As many people are aware, Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) has been handed the momentous task of helming the first of multiple planned stand-alone Star Wars movies. With screenplay duties handed to Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), the film is due out December 16, 2016.
There has been no announcement what the film will be about, but there is strong speculation that this spin-off could focus on the legendary bounty hunter and fan-favorite character, Boba Fett. Again, this is just a rumor, but the mysterious hunter has long been mentioned as a possible candidate for a stand-alone movie.
Even with all this excitement, the question still needs to be asked: Is Edwards right for the project? While Godzilla has assuredly been a huge box office success, it has generated a mixed reaction from audiences. While critics have praised Bryan Cranston’s performance and the special effects, the movie has been criticized for its pacing and wooden characters. Could this be repeated in Edward’s Star Wars spin-off? It’s probably way too early to make such a declarative statement, but the concern is fair. The director’s strengths and weaknesses should be properly assessed before any predictions are made.
As audiences have seen with Edwards’ Monsters and Godzilla, the young British director has a love and appreciation for creature design. Seeing him apply that same passion to Star Wars could potentially lead to visually stunning results. I would personally love to see Edwards incorporate classic Star Wars monsters like the Rancor, Krayt Dragon or Wampa into his spin-off film. While I wouldn’t turn the film into a monster movie, it would still be a cool nod to Edwards’ roots as a filmmaker.
While we don’t know what level of involvement Edwards had over the Godzilla screenplay, it’s safe to say that a tighter script could have provided the movie with a stronger second act and a more interesting human protagonist. That’s why it is so important that Edwards has a talented script writer to lean on. Enter Gary Whitta, who is currently writing the screenplay for the spin-off.
Outside of his work on The Book of Eli and After Earth, Whitta is probably best known for being the head writer for Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. The critically acclaimed episodic video game series won numerous awards in 2012 and was praised for its rich cast of charaters and heart wrenching story. Whitta was credited by many fans of Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic of presenting a story with characters that players could relate to and care about in the game. Many people believe that Telltale’s game not only has superior writing and character development than the AMC television series, but that is actually expanded the universe of Kirkman’s comic. If Whitta can deliver a script with the same amount of depth and characterization as The Walking Dead, then this project is already off to a great start.
I think Edwards is a great choice to helm a Star Wars film, as long as he has a strong script to work from. Relying on his strengths as a visual filmmaker, while listening to the advice and direction of others who know how to tell an interesting story could lead to a great starting point for future stand-alone Star Wars films. Addtionally, Whitta seems more than prepared for work involved with this project:
“From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”
What about you reader? Are Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta the right to team to tackle a Star Wars spin-off? What spin-off films do you want to see? Let us know in the comments below!