So, everyone on the Internet has an opinion as to which director should take on Star Wars Episode VII. We even did it ourselves the other day. We thought it might be more fun to talk about the candidates that everyone else likes, but we think shouldn't be given a second thought. This is just for fun--remember that we like all of these directors, or we wouldn't say they're a seemingly-obvious choice for one of the great jobs in Hollywood.
Kevin Smith Why he sounds perfect: He's the ultimate Star Wars fanboy, has experience directing an action film with an all-star cast (Cop Out) and a great rapport with the fans. He's Also, his whole "Death Star contractors" monlogue in Clerks was influential enough to make its way all the way up to Lucas and be addressed in the Star Wars DVD commentaries. Why he shouldn't be the guy: Even Smith admits that he barely directs a movie; he's more of the "point the camera at things and walk away" school. He's also seen diminishing returns in terms of box office and critical reception in essentially everything he's done since Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back in 2001. There have been a number of pretty good reviews of Red State, but it was basically released only to theaters where Smith was doing speaking engagements, and so its box office is so insignificant as to basically be zero. Also, Cop Out.David Fincher
Why he sounds perfect: As the director of some of the best and best-reviewed movies in recent history, David Fincher has an ability to take the mundane and make it spectacular, and the spectacular and make it mundane. He's one of a handful of names that comes up with literally every new major motion picture property that becomes available and, if his involvement with The Goon is any indicator, he's a fanboy at heart, too. Why he shouldn't be the guy: As The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo proved, even Fincher is not the perfect fit for every project. While he had all the pieces in place for what should have been a spectacular hit on paper, it just didn't gel and now Sony is trying to figure out what to do with a franchise that was supposed to be one of the most lucrative in recent cinema history but which underperformed for them badly and cost a bunch of money to put together. Star Wars could be a similar mismatch for a director who tends to like to go dark and gritty; even in The Empire Strikes Back, a pretty dark chapter in the characters' history, the original trilogy filmmakers resisted that urge and it was the right decision...then and now.
Christopher Nolan Why he sounds perfect: Nolan, again one of those guys whose name comes up for every major project, revitalzed the Batman franchise and has made the only successful films in the last ten years based on DC Comics properties. Why he shouldn't be the guy: While they could go the Twilight/Harry Potter route with Star Wars Episode VII through IX and change directors every movie or two, it seems more likely that they will want someone who can shoot back to back to back and get the movies prepped to come out every year or two once they're shot. That requires a filmmaker who isn't so incredibly in-demand that you can't make him a better offer than he's getting elsewhere (not Nolan). It also requires a filmmaker for whom taking on this kind of project is such a dream come true that he's willing to step away from his personal projects for a while (also not Nolan, who made a bunch of standalone movies while doing Batman).
Ben Affleck Why he sounds perfect: With Argo set to take awards season by storm and a tidy pile of terrific movies under his belt, Affleck's name is starting to be bandied about for big projects, most notably Justice League. And he's definitely young enough, and new enough to directing, to be the "next generation of filmmakers" that George Lucas talks about. Why he shouldn't be the guy: Similar to Christopher Nolan, you'd probably never get the level of commitment out of him that you want. If he were to take on one of these films, it's unlikely that he'd take on three, given his hesitation to even discuss big franchise films in interviews and the like. He never actually denied that Warners reached out to him for Justice League, either--at least not as far as we know--and so it seems as though he's actually rejected the opportunity to pitch for one such project recently. He's also said that he's really only interested in directing films where he can star, and the idea of Affleck headlining a Star Wars movie probably gives any number of fans a cold chill. You also can't ignore the fact that the dude did five Kevin Smith films (and a cameo in a sixth) and I don't ever remember him making a Star Wars reference on-camera. That's just weird.
Joss Whedon Why he sounds perfect: The Avengers, and Firefly. Why he shouldn't be the guy: His Marvel commitments. At the end of the day, The Avengers was a massive success, both critically and financially. Whedon on more Marvel stuff is a slam-dunk. And even if there's a vocal group of fans out there who think Whedon on Star Wars would be a slam-dunk as well, any new project comes with some amount of risk. It just doesn't make sense for Disney, either creatively or financially, to take him off of projects he's so well-suited for and throw him into a new one, where it could be absolutely perfect but it could also be a disappointment.