Last week, news broke that ‘Star Trek’ director J.J. Abrams will be directing the upcoming ‘Star Wars’ movie for 2015, the first one without direct involvement from the series creator George Lucas due to the acquisition of Lucasfilms by Disney late last year. Considering that the creative mind behind such shows as ‘Fringe’ previously flat out denied that he’d be taking part in ‘Episode VII’, this news came as a bit of a shock to everyone. But now that the news has had time to sink in and things have been made official, I thought I’d weigh in on the topic.
The first place I looked to gauge the audience reaction was Facebook (though I hear that Twitter exploded as well), and as usual, I found people both for and against the announcement, but I found more on the negative side than the positive. I literally read statuses of “nerd rage” (Not joking, I actually saw someone say “NERD RAGGGGGEEEEE!”). But as I looked through all the comments against it, I started to wonder why since Abrams is an especially capable director. Say what you will about the end of ‘Lost’, but his films like ‘Super 8’ and ‘Star Trek’ were pretty awesome. It’s hard to argue that he’s not a top tier filmmaker these days.
One of the biggest reasons why I was surprised that some people were against the appointment of Abrams was his love of ‘Star Wars’. It always helps when the director that is brought onto an existing franchise is a fan already. That way, they’re more likely to stay true to the essence of the classics. Look at Joss Whedon and ‘The Avengers’. It’s widely known that he was a Marvel fan prior to signing on to adapt Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and his film was exactly what the fans wanted to see. By having such a ‘Star Wars’ fans like Abrams helm the new movie, we’re more likely to get something that we’ll be in favor of that way.
There is the concern about J.J. Abrams’ involvement in ‘Star Trek’, and frankly I didn’t even think he’d be allowed to take over the new ‘Star Wars’ trilogy, but he’s stated multiple times that his ‘Star Trek’ movie was very influenced by ‘Star Wars’, and being a ‘Star Wars’ fan myself, I don’t blame him for jumping on the opportunity to make his own contribution to the tale from a galaxy far, far away.
Lens flares aside, Abrams totally brought me into the ‘Star Trek’ universe and kept me interested despite my apathy towards the original movies/TV show. To begin with, not every director can handle the sheer magnitude and spectacle necessary to present a good story in space. Sure, it could look amazing, but the story could fall apart. Abrams has the ability to focus on the characters and make the story important while still giving us the breath taking images that come with the genre. Though these are characters like Kirk and Spock that people have known and loved for ages, Abrams shined a certain light on them that made them appealing to non-Trekkies. He made the material more accessible for a more casual movie going audience while still appeasing the core fan base, which is not an easy task to do. Basically, he made the franchise interesting again for a whole new generation of movie goers, which ensures the longevity of such a beloved property, and he can totally do the same for ‘Star Wars’, which needs a bit of a push in the right direction after the prequel trilogy.
How do you feel about J.J. Abrams taking the director’s seat for ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’? Share your thoughts in the comments below!