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3 More Interesting Choices Than J.J. Abrams to Direct Star Wars

In the future, there will be a list of sci-fi franchise movies J.J. Abrams hasn’t directed, and it will read simply Muppets from Space II. Like most directors and producers, Abrams has done some outstanding work (Alias) and some mediocre work (What About Brian). He’s proved through films like 2009’s Star Trek and the Tom Cruise Mission: Impossible films that he can take a preexisting universe and bring out nuances that please both devotees and newcomers. So while I wasn’t disappointed to learn he’ll be directing Star Wars: Episode VII, I’m not exactly jumping for joy.

Is it so wise to leave so many franchises in the hands of one man? And are there other, lesser-known directors who could bring the kind of verve to Star Wars that George Lucas had way back in ’77?

Neill Blomkamp, left, with Sharlto Copley on the set of "District 9"

Neill Blomkamp, who directed 2009’s critically acclaimed District 9, has a background in visual effects, and could have brought back some of the grittiness of the original Star Wars trilogy. Fortunately, I don’t have to wait long to see his next release Elysium,
starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster.

Edgar Wright, left, with Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead on the set of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World"

Call me crazy, but Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright could’ve made for a strange but fun choice for a Episode VII. In 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World he showed he could direct big action sequences with heart. If your favorite line from A New Hope is “Get this big walking carpet out of my way,” Wright is the director who can give you funny, sweet and stabby all at the same time.

Ben Affleck on the set of "The Town"

According to rumor, Ben Affleck was a frontrunner to helm the new Star Wars, and there’s no word yet as to why he wasn’t selected. Affleck hasn’t directed a sci-fi movie, but until the Oscar-nominated Argo he hadn’t directed a film set outside of Boston. The Star Wars universe is full of unsavory characters and seedy planets where the rule of law doesn’t apply. The director of The Town and Gone Baby Gone might have given us some truly vile villains to root against.

Is Abrams a bad choice? No. Is he a safe choice? Certainly. The stakes are high for this film, and I don’t blame Disney for making a safe bet. But in an alternate universe, I’m imagining Greedo with a South Boston accent.


  • Joe35

    I still say the best choice is Joe Johnstone. He’s made lots of really solid action/adventure movies, and in many ways he’s as much responsible for “Star Wars” as George Lucas and Ralph McQuarrie. I would have 100% faith in him at the helm. J.J. Abrams? Zilch.

  • J Mendez265

    I thought Distrcit 9’s director would’ve been a great choice too

  • Dgrjr2000

    Guilermo del Toro, I like his use of practical effects. and we would also get Ron Pearlman as an alien Jedi.

  • Mikey Wood

    For the life of me, I can’t understand the problem fanboys (and, YEAH…I said “FAN. BOYS”) have with Abrams. The three films he had directed thus far (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, STAR TREK, and SUPER 8) were fantastic. Beautifully filmed with wonderful performances from all involved. In fact, anything he HAS directed (FELICITY, ALIAS, a handfull of episodes of LOST, even UNDERCOVERS which didn’t last very long) have been quite good. His STAR TREK, if that’s what you all are crying about, was the first time in YEARS that TREK had been anything other than stale. It was exciting. It was fun. It was smart. It LOOKED better than any TREK before it (and if one more person cries “lens flare” your credibility is officially GONE). In order to cite

    Stop crying about it. Blomkamp has given us one (certainly good) lower budget sci-fi film that was quite grounded. We have yet to see any indication that he can handle “epic” or “grandiose”. Neither Edgar Wright nor Ben Affleck, although fine directors both, have shown any indication of that, either.

    Abrams is directing. Deal with it.

    I’m just glad you didn’t put Joss freakin’ Whedon on that list.

  • Doctor Timebomb

    I can’t believe Gaspar Noe was not considered. 

  • Ninjagodzilla

     Neill Blomkamp? Great choice.
    Other two? Not so much.

    They can still get him for 2 or 3. I like JJ but hope he doesn’t direct all 3!!!!!!

  • Not Harrison Ford

    I did a blogpost on five out of left field choices that would have been interesting:

  • Alexvega79


  • Bharaseth

    I say Nicholas Winding Refn. We all know Mads Mikkelsen would make a better Sith Lord than Ron Pearlman!

  • Jimmy

    This blog is pointless. The decision has already been made. There’s no point speculating on what could have been. Focus on what is going to happen.

  • Cpatmaier

    There’s still a chance he could direct the sequels or one of the spin off films, as he has expressed interest in a Boba Fett film.

  • JMichaelKane0527

    The reason Affleck isn’t doing it is the same reason why he can’t have Justice League: He wanted to act in it as well as direct. And after Daredevil, we don’t need any more of his acting.

  • Ramone

    GdT is about the only geek-oriented director I wouldn’t be in favor ot. I think a lot of times he’s more into his own take on characters than doing them justice. Hellboy is a good example of this (giving him girl problems that a junior high kid would have).

  • Ramone

    I’ll suggest another non-Abrams director who would be cool to see take on Star Wars: Alfonso Curon. He really reinvigorated the Harry Potter films with his deeper/darker take on the story. Mike Newell and David Yates both said they liked his version so much they kept the look and feel of Prisoner of Azkaban for the rest of the series.   

  • Mak

    Don’t think he’s a bad actor. Though he has done some bad choices in characters.

  • Ignacio Ariel Gutt

    What about Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly and Serenity, The Avengers)?

    I would’ve liked him, but I like Abrams too. Although I didn’t like the finale of Lost, I like Fringe and liked Star Trek.

  • RueDeParadis

    Speaking of safe/boring choices.

  • RueDeParadis

    Speaking of safe/boring choices.

  • Jyah

    Well what do you expect. the Prequels stunk. There will be some ultimate from Lucas to mention a good bunch of it in the new movies because he loves continuity. Unless Abrams rectons the hell out of it. Which can be good or bad. Good = No mention or pictures of Padme Nabaarrrie (sp?). Bad = Casting Zoe Saldana as Lando’s daughter 

  • Ayotunde Afolabi

    Agree with most of your points. But in support of Blomkamp (I know its still early to tell but) check out the new Elysium trailer. Epic would be a good word… lol

  • Mikey Wood

    Yeah that looks…woah.