David Fincher isn’t necessarily opposed to franchise filmmaking. In fact, he’s signed on to direct World War Z 2. However, his name has been mentioned in the past as a possible candidate for a Star Wars movie, which would be a nice bit of framing for his career since he started out working at Industrial Light & Magic on The Empire Strikes Back.
However, Fincher has been reluctant to head to a galaxy far, far away, and in a recent interview with Empire, he explains why.
Speaking on the Empire Podcast, Fincher says that while George Lucas had it rough on the first movie since it was so ambitious and different, there’s an entirely new set of expectations that comes with the blockbuster property as it exists today:
No, I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, “Alderaan? What the hell is this?” Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure.
I think [The Empire Strikes Back director Irvin Kershner] had the best job. He had a pretty great script and he had the middle story. He didn’t have to worry about where it started and he didn’t have to worry about where it ended. And he had the great reveal.
You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because either way it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week.
It sounds like Fincher was certainly approached at one point, but considering the track record for Star Wars directors thus far, it looks like he made the right choice in passing. No director is going to be able to have more power than Lucasfilm and Disney, and someone with an exacting vision like Fincher would likely butt heads sooner or later when that vision doesn’t align with the palatable Star Wars movies Disney wants to make.
In the meantime, if you want to see Fincher doing his thing, check out Mindhunter on Netflix right now.