1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace was of course directed by George Lucas, however the film was first offered to three other big name directors: Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, and Robert Zemeckis.
On the latest Happy Sad Confused podcast, Ron Howard revealed that Lucas “didn’t necessarily want to direct” the prequel films, saying, “he had talked to Zemeckis, he talked to me, he talked to Steven Spielberg. I was the third one he spoke to.”
However, all three directors turned him down. “They all said the same thing: ‘George, you should just do it.’ This is your baby,” Howard added. “Nobody wanted to follow that act, I don’t think, at that point.”
J.J. Abrams is in the director’s chair for Star Wars’ seventh installment, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which hits US screens on December 18th.