When it was announced that Disney and Lucasarts would produce a new Star Wars movie without George Lucas, the Internet went wild. One of the first questions was who would direct it, and lots of big and geek-friendly names floated. But it didn't take long for the honeymoon to end. We all expected it to be hard to land one of the big names, but what we didn't expect was indifference and even outright hostility from some of the candidates. Just recently, Joss Whedon (another one of the dream directors for Star Wars: Episode 7) has confirmed he's not even in the running. Let's run down some of the other directors who have confirmed they're not even considering directing the movie: Guillermo Del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and Quentin Tarantino. Even slightly less famous directors like Brad Bird and J.J. Abrams have turned it down. Why are so many big-name directors turning down the movie before it's even being offered? To put it bluntly, we will not have a major director for Star Wars: Episode 7. The director will most likely be a low-level director or even an unknown director. Here are 6 reasons why.
6. They Want to Be in the Audience - J.J. Abrams said he didn't want to make SW:E7, because he wants to be in the audience. Anyone who had the kind of passion and love of Star Wars wouldn't want to direct it. To be the one creating and forging the new Star Wars movie is a different experience. I mean, would you rather cook a great meal yourself or have someone else cook it for you? It's easier for any director to say no, then sit in a theater to watch it unfold.
5. Big Directors Demand a Big Paycheck - Any of the major directors would want a lot of money to direct the new Star Wars movie, money that Disney might hesitate to pay. It's no secret that Disney wanted lesser known actors and hired less experienced directors to save money on their Marvel movies. A less experienced director will be willing to take less, just for the chance to make the movie and command more later. The directors who would be interested in this movie would be ones who need the career boost more than publicity. The big directors aren't willing to take a pay cut.
4. Big Directors Have Big Plans - Guillermo Del Toro and Joss Whedon both cited their busy schedules as the reason for turning down the movie, which is going to be a major problem. Most big-name directors already have a lot in the pipeline. That's how they stay on top, by constantly working on new projects, because it takes years to get a movie into production. Now imagine being handed the script for Star Wars, which is supposed to be out in just two years. It would take a major amount of passion for one of them to put all their current plans on hold, and rush to do SW:E7. Frankly, it's easier for them to just say no. A less established director will be looking for work, and jump at doing Star Wars.
3. Big Directors Have Big Doubts, Too - As skeptical as everyone has been about the new movies, Hollywood is skeptical as well. Zack Snyder called making the new sequel a "slippery slope." Quentin Tarantino heaped scorn on the idea of Disney making a decent Star Wars movie. There are just so many ways this movie could go wrong that very few want to be a part of it. No one wants to be the captain of a sinking ship. See reason 2.
2. SW:E7 Is Going to Be Really, Really Hard - Making a new Star Wars movie isn't going to be easy, no matter what Disney thinks. The prequels have been a very good example of how not to make a Star Wars movie, but if you think about it, Star Wars has only had one movie that all the fans agree is truly great: The Empire Strikes Back. Other than that, the movies have been a mixed bag of good ideas, bad ideas, poor execution, great action sequences, terrible action sequences, poor staging, bad dialogue, scifi cliches, great characters, horrible characters, and plot holes. Now add to that the fact that this is going to be a movie that picks up after Return of the Jedi, which pretty much wrapped up the story. The new movie will need to find a way to continue that story in a way that doesn't seem forced, and also accommodate the original actors, who are very old. It's going to be hard making a movie that will live up to expectations, and not many directors want to put that much effort into it. It would take a real vision and determination to say, "I can do a better job than Lucas."
1. The Wrath of Nerds - As much as I hate the prequels, I have to admit that nerds really went overboard on their hatred of George Lucas. They tore George Lucas apart, accusing him of everything from being one of the worst filmmakers ever to ruining their childhood. While it was mostly true, you have to consider what that must have felt like for Lucas. Now imagine any director considering the job imagining themselves as the next target. Can you imagine what would happen to them if they screwed up SW:E7? Very few major directors in Hollywood would want to subject themselves to that kind of abuse, especially when they have the power and resources to direct so many other movies without so much baggage. In a way, geeks and nerds have driven anyone with the skill and passion to make the movie away from it.
Honestly, when the dust settles, I think we'll find the director will be a low level director. Only an up-and-coming director who will work cheap and wants to make his name in Hollywood would sign up for it.
He or she might even do a great job. But the director probably won't be the one we expected. Or even heard of.
What do you think? Are there are directors left you still think could direct SW:E7? Are there any directors you're disappointed about not directing it? Would an untested director do a better job? Let us know in the comments.
UPDATE: Well, that didn't take long to get debunked. J.J. Abrams is directing the next movie. I'm happy to be wrong.
[Image Source: starwars.com]
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For more of the complex love/hate relationship between George Lucas and Star Wars fans, check out the documentary The People Vs George Lucas.