Would director and producer Joe Johnston be a good candidate for directing an upcoming Star Wars movie?
The tensions of Star Warsian fans flared up in response to Colin Trevorrow’s leaving the position of director for Star Wars IX recently. The result is a petition not to have J.J. Abrams direct another Star Wars picture. There has also been talk of having Donald Glover or perhaps Planet of the Apes director Matt Reeves being brought in to direct one of the franchise’s features sometime in the future. The whole ordeal has become a bit of a chaotic free-for-all.
So who the heck is Joe Johnston, and where does he come in? Well, if Hollywood can try to do something right for a change, he might have a good chance at becoming a Star Wars director in the near future. And here’s why.
The reception of Johnston’s previous work
Like Colin Trevorrow, Johnston is a director in the Jurassic Park/Jurassic World franchise. He is the director of Jurassic Park III (2001) and Captain America: The First Avenger (2011). Such films featured some cutting-edge visual effects like the ferocious Spinosaurus in Jurassic Park III and the iconic CGI shield Captain America throws at his assailants.
Several of his best-known works, including those already mentioned, in addition to October Sky (1999), display an appealing combination of action sequences, harsh reality, and moments of comic relief. As far as weaving together a piece of cinematic art, Johnston really hit the nail on the head with his job as director/executive producer of Captain America: The First Avenger.
Not only the premier film of the Captain America trilogy, it is also quite important as it introduces the movie-going audience to the rogue Nazi science division Hydra. This is a foundation which still haunts the Captain decades later.
Jurassic Park III is an extremely controversial part of the Jurassic saga. It was the first film not directed by Steven Spielberg and not based on a new plot from a Michael Crichton novel. Spielberg did have a hand in it as the executive producer though.
For some people the third film was awe-inspiring; for others, it was entirely detestable, but nevertheless its part of the saga and Johnston has a big hand in it.
What Qualifies Johnston for the Task of Star Wars
Joe Johnston is an underrated director with some untapped potential and has been privileged to take part in some of the greatest screen stories in history. He has worked alongside fellow directors such as Spielberg and even the mind behind the origin of Star Wars, George Lucas.
Johnston is obviously familiar with directing action/sci-fi dramas, and he is quite knowledgeable of the Star Wars tale and the way George Lucas handles things as well. Johnston served as an associate producer for Lucas’s 1988 drama film Willow, directed by Ron Howard and starring Val Kilmer. Johnston also directed an episode of The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles which Lucas created and partially helped produce.
About the only thing that might be Johnston’s downfall would be his age. He’s 67. But let’s give him a break. Spielberg is 70. Clint Eastwood, director of Sully, is 87, having 20 years on Johnston. Lucas himself is 73 and still wanting to direct Star Wars! Johnston by far has many good years left, and we will be looking forward to them. When the Han Solo movie needed a new director to take the lead, Johnston was suggested.
He is scheduled to direct the fourth Narnia installment: The Silver Chair. But perhaps most importantly, he has written a Star Wars script which was produced on the screen! He wrote the script of “Coby and the Starhunters,” an episode of the TV series Star Wars: Droids. To recap, Johnston has studied under the best Hollywood directors, has previously contributed to both the Star Wars and Jurassic Park sagas, and would likely keep George Lucas’s interests close to his heart. He would definitely have something more valuable to contribute to Star Wars.