If Disney’s purchase of the “Star Wars” franchise wasn’t breaking news enough, it was announced Thursday that “Star Trek” reboot director J.J. Abrams will be directing ‘Star Wars Episode VII’. And this really is breaking news since Abrams himself, who is also directing the upcoming sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, had told “Entertainment Weekly” not even three months ago that he had no interest in directing the next “Star Wars” film (as much as he loved the films as a kid). With mixed reactions among fans, Abrams directing the next “Star Wars” installment could either bridge the gap between the two franchises’ fan following or turn fans away from both.
Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, who took over leadership of the new series of “Star Wars” films last October, said in a press release that Abrams “is the perfect director to helm” the next movie. She continues, “He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.” Founder and former owner of Lucasfilm, George Lucas himself said, “He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.” This may not be mere opinion. According to the press release at StarWars.com, “Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all the feature films he has directed.” Therefore Abrams has used the very sources that have been utilized for the previous “Star Wars” movies.
A director who is working on the sequel to his “Star Trek” reboot and shortly after is to work on a movie of a “competing” space epic, the two having been the most famous in sci fi film, will probably have a great impact on movie history. That’s if he doesn’t break the “Star Wars” franchise as opposed to making it. The same goes for the “Star Trek” franchise. The future of the “Star Wars” films has several fans concerned. One problem is the potential mixing of elements from both movies (intentional or not). Christopher Orr of “The Atlantic” says that he’s optimistic about Abrams directing “Star Wars”, “provided, that is, that the director’s joint participation in Star Trek and Star Wars doesn’t wind up crossing the streams and ending all life as we know it instantaneously.” Another fan, Sam Iam, has even put out a petition at Change.org asking Disney to not let Abrams direct “Star Wars Episode VII”. He says, “The strong visual style of J.J. Abrams . . . will be too reminiscent of his ‘Star Trek’ productions and puts the unique look of ‘Star Wars’ at serious risk.”
“Star Trek” fans also have their concerns. According to Gina McIntyre of the “LA Times”, “It’s a question that immediately sprang to the minds of fans of two franchises . . . What happens to ‘Star Trek’? . . . Word of Abrams’ defection to a galaxy far, far away—news that met with a decidedly mixed reaction—raises questions about who might direct a third ‘Trek’ film, should Paramount move forward with one, and what role Abrams . . . might play in a future installment. . . Abrams’ schedule likely would prohibit him from stepping behind the camera . . .” So if he doesn’t direct future “Star Trek” sequels will his style carry on into them?
But fans of either movie series may not have to worry too much. Abrams had said in a 2009 interview with the “LA Times” that he was trying not to make “Star Trek” “in the shadow of ‘Star Wars’” So maybe the elements of the two won’t get mixed or resemble each other too much. We also have to keep in mind that, believe it or not, he has been a fan of “Star Wars” much more than he has “Star Trek” since he was a kid. The differences in passion between the two may just help.
Feel free to express your opinions in the comments box about where “Star Wars” and “Star Trek” will go. “Star Trek Into Darkness” releases May 17, but for “Star Wars Episode VII” we’ll have to wait until at least 2015, its planned release date.
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