Frank Marshall Says 'Star Wars' Director Shortlist Down to Two Names

November 13, 2012
Source: MTV, HuffPo

Star Wars

Though names like Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams have taken their names out of the running to direct Star Wars: Episode VII (along with less likely and undesired candidates like Quentin Tarantino and Zack Snyder), there's still a lot of directors left up for the job. Yesterday Safety Not Guaranteed director Colin Trevorrow became a possible candidate, and we're still big fans of anyone else on our list of ten directors for the job. However, we might get official word on a director sooner than later as producer Frank Marshall (who worked on films like Back to the Future and Raiders of the Lost Ark) says the search for a director has been narrowed down to a couple candidates, and he already knows who's taking on the saga.

When MTV asked if Marshall knew what was going on with the new Star Wars trilogy, he responded, "I do. But I can't reveal it, or I won't be alive tomorrow." However, he did say that Lucasfilm and Disney have narrowed down the search to, "a couple of candidates, but I don’t know how soon that will be revealed.” Marshall doesn't know what the timeline is for an official announcement, but if the search is narrowed down that much, either a leak or a press release will surface sooner or later. The question is what two candidates could possibly be in the running.

We've already put our hat in the ring for Brad Bird, but his 1952 project at Disney might keep him too busy unless it gets delayed. Meanwhile, is putting their money on Joe Johnston. In the most recent video with Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas talking about the future of Star Wars, "Kennedy says 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 Johnston is both close to Lucas and the franchise (specifically the original trilogy), and he's worked with Kennedy before on Jurassic Park III. In fact, Johnston even talked to Huffington Post about the prospect of him directing saying:

“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 it.”

So that's not exactly a no, but it's films like Jurassic Park III that make me hesitant to back Joe Johnston. Sure the director has delivered great action adventures on par with the style and tone of Star Wars like The Rocketeer and most recently Captain America: The First Avenger, but he also directed the abysmal remake of The Wolfman for Universal a couple years ago. If this were 1995, my childhood self would be all about Johnston though, since he directed Jumanji and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Johnston is definitely a solid choice, and knowing that Lucasfilm has met with previous collaborators, he obviously fits the bill, I just don't know if he's the best option. I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News, Star Wars



I'd bet on Johnston too.

Nick Sears on Nov 13, 2012


Joe Johnston is also an avid reader of the books too so he wont feel so constricted on what he can and cant do....maybe we can get Jaina Solo after all.....

Jericho on Nov 13, 2012


I'd still go for Brad Bird or David Yates.

Guy who comments on things on Nov 13, 2012


This is the first time I've heard Yates name get brought up, but I think he's a good choice.

Matt Peloquin on Nov 13, 2012


He did a fantastically consistant job with the "darker" Harry Potter movies, maybe he's just what the doctor ordered.. I suggested him on the last post about a director for the new Star Wars too.. it got a positive reaction.. but no one seems to seriously consider it.. I think he'd do a wonderful job.

Guy who comments on things on Nov 14, 2012


I'm thinking of his ability to work with already established characters, expansive worlds, and heavy CG. I think he'd be perfect.

Matt Peloquin on Nov 14, 2012


Exactly man. If they pick Johnson over considering Yates they're really throwing it away, Brad Bird and David Yates have never let the audience down either when it comes to Blockbuster directing, Johnson has on numerous occasions.

Guy who comments on things on Nov 14, 2012


This actually seems quite likely, looking at Johnston's resume. He's worked with Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm and Disney previously, plus I personally think he did a great job of Captain America. I could live with this! ;D

MikEy on Nov 13, 2012


Oh and apparently he's the guy who designed Fett's suit?! Impressive! Most impressive!

MikEy on Nov 13, 2012


You would think by the amount of news stories that this stupid movie is getting that it is the most important thing going on in the world right now instead of it actually being nothing more than the 7th movie in a franchise of mostly mediocre to terrible movies.

racquetman on Nov 13, 2012


Not Empire...still the best film.

Xerxexx on Nov 13, 2012


Best baby's dadda reveal ever.

mooreworthy on Nov 13, 2012


THE WOLFMAN was hardly Johnston's fault. He was brought in to clean up Mark Romanek's mess.

Rudie Obias on Nov 13, 2012


I'd say it was more just the studio's mess.

Leo Fleming on Nov 13, 2012


Who gives a shit, just make it already LMAO

Brad White on Nov 13, 2012


Favreau's quote sounded way more enthusiastic.

Parker Ray on Nov 13, 2012


We can't put 100% of the blame on Johnston for was doa from the start.

Xerxexx on Nov 13, 2012


exactly. he came in what like a week before filming began as a replacement?! That movie was an overmanaged, misguided mess before he ever came along.

Lincoln Smith on Nov 13, 2012


Based on his recent works I think this is a terrible idea. Captain America was a huge let down. The movie was so bland and uninspiring. The way it was shot was incredibly boring with boring camera shots done mostly looking up at the characters and quick cuts all around. I just don't see him having the vision and skill to truly do Star Wars justice. We need someone with a forward thinking and innovative mind that will be able to visualize the world in a beautiful way rather than such a small perspective like in Captain America. Cinematography is a big part of a great movie of this genre. If they do pick him I hope the cinematographer can make up for Johnston's lack of vision.

Dan W on Nov 13, 2012


Everyone might know Joe Johnston due to Captain America: the First Avenger and Jurassic Park III, but more importantly is that he worked on Star Wars. Yup, don't believe me... check out IMDB. He was the visual effects art director for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. Not to mention, the production designer for both Ewok movies and he was the art director of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Not to mention, that he was also the producer for Willow. In short, there's no reason why it shouldn't be Joe Johnston directing Episode VII... he is the most obvious choice. I will be very suprised if he doesn't get the job.

DarthVerous on Nov 13, 2012


I understand all that but being a designer and director are two totally different things. Being creative artistically for Johnston doesn't seem to translate over to his creativity as a director. His movies are very middle of the road and bland and that is exactly what we don't want for Star Wars. He will just go with the flow and not take anything to the next level.

Dan W on Nov 14, 2012


Then hire him back on as the visual effects director but not at the helm! We need an old school art director who will suggest practical effects rather than a cgi fest but his films lack the are flat and lack the emotional depth needed for a Star Wars film. Now he spoke a year ago about making a Boba Fett spin off movie and I may be up for letting him handle that. But as far as Episode VII goes they might as well get Lucas back if they're going this route

Me again on Nov 14, 2012


Johnston is a solid, if predictable choice. They should choose a relative unknown, like Irvin Kershner was.

Lincoln Smith on Nov 13, 2012


Ha, The Wolfman is actually the only Johnston movie I like. Talk about underrated. Now The Rocketeer - THAT fucking sucks.

nightgoat72 on Nov 13, 2012


I thought they wanted to leave the franchise to younger filmmakers, Joe Johnston is 62...

Josh on Nov 13, 2012


Noooooooo!!! Not Joe Johnston! Don't get me wrong I love Rocketeer and October Sky, even Jumanji brings great childhood memories. But the rest of his films have put me right to sleep...Hildalgo=snooze fest Wolfman...paaaaleeezeeee. Capt was watchable but still put me to sleep! JP 3 was such a letdown I don't even want to talk about it. This contradicts the whole pass it down to the next generation theory because he's like 61 and been around for a long time. He gets props for Boba Fett's costume but that's it. And as far as the safety not garenteed director, just his smug look makes me think he'd turn Star Wars to a pretentious emo art house flick. Here comes that bad feeling again

Lip service on Nov 13, 2012


Johnston is the master of making movies look like and sound like the source material (JP3/Cap) but they don't feel like it. He's a studio's dream and a true fan's nightmare. No doubt Cap and JP looked like they should but it's just the rest of his movie doesn't feel right. The words just come out of the actor's mouths. The characters feel wooden (especially side characters). To me it feels likes his movies just go through the motions. He can't make an iconic movie like Captain America and Jurassic Park 3 should have been.

si1ver on Nov 14, 2012


Couldn't agree with you more!

Me again on Nov 14, 2012


U gotta understand though disney will be watching this unfold and so will lucas so if this guy won't live up especially in the beginning i'm sure the right steps will be taken place. Theres so much $$$ in these movies their just not gona let it slip through the cracks.

Christopher Philip Cinquegrano on Nov 14, 2012


Brad Bird or David Yates will work. Or the guy who directed Moon. ( that was a good movie)

Lip service on Nov 13, 2012


Duncan Jones!!! I'd be very happy with him getting chosen!

Greg dinskisk on Nov 13, 2012


It's going to be Johnston, mark my fucking words - just you see.

sedna on Nov 13, 2012


Cap was a mess though...didn't like the movie..but I would blame writers...

David Darida on Nov 13, 2012


Ben Affleck would be the best choice.

John on Nov 13, 2012


This is also the guy responsible for The Rocketeer...

Abelardo Gutierrez Chavez on Nov 13, 2012


At this point, Colin Trevorrow is my biggest hope. I loved Safety Not Guaranteed, and I really want Disney to give an indie small-time director with big ideas a shot.

Greg dinskisk on Nov 13, 2012


Joe Johnston came in VERY late in the game for The Wolfman...that movie was a complete mess before he came on board.

Chris Groves on Nov 13, 2012


It has to be Jon Favreau or Brad Bird!! Give Joe Johnson the Star Wars Origins: Boba Fett project.....

Suck em & See on Nov 13, 2012


hidalgo was a beautiful movie so lett Joe Johnston do it!

avi on Nov 13, 2012


I say any director they pick can do it. It's more about the story and dialogue. The writer is the most important thing at this point. This is because it's already clear what doesn't work. Look at the difference between the Avengers and John Carter, there were all kinds of jaw dropping set pieces and action in both, but only one worked.

GreedoReborn on Nov 13, 2012


in my opinion, i don't see too much freedom given to the director they choose. if the studio picks a young director, they will constantly be up the director's ass because it's such a HUGE moneymaker. if the studio picks an older director, they will constantly be up the directors ass because it's a HUGE moneymaker. either way, the studio will rule any say-so. the studio won't care about the franchise unless it makes them a billion. If the studio had any balls, they should get lesser known actors like in the original Star Wars. Would that still bring in a billion?

phantomrockcity on Nov 13, 2012


Any votes out there for Michael Bay? As we all know he awesome because he listens to the internet.

Bike May on Nov 14, 2012


Michael Bay is that you? Trying to get votes for yourself again? I'd rather it be directed by a brick wall than you buddy.

Me again on Nov 14, 2012


I think Edgar Wright would be a good choice.

Han Solo on Nov 14, 2012


Joe Johnston might be one of the most overhyped cliche' action directors still making movies today. They might as well hire him and Steven Sommers together and just turn it into a special effects orgasm with iconic characters and a plot with the depth of a hospital bed pan. I honestly thought Captain America was terrible, and in the Marvel franchise its very close to the bottom of the barrel. Not for lack of good source material, but because Johnston turned the whole film into one cliche' set piece after another. Even the Rocketeer (arguably his best film), as much as I loved it as a kid, isn't really all that great. Honey I shrunk the Kids might be the only movie he's made that can stand on its own as being a stand out film. Johnston would be what would be expected of this franchise. It would maintain the mediocre film making that has been wrapped around the majority of the films (especially the prequels). The franchise as always been a fantastic storyline with iconic characters, and imaginative visually stunning effects...told with the most mediocre acting and direction as possible. Instead of taking the franchise in a new, modern, and improved direction. Johnston would be the perfect director to maintain the status quo of mediocrity that has always plagued the Star Wars franchise.

Aero on Nov 14, 2012

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