JJ Abrams Tapped to Breathe New Life into Star Wars Franchise
by Damon Martin (@DamonMartin)
On the heels of a $4 billion dollar deal for Disney to acquire Lucasfilms, they have now found the director that will helm the seventh film in the history Star Wars franchise.
Lost co-creator and Star Trek director J.J. Abrams has been tapped as the man who will attempt to bring George Lucas’ creation back to life for the big screen with Star Wars: Episode VII, set to hit theaters in 2015.
Abrams has worked in both television and film for several years, having written movies such as Armageddon, Joy Ride and Super 8; as well as developed many TV shows including Lost, Alias and most recently, NBC’s Revolution.
As soon as Disney announced that a seventh Star Wars film would enter production, fans from across the globe started offering suggestions for directors that could lead the series back to prominence after Lucas failed to live up to most expectations with his prequel series ending with Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005.
Names like Christopher Nolan, Joss Whedon, Jon Favreau and Zack Snyder all popped up on wish lists for potential Star Wars directors, but one guy who said he would turn down the job ended up taking it after all.
Back in November when speaking to Hollywood Life, Abrams admitted he was a huge fan of Star Wars, but would only be involved as a fan going to see the new version in the theaters.
“Look, Star Wars is one of my favorite movies of all time. I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more than anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!” said Abrams.
Well, something (plus assuredly the promise of a big, fat Disney payday) changed his mind and now Abrams will indeed direct the next Star Wars installment.
Abrams has been involved in rebooting major franchises before; most notably his work on Star Trek and the upcoming sequel, which will be released later this year, Star Trek: Into Darkness.
If there is one major downside to this news it’s the fact that Abrams’ move to direct the Star Wars franchise all but ends his work on Star Trek (and that really sucks because the first film was a classic and the sequel promises to be just as good).
There’s always danger in making a new film that will be an extension of a classic (Lucas found that out already, as did whoever gave the green light to Godfather 3), so Abrams has his work cut out for him in terms of expectation and delivery on a final product. Also, with the film being episode VII, he will have to deal with the difficult task of either recasting or finding a way to use iconic characters such as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (Harrison Ford could still totally pull that off by the way).
The good news is Abrams will breathe new life into a franchise whose original trilogy of films are held up as probably the greatest of all time, while the rebooted prequels failed in so many ways while being directed by the series’ original creator.
Abrams will have plenty of money and support from the folks at Disney and his pre-production will probably start any day given the magnitude of this news. Star Wars: Episode VII will likely hit theaters in 2015.