Star Wars sequel update: Director’s shortlist just got really short. And are Joe Johnston and Colin Treverrow the frontrunners?

And the Star Wars: Episode 7 rumour mill just keeps on churning. Well at least today we also got a piece of info among all the hearsay and wishful thinking that’s actually a little bit more substantial  than a rumour. And right now, we’re taking everything we can get!

Let’s kick off with that bit of “solid information” as MTV got to chatting with producer Frank Marshall, a longtime Lucasfilm collaborator and most importantly the husband of current Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, about the state of the project. When asked if he knew what was going on, he responded with “I do. But I can’t reveal it, or I won’t be alive tomorrow.”

But jokes aside, Marshall then went on to reveal that the shortlist for the director’s seat has been trimmed down considerably to a “couple of candidates”. And while he did reveal that he has no idea of the timelines of when Lucasfilm would make the announcement, you’d have to think it would be soon.

As to who those couple are, well another name that has just popped up on the radar is Colin Treverrow. Now if you’re asking “Who?” then you probably never saw Trevorrow’s debut Safety Not Guranteed. The sci-fi comedy was a festival hit and critical darling earlier in the year, and completely deservedly so. Know who’s a big fan of that movie? George Lucas. He apparently liked the movie so much that he invited Trevorrow to his ranch earlier in the year. Now whether Lucas just threw him a snoek braai or whether they discussed business, nobody knows, however Trevorrow has been getting very chatty lately.

When interviewed by Moviezine about whether he was on the list, he responded thusly:

“It is not something that I can comment too much on. But I can definitely say, I am as much of a fan of ‘Star Wars’ as everyone else for whom ‘Star Wars’ was the most important thing in their life, when they were a kid. I’m deeply aware of how profoundly important it is, to billions of people. It really is a mythology and possibly even a belief system for a lot of people. I certainly can’t comment on what my involvement may ever be, I can definitely say that I would absolutely love to direct a ‘Star Wars’ film at some point in my life. That would be incredible, I’m not daunted by it. Even if I understand that any thinking director who cares about it as I do, as much as a lot of directors do, would be afraid of screwing it up. But I also think that it’s a risk that a lot of directors would be willing to take, because they care about it so much.”

And exactly why can’t you comment, Mr Trevorrow? Why?

Would Lucasfilm go with a relative newcomer for a movie this big? Well, that’s to be seen, but Trevorrow certainly offers an interesting option. The other option that’s actually looking likely is Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnston. The idea was put forward by Movies.com and they certainly make a compelling case.

During a recent video of George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussing the future of Star Wars, Kennedy reveals that “they’re meeting with directors they’ve worked with in the past, and they obviously want a lover of the franchise; someone who holds the movies and characters close to their heart.”

Well, you can’t get more fitting of that description than Johnston. He began his career as a storyboard and conceptual artist on the original Star Wars trilogy, eventually being credited as coming up with the design for Boba Fett. Lucas is also personally responsible for Johnstone becoming a director as he paid for him to go to Film School. And since getting behind the camera, he’s cranked out a string of hits that encompass all the diverse aspects needed to make Star Wars work: The Rocketeer, Jumanji, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids!, Captain America and even Jurassic Park III, which Kennedy produced.

Yes, ok, The Wolfman was a bit lacklustre, but even the greatest directors slip up from time to time. That aside though, how much more perfect can you get than a guy who literally learned the trade in the same room as George Lucas, designed one of the franchise’s most beloved characters and is hugely successful both commercially and critically?

More importantly, it seems that Johnston has a mysteriously free schedule after the thriller Not Safe for Work, which he’s currently busy with. When asked about his involvement by The Huffington Post, Johnston delivered the standard not denying/not admitting anything response though:

 “A lot would depend on what ‘it’ is. I am very glad to see Lucasfilm cranking up to get productive again, regardless of who ends up doing i

My first pick is still Alfonso Cuaron, but you could sure as hell do a lot worse than Johnston.

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  • Darryn_Bonthuys

    Joe Johnston directing? This would make me so happy. I watched Captain America again last week, and that film is still a barrel of fun. His style would be perfect for this kind of film.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kervyn-Cloete/610830836 Kervyn Cloete

      I simply worship The Rocketeer, so I’ll definitely not be too disappointed if he gets it over my pick.