Thursday, January 24, 2013

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

Earlier today, news broke that Disney had finally found their director for their upcoming Star Wars film, Episode VII. We'd heard rumors galore over the last couple months, with everyone from Matthew Vaughn to Ben Affleck positioned to take the gig, but none seemed to stick. One name floating around near the top of everyone's wish list, though, was J.J. Abrams. Abrams, in the midst of his mega success with his Star Trek reboots, seemed an obvious heir to the Star Wars throne. But with "Star Trek Into Darkness" not releasing until later this summer, and a follow-up film surely on the radar, many expected Abrams' time to be incredibly limited. Still, it didn't stop anyone who could from approaching the director about the potential project. But just as quickly as we dreamed it, Abrams shot it down, publicly declaring that he would pass on directing the next Star Wars film, proclaiming instead that he'd "rather be in the audience not knowing what was coming, rather than being involved in the minutiae of making the film". This was a bit of a letdown, but understandable. So we kept our eyes and ears to the grindstone (wrong sensory organs), hoping that good news would eventually come of this building suspense.

Suddenly, out of the blue and in true J.J. Abrams misdirection and secrecy, surprise word came from The Wrap that the director, who previously discarded all notions of any future involvement with the series, would in fact be accepting the gig to helm the project tentatively set for a 2015 theater release.

Little else is known of the project as of yet, outside of the fact that Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine", "Toy Story 3") has been hired to write the script, and Kathleen Kennedy, now President of LucasFilm under the wing of Walt Disney, will produce the picture. But outside of casting details (Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford are both presumably game for making an appearance), and maybe some vague plot directions, don't expect much else from this one until the last possible moment. Abrams is a notoriously secretive director, and my guess is he'll want to really keep wraps on this one as to provide big surprises for the fans.

This should be exciting news for most all Star Wars fans though, as Abrams brings a credible and accomplished sci-fi presence to the picture. I am no Star Trek fan, but Abrams captured my attentions with his 2009 film, as it was actually one of my favorites of the year. I am a big Star Wars fan though, and I'm excited for something fresh from the series. I can't imagine this will be anything that lives up to the magic of the original trilogy, but I have hopes that Abrams will put something worthwhile on the screen. Even if he isn't able though, just going to a theater, having the lights dim, and hearing that music blare as the title pops on the screen - is there anything better than that in the world? If just thinking about that doesn't give you goosebumps then I'm not sure there's much reason for us to continue this relationship.

Ultimately, what do you guys think? It's hard to argue that Abrams isn't an ideal choice, but would there have been a different director you'd prefer to have seen tackle this universe? Regardless, how excited, if at all, are you for this next chapter?