The Flickering Myth Reaction to J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars: Episode VII

The Flickering Myth team share their thoughts about the news that J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII…

It’s been just under a week since the news officially broke that Star Trek Into Darkness director J.J. Abrams was to take on one of sci-fi’s most iconic franchises. This news, which could very well be the biggest movie news of the year, really got the Flickering Myth writing team talking…

J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII

Oliver Davis: The opening text scroll is going to be difficult to read with lens flare…

David Bishop: I think this is a great choice. Ive enjoyed all of Abrams’ films so far and I think he’ll do a bang-up job. Think of it like this – he’s probably the best director to ever make a Star Wars film. Not saying he’ll make the best one, but there’s a lot of potential here.

Luke Owen: “I have a bad feeling about this… as if a million plot threads were started and then suddenly… forgotten…”

On a less facetious note, I’m still not sold on Abrams as a filmmaker. Star Trek was a great reboot and Super 8 is a lot of fun (despite being more Spielberg than Abrams), but he is also behind one of the dumbest TV shows I’ve ever seen (Lost). I think he can do a good job, but he could also do a bad job. To be honest, the biggest thing going for Star Wars: Episode VII is Michael Arndt writing the script – there’s a man who is yet to take a step wrong.

Simon Columb: I honestly don’t know yet. I just don’t want it to be a “reboot” of the series with token references to the previous films. I want the seventh part to the series – as if of us a seamless, planned continuation. No scenes when new characters are looking at photos on the wall of Luke, Leia and Han with sound from scenes in the original “remembering” the good days. Continuation please.

Martin Deer: I think this is a great choice for two main reasons, Abram’s is a good director and he is a Star Wars fan. He initially didn’t want to do it because he wanted to see it as a FAN. With Star Trek – of which he wasn’t a fan – he did his homework and was faithful to the mythology, with Star Wars since he is a fan, the franchise couldn’t be in better hands.

Scott J Davis: Abrams wasn’t my choice when sitting round the lunch table at work when Episode VII was announced (I was all for Matthew Vaughn) but if anyone can pull it off successfully, Abrams is a great choice. His work on Star Trek, Misson: Impossible III and Super 8 set him up perfectly to create a new adventure, and his ability to mix sci-fi, action, comedy and drama is probably worth it’s weight in gold to Lucasfilm. Let’s hope he can fit Benedict Cumberbatch in it somewhere!

George Lucas and J.J. Abrams

Chris Cooper: This is a guy who is influenced heavily by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg – I think he’ll do a cracking job. A strong script allied to his clear affection and knowledge for the universe can only be good for us really. Well, you’d have to try pretty hard to not better the Prequel Trilogy. He wouldn’t have been who I’d have picked. But, the more I think of it, I’m not sure there is anyone I’d trust more to give me some awesome lightsaber duels and dogfights.

David Bishop:  Also there’s no reason why they couldn’t get different directors for Episodes VIII and Episode IX. So those hoping for Brad Bird or Ben Affleck might still get their wish.

Matt Smith: Like Simon, I don’t want it to be a bunch of scenes where characters reminisce about the good old days. The stories themselves should draw from the past, and naturally you’re going to get references to the past, but anything more than that is just filler. Abrams is a good director, making good movies. But I can’t say he’s made anything great. But I’m hopeful. I think giving him Star Wars (perhaps even the follow ups as well) might lead to him making something truly special.

Helen Murdoch: Although in my mind the new Star Wars films are pointless and a shameless cash in; with Abrams directing it might not be that bad. He rebooted Star Trek expertly and has made some fantastic films. He also loves the genre and he is able to make films that are up to date and different, whilst still keeping the fanboys happy. My worry is whether the new films will have a plot and any characterisation – saying that it can’t have any less than The Phantom Menace! With Abrams at the helm I’m praying there’s not too much studio interference and he’s allowed to make a great movie.

Jake Peffer: I think by just looking at what he did with the Star Trek reboot is enough to show that Abrams could make a really great Star Wars movie. Not to mention he’s directed a couple of other good films, Mission: Impossible III and Super 8, and he’s responsible for one of the best sci-fi shows to ever be on TV (Lost). The guy knows his stuff and knows what works best when it comes to handling films that are apart of big franchises.

Star Wars Rogue Squadron

Oliver Davis: I love Star Wars. I watched my VHS gold Darth Vader-headed box-set to death. Seriously. It actually wouldn’t play after a year. I’d sit on my parents’ bed, my head propped up on my hands, watching Star Wars and Empire and Jedi…and loving it. Even if they had the ‘enhancements’. I’m an eldest child. I had no older brother to tell me that stupid jazz band wasn’t meant to be there. I knew no better.

But I loved Star Wars. I mean, LOVED it.

I had everything I could save up for. Micro Machines playsets, Tazo collections, strange, inadequately jointed figurines – the far, far away lot. As I said, I loved it.

Rouge Squadron. Rouge Squadron II. The saga in fiction form, I devoured it…and I enjoyed it immensely…but you know what? I’m older now. That connection to that universe has matured. Whatever happens feels surplus to the original. Tacked on.

Which is strange, because I care about Batman. And I care about Flash, and Green Lantern… but I don’t really care about Star Wars. It’s as though it’s passed. Like a fad. Or a relative. There’s nothing wrong, nor patronising about that. It’s just, you know…gone.

The new Star Wars film is obviously big money. And it’s pretty cool too. But when it comes to things like this, I find it hard to not say: why not do something new?

Gary Collinson: Agree with all the responses here. I think Disney and Lucasfilm have made a sound choice, probably the best one they could have made, and I’m really excited to see what Abrams does with the franchise.

J.J. Abrams Star Trek

Liam Trim: I have to second Oli’s sentiments. On one level this is exciting news, Abrams has proven himself to be a capable and exciting director, even if he also has some annoying habits. But my overwhelming reaction is why do we need another Star Wars film? Can’t all this talent be directed towards something new? I do think that having the same man direct both Trek and Wars is an extraordinary story in itself though.

Rohan Morbey: I couldn’t care less about Star Wars: Episode VII. No series needs seven film, not even Police Academy.

Gary Collinson: I think the Star Wars series has loads of potential beyond six films. James Bond has managed it well, despite being centred on one character, and generally very formulaic. I’m not sure they really need to continue the Skywalker story with Episodes VII, VIII and IX, but there’s plenty of other stories that could be told in the same universe, and lots of filmmakers who could deliver a great Star Wars movie. I just hope they don’t rely too much on Jedi, because with the prequels and The Clone Wars, we’ve seen plenty of that already.

Chris Cooper: A younger Sith such as Caedus would be cool. A formidable foe. Like a non whiney Anakin. Every fight could be like Obi Wan / Maul. A boy can dream.

Anghus Houvouras: I find myself conflicted with this choice. First off, I really like Abrams. I love Star Trek and eagerly await Star Trek Into Darkness. Super 8 is an uneven but entertaining yarn and Mission Impossible 3 was fun. He’s not a Director of much consequence, but he does do epic really, really well. I feel like I know exactly what kind of movie we’re going to get. It’s a safe choice, and a wise choice, but I would hesitate to call it ‘inspired’.

Trevor Hogg: I agree with Anghus that the selection of J.J. Abrams seems like the safe but not all that imaginative choice by Disney.  But then again when you spend $4 billion to buy a brand taking risks does not appear at first to be a financially sound decision.  However, for the long term gambling is more likely to pay off as it would be a fresh start for the franchise.  I would like to see Star Wars take a darker tone in the vein of The Empire Strikes Back.  Both Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) have the ability as screenwriters to balance drama with humour which is needed if the new movies are going to resonate with novice and established fans.  Who would I choose?  Somehow David Fincher seems appropriate as he already has some previous ties through the Indiana Jones franchise; he has a visual style which is stunning and has also come along way from Alien 3.  It would be great to see him try his hand at science fiction again.

So there you have it. A mostly positive reaction to the news, but a few of our writers raising a good point – do we really need a 7th episode in the Star Wars franchise? If the movie does end up coming out in 2015 (which is still in dispute), it will have been nearly 40 years since Star Wars made its cinematic debut. As Oli, Liam and Rohan said, has the series run its course?

What did you think of J.J Abrams directing Star Wars: Episode VII?