The Crazy Thought Shawn Levy Had When Being Recruited For The Star Wars Universe

Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill wandering around the Death Star together in Star Wars.
(Image credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.)

Thanks to the revival of the Star Wars legacy with 2015’s The Force Awakens, a number of high profile talents in today’s entertainment landscape have been approached to contribute to that galaxy far, far away. New movie releases have seen directors like Patty Jenkins and Taika Waititi offered spots in that cinematic storytelling universe to come, with The Adam Project’s Shawn Levy being the most recent recruit to build within that galaxy far, far away.

Naturally, Levy sees this new project as the golden ticket gig, but even the blockbuster director had a crazy thought when being tapped for the honor. As I spoke with him to promote the release of Disney+’s Night at the Museum: Kahmunrah Rises Again, some reflection on two past projects came up when discussing the Star Wars legacy. Here’s what Shawn Levy shared with CinemaBlend as the crazy part of being offered the gig: 

It’s very funny, because literally one of my thoughts when I got offered Star Wars was, ‘Oh wow, I had Darth Vader in Battle of the Smithsonian, and I had a lightsaber in Free Guy. But now I get to play in the whole playground?’ This is a dream come true.

If these two Star Wars moments were released closer apart, you’d probably think that Mr. Levy was intentionally gunning for this sort of opportunity. However, those nods to the now-Disney-owned IP came over a decade apart. The Vader scene from Shawn Levy’s favorite Night at the Museum entry arrived on the scene in 2009, while Free Guy’s big lightsaber gag wouldn’t land until 2021. 

That last example only happened as the result of Levy writing the Disney higher-ups a letter that allowed him to raid the Star Wars and Marvel Cinematic Universe toy chests. Much like that letter’s intent, Shawn Levy asked for permission to use one of those IPs and ended up getting the keys to the whole smash. Thanks to Disney’s generosity, we not only got to see Ryan Reynolds’ Guy play around with the iconography of two of the largest franchises operating, it also helped land Chris Evans’ super secret cameo in Free Guy.

Even in merely playing around with Star Wars in his movies, Shawn Levy has shown his love and respect for the iconography of the saga. Whether it’s watching Hank Azaria’s Kahmunrah verbally dressing down Darth Vader or Guy heroically wielding a lightsaber, those moments land with fans of the legacy of the George Lucas-created sci-fi landmark. So obviously, if you’re a director who can handle that with the right reverence, clearly you’re a candidate for this sought-after gig.

Unfortunately, landing a Star Wars movie isn’t a given, as development hell has seen promising candidates stumbling over time. Patty Jenkins’ beleaguered Rogue Squadron picture is perhaps the freshest case of such turmoil hitting the once clockwork cinematic universe. While the realm of Jedi, bounty hunters and clone troopers is thriving through several Disney+ series, the big screen has posed some unforeseen challenges. 

Shawn Levy’s busy schedule definitely helps in a case like this. Whether his Star Wars movie gets off the ground or not, he’ll have to work through both Stranger Things' final season and Deadpool 3 before blasting off. Honestly, if anyone could make it through the rigors of the franchise's development machine, Levy would be a prime recruit to make it through to the other side. 

While we wait for the next step of Shawn Levy's Star Wars journey, you're in luck. Not only can readers with a Disney+ subscription enjoy the entirety of that galaxy's adventures, but several of Levy's movies are also available on that platform. One of those just happens to be Free Guy, lightsaber and all.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.