UPDATE: Zack Snyder's people released the following statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
"While he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia.”
While that sounds definitive, remember that lies are par for the course in publicity.
Here's the original story:
Vulture is reporting that Zack Snyder will direct a Star Wars movie but not Episode VII. Instead, he'll be making one of the standalone films that Disney had talked up as a way to expand the franchise. According to the site the film will be 'loosely based' on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, which I assume means a ragtag group of Jedi will be defending the people of some backwater planet from bandits or other villains.
What a great idea! Zack Snyder will be the first filmmaker in Star Wars history to have real visual panache; I know that it's very popular to hate on Snyder, but the guy's a really good director. He has story issues, but I like to think that working with Lucasfilm and Disney will help him out. Of course many fanboys don't like visual panache, and that might be partially because the bland style of the Star Wars films really deadened their cinematic tastebuds. In which case they'll super duper hate anything Snyder does.
Riffing on Kurosawa is, of course, totally in line with Star Wars, as the first film is a loose riff on The Hidden Fortress. And it isn't like this is the first time Seven Samurai has been done in Star Wars; the Marvel comic had this incredible story:
Han and Chewie assemble a ragtag group of heroes to protect moisture farmers from bandits! Thanks to Ali Arikan for reminding me of that. If Snyder brings in the green bunny, I say give him the Oscar. Even still, the idea of Snyder let loose with a massive Jedi battle is exciting; while George Lucas didn't know what the fuck to do with the light saber fights in the Prequel films, Snyder will absolutely kill it. He's an excellent action filmmaker.
Now for the nerd wank: when will this story be set? You'll need seven Jedi, so it seems like it could be a tale of the Old Republic. Vulture seems to think it's set post-Jedi, though, so this could be a clue that Luke Skywalker has definitely and aggressively rebuilt the Jedi Order after defeating the Emperor.
I think this is great news. This is what I want from the Star Wars side movies - specific, unique auterial visions and specilalist styles. I don't want it all to have to fit into the plain white rice style of Star Wars. Give me a little wasabi!