In addition to the esteemed guidance of developer and executive producer Jon Favreau, The Mandalorian has been blessed with an outstanding variety of talents in the director’s chair. The likes of prestigious TV director Deborah Chow (set to executive produce the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi solo series), Thor: Ragnarok’s Taika Waititi (also the voice of robot IG-11), Bryce Dallas Howard (outdoing her own father on a Star Wars project) and other directors were at the helm of at least one episode of the Disney+ exclusive’s premiere season.
With Season 2 approaching not fast enough, one of the things we are excited to see (in addition to Pedro Pascal’s interstellar bounty hunter/adoptive father back in action) is who will filling in for directorial duties for future episodes. We have heard that Star Wars veterans Rian Johnson and J.J. Abrams have expressed interest, but considering The Mandalorian seems to have benefited greatly from welcoming in new blood to a galaxy far, far away, perhaps the series should continue to honor that tradition.
With that in mind, I have compiled a collection of names who would be perfect to direct a future episode. Not only would their directorial vision appropriately match the tone of The Mandalorian, but they may bring the already exciting storytelling to new heights.
Lately, David Fincher has made television his primary focus, serving as executive producer on several Netflix series, such as Mindhunter or Love, Death & Robots, so why not bring him over to Disney+ for an especially intense episode or two of The Mandalorian? Fincher might be the last name you would think to associate with the streaming service considering a more prevalent trend of cynicism throughout the Fight Club director’s career. However, if you recall, he got his start directing music videos for the likes of Paula Abdul and Madonna and made a seamless transition to lighter fair with the magical The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, so I do not think Baby Yoda’s cuteness will be threatened by the director’s touch.
Also known for having a dark vision is Patty Jenkins, especially from her brutal, Oscar-winning Aileen Wuornos biopic Monster, but the filmmaker has more eclectic talents than many might realize, having also directed episodes of Arrested Development and Entourage. Not only could Jenkins balance The Mandalorian’s humorous moments with its more prevalently earnest tone, but also apply the same magnetic energy she brought to Wonder Woman for its action sequences. Plus, it would make for a pleasant reunion with Pedro Pascal, whom she directed in the 2015 TV movie Exposed.
I cannot recall a more masterful depiction of the perils of outer space than Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, which is why I would argue that the visceral sense of interstellar danger in The Mandalorian could definitely benefit from the four-time Oscar-winning, Mexican-born filmmaker’s distinguished imagination. Like how he rejuvenated the Harry Potter franchise with his dazzling third installment, Cuaron could bring a unique sense of style that no Star Wars project has ever seen before. Just the thought of a seamless, single-shot battle sequence between Mando’s Razor Crest and an Imperial ship (from an episode shot all in real-time) is enough to have me begging for it to become a reality.
Speaking of interstellar danger, the name of the franchise is Star Wars, right? Yet, rarely have any of the films or related properties -- The Mandalorian included -- truly captured the reality of combat, like how Kathryn Bigelow did with 2009’s The Hurt Locker, resulting in her Best Director Oscar (the first awarded to a woman). Full disclosure: I am not one to necessarily promote graphic violence, especially on Disney+, but The Mandalorian has come closer to that than any live action program on the streaming service and fans are hoping to see Season 2 up the ante. Bigelow’s vision would be just what the series needs to get that extra boost of authenticity to its shootouts.
I do not believe there is a more dignified voice in sci-fi cinema than Denis Villeneuve, as the French-Canadian filmmaker made clear to me with the astounding achievements of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049. With his upcoming Dune update being referred to as “Star Wars for adults,” I am amazed he had not been considered to be a part of the franchise before. Tapping him to bring his gift for complex, rawly emotional narrative and intoxicating aesthetics to at least one episode of The Mandalorian would be a sufficient test run before, maybe, giving hm his own spin-off trilogy?
“Mando” is a bounty hunter of exceptional boldness and pristine ability, so much so that I believe we have still have yet to see his skills put to the ultimate test. If Australian filmmaker Jennifer Kent (whom you may know from her 2014 horror masterpiece The Babadook) put Pedro Pascal’s hero on a pursuit as hellish as the vengeful heroine of her 2019 period drama The Nightingale endures, that would make for one relentlessly gripping journey.
Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Whatever your opinion of Ron Howard’s take on Solo: A Star Wars Story may be, you got to feel bad for how things ended for its initial helmers, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The duo behind instant classics 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie must have had a refreshing vision for the Han Solo origin story that might not be exactly what the world of The Mandalorian asks for, but, like everything else they do, they could easily figure out how to perfect it. Giving them another shot at their own Star Wars epic (without too much creative stifling) with an episode of the series would be more than Lord and Miller fans could ask for.
Of all the names I have listed here, no one is more qualified to take the journey to a galaxy far, far away than the single most important filmmaker of the last 50 years. While he might be hesitant to take the job out of loyalty to his friend and co-creator of Indiana Jones, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg has the fantastic scope, brimming ingenuity, and undeniable passion for out-of-this-world storytelling that no one else can master quite the same. Therefore, no episode of The Mandalorian may be as unequivocally adventurous, magical, or simply epic as his.
Do you believe these cinematic titans are the right fit for The Mandalorian, or is there someone else you feel deserves the honor more? Let us know and be sure to check back for more updates on the Star Wars spin-off series here on CinemaBlend.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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