Back when there was talk at Lucasfilm about reviving Star Wars with The Force Awakens, David Fincher’s name was thrown into the mix to direct. As we all know, that job ended up going to J.J. Abrams, but what about Fincher’s vision for the movie? As it turns out, a Star Wars directing gig would have been fun for him, but ultimately he figured it was a lot of pressure for something that might not even turn out.

While making an appearance on Empire’s podcast, Fincher explained that a giant project of this nature just wasn’t his thing.

I talked to [producer Kathleen Kennedy] about that and look, it’s a plum assignment. I don’t know what’s worse: being George Lucas on the set of the first one where everyone’s going, ‘Alderaan? What the hell is this?’ Where everyone’s making fun, but I can’t imagine the kind of intestinal fortitude one has to have following up the success of these last two. That’s a whole other level. One is that you have to endure the withering abuse of Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, and the other is you have to live up to a billion or a billion-five, and that becomes its own kind of pressure.

You’d have to really clear your head, I think. You’d have to really be sure this is what you wanted to do because either way it’s two years of your life, 14 hours a day, seven days a week.

I mean, hey, I certainly wouldn’t feel up to directing a Star Wars movie, especially with the prospect of facing the ire of the fans for decades if I mess it up hanging over my head every step of the way. Sometimes, faced with a gig this fantastic but also time-consuming and stressful, a director will opt out simply because they’d rather do other stuff. Good thing for us is that other stuff includes the fascinating Mindhunter, which is now streaming on Netflix.

Gallery: A Visual History of Official Star Wars Posters

More From ScreenCrush