4. Rian Johnson
Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
One of the more unique and ambitious of the filmmakers in this list, Rian Johnson’s career has featured a number of high points including his feature debut release Brick, his 2012 Bruce Willis starring sci-fi Looper and his latest ensemble film Knives Out, each offering vastly different but equally as heart-pounding and intricately presented narratives shot in a manner that feels like the “accessible for everyone” films of old. With The Last Jedi, Johnson divided audiences however, and his work on The Brothers Bloom was received with equally as opposing critical and audience reactions, causing this sequel trilogy director to rank lower than his contemporary JJ Abrams and at number 4 on our list.
3. George Lucas
Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The creator of the franchise we all love, and the reason for this list to begin with, George Lucas has had a career better defined by his role as a producer than a director, his 6-film directorial filmography being representative of his vast interests outside of the director’s chair in his 50-plus year career, the original Star Wars (1977) being an undoubted career (and franchise) highlight. Despite his work in the 1970s on huge critical successes American Graffiti and Star Wars, as well as his positively reviewed feature debut THX 1138, Lucas’ spot on this list is defined as much by his underwhelming and at times abysmal Star Wars prequels as his stellar earlier work, the director proving that a lack of guidance can lead to extraordinarily misjudged creative choices, even for one of the best of his generation. Good though he was, his talent only seemed prevalent across three films, the remaining three being close to abominable and dragging his ranking down to our number 3 on this list.
2. JJ Abrams
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
One of the current generation of directors capable of providing audience enjoyment time and time again, J.J. Abrams’ directorial work may be best defined by his all-action, nostalgia-driven narratives than deep philosophical undertakings, but as a director of enjoyable and experiential cinema-going experiences, he has offered more than his fair share. The director of two Star Wars films, two Star Trek films and a Mission: Impossible franchise entry, Abrams has helped to push a number of the industry’s most prominent franchises along, and though his films may be debatable in terms of how great they are, this director hasn’t made a truly bad film yet, putting him in an exclusive club so far as Star Wars movie directors go.
Recommended for you: JJ Abrams Directed Movies Ranked
1. Ron Howard
Solo: A Star Wars Story
There’s a reason Ron Howard was brought in to steer the sinking Solo: A Star Wars Story ship to safety when Phil Lord and Christopher Miller exited around 70% into production, and that’s because so far as reliable hands go, there aren’t many better than this particular two-time Best Director Oscar nominee.
The filmmaker behind the likes of A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and How the Grinch Stole Christmas has been at the very top of Hollywood for close to four decades, his films permiating our culture and proving that child acting success can translate into valuable artistic input, the child star of ‘Happy Days’ surpassing his early career projections to become an important force in both blockbuster and drama filmmaking, releases such as Willow, Rush and Frost/Nixon proving his diversity and overall quality. He may not have made gold out of the coal he was left with on Solo, but his career filmography reads as one of the best currently operating in the industry, and one that has been steered through many a generational change, making him our number 1 Star Wars director of all time.
Recommended for you: Top 10 Ron Howard Movies
And that’s our list. Do you agree with our picks? Would you have ranked them differently? Let us know in the comments!