‘Star Wars’: 10 Directors Who Deserve to Make a New Movie in the Saga

“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away” might not be gracing the big screen for a few years. Recent reports claim that Disney and Lucasfilm are shelving Star Wars films for now. Of course, when the saga does return, Lucasfilm will need the right filmmaker to kick things off in a big way.

Although a number of indie and auteur filmmakers would be great fits, we’re focusing on somewhat more established directors, preferably those who have proven big-budget success. Also, we’re avoiding filmmakers who are more focused on original projects than franchise fare. So Edgar Wright, Christopher Nolan, Jordan Peele, and the Wachowskis won’t be making any appearances on our list.

Otherwise, here are 10 filmmakers who deserve to make a Star Wars film.

Taika Waititi at the Governors Awards
Taika Waititi at the Governors Awards | Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Taika Waititi

It would be way too easy to fill this list with filmmakers who have dabbled in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, the MCU and Lucasfilm are both divisions of Disney. So, of course, people like Ryan Coogler, Joss Whedon, and James Gunn have easier access and would be great picks for Star Wars.

But none are as inspired a choice as Taika Waititi. The filmmaker has even impressed Marvel so much that he has taken over the Thor franchise. But Waititi also has the ability to balance gravitas and humor like few others right now. Don’t believe us? Just see Jojo Rabbit. Please.

Kathryn Bigelow

You don’t get to be the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for nothing. Kathryn Bigelow might not be the first person fans think of when it comes to blockbusters. But remember, in addition to political thrillers like The Hurt Locker, Bigelow directed Point Break and has a proven ability to deliver crowd-pleasing action.

Yet, more to the point, Bigelow knows how to infuse that action with real stakes. Give her a battle-hardened film about rebel soldiers or even an army of Jedi. She’ll be able to create a Star Wars film that is equal parts thrilling and harrowing.

Brad Bird

We’ll just say it: Brad Bird deserves another shot at live action. The Pixar favorite directed both Incredibles films as well as Ratatouille. Yet, since Tomorrowland underperformed in 2015, he hasn’t gotten behind an actual camera yet.

We already know Bird can bring the same energy and spark to Star Wars as he does to animation. He helped elevate the Mission: Impossible series to its current hot streak with 2011’s Ghost Protocol. So we’re confident he could similarly reinvigorate the Star Wars saga.

Karyn Kusama

Part of what makes mainstream franchises like Star Wars so powerful is their ability to take talented filmmakers to the next level. Such would be the case with Karyn Kusama. Since her debut with Girlfight in 2000, her career has led her to a wide variety of projects but nothing as grand in scope as Star Wars.

Imagine an entry in the saga as terrifying as The Invitation or as visceral as Destroyer. Plus, Kusama has already dabbled in big-budget sci-fi with Æon Flux and created a cult classic with Jennifer’s Body. We have no idea what a Kusama-directed Star Wars film would look like, but we’re dying to find out.

Rick Famuyiwa

Like Kusama, Rick Famuyiwa has been delivering solid work for years. But he still hasn’t gotten the chance to play with a big budget. Once upon a time, Famuyiwa was attached to direct DC Films’ The Flash, a film that appears to be trapped in development hell.

Since he’s clearly open to taking the leap to a major franchise, Lucasfilm has an easy opportunity to scoop him up. Moreover, Famuyiwa’s last film, 2015’s Dope, was brimming with originality. That’s exactly the kind of filmmaker Star Wars needs to get back on track.

James Mangold

Lucasfilm has an ongoing history of letting filmmakers slip through its fingers. James Mangold — who got an Oscar nomination for the screenplay to Logan — is one of the prime examples. The Ford v Ferrari director was planning to direct a Star Wars spinoff about Boba Fett until Lucasfilm canceled it.

So whenever the studio does announce plans for the saga, Mangold should be among the first directors they dial. The director has found a way to marry indie edge with mainstream fare, as his Wolverine films prove. With a diverse filmography encompassing virtually every genre, Mangold can handle a new Star Wars no matter what story it tells.

Sofia Coppola

Speaking of versatile filmmakers, Lucasfilm should consider giving Sofia Coppola the reins. The director of celebrated films like Lost in Translation and The Beguiled has yet to touch a major franchise. But she could bring a strong perspective to the saga.

Rumors continue to indicate that Lucasfilm wants to bring a Star Wars adventure centered on fan favorite Ahsoka Tano to the screen. If it does happen, Coppola would be the perfect director to lead the project. Consider it a bonus that Coppola played Padmé’s handmaiden Saché in The Phantom Menace.

Alex Garland

In his first two films, Alex Garland worked with Star Wars alums Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson, and Natalie Portman. So granting him access to the Star Wars sandbox feels somehow fated. Have we mentioned that Ex Machina and Annihilation are two of the best sci-fi thrillers in recent years?

Garland’s brand of rich, thought-provoking science fiction could bring a new texture to Star Wars. As successful as the sequel trilogy has been, it clearly aims to recapture and recontextualize the original films. Garland’s film could begin to create its own template and redefine what Star Wars can be.

Guillermo del Toro

It’s been more than a decade since Guillermo del Toro worked in an established franchise. Yet, his takes on Blade and Hellboy remain gold standards on how to bring those characters to the screen. Given his love of monsters, creatures, and geek properties, del Toro could similarly breathe new life into Star Wars.

The director once pitched a gangster film about Jabba the Hutt. While we don’t think Lucasfilm would go for such an unorthodox idea, it does prove del Toro is willing to take creative risks. The Star Wars saga needs this kind of bold filmmaking if it’s going to survive. Who would be better than the man behind Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape of Water?

Matthew Vaughn

The Kingsman franchise may still be Matthew Vaughn’s primary focus. But Vaughn is still regularly rumored for any number of other comics-based properties. Meanwhile, we can’t help but wonder about his take on the Star Wars saga.

2015’s Kingsman: The Secret Service may have come as a surprise. But Vaughn can do a lot more than turn Colin Firth into an action hero. In fact, his first two films — 2004’s Layer Cake and 2007’s Stardust — proved he’s just as adept at crime thrillers and fairy tales as he is at sci-fi action. The right Star Wars film would let him combine all three skill sets.