Choosing a director for a new Star Wars movie is tricky. The filmmaker needs to understand the beloved universe, respect fans' wishes and yet bring something new to the table.
In the past few years, Lucasfilm and parent company Disney have made some unusual choices: Rian Johnson ("Breaking Bad" and "Looper") has the helm of "The Last Jedi," Gareth Edwards ("Godzilla") directed "Rogue One," and then there's Christopher Lord and Phil Miller ("The Lego Movie").
Earlier this year, Lord and Miller left the Han Solo spinoff movie over , and to steer the Millennium Falcon back on course.
Now, with Tuesday's announcement that "Star Wars: Episode IX" director , it seems there's another big vacancy to be filled.
To help Lucasfilm with any future hunt for directors, we've made our own list of men and women we think could create some amazing Star Wars movies.
David Lynch: Now that "Twin Peaks: The Return" has wrapped up, maybe Lynch would like to return to directing an even weirder, artsy version of a Star Wars story. He already impressed sci-fi fans with his version of "Dune" in 1984. And some might argue "Twin Peaks" could be considered sci-fi already. Admit it, you'd love to see Lynch do a bizarre spin on Yoda.
Steven Spielberg: His strength with action and sci-fi storytelling is almost unparalleled. After all, this is the same man who directed such iconic sci-fi stories as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial," "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," "Minority Report" and "War of the Worlds." Plus his lifelong friendship with Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas gives him extra insight other directors don't have.
Edgar Wright: This is a great choice since he clearly understands how to make a buddy movie with the right amount of action and humor. Wright might be best known for his Simon Pegg/Nick Frost comedies like "Shaun of the Dead," "Hot Fuzz" and "The World's End," but he's also showing fans that he can make an action movie full of suspense with his latest film, " ."
Patty Jenkins: Thanks to the impressive success of "Wonder Woman," it's hard for Hollywood to nay-say female directors in the genre of geeky blockbusters. She has a special talent for knowing when to mix fight scenes with drama. Plus, it would be great to finally see a female director leave her mark on the Star Wars universe. She would be perfect to do a full-length feature on new characters, or perhaps even the Nightsisters who bewitched fans in "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" animated TV series.
Guillermo del Toro: As a director who loves misfit characters ("Hellboy") and sci-fi action ("Pacific Rim"), he is a top candidate to take on iconic characters like Boba Fett or Chewbacca, and make a truly unique Star Wars film. He can do both kid-friendly content like "Trollhunters" but also understands the darker side of storytelling like his TV series "The Strain" and his gothic horror film "Crimson Peak."
James Gunn: After watching "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2," it's easy to imagine Gunn giving that same Star-Lord swagger to one of the expanded universe characters like Jaxxon the smuggler, or maybe a stand-alone movie with Star Wars' own version of the Guardians called the Star-Hoppers of Aduba-3. His ideas for making Star Wars even more hip than it already is could be an amusing twist on the franchise. Plus, imagine how retro-cool the soundtrack would be.
Joss Whedon: We already know that Whedon can do sci-fi with his TV show "Firefly," but he also gets how to make a big-budget action movie with an ensemble cast as he did in "The Avengers." Although he's currently on "Justice League," perhaps he can work his magic on a future Star Wars film that focuses on the lives of characters we'd like to know more about, like Admiral Ackbar or Chewbacca.
Michelle MacLaren: The Canadian director and producer is best known for her work on hit TV shows "The X-Files," "Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead," "Game of Thrones" and "Westworld." MacLaren could offer an interesting take on everything from droids to creepy Star Wars critters.
Scott Derrickson: Derrickson turned the unusual Marvel comic book story "Doctor Strange" into a trippy special-effects extravaganza. He could do the same for an upcoming Star Wars movie. Imagine if he was tasked with making a mystical movie about the origin story of Yoda.
Wes Anderson: No one gets quirky characters like Anderson, but he also often uses themes of friendship, family conflict and the freedom to be yourself. He knows how to hold his ground with nervous Disney executives, as he did when he made "Rushmore." Disney folks wanted to skip filming Max's school activities montage, but Anderson convinced them that the movie needed it and he got his way. While Anderson has a signature color palette and style all his own, Star Wars could use a dose of eccentricity.
Bryan Singer: Channeling both "X2: X-Men United" and "X-Men: Days of Future Past," Singer is great with developing franchises and making nerd-friendly content a little more mainstream, just as long as we don't accidentally get a "Superman Returns" along the way. Maybe Singer could give us a movie dedicated to the diverse students attending the Jedi Academy?
Sofia Coppola: Her atmospheric style of moviemaking always leaves a lasting impression on an audience. But what she really gets best is her understanding of complex female characters. Her films "The Virgin Suicides," "Lost in Translation," "Marie Antoinette" and "The Beguiled" show how women can drive a story in unexpected ways. We'd love to see her direct a movie all about the Star Wars handmaidens, or maybe a more in-depth look at Princess Leia's teen years. She also actually played Saché in "The Phantom Menace," so she already has special insight into what it's like to be part of Star Wars.
Jon Favreau: His work on the original "Iron Man" puts him on this list. Making a fairly obnoxious main character fun and charming instead of alienating and annoying is always a challenge, and that's basically the core of what needs to happen for Star Wars characters to break out of their classic molds. Imagine what Favreau could do with a stand-alone movie all about Greedo.
George Miller: While the Mad Max franchise is solid overall, "Fury Road" showed us how great a job Miller can do dropping us right into the action and still develop characters along the way. His work brings a level of grittiness and keeps the action moving in a fun way -- something core to a Star Wars movie. Plus it could be interesting to see him helm a movie all about Star Wars bounty hunters like Aurra Sing.
Brad Bird: While most know him from his Pixar movies like "Ratatouille" and "The Incredibles," his work on "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" is why he's on this list. It has the second-highest Metacritic score and highest Rotten Tomatoes ranking in the series, and he did a great job with pacing, clear-cut action sequences and good doses of humor -- a clear recipe for success, especially for new Star Wars stories.
Ava DuVernay: Best known for directing diverse films such as "Selma" and "Middle of Nowhere," as well as award-winning documentaries "13th," "This is the Life," and "Nine for IX," DuVernay would give the Star Wars a very unique perspective fans haven't seen before. She's already directing the sci-fi/fantasy classic "A Wrinkle in Time," so we know she has the skills to direct a green screen-heavy production. We'd love to see what she would do with Star Wars if she was calling all the shots.
Matthew Vaughn: Strong sci-fi work? "X-Men First Class." Check. Strong fun vibe action/comedy work? "Kingsman." Check. Strong skill set to make the fans happy? Check. This director has what it takes to give any new Star Wars tale -- like a more in-depth movie about Rebel pilots -- an exciting spin.
Spike Lee: While he's never helmed a sci-fi film before, his work on "The Inside Man" and "25th Hour" show his ability to keep the audience gripping their seats. This could be too far a leap for Lee, or could be a great new style and vision for the Star Wars universe, especially when Star Wars could continue its quest for offering stories with a more diverse cast.
Kyle Newman: As an indie director best known for his road trip film "Fanboys" -- which served as a love letter to Star Wars -- Newman understands and loves the genre more than most directors. His knowledge and respect for the material could make him a strong contender for directing upcoming Star Wars films. Plus he already has an existing relationship with Lucasfilm, working closely with the company when making "Fanboys" as well as his labor of love, the radio drama "Star Wars: Smuggler's Gambit."
Would you pick one of these directors for a new Star Wars film, or someone completely different? Let us know in the comments.
First published, June 23, 2017.
Update, Sept. 5 at 5:55 p.m.: Adds more ideas for directors in light of the Colin Trevorrow news.
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