When the Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm a few months ago, events were set in motion to create the next installment of the wildly popular Star Wars franchise. Series creator George Lucas, who will serve as a creative consultant, has already provided Disney with a completely original story to use. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, whose production credits include Jurassic Park and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, will be an executive producer. Academy Award-winner Michael Arndt, whose screenwriting credits include the critically-acclaimed Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, has been brought on to write the script. The biggest remaining task is naming a director, and Jon Favreau would be the best for the job. Here are seven reasons why:
1) Favreau has had a tremendous amount of success with the Marvel franchise. At the helm of Iron Man and Iron Man 2, and as a producer on The Avengers, Jon Favreau has proven himself capable of taking on huge movies with long-established histories and making them work. Until The Avengers was released, Iron Man was considered to be the best of the Marvel universe films to-date. He can pull together action and drama with enough comedy intermingled to create a successful film, and this would be necessary for the next Star Wars.
2) He has a well-established relationship with Disney and others related to the franchise. With Marvel being a part of the Disney media empire, Favreau has had a lot of experience interacting with the Disney hierarchy. He is even working with them right now on a film involving the Magic Kingdom theme park. Combined with his previous work with others involved in the franchise, including potential star Harrison Ford, he has a leg up that many other directors do not have and this will allow him to better take charge of the project.
3) He knows how to reach a wide-ranging audience. Jon Favreau turned a comic book story into a successful blockbuster that appealed to nearly every demographic and made a Will Ferrell comedy into what is more often being looked at as a new holiday classic. Star Wars has a huge fanbase already, and the director will have the task of maintaining that while appealing to a younger generation perhaps not as attached to Star Wars as previous ones. Given his success with the Iron Man stories and Elf, Favreau has the expertise to direct Star Wars with the right balance.
4) He can handle big, complicated storylines. Whether he is directing Tony Stark through the crowded and complex Marvel universe or leading the Mathesons on an adventure through the dystopian future of Revolution, Favreau has shown that he can work within big stories while not losing focus on the individuals that drive these stories. For Star Wars, a skill like this is crucial. Whether working with established and well-known characters or introducing us to a new crop of heroes and villains, the director will need to keep sight on these characters while dealing with the big and complex history of the Star Wars universe. Favreau has the skill to develop the characters we all love in Star Wars while also providing us with the intergalactic intrigue, politics, and battles that we expect to see.
5) The man knows how to share his turf with other highly-skilled and successful artists. Whoever directs Star Wars will have to deal with creator George Lucas, producer Kathleen Kennedy, and the tons of other great minds attached to the franchise and Lucasfilm. Favreau has plenty of experience sharing his work and creations with other bigshots ... including JJ Abrams on Revolution, Joss Whedon on The Avengers, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg on Cowboys & Aliens, and Stan Lee on Iron Man. He knows how to successfully work with big egos and established artists, and that skill will be needed for this director.
6) Favreau is leaps ahead of the rest of the competition. With directors like Spielberg and Abrams taking themselves out of the running, the two most common names tossed around in addition to Favreau are David Fincher, whose credits include Fight Club and The Social Network, and Matthew Vaughn, whose recent successes include Kick-Ass and X-Men: First Class. Fincher, who is one of Hollywood's most capable directors, cut his teeth working on Return of the Jedi for Industrial Light & Magic and is close to Kathleen Kennedy, who produced The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. However, he tends to focus on darker, grittier, introspective aspects of stories and would likely not fit well with the direction that Disney wants for the Star Wars franchise.
Vaughn is one of the stronger up-and-commers in the business. His recent work has been great, but Star Wars needs someone who can better manage its potentially-unwieldy force. Favreau is the better man for the job, but don't count Vaughn out of directing future installments of the franchise.
7) Jon Favreau is a self-professed Star Wars geek. Not only is he the best for the job, but he reportedly really wants it! The 46-year-old even voiced a character in the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Just watch him interview pal Harrison Ford about playing Han Solo. As a fan of the series, Jon Favreau will respect the franchise. As an excellent director, he will help move it along to future successes. Jon Favreau should direct Star Wars: Episode 7.