When entertainment news outlets broke the story that film director J.J. Abrams had been selected to helm at least the first new ‘Star Wars’ movie, the rumors and speculation have been updating daily.
What is known: J.J. Abrams will direct the next ‘Star Wars’ installment, which is said to be ‘Episode VII.’ The writing team includes both George Lucas (who sold Lucasfilm, Ltd. to Disney this year) and Lawrence Kasdan who helped script ‘Episode V-The Empire Strikes Back’, which was easily the most well-scripted entry of the original trilogy.
What is rumored: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher returning as ‘Han Solo’, ‘Luke Skywalker’, and ‘Princess Leia’, respectively. According to an article published February 15th online by Latino Review, Harrison Ford is confirmed as returning to his iconic role of Corellian smuggler Han Solo. Also in the rumor mill is the standalone film that may go back to the origins of the Han Solo character.
Director Abrams has proven to be a masterful director and producer within the Sci-Fi/Fantasy universe. Initially, Abrams denied reports that he was attached to direct the next ‘Star Wars’ installment. This is why he’s a fantastic choice for the next chapters in the ‘…galaxy far, far away.’ J.J. Abrams can keep a secret.
Abrams' penchant for keeping a spoiler-free environment and closed sets is legendary. In some cases, such as with the TV series ‘Lost’ and his films ‘Super 8’, ‘Cloverfield’ (producer), and ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness,’ Abrams has been able to defy the odds by keeping the details of his projects secret despite the gluttony of information typically released to the internet. Even actors involved with some of Abrams’ projects have confessed to not knowing all of the details of their characters until the moments before shooting scenes critical to their roles.
On the topic of one man single-handedly shepherding arguably the two most popular franchises in Sci-Fi history…Abrams is a fantastic choice. His films appeal to a broad audience, are character driven (which is where so many special effects driven epics fall flat), and possess a passion for the genre. Sci-Fi fans are fanatical about not only the characters whom they love, but subsequently the actors that embody them. Without great scripts and talented actors on board, science fiction (and most all other) films fail to connect in a way that resonates with an audience.
As far as the fear that J.J. Abrams manning both the Starship Enterprise and the Millennium Falcon’s fates will serve to ‘homogenize’ both franchises? Nonsense. The creative teams behind both franchises are top notch, and the inclusion of Kasdan as a key writer for ‘Episode VII’ is pure genius. The best dramatic moments and most poignant scenes in any of the ‘Star Wars’ films came in the form of his script for ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’
Even composer John Williams is rumored to be interested in scoring the next installments of the ‘Star Wars’ saga. His arrangements for the original films changed the way that genre movies were scored musically, lending an even deeper drama to the action on screen.
Until the scheduled release date of sometime in 2015, all we can do is wait to see what develops. As production moves forward on ‘Episode VII’, you will be able to find major updates here as they develop.
“May the Force live long and prosper.” –The Idaho Mikey