As you can probably imagine, the job of directing a new Star Wars movie is a pretty damn big deal, but still, while J.J. Abrams got the gig at the helm of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, he wasn’t the only person in the hunt. David Fincher, whose latest film Gone Girl is opens this Friday and is getting fantastic reviews, met with Lucasfilm executives about the job, but ultimately said he didn’t want it.
The Fight Club director was one of the early names connected to Episode VII, and as he revealed recently, there was some truth to the rumors. Granted, Lucasfilm probably contacted just about every big name filmmaker out there (and he was an assistant cameraman on Return of the Jedi), but Fincher did meet with president Kathleen Kennedy. It makes sense that he would turn down the project, he was connected to Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake for a long time, but friction with the studio dragging its feet ultimately caused him to walk away from that.
Suffice it to say, Fincher and Abrams are two very, very different filmmakers, and a David Fincher directed Episode VII would be something that bears no resemblance to what we’re going to see on December 18, 2015.
Talking to Total Film, he revealed that one of the key reasons he turned down the opportunity is that he doesn’t think he would have been allowed to make the film he wanted to make. That makes sense, he has a long history of butting heads with the studios and executives. He says:
It’s tricky. My favourite is The Empire Strikes Back. If I said, ‘I want to do something more like that,’ then I’m sure the people paying for it would be like, ‘No! You can’t do that! We want it like the other one with all the creatures!’
That’s entirely possible. Given how big a deal Episode VII is, you know that the studio is going to have their mitts all over the film, something Fincher doesn’t do entirely well with. And honestly, his version would have turned into something much darker and less accessible. If nothing else, Abrams makes big popcorn features that are fairly straightforward, aren’t particularly challenging, and are more likely to attract a wider audience, hence more money.
And Fincher has, lets just call it a unique take on the Star Wars saga as a whole. It’s not one that most of us have come across before. Here’s what he has to say:
I always thought of Star Wars as the story of two slaves [C-3PO and R2-D2] who go from owner to owner, witnessing their masters’ folly, the ultimate folly of man… I thought it was an interesting idea in the first two, but it’s kind of gone by Return Of The Jedi.
As bizarre as that initially sounds, it may not be as out there at you think at first glance. George Lucas always viewed the duo as a vital part of the series, and they are one of threads that carry throughout the films, all of the films. Young Anakin is the one who built C-3PO after all, and they’ve been involved in more adventures over the years than anyone. It’s interesting to imagine what the franchise would look like from their point of view.
While it’s probably for the best that he didn’t take the job—there would have been too much interference—you have to wonder what a David Fincher directed Star Wars: Episode VII would have looked like. Think about that when you sit down to watch next December.