Loving dark Star Wars movies isn’t the same as loving movies that are actually dark. So, if Star Wars: Episode IX turned out really nihilistic it would be a legitimate shock. Which is what makes Stephen Colbert’s recent Werner Herzog Star Wars spoof so great: it feels weirdly urgent.

On September 9, on The Late Show Colbert jokingly made several suggestions to replace Colin Trevorrow as the director of Star Wars: Episode IX. From Nancy Meyers’s “What Wookies Want” to Quentin Tarantino’s “Everybody Shoots First,” Colbert’s faux-suggestions wouldn’t necessarily be terrible. Colbert’s dig that Nancy Meyers directs “romantic comedies” could have been made about Colin Trevorrow before he took on Jurassic World. His first big “hit” was the small rom-com Safety Not Guaranteed.

Still, the centerpiece of Colbert’s joke was spot on: a Werner Herzog directed Episode IX will never happen, but if it did, it might give Star Wars films much-needed perspective. Because as hardcore as The Empire Strikes Back or Rogue One may have become, they were only dark in response to the dominant pulp-adventure flavor in the rest of Star Wars.

When the ersatz Herzog describes the “cold vacuum of space” while the burned bodies of Luke’s Aunt and Uncle are shown, even a casual fans have to admit that on some level, we all wish this Herzog Star Wars movie would happen and that the franchise would really turn to the dark side, once and for all.


At present, Lucasfilm has not announced the replacement director for Episode IX.