Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 by Germain Lussier
J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII. If you’re like me, you’re going to have to let that one sink in for a bit. My first thought is happiness. Abrams is a huge fan of the franchise and a proven great director with a flare for the Spielbergian. My second thought is confusion. Not that Abrams is doing it after saying he wouldn’t, just that one man would be brave enough to tackle two monster franchises, first Star Trek and now Star Wars. Whenever anyone asked me if I wanted Abrams to direct Episode VII I always said, “We’ve already seen J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars film. It’s called Star Trek.”
But that got me thinking. Abrams has been very vocal that his Trek was influenced by Wars. The narrative is thematically very similar to A New Hope. So with a second Trek film out later this year, you’d have to imagine there has to be something specifically different to make him do a third space movie with “Star” in the title, right? What could that be?
Any Star Wars fan who was asked to direct Star Wars Episode VII would probably have trouble saying “No.” It’s the opportunity of a lifetime. So, taking that out of the equation, is there something we can figure out from Abrams’ decision?
I think so. Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness are very glossy film. Bright lights, lens flairs, red and blue and yellow costumes. In terms of visuals, they have more in common with the Star Wars prequels than the original trilogy. So, under the [major] assumption that Abrams doesn’t want to just make the same movie a third time, you’d have to imagine Michael Ardnt is writing a dirty Star Wars. A Star Wars set in a time and place that can’t be glossy. That’s filled with death and decay and the kind of things we haven’t yet seen from J.J. Abrams.
This film won’t be clinical. It won’t be computer graphics heavy. I picture Dagobah for two hours. The forests of Endor. Jabba’s Palace. Not Naboo or Coruscant. Like the artist Olly Moss said on Twitter:
@GermainLussier Star Trek is Sci-Fi. Star Wars is fantasy.
— Olly Moss (@ollymoss) January 24, 2013
What else? Star Trek is a huge space ensemble. Lots of characters, lots of faces, lots of separate personalities to corral. If Abrams is doing this, it’s probably a good bet Episode VII won’t be that. It’ll likely focus on a few key characters as they travel through this dark world. We’ve heard that maybe the lead is a female (but this may have been only part of Matthew Vaughn’s pitch), possibly the spawn of Han and Leia? The original trilogy was pretty limited in terms of main characters, after all.
But wait, there’s more! In the past, Abrams has worked almost exclusively with Michael Giacchino as a composer. Like I said earlier this week, there are a few things that have to be part of a Star Wars movie to make it a Star Wars movie and, in my opinion, one of those is John Williams. With Abrams now on board you’d have to wonder if Giacchino will follow suit or if Williams will return. I think Abrams is such a huge fan, he’d feel wrong about using anyone but Williams, but Giacchino could obviously kill it too. [Remember, he did the music to the new Star Tours as well.]
Ultimately, that’s the #1 thing to remember. Abrams is a Star Wars super nerd. It’s like one of us is directing Episode VII. Maybe I’m totally wrong about all of this. But whether the film is dark or light, ensemble or character or Giacchino or Williams, Abrams will do it right or he wouldn’t do it at all.
Those are my thoughts. What do you think it says about the film?
Also, thanks to @Brenden for the header image.