Emerging from relative obscurity, director Denis Villeneuve has grown to become one of cinema’s most important and influential icons, rising to prominence with 2010s Incendies, and recently consolidating his place at the height of mainstream cinema with Blade Runner 2049. It will be in 2021 that we see the highly anticipated release of Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert’s novel, starring industry darlings Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya in lead roles.
Villeneuve has certainly come very far in the short space of a decade, though his rise to prominence is no doubt deserved, with a clear upwards trajectory through his thrilling filmography. He now sits among the pantheon of great modern filmmakers, a list which includes Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Lynne Ramsay and Steve McQueen.
As a lover of cinema, Villeneuve has previously outlined the list of his very favourite films, which includes Nolan’s Inception, and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, a love of sci-fi born from a childhood infatuation with Star Wars. Speaking on the Happy, Sad, Confused podcast, Villeneuve explained: “In 1977 I was 10 years old, so I was the target audience and a victim of [Star Wars mania]… I think Empire Strikes Back is the movie I had the most apprehension [for]. Two years [of waiting]”.
Continuing, however, the director announced that his passion for the series “died with Return of the Jedi“, making it clear that, “No, I’m not [an ewok guy]. I was like a pure believer, you know?”. Like many Star Wars fans of the 1980s, Villeneuve marks the third film of the original trilogy as the start of the series’ downfall, stating with venom: “I hate the third one so much. That was the end for me”.
Interestingly, the director also doesn’t rule out a directorial role in a galaxy far, far away in the future, stating that “he would be intrigued”, before further announcing” “I don’t know. It’s very difficult. What’s dangerous about Star Wars right now is that it becomes its own vocabulary. I think Rogue One was very interesting”.
Creating a Star Wars story of his own would have to rely on the series taking a distinct move away from the Skywalker saga, with the director commenting, “There’s a limit to how many daughters, neighbours, cousins, uncles [can be related to Skywalkers]. I think it would be a great idea to get out of there. To go in a new part of the galaxy I would be open to”.
Whilst we would certainly love to see where Denis Villeneuve could take the Star Wars franchise, the director has already demonstrated that he can create worlds and formulate ideas way beyond the limits of Lucas’ universe. Look no further than Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune, to see that Denis Villeneuve is already operating in the endless possibilities of a far away galaxy.