'Star Wars Episode 7': 12 filmmakers who could step into George Lucas' shoes

star-wars-episode-7-kathryn-bigelow-jj-abrams-vince-gilligan.jpgIt was the news that rocked the geek universe: "Star Wars" architect George Lucas is selling his Lucasfilm to Disney, which plans to release a seventh "Star Wars" film in 2015.

"I have story treatments of 7, 8 and 9, and a bunch of other movies," Lucas says in a YouTube video discussing the sale. "And obviously we have hundreds of books and comics and everything you could possibly imagine. So I sort of moved that treasure trove of stories and various things to Kathy" -- that's Kathleen Kennedy, now the president of Lucasfilm -- "and I have complete confidence she's going to take them and make great movies."

Kennedy adds that she and Lucas have started "the really fun part of the process" of making the next "Star Wars" movie: "We're sitting down with a couple of writers and we're starting to discuss ideas, and we're starting to talk about what those stories might be," she says in the video.

PICS: Life after 'Star Wars'

That got us thinking: Who could take the "Star Wars" reins for the next movie and give us an Episode VII worthy of its (original trilogy) predecessors? Zap2it came up with a dozen people -- some writers, some directors, some both -- who we'd love to see take a crack at Han Solo, Princess Leia and the rest of the characters. In alphabetical order:

J.J. Abrams: "Star Wars" is right in the wheelhouse of Abrams, who has successfully restarted another beloved sci-fi franchise ("Star Trek") and showed a deft, Spielbergian touch with "Super 8" last year. The question: Would he be too faithful to the "Star Wars" template>

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss: The showrunners of HBO's "Game of Thrones" have proven their ability to translate revered source material and handle big, sprawling stories -- qualities that would serve them well given the multitude of expanded universe tales on which future movies could draw.

Kathryn Bigelow: The Oscar-winning director is aces at putting taut, human-scale action on screen. If "Star Wars" ever were to tilt toward a more adult reading, she'd be great.

Guillermo del Toro: Fanboys and -girls would likely salivate over what del Toro could bring to the franchise. Early looks at his "Pacific Rim" were pretty impressive, and his plate is clear after "Pinocchio," currently slated for 2014.

Jon Favreau: His two "Iron Man" movies had lots of action and pretty solid character development, sure. But they were also just fun -- a quality that was largely missing from the "Star Wars" prequels.

Vince Gilligan: Just think about what the creator of "Breaking Bad" could do chronicling the further adventures of Han Solo. And a story that's so interested in chronicling how people can slip to the dark side could scarcely find a better fit.

Seth Green and/or Seth MacFarlane: Why not give the two foremost "Star Wars" parodists (with "Robot Chicken" and "Family Guy") a shot at the real thing?

Steven Moffat: He knows a thing or two about resurrecting a sci-fi icon -- see "Doctor Who" -- and balancing the desires of hardcore, grown-up fans with the need to serve a wider audience.

Joss Whedon: Along with Abrams, he's one of the icons of fandom. He's also rather busy at the moment with his various Marvel projects for Disney.

David Yates: The British director proved he could handle a big franchise with the final four "Harry Potter" films -- satisfying fans almost as numerous and dedicated as those of "Star Wars."

Who would you like to see at the helm of the next "Star Wars" movie?
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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