Being chosen to direct a Star Wars movie is no easy task. It would be a less intimidating job to pilot the Millennium Falcon.
Many directors have lent their voices to this long-running saga. Among George Lucas, Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, Dave Filoni, J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, and Ron Howard, 11 great movies with its respective director, sit in their rightful place of cinematic greatness.
Recently, we have been notified talent such as Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi will direct episodes of the upcoming The Mandalorian TV series. Lucasfilm has no shortage of talented directors; yet, there is always room for more filmmakers to let their creativity run wild in a “Galaxy Far Far Away.” There are so many directors to consider, but this is limited for 12 of the most talented I consider.
Writer’s Note: These directors, at one point or another, had the opportunity to direct a Star Wars movie already will not be included (i.e., Colin Trevorrow, Phil Lord, Chris Miller).
A critical darling and an inspiration to black women everywhere, Ava DuVernay seems to be perfect for Star Wars. With films such as Selma and 13th under her belt, DuVernay is not afraid to get political, which is something the series has been known for since 1977.
While A Wrinkle In Time might not have been her greatest work, the film was not lacking in visuals and scope. There are sadly two things preventing this from happening. First, DuVernay has never shown any interest in directing Star Wars. Next, she currently has her hands full with another blockbuster franchise, as she’s working on New Gods in the Worlds of DC for Warner Brothers. Only time will tell.
This name will either generate groans or cheers. A few years back, rumors circulated that Snyder would direct a Seven Samurai-inspired Star Wars film, however they were bogus. That idea never left me however.
If Watchmen and Man of Steel have proven anything, it is Zack Snyder isn’t afraid to get dark, and it would be nice to have a Star Wars film go in that direction. While I’m not the biggest fan of Sucker Punch and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Snyder still remains proud of them and a director believing in their own vision is always a win.
You may not know her name but you know the shows she has worked on. House, Heroes, Dexter, Turn: Washington’s Spies, Jessica Jones, and The Defenders are just a few shows this prolific British director has done. S.J. Clarkson’s shows have varied in scale and genre; however, a film with a darker tone seems to be the best fit for her.
Originally slated to direct the now defunct Star Trek 4, Clarkson seems like the perfect choice for Star Wars. However, she is currently set to work on an upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series (which will star Episode IX actress Naomi Ackie) meaning she may be in another world for the time being.
The X-Files, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Modern Family, Westworld, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. These are just a few of the iconic shows MacLaren has worked on.
A television series director with almost unparalleled talent, it’s a shame Michelle MacLaren hasn’t directed a feature film. She came dangerously close to directing Wonder Woman, but due to creative differences, she dropped out. With more than 20 years of work, Kathleen Kennedy is probably waiting for the opportunity to talk to MacLaren any day now. At least, I hope.
Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Before Frozen 2 hits the big screen, Kung Fu Panda 2 was the highest grossing film directed by a woman–any film. Not only that, the aforementioned sequel was the first animated feature to be directed solely by a woman.
For nearly 22 years, Nelson has been working behind the scenes for many different animated shows and films, even being nominated for an Academy Award. Nelson is also no stranger to live action, as she made her debut in the medium with The Darkest Minds. While it wasn’t a critical or box office hit, that doesn’t erase Nelson’s talent for visual splendor and heartfelt storytelling.
Arguably the most iconic female director of all time, it’s surprising that Bigelow hasn’t directed a major franchise movie yet. Being the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, Bigelow is no stranger to taking risks.
A Rogue One-type of Star Wars might be the best fit for her as many of her movies are really dark. The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty are great examples of Bigelow’s talent for intensity as well as believable characters. Working with Star Wars veterans such as Harrison Ford, Liam Neeson, and John Boyega doesn’t hurt her chances either.
Patty Jenkins definitely made herself a big name with Wonder Woman, but her work goes beyond that. Working on shows such as Arrested Development and The Killing, Jenkins’ work is extremely versatile. She seems to gravitate toward stories about women and their struggles, which could make a great catalyst for a Star Wars picture.
If Wonder Woman 1984 is a hit, chances are she will direct a third installment of the series. As much as I would love for her to come to Star Wars sooner rather than later, Jenkins might still be playing on Themyscira for a little while longer.
Some may know Vince Gilligan for his work on The X-Files or as the co-writer of Hancock. Most know him as the creator of Breaking Bad and the co-creator (alongside Peter Gould) of Better Call Saul. Between the latter two shows, Gilligan had proven himself to be one of the greatest storytellers working today. With characters like Walter White and Saul Goodman, Gilligan is very good at crafting anti-heroes who we aren’t sure whether or not we want them to succeed or fail.
He constantly keeps audiences on their toes while rewarding those who pay close attention. Much like a few other directors on this list, Gilligan has never directed a feature film. Yet, there is still hope. The Breaking Bad movie airing on Netflix and AMC are out and Gilligan is at the helm once again. If the experience on working on such a feature gives Gilligan the itch to do more, going to that Galaxy Far Far Away might be a massive possibility.
Matt Reeves comes from a generation of filmmakers who are now the perfect age to do Star Wars. At 52, Reeves has made a great batch of films such as Cloverfield, Let Me In, and two-thirds of the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy. He isn’t afraid to tell dark stories and also knows how to put character first. On the other hand, similar to Jenkins and DuVernay, Reeves has his hands tied with the Worlds of DC.
In 2017, Reeves was announced to write and direct a Batman solo movie for Warner Brothers. While every passing day feels like the film will never hit theaters, recent rumors suggest it could start shooting later this year. We may not know exactly when the Caped Crusader will fly over Gotham City again, but Reeves might not be traveling to the stars any time soon. Hopefully one day.
It’s a bit of an understatement to say I admire Andrew Stanton. He is director of my favorite animated movie of all-time, Wall-E. Stanton’s three Pixar films (Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and Finding Dory) showcase Stanton’s knack for great character development, sincere emotion, massive amount of heart, and flawless visual storytelling. Despite being one of Disney’s biggest commercial failures, Stanton’s live-action debut John Carter was great in its own right as a wonderful throwback to action adventure movies of yesteryear.
There might two things that could prevent Stanton from directing a Star Wars movie. The first is his schedule. Working on TV series such as Stranger Things and Better Call Saul, Stanton might be too busy right now for the big screen. The second is when Disney calls Stanton to direct a new movie, it might be at Pixar. Never say never, as Stanton’s growing live-action presence might be the extra boost he needs to jump to hyperspace.
This is a choice that as much as I want it to happen, it might not. Ever. James Gunn is one of the most talented blockbuster directors in the business, whose signature blend of comedy and heart screams Star Wars. His two Marvel pictures, Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, are (in my eyes) two of the most emotionally investing and exciting installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Gunn could easily breathe a massive amount of adrenaline into the Star Wars saga. Unfortunately it might be just a fantasy. Even though he is back in the good graces of Disney, Gunn might have his hands full at DC, writing and possibly directing Suicide Squad 2. A man can dream though.
If you were to ask me who my favorite director working today is, my answer without hesitation would be Brad Bird. From critically acclaimed classics such as The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, to great action features like Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol, Bird in my eyes hasn’t made a single bad film.
His movies can be enjoyed by almost anyone and are driven with the perfect amount of intelligence and heart. Bird makes sure you have a good time without resorting to gimmicks or lowbrow humor and teaches you something without it being heavy-handed or preachy.
There’s never a dull moment in a Brad Bird picture. He seems to be a great match for Star Wars, not just because of his talent but also for his history with Disney. Bird has won two Oscars (from four nominations) for them and will most likely receive his third Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature for Incredibles 2 (which is currently Pixar’s highest grossing film). Bird was also considered to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but dropped out due to commitments to Tomorrowland.
The only thing that might prevent Bird from doing a Star Wars film is his drive to create big budget movies that aren’t based on pre-existing franchises. However, considering his history with the Mouse House, if he was offered another Star Wars movie, I can’t picture any reason why he would say no. One could only hope.