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Why 9 Awesome Directors Surprisingly Turned Down STAR WARS [List]

Vintage Photo of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas

You won't believe who turned down the chance to make a Star Wars film. Recently there's been a bunch of announcements of wonderful directors that will be directing future Star Wars movies, directors like Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson. Working on a Star Wars film seems like a dream come true. Who wouldn't want to work on the greatest franchise in movie history? Surprisingly enough, there are a bunch of brilliant directors who don't want to work on a Star Wars sequel or prequel. Here are the ones we're saddest said "no."

1. Guillermo Del Toro - "I'm too busy"
"Sorry, I'm working on Pacific Rim 2, 3, 4 and 6. All coming in 2015." - Guillermo Del Toro  
In 2012, Del Toro got a phone call asking if he’d like to direct Episode VII. "We got one phone call to my agent saying, 'Is Guillermo interested?'" del Toro said, "And basically I have so much stuff already of my own, and I'm pursuing stuff that I'm generating already..." So, he turned it down saying it was “very flattering." Del Toro added, “it was very nice to be asked, but believe it or not, I'm busy enough."

2. Brad Bird - "I'm already working on my dream project."
"I'm getting another one of these when Tomorrowland comes out." - Brad Bird
Brad Bird was one of the top contenders to direct Star Wars Episode VII, but he was busy on his own pet project. In 2012, rumors swirled that Bird was working on a super secret science fiction film for Disney known as 1952. Some began to think he was working on the Star Wars sequel, but it was Tomorrowland, a sci-fi mystery movie based on the Disney theme ride. "I love the 'Star Wars' films, and I can't wait to see what J.J. does, but it meant I'd have to shut down one dream to participate in another." Bird said, "I feel like [with 'Tomorrowland'] we're making something that's really special and unique."

3. Neill Blomkamp - "I only want to make my own stuff”

Simon Kinberg, who’s executive producer on the new Star Wars: Rebels animated series, is close friends with Neill Blomkamp and was a producer on Blomkamp’s Elysium. Kinberg “gingerly” asked Blomkamp if he wanted to do one of the Star Wars films, but he said no. We don’t know exactly why, but when talking about the failure of his Halo movie Blomkamp told Wired, “When any young director gets hired by a studio to do a $125 million film based on a preexisting piece of intellectual property, they’re climbing into the meat grinder. And what you’re coming out with on the other side is a generic, heavily studio-controlled pile of garbage that ends up on the side of Burger King wrappers.”

4. David Lynch - "I don't like sci-fi"

Back when George Lucas was looking for a director for Return of the Jedi he approached David Lynch. Lynch later said,  “I went to meet George Lucas, who had offered me the third Star Wars to direct, and I’ve never even really liked science fiction. I like elements of it, but it needs to be combined with other genres. And, obviously, Star Wars was totally George’s thing.” Ironically enough, he turned it down to work on the inventive sci-fi movie Dune which was a box office bomb.

5. David Cronenberg - "I only do my own stuff."

Another director that Lucas hoped to work on Return of the Jedi was David Cronenberg. Cronenberg had just released the brilliantly successful Scanners and Lucas thought he'd be a good fit. "I got a phone call once asking if I was interested in directing one of the Star Wars sequels," He said "And instead of saying 'Oh my God, yes!' I said, 'Well, you know, I don't really do other people's material.' Click. I don't know how far it would have gone, but it ended there." He went on to make the cult classic sci-fi film Videodrome.

6. J.J. Abrams - "I want to be in the audience"

J.J. Abrams was one of the top choices to direct Star Wars Episode VII, but Abrams initially turned it down. "I quickly said that because of my loyalty to Star Trek, and also just being a fan, I wouldn’t even want to be involved in the next version of those things." Abrams told Empire. "I declined any involvement very early on. I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them."

Here are a few director that weren't formally asked, but said no anyway.

7. Quentin Tarantino - "I hate Disney"
"I'm crushing Mickey Mouse's head right now." - Quentin Tarantino
Tarantino was never asked to direct Star Wars Episode VII, but said he wouldn't work on one if he was asked. He told Entertainment Weekly, “I could so care less. No, sorry. Especially if Disney’s going to do it. I’m not interested in the Simon West version of Star Wars.”

8. Zack Snyder - "I'm too busy making 300 2"

Rumors began to swirl that Zack Snyder was going to direct Star Wars VII, but his agents gave a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, saying that "while he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia."

9. Steven Spielberg - "Lucas wouldn't let me"

Recently they asked Steven Spielberg if he’s been approached to direct Episode VII. He said, “No! No! It's not my genre. It's my best friend George's genre," Back in 2002 he was asked about directing one of the Star Wars prequel films and said, “I've asked [Lucas]. He won't let me do one. I wanted to do one 15 years ago, and he didn't want me to do it. I understand why – Star Wars is George's baby. It's his cottage industry and it's his fingerprints. He knows I've got Jurassic Park and Raiders. But George has Star Wars and I don't think he feels inclined to share any of it with me."

Of course, we later learned that J.J. Abrams did accept the directing chair for Episode VII, so sometimes “no” turns to “yes.” Will these other directors one day direct a Star Wars film? Only time will tell.

Which director would you like to see direct a Star Wars movie? Do you feel it will it ever happen?

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  1. I think part of their problem was they made the announcement so suddenly. You can't just expect people to drop a project they're working on to do something else. That's how lawsuits get started! It seems like it would have made sense to get a director lined up before the announcement, but I guess that helped generate some buzz. In the future they should do like an American Idol type show on ABC (since Disney owns that) and the winner can direct a Star Wars movie. Synergy!

  2. some of the cliche' answers... but entertaining. you know i would have done it, but what do i know. :)

  3. Tarantino could make the ultimate Han Solo movie. I'd see that fifteen times in theaters. In succession.

  4. I just want Brad Bird to do the next Incredibles already!

  5. Amazing film, I had not imagined that the film was such a sight catching as all the theme and the characters were gathered in one film to save the world from destruction. This is a great example of one of
    the most 11 tremendous films of the decade.


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