Unless you’ve been unconscious this past week, or live in a lovely Amish community (Stars don’t have wars, silly! They’re God’s decorative lights, and an integral part of his transcendent feng shui skills), it was reported that J.J. Abrams had been chosen to direct Star Wars: Episode VII after a lengthy period of fan speculation and wish listing.
Disney, who sent out a press release to the masses, has now confirmed Abrams’ involvement in the juggernaut movie project, making it all very much official.
Continue reading to check out statements from Abrams, George Lucas, and Kathleen Kennedy to find out what they had to say about the news.
Producer Kathleen Kennedy, who was said to be a big supporter of hiring J.J. for the job, had this to say about the announcement:
“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie. J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
Star Wars creator George Lucas added:
“I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”
Finally, Abrams also chimed in on his hiring:
“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor. I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, who were reportedly joining the team as the writers of Episode VIII and Episode IX, will also be helping Abrams out as consultants.
This is all very interesting and a tad confusing for a pair of reasons: 1.) Abrams recently confirmed that he was in fact approached about directing Star Wars: Episode VII, but that because he was just as passionate a fan of the series as anyone else, he couldn’t take the job. He even went so far as to say “I’d rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making them.” 2.) Abrams is the man behind the very successful revival of Star TREK, with a new installment in the franchise directed by J.J. due this summer and the filmmaker confirmed as producer for Star Trek 3. Abrams has said that the reason he was able to do what he’s done with Trek is because he was never a big fan of that universe to begin with, the complete opposite of his status when it comes to Star Wars.
Personally, despite Abrams involvement in the Trek universe, I have to think this is one of the best case scenarios for the anxious and unsure fans. When it all boils down to it, J.J. knows how to make a blockbuster, and has a solid track record at pulling them off. Paired with the writing skills of Michael Arndt, there’s a really good chance the duo will deliver something worth seeing.
Now that the massive question of who’s directing the first movie is out of the way, the focus now shifts to some more questions of the utmost importance: what will the storyline be and which characters will it use? And how many movies will Abrams be directing?
Abrams has proven that he can take beloved characters of a beloved franchise and recast them successfully. Will the same happen here in order to do a direct sequel to the original Star Wars trilogy with characters like Luke and Leia and Han around the same age they were when we left off? Or will they set it down the timeline a bit with new characters and maybe a cameo or two from popular characters? It’s a delicate situation to be in, and finding the perfect entry point is extremely difficult. Considering it sounds like Disney plans to also make Star Wars movies outside of the numbered series, it has to be assumed that there will be some prominent ties to the previous movies in this new trilogy adventure.
As for Abrams directing more than one movie, it’s entirely possible. But I personally like the idea of finding someone new for each movie. If Disney makes as many movies as it sounds like they plan to, it could be great to see a variety of directors—distinguished veterans and up and comers looking to make an impact alike—bringing something new and different to the table for each new chapter.
Are you confident in J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars Episode VII? If so, how many do you want to see him direct, and what story are you hoping he’ll tell?