One month ago, there was no new Star Wars movie in the works. Today, there’s a whole new trilogy in the cards, produced by a Disney-owned Lucasfilm. If that isn’t surprising enough, series creator George Lucas is abandoning his role as director and writer, ceding those creative duties for the first time since 1983’s Return of the Jedi. With a 2015 release date for the untitled Star Wars Episode VII, both Lucasfilm and Disney are naturally working fast to assemble creative forces. While there have been innumerable rumors about who will direct that next installment, there now appears to be a front runner: Matthew Vaughn.
Collider.com claimed shortly after the announcement of Lucasfilm’s acquisition that Matthew Vaughn would be directing the next Star Wars. actor Jason Flemying, a long-time collaborator of Vaughn on movies like Layer Cake, Kick-Ass, and others, corroborated the rumor on Tuesday.
Britain’s DIY Television attended a UK premiere event for Martin McDonagh’s movie Seven Psychopaths, tweeting, “We chatted to the lovely Jason Flemyng who pretty much let slip that Matthew Vaughn will on Star Wars IV duties oops!”
DIY clarified that Vaughn would not be traveling back to 1976 any time soon. “We mentioned earlier about Matthew Vaughn’s involvement in Star Wars IV when we of course meant Star Wars VII. We’ll blame the cold.”
There’s circumstantial evidence that suggests Vaughn will be taking on a new, unannounced project. The director abruptly announced earlier this year that he would not be directing X-Men: Days of Future Past, handing that movie over to Bryan Singer. Vaughn directed 2011’s X-Men: First Class, a fantasy action movie with an ensemble cast not unlike Star Wars, receiving both critical praise and strong commercial feedback. Getting a chance to direct one of the most celebrated and lucrative film series in history would certainly justify jumping ship from one property to another.
Star Wars VII already has a writer on board. Lucasfilm contracted Michael Arndt, writer of Toy Story 3 and Little Miss Sunshine, to write the screenplay for the first flick in the new trilogy. Two more writers were hired as well, including Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It’s suspected that Kasdan and Simon Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) were hired to pen Star Wars VIII and Star Wars IX.