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.
MTV talked to Bird over the weekend at New York Comic Con, and got the full scoop. When the possibility presented itself, Bird and company were already, as he says, “deeply” into the process of Tomorrowland. Star George Clooney had just committed, and the two projects were just never going to mesh up. That doesn’t mean he didn’t try, and Bird says, “For a moment there, I thought it would work out to do this[Tomorrowland] and go right into it [Star Wars: Episode VII].”
Check out the whole short interview below:
It’s actually kind of surprising, given how interested he appears, and that he’s already working with Disney on Tomorrowland, that Bird wasn’t offered one of the standalone movies that went to Godzilla’s Gareth Edwards and Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank, or one of the later Episode movies, which Looper’s Rian Johnson will work on.
As cool as it could have been to see Bird helm Episode VII, after that teaser trailer for Tomorrowland dropped last week, we went from intrigued to full on excited. It looks gorgeous and original and inventive, and it’s hard to argue that he should have done anything else. Check it out for yourself:
Still, as fantastic as Tomorrowland looks, excitement for Episode VII is a completely different animal. Star Wars hype is always going to rule the day.
Tomorrowland opens May 22, 2015, and Star Wars: Episode VII takes over the world later that year on December 18, 2015.