Gareth Edwards Recalls His Original Inspiration for The Creator

Director Gareth Edwards speaks about his personal inspiration for The Creator.
The Creator movie

After a long hiatus from work, Gareth Edwards returns to cinema with another sci-fi adventure, The Creator, set for release on September 29. A film that takes precedence in timely debates over the rapid growth of Artificial Intelligence-based solutions, there are both narrative and visual elements in The Creator, as seen in the film’s trailers, that may seem resembling or comparative. But, even for such a widely discussed topic and idea, The Creator stems from an engaging personal experience built around a mild observation that shaped a wholesome screenplay.


Gareth Edwards’ last film before The Creator was Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story – set before A New Hope, it stretched the origins of the Star Wars Saga and spun a widespread story in the form of Andor, further expanding the Star Wars galaxy. For Rogue One, Edwards had a massive reference point, with story elements, characters, and setting presented on a large-scale adaptation of franchise tropes.

Edwards probably wouldn’t have considered making his comeback with another sci-fi feature. But The Creator comes from an exciting story that Edwards shared at a press conference – which is not just putting the idea of The Creator in a different zone from Rogue One but makes it more grounded in creative inspiration and filmmaking arts.

Talking of the time when he decided to take a break after Rogue One, Edwards recalls that he was on a road trip to Iowa. Edwards states that in his quest to refresh, he rewired his creative ideas during the journey, erasing his mental collection of Star Wars research.

Gareth: I remember I had just finished Star Wars and needed a break, and we decided with my girlfriend that we would see her parents in Iowa, which is on the other side of the States. We planned a four-day road trip. And the great thing about having finished a movie is your brain sort of deletes – and formats the hard drive. And suddenly, you have this blank canvas.

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On that very trip, Edwards got one of the first ideas for The Creator, which he claims to be the most unique one – that eventually got embedded in the story he co-wrote with Chris Weitz and Hossein Amini. Edwards’ brief observation of a factory in the Midwest got him hooked on possibilities for the film, truly making it one of the most unique and, not to mention coolest, junctures for a creator.

Gareth: I just put on some headphones and was looking out the window when we went through this tall grass-like farmland area. There was this factory that went by, and it had what looked like a Japanese logo on it. And because of the way I’m wired, like in science fiction, I was like, I wonder what they’re doing in there. Like, maybe it’s robots or something.

From hereon, The Creator’s inspirations flowed through, built upon the bizarre idea of having a Japanese robot-manufacturing plant on a US farmland. Just like anyone would, Edwards found it cool, and though he tried to shrug it away, the thoughts never stopped pouring in.

Gareth: [I felt it’s] cool. I doubt it. It’s like the Midwest. But, I was thinking, imagine being a robot built in a factory. And you step outside the factory for the first time. And like all you’ve ever seen is inside this building. And then suddenly you see grass and, you know, the trees in the sky. And, like, what would that feel like? And I thought, oh, that’s a cool little moment in a film.

But I don’t know what that would be. And I threw it away and carried on thinking about other things. But it kept coming back the rest of the trip. And I was like, oh, you know what that could be? It could be, you know, and I started building on the idea.

The Creator quite substantially follows this very idea in its crux – a somewhat confused AI humanoid resembling a young human child finds herself amidst a war between human and AI races, divided between her intended purpose and her experiences under the wing of a human special forces operative. The character of Alfie, the humanoid AI, quite significantly seems to possess traits that Edwards thought of in his observations. Something that eventually crafted the film that is set for a high-octane theatrical debut.

Gareth: By the time we got to my girlfriend’s parents’ house, I had the basics of the whole movie mapped out, which is rare. Normally, you sit painfully for a year trying to get a movie sort of in your head. And so I was like, maybe there’s something in this, and this should be the next film.

Interestingly, Edwards didn’t write the film to its complete fruition until 2020 with his co-writers, giving his idea a great time to revitalize and revise. Even then, it’s surreal that a very mild and passing observation of something completely unrelated can bring forth write-ups that later upgrade to a film of such vast grandeur, made with exquisite and extensive technical superlatives.

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The Creator stars John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, and Ralph Ineson. It releases in theaters on September 29, 2023.

About The Creator

The Creator poster

Release Date: September 29, 2023
Director: Gareth Edwards
Cinematography: Greig Fraser and Oren Soffer
Producers: Kiri Hart, Arnon Milchan, and Jim Spencer
Screenplay: Gareth Edwards and Chris Weitz
Executive producers: Zev Foreman, Natalie Lehmann, Nick Meyer, and Yariv Milchan
Cast: John David Washington, Madeleine Yuna Voyles, Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Allison Janey, Amar Chadha-Patel, Ralph Ineson, and Sturgill Simpson
Synopsis: Amidst a future war between the human race and the forces of artificial intelligence, Joshua, a hardened ex-special forces agent grieving the disappearance of his wife, is recruited to hunt down and kill the Creator, the elusive architect of advanced AI who has developed a mysterious weapon with the power to end the war… and mankind itself.

What do you think of the news? Are you happy to see Gareth Edwards doing a new movie following Rogue One: A Star Wars Story? Are you excited about checking out The Creator? Will you see it opening weekend, or do you plan to wait? Let us know your thoughts on the upcoming sci-fi tale on The Illuminerdi’s social media.

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Abhishek Sharma

Abhishek is an aspiring film journalist, currently dedicating himself to covering films across genres and languages expressing his opinions and views on cinema through all formats of publishes.