When Disney killed the Star Wars Expanded Universe last month, they negated decades of side stories that fleshed out the galaxy far, far away. But they left open the door for a new Expanded Universe, one filled with canon spin-offs that may have to cede some creative control for the sake of narrative consistency, but could allow for some amazing stories to be told that make the “real” Star Wars universe a much more consistently quality world for those who wants to dive into everything (assuming, of course, you ignore the prequels).
Gareth Edwards, director of the just-released Godzilla remake, is the first director to try his hand at this whole spin-off thing, with a film set for December 16, 2016. And while Edwards will probably do a fine job (especially if they give him something involving giant monsters), there are some other directors we’d love to see tackle the Star Wars universe and really expand it in an interesting way.
And once you’ve read through our list, let us know who else you’d like to direct and what you think they should do with the franchise.
When I first read that Gareth Edwards was making the first spin-off, I misread it. I thought, “Seriously? The guy who did The Raid 2? Heck freaking yeah!” And then I was disappointed to find out that, no, it was some other guy who didn’t make the best action movie ever. But what if it was? The Star Wars of the 21st century has tended towards the big and bombastic, and doing so made the action a whole lot less intense. Say what you want about his films, Evans knows how to make small-scale action intense. Imagine a bounty hunter spinoff (back-in-the day Boba Fett?), something like a martial arts Blade Runner. Given his not-excellent track record as a writer, he’d definitely need at least one other person to help out with the story, but if he got that, the Star Wars universe could be home to the coolest sci-fi action film ever.
Han Solo is a slick fella. Suave and sarcastic almost to a fault, it’s hard to imagine a Han Solo prequel film without the steady hand of one Edgar Wright; especially now that Wright is off Ant-Man. Wright’s trademark snappy direction would gel perfectly with Solo’s whip-smart brand of humor. Can you imagine the car chase scenes from Hot Fuzz…but with the Millennium Falcon? An Edgar Wright movie mixes wit and a surprising amount of heart, usually to great effect. And you know who else is hiding a heart of gold behind a wall of snark? Han Solo. Plus, it would be a major PR boon for Disney, especially after the whole Ant-Man debacle. Nerds love Edgar Wright, but they love Han Solo even more. — Mike Cosimano
Disclaimer: I’ve never seen the Clone Wars series, so I don’t know if that delves into the lives of the same-faced soldiers who are at the bidding of the real Star Wars baddies, but I think it would be absolutely fascinating to have a film that focuses on the military itself and the people within. Honestly, I think it’s such a potential goldmine of interesting stories that it could be its own subseries, with a film about each military faction. Kathryn Bigelow has proven that she is extremely adept at evoking the feeling (if not necessarily the reality) of a small-scale warzone (think Hurt Locker, not Saving Private Ryan), and could make for a really compelling drama.
Snowpiercer isn’t out in the states yet, so you’re going to have to trust me on this one: Bong Joon-Ho is a brilliant world builder. Whatever its failings, his latest film serves to create a fascinating world that just feels right. More importantly, its multilingual cast shows that he has a unique grasp on the melding of different cultures. I’d trust him to pull off a Star Wars drama with a cast of aliens and humans alike more than any other filmmaker on the planet. He’s also got a good grasp of action. If we have to attach it to existing characters, I’d say that he would be perfectly suited to create the Han Solo origin, though I’d rather he do something completely different.
Speaking of completely different: The man who made Primer and Upstream Color has one of the most distinctive, singular visions in all of movie-making. While his movies may not look the same in the way a Wes Anderson might (let’s pause to consider and immediately reject a Wes Anderson-directed spinoff), his complete control over nearly every aspect of production means he’s as close to a true film auteur as a person could get. His intensely cerebral, low-budget sensibilities likely wouldn’t translate to the type of narrative people associate with Star Wars, but his sci-fi background means that he could make something absolutely compelling within that universe. It would be small, intimate, and like nothing else out there. For these spinoffs to really make an impact, they need to do something weird. Shane Carruth would help them do that.
No, seriously. George Lucas may have completely destroyed his credibility as a filmmaker with the Star Wars prequels, but it would be fascinating to give him an unrelated side-story to (probably) mess up as well. Without any expectations or preconceived notions, the man (especially if he had a team to reign him in) could possibly make some reasonably interesting, if not necessarily good. I don’t have the faintest idea what that thing might be, but if we’re part of this new Expanded Universe, why not? I mean, it really couldn’t be any worse than Episode I.