Star Wars fans are about to get a more constant stream of content than we ever thought possible. This fall we will see Star Wars: Rebels, the first post-Disney release from George Lucas’ space opera franchise. Of course, next year we’ll see J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII, which will continue the main narrative thrust of the franchise. Episodes VIII and IX will theoretically show up every other year, in 2017 and again in 2019. In the even years, 2016 and 2018 and 2020, we also know that there will be stand alone spinoff films, and the second of those officially has a new director, Josh Trank.
Trank directed 2012’s found footage superhero movie Chronicle—often referred to as a comic book movie without an accompanying comic book—and is currently filming a much-debated Fantastic Four reboot for 20th Century Fox. This should give 29-year old director plenty of time to wrap up his other commitments before venturing to that galaxy far, far away.
In the official press release, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy says, “We’re thrilled to welcome Josh into the family…He is such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation. That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX.”
Trank himself adds, “The magic of the Star Wars Universe defined my entire childhood. The opportunity to expand on that experience for future generations is the most incredible dream of all time.”
Trank joins another young filmmaker, Gareth Edwards, who, it was recently announced, will direct the first standalone offering. Both are on similar career trajectories. For their first films, each one made an interesting, low-budget genre picture that showed innovation and illustrated a fresh approach—Chronicle for Trank, 2010’s Monsters for Edwards. Their debuts caught the attention of the major studios and landed each a job at the helm of a big time project. Edwards’ Godzilla recently flattened the worldwide box office, and lets hope that Trank can actually deliver a Fantastic Four movie that doesn’t completely suck. And though both have sequel obligations for their various franchises, they’re going to take some time to live out childhood dreams of working on Star Wars movies.
Like with Edwards, I think Trank is great hire. He’s a young and driven and grew up with a great passion for Star Wars, and in both cases it will be a lot of fun to see what they can do. The standalone movies will each reportedly follow a single character, and though we don’t know for sure, the rumors floating around suggest that the first will be Boba Fett, a Han Solo movie will be second, and the Red Five fighter squadron will wrap things up.
I’m really curios to find out if Edwards and Trank signed on because of the story or simply because this is Star Wars? The optimist in me hopes that there are solid plots and characters in place, and it is the quality of those that they find so attractive. On the other side of that coin, it’s easy to imagine that someone walked into a room, looked at them, and said, “Hey, do you want to direct a Star Wars movie?” and that was that. You can’t really fault someone for doing that; I wouldn’t have to pause to think about it if I were in their shoes. The prequels made many of us skeptical, but until we know otherwise, I’m going to cling to the hope, misguided or not, that the upcoming Star Wars movies will be totally awesome.