It now appears that the two mightiest sci-fi franchises in the world are in the hands of one man. I cannot help but be a little concerned.
Dominic Patten at Deadline is reporting that Disney has finally ended its search for their Star Wars: Episode VII director. They hath chosen J.J. Abrams. “It’s done deal with J.J.,” the source for the Deadline article said. It appears that Abrams was a particular favorite of current Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy from the start. Abrams has previously denied any involvement in a new Star Wars movie and since he had been committed to Paramount’s Star Trek series, most were inclined to believe him.
Abrams’ frequent collaborator Damon Lindelof was once rumored to be penning Episode VII with Brad Bird directing, but that was proven to be false, as was early speculation that Bird and Lindelof’s mystery pet project 1952 was in fact a cover for the Star Wars project. With Abrams in the directing chair for Episode VII, he may yet bring some of his own creative crew on board, including Lindelof.
I wish I could be more excited about this news. Though Abrams is a terrific director when it comes to mounting big-budget blockbusters, I am certain that those of us who were monitoring the Episode VII director search were hoping deep down that Disney and Lucasfilm would go with a more unconventional choice. There were no small amount of interesting and appropriate filmmakers who were eager to take this assignment while denying in the press that they had even been approached.
This just strikes me as a safe choice. Abrams’ Star Trek movies where the Star Wars influence on the sleeve of their Starfleet uniforms. His smaller, non-Trek movies like Cloverfield (which he did not direct) and Super 8 (which he did) also tend to do very well at the box office, so the guy clearly knows how to put every dollar on screen. Plus, Abrams is just as big a name in the television industry as he is in the film industry. Disney-owned ABC has had a few hit shows with his name attached in the past like Alias and Lost. I sense corporate synergy here. It is not yet known if Abrams will commit to directing any more Star Wars movies beyond Episode VII.
I am sure Abrams will do an excellent job directing Episode VII. It just seems unfair that the studio decided against giving someone else this golden ticket. That is the opinion of one man anyway.