J.J. Abrams: Star Wars a “once in a lifetime” opportunity

jjStar Trek? What Star Trek? J.J. Abrams is talking Star Wars again, this time with the BBC.

A self-confessed Star Wars fan, Abrams said he would have to try to mitigate his “geeky fan-boy” feelings about his forthcoming project.

“It’s just about about approaching it from as authentic a place as possible, and not trying to apply what you believe or think, as much as trying to filter everything and get at it from the core of the characters.

“[It should be] what you deeply want to see, never what you assume the fans might like.”

Hrm. I am by no means saying capitulate to the fans, because then we’d just get a movie about Boba Fett shooting shit, but I’m pretty sure a director channeling what he deeply wanted to see is what brought us Superman Returns, which is to say it can be channeling your inner fanboy. It’s a fine line. Please don’t let Episode VII be the Superman Returns to Star Trek’s X-Men. Please don’t pull a Bryan Singer. Please manage it, J.J. You’re our only hope.

7 thoughts on “J.J. Abrams: Star Wars a “once in a lifetime” opportunity

  1. Aaron

    I liked Superman Returns. Well, some of it. Most of it. Some was pretty weak. Or maybe I actually just liked John Williams’ Superman theme, who knows? Huh… ;-)

    Anyway: A couple years back, George Lucas suggested that if he had made the prequels the way fans wanted him to, it would have been three films full of Vader killing Jedi. Which might have been awesome. Or completely redundant.
    Ultimately, the people working on the sequels are working on the sequels because they’ve shown time and again that they know how films operate and how storytelling affects audiences in the best way possible. So if it is between trusting them and trusting every fanboy’s fantasies about Star Wars, I think I’ll trust them.

    At least for the time being. :-)

  2. Dunc Post author

    Yeah, and it isn’t just a J.J. joint, either, but… I still have a little fear of an otherwise perfectly good director going all fanboy on a property he has deep connections to.

    (Of course, the real tragedy of Superman Returns isn’t actually Superman Returns but that we ended up with that utterly awful third X-Men movie.)

  3. Annalee

    (Of course, the real tragedy of Superman Returns isn’t actually Superman Returns but that we ended up with that utterly awful third X-Men movie.)

    Yeah, that. Between Singer’s mary-superboy fantasy and Brett Ratner quoting freakin’ Youtube memes about the Juggernaut, both of those films were examples of what happens when you cater too much to diehard fans and not enough about telling an actually-cohesive story. Sure, you might solve years of internet slap-fights about whether Superman’s eyes are bulletproof, but you’re unlikely to make a good film.

    Other lessons I hope Star Wars takes from those unfortunate failures: 1. If your villain is a joke, your hero will be too. 2. If your villain is a force of nature with no motive other than destruction, your script had better be brilliant. 3. There are some scripts even Ian McKellan (or Ewan McGregor) can’t save.

  4. Aaron

    Okay, true, the third X-Men was really bad. Somewhat redeeming factor: Ellen Page. And I think I remember one or two good scenes with Hugh Jackman, but those could easily have been hallucinations.

    But with Arndt on duty, I don’t think the story will be the problem. [rant]What I worry about is that the new films and the old films will clash in an obvious Indy 4 type of way. And I’m not talking fridges, aliens, and critters – those weren’t ideal but I can live with them – but something as simple as body heights. Yes, call me crazy, but what I found most disturbing about Indy 4 was to see how small Indy looked compared to Mutt as opposed to Indy being of average height in the old films.
    Han Solo can be a hundred if he needs to be. But a hundred and Hobbit sized? No, thank you.
    [/rant]

  5. Jason Ward

    I think those comments he made are pretty positive. I think he’s a bit more cunning than Bryan Singer and the likes. In fact, I think Episode VII will be rather strong and it is what proceeds that deserves a raised eyebrow.

    My worst Abrams’ fear stems from his past work, which I love. I really dig his work a lot. But he never finishes anything. He starts things and then leaves it for someone else to pick up the pieces. It generally means things start strong then get sort of aimless before the team he instituted course corrects things (which is really apparent with Lost and Fringe for instance).

    It may not be fair to compare a trilogy to a few different television shows. But if he should walk away from this, it will be a pretty similar model in the end for his television stuff.

    Anyways, I’m hoping his comments mean we won’t have characters like old Han and old Lando giving homages to their lines in Episode V and stuff like that.

    I’m rooting and betting on Abrams to pull this off. I hope he can channel George Lucas while giving the saga something from himself at the same time.

    I would like to think that with Abrams making two Star Trek films, a franchise he was not in love with, that means he would go onto make many Star Wars films. But I also think with Star Wars, the creative side is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

  6. derp

    I am relatively confident in JJ, I enjoyed his Star Trek and am definitely watching the next one. My fear is not what he will do, but more what Disney will want him to do. I would be surprised if Disney didn’t want to intrude in the writing process to water down darker story elements, and make this a Disney movie. I fear that Revenge of the Sith might be the last dark Star Wars movie not because of JJ, but because of Disney.
    May the Force be with JJ, and may Star Wars live long and prosper.

  7. Emily

    Jason, you are dead on with the “J.J. never finishes anything” angle. Before Lost and Fringe, there was Alias. A show that started off so strong, but the minute he turned the reins over to someone else it all went to pot.

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