5 Suggestions for Who Should Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

by     Posted 1 year, 174 days ago


It was bound to happen some day.  Star Wars: Episode VII is becoming a reality now that Disney has purchased LucasFilm, and set a release date for 2015.  George Lucas has gracefully bowed out of the director’s chair, and given the reigns over to producer Kathleen Kennedy, although it remains to be seen how much influence he’ll have over future Star Wars films.

But since the director’s chair is open and we all love pretending we’re Hollywood executive, let’s play Suggest!  That!  Director!  This is the fun part since we have no idea what the story will be and who would be appropriate for that story.  However, we do have a vibe of what a Star Wars movie is, or at least what a Star Wars movie should be (i.e., the originals, not the prequels).  So who’s the right director to make a worthy successor to the original movies?  Hit the jump for my suggestions.

star-wars-movie-posterA note before my suggestions:

Every major filmmaker knows Star Wars, and a large percentage carry its impact to this day.  They haven’t just seen the movies.  They’ve taken them into their DNA.  It’s part of their existence.  And yet, these filmmakers have come to their own styles.  I love the films of Guillermo Del Toro, Edgar Wright, and others, but I want to see them handle their own material.  I’m more excited for Pacific Rim than I am for The Haunted Mansion, even though I’m sure Del Toro will do a great job with both.  I’m keen to see Ant-Man, but I’m more eager to see The World’s End.  Here’s the question you have to ask: would I rather see a director I admire do an original project, or take time to do Star Wars?

As for other obvious fan-favorites: I’m sure Joss Whedon would deliver a memorable movie, I’m not sure how I’d feel about droids spouting Whedonesque dialogue (I think his take on The Avengers works because the Marvel movies have been so flexible in their styles).  Also, Steven Spielberg has said he’s done with action movies, and I think after Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, he’s content to keep his hands off George Lucas’ stuff.

The best people I see for the job are the ones who can adapt to any genre, but they’re more than journeymen.  They know how to move across genres and have the talent to deliver something memorable if paired with a solid script.  Furthermore, each of these directors has delivered successful blockbusters in the past, so the studio would likely be comfortable with them handling the technical demands Episode VII will likely require (otherwise Rian Johnson, Cary Fukunaga, and a few other directors would have easily made this list).  While Disney has stated that they’re planning a new trilogy, at this point I’m focusing solely on the next movie because let’s be honest: studios want a trilogy out of everything and most of the time they’re willing to part with the director.

Brad Bird


It’s not just that Brad Bird is one of the best directors working today.  It’s that he has the uncanny ability to come into an existing project or franchise (like Ratatouille and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) and hit it out of the park.  He doesn’t leave an overbearing stamp on his material other than an emphasis on the importance of story above all else, and giving his audience a fun, uplifting experience without ever being cloying or condescending.  If anyone can bring the old magic back to Star Wars, it’s Bird.

David Yates


There were four directors before him, but for me, David Yates is the true director of the Harry Potter franchise.  He directed it through some of the most challenging stories, found the essence of the character as it best related to the demands of a movie, and always let the story come ahead of the set pieces.  His passion for the material never came off as slavish or doting, but respectful and thoughtful.  If there’s any franchise that could match the pressures of directing Star Wars, it’s Harry Potter.  Yates made it look easy.

Matthew Vaughn


Like all of the other directors on this list, he took an established franchise and made it feel fresh without leaving behind what made the world special.  If anyone other than Bryan Singer had come on to replace Vaughn for X-Men: First Class 2, I think there would have been great mourning at seeing him leave the series.  Also worth noting is how Vaughn has skillfully moved through wildly different tones such as the delightful fantasy of Stardust to the bombastic to Kick-Ass without missing a beat.

Sam Mendes


After seeing Skyfall, I was once again reminded that Sam Mendes is a master of genre.  Give him a strong script, and he’ll blow you away.  Give him a bad script, and you get Revolutionary Road.  But in terms of control, he has moved seamlessly through genres as diverse as period melodrama to indie dramedy to gangster film to spy thriller, and while he doesn’t drastically elevate the material, he directs a script to its full potential.  And as you’ll see with Skyfall, he has no trouble getting into an established franchise and finding its heart.

J.J. Abrams



Yes, it will be the most secretive production in history.  While I haven’t been over the moon about the stories of Abrams’ movies, I believe he is a talented director, and more importantly, he can make a strong picture when working with a less than stellar script.  If Abrams gets a strong screenplay and can pair it with the earnestness he showed with Super 8, it should be a nice fit with Star Wars.

Of course, the most important challenge is getting the story right, and we have no idea what that story will be.  This is the problem with speculation.  We have favorite directors, and we want them to do big things, but we don’t know if they’ll be a good fit.  And it’s impossible to know who would be best suited to the material (although I can think of some names that I would prefer to stay away from Star Wars), so we’ll just have to wait and see.

Please sound off in the comments about who you’d like to see direct Star Wars: Episode VII.

For more of our coverage on Disney buying LucasFilm:


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  • Loki’d

    They should hire Tommy Wiseau

    • matthew

      Best choice hands down, get your spoons ready!

  • DoctorWho

    Kevin Smith

    • Cherno

      That would be fucking AWESOME!!!

    • Anonymous

      OMG!!! That would actually be a Good Choice. He always seems to put small comments regarding STAR WARS in his films and is a huge fan if the franchise. Who better than a true fan to direct I am sure he will make a fine choice.

  • Alex W

    Brad Bird would actually be so perfect.

    Tommy Wiseau as script doctor.

    • Zac Efron


  • bud

    David Fincher
    Darren Aronofsky
    Christopher Nolan
    The Wachowskis
    Peter Jackson
    Guiellermo del Toro

    • Anonymous

      No. Fincher, Aronofsky, Nolan and the Wachowskis would all be awful. They are good directors, but not for a family friendly Star Wars movie. Jackson and Del Toro have helped with the LOTR/Hobbit trilogies that are , so they’d be best suited for an epic adventure movie. Keep in mind all of the Star Wars films have been PG except for Revenge of the Sith. Just about all of these directors tend to get a PG-13 or R rating for their good films.

  • Henny

    Nolan Nolan
    Chris Chris Nolan Nolan

    • DREDD

      You gotta be shittin me!!!!!

      Nolan has ONE directing style! Its not terrible, but it aint great, it suits some things but damn! Have you even seen Star Wars??? Nolans films look like adverts for Top-Man or Tie rack stores. And don’t even get me started on his action scenes. Mixed casting choices or some of his dialogue. His version of Star Wars would look like a an even more serious version of BSG but without spaceships or cylons.

      I think Spielberg (who almost directed Return of the Jedi) would be great, followed by Peter Jackson, James Cameron.
      Hell, if theres gonna be a LOT of Star Wars movies, as indicated by the interviews, I think it might be good to have a different director for each film, like what was proposed for Tin-Tin.

    • dogg

      Hell no. It would be one solid plot hole.

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  • murphyslaw

    Duncan Jones most definitely.

    Not J.J. Abrams, no way. I love Abrams, but he has Star Trek and if anyone dares to mesh the two there will be fucking murders.

    • Shaun

      Abrams Trek is already a mesh of Trek and SW, so why not? Maybe he’ll leave Star Trek alone then.

  • Norbert

    Horrible choices.

    Sam Mendes – he would just rip off Batman, use a spineless script and kill the story with a flood of pointless references instead of creating a proper narrative

    Yates – worst of the adult potters

    Brad Bird – from a technical standpoint MI4 is a good movie but is it emotionally engaging? Not really.

    JJ Abrams – Do we really want Spielberg Jr try Star Wars?

    Vaughn makes good movies but also very flawed ones.

    Kosinski after Oblivion would be an interesting choice

    Ryan Johnson seems like a perfect fit after Looper (no idea how you could have missed him)

    Duncan Jones

    Gareth Edwards – if Godzilla is good

    Darren Arnovsky – we all know he is a nerd and he could probably create a really new star wars movie

    but to be Honest just make RZA make it since who cares what it will be, it won’t live up to our expectations anway.

    • Scurvy

      RE: Your comments on Brad Bird

      Were any of the Star Wars movies emotionally engaging, especially the most recent 3?

      And clearly you have never seen Iron Giant…

      • Norbert

        So since last 3 star wars were shit we should make shit instead of trying to improve?

        Also yes Iron Giant was good but it’s not live action and that’s not an easy transition

    • Anonymous

      Arnofsky is a joke. Black Swan was awful

  • Strong Enough

    Neill Blomkamp!!!!

    • Cpt. Hindsight

      I can’t believe there was that many comments and you’re the first person to say this. He’d be my first choice for it too.

    • Vinícius

      I like this choice, but I would rather wait and see his new movie first, so I would know he actually got the chops to pull off Star Wars.

  • Goobity

    My money is on Joe Johnston. He’s already got extensive ties with Disney, and Star Wars back to it’s earliest days.


    • matt

      I agree, it would make a lot of sense. My heart wants Brad Bird to do it but my mind says it will be closer to Joe Johnston.

      • gcm443

        I’m still holding out for that Boba Fett movie that he was supposedly trying to get goin.

  • jonas


    • ben

      Damn. Now that’s an original thought. I personally think Danny Boyle can do anything he puts his mind to. He’s not at the top of my list, but I’d pay for 5 viewings right now of a Danny Boyle SW movie.

    • Sean

      I think Boyle is a decent choice. If you can handle Sunshine, you can handle almost any sci-fi film.

    • Roland

      The grittiness of 28 Days Later, the sense of wonder from Sunshine and the sense of adventure and emotions from Slumdog Millionaire. He has to be the perfect choice.

  • John

    JJ Abrams gets my vote. I have always liked his projects, and he is a huge Star Wars fan so he would be able to look at the work from a fan’s perspective.

    His three features – M:I:III, Star Trek, and Super 8 – all capture that special “movie magic” that I think Star Wars also has. The style and tone of Abrams movies fits in with what Star Wars is… and not all directors can achieve the pure fun and entertainment value that his movies have.

    • Grayden


    • Grayden

      Interesting note, if Abrams DOES get it and it DOES live up to our expectations, he will have unilaterally brought peace between the Star Trek and Star Wars factions. My god, is this actually possible?

      • John

        Good point, I did not even make the Star Trek / Star Wars connection! That would be both weird and epic if he successfully manages both franchises.

  • Hunter

    Del Torro

  • VicManMan


    • marrowbonez

      The Willow reboot will come after the completion of the “Tucker: The Man and His Dream” trilogy and the “Howard the Duck” prequel

      • Nate

        Ha, well played sir.

    • Tralfadore

      Oh Shit!!!! You’re a fucking genious! I’ve been so wrapped up in this E-7 shit that I didn’t consider this! BTW Val Kilmer is a fat ass now!

  • Frederick von Hoozle

    nicholas winding refn…wild card bitches!!!

  • Goop

    Lets be real people. Rian Johnson, David Fincher and Darren Aronofsky would make gorgeous and awesome Star Wars movies, but it’ll probably have to be PG13 material, and these guys are used to handling R material. PG13 adventure is tough. I know people were lukewarm about the second two Pirates movies, but Gore Verbinski handles action adventure pretty well. Rango, Black Pearl… if Lone Ranger is any good then I think Disney will trust this in his hands.

    • Nick L.

      I agree, I think Gore would do a great job. I’m sure people are going to call people like us crazy, but what the hell haha and he is the closest thing Disney has to an “in house” director.

  • Steve

    Tim Burton. Starring Johnny Depp as Luke Skywalker.

    • geHuC

      I’d watch that! But only if Helena Helena Bonham Carter plays princess Leia!

      • ben

        If selling out were a felony, all three of these people should be locked up for life and shanked mercilessly. The three of them make Metallica look like the most original, dedicated-to-their-craft act in the entertainment biz.

  • abs

    Star Wars Episode VII : The Troublesome Spectre

    Directed by : M. Night Shyamalan

    Starring : Justin Bieber as Luke Solo (son of Han and Leia)
    Jaden Smith as Skydo Calrissian

    • Derek

      this is perfect. e-mail disney immediately.

    • Jay McKells


  • Hunter

    ridley scott?

    • Afilmguy

      It’s funny you mentioned that. I was speaking to a friend of mine about Scott taking the helm over Star Wars. The general conclusion was that as long as his ideas are solidified, that they stay focused and are scripted accurately according to it, then we would have an excellent piece of deep material for Star Wars. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Scott of Gladiator, Blade Runner, and Alien confronting Star Wars. So long as it’s not the Robin Hood Scott…please not that one lol.

      • Hunter

        haha agreed

  • Anonymous


  • Brandon

    Ron Howard is a great director, Lucas approached him about doing one of the prequels, and they’re friends.

    If the Dark Tower thing doesn’t happen, this could be the epic project Ron Howard is looking for. AND give him enough clout to do the Dark Tower later on.

  • Agniyo

    Brad Bird would be perfect!

  • Carson Dyle


    ILM alum. It makes sense.

    • Tanner K

      Word, it makes so much sense. He’s a huge fan of the originals, and has been looking to be epic, cg heavy projects like 20,000 Leagues and Cleopatra. Also I can think of no one who embraces the necessary computer involvement without making it apparent and messy.

  • Matt

    It would never happen, but it would be amazing:

    Coen Brothers do Episode 7, they’d set the scene, make it look good without putting their own twist into it (ie imagine if Tim Burton did it, ugh)

    Paul Thomas Anderson does Episode 8, he’d put all the drama into it and give it a great cliffhanger ending (probs get some Jedi an acting oscar along the way) then…

    Tarantino to wrap it up with Episode 9. Tarantino does Star Wars, nuff said

    In the real world I’d say Brad Bird is the best realistic candidate

  • bkpr100

    Nolan is the obvious first pick imo. Scott’s type of vision would be another that would be a natural fit and deserves consideration. After that it’s a mix of guys like Aronofsky, Mendes…

    The selfish part of me wants them to turn the lights off with this one and go completely dark ala Drive or The Road but it’s Disney so who am I really fooling.

    I just wish Lucas had stepped down after Episode 1.

  • Mavro

    Brad Bird for sure. But then OBVIOUSLY Gore Verbinski. And both of them are in-house guys already.

  • brett w

    script by neil gaiman and/or steven moffat

    some left-field suggestions

    genndy tartakovsky (check out the ‘samurai jack’ pilot movie. near perfection of action and storytelling.)
    stephen chow
    trey parker
    jee-woon kim (check out ‘the good, the bad, the weird’. amazing spectacle, pacing, characters and just plain fun.)
    wes anderson (cuz why the hell not? it’s all about daddy issues, anyway.)
    sam raimi
    coen brothers – can you imagine?
    nicolas winding refn
    spike jonze
    vince gilligan

    • ben

      If Disney had the balls to bet on him, Genndy Tartakovsky doesn’t have any competition. He’d be the spot-on best person to give the keys to the SW kingdom. But that will never, ever happen. I’m sure he’ll end up involved though, in some capacity!

  • Joro

    I dont know for me its wrong. Maybe Abrams or Brad bird can continue the tone from previous movies but i have to wait to see if this is going to be something interesting.Matthew Vaughn for me is not at good director at all. Hope that mark hamill and carrie fisher has a role in it…. Ey they can use the young anakin ghost also ha

  • Bob

    Brad Bird gets my vote, I think he can do some great things with it. Second choice would be Duncan Jones….Moon and Source Code…nuff said.

  • Pragmator

    Wow. Michael Bay is going to get this job. Michael. Fucking. Bay.

    Write it down.

    I have to go throw-up now.

  • Hamza

    JJ Abrams, Joss Whedon or (wait for it…) James Cameron. There has to be someone who agrees with that last one. Think about it.

    • Hunter

      yeah i could for sure see Cameron, however I feel like his plate is more than full for that 2015 release date

    • Michael

      I agree with it.

  • Mr.Rich316

    Let’s face it this is the re-birth of the most loved franchise of all time there can only be one director to make this happen…BRET RATNER!!!!

  • Sean

    Brad Bird is the top name coming to my mind (before I read this blog).

  • Mr.Rich316

    Seriously, can WB even do a Justice League movie now? Summer of 2015 will be owned by Disney. Avengers 2 in May, Star Wars 7 in July (4th weekend). Anybody else will be destroyed trying to market against them.

  • Peter C. Krieger

    Just my two cents:
    I have about 4 reactions to seeing a movie.
    [1] that can cure insomnia
    [2] OK; maybe I’ll watch it again in 10 years
    [3] Good, maybe even very good; enjoyable; memorable
    [4] Now that was a movie; shattered all expectations; when will the DVD be released?

    For me. the original SW (ANH, ESB and ROTJ) were 4, 4 and 3 (Ewoks brought it down from D).

    Batman: The Dark Knight Rises was most certainly a D > therefore I nominate Chris Nolan as the next SW Director. Apply to the franchise what he applied to Batman and you will have a winner for certain. He will make SW relevant for another 35 years.

    • Shaun

      As much as I loved his first two Bat-movies (two of my favorite movies ever), I really hated TDKR and I don’t see Nolan’s style fitting Star Wars anyhow. Hell, I doubt he’d even be interested.

      I’m surprised no one’s mentioned Ben Affleck. He’s doing great work these days, he’s mentioned that he’d like to do a big budget, big fx, picture (although he was wise enough to turn down Justice League). After seeing Argo, I have a feeling he might be an excellent choice. Hardly the only good choice, but one that warrants consideration.

  • Peter C. Krieger

    Just my two cents:
    I have about 4 reactions to seeing a movie.
    [1] that can cure insomnia
    [2] OK; maybe I\’ll watch it again in 10 years
    [3] Good, maybe even very good; enjoyable; memorable
    [4] Now that was a movie; shattered all expectations; when will the DVD be released?

    For me. the original SW (ANH, ESB and ROTJ) were 4, 4 and 3 (Ewoks brought it down from D).

    Batman: The Dark Knight Rises was most certainly a D > therefore I nominate Chris Nolan as the next SW Director. Apply to the franchise what he applied to Batman and you will have a winner for certain. He will make SW relevant for another 35 years.

  • Peter C. Krieger

    Just my two cents:
    I have about 4 reactions to seeing a movie.
    [1] that can cure insomnia
    [2] OK; maybe I\\\’ll watch it again in 10 years
    [3] Good, maybe even very good; enjoyable; memorable
    [4] Now that was a movie; shattered all expectations; when will the DVD be released?

    For me. the original SW (ANH, ESB and ROTJ) were 4, 4 and 3 (Ewoks brought it down from D).

    Batman: The Dark Knight Rises was most certainly a D > therefore I nominate Chris Nolan as the next SW Director. Apply to the franchise what he applied to Batman and you will have a winner for certain. He will make SW relevant for another 35 years.

  • PirateOpossum

    Joss Wheadon, David Yates, Stephen Spielberg, Brad Bird, Kenneth Brennagh, most of all ..my No.1 pic I would say .. Dave Forloni

  • guy incognito

    BRAD BIRD +1

  • Tarek

    David yates ? Yyyyrck! Worse proposal ever.

    Joss whedon. Is tha man. Make it a la firefly.

  • Ben

    Andrew Stanton…. Think about it!!!!!!!

    • ISeemToBeAVerb

      Ain’t gonna happen. Think about it!!!

      • Ben

        99 percent of the director’s listed here ain’t gonna happen… for that matter… Just sounding off on how he’d do a fantastic job, IMHO…

  • Thundersauresrex

    All these people posting about Darren Arronofsky and David Fincher need to fucking get real. JESUS…do you guys want an over glorified depressing movie? Star Wars needs to be fun, engaging and beautiful so that Takes Arronofsky, Blomkamp (whatever his name is the District 9 guy.), Rian Johnson, Fincher and Spielburg off my list. Speilburg only cause i think he’s lost his flare. I would also say no to Curon, Abrhams, Peter Jackson, Riddly Scott and any other goddamn sci fi fantasy alumn. The things that made movies like the Trek Reboot or Lord Of The Rings so fun is the fact that it was the first time that they stepped into Sci Fi in a BIG WAY and this isn’t going to be some small undertaking. Some of the inbetweeners like BRad Bird or Joe Johnston would be alright but i would worry that character would suffer over TRYING TO GET THE LOOKS RIGHT you know? I don’t think an indie guy should step in or a guy from the Sci Fi fantasy world either. it would be a hard choice… they need to not go after the afore names mentioned above but find the NEXT name that can sit among them cause those guys had something to fight for, their love, their craft and their dream job and now they are doing it. i know this is left field but lets see what Affleck can bring to a Sci Fi Fantasy film? Gone Baby Gone showed us he can handle multpiple deep characters and do a little Thriller action…The Town showed fast paced action and growth of characters from bad to worse which would be awesome to see a Jeremy Renner type character turn all Sith with in the course of the movie and Argo shows that he can mix seriousness with over the top suggestions and fun plus hilarious dialogue pretty seemlessly. now im not saying AFFLECK is the must as many people standing behind their choices on this page BUT lets not go for someone established for sci fi or someone established in INDIE…and Fuck Nolan NOT EVERY MOVIE NEEDS TO BE LIKE THE DARK KNIGHT!…. lets find someone who doesn’t hav ea voice yet and let him find it with this. perfect time to let someone spread and stretch their legs.

    • K.L.

      Someone seems to have their panties in a bunch.

    • Snakebitey

      As long as its in 3D and not directed by Lucas it will be good. I would say Nolan to but he doesn’t know how to do 3D yet. i think the best choice would be James Cameron. H knows how to do space movies and did the first 3d movie.
      Now that I think about it now though Nolan would be bad. if he had directed the first movies, Darth Vader wouldn’t have died in the end.

      • Christian

        Snakebitey that has to be the dumbest comment I’ve ever seen. I mean just……WOW!!!!

      • Snakebitey

        That’s not very Christian of you. I hope you get diarrhea

    • Shaun

      So I wasn’t the only one thinking Affleck… I agree that Argo makes a good case for him. All the reasons you stated, plus I think his love for sci-fi/Star Wars showed in Argo. He’s a gifted filmmaker, and I’d like to see what he could do, playing with those “toys.” (I mean, hey, did you see all those old Stars Wars/Star Trek toys at the end of Argo?)

    • LSK

      It really shouldn’t matter as long a the person they choose will do justice to the new Star Wars trilogy.

    • Sean

      Aronofsky isn’t a realistic possibility. Fincher is.

  • Dan

    John Favreau, Sam Raimi, Gary Ross, Kenneth Branagh

    • tom

      finally someone mentions Jon Favreau. honestly my money is on him

    • Hamza

      Great choices. Glad someone mentioned some of Marvel’s finest. It’s not unlikely considering it’s also owned by Disney alongside Lucasfilm.

  • Hamza

    tyler perry!!!!!

    • Christian

      Madea goes Jedi. hahaha

      • Hamza

        lol she’s gotta have a couple lightsabers in that handbag of hers

  • Adrian

    Dave Filoni.

  • CharlesX

    What got me upset about this whole post is the mention to Revolutionary Road as a movie having a bad script, which is bs. It was a great one by Mendes.

    • Thundersauresrex

      Mendes didn’t write that. And the script was really dry and slow. But he directed the hell out of it.

  • Ryan

    I’ll Do it!

  • Ryan

    Ok Guys, I’ll do it!

  • me

    peter jackson!

  • potterboy

    Rian Johnson FTW. i’ve seen his three films for the first time these past two weeks. what a hell of a talent. there’s a voice in his films, but all of them completely different. he understands the genre he’s going to make, and completely nails it.

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