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In the run up to the beginning of production on Star Wars: Episode VII, there were a lot of names thrown about for the prime spot in the director's chair. Among the shortlist of favorites, though, was frequent Pixar collaborator and uber geek at heart Brad Bird, but alas that was not to be, as Bird had passed up the opportunity to restart the engines and head on out to that famous galaxy far, far away. Only today, however, do we now know what was so important that the director of The Incredibles turned down the opportunity to play with lightsabers, and it all comes down to one thing: Tomorrowland.
MTV had an opportunity to talk with Bird at New York Comic Con this past weekend, and the discussion of why he had passed up the golden opportunity to direct Star Wars: Episode VII came up, as you would expect it to in a conversation with anyone who actually said no to what was assuredly a geek's absolute dream. As Brad Bird confirmed below, there was almost a time that he would have had his cake and eaten it too.
"For a moment there, I thought it would work out to do [Tomorrowland] and go right into [Star Wars: Episode VII]."
Of course, as it does with most flights of fancy, reality then came knocking, as Bird admitted that ultimately "there was no way to make that schedule and give [Tomorrowland] the attention that it deserved." The original release dates of the two films were so close together that Bird would definitely not have been able to stick the landing, so in respect to both projects he picked the one closer to his heart and let the other go on to just as capable hands. Or, as Brad Bird put it in his own words, "It's rare to do a film of size that's original, so those opportunities can't be missed either."
While some might say Brad Bird was a fool to pass up on Star Wars: Episode VII, it's extremely respectable that he could turn his back on a project so monumental to create his own, more personal project.. Tomorrowland looks like it will be a project that will be widely talked about, if not simply because it's story and universe are even more unknown to us than the next chapter in the story of Luke Skywalker. However the key thing to realize is that we now have two exciting projects from two of the most in demand filmmakers of our time, and both are coming our way in 2015. What's more exciting than that?
Tomorrowland arrives in theaters on May 22, 2015; while Star Wars: Episode VII does its magic on December 18, 2015.