As a reminder that DC Films aren’t the only ones having near constant meltdowns, yesterday LucasFilm announced that Colin Trevorrow—of Jurasssic World fame—is no longer directing Star Wars: Episode IX. This comes less than three months after Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired while making the Han Solo movie—at least this time they fired the director before he has half the movie in the can. The official word is that their “visions for the project differ”, and The Hollywood Reporter elaborates that the relationship between Trevorrow and LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy “became unmanageable”. And while no one is blaming the utter failure of Trevorrow’s passion project, The Book of Henry, earlier this year, no one is not-not blaming it, either. (That movie suuuucks. You should get a time out after making sh*t like that.)
So this is Gareth Edwards and Lord & Miller on repeat. (And maybe JJ Abrams—LucasFilm has never copped to what, exactly, got re-shot on The Force Awakens, but it was enough to cancel a making-of book to preserve the illusion that there were no problems.) Maybe Kennedy should stop hiring young, indie-minded directors. That doesn’t seem to be what she really wants, given her second-hiring decisions, which have been older, more experienced, and company-friendly filmmakers like Tony Gilroy and Ron Howard, who is an old friend of George Lucas. I side-eye the trouble she’s having getting the right director the first time, but you can hardly argue with her results—despite considerable behind-the-scenes upheaval, LucasFilm stays on track and manages to put out decent movies. There’s no Superhero Face Punch-style f*ck up on her roster.
While Episode IX may be in some creative disarray—a new screenwriter was recently brought on, and the whole story had to be overhauled following Carrie Fisher’s death—I also think there is an element of Kennedy course-correcting and ceasing to pretend she’s interested in unique visions for Star Wars. Which is good because she probably can’t get those guys anymore, anyway, following all this creative upheaval and director heave-ho’ing:
Lolz. I like to complete my films. https://t.co/Uj6RgKbo9V— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) September 6, 2017
My friend Cher thinks Ron Howard could be the guy the guy to take over Episode IX, which is a really good guess, and also explains his willingness to step into the Han Solo mess. Another good guess is Ava DuVernay, coming off a tent pole film for Disney. Another obvious name is Patty Jenkins, also hot off a blockbuster, though she’s probably tied up with Wonder Woman.Though Kennedy hasn’t been keen to hire a woman to direct a Star War, now might be a good time to look outside her normal parameters, which aren’t working anyway.
But if she holds to her usual pattern, the next director of Episode IX will be someone established and establishment, experienced, from an older generation than the dude she just fired. She also needs someone who can, by name only, reassure fans that everything is okay and silence those second-guessing her stewardship. That really only leaves one name: Steven Spielberg.