So I've finally come around to this whole Disney takeover thing. I think this might actually be the BEST thing for Star Wars since it means all new blood. Plus, Star Wars will continue to get the bankroll it needs to endure, and I'm not sure anyone other than Disney has the cash to keep a franchise this big going.
Disney obviously did well with the Muppets and Marvel's The Avengers. The Mouse excells at churning out family-friendly fantasy and fun. And THIS is key, as I'll get into a little bit later. Anyway, here's the first news item of the day...
Above is the latest video with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy about the future of the franchise. Part one is below:
The Hollywood Reporter says that Michael Arndt has been signed to pen the script for Episode 7. This is indeed welcome news as the dude has proven with Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine that he can write with pathos and still keep things light comedically speaking. Here's hoping he can instill some rousing action scenes as well!
Also, a few of the directors being mentioned (via Collider) include: J. J. Abrams (Star Trek, Super 8, LOST), Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth), John Favreu (Iron Man 1 2, Zathura), and (via EW) Matthew Vaughn (X-men First Class, Kick-Ass, Stardust).
Collider also reported that Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed) is being considered, but I think that this is really lip service with looking at directors who direct more "independent films". I think he's the longshot by 12 parsecs.
Of all of those, I'd be up for Favreau and Vaughn. I think Abrams is a bit too stylized and what worked for the Star Trek reboot wouldn't necessarily translate for Star Wars. And I'm really iffy on GBT. I liked Hellboy, but didn't love it. I think he does really well on smaller, more personal films, but he made a lot of unneccessary changes to Hellboy that I think actually weakened the character. I think he too would instill too much of his own tastes into the trilogy.
The next director needs to understand why the prequels were failures--because they don't belong to the director--so no lensflares, J.J., and no grown-men with lovesick problems, G.
Lucas was under the gun and had collaborators galore to help him with the original Star Wars. Now, obviously not all films end up becoming blockbusters that redfine the genre--but the alchemical collective genius of early ILM made for success. Follow that up with Irvin Kershner (KERSH!) who invested his energies deeply into the characters for Empire Strikes Back, even more than Lucas did in his original. Kersh had the hardest job of all--to take the biggest movie of all time and make a SAGA out of it and then make it BIGGER than ever.
The director for Star Wars 7 has much the same task.
Compare that to when Lucas began on the prequels created a fortress of creatives willing to do anything to support his efforts (some would call them "yesmen" but I think that's a bit too cynical). The prequels were victims of their own beloved master. I'm sure he showed the script to some close friends--but Lucas' insular ways meant he didn't get the creative push from peer-level collaborators that made the first trilogy great. So the new director needs to take him/her self out of the equation. Here's my case for Favreau and Vaughn:
I like Favreau best of the bunch so far--he's great with getting exceptional performaces from his actors and he's obviously well-experienced with big effects. His movies always put FUN first--somethng that's DESPERATELY needed in what's beginning to feel like a tired and over-wrought franchise.
Vaughn isn't one to be dismissed though--he's exceptional with ensemble casts and likewise has the knowledge to take on something as visually effects driven as our precious Star Wars. He also has some serious writing chops having adapted material from Mark Millar and Neil Gaiman.
More to come, I'm sure, as the Star Wars announcements are flying at light speed--far faster than they ever did between previous films!