Whoa! Zack Snyder Directing 'Star Wars' Samurai Style Jedi Spin-Off?
by Ethan Anderton
January 14, 2013
Back in November, Watchmen and 300 director Zack Snyder was one of the directors who took himself out of the running to direct Star Wars: Episode VII after news of a new trilogy was announced following Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm. However, Vulture now has word that the filmmaker will be working on a Star Wars film after all. The Man of Steel director isn't working on a film in the new trilogy, but rather on a spin-off described as a "Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers." What?!
Okay, now that I've recovered from passing out, this sounds unbelievable. Could this be one of the films that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were supposedly hired to write in late November? Part of me wonders if the pinnacle episodes of the new trilogy will be spaced out even further than the standard three years. After all, Disney CEO Bob Iger did say they wants a new Star Wars feature every two or three years, and these films could serve as padding between the new trilogy episodes. As for the chronology, it's said that this film will run parallel to the new trilogy. Either way, this spin-off sounds absolutely amazing and really shows what potentially great stories we can tell in the Star Wars universe. It actually sounds like Disney is doing with Star Wars what they currently have set up with the Marvel comic book universe.
For anyone who isn't familiar with Seven Samurai, the story is set in the 1600s, when the residents of a small Japanese village are seeking protection against repeated attacks by a band of marauding thieves. Offering mere handfuls of rice as payment, they hire seven unemployed "ronin" (masterless samurai), including a boastful swordsman (Toshiro Mifune) who is actually a farmer's son desperately seeking glory and acceptance. The samurai get acquainted with but remain distant from the villagers, knowing that their assignment may prove to be fatal. It's also been adapted into the western The Magnificent Seven.
Honestly, this is exactly the kind of thing I wanted to see come together in the wake of Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm. However, I'm a bit leery about Snyder taking it on. He has a great visual style and penchant for solid action sequences, but Man of Steel still needs to come out this summer. Of course, Sucker Punch had some solid swordplay in a samurai-style setting, and it would be interesting to see that approach with the Force and lightsabers in Snyder's action arsenal. Either way this sounds like an elegant Star Wars film for a more civilized fanbase. What do you think?
UPDATE: THR has spoken with Zack Snyder's representative and they say, "While he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia." The rep goes on to say that includes the new trilogy or any spin-offs. Maybe they're playing hard to get, but stay tuned for any more updates.