII? It’s not outside the realm of possibility. But my gut says Disney wants him on Avengers 2, so for now let’s assume he’s busy and move on. Though admitedly, he’d be a great choice to script the entire thing.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Just last week Vaughn dropped out of his follow-up to X-Men: First Class at Fox. Is it possible he had inside information and is already toiling away on Episode VII? Probably not, as rumors have Vaughn staying at Fox directing something called Secret Service. Like Aronofsky, Vaughn’s a tricky guy to pin down and moves on and off projects with some degree of regularity. Again, the 2015 deadline makes him an unlikely candidate.
Warmer. Blomkamp knocked it out of the park with District 9, the best original science-fiction film to hit the mainstream until Looper revealed itself a worthy successor. August of 2013 sees the South African filmmaker returning with Elysium, starring Matt Damon. Blomkamp’s background is steeped in sci-fi, having worked on a potential Peter Jackson-produced Halo adaptation before backing killed it. Personally, I hope he and Rian Johnson stay away from properties like Star Wars from here until eternity. Their original works are too strong right now to waste on a potential decade-long commitment like Star Wars.
Of all the proposed choices, this is the one that feels like the best fit. For starters, Cuarón delivers consistently brilliant work (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men). Second, he’s done fantasy with Harry Potter and sci-fi with films like Men and his upcoming Gravity. So he’d be right at home in Wars‘ heavy sci-fi / fantasy-laden brand. Finally, his work on the Potter series proves he can still deliver thought-provoking and financially successful films under the stresses of franchise filmmaking. If these are the names Disney is considering, this would be the wisest choice.
There’s one name I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere that I’d like to suggest: Drew Goddard. With Whedon already at Disney and rumored to be a candidate for the gig, I would like to think the Cabin in the Woods director’s involvement has at least been considered. Working off a Whedon script, Goddard delivered one of the strongest genre efforts in years with Cabin and absolutely deserves to be in the same category as directing voices like Johnson or Blomkamp. What I like about Goddard for Episode VII, and it’s something evidenced in Cabin, is his unique ability to hold the past in reverence while working to bring something fresh to the genre. Cabin rightfully wore its influences on its sleeve, and anyone directing Star Wars will need the right balance between honoring the past and moving the story into the future.
Out of the names reportedly on the list, go with Cuarón. But if Disney were willing to take a risk similar to the one they did with Whedon on Avengers, I wouldn’t mind seeing a Cabin reteam with Whedon writing and Goddard directing.