We’re right at the start of Star Wars hysteria, with the avalanche of toys flooding Targets and Wal-marts everywhere last weekend on something called “Force Friday;” three months and a few days from now, The Force Awakens will be released to astonishing expectations and a gigantic pile of money. (…)
That will kick off a monstrous boom period for the franchise that will see the release of a new Star Wars-universe film every year for the foreseeable future, with two more sequels to The Force Awakens to be joined by a host of anthology films – beginning with Rogue One in 2016.
It’s a universe that’s already ensnared some of the brightest auteurs in the movie business; J.J. Abrams, who revitalized Star Trek, helms Awakens, while Looper and Brick writer-director Rian Johnson takes over for Episode VIII. Gareth Edwards of Godzilla fame is behind Rogue One, and the formidable Chris Lord / Phil Miller (of Lego Movie clout) is going to do the Han Solo spin-off flick. All well and great. I have no doubt in any of their choices.
Why Am I Anxious?
It’s the selection of the Episode IX director that has me a bit concerned. In case you missed it in the flood of high-profile movie news recently, Colin Trevorrow – the writer-director behind Jurassic World – is helming that installment, set for 2019. Of course, World is the third-highest grossing feature film of all time; Trevorrow’s selection, then, was treated as a slam-dunk, no-brainer for the revitalized Star Wars universe.
But I’m not sold completely. Not quite yet.
World was fun, that’s for sure; it had all the right formulas for blockbuster success – just enough of an immersion into the original Jurassic Park franchise, a sturdy, engaging performance from Chris Pratt in the lead, and enough fun moments to hit a public nerve. But there was still enough script holes to drive an Indominus Rex through and enough clunky dialogue to alert a whole squadron of raptors; it was big and loud and entertaining, but did you remember much of it once the credits rolled?
Sadly, I didn’t.
In my mind, World came and made its money and stomped away from theaters like most modern blockbusters do, without much of an impression left behind.
Pratt taking the money and running.
You can get away with that with the Jurassic Park franchise; the Star Wars empire is something different altogether.
Trevorrow may very well turn out to be an impassioned choice – by the time 2019 rolls around, his skills will more likely be sharpened to a point rather than dulled to a nub – but, at this point, I’d have been more excited to see a solid action-thriller director take the helm than Trevorrow.
Why not someone like Katheryn Bigelow, who made The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty so tense and entertaining? Or someone like Cary Fukunaga, who turned the first season of True Detective into must-watch theater? Or even Ben Affleck, who showed unbelievable touch and style with The Town, Gone Baby Gone and Argo?
Again, we’re still four years away from Episode IX, and my concerns may be overblown – and I hope they are. But Star Wars is too important a franchise too too many people not to question its choices at every turn, and right now, this is too big a question not to be asked.
Here’s hoping we’ll all come away from it feeling like Poe in an X-Wing.
What’s your answer? Are you ready for Trevorrow to take the helm of one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises of all time? Tell us what you think in the comments!