Del Toro Passed 'Star Wars: Episode VII' & Wanted Brad Bird to Direct

January 7, 2013
Source: The Playlist

Guillermo del Toro

Another day, and another director has revealed his decision to not direct Star Wars: Episode VII. Though we haven't heard that Hellboy and Pan's Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro was in consideration to direct the sci-fi sequel that has been under much scrutiny since being announced last fall, the filmmaker talked to The Playlist and revealed that he passed on the project already. The director said, "It was just a phone call, it didn't go past that, it was very nice to be asked, but believe it or not, I'm busy enough. It was very flattering." We're aware of how busy del Toro has been for years, so we're not surprised.

So does the director, who has also done plenty of producing, have any ideas for who should direct? Well, sadly the only name he offers as his favorite option is a director who is already out of the running. But it's also the name that many fans (including ourselves) were championing. Del Toro says, "I think the fans deserve somebody that is just going to immerse themselves completely. As a geek, I would have loved to see Brad Bird take it." And that's a geek who is well versed in both Star Wars and filmmaking, so that's quite the endorsement. And as we learned last November, Bird took himself out of the running as he will be busy with his original sci-fi project 1952, and that's not just a codename for Star Wars.

So now what? Well, it's 2013, and the film's release (which is presumably the summer of 2015), is just two and a half years away. Production will need to begin sometime this year in order to meet the 2015 release window. That means sometime in the near future we should have some solid news about who will be at the helm of this new sequel. Michael Arndt, the writer of Toy Story 3 and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is scripting Episode VII, and delivered a treatment for the whole new trilogy. Meanwhile, while writers Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg were originally thought to be tackling Episode VIII and Episode IX, they're supposedly working on unidentified Star Wars spin-off films. Let's hope Disney clears this up soon.

Find more posts: Development, Movie News, Star Wars



Del Toro seems like the nicest guy in the world. For all the misfortune he has had, his attitude is as positive as it is commendable.

DAVIDPD on Jan 7, 2013


MIssfortune? I am not aware of this, please tell,

Chris McDermid on Jan 7, 2013


Well, it's pretty well documented on this very website what happened. Years ago, like five or six now, Del Toro was slated to direct/produce/write The Hobbit film, when it was still one picture. Then NEW LINE CINEMA went through the ringer, and THE HOBBIT was almost shuttered, it went into limbo for what seemed like two years, and when New Line was saved, Del Toro was too tired and left the project. Then Del Toro went to make AT THE MOUNTAINS OF MADNESS, his passion project for the last ten years, based on the short story by HP Lovecraft. It was looking good, he even got Tom Cruise to sign on as the lead, but when Del Toro would not budge on the R rating and large budget, he lost the deal. So then he moved on to PACIFIC RIM, which had some of its own debacles, but is now on track for release this year! So there it is my friend.

DAVIDPD on Jan 7, 2013


That I was aware of but the context your post appeared to me as was that he was or had experienced something that had hit him or his family such as a tragedy, thanks for the reply.

Chris McDermid on Jan 8, 2013


Good news then, from what I read of Del Toro's ideas on changes for The Hobbit he would have come into Star Wars and made Wookies hairless....

Steven on Jan 7, 2013


After watching Cloud Atlas yesterday, the Wachowskys would now be my dream option for this movie, how awesome would that be? (Gotta agree with Alex on 2012 film of the year...when are we going to see your top10 btw?) I'm sorry, I know a lot of you want a newbie to do it (I still don't understand why) but I just don't see the potential in Bird. MI4 wasn't that great :/

Ricardo_PT on Jan 7, 2013


A relatively unknown film maker should helm the new Star Wars because their career should be defined by this project in that it should "make them or break them." I want a film maker who's going to be awake at 4 AM reviewing dailies and re-writing scenes because they know if they screw this up then they'll be doing Old Spice commercials for the rest of their life. If they choose a director with an expansive resume who commands a 100 million dollar salary then they don't have much motivation to make the film a success because they're going to be offered another project regardless of how well this one goes. I want a film maker who is good with smaller budgets, has proven to be able to work with large ensemble casts, and believes in using CG only where physical stunts are impossible.

Matt Peloquin on Jan 7, 2013


You're either an horrible person or a evil genius, i am yet to decide :p In all seriousness, I understand your points, but for me you have to pick someone who is a top filmmaker but still puts all that effort you talked about in everymovie he does. Come on, there isn't a truly good director who thinks like that (I have a paycheck and other projects, I can screw this up), good directors give it all for every project in pursuing of that one masterpiece. I don't want Michael Bay to direct this, I'm not talking about "those" directors. IMO, this should go for someone with a very solid filmography and unique vision who knows how to work with a source material.

Ricardo_PT on Jan 7, 2013


You're probably right that most film makers, regardless of their stature in the industry, are professional and will put forward a respectable product. I just don't want to take any risks with Star Wars and I want a constant voice in the back of the film makers head saying "If I screw this up my life is over." I don't want to watch 3 hours of my childhood being raped again like I did when Indiana Jones was recently sodomized.

Matt Peloquin on Jan 7, 2013


Joe Johnson inside front runner...

OverLord on Jan 7, 2013


What about Dave Filoni (from the Clone Wars series)?

idkk on Jan 7, 2013


Hmm. Maybe second or third unit Director(this is still a huge job, even if you might not know what this is), but I won't be looking forward to him directing a part in the new trilogy.

David Banner on Jan 7, 2013


Sorry still with Joss Whedon on this. T man has a talent for making people care about the characters, knows Sci Fi, Is a very talented Director, Brought in the Worlds 3rd top grossing film of all time, and has a Solid relationship with Disney, and in several interviews pre Avengers said he loves the Star Wars Universe. Simply put this is the man for the job.

Chris McDermid on Jan 7, 2013


Whedon could barely pull off the Avengers. No way he should be allowed to get near Star Wars.

Dirty on Jan 7, 2013


Excuse Me? Barely pulled it off? The movie was fanatastic, and is the third highest grossing film in the world. What the hell more do you want? You tell me right here and now what directorial mistakes he made? Convince me! What about Firefly? Considered one of the best pieces of Sci Fi ever to come out? I think you sir need to back up what your saying instead of just flaming.

Chris McDermid on Jan 7, 2013


I like Whedon, but how much a film makes is not a gauge on how good the film actually is. I did like Firely, it was very under-rated, but I thought Avengers was a bit silly, but, to be fair very like the comic books as some of my superhero loving friends said. I doubt the movies will be any good, but it's an easy bet for the studio to keep making them as so much has already been invested in the movies.

Carpola on Jan 7, 2013


The avengers was awesome and the best blockbuster of the year, but no way Firefly is one of the best sci fi movies ever, just no. But I agree, he would probably do an amazing star wars flick

Ricardo_PT on Jan 7, 2013


I believe Chris meant Firefly the TV Series, not Serenity, the film. The series is one of the best Sci-Fi TV series ever for sure, but the film, yeah, was excellent, but not in the top 10 for sure.

DAVIDPD on Jan 7, 2013


Ups, you're right, my bad 😉 thanks

Ricarfo_PT on Jan 7, 2013


Brad Bird Just For Terminator 5 Guillermo del Toro Just For Pinoccio And one thing to mr.DelToro: Leave the Ghosts (If you want win dont stick to one thing especially in Horror Genre Yes untolds are too many but Even THE MASTERS like John Carpenter or Wes Craven play with Genre from Halloween to Escape From NewYork From Scream To Nightmare Elm)

Ehsan Davodi on Jan 7, 2013


Let Peter Jackson take it and glomn together another time killing monster 11 hour long trilogy with even less editing.

LetPeter on Jan 7, 2013


I think it'll be very interesting once the director is announced. I'm sure there will be both celebrations and temper tantrums. I just think it's fun watching this whole thing unfold. And Del Toro? That would have been cool.

PBGray on Jan 7, 2013


GDT has it right. I still have dreams of Brad Bird directed light saber fights and force battles. GDT would be awesome too. "believe it or not, I'm busy enough." We believe it. lol

si1ver on Jan 8, 2013


Del Toro passed? So much for Ron Perlman's dreams of being a Jedi.

Jedi on Jan 8, 2013

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