Joss Whedon Does Star Wars: Good Idea or the Best Idea?

It’s May 4th tomorrow, a day that traditionally just means we should be thinking about all things Star Wars, but let’s face it: Everyone is thinking about Marvel’s The Avengers instead. Which got me thinking: Would both the internet and fandom assembled collapse in on itself if Joss Whedon was handed the reins of George Lucas’ grand space opera?

The idea may seem like it’s come out of nowhere, but I’d respectfully disagree; I’ve long held the opinion that Firefly was essentially Han Solo fanfic without a Wookiee and with Summer Glau, and projects like that one, Buffy or even Avengers show that Whedon is completely comfortable with the group dynamic and epic storytelling scale necessary to do Star Wars justice – as well as the tonal mix of action, comedy and just plain “OMFG That’s AWESOME” that the original trilogy evoked when you first saw it.

Beyond that, I can’t help but feel that this is Whedon’s year again, for the first time since… what, his Buffy glory days? Between Avengers, Cabin In The Woods and the upcoming small-scale Much Ado About Nothing, it feels like he’s finally managed to balance the mainstream dazzle and cult appeal aspects of his career in a way that he’s never done before – while also being accepted by the mainstream in so much more of a way than he’s used to. Clearly, Joss Whedon is our Master now (again).

(I wonder if JJ Abrams is somewhere, going “Just you wait until Star Trek 2, you bastard, then we’ll see who the audience loves more!”)

Consider, then, the pop cultural status of Star Wars, which – Well, it’s fallen from its place at the heart of all nerddom, certainly, in recent years. That’s not necessarily the fault of anything other than its absence from mainstream culture – 3D re-releases aside, there hasn’t been any new Star Wars in years for those disinterested in the ongoing Clone Wars cartoon – but I can’t believe that neither George Lucas nor 20th Century Fox would like to change that if they could. The cultural climate is primed for new Star Wars in a way that it hasn’t been since before the prequels – CGI is now more accepted, genre is now more accepted, and the idea of continuity throughout movies is now more accepted than at any other time in cinematic history, I think – and, if we believe that Lucas is giving up the blockbusters for smaller scale, more personal movies, it’s just a matter of finding someone to take up the torch.

Just imagine what Whedon could do if given control of the Star Wars universe – The politics he could play with within the Jedi order, the fun he could have with the smugglers and bounty hunters and various hives of scum and villainy, or the multiple Big Bads that the Sith could provide. Considering some of the tropes and recurring themes of Whedon’s work so far, Star Wars feels like it could be his motherlode, if given the keys to the kingdom, and given his current status as Pop Cultural King, I can’t imagine anyone being more appropriate – or more successful – taking over from George Lucas than Whedon. It’s a match made in heaven – albeit a heaven from a long, long time ago, and in a galaxy far, far away.

The pairing makes so much sense to me that it’s obvious that it’d never happen, but I have to ask: Am I the only one who’s kind of sad about that?

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Comments

  • Brad Anders

    I don’t think George Lucas would ever give anyone control of Star Wars.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bmiddleton2 Brian Middleton Jr

    Yea…this.

  • Luca Lagomarsino

    I was thinking the same thing some days ago,  went so far that I dreamt, I daresay, a reboot

  • mel

    No need for a reboot just continue the story or do something in the old republic.

  • Adam

    Y’know, there are certain things that just shouldn’t get a do-over.  I cringe at the remakes of Total Recall and even Spider-Man (it’s ONLY been 10 years, and 5 since the last film).  Yeah, Star Wars had its flaws, but there will be a special place in hell for anyone who thinks they can do better than Harrison Ford as Han Solo or James Earl Jones as Vader.  Certain characters are CGI/puppet enough to be done over (Yoda, Chewie), but not the humans.  Sorry.  No.

    Now, I *could* embrace letting a successor play with a different era of Star Wars: the Old Republic, or Legacy (though I cringe at someone making creative changes to John Ostrander’s excellent story), or the heretofore untouched Dark Times, or some other era.  I’m not sure Whedon is the guy for Star Wars, though: Lucas’ galaxy requires a very special “feel” that can’t be done differently outside of parody. 

  • Bobby

    I want to see a new Star Wars movie done by Ridley Scott or Alex Proyas.

  • Logan4876

    I’ve always imagined different star wars reboots. It’s time for there to at least be a comic book version! Too much potential fun to be had from creators and readers a like to not play around in the greatest sandbox ever

  • Jamie S. Rich

    Why do we have the need to make awesome creators forego their great original ideas to bail out old men and corporations who haven’t had a single unique inspiration in two or more decades? The best thing we can hope from the Avengers is that Joss can maybe get back to doing his own thing. You have Star Wars. Let it be what it is. The last thing we need is another talented artist wasting time on another pointless remake. 

  • ComicGeek

    Maybe I’m too young, but Star Wars is BORING. I’m 31, by the way. I watched the original trilogy a few times as a kid growing up, then I saw Episode 1 and Episode 3 in the theaters (skipped 2 because it just didn’t seem interesting) and while I enjoyed Sith, there’s been pretty much nothing else.

    I’ve seen the Clone Wars series on TV but to me, who cares? I already know Anakin is a dick and I know where its all leading, so no interest there. I’ll never understand why Lucas chooses to do so little with his franchise, but have merchandise for the same tired characters all over the place. Do something new.

    I don’t know, I grew up watching Star Trek TNG so maybe that’s the problem.

  • Jack LesCamela

    Joss Whedon working on STAR WARS is a terrible idea. The world doesn’t need to sacrifice New Joss Whedon Projects in favor of making a sacrifice at the altar of Lucasfilm. The very idea.

  • ZBaksh386

    I just want him to do something new rather than just fix someione else’s franchise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cpatmaier Chris Maier

    They kind of did that in comics a bit with the Infinities series, although that series perhaps was more of a “What if” then a real reboot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cpatmaier Chris Maier

    That’s kind of what they planned to do with the oft-delayed live action TV series, focus on the “dark times”. Reportedly Lucas met with different writers such as the guys behind Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who and a few other sci-fi notables.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cpatmaier Chris Maier

    Sort of Happened a few years back with THE CLONE WARS movie (Directed by David Filoni) and critics hated it more than the Lucas-directed films.

    With both that and Indy IV even if Lucas had a producer role there’s no assurance of quality.

  • Amatyultar G

    Don’t knock it yet. I mean, if you told me 5 years ago that Whedon would write and direct a movie about the Avengers with an all-star cast, I would say the same thing: “It would be great, makes perfect sense, but never gonna happen, sadly.”

    So who knows?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426799180 Michael Payton

    No. 

  • Omega Agent1

    Legacy is the future of Star Wars. Joss should do Legacy he has a Skywalker, Han a girl and a ship. It;s forward enterprising and Joss is good. The best fit I can think of.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPEYI4324F3DDMZN3WG3COLXOA Sean

    Whedon doesn’t have the same directing chops as Lucas.  His dialogue is quotable, but Whedon’s  tv background shows up all the time in his insular set-piece direction.

    Lucas bashing has reached the level of rewriting history, taking away any credit due to Lucas.  The only living directors who can match Lucas’ set-piece direction are guys like Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Francis Coppola.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y2XE3Z45BNOKSIWU3HXFKK6I4Q ReynardF

    Would rather have more Firefly/Serenity.  Read the Zahn books if you want more Star Wars.

  • http://www.ryanstake.net RyansTake

    Whedon would have been perfect to write and/or direct some or all of the prequels, and would have done them *amazing* justice, but unfortunately George Lucas is a complete control freak, who’s more interested in mailing in crappy movies that will sell toys than making really good movies, that will still sell toys, but require so much effort in actually writing them, casting them and directing them. 

    Like he did with Empire Strikes Back (when he still had his integrity), Lucas should have allowed someone else to write and direct the prequels, with Lucas staying busy producing and outlining the basic story (in fact, there was nothing wrong with the basic story of the prequels — it was all in the execution where it failed). 

    But, as stated, that simply wasn’t and isn’t going to happen. I’m not so sure there’s anything left to ‘save’ when it comes to Star Wars. What once was the Holy Grail of pop Sci Fi is now Just Another Brand, and that’s never going to change, even if Lucas someday hands over the reins and someone else gives it treatment that’s a little Whedonesque.

    Maybe when the Lucas ship sails off, and someone else finally controls the IP, we can start to see some great Star Wars movies again… but until then, we’ll have to be satisfied with mundane crap that’s more devoted to selling toys than it is pleasing fans. There may be some good stuff littered in all the bad, but the franchise itself will never be the same.

  • http://summerglauwiki.com/ john Connor

    And what about Joss Whedon making another Aliens movie? Summer Glau could replace Sigourney Weaver as Ripley or play Newt (i know, not canon).
    This is an idea i found at a Summer Glau fansite :
    http://summerglauwiki.com/forum/23-403-1 

  • Jamespep

    Worst idea. Why waste his time when he has more Avengers movies to make? Star Wars is in no place to start poaching from movies that have surpassed, and really just made look silly. Especially after those last three movies. 

  • 0bsessions

    In fairness to the point, Lucas didn’t direct Empire Strikes Back or Return of the Jedi.

  • 0bsessions

    He let someone else direct two out of six of the films and he’s allowed the expanded universe to grow pretty massively. This is simply not true.

  • 0bsessions

    In fairness to the concept of remakes, it’s not always bad. Incredible Hulk was so much better than Hulk it transcends explanation.

    As for a successor, I’d go with J.J. Abrams ahead of Whedon. Let’s be honest with ourselves here, Abrams’ Star Trek was pretty obviously aimed more at the Star Wars crowd than the Star Trek crowd.

  • 0bsessions

    Dark Horse did a kind of Star Wars what-if series called Star Wars Infinite years ago. It was essentially garbage.

  • 0bsessions

    Bah, nevermind then.

  • 0bsessions

    Probably the fact you’re a Star Trek fan. I’m 28 and I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was three and I’ve got plenty of cousins and nephews and the like who LOVE Star Wars. A large segment of fans of each series (Star Trek versus Star Wars) just don’t seem to be able to get into the other once they’re hooked into one. I’ve never really been able to enjoy Star Trek outside of the new movie, which most of my Trek fan friends nitpicked to death.

  • 0bsessions

    “For the sake of making a ‘better’ movie, they ‘ALL’ should be redone. Fill in the bloody damn gaps between each episode and make a more enjoyable story.”

    The gaps were filled in years ago via expanded universe content, notably Shadows of the Empire. The Dark Times is still relatively uncharted territory, but that’s part of the appeal, it’s supposed to be kind of a lost age with really nothing to note of major progress with the galaxy.

    “He got lucky with Star Wars (I mean really, did you see American Graffiti and THX 1138–AWFUL”

    You may not care for them, but American Graffiti is his best reviewed film and THX 1138 comes in just behind A New Hope on review aggregators.
    “plus, he’d make the females more invested and entertaining”

    Buh wha? Star Wars is known for being a pioneer for strong female characters (They beat Alien to the punch by a few years). Lucas did a miraculous swerve job with Leia in that you’ve got this seemingly cliche damsel in distress situation and then it suddenly turns out that Leia is probably second only to Han Solo in terms of strong characters in the films. To this day there are few films that do a better job of portraying a strong, believable female character.

  • 0bsessions

    Lucas is basically the film equivalent of Chris Claremont. People are so blinded by their disapproval of his recent output that they ignore the sheer brilliance of his early work. Step back a moment and remember: Star Wars was released in 1977. There were sci-fi films produced in the last decade and a half that couldn’t stand up to Star Wars in terms of visual presentation. For all the hate he gets, no one wants to give Lucas credit for the fact that he’s the guy that made science fiction a viable, mainstream genre. Even Gene Roddenberry never got Star Trek so firmly in the spotlight as Lucas did with Star Wars.

    And really, it’s mostly just based on easily ignored re-releases and one legit clunker in Phantom Menace. Attack of the Clones was at least half decent (For as bad as everything with Padme and Anakin, everything else was pretty solid outside of a few bad C3P0 puns) and Revenge of the Sith was actually overall pretty good (Again, with the exception of occasions where Padme and Anakin were on screen together, but Lucas was never really good at the romance in sci fi thing).

  • 0bsessions
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QPEYI4324F3DDMZN3WG3COLXOA Sean

    Love the comparison to Chris Claremont, Obsessions.  And it’s a really apt comparison here, in that a lot of people think Whedon’s Astonishing X-men is the greatest X-men story of all time (IGN gave it the top honor in their top 25 countdown).

    But if you read Astonishing X-men.  It becomes blatantly apparent that Whedon is just aping Claremont.  

    What Claremont did with the X-men was groundbreaking, just like what Lucas did with Star Wars was groundbreaking.

    I like Whedon, and I am glad he’s getting his due, but it would really be a step down to go from a director of the talent of George Lucas and replace him with Joss Whedon.

  • http://twitter.com/VinnieAve_AGC Vincenzo Averello

    I don’t entirely think that something that was built as a tribute should have someone who mainly does tributes work on it: http://t.co/WJlXYYwF

  • ultraaman

    I would only be interested in Star Wars again if they moved the franchise into its next phase.  Call it Chapter 7 or whatever, but the seeds planted in 1977 have grown full, withered, and died.  The next chapter needs to be told and it needs to be something NEW based on what has come before.

    Joss could def do that but if he did come aboard and did well, would he be comfortable forevermore being in Lucas’ shadow whenever Star Wars was mentioned? And could Lucas ever share the spotlight with someone else regarding Star Wars?

  • Tev Smith

    What is this article? Am I accidentally back on Newsarama?

  • Eek!

    Lucas will only hand over the reins of Star Wars to his kids and they will pimp it out to even lower levels than he did.

  • 0bsessions

    It’s like Star Wars fans got spoiled somewhere along the way, but this is revisionist history. Star Wars was basically the epitome of “OMG nerds” prior to the prequels. It’s actually the prequel trilogy announcement that got the mainstream interested in it again after basically being a cult fanbase for about fifteen years.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bmiddleton2 Brian Middleton Jr

    Hiring someone to direct a movie, and ‘handing over the reigns’ are two different things.

  • J. Ryan Buck

    Where did this come from? Yeah Joss Whedon doing Star Wars would be cool, but I have never heard anything even remotely near his involvement. Is this article just what the writer wishes? I am honestly tired of Star Wars unless they decide to do the three movies that take place after the original trilogy. Other then that I don’t see anymore stories to tell. I used to work in a toy store and I can tell you that is the reason these series keep getting made. I would much rather see a Serenity sequel or some type of superhero trilogy done by Whedon.

  • WonderScott

    The Clone Wars animated series is quite good SW storytelling–I like it better than any of the prequels. 

    It’s proved that there are a lot of stories to tell in that universe and an huge array of characters.  Lucas needs lighten the reigns, find a successor he trusts and can work with (if he’s not interested in developing stories/films) and then sit back and enjoy the show. 

    SW is like Batman.  You can execute it on a range from kiddie-fied to gripping and adult, and touch a lot storytelling types and tropes in between. 

    Let it go and let it live George.  

  • http://twitter.com/REG_2010 Richard Grunwald

    it makes sense and it would be great if Joss got to take over but i don’t think Lucas will let go.

  • Robert

    I think this shows well where George Lucas went wrong…

    http://www.secrethistoryofstarwars.com./natureofthebeast1.html

    …and why it’s unlikely that he’d ever let someone else take over Star Wars and “fix” it. Short of re-doing the prequels, I’m not sure what Joss Whedon could do. It could only be a good thing, but I just don’t foresee it happening.

  • Frank Piss

    I doubt Joss Whedon would want Star Wars post-ROTJ. It’d be like getting sloppy seconds on a corpse.

  • Alucardwulf

    I would like to see him at the helm of a “Tales of the Jedi” Trilogy The characters of  Ulic Qel-Droma, Tot Doneeta, Cay Qel-Droma, and Nomi Sunrider, are the perfect basis for Joss to carve out a niche in the Star Wars Universe. 

  • Alowe08

    I love your idea. I think Whedon could do a much better job than Lucas could. Sure, the original trilogy was great, but that was mainly because Lucas was still a neophyte director and had people who actually knew what they were doing keeping him on a leash. This leash was gone when he did Episode1, 2, and 3, which all sucked in my opinion. But I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and I wish he had gotten the opportunity to make the prequels because I think they would have been a lot better.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2RB63YCVMSOGYBHPGAH2WEX7QU StopRacism

    I think he continue the fun that the earlier Star Wars movies had. He would have to find someone with a good personality. Hans Solo character brought a lot of fun. So did the R2D2 and C3PO. The last 3 were a little more serious and JarJar Binks was an iritating disaster. Right now the way I feel…Joss all the way.