Finding the Right Fit for Star Wars Episode VII

Alyssa Rosenberg pushes back against the idea of handing Joss Whedon the keys to the pop culture kingdom, arguing against the creator of Buffy and Firefly running the next Star Wars movie.  According to her, Whedon has a few weaknesses that would hamper a revitalizing of the franchise.  He’s regularly indifferent to the dramatic power of actual action sequences, and he has a peculiar style for writing witty dialogue that wouldn’t translate well to the likes of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

Rosenberg also suggests that some of the writers who have worked with Whedon, Jane Espenson or Marti Noxon for example, may be better at bringing a much needed feminist sensibility to the Star Wars universe, and she prefers a director with skills and perspectives better suited to making that universe come alive, such as Kathryn Bigelow or Patty Jenkins.

All good points, but, like Alex Knapp, I fancy Whedon taking a shot at the series.  At least at some point.  Star Wars provides a vast enough territory to accommodate multiple stories from diverse filmmakers.  I would rather not see the franchise fall into the hands of another George Lucas whose narrow vision orders everything.  Let us have twenty new loosely-related movies, each with its own writer and director doing mostly his or her or their own thing.  For this next project, however, I’m inclined to agree with Rosenberg that Whedon wouldn’t be the best fit.  Kathryn Bigelow or Brad Bird would be wiser choices.

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Kyle Cupp

Kyle Cupp is a freelance writer who blogs about culture, philosophy, politics, postmodernism, and religion. He is a contributor to the group Catholic blog Vox Nova. Kyle lives with his wife, son, and daughter in North Texas. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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25 Responses

  1. Jeff No-Last-Name says:

    Jane, please, not [ugh] Marti. Jane wrote some of the best Buffy stories; Marti is, to me at least, associated with Season Sux.

  2. Morat20 says:

    I don’t think Whedon’s a good fit. Star Wars works best with a combination of excellent characters and interactions against a wide, deep expanse of scene.

    Whedon’s Firefly was tight and narrow. Good, don’t get me wrong. Just not..expansive enough.

    Peter Jackson’s got the eye for scene and grandeur, but not really sure he can handle the character part as well.

    OTOH, as long as Michael Bay is given savage electric shocks every time he even thinks about it, we’ll probably be okay.

    • Kyle Cupp says:

      Yeah, I have to vote “No” on Jackson. He makes pretty pictures, but that’s about the extent of his talent.

      • Morat20 says:

        I dunno. I mean, he managed Lord of the Rings which was basically unfilmable.

        I’d absolutely love to see any Star Wars movie combine his eye for vista and setting with his ridiculously OCD attention to detail (the “Makeing of” stuff on LoTRs is crazy. Expensive, but so worth it).

        He was also pretty good about not using CGI for the sake of CGI, which killed Lucas in the end.

        I don’t think I’d want him writing the script. JJ Abrams did well with the latest Star Trek (lens flare aside), but that was too…action-y and not epic enough. (In the sense of being vast, of the feeling you’re seeing only a tiny slice of amuch larger, grander whole)

        I don’t think Jackson would do too bad. Abrams or Whedon either, for that matter. I don’t think any of the three are perfect fits for the material, but who knows?

        Depends a lot of the script, the support staff — Lucas would have done better (did do better in the past!) by having someone else direct and acting more as producer/cinematographer/special effects guy).

        At this point I think I’d actually like to see a ‘reboot’ of Star Wars more than a sequel. Or set it well back in time.

        Or heck, hire the guys who did the trailers for ST:TOR — the Deceived trailer was the best five minutes of Star Wars I’ve seen in two decades. 🙂

    • DensityDuck says:

      That’s a good point about Whedon. It could be argued that the most intense sequences of “The Avengers” were the ones involving Bruce Banner in a small room.

  3. DensityDuck says:

    How about Nicholas Meyer? (Wrath of Khan, Undiscovered Country)

  4. George Turner says:

    Clint Eastwood.

  5. Tod Kelly says:

    All of these are too predictable. I’m waiting for the Wes Anderson Star Wars movie.

  6. Stillwater says:

    He’s regularly indifferent to the dramatic power of actual action sequences

    Isn’t that a benefit given the franchise?

    and he has a peculiar style for writing witty dialogue that wouldn’t translate well to the likes of Han Solo and Princess Leia.

    Well, if you think that the witty dialogue of Hans and other was one of the really great things in the first 3, then that’s only a plus. Especially given then great dialogue Lucas generated when forsook talented screenwriters in the last 3.

  7. Nob Akimoto says:

    Forget Americans. Americans can’t do this shit right.

    Since so much of Star Wars was inspired (cinematically) by Japanese jidai geki, why not get the hottest name in that field right now?

    Takashi Miike, he of the new Harakiri remake, and of the Thirteen Assassins (which was a bloody fantastic film.) He’s also done a lot of schlocky and/or cultish hits along with B-movies. He has the right sensibilities for it.

  8. George Turner says:

    I think they should go for a British director and forego all the CGI in favor of long, drawn out dialog like you’d find in “The English Patient” or “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” instead of the usual Hollywood fluff.

    General Velorman: “Lord Vader, I’m suprised you chose to grace us with your presence. Care for a cup of tea?”
    Darth Vader: “General Velorman, I’ve got an incipient rebellion forming against me on the planet below. My original plan has been delayed now that the ground assault forces haven’t arrived, and my communications with Imperial Headquarters have become intermittent. Do you really believe any of that can be helped by a cup of tea?”
    General Velorman: “It couldn’t hurt, my Lord.”
    Darth Vader: “Very well, then. What kind?”
    General Velorman: “We have Asbodian Peoke or Black Earl Veers. I’m afraid our choices are rather limited this far outside the core systems.”
    Darth Vader: “Well yes, the rebels have put a crimp in our supply lines ever since the incident on Kessel, which, rest assured, will be rectified forthwith. How is the sugar holding out?”
    General Velorman: “Quite well, and General Faragon’s wife has a new maid who is a genius at scrounging up the most delightful treacles from the Corris sector.”
    Darth Vader: “Good, is she? Would she be half-Banolorian on her mother’s side?”
    General Velorman: “Ah, yes she would. You know her then, or know of her.”
    Darth Vader: “Yes, Sarina Dirst, my protocol droid once worked on a temporary basis for her cousin, Emily, I believe. Horribly out of his depth in that job, I’m afraid, but there was little else the Empire could do for her at the time.”
    General Velorman: “I see. Well, be that as it may, I’m sure you’ll find the Earl Veers delightful, at least as far as teas in this sector.”

    And on and one for two and a half hours till the surprise in the big reveal, the tea was actually coming from Redax IX to avoid import duties, and Emily turns out to be Sarina’s half-sister by marriage instead of her cousin.

  9. Alan Scott says:

    The way I see it, whoever helms the new film needs to be able to do two things:

    1) continue the visual tradition of star wars. The Kurasawa-inspired planetary romance with dogfights: Twin suns setting in a desert, cantinas filled with smoke and strange aliens, and death star trench runs. That’s half of star wars right there.

    2) Ditch (most of) the Jedi. Seriously. Most of us here are huge nerds, so the idea of these scholarly knights whose order has protected the galaxy for millenia and their hidden hate-driven rivals appeals to us. But the fact is, Han Solo is more the soul of Star Wars than Luke Skywalker ever was. We cared about Luke because he was a farmboy made good, not because he was a master of the force. The Luke/Vader redemption story was the weakest part of the original trilogy. And the Prequels focused on nothing but Jedi, and suffered miserably for it.

    • Morat20 says:

      Jedi as wandering Samurai in a fallen world, flatly, more interesting than Jedi when they ruled the universe.

      Do Rurouni Kenshin as Star Wars, instead. Grey Jedi, tired and broken from war, trying to find peace.

      The whole Sith/Jedi thing as backdrop, history to the story instead of central.