It’s no secret that J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars: Episode VII. In reality, that’s one of the few things outside of the cast and that Disney and Lucasfilm are actually making another Star Wars movie that we know for sure. This is the most high profile job in a career full of fairly prominent gigs, but while he’s the one who wound up in the director’s chair, he wasn’t the only one who had a chance to land this assignment. We’ve heard that Gone Girl director David Fincher turned down the job (or at least withdrew from the running after meeting with folks from Lucasfilm). We can add Brad Bird to the list of people who could have directed this movie, and now we know why. (You can’t help but assume that, if Episode VII winds up being terrible, this list of could-have-beens is going to haunt Star Wars fans for years to come.)
Bird may be most known for his animation work, directing movies like The Iron Giant and The Incredibles, though he also helmed Mission: Impossible—Ghost Protocol. But as big a fan of Star Wars as he is—he’s a huge nerd—the decision to pass on Episode VII is very simple and came down to a couple of factors: Tomorrowland and scheduling.