Actor/Director Ron Howard is maybe the second closest friend (that is directing) to Lucas after Spielberg. And while Spielberg firmly declined any possibilities of him directing a Star Wars movie, that is not the case with Ron. Read after the break why Ron Howard is actually one very logical choice for the Episode 7 director's chair.
The first and most obvious connection between Lucas and Howard is George's second movie American Graffiti (1973) where Ron Howard was staring. 15 years later they are both united this time for Willow (1988). Howard is directing and Lucas is writing.
A year later in Lucasfilm Fan Club magazine #6 , George Lucas was asked about his interest in directing any future Star Wars films. He replied, “I doubt that I would do it. The kind of films I’m interested in directing are not that kind. I would be looking for somebody like Ron Howard or Steven Speilberg, who are just extremely good directors, to do any future Star Wars movies.”
Also on November 5 last year, Ron Howard tweeted, “I had fun meeting on the Disney lot today.” He also tweeted, “Classic photo in the lobby of the executive building on Disney lot."
This meeting was less than a week after Disney announced they would be acquiring Lucasfilm. So look out for that possibility. Also Ron's schedule after 2013 is free for now. ;)