With the recent news of Colin Trevorrow’s departure from Star Wars Episode IX, speculation is rife to who will replace the Jurassic World director, but one name that probably won’t be mentioned is that of David Lynch, so it may come as a surprise that the man behind Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks was once considered a viable choice to direct The Return of the Jedi by the Godfather of the space opera franchise, George Lucas.
During a recorded interview with Lynch which was shared by Hudson Union Society on Youtube in 2010, the auteur director went on to explain his meeting with Lucas;
“I was asked by George to come up and see him and talk to him about directing what would be the third Star Wars. And I had next door to zero interest. But I always admired George. George is a guy who does what he loves. And I do what I love. The difference is, what George loves makes hundreds of billions of dollars. So I thought I should go up and at least visit with him. And it was incredible. I had to go to this building in L.A. first. And I had to get a special credit card, and I had to get special keys. A letter came, and a map. Then I went to the airport, and I flew up. They had a rental car all ready for me. Keys. Everything was set. I was to drive to this place. I came into an office. And there was George. He talked with me for a little bit. Then he says, ‘I want to show you something.’ Right about at this time, I started getting a little bit of a headache. You know what I’m talking about (laughs), okay…He took me upstairs. And he showed me these things called Wookies. And now this headache is getting stronger. He showed me many animals and different things. Then he took me in a ride in his Ferrari for lunch. And George is kind of short. So, he had the seat back, and he was almost laying down in the car. And we were flying through this little town up in Northern California. We went to a restaurant. Not that I don’t like salad. But that’s all they had was salad. Then I got a really…almost like a migraine headache. And I could hardly wait to get home. Even before I got home, I kind of crawled into a phone booth, and I called my agent and said, ‘There’s no way! There is no way I can do this!’ He said, ‘David, David, David…Calm down! You don’t have to do this.’ So George, bless his heart, I told him on the phone the next day that he should direct it. It’s his film. He invented everything about it. But he doesn’t really love directing. So someone else did direct that film. But I called my lawyer and told him I wasn’t going to do it. And he said, ‘You just lost, I don’t know how many millions of dollars.’ But it’s okay.”
Whilst we should maybe give a slight sigh of relief that Lynch never managed to find any headache pills during that meeting, it should be pointed out that he directed Dune the year after Return of the Jedi was released, so he was obviously looking for a large scale science fiction project at the time. Whether David Lynch would have been the right sort of director for a franchise as relatively straight laced as Star Wars is a question we may never have answered. It will therefore remain one of those tantalising “What if?” scenarios for fans of both Lynch and Star Wars to mull over.