When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October 2012, the new president of the company, Kathleen Kennedy, promised a new Star Wars movie for 2015. Before the Mouse House hired director J.J. Abrams to helm Star Wars: Episode VII, many sci-fi fans were speculating who should get the job. Along with directors like Guillermo del Toro, Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau, The Incredibles director Brad Bird was one of the names most often mentioned for the Star Wars position.
In an interview with Esquire, actor Patton Oswalt — the lead in Bird’s Pixar feature Ratatouille — told the men’s magazine how Bird would have changed the beginning of Return of the Jedi if he’d been in charge of it back in the day. While the beginning of the movie is almost perfect, Bird found some room for improvement with the introduction of Luke Skywalker as a new Jedi Knight. Oswalt says:
I was talking with [director] Brad Bird one time, and he said it’s like the beginning of Return of the Jedi. Luke shows up and he’s a badass. He said they should’ve opened it with Luke in the swamp saying to Yoda, “You said ‘Don’t go.’ I said ‘Fuck you, I’m gonna go help my friends.’ I went and got my hand cut off and my friends are in even worse trouble because of what I did. I fucked up everything.” And then Yoda should have gone, “Now you’re a Jedi. Now you’re beyond the fear of failure. Now you’re ready.” That would have made it even cooler.”
Would it have been cooler? It doesn’t feel like Luke Skywalker’s introduction needs to be tweaked. When Luke enters Jabba’s Palace as a Jedi Knight at the beginning of Return of the Jedi, it’s a pretty badass moment, so it would be needless to show Yoda appointing him to the rank. He’s been through so much at the end of The Empire Strikes Back that it would kill the momentum of the start of Return of the Jedi to begin with Luke Skywalker in the swamps of Dagobah with Yoda.
While Brad Bird didn’t get the Star Wars: Episode VII directing job, he will be directing the upcoming family sci-fi movie Tomorrowland for Disney instead. Bird co-wrote the film’s screenplay with screenwriter and Lost co-showrunner Damon Lindelof and the film will open on December 19, 2014.