Earlier today, Variety dropped the bomb that the writer/directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller have been fired from directing the upcoming Han Solo, Star Wars Anthology film.
When Lord and Miller were announced to direct this Star Wars film, I scratched my head over the choice. I loved their last three films (21/22 Jump Street and The Lego Movie) immensely, but wouldn’t have put their names together with Star Wars, unless “Lego” was in front of it. I had faith in Lucas Films, assuming they knew what they were doing and would make a great film.
Well, they may not be completely sure what they’re doing. If this was done before shooting began, I wouldn’t be concerned, but there are only several weeks left to go according to Variety. So now I’m worried. Obviously the next director(s) is going to have the monumental task of completing principal production and overseeing the reshoots. They will have to not only concede to Kathleen Kennedy’s and Larry Kasdan’s requirements, but also create a cohesive story based off of what footage already exists.
Something about Harrison Ford making a directorial debut sounds fascinating to me. I know it has no chance of happening, but just think… what if?! I think Patty Jenkins is also an obvious and topical choice to direct with the success of Wonder Woman. I want to go a little out of the box though, and put on my creative thinking hat.
Going off of Kennedy’s comments a year ago about the film having a heist/western feel to it, my first pick is F. Gary Gray. After making his first film, Friday, Gray has gone on to make action thrillers like The Negotiator, The Italian Job, Law Abiding Citizen and the latest Fast & Furious film. He clearly has an eye for action and is capable of getting compelling performances from his actors.
If Gray is a competent action filmmaker, then Kathryn Bigelow is a master. The original Point Break is one of the most iconic action films of all time. Not serious enough? The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty were two of the most remarkable and intense thrillers from their respective years. Elevating those films with a more fantastical/sci-fi element would create a hell off a product. Detroit is finished so she should be available, right? I’m not sure how Hollywood works.
According to IMDb, he’s filming something called Inner City, but if the scheduling can be worked out I’d love to see Dan Gilroy take up the mantle. His brother, Tony, worked on Rogue One so he may already have some insight. Looking back at the Variety article, he apparently “oversaw” those reshoots in addition to working on the screenplay. Dan’s Nightcrawler is possibly my favorite movie of 2014. It was dark and oddly riveting, with a incredible performance by Jake Gyllenhaal. Of course, “Han Solo” will have to be different, but Gilroy can add another layer of grittiness to it.
My last pick is David Mackenzie, who just made the incredible, Hell or High Water. It also fills Disney/Lucasfilm’s “Western” and “Indie Directors” quota. Mackenzie has been around for awhile, making some diverse films. Hell or High Water was incredibly well paced, mixing a modern and western tone into one cohesive film. His filmography tells me he could smoothly adapt his own vision into what the studio wants, especially with what is known of the film so far.
The revitalization of the Star Wars franchise has given me no reason to not trust the creative team behind it. This hasn’t happened before so there’s no way to be certain, but with the money and power of Disney, I’m hopeful we’ll be getting a film that is worthy of the Star Wars name. The announcement of the new director will be an important one in how I anticipate its release, so the above four names are ones that would make me confident. Kathleen Kennedy and Larry Kasdan are avid readers of my site. They seriously consider everything I write, so you’d be smart to take this list to Vegas.
EDIT: Well, shit.