A Great Disturbance In The Force
The latest hit against Lucasfilm came last week: Colin Treverrow will no longer be directing Star Wars Episode IX. While this news comes as a welcome sign for Star Wars fans that weren’t fans of Jurassic World (a film that, for the record, I thought was pretty fun), it puts a weird light on Lucasfilm, especially after the whole Han Solo debacle with Phil Lord and Chris Miller. With a studio that has as much pull as Lucasfilm, how is it that they are so bad at working with directors?
Well, a lot of it comes from the kinds of directors they pick. For the most part, Lucasfilm grabs talented directors, but many of them only have one giant tent pole movie under their belt. Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson, and Colin Treverrow all had a major, well received hit (Godzilla, Looper, and Jurassic World), but other than that, they don’t have the second big budget movie under their belts. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are the exceptions of course, with 21 Jump Street and its sequel under their belt, as well as The Lego Movie, but still, neither of those films have the same amount of pressure and amount of cooks in the kitchen that a Star Wars film has.
The typical career for the kinds of filmmakers Lucasfilm has been getting is a surprise debut film, followed by a sophomore effort that underperforms. Just take a look at Josh Trank, who was slated to do a Boba Fett solo film, until his second movie, the disastrous Fant4stic, crashed and burned at the box office. The same thing happened with Trevorrow, who had a monster hit with Jurassic World, only to have his second big feature The Book Of Henry not only flop this summer, but feature some of the worst reviews of any more of the year. Lucasfilm is a company that’s always aware of their image, so it would be no surprise that they wouldn’t want to deal with constant questions about why they would pick a director who had a terrible feature film on their resume (your could argue that the more successful movie would overshadow the bad one, but remember, attention spans in Hollywood are shorter than the latest Disney star’s tenure).
But at the same time, Disney and Lucasfilm could avoid this altogether if they weren’t so gung ho to grab the latest directors. Sure, they get this kind of creative talent for relatively cheap, but with the bad press that came from firing Lord and Miller off Han Solo and replacing them with Ron Howard, you’d think they’d have a back up replacement announcement for the Trevorrow news. Or at the very least, try to paint the scenario as amore amicable split than the rumors would have you believe. As easy as it is for Disney to scoop the young, fresh talent that’s permeating through the Hollywood Indie Scene, at the same time, if they ponied up the cash for seasoned directors, they’d be able to save themselves and fans a whole lot of stress and headaches.