Star Wars To Be Directed By Former Pixarian Brenda Chapman? Here’s Some Evidence…

There has been more going on at Lucasfilm than top secret Star Wars meetings.

For some time we’ve known that they were planning some kind of animated film about fairies. Last we heard, TMNT‘s Kevin Munroe was said to be directing from a script by David Berenbaum, the writer of Elf. That was over two years ago.

I had a good long chat with Lucasfilm producer Rick McCallum in the summer, and as well as discussing Red Tails, I asked him about progress on the fairy film. Our conversation went like this:

Bleeding Cool: It’s a musical?

McCallum: Yes.

BC: It’s about fairies?

M: Yes.

BC: The animation will be outsourced?

M: Nobody knows where that will be done yet. I have no idea when it’s going to be finished… or when they’re actually going to start properly on it. It’s a very complex thing to do a perfect fairy, technologically a perfect fairy.

BC: Do you have songs yet?

M: There’s a list of potential songs that will be in the movie.

BC: So they’re pre-existing songs?

M: I’m not going to tell you.

BC: That sounds like a yes.

M: It’s a “Possible.”

The project seemed very much alive, as of that conversation in June of this year.

Then in August, Brenda Chapman, the former Pixarian who initiated and co-directed Brave, took a job at Lucasfilm. I assumed, at the time, that she was getting involved with the fairies film, perhaps replacing Munroe.

But could I have been wrong?

Last night, Chapman tweeted out a link to Time Magazine’s 10 Suggestions for the Star Wars sequel, and solicited more suggestions from her followers.

One said:

I’d like you to direct it Star Wars needs a talented animation director as it always felt to me as sort of a animation.

And this is when Chapman replied:

Thanks. We will just have to wait and see what happens :)

Now, she could just be playing games, or perhaps she’s just being polite, but Chapman has definitely just turned up the heat a little on those hitherto quietly simmering rumours that attached her to the Star Wars series.

There are various other possibilities, of course. The original conference call that Bob Iger held on the night that the Lucasfilm-Disney deal became public referred to new Star Wars animation for TV, and it’s possible that Chapman has been recruited for that. For all we know, there could even be another animated Star Wars feature in the offing.

Or perhaps Chapman has gone to work on the fairies film.

But I have a hunch that project is probably going to wind down and fade away now. Disney already have a fully fairy-centric series of movies going on with Tinkerbell right now and I don’t know that they’d really want two different sets of fairy tales, pulling in opposite directions.

The final possibility is that Chapman hasn’t been recruited as a director, but as a writer. Perhaps she’s joined with Michael Arndt to work on a “story team” for Star Wars, developing sequences the way that Pixar or Disney Animation would. Certainly seems to fit the timing, the skill-set, everything…

Right now, that’s where I’d put my chips. It points to an encouraging creative process for Episode 7 too, so it’s hard not to fall in love with the idea.