Now that you’ve gotten over your initial excitement after hearing about the new Star Wars movie coming in 2015, it’s time to settle in for an exciting year of online rumormongering, as every piece of Star Wars-related gossip overheard on the streets of Los Angeles gains volume via the great Internet echo chamber. Collider got things off to a running start yesterday with a surprising claim: Matthew Vaughn, director of X-Men: First Class, is currently in talks to helm Star Wars: Episode VII. As far as rumors go, this one vibes with semi-possibility. Vaughn just departed the next X-Men prequel-sequel after over a year of development; maybe he knew the Star Wars deal was on the horizon. And although Vaughn has directed a couple successful movies, at this point, he’s a geek-friendly journeyman: Leading a storied franchise into a new generation could turn him into a directing megastar. (See also: Whedon, Abrams, Nolan.)
And although Vaughn is best-known for a trio of hard-edged movies — crime caper Layer Cake, dark comedy Kick-Ass, and the vengeance tale First Class — Vaughn isn’t an outside-the-box choice for Star Wars. After all, Vaughn is also the maker of Stardust, a little-seen film which feels a little bit like Star Wars. (Average kid sets off on mystical adventure, meets a girl from the stars, learns how to be a swashbuckling swordfighter — sound familiar?) Here are five things we might expect from a Vaughn-powered Star Wars:
1. A peek into the underworld. Some of the most fun parts of the original trilogy focused on the criminal element in the Star Wars universe: Bounty hunters, barflies, Hutts with Frazetta fetishes. That element was mostly dropped in the prequels in favor of various electioneering plotlines and lots of scenes set in high-rise apartments. Expect Vaughn to return to the underworld: Layer Cake and Kick-Ass both glory in various levels of organized crime. Maybe Vaughn’s film will take the series to infamous crimeworld Nar Shaddaa? Is it weird that I could spell Nar Shaddaa without googling it?
2. Young characters learning to be heroes. All of Vaughn’s movies are, in a way, coming-of-age films. Daniel Craig’s gangster in Layer Cake loses his (relative) innocence, while the protagonists of Stardust, Kick-Ass, and First Class all rise from humble beginnings and learn to become heroes. Hiring Vaughn could add fuel to the rumors that the next Wars sequence will focus on a whole new generation learning how to use the force.
3. A female protagonist. I’m gonna throw this out there: Besides Princess Leia, the Star Wars films don’t have a great track record with female characters. The series has always been more focused on young, somewhat melancholic dudes with lightsabers. (Heck, even Leia has a rough go of it: She spends Return of the Jedi getting captured twice, once by Ewoks.) Vaughn’s Kick-Ass turned Chloe Grace Moretz into a Comic-Con demi-goddess, while First Class tried with some success to turn Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique into a third lead next to Professor X and Magneto. Could the new Star Wars capture the post-Hunger Games zeitgeist and focus directly on a female character? She could still be melancholic! Kids today love melancholy!
4. Less Kurosawa, more Ridley Scott. Visually, George Lucas’ influences didn’t change very much in the three decades he was making Star Wars movies. He loved westerns and fighter planes and Akira Kurosawa movies, and had a slight Leni Riefenstahl fixation. These same influences were replayed in the prequels. Vaughn, conversely, likes to make movies set in color-saturated environments — a kind of neon-grit aesthetic that feels more reflective of Blade Runner than anything in the original Star Wars movies.
5. The presence of Jason Flemyng. The British character actor has popped up in all of Vaughn’s directorial efforts so far. Surely there’s a place for him in Star Wars: Episode VII, possibly as a villainous Sith henchman with claws or a brain-tail or something?
Follow Darren on Twitter: @DarrenFranich
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Ask Darren stuff about Matthew Vaughn (Layer Cake is still his best) or Star Wars (Still more excited about the Deadwood-in-Space TV series than the sequel trilogy) or Jason Flemying (Flemying was the bomb in LXG.)