George Lucas asked Ron Howard to direct The Phantom Menace

It turns out Howard was offered the chance to direct The Phantom Menace, the first new Star Wars movie since Return of the Jedi, but wasn't up for taking on that momentous challenge.

Episodes I, II and III of Star Wars are often remembered as disasters, mostly due to the unchecked control George Lucas had over them in his capacity as writer and director. According to Howard, he wasn't the only one approached to take the helm: Lucas also reportedly spoke with Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future) and Steven Spielberg (Jurassic Park), both of whom also turned down the offer.

"Nobody wanted to follow that act, I don't think, at that point. It was an honor, but it would've been too daunting", he said. "They weren't that keen to have me involved anyway". Howard has been directing notable movies for long enough that he could perhaps have even been in the running for the likes of the early Superman films (maybe the later sequels at least), or the Batman series that started in the 1980s. Now, we've learned the films could've possibly been saved had another director stepped up to the plate.

It also sounds like Howard and Lucas have discussed working together again. All three apparently told Lucas that he should be the one to direct them. Rush is an excellent movie, and it's unlike any other film of Howard's. A director as respected and as successful as Howard could simply rest on one's laurels, but he still chooses to experiment behind the camera.

"I've had opportunities over the years [to make superhero movies]" he shared. "I was borrowing a little bit from George's inspiration, about how do you tell classic story, preserve that, but make it a modern movie experience for audiences". You have to be all the way in. I was never a comic book guy. But I never felt I could be on the set at 3 o'clock in the morning, tired, with 10 important decisions to make, and that I intuitively on a gut level know what the story needs. "So I've just never said yes to one". For me, I'd be copycatting and not inventing, so I've just never said yes to one. In the meanwhile, you can catch In the Heart of the Sea in movie theaters on December 11.



Obama Immigration Action Plan: Justice Department Petitions Supeme Court to
The brief represents the administration's last real hope of getting a court to green light the programs before the next election. The Supreme Court typically accepts appeals for the current term, which runs until June 2016, through the early winter.