Thursday, January 24, 2013

J.J. Abrams to Direct "Star Wars: Episode VII"

After months upon months of rabid fan speculation as to who was going to direct the new installment of the Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VII, it seems fears have been put to rest with the hiring of J.J. Abrams as director.

Personally, I am over the moon with this choice and I am flat-out shocked that he signed on, especially seeing as how he shot down the early rumors right after Lucasfilm was sold to Disney a few months back.  However, Abrams has always been a very vocal fan of Star Wars, often citing the original 1977 film for how he approached his 2009 Star Trek film.  With a planned release of 2015, presumably May, seeing as how that was the month when every other Star Wars film was released, it seems Abrams is coming onboard with just enough time to get the ball rolling on production.

I think what's the most interesting talking point for most geeks across the internet is that Abrams seems to be jumping ship from the USS Enterprise to the Millenium Falcon, with his sequel to Star Trek, Star Trek: Into Darkness, hitting theaters this May.  However, as he did with the Mission Impossible series, it's highly likely that Abrams will remain involved with the Trek franchise as a producer.  To be honest though, as a fan who loves Star Wars a little more than Star Trek, I don't blame Abrams one bit for finally caving and agreeing to helm Episode VII.  It's one of those crazy dreams that a film obsessed kid grows up with, to be able to actually dictate how the story of Luke, Han, and Leia, are continued on past Return of the Jedi.  I know for myself, from years upon years of playing with Star Wars toys as a kid, that I had my own stories I'd love to tell with that original trio, and it looks as if that possibility was just too much for Abrams to pass up.  The real question is, what type of film can we expect from Abrams?

I said it after I saw Star Trek in '09, and I'll say it again, I thought Abrams outdid the Star Wars prequels, making the best science fiction adventure film since the original Star Wars trilogy.  In Abrams' career as a filmmaker, he has shown his enormous respect and admiration for the films of his youth, often mimicking their styles to create films that are throwbacks to bygone eras of moviemaking.  While I don't think Super 8 was as strong as Star Trek, there's no denying how similar in tone and feel that film was to the Steven Spielberg films from the '80s, like E.T. and The Goonies, and Star Trek felt almost more like a spiritual successor to the original Star Wars trilogy than it did to any other Trek film or series before it, at least in tone.

I am personally not worried at all, and think that Abrams is quite possibly the only guy in Hollywood who can bring back that original feeling of hope and excitement that the original three Star Wars films exude.  To think that we'll get anything other than an awesome, adventure filled thrill ride from J.J. Abrams is utterly ludicrous.

I can't help but say it, the Force is strong with this film.  First the hiring of Kathleen Kennedy as President of Lucasfilm, then the stepping down of George Lucas to merely a creative consultant, to the hiring of writer Michael Arndt to draft the screenplay.  So far Disney and Lucasfilm have hit all of the right notes.  Now if they can only deliver an official confirmation on Mark, Carrie, and Harrison, I'll be on cloud nine, if I'm not there already.  Is it 2015 yet?

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