Star Wars Needs A New Director

Last week We got the disappointing news that Josh Trank would be departing the second Star Wars Anthology movie as director. Official word cam from Mr. Trank himself via Star His outgoing message can be read below:

“After a year of having the incredible honor of developing with the wonderful and talented people at Lucasfilm, I’m making a personal decision to move forward on a different path. I’ve put a tremendous amount of thought into this, and I know deep down in my heart that I want to pursue some original creative opportunities. That said, the Star Wars universe has always been one of my biggest influences, and I couldn’t be more excited to witness its future alongside my millions of fellow Star Wars fans. I want to thank my friends Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart, Simon Kinberg, and everyone at Lucasfilm and Disney for the amazing opportunity to have been a part of this. May the Force be with you all.”  – Josh Trank

So where do we go from here? On last week’s podcast we discussed his potential replacement. You can hear that excerpt below. Andy felt Joss Whedon would be a good fit, other suggestions included Ex Machina director Alex Garland, but I have one particular director in mind.

Kyle Newman.

Kyle Newman is the director of the wonderful, Star Wars adjacent movie Fan Boys. Fan Boys follows a group of friends who are travelling across country to George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch in the hopes of getting their terminally ill friend an advanced screening of Star Wars The Phantom Menace before he dies. It is a touching and hilarious look at Star Wars fandom, starring, among others Mrs. Newman, Jaime King. Miss. King herself has a Star Wars pedigree having played the Priestesses in The Clone Wars animated TV show’s Lost Missions. Its the Priestesses who teach Yoda how to use the living Force and retain his physical form after death. So you could say Kyle is married to the Force!

You can pick up Fan Boys in iTunes here, for UK and here for US.

Mr. Newman’s latest movie Barely Lethal is set for limited theatrical release and VOD at the end of the month. You can see the trailer below. I think you’ll agree its shows that Mr. Newman is a self assured director who understands the material and plays to its strengths. 

So lets take a look at the filmmakers already secured for the new Star Wars films.

In J.J. We Trust

The creator of Lost, Felicity and Alias. The director who gave Ethan Hunt back his mojo in Mission: Impossible III and breathed new life into Star Trek. The man who ushered in a giant indie(esque) monster film with Cloverfield and wrote a love letter to Spielberg with Super 8 is the ideal candidate to Awaken the dormant Star Wars franchise. He shares more than indie roots with George Lucas. As a writer director and producer he is every bit the triple threat The Maker was back in the day. We couldn’t ask for better.

Monster Mash

Gareth Edwards, the British director behind indie cult sci-fi favourite Monsters, is calling the shots on the, now very highly anticipated Star Wars Rogue One. The movie marks the first film in the Anthology series that will take place outside of the Skywalker saga. The movie will show the men and women on the ground, the ones fighting the good fight on the front line. Mr. Edwards showed that he could move smoothly from micro to macro budget projects when he made the hugely (in more ways than one ) successful Godzilla. 


An undeniably cult director, Rian Johnson will write and direct the next enumerated Star Wars film, the as yet untitled Episode VIII. Mr. Johnson went from indy hit Brick to juggling bigger budgets and bigger names in Looper in 2012. Like Uncle George before him, RIan is best when he is creating the whole package, so Episode VIII and possible IX (writer only at this point) couldn’t be in better hands. 

Thanks But No Tranks

The second entry in the Anthology series was going to be directed by Josh Trank before he walked away recently. Mr. Trank also has an indie sensibility. His first movie Chronicle was an indie take on the found footage movie, with a young and compelling cast, he managed to weave a story that was both exciting and original. This summer sees the release of the Fantastic Four reboot over at 20th Century Fox. It would appear that another indie film maker is entering the mainstream with a big budget franchise. We can only wonder what his Star Wars movie would have looked like.

Below is a tweet from Kyle Newman’s account featuring video that shows him doing what he does best: creating new stories in the Star Wars universe:

NewMan, New Hope (See what I did there?)

So who can fill Josh Trank’s recently vacated directors chair? It seems clear to me that when you consider the filmography of those directors above, and then look at the filmography of Kyle Newman, there is a similarity. He started out as an indie film maker on Fan Boys, has a back ground as a writer, and has recently made the move to bigger budgeted features with bigger stars attached. Whats more he is a huge Star Wars fan. If you’ve ever heard him speak about Star Wars on any number of podcasts he has guested on (we’d love to have you on our show Mr. N!), you’ll know how passionate he is about the franchise. 

I also get the impression he’d be up for the challenge. Checkout the tweet below. I sent out last week. Mr. Newman favourited it, so guess he thinks it’s a good idea too!

So here’s the deal: if you’re a twitter user and you would like to add your support to my cause, and get Kyle the job then click here and send the resulting tweet.

Method In The Madness

When it comes to selecting the new directors for Star Wars, there certainly seems to be a pattern. Independent film makers, with a background in writing and producing their own material. They all seem to be about the same age, there are new “New Hollywood” brats here, Lucas’ generation seem to have moved away from the Star Wars front line. These are directors who have grown up with Star Wars, they’ve most likely been inspired to pick up the camera by Star Wars, and so they have a reverence and a respect for the property. Kyle Newman has a deep and undeniable love for these films, and I, for one, really want to see him play in this universe. 

Who would you like to see direct the new Star Wars Anthology film? Should it be a fan? Might we see one of these directors return, maybe Gareth Edwards? Leave your thoughts in the comments below…

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