Why Brad Bird Chose Directing 'Tomorrowland' Over 'Star Wars: Episode VII'

Timing is everything.

Reporting by Josh Horowitz

Back in the dark times when "Star Wars" fans didn't know who would direct "Episode VII," "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" director Brad Bird was considered a major contender and even met with Lucasfilm about the project.

But ultimately, he chose to stick with "Tomorrowland" — then called "1952" — which had attracted George Clooney to the project just after Bird's name entered into the "Episode VII" discussions.

At New York Comic-Con, attendees got the first glimpse at the movie Bird choose over "Star Wars," and MTV spoke with the filmmaker about the choice he had to make.

"We were already deeply into ['Tomorrowland']. George had committed to it, and we were down the road a bit," he said about the timing of his choice. "For a moment there, I thought that it would work out to do this and go right into ['Episode VII']. It was supposed to be summer of this coming year. There was no way to make that schedule and give this film the attention that it deserved, so I had to step away."

The missed opportunity is just another story of bad timing, but Bird has some perspective on the whole ordeal.

"I know ['Episode VII'] is going to be terrific and everything, but I'm really happy to do this film," he said. "It's rare to do a film of size that's original, so those opportunities can't be missed either."

"Tomorrowland" opens in theaters on May 22.