What do you do after you direct a blockbuster Star Wars movie—ostensibly the high point of any young director’s mainstream film career? If you’re Rian Johnson, you move on to the next genre, cheerful and inventive as ever. If you’re J.J. Abrams you…Well, you pretty just make another Star Wars movie, right? If you’re Ron Howard, you go back to dreaming of a Willow reboot, and if you’re all the folks who’ve been fired from directing these dreams projects over the last couple of years, you try to pick yourself up off the ground, dust yourself off, and move on to the next massive, super-successful franchise that’ll have you.
Gareth Edwards hasn’t done any of that stuff. Despite the fact that his 2016 Star Wars war story Rogue One remains fairly well-regarded when held up against the standards of its Disney Wars contemporaries, its director hasn’t worked on a film since the movie came out—unless you count filming the requisite cameo as a Resistance soldier for Johnson’s The Last Jedi. Not just space-based stuff, either: This is the guy who made a Godzilla movie good enough that people started getting franchise ambitions for the big green lizard again…and then somehow didn’t come back to direct the inevitable sequel. Edwards, in fact, appears to have greeted his hard-won success by taking the revolutionary step of not immediately running himself into the ground; we don’t really know what he’s been up to in the intervening four years (beyond “developing projects”), but it hasn’t been “making the most scrutinized movies on the planet,” and that seems like it might actually be a pretty sweet deal.
Which brings us to today, with Variety reporting that Edwards is finally, apparently, getting back into the game. Although details are still scant, the director has set up a new film at New Regency, working with regular producer Kiri Hart on a new science fiction film placed in a “near-future” setting. (Not unlike Monsters, the low-budget horror project that kicked this whole “rise to fame and prominence” thing off.) If nothing else, it’ll be interesting to see who the hell Gareth Edwards, director, even is at this point: After two films spent working in the content mines of some of the franchise-iest franchises around, we have to wonder which ways his more independent instincts still point.