Even as the film continues to ride high at the box office, the [movie id="369195"]"Twilight"[/movie] world was rocked this weekend by news that Catherine Hardwicke would not be directing the sequel, putting an end to the big plans she had for the series.
As Twilighters wipe aside the tears for their beloved Catherine, however, they must focus on looking ahead to the obvious question: Who will direct "New Moon"? With only a few months until cameras begin rolling, we examine the benefits and drawbacks of a few potential applicants:
[movieperson id="75697"]Sofia Coppola[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: More so than any other franchise, "Twilight" needs a woman at the helm. Hardwicke's strengths were in her depictions of first love, the awkwardness of high school, and Bella's friendship with her father, Charlie. Coppola, an Oscar winner, proved she could do the same with "The Virgin Suicides" and [movie id="234058"]"Lost in Translation."[/movie] She'd undoubtedly make Italy look beautiful, and after
[movie id="265467"]"Marie Antoinette,"[/movie] her career could use an easy box-office hit. A quick look at her empty production slate seems to reveal that she'd be available.
Why It Wouldn't: She'd replace [movieperson id="262629"]Kristen Stewart [/movieperson]with [movieperson id="18232"]Kirsten Dunst[/movieperson], cast Bill Murray as mind-reading Volturi leader Aro, replace [movieperson id="365131"]Robert Pattinson's[/movieperson] music with '80s tracks from New Order, and have Edward whisper key dialogue in Bella's ear.
[movieperson id="142466"]Ang Lee[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: "Twilight" screenwriter Melissa Rosenberg has compared Edward and Bella's forbidden romance to "Brokeback Mountain." So why not get the Oscar-winning director of that film to come onboard?
Why It Wouldn't: As cool as it would be to see "New Moon" fight sequences with the grace of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," the last time Lee sought out a blockbuster franchise, he made [movie id="305617"]"Hulk."[/movie] Somehow, the "Twilight" world doesn't seem likely to accept a babbling Nick Nolte.
[movieperson id="37192"]Shawn Levy[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: A hyperactive talent known for creating warm, familial sets much like Hardwicke, Levy has built an impressive résumé by cranking out box-office hits like "Cheaper by the Dozen." Lately, he has been playing in larger toy boxes with the [movie id="290029"]"Night at the Museum"[/movie] films and was supposed to make "The Flash" until that superhero film moved on without him. He knows what teens want, would inject some humor, and seems ready to take on the "New Moon" visual effects.
Why It Wouldn't: Quite simply, he's never directed drama before, and there's no reason to think he could properly navigate the emotional struggles endured by Edward and Bella in the next film. Also, he seems like the type of director who'd put Smash Mouth's "All Star" onto the sequel's soundtrack for no apparent reason.
[movieperson id="197471"]Brett Ratner[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: Love him or hate him, Ratner is the king of taking over franchises in times of transition ("X-Men: The Last Stand," "Red Dragon") and keeping them financially successful. He's willing to adapt his directorial style to that of his predecessors and could undoubtedly bring "New Moon" home with another $70 million opening weekend — at the very least.
Why It Wouldn't: The rabid "Twilight" fanbase wants a director with vision, not a hired gun simply willing to put on Catherine Hardwicke's eyeglasses. Plus, Ratner has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth and attract strong hatred from the Internet community, so it might not be a good idea to mix him with an army of fans who'll scrutinize his every move.
[movieperson id="130926"]Robert Rodriguez[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: It's no secret that the biggest obstacle in "New Moon" is the special effects, and Summit Entertainment isn't a full-on studio that can just throw $200 million into the budget. That combination largely led to Hardwicke's departure. For a decade and a half, Rodriguez has been showing Hollywood how to make a movie look like it has two or three times its budget, and nobody does it better than the author of "Rebel Without a Crew." He gave Taylor Lautner his first big break ("Sharkboy and Lavagirl"), has made a great vampire movie in the past ("From Dusk Till Dawn"), and might also be in the market for a surefire hit after "Grindhouse" underperformed.
Why It Wouldn't: Rather than traveling to Italy, he'd shoot the movie on a green screen in his garage. And Rodriguez would add so much blood and gore that "New Moon" would get a hard "R."
[movieperson id="82890"]Amy Heckerling[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: She's virtually the same age as Hardwicke, is a female director, and has made some great teenage films over the years ("Clueless," "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"). Heckerling is coming off a nightmarish Hollywood experience with "I Could Never Be Your Woman" and seems likely to jump at a surefire blockbuster opportunity.
Why It Wouldn't: I love "Johnny Dangerously" as much as the next guy, but Heckerling hasn't delivered a hit in a decade, and Hollywood has a short memory. Plus, if she sticks around for "Breaking Dawn," the director of the "Look Who's Talking" movies might give baby Renesmee the voice of Bruce Willis.
[movieperson id="79193"]David Fincher[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: Quite simply, he's one of the best directors alive. The man behind "Fight Club," "Seven" and this month's [movie id="280659"]"Curious Case of Benjamin Button"[/movie] would follow Stephenie Meyer's novel with obsessive meticulousness, and it's hard to imagine a more fascinating lens to watch the "Twilight" franchise through.
Why It Wouldn't: He'd give an entire nation of teenage girls nightmares for a month. Rather than simply depicting Edward's contemplation of suicide, he'd insist on making RPattz's bloody death the film's twist ending.
[movieperson id="143160"]Brad Silberling[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: Many "Twilight" fans have already voiced their affection for the "Lemony Snicket" director, and his other films ("Casper," "City of Angels," "Moonlight Mile") have displayed skill at balancing themes of life, death and everlasting love. Factor in his special-effects experience (and set aside his gender), and he might just be the best person for the job.
Why It Wouldn't: Silberling is currently in post-production on Will Ferrell's "Land of the Lost" and likely wouldn't be available when "New Moon" cameras start rolling in the spring.
[movieperson id="91989"]Mira Nair[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: Also a female, around the same age as Hardwicke and equally adept at drama, the Indian filmmaker depicts romance beautifully. If she could make "New Moon" half as good as "The Namesake," we'd all be in for a treat.
Why It Wouldn't: Currently in post-production on the Hilary Swank-starring biopic "Amelia," where would she find the time?
[movieperson id="94461"]Roman Polanski[/movieperson]
Why It Would Work: He's an Oscar-winning legend, made his name with supernatural themes ("Rosemary's Baby") and already lives in Europe. It's been a long time since he's made a mainstream hit film, and he might want to give it one last shot at this point in his career.
Why It Wouldn't: Introducing Polanski to an adoring fanbase of teenage girls? Um, let's forget I brought this one up.
Now that Catherine is out, who do you think should direct "New Moon"? Let us know below.
Check out everything we've got on "New Moon."
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.