While Disney hasn’t yet announced who will direct the new Star Wars movie, here’s a little perspective on the coveted job from 1983. When Return of the Jedi was getting set to start pre-production, questions surrounded who would direct the third installment in the Star Wars trilogy. The job ultimately went to the late director Richard Marquand, but at one point it was offered to cult director David Cronenberg.
Jedi was released in 1983, by which point Cronenberg was already making a name for himself with odd, unforgettable films such as Scanners and Videodrome. While it could be argued that those films and Star Wars all fit within the science fiction genre, I can’t imagine why anybody would come up with the idea to let Cronenberg direct what is essentially a big, family-friendly popcorn movie. Then again, they also approached David Lynch. With all the talk about Episode VII, Digital Spy approached Cronenberg to ask about the time he could have directed a Star Wars movie:
A long time ago I was approached for one second to do a Star Wars movie, which at that time was called Revenge of the Jedi, and then it became Return of the Jedi. I was approached by Lucasfilm about that and it didn’t take them long to realize that maybe that wasn’t a good idea.
Could you imagine what Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi would have been like? Fans of the series want to watch a Star Wars movie, not a very stylized director’s vision of a Star Wars movie. Although Cronenberg mentions Alfonso Cuarón’s work in the Harry Potter series, that series was already in need of a major overhaul after the first two films directed by Chris Columbus.
Disney has to announce a director for Episode VII sooner rather than later if they hope to make the 2015 deadline. Hopefully, they’ll choose a competent director rather than a stylistic one. In some ways, Matthew Vaughn, Brad Bird, and Colin Trevorrow would make more sense than Zack Snyder or Guillermo del Toro, but we’ll see what happens as the Disney/Star Wars project develops.