There’s no denying the level of inspiration that Star Wars has afforded on the media business. Nearly every director/producer/writer/actor/runner/caterer/best boy has a story regarding how it all started for them the first time they saw Episode IV and how the Saga has always been a continuing source of inspiration throughout their careers (True story: I have pursued a career in audio engineering because of Ben Burtt and Skywalker Sound). The sheer scope of techniques and narratives available in any of the films is enough to continue this tradition of inspiration for years to come, and from what we know so far it doesn’t look like this well of ideas will ever dry up!
Drinking deep from this Toydarian Spring has proved to be hugely beneficial for some of the most prominent and talented directors and writers currently working in media, and one such writer/director has always had an outspoken affinity for Star Wars. Ever since there were rumblings for choice of Episode VII directors, Joss Whedon was the one that caused the biggest stir with the fans. His history of writing for some of the most successful (and short lived) TV and Film projects is testament enough to his talents and he is certainly no stranger to Sci-Fi and Fantasy. He creates universes filled with humorous, warm and butt-kicking characters and does what most other studios fail to do by having strong female leads that introduce a broader range of character development and fun into his works. Some of his TV works include the fantastic Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the underrated Dollhouse, and of course the much missed Firefly, and some movie writing credits go to Alien: Resurrection, co-writing duties on The Cabin in the Woods, Toy Story and uncredited treatment for X-Men, and of course the recent bout of the hugely profitable Avengers series which he also directed. But now that he has officially stepped down from directing duties for Avengers, what’s next? Surely the Star Wars Saga beckons for this renaissance man?
During the recent publicity rounds for his latest Marvel Studios release Avengers: Age of Ultron, IGN asked him if he’d be up to the task:
“Right now I’d be interested in a long nap! But are you kidding? It’s Star Wars! It’s always going to be Star Wars!”
He went on with his reaction to the trailer:
“It’s pretty exciting – I have to say. I saw the new trailer for Star Wars as everyone else had. ‘It’s good to be home.’ But at the same time we’re all painfully aware that at some point we’ll be running on fumes. I love working with the characters I grew up reading about but we need to create the characters that other people are going to grow up reading about.”
This gives an idea of how he would treat the stories for new Star Wars films, choosing to leave old faces behind in favour of new characters that can be expanded on for the future of the franchise. This wouldn’t be the first time he’s openly suggested focusing on updated characters as he was previously interviewed by Digital Spy back in 2013 during the press release for his directorial period piece “Much Ado About Nothing”:
“I wouldn’t go back. I’d go forward. I would want to create characters that would resonate the way that [the original trilogy’s characters] did. Not that I wouldn’t want to see them… I’d be excited to. But I also feel like I would want to explore a very different part of that universe.”
It seems that he may also have some issues with the ending to The Empire Strikes back. Arguably the strongest entry in the Original Trilogy, Whedon casts aside all rhetoric and points out a flaw he doesn’t find appealing at all which he discussed with Entertainment Weekly, also in 2013:
“[Empire Strikes Back] committed the cardinal sin of not actually ending. Which at the time I was appalled by and I still think it was a terrible idea.”
When asked why he thought it was a bad idea, Whedon responded:
“Well, it’s not an ending. It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”
It seems that this was a time when speculation was making the rounds and he was a prime target for his opinions on sitting in the directors chair for Episode VII. He may or may not have been approached by Disney but he has publicly asserted his interest for the role, which would make many fans very happy as some are still left with a huge feeling of slight apprehension about JJ Abrams and his history with another-space-saga-which-shall-not-be-named. But considering we now know to have Rian Johnson to write and direct Episode VIII, Gareth Edwards taking the Anthology series off with Rogue One and Josh Trank on board with another Anthology episode we can clearly see that Lucasfilm are taking the right steps by opening up a wide range of writing and directing styles for Star Wars. That’s what made the Original Trilogy unique, that’s what the future will hold in store, and just think of how good it would be to see Joss Whedon write and direct Episode IX, the last of the upcoming new trilogy episodes? Going by his huge range of work to date, that would be an incredible ending to the new future for Star Wars.
Fun fact: several Star Wars references are in Firefly, including an Imperial Shuttle in the first episode! Top left.
What do you guys think? Joss for a future Episode, be it Trilogy or Anthology? If it was Anthology, any character story you’d like to see him work with? Comment below with your ideas!