Great filmmakers crafted the live-action theatrical films. Who would win the award for best director in a Star Wars film?
With award season upon us, Solo: A Star Wars Story appears to be destined for very few (if any) awards. Since Lucasfilm will not collect any major awards this season, we will hand out an award to one of the great filmmakers who crafted one of the live-action theatrical films. Who would win the award for best director in a Star Wars film?
Seven directors have taken the helm in the history of the storied franchise. George Lucas, of course, has directed the most films with a grand total of four. Irvin Kershner, Richard Marquand, J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards, and Ron Howard join Lucas as Star Wars directors.
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First, let’s narrow the list to five nominees. Immediately, Lucas’ direction of Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are eliminated for overall poor performance.
Richard Marquand’s Return of the Jedi and Ron Howard’s Solo are solid directing performances. However, they do not match up with the rest of the people on this list. In fact, Howard faced the most difficult position coming in to save the project after Phil Lord and Christopher Miller was fired. But, nothing profound came out of the Solo thrill ride.
Lucas’ Revenge of the Sith is by far the best of the prequel films. However, the acting is quite poor despite having fantastic actors and actresses (Hayden Christensen excluded). It simply does not compare to other five remaining.
Therefore, our nominees for Best Direction in a Star Wars film are George Lucas (A New Hope), Irvin Kershner (Empire Strikes Back), J.J. Abrams (The Force Awakens), Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi).
George Lucas – A New Hope
Lucas’ vision came through in the 1977 original. Despite not being taken seriously for his “kids movie,” Lucas crafted the quintessential Star Wars film. Lucas made Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher into household names while combining their performances with Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness.
Irvin Kershner – Empire Strikes Back
Kershner faced the most daunting task in filmmaking, creating a memorable sequel. The vast majority of directors do not make a film that lives up to the impossible expectations of a sequel. Kershner did not just live up to those expectations. He exceeded them.
J.J. Abrams – The Force Awakens
Like Kershner, Abrams needed to live up to sky high expectations from fans who waited about 30 years to see Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford take to the screen. Despite being criticized for essentially making a remake of A New Hope, he sent fans home satisfied.
Gareth Edwards(r) with Gary Whitta(l); Starwars.com
Gareth Edwards – Rogue One
Edwards needed to make something unique and different but yet feel like the rest of the Star Wars films. He succeeded in making a motion picture that told the story everyone wanted to know: the Darth Star’s stolen plans. Edwards used enough references to the initial saga without plagiarizing.
Rian Johnson – The Last Jedi
Johnson’s inclusion in this list will divide the readers down the middle. Critics believed that Johnson’s work in The Last Jedi was groundbreaking. However, he alienated many fans. His film and direction went well outside of the box. It ruffled a few feathers. No one ever made a true impact anywhere that did not go against convention.
And the winner is…IRVIN KERSHNER.
Kershner directed arguably the best Star Wars film and made a sequel that outdid the original. All five gentlemen deserved this honor and each has reasons why they were the best. But, Kershner delivered brilliant performances from the famous trio of Hamill, Ford, and Fisher while properly pacing a tremendous plot.
Who would you vote for as best Star Wars director? Who should take the helm in the future?