Will J.J. Abrams Or Jon Favreau Direct 'Star Wars: Episode VII?'
Now under the guiding force of Disney, Star Wars' next director is becoming a source of intrigue. Last week, one major rumored contender - Steven Spielberg - said he is a no-go and now two other front-running prospects have weighed in with their interest. The studio recently nabbed Star Wars creator George Lucas' Lucas Films for $4.05 billion and tapped Michael Arndt to lead the way on Star Wars: Episode VII, which is set for a 2015 release.
Spielberg, JJ Abrams, and Brad Bird were reportedly sent extended treatments, written for all three planned Star Wars installments. Arndt is in talks to write Star Wars: Episode VII, which will go into production in time for its 2015 target release.
But the initial batch of front-running possible directors seems to be whittling down of their own volition, though the talk-downs may always be more about containing expectations than actual intent. But on the surface, J.J. Abrams appears to be bowing out, while another contender, Jon Favreau, is being less resigned to the prospect of taking on the reboot.
"I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series…," said Abrams to HollywoodLife. "I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!”
Favreau, however, walked the fence, noting that he's worked on the Skywalker Ranch with Lucas on Clone Wars and Iron Man to great success, adding to HollywoodLife: "I am just giddy, first and foremost as a fan, to see what happens with it. I think there is a lot of question marks of how they are going to do it, and who they are going to do it with, and what the story is going to be about; but to say that I am not excited about it is definitely an understatement. We'll see."
Last week, Spielberg said that Star Wars isn't his thing, telling Access Hollywood at the L.A. premiere of Lincoln, "No, no! It's not my genre. It's my best friend George's genre."
Arndt was actually brought into the mix by Lucasfilm before Disney took over. Part of the sale included the "pretty extensive and detailed treatment for what would be the next three movies – the trilogy," noted Disney's Jay Rasulo, according to Deadline. Speculation has mounted that the franchise's original stars, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher will reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
In addition to his Oscar-winning screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine and nomination for Toy Story 3, Arndt has written the screenplays for the upcoming Hunger Games: Catching Fire and a Pixar project dubbed "Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind" for director Pete Docter.
[Who do you think would be a great 'Star Wars' director?]