‘Star Wars’ director watch: Zack Snyder’s out, who’s in?

Jan. 15, 2013 | 1:51 p.m.
Zack Snyder says any adaptation or expansion of "Watchmen" will face withering scrutiny. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Zack Snyder (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

Another day, another mystery about a director possibly signing on to be a part of the “Star Wars” universe.

New York Magazine’s Vulture blog first reported that Zack Snyder had plans to make a “Seven Samurai”-inspired story set in a galaxy far, far away, but hours later, Snyder’s rep contradicted the story in The Hollywood Reporter, saying that the “Man of Steel” filmmaker had no such plans to develop a stand-alone Jedi epic for Lucasfilm loosely inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic.

“While he is super-flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new ‘Star Wars,’” his rep told The Hollywood Reporter. “He is currently in post on his two films, ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘300: Battle of Artemisia.’”

Vulture, however, has posted an update to its original story, stating that despite the denial it stands by the report.

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Speculation about what directors would ultimately play a part in shaping the new era of “Star Wars” films — an era that officially began Oct. 30 with the announcement that the Walt Disney Co. had agreed to acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion — has been rampant, but so far, there’s been little in the way of definitive news — with the exception of several A-list directors stating that they will not step behind the camera for Episodes VII, VIII and IX (George Lucas is serving only as a “creative consultant” on the films and will not write or direct).

Snyder, the director of “Watchmen” and the upcoming Superman movie, “Man of Steel,” told Hero Complex last year that he wasn’t  interested in directing Episode VII.

“I’m a huge ‘Star Wars’ fanatic,” Snyder said in November. “I just think doing [Episodes] VII, VIII and IX is just a slippery slope. It’s a whole other mythological experiment I’m excited to see, but it’s a lot of effort.”

Guillermo del Toro (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

Guillermo del Toro (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times)

In the following weeks, both J.J. Abrams and Guillermo del Toro said they were not likely to pursue a directing job on the upcoming episodes; likewise “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol’s” Brad Bird and “The Avengers” filmmaker Joss Whedon both stated that they will not step behind the camera on the first new movie, which is set to arrive in theaters in 2015 and will be scripted by Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Toy Story 3″).

Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan have been tipped to write “Star Wars” projects as well, but it’s unclear whether their scripts will be for future episodes or for films outside the official trilogy.

At this point, Christopher Nolan’s involvement with the franchise seems doubtful, with news that the acclaimed writer-director will embark on the adventure “Interstellar,” a sci-fi project involving time travel and alternate dimensions.

Christopher Nolan. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Some fans have speculated that Matthew Vaughn (“X-Men: First Class,” “Kick-Ass”) might be a solid choice, but he has not been officially hired to direct Episode VII.

Snyder certainly has his hands full with “Man of Steel,” which is set to take flight June 14 under the wing of  producer Nolan. Snyder told Hero Complex that “Man of Steel” takes the Superman mythology quite seriously.

“He’s this amazing ambassador for all superheroes,” said Snyder, who also wrote the script for the upcoming “300″ sequel, “300: Rise of an Empire,” due in August. “What was it about him that cracked the code that made pop culture embrace this other mythology? What we’ve made as a film not only examines that but is also an amazing adventure story. It’s been an honor to work on. As a comic book fan, Superman is like the Rosetta Stone of all superheroes. I wanted to be sure the movie treated it respectfully.”

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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