Meet Gareth Edwards – the Director of the First Star Wars Stand-Alone Movie.

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Hit the jump for a very cool article on Gareth Edwards, the Godzilla director who was recently announced to helm the first Star Wars spin-off movie with a screenplay by Gary Whitta…

There really isn’t much about Star Wars in the article but it introduces Edwards very well to the audience who is still unfamiliar with him. 
The whole article can be found on WalesOnline.

The £95m blockbuster Godzilla is No 1 at the box-office and set to be one of the biggest smashes of 2014. Incredibly, it’s only the second film he’s ever made.

“What’s my life become?” he laughs. “Every day something insane happens.

“A few years ago I was making a film in my bedroom and now I’m being invited to hang out with Sir Peter Jackson. I still can’t quite believe it.”

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The ultimate local-boy-does-good story began in early ’80s in the Nuneaton living room of Gareth’s parents, Allan, from Pontypool, who runs a computer systems company, and maths teacher Yvonne, from Usk.

“Every Saturday night my dad would go to the local video shop and rent two titles, one for me, and one for the grown-ups.

“I would always have some sort of fantasy flick but would stick around to see the more adult film. When I was about six, my dad came home with An American Werewolf In London, which absolutely scared the s*** out of me – I didn’t sleep in my own bed for the next three years.

“But it fired my imagination and got me fascinated about what was out there in the darkness – which you can see in Godzilla. I guess that’s really where it all began.”

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Like many of his generation Gareth, 38, was also a huge fan of 1977 epic Star Wars – an obsession that almost drove his parents and older sister Lisa to distraction.

“Once we were driving to see family in South Wales, and I tried to recite the entire script from beginning to end. I think I actually managed it.”

As a youngster, Gareth’s ambition was to be the film’s hero, Luke Skywalker. But as he hit his teens, he decided being in charge was better.

Now, in the culmination of those childhood ambitions, he has been announced as the director of the first of a series of Star Wars spin-offs.

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He says: “People told me I was really lucky to know exactly what I wanted to do but I always felt the opposite.

“It was like a curse, because the chances of me succeeding were so slim that I could easily have ended up wasting my whole life. Thankfully my parents were always very supportive, although I can’t say the same for my school careers advisor.”

After school, Gareth took a course in audio-visual arts at North Warwicks and Hinckley College and then a BA in film and video at UCA Farnham in West Surrey.

Later he moved to London and landed a BBC job on visual effects.

He recalls: “The idea was I would stay for six months and then make a film. It actually took me 10 years to get the nerve to quit.

“It came to the point where I thought, ‘If I don’t do it now, I never will’.”

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Gareth decided to write a film about huge, extra-terrestrial creatures bringing civilisation to the verge of collapse. He shot Monsters in just three weeks on a budget of just £297,000 – much of it created in his flat in Pimlico, West London.

He smiles: “I suppose you could call it a home movie. But it was incredibly hard to get done. When I started out, I had enough savings to buy a small house.
“But by the time the film was released, I’d had to borrow £10,000 from my mum just to feed myself.”

Gareth, who is single with no children, says his flat was so small that his computer was positioned right next to his bed – meaning many of Monsters’ 250 special effects were created while sitting on his duvet.

He admits: “I had five months to finish the film and would have to resort to lots of cheats and sleights of hand to make it look right.”


Much of the film, shot in Guatemala, Costa Rica and Mexico, was made with a crew of just four and all the actors improvised their dialogue.

Gareth admits: “We grabbed people in off the street and asked if they wanted to be in it. It was crazy.” Despite its humble origins, Monsters became a huge word-of-mouth hit on its release in 2010 and was even nominated for a Bafta.

It also attracted attention in Hollywood. Gareth says: “I went to LA and met about 100 people in two weeks, then nothing happened for three or four months and I thought that was that.

“Then I got a call from my agent. He made sure I was sitting down, then asked me if I’d be interested in directing Godzilla.”

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It was both a thrilling and terrifying prospect. Aside from presiding over that huge budget, the shoot was scheduled to last almost three months and meant he’d be working with stars such as Aaron Taylor-Johnson, David Strathairn, Elizabeth Olsen, Juliet Binoche and Bryan Cranston, from TV’s Breaking Bad.

Gareth says: “My heart said ‘Yes’ but my nerves were saying ‘No’. I really felt overwhelmed, but then I thought about how I’d worked all my life to get to this point and that I couldn’t turn it down.

“Making the film turned out to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, mainly because of the pressure I put myself under. Panic would come and go all the time and I controlled that by telling myself, ‘If this is the only thing I ever do in my life, I’ve got to go out in a blaze of glory’.”

The shoot began in March last year, followed by post-production, when more than 1,000 special effects were added.

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The result, released on the 60th anniversary of the original, sees the 355ft reptile attempt to save humanity from two colossal, radiation-chomping monsters.

It has already taken £55m during its opening weekend in the US and £6.4m in its first week in the UK.

Seeing his parents reaction on the Godzilla premiere was the highlight of his career, – although he admits being invited to New Zealand to see Sir Peter Jackson make The Hobbit comes a pretty close second.

He says: “I decided to hold a party for the cast and crew which was a costly mistake since I insisted on a free bar. But I haven’t really had time to think about going on a spending spree. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to go to a shop in two years.”

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Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.

Born on April 24, 1980.

Val Trichkov (Viral Hide)

Founder of SWNN, MNN and The Cantina forums.Born on April 24, 1980.

70 thoughts on “Meet Gareth Edwards – the Director of the First Star Wars Stand-Alone Movie.

  • May 27, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    It’ll be cool to see an underdog fan take the reins for directing the first Star Wars spinoff. I’m interested to see what he’ll do. I’m more worried about Whitta’s screenplay. He just doesn’t seem like a nice fit for Star Wars, but I could very well be wrong. We’ll have to wait and see.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    one advice Gareth, don’t imitate Jackson and his pornalized films

    • May 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      M…Michael Jackson?

    • May 28, 2014 at 12:47 am

      I think absolutely no one has any idea what you’re talking about.

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:46 am

      I do. Peter Jackson’s movies lately are true action porn of the worst kind .

    • May 28, 2014 at 5:44 am

      At least some one who has read the article and shows some inteligence and common sense, for god sake.

    • May 28, 2014 at 5:52 am

      Peter Jackson is actually a possible candidate for one of these new star wars movies. He probably wouldn’t do a very bad job either.

    • May 28, 2014 at 8:02 am

      “A few years ago I was making a film in my bedroom”

      Too late…

    • May 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      Peter Jackson would be the worst choice for a Star Wars movie.
      Most of you claim for “old school” effects and a good story in SW7. You’re all fans of SW here, do you really want Peter Jackson to direct one of them? Peter Jackson only knows how to destroy a good story with silly dialogs and overused cgi images.

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      OMG, Peter Jackson would be terrible for Star Wars. LoTR was great, but as he’s tried to outdo himself the action/cgi/story additions have gotten out of control and way over-the-top. The last hobbit film had me saying “WTF” over half the movie and feeling like I was watching footage of a video game. I do NOT want that for Star Wars!!!

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:37 pm

      – Jedi playing ping-pong kicking a battle droid back-and-forth at eachother.
      – Jedi doing “cool” force whirlwind lightsabre attack and taking out 100 storm troopers.
      – Jedi kicks battledroid, which rebounds off 7 different walls and comes back for jedi to cut it’s head off with lightsabre.
      – Jedi at the top of a building jumps down and springboards stormtrooper perfectly so that jedi friend at top of building can cut his head off.

      That is the type of BS we’ll get from Peter Jackson.

    • May 28, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      I agree, I’ve begun to lose faith in Jackson’s creative eye. I absolutly love the LOTR trilogy, but I’m reluctant to see the third Hobbit movie after having seen the last two. Like Nathan Chapman said, it’s almost like he’s trying to dramatically 1-up himself in the same way GL did with the prequels. Both have had very poor results, IMO.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    Just saw Godzilla. I was greatly disappointed. When we finally see Godzilla in full he is mostly on screen for about 5-10 seconds before they cut to humans and follow them awhile. Every time they cut back to him they cut away again just when you are getting excited. I didn’t mind that he wasn’t in it for the majority of the movie (except for shots of his back). I actually like slow burns, but when they get to the part that should have had a grand reveal of him fighting the other monsters they cut away just as they are hitting each other. There was much more time spent on the MUTO’s and Godzilla almost felt like a hastily thrown in monster to draw people into an otherwise generic monster movie. There was not enough time spent with Godzilla to earn the emotional bits at the end with him. They totally fell flat for me.
    Let’s hope that if he is doing Boba Fett we will get to actually see Boba for more than a few minutes in his own movie.

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      Duke’s right, the spinoffs will most likely not focus primarily on movie-verse characters, but as of right now nothing is set-in-stone.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:00 am

      Actually, if you believe in Hasbro’s future ads, there WILL be a Boba Fett spin-off, as much as I hate the thought of it.

    • May 28, 2014 at 2:12 pm

      I didn’t say he “would” do a Boba movie. I said “if” he did a Boba movie. And the rumors have been that there will be one. Also, I believe Hasbro requested the information on the film lineup be taken down, which indicates that it is true.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:08 pm

    I don’t really care about Gareth Edwards, Gary Whitta is the interesting one.

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      I don’t know, getting plunged deep into the film making industry after only making a single film is pretty interesting. The guy’s obviously got some serious talent as a director.

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      He’s passable but i haven’t seen a’lot of talent yet. I think you people are geting too hung up on the director when the screenwriter is more important.

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      In case you didn’t see my above comment:
      “I’m interested to see what he’ll do. I’m more worried about Whitta’s screenplay. He just doesn’t seem like a nice fit for Star Wars.”

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Who is in your opinion a good pick for a screenwriter for a standalone Starwars movie?

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:42 pm

      I was honestly looking forward to seeing a spinoff written by Kasdan and Kinberg, despite Simon’s shotty work on the animated series we’ve seen so far. Whitta has written some great movies, but After Earth sticks out like a sore thumb for me. A screenplay by him could really go two ways and we know from past-reference that with Star Wars, it’s best to have as little risk as possible.

    • May 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      I wouldn’t even say Gary Whitta has even wrote a great movie. He has only done two and they are both sub par, as far as Kasdan we don’t even know if he can write anymore. The last movies he has worked on aren’t even passable. For Simon Kinberg his bad outweighs the good, i wanted Duncan Jones.

    • May 28, 2014 at 12:52 am

      One of my concerns is that Whitta is a notorious Prequel basher. While I realize that lots of Star Wars fans are, I’m just not sure it’s a great idea going in to have a screenwriter who hates half the existing movies.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:45 am

      I think it’s a great idea, the movie may be bad but, it won’t be like the prequel movies.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Seems like a cool guy and a solid director. Now hopefully Whitta can get him a solid story to work with.

  • May 27, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    I just want to know who the spinoff movie will be about then I can know whether or not if it is worth getting excited about.

    • May 27, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      According to rumors: the 2016 spin off is on Boba Fett.

    • May 28, 2014 at 1:31 am

      Yeah, I hope it’s Boba Fett but those who know for sure are saying anything.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:01 am

      Search your feelings… you know it’s about Boba Fett.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:33 pm

      Boba fett and young Han Solo are confirmed by Disney..

  • May 27, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    I don’t know, I ‘m kind of sceptical about this sudden choice, as a director he’s still fresh, he has proven himself directing Godzilla but people give him too much credit where its credits due, I think Alfonso Cuaron would have been a wiser choice, but who knows, maybe Gareth will succeed on making a pleasant movie, only time will tell

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:27 am

      If Cuarón is to direct a SW film, it’ll be Ep. VIII or IX. I don’t see a well-established, Academy Award winning director settling for a SW spin-off film.

    • May 28, 2014 at 7:15 am

      I do if it gives him the freedom to be creative in ways that he wouldn’t be otherwise making a saga film.

    • May 28, 2014 at 7:37 pm

      For me, it all depends on Whitta’s screenplay. If he writes a dud, Gareth will be stuck with it. Screenplay, screenplay…

  • May 28, 2014 at 12:51 am

    Obiwan doesn’t have a biracial daughter: his daughter is Ashoka Tano, the only Jedi to survive order 66.

    Ashoka turns to the dark side, being Anakin’s apprentice. That’s the big surprise and the full circle.

    The person who did Ashoka’s voice was astonished at Ashoka’s future . . .

    That’s why the clone wars are now canon.

    • May 28, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      Say what..what deathsticks are you on? Ahsoka is far from Obi-wan’s daughter. Unless they have casted Lupita to play an elder Ahsoka for the second lead???????

  • May 28, 2014 at 2:11 am

    I just wanna know what the spinoff is gonna be! And glad Kinberg is not working on this!

  • May 28, 2014 at 2:12 am

    Neil Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) should direct one of the Star Wars spinoff films – if any and all – a Boba Fett movie. His films have always exerted a tone that will be well acquainted with Star Wars and I know that if he directs a Star Wars film, it will most prominently be a critical and a commercial success.

    • May 28, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Blomkamp could be great. He’s one of the few guys who knows how to put together this kind of film.

    • May 28, 2014 at 9:24 pm

      He’s too political for a Star Wars movie. Star Wars is fantasy & mythology, Neil Blomkamp movies are filled with social & political commentary.

    • May 28, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      So far, Neil Blomkamp has show the he’s a one trick pony.I have feeling his next movie will just be District 9 again, just like his last one.

    • May 28, 2014 at 10:12 pm

      Yeah, he might be too single-minded an artist to play company hard-ball. Like what happened with Edgar Wright dropping out of Ant Man for Marvel.

  • May 28, 2014 at 2:21 am

    there are so many directors who are more qualified than this guy…

  • May 28, 2014 at 6:04 am

    Spin off lol yes! think bounty hunter although, the Solo Chronicles sound awesome too

  • May 28, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Personally, I ‘d like to see Nolan direct one of the movies. I don’t think Ford will be on board for a “Solo” movie so obviously a fresh face to play a young Han maybe. I’d rather see an Obi-Wan movie with McGregor and Neeson to pair up Kenobi and Jinn.

    • May 28, 2014 at 11:47 am

      They are extinct thanks to the second Death Star explosion in ep 6. Nuclear fallout wiped them out in a few years with the exception of a handful of Ewoks who escaped. So no Ewok movies……

  • May 28, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Boba Fett and Young Han Solo movies have been confirmed by Disney like half a year ago. So the first movie is Boba Fett…

  • May 28, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Star Wars fans!! Check out my shop CCPArt on I’m sure I have some great things for you

  • May 28, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Solo has great potential… smugglers, gamblers, Empire, bounty hunters, the Hutts, etc.

  • May 28, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Would love to see IG-88 rendered with today’s fx. All he did in Empire was stand there.

  • May 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Watched an interview with Gareth… very intelligent guy. I heard the acting in Godzilla sucked, very boring, but that may have been the script’s fault. By all accounts Gareth is an FX wizard. Great with big action sets.

  • May 28, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Boba Fett should be the baddie in the Solo movie, not have his own movie. I hope it plays out that way.

    Not worried if Godzilla sucked. It was Gareth’s first studio picture so he will improve as he goes along. He will watch Godzilla in 3 months and say, Ok, I can improve x, y, z. Main thing is, he did something right… it is a huge hit movie and that’s why LF hired him.

    After Earth was universally loathed, so not sure about Whitta. Then again, Smith father and son blow chunks. Blame Jaden and his perpetual gas face. Kid always looks like, “Duh?” Derp.

  • May 28, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    Peter Jackson is too busy sucking every last drop of blood out of JRR Tolkien’s corpse to make a SW movie. Jackson will move on to the marrow of Tolkien’s bones when he’s done with all his blood.

  • May 29, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Wait, Gary Whitta wrote After Earth and he is getting work writing a Star Wars movie? What?!!!!

Comments are closed.