10 Filmmakers Who Should Direct The New 'Star Wars' Trilogy - And 5 Who Shouldn't

While it's understandable that some diehard fans think the very idea of another Star Wars trilogy is unforgivable sacrilege, we're more inclined to think it could be an unexpected blessing. Disney's got their hands on one of the richest mythologies in pop culture, and enough clout that it can book some serious talent to do it justice. So with that in mind, we've put together a list of ten filmmakers we'd love to see explore a galaxy far, far away — and five we'd rather stayed here on Earth. Hit the jump to read.

10. Andrew Stanton

Andrew Stanton's John Carter wasn't everything it could've been, but at its best it played like Star Wars for a new age. His Mars was huge in scope and rich with detail, and he coaxed real warmth out of a mostly CG cast of characters. It's a shame the actual storytelling fell a bit flat, but we know he's capable of better from his work on Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo. With a little support, he has the potential to make Star Wars VII a classic in its own right.

9. Darren Aronofsky

A Disney picture would certainly mark a change of pace from Darren Aronofsky's typically R-rated oeuvre. And yet... All of Aronofsky's films deal with protagonists whose well-intentioned passions warp into all-consuming obsessions, which is basically Darth Vader's entire plot arc in a nutshell. An Aronofsky Star Wars could face the darker side of the Force, and wind up the most complex and mature installment of the series.

8. Gore Verbinski

Forget the later Pirates of the Caribbean sequels for a second and think back to how fantastic the first one was. Gore Verbinski's The Curse of the Black Pearl had everything you could possibly want in a family-friendly adventure: Genuinely exciting action, a healthy sense of humor, a touch of tender romance, and memorable lead and supporting characters that you could really sink your teeth into. Which, hey, turns out to be a lot of what fans look forward to in a Star Wars movie as well.

7. David Fincher

David Fincher's professional career actually began at Industrial Light and Magic, where he worked on the LucasFilm productions Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. And he still loves George Lucas' work — he's called the original trilogy "an A+," and his on-hold-for-now 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been described as Star Wars-esque. Now would be a perfect time for him to make his own stamp on the iconic franchise. We're envisioning something with visual dazzle and a slightly twisted sensibility.

6. Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson hasn't done a studio blockbuster yet, but if he decided to go that route we'd die to see him tackle Star Wars. Looper was one of the best sci-fi releases in recent memory, expertly weaving together heavy themes, zippy action, and some truly bold sequences. (I'm thinking in particular of the harrowing sequence in which a man falls to pieces before our very eyes.) Johnson could bring a bit of edge to the series, and make it feel new again.

5. Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright's films are witty, lively, visually inventive, and so well-crafted he makes it all look easy. His sensibility veers more toward the comic than the Star Wars films usually do, but seeing as the films could stand to get some better jokes, that seems like a good thing. And he's a geek who is himself beloved by other geeks, so you know he gets Star Wars and why we love it. (As well as why we sometimes don't — see Spaced.)

4. Brad Bird

The ideal Star Wars director would be able to deliver thrills and heart in equal measure. Brad Bird's proven more than capable of dishing out both. His live-action debut Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol featured some of the best action sequences of 2011 — slick, stylish, and heart-poundingly exciting — while his Pixar outings The Incredibles and Ratatouille were among the most moving the studio had ever done. Just imagine what he could do with a story as ripe as Star Wars.

3. Alfonso Cuarón

Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men has rightly been hailed as a modern classic of the sci-fi genre, and deservedly so. The dystopia he created in that film felt gritty and lived-in, and even in the midst of bleak there were touching moments of humor, warmth, and grace. But perhaps the film that really recommends him for this job is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which like Star Wars was family-friendly tentpole fare. He found the perfect balance between fidelity to the source material and creative license, and the result was the most energetic installment of that long-running series.

2. J.J. Abrams

The very thing that proves J.J. Abrams' suitability for the job could be the very thing that'll rule him out — that is, his success with 2009's Star Trek. In an ideal world, however, Abrams would be a strong contender. He breathed fresh life into the classic Star Trek franchise to bring us an crowd-pleasing new installment, deftly balancing adrenaline-pumping action with intimate character moments. As an added bonus, hiring Abrams could go a long way toward mending that Star Wars / Trek rift that's divided pop culture geeks for so many decades.

1. Joss Whedon

Considering the year he's had, Joss Whedon may be the most obvious choice on this list. That doesn't change the fact that he's a great one. Whedon demonstrated with this summer's The Avengers that he could direct the hell out of a big-budget Hollywood action movie while staying true to its much-loved characters and, as Disney's already well aware, make truckloads of money while doing so. The geek god has a proven knack for sharp dialogue, strong storytelling — and lasting emotional connections. No one walks away from a Whedon movie without falling a little bit in love with his characters. Plus, Mal from Firefly was basically Han Solo with a better sense of humor. So hiring Whedon would almost be like bringing that brilliant-but-cancelled show back, as well. If only there wasn't that pesky exclusive contract with Marvel...

On the other hand, we'd rather kiss a Wookiee than face a new installment by any of these guys. In no particular order:

Len Wiseman

Len Wiseman's somehow become Hollywood's go-to guy for reviving old properties, but here's hoping he stays the hell away from this one. If Total Recall is any indication, his idea of reviving the classics is to root out everything that made them unique — and therefore potentially off-putting — and sub in expensive-looking mediocrity instead. Star Wars is great because it's a little bit weird. If Wiseman were allowed to turn VII into a bland sci-fi action thriller interchangeable with any other, that'd do more damage to the series than George Lucas' worst ideas ever could.

Zack Snyder

The Star Wars films have never been especially interested in sublety, but hire Zack Snyder, director of the groaningly obvious Watchmen, and we can expect an especially heavyhanded installment. Probably stuffed with speed-ramped light saber duels. Then there's the fact that we've already seen what Snyder would do with a kickass lady like Leia. It was called Sucker Punch, and it wasn't pretty.

Brett Ratner

We all remember what happened with X-Men: The Last Stand, right? The last thing the Star Wars series needs is for Brett Ratner to come aboard and do for it what he did for the X-Men movies. Namely, drop the resonant themes that carried the stories through the first two installments, reduce beloved characters to stock types, and then bog everything down in a confused storyline overloaded with loud but forgettable action sequences.

Michael Bay

If you want popcorn entertainment with big, expensive explosions and characters you don't have to think too hard about, Michael Bay is your guy. If you want a Star Wars movie that does justice to Han, Luke, and Leia (or whomever) and their epic story while also delivering thrilling action, you're best off looking elsewhere. Besides, we already know what his sense of humor is like. If he doesn't wind up bringing back Jar-Jar, he'll probably just wind up creating a character that's equally groanworthy.

George Lucas

Yes, we know the official word is that George Lucas will be a "creative consultant" on the franchise going forward, but we just want to make extra double sure he doesn't get any ideas about getting back into the director's chair. It's too late to encourage him to quit while he's ahead, but for God's sake let's hope he really and truly backs off before he runs this thing into the ground once and for all.

Discuss: Which names are we wrong about? Who'd we miss?