Who Should Direct the New Star Wars Movies?

Now that Disney owns Star Wars, the rumor mill is churning with speculations about new TV series, new theme parks, new cartoons, and of course the already announced new movies. I'm excited that we will finally see the seventh, eighth, and ninth episodes in the saga. Disney also made it clear that it is eager to exploit the franchise to its fullest, with even more movies after that.  We should hear soon about who will be directing the new trilogy, but Vulture broke the news that Zack Snyder, who is currently involved in The Man of Steel, is interested in doing a stand-alone Star Wars film based on Akira Kurasawa's The Seven Samurai, which was one of the inspirations for George Lucas when he dreamed up the adventures "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." (Can we all say, "the circle is now complete?") Even though Snyder's reps denied the news, Disney will obviously still be exploring spin-offs and other projects that aren't direct sequels or prequels.  I love the idea of one-shot movies, which aren't tied to longer story arcs or part of the over-used trilogy model. Even the director of Episode VII shouldn't be considered a lock to helm the next two movies after that. After all, the original trilogy had three separate directors, which worked out just fine.  The James Bond series and the Harry Potter franchise used different directors.  Different directors bring a fresh perspective to each production.  Here are some filmmakers I would like to see bring their cinematic vision to the world of Star Wars.

Stephen Spielberg - He's worked with George Lucas before in the Indiana Jones movies, so I'm sure he has some ideas for Jedi adventures. Spielberg tends to go back and forth between his popcorn flicks and his more serious Oscar contenders.  He just finished Lincoln, so he's all geared up for another big, fun project.  His Robopocalypse adaptation has been put on hold and he's only producing Jurassic Park 4, so despite initial denials, he might be available. If he's willing, how could Disney say no?

Quentin Tarantino - He bad-mouthed Disney and said he has no interest in seeing their version of Star Wars (going so far as to insult Simon West, responsible for Con Air and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, as the type of director Disney might likely hire). It would be great for Tarantino to have the chance to give us his vision of what Star Wars should be.  I think he would understand the genre and not overdo the violence, and he would be smart enough to know that profanity has no place in a movie like that, but his unique brand of gritty realism might be a perfect fit for a movie about the Bounty Hunters, for example or Jabba's underworld.

Robert Rodriguez - Quentin's buddy might be a more realistic fit.  He can do hardcore (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn) and he can do family friendly fare (Spy Kids), but he can also take an existing franchise and give us a mainstream new interpretation (Predators).  Don't be surprised if he's in the running.

Ron Howard - Here's another great director who has worked with Lucas before, directing Willow.  He's a quality director who has dabbled in almost every genre. I think he would deliver an excellent Star Wars movie or two (or three).

Guillermo del Toro - I can't sing his praises enough.  He can do fantasy, he can do horror, I think he can definitely do Star Wars. His vision would probably be as close to Empire Strikes Back as any of the other contenders.

Ridley Scott - Not everybody like Scott's last science fiction epic, Prometheus, but I loved it.  He's the kind of director who has given us classic after classic, from Alien to Blade Runner to Gladiator. The Star Wars franchise would be in good hands if he was given the reins.

Tim Burton - He has reimagined practically everything -- BatmanPlanet of the Apes, Alice in Wonderland, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow -- why not Star Wars?  While I wouldn't give him the entire next trilogy, I certainly would love to see how he interprets the characters in at least one movie.

Spike Lee - He hasn't made any movie on the scale of Star Wars yet, but he has been making more and more commercial films, and they've been great in my always humble opinion.  I think he would surprise a lot of people and pull it off.

Darren Aronofsky - I eagerly await his Noah epic. If I heard that he was involved in one of the next Star Wars movies, I would be thrilled.

Kathryn Bigelow - She knows how to make a war movie, that's for sure.  Many people praise her science fiction flick Strange Days, even though it left me cold.  I'd be interested to see what she did with Star Wars.

David Fincher - I think he might scare some people away, but his version would be unabashedly gritty and it would pull no punches. People would probably initially hate it, but then recognize it as a masterpiece years later.

Alex Proyas - Oh, how I wanted to see his version of John Milton's Paradise Lost! Give him a stab at Star Wars!

Christopher Nolan - I would be remiss to not mention the director who gave us the Dark Knight trilogy.  What could he do with the Force as his ally?

Some directors would make the movie too big (James Cameron, Michael Bay, McG, Peter Jackson), too small (Kevin Smith, Spike Jonze), or too weird (Tarsem). Others are tied up with other projects, such as J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) and Josh Whedon (Marvel's The Avengers). Still others need to prove that they can handle such a big franchise (Ben Affleck) or restore my faith in them (Bryan Singer and M. Night Shyamalan). Which ones would you like to see given the keys to the Star Wars cash cow?