The Curious Case Of The ‘Return Of The Jedi‘ Director

Senior Entertainment Writer
09.01.15 27 Comments
Return of the Jedi

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A few weeks ago, Colin Trevorrow — who directed what is, right now, the third highest-grossing movie of all-time, Jurassic World — was tapped to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, a movie that won’t even come out until near the end of President Trump’s first term. This caused a bit of an uproar, bringing the topic of the lack of blockbuster opportunities for women directors to the forefront and wondering why a director with only two movies on his resume (albeit, one of them a huge financial success) was getting Star Wars.

(For the former issue, it seemed unfair to make Trevorrow the poster boy for what is an industry-wide problem. Then, Trevorrow decided to comment on the issue, which did not go over well. At least he’s kind of earned his scorn now.)

Regardless of all that, it’s interesting to compare what’s happening now to the way the directorial duties were handled with the original trilogy. Had the Internet existed when the original trilogy was produced, the Internet would have been very mad. Put it this way: A lot of people still think that George Lucas directed The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

After directing Star Wars, Lucas couldn’t direct the film’s sequel and get Lucasfilm off the ground at the same time, so after re-writing Leigh Brackett’s draft of The Empire Strikes Back (which was then polished up by Lawrence Kasdan), Lucas hired his old USC professor, Irvin Kershner. Lucas would not direct another movie until 1999’s The Phantom Menace.

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