Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson and A Galaxy Far, Far Away

So while I didn’t get a chance to mention it because it was during finals–when we basically shut down around here–but I did get to see the brand new Godzilla film directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe and Bryan Cranston. I liked the movie just fine, but I found it way too dreary for my tastes.

A Godzilla film should be full of over-the-top craziness and lots of monster fighting/action. This movie…really didn’t have either of that. Instead, they went for a muted, horror vibe similar to the original film. Fine by Edwards & co., but not enough people think of that film when they think Godzilla. I also thought Watanabe was particularly under-served by his material.

That said, when the news broke after the film’s opening weekend that Edwards was going to direct the first Star Wars spinoff film due in 2016 (with a script by Gary Whitta), I was still excited. For all my misgivings with it, I couldn’t deny that in Godzilla, Edwards demonstrated an affinity for staging big action scenes and mounting disaster.

If a leaked toy list that supposedly lines up to the films is correct, Edwards will be telling the origin of Boba Fett. I say “origin”–more like how the little kid from Attack of the Clones (my favorite of the prequels, incidentally) came to be the stoic bounty hunter we meet in The Empire Strikes Back. His aesthetic seems perfect for that and I think it’ll work out.

Josh Trank, of Chronicle and the Fantastic Four reboot, is also directing a spinoff film, presumably the origin of Han Solo. I haven’t seen Chronicle, so I can’t speak to Trank’s skill, but the fact that he directed a nifty little Star Wars fan film several years ago that’s pretty clever in under 2 minutes fills me with confidence.

But what really excites is the news that broke last Friday: Rian Johnson, director of the insanely great Looper and the visionary Brick, will be directing Episode VIII and potentially IX. That’s incredibly exciting for a variety of reasons but for me, it boils down to one.

Johnson is a director/writer who is incredibly gifted at writing and staging dialogue. Considering that Lawrence Kasdan, writer of Empire and Return of the Jedi, is consulting on the new trilogy, I’m hopeful Johnson may soak up some lessons from him. That’s what I want to see: a Star Wars film that crackles and sparks with as much energy as Johnson’s own films do.

And hey, since they’re close friends, maybe a Joseph Gordon-Levitt cameo could be in the offering? Only time will tell.

 

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