This would be one hell of a coup for Disney. Denis Villeneuve is one of the most exciting directors working in Hollywood today, and coming off the back of his last film, the Oscar nominated Arrival, his next movie, Blade Runner 2049, is set to be one of the biggest movies of the year.
Villeneuve has shown that he is more than capable of handling himself when it comes to the sci-fi genre too, but does he have what it takes to work within Disney’s confines? I wouldn’t rule it out – the guy seems to be able to do no wrong at the moment, and if Blade Runner draws in mega money at the box office, he could be expecting a call from Disney very soon.
Brad Bird seems one of the most natural fits for the Star Wars universe. The director has proven himself time and time again with movies like The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and he is currently working with Pixar once again to direct the much anticipated The Incredibles 2.
Bird’s only real blip so far was, unfortunately, his first foray into a live action sci-fi film, with 2015’s Tomorrowland bombing both critically and commercially. While this did cost Disney a lot of money, Bird still feels like a very, very safe pair of hands to hand Episode IX over to.
Taika Waititi and Disney make for very strange bedfellows. Waititi’s previous movies have a style that is as far removed from the Disney framework as you can get, but the New Zealand born director seems to have found a way to work within their system for their upcoming movie, Thor: Ragnarok. If the movie is as good as it looks, and if it takes big money at the box office (which it almost definitely will) then there’s nothing to stop Disney trying to get Waititi on board for Episode IX.
That being said, the studio clearly wants someone who can give them their vision of the movie, and Waititi is the very definition of an auteur. While he appears to have been allowed a lot of control over Ragnarok, it is difficult to see Disney allowing him the same kind of freedom when it comes to Episode IX. If he were to work with Disney on a Star Wars film, it would surely be much more likely that he would be handed an Anthology film, as opposed to one that is part of such an important trilogy.
If you’re looking for a director to bring about the perfect ending to a trilogy, then look no further than Matt Reeves. His most recent movie, War for the Planet of the Apes, which brings a close to the excellent Planet of the Apes trilogy, is one 2017’s best movies and one of the best blockbusters in recent memory.
Episode IX is going to be the culmination of this saga’s storyline and Reeves looks to be one of the best candidates to bring that to life. The only stumbling block for Reeves right now is the rumored Batman trilogy he is set to be working on, but with those already off to a very troubled start, there is every chance the talented director could jump ships for a much more assured gig.
Steven Spielberg and Star Wars are a match made in heaven, and it will be a crying shame if he ends his career having never directed a Star Wars movie. Not only does he have a close relationship with Disney and Lucasfilm (having worked on Indiana Jones in the past) he is also one of, if not the, most respected directors in Hollywood today.
Spielberg is also more than capable of producing a film of this magnitude whilst also satisfying both the studio and the audience. While Spielberg has not expressed any desire towards working on the project and seems to be content on doing his own thing right now, don’t rule this one out as a very faint possibility.
Who do you think is the best choice to replace Colin Trevorrow for Episode IX? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter @liamhoofe