Directors like Favreau and Abrams respond as 'Star Wars' helmer search continues

As rumors fly, filmmakers openly discuss the idea of taking up the mantle

<p>JJ Abrams, seen here at the 'Mission:&nbsp;Impossible -&nbsp;Ghost Protocol' premiere, certainly isn't afraid to play with iconic properties, but 'Star Wars' may be the offer he refuses.</p>

JJ Abrams, seen here at the 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' premiere, certainly isn't afraid to play with iconic properties, but 'Star Wars' may be the offer he refuses.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

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The first time I ever spoke to JJ Abrams for any length of time, it was during the early days of pre-production on 2009's "Star Trek," and we spent as much of the phone call talking about "Star Wars" as we did anything else.

The comments he made to Hollywood Life certainly echo the sentiments he shared with me that afternoon.  We talked about why he was tackling something as well-examined and iconic as "Star Trek," and he explained that when he was growing up, he was aware of "Trek" and enjoyed it in a passing sort of way, but that "Star Wars" was the thing that he couldn't get enough of, the thing that really turned him on to the potential of world-building.  He felt like with "Trek," he had more room to play because he liked the iconography, but wasn't overly reverent towards it.  He was able to see ways to twist things, to try new things with the characters, whereas he felt like "Star Wars" was something that he would be afraid to change or screw up at all.

In the same article, Jon Favreau sounds far more interested in the gig, and in some ways, Favreau is exactly what they need.  I think Favreau has been edging towards this sort of giant canvass movie, and when he was attached to "John Carter of Mars," he had some huge ambitions for it.  When he says "We'll see," I think it is crystal clear that he would take the call if it came.

Colin Trevorrow, on the other hand, sounds like he is being far more political in his answer, and it makes me wonder how much credibility there is to the rumor that he's one of the guys Lucasfilm has been talking to.  It's an off-the-wall choice no matter what you thought of "Safety Not Guaranteed," his romantic comedy from this year's Sundance Film Festival.  Trevorrow has the right attitude about how important the universe is to several generations of audiences now.  It sounds like he must have had some part in the conversations so far, but who knows how close he is to the top of the list?

I expect that Lucasfilm will make many choices between now and the release of the film that will make people wonder what's going on or why they'd make those choices.  I don't mind being surprised, because it sounds to me like they're trying to do this right, and like they've been working towards these announcements for a while now.

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Drew McWeeny
Film Editor
A respected critic and commentator for fifteen years, Drew McWeeny helped create the online film community as "Moriarty" at Ain't It Cool News, and now proudly leads two budding Film Nerds in their ongoing movie education.
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