The Skywalker saga is seemingly coming to an end with December’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. And while we wait with baited breath to find out what happens to Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the rest of the ensemble, we thought we'd take a look at the future of the Star Wars series.
JJ Abrams is helming The Rise of Skywalker, having already steered The Force Awakens to record-shattering success. But beyond that, we know little about Disney's big screen plans for the franchise. Vague plans remain for some kind of new trilogy from The Last Jedi’s Rian Johnson, and The Mandalorian is currently taking streaming service Disney+ by storm.
Following the news that the director of the 2022 Star Wars movie will be announced in early 2020, here are five who deserve their shot at helming a movie in the saga...
1. James Gunn
James Gunn seems tailor-made to direct a Star Wars epic. His Marvel movies Guardians of the Galaxy and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 are both space opera extravaganzas filled with memorable visuals and likeable characters, so we’d love to see his take on the Star Wars saga.
Gunn’s sci-fi vision, along with his ability to craft quirky humour and chemistry between a disparate rogue's gallery of characters, could work excellently with Star Wars. And let’s not forget that the Marvel blockbusters are distributed by Disney, as are the Star Wars movies, which further stacks the deck in Gunn’s favour.
However, Gunn already has a busy workload with The Suicide Squad due for release in 2021, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 not too long after that. Even so, we’re more than happy to wait for him to get his shot.
2. Matt Reeves
Perhaps the biggest and best of the recent sci-fi reboots has been Matt Reeves’ excellent take on the Planet of the Apes series. Both Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and War for the Planet of the Apes are staggering pieces of filmmaking, fusing genuine emotion with powerfully melancholy visuals. So why not give him a Star Wars movie?
Of course, there’s the small issue of The Batman, which he’s currently prepping for a 2021 release, but beyond that Reeves’ filmmaking sensibility would be an excellent fit for Star Wars.
With the exception of The Empire Strikes Back and Rogue One, Star Wars has had mixed results when it comes to serious subject matter and storytelling, instead favouring a more populist, crowd-pleasing blend of broadly appealing characters and storytelling. A Matt Reeves Star Wars film could be powerful, big, and bold, filled with dramatic moment after dramatic moment.
3. J.A. Bayona
In 2018, gothic horror director J.A. Bayona, who helmed acclaimed Spanish chiller The Orphanage, graduated to blockbuster spectacle with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. The latter movie combines Bayona’s creepy horror sensibilities with all manner of creature-laden set-pieces, so imagine if he directed a Star Wars movie. You never know, it might make for something a little creepier than usual.
While it might not appear on surface like the boldest of choices, Bayona knows his way around sci-fi and we'd love to see a Star Wars film with a touch of horror coursing through its veins. Bayona's eye for visuals could make for some excellent shots, too.
4. Edgar Wright
The helmer of Spaced and the Cornetto trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End), not to mention Scott Pilgrim vs the World and Baby Driver, could make the saga pop with all manner of visual invention and sly humour. Maybe Wright could integrate the heist stylistics of Baby Driver, or an undead Star Wars twist a la Shaun of the Dead?
At the same time, as a die-hard Star Wars fan, Wright would no doubt stuff his movie full of fan-pleasing in-jokes and Easter eggs. Why not get the band back together and bring Nick Frost and Simon Pegg along for the ride? Space Cornetto, anyone?
5. Denis Villenueve
We'd love to see Star Wars step away from trilogies, prequels and sequels. Standalone tales away from the saga storyline could be excellent, and a way to shake the franchise up a little. It would be daft at this point to not suggest Denis Villenueve for any kind of science-fiction flick, thanks to his eye for striking imagery and provocative themes.
While the Blade Runner 2049 and Arrival director is currently hard at work on his Dune adaptation (due for release in 2020), we'd love to see him deploy his hard-hitting, mind-boggling magic on Star Wars. A lengthy, mind-melting and philosophical Star Wars movie could be great, and show us the grittier side of the usually bright and shiny franchise.
Toby Saunders is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.