Brad Bird would have relished the chance to direct a Star Wars movie — that’s pretty much a fantasy for any major Hollywood director, especially those who came of age in the '70s.
And Bird had that chance, but he turned it down. In 2012, he was one of Disney and Lucasfilm’s top choices to helm December’s fiercely anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens, along other marquee names like David Fincher and Guillermo del Toro. But as he explained to us at the recent press day for his new sci-fi adventure, Tomorrowland (which you can watch above), there was no way he could do both.
“It absolutely was [a tough decision],” said Bird, who launched his directorial career with three animated favorites (Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille) before making his live-action debut with 2011’s Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol. “But there was no way to do that film without junking this film, and we had already gotten George Clooney involved and I was excited about this film. I understand they had to get [The Force Awakens] made, and they would’ve had to push it in order for me to do it.”
Bird still harbors strong feelings for Star Wars. While introducing a Tomorrowland screening at L.A.’s Chinese Theatre, Bird talked about how special the venue was to him… mainly because it’s where he first saw the George Lucas space opera.
Although Bird had plenty of popular support while he was in contention for the Star Wars gig (just see this fan-made video that went viral), the Force franchise appears in good hands with J.J. Abrams, who ultimately landed the job. (The first two trailers have broken view records and sent expectations soaring even higher.)
Told the Star Wars universe does currently has an opening now that Josh Trank has exited an upcoming spinoff, Bird didn’t bite. “Right now I’m writing Incredibles 2, so I’ve got my hands full.” And again, something tells us fans won’t mind that news.
Tomorrowland opens Friday. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18.
Watch the trailer for Tomorrowland: