‘To boldly go’ to ‘a galaxy far, far away’? Thoughts on J.J. Abrams directing the next ‘Star Wars’ film

ImageGeorge Lucas’ announcement last fall that he was selling Lucasfilm to Disney and that there would be a new “Star Wars” film in 2015 was enough of a shock. The deal caught fans by surprise and has led to endless speculation about where the “Star Wars” franchise is heading in the future. But last week, Lucasfilm dropped another news bomb: J.J. Abrams — director of the popular “Star Trek” reboot — had signed on to direct the new “Star Wars” film.

I’ll admit, when I first heard the announcement, I thought it was a hoax, or possibly just more speculation. I’d heard that Abrams’ name was possibly on the short list of potential “Star Wars” directors, but because he was already tied to the “Star Trek” franchise, I didn’t think he’d be available. Originally he even said he wouldn’t be able to take on the project, but apparently something has changed, and now he’s on board.

Abrams is an unexpected but ultimately, I think, an exciting choice to tackle the new “Star Wars” project. Out of all the names that have been tossed around as possible directors for the project, I think Abrams was probably one of the best choices they could have made (although I also would have been happy with Jon Favreau, who directed “Iron Man”). Overall, I’m pleased by Disney’s choice, though I do see a few issues that could arise.

It is a bit unusual that the man who rebooted and re-envisioned “Star Trek” is now being asked to do almost the same thing with a rival science fiction franchise. Although Abrams’ selection has already generated some controversy and quite a bit of debate, I don’t necessarily have a problem with him directing both “Star Wars” and “Star Trek.” I enjoy both series, though I will confess I’ve always loved “Star Wars” a little more. 😉 Abrams created a really bold, fresh vision for the future of “Star Trek,” and his first Trek film is one of my all-time favorite movies.

ImageIt will be interesting to see what tone the new “Star Wars” film takes, now that Abrams has signed on as the director. Abrams has a very distinctive film making style: his films are briskly-paced and decidedly modern, with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. He’s not afraid to take risks, such as altering “Star Trek” canon and portraying characters in new ways. My hope is that he will create a “Star Wars” film that utilizes his directing strengths and his own creative flair, while also capturing the grand, space-opera feel the “Star Wars” saga has always had. I believe Abrams has the ability to craft a film that will feel both “fresh” and “familiar.” He’s a long-time “Star Wars” fan himself, so I think he’ll try his hardest to do the series justice.

The challenge for Abrams will be to make sure the new “Star Wars” film doesn’t feel too similar to his “Star Trek” films. “Star Trek” tends to be more “science fiction,” while “Star Wars” tends to be “science fantasy.” I’m curious to see if Abrams continues with both franchises, or if he’ll step away from “Star Trek.” I personally hope he continues on with both (as long as he can keep the style of the movies separate); I love what he’s done with the “Star Trek” franchise, and I’m excited about what he can do for “Star Wars.”

While some seem to be disappointed Disney didn’t make an even more unconventional choice — such as Christopher Nolan — I’m not sure Nolan would have been the best option. I love Nolan’s films; he’s one of my favorite directors, and he did an excellent job rebooting the “Batman” franchise. However, I don’t think his dark and gritty film making style is the right fit for the “Star Wars” franchise. The previous “Star Wars” films have always had a fun, adventurous feel, and I want the new series to maintain that tone.

That said, I wouldn’t mind seeing Nolan take on a stand-alone “Star Wars” film project. I’d love to see him do a movie about bounty hunter Boba Fett, set in the gritty underworld of Coruscant. I also don’t know if Joss Whedon (another name rumored to have been on the “Star Wars” short list) would have been the right choice for “Star Wars” either. I love Whedon’s work, but I’m not sure he’d be the best fit (just as Abrams wouldn’t have been the right choice for “The Avengers”).

So, what do you think? Are you excited about Abrams directing the next “Star Wars” film? Or would you have preferred a different director?

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7 thoughts on “‘To boldly go’ to ‘a galaxy far, far away’? Thoughts on J.J. Abrams directing the next ‘Star Wars’ film

  1. I think what I like best about this deal is what worries you about it. I think J.J. will go a long way to NOT make the new Star Wars film feel in any way like his Star Trek. Where Star Trek is polished and shiny. My Star Wars is full of dark, old, rundown ships like the Falcon or any of the bounty hunter’s ships or even the Death Star. And while all of the actors are young and beautiful and the aliens are cute (and even when scary pretty good looking) in Star Trek, my Star Wars universe (I say my Star Wars because the prequels were way too shiny for me) is populated by ugly, slimy, non-humanoid alien species or swamps and deserts with dive bars and dark caves.

    I feel J.J. will have to return to the darker Star Wars of my youth and leave behind the bright and shiny prequels. (Even with Disney bankrolling it)

    I’m excited. Especially because he insisted that Lawrence Kasdan be brought back to work on the script. (Empire, Return, Raiders, Silverado, Big Chill) A return to good dialogue.

    On a strange note. I heard 2015 and all of a sudden I started thinking about my mortality. What if something happened to me before the release date. That’s how excited I am, started worrying about what could happen between now and when the movie comes out. (But if I don’t make it, I sure hope they have IMAX 3D in the afterlife)

    Also, though unlikely, I hope he locks down all info leaks. I don’t want to know ANYTHING, internet. And I will still be first in line.

    • I also hope J.J. Abrams will go back to the tone of the original series. I absolutely agree, I think that was what made the original Star Wars so cool. Everything wasn’t shiny and high-tech like in other science fiction movies. It felt gritty and real. As a Star Wars fan himself, I think Abrams was a good choice to helm the next Star Wars, and I think it’s going to be epic. 😉

      And don’t feel bad, I had that same thought, I was thinking about how far away 2015 was, and I thought, Oh no, I hope nothing happens to me because I really, really want to see it. This is one I’ll definitely stand in line for. 🙂

  2. Pingback: The good, the bad and the ugly: Looking back at five years of hits (and misses!) at Box Office Buzz | Box Office Buzz

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