January 28, 2013

So JJ Is Doing 'The Wars' Huh? A Short CCD Rant by Mike CCD


So, LucasFilms and Disney have announced that JJ Abrams, of 'Lost' & the new 'Star Trek' franchise fame, will be the director of the seventh full length 'Star Wars' movie. It is set to take place somewhere in the future after the events of the 'Return of the Jedi', may feature some of the familiar characters we love (albeit much older and in a supporting roles) and will sure to be the movie event of 2015 alongside 'Avengers 2'. While I love me some JJ and am actually really excited for another set of Star Wars movies, I can't help but have some trepidation. So here is a little bit of a rant on why I think it could be good, but also 3 reasons why this could be disastrous. Lets delve in, shall we...



Lets look at the positives:


 1) Disney is in charge now, and George has moved on to greener pastures. I was never someone who hated on Lucas... they are HIS movies after all. But he may have dropped the ball, a bit, on the prequels (depending on your feelings) and now the Mouse House is in charge. Disney is not in the business of losing money (usually). With Marvel killing all types of cinema box office records, the pressure is on. Which brings me to my next point...

2) JJ is no slouch. The guy has a track record....a huge one. 'Lost', 'Alias'...kid can do TV! 'Mission Impossible III' & 'Star Trek'... kid can save franchises! 'Super 8'? The kid can do original. So he ain't no slouch that can be bossed around... nah, JJ is as big as you can get in the current climate of Hollywood. I think this is great, because whether it turns out good or not, at least we will get HIS movie... HIS vision. Now I don't know exactly how it's all gonna shake out, but at least we're getting a masters take, right now, while he is in his prime! And finally...


3) The guy always has killer casts. Just look at his track record: Made a star out of Keri Russell on 'Felicity'; discovered a little actress named Jennifer Garner and made her a bonafide star on 'Alias'; picked out one of the greatest ensemble casts of all time and made them all stars in their own right, forever, on 'Lost'. Also, he made a star out of Chris Pine, Karl Urban & Zachary Quinto on the big screen in Trek. All those kids from 'Super 8' are gonna be stars... watch! Especially, that little Fanning girl...she is a star in the making. And let's not forget how he cast Phillip Seymour Hoffman as one of the best, most unsuspected villains of all time in 'Mission Impossible 3'... before PSH was the mega-serious acting star he is today. If I gotta put together what amounts to one of the most important casts in the history of cinema, I want THIS guy!

So the proof is in the pudding. If anyone is up to making this film, it is JJ. Steven Spielberg is too old and might not have the heart for this undertaking. Same with a guy like Sam Raimi. Kevin Smith seems like a good choice, but might be too snarky and smart with his dialogue for his own good. Matthew Vaughn, Duncan Jones, Rian Johnson or Matt Reeves? Good choices but, probably not seasoned enough yet. Joss Whedon is a bit busy killing the Marvel Comics Universe. My only other logical choice would have been Jon Favreau. Guy is a great director, can do big budget, and has a killer relationship with the studio but, can he do full-on Sci Fi? not sure. JJ really is the logical choice.

...but, there are a downsides to this as well. And to be honest, you don't have to make that far of a stretch see them. Like all things, this situation has two sides. Here is my take on why this may not work so great...

My main man Sean Hartter's take on JJ doing The Wars & Trek
1) If JJ takes on 'Star Wars' and all it is going to entail over the next 10 years, he's probably leaving 'Star Trek'...and that sucks, 'cause he made Trek watchable. He made it great. And he did it as the complete overseer.. directing the movie which, contrary to popular belief, is not a role he occupies often. He is more often associated with projects as a producer but, when he actually directs, the guy is gold. So will he stay on as a Trek producer into the future? Probably but, being in the chair is probably over. And that stinks for Trek fans... which brings us to point #2.


2) 'Star Trek' & 'Star Wars' are completely different and the fans all kinda hate each other. It's the oldest rivalry in the world of Sci fi. Trekkies hate the Wars. Star Wars fanboys hate Trek. it is one of the written rules of geekdom. Watch this clip from Fanboys to prove my point:




Now, Am I crazy to think that this new pairing of, 'Star Trek' legend, JJ with 'Star Wars' can cause the geek universe to fold in on itself and implode? No... there will be blood in the streets of sci-fi conventions everywhere! Phasers will not be set to stun, light sabers will be extra charged, and people are going to die when this fight finally takes place. Romulans vs. Wookies, Klingons vs. Bounty Hunters, Green Bitches as slaves in Jabba's dungeons... it is gonna be fucking crazy!!!! Trek fans will hate JJ for leaving their franchise and bringing glory to 'Star Wars'. If 'Star Wars Episode VII' turns out to be shit, Star wars fanboys will say it is because we trusted a shit-loving Trekkie with our franchise. It could be awful no matter how it turns out. And finally...


3) JJ is directing from a script. Not HIS script.... not a script from one of his collaborators or someone he is working side-by-side with. He is going to have to work from someone else's blueprint.  I'm not sure how I feel about that. I guess we will have to see which direction they want to take it. Will they go down a similar path of the Timothy Zahn Extended Universe Star Wars books that have been released throughout the years? Will they completely break that canon and move in another direction? Will it relate to Jedi and the original trilogy at all, or will it be set so far in the future that it will only echo those movies in spirit and unsaid connections? No one knows for sure. And this could be a major hang up.

So there it is. My three reasons why it could be great and 3 reasons why it could turn out badly. I, for one, will be there to see it no matter what... but, would love to hear your opinion on the whole situation. please leave some comments on the page and tell me what you think about JJ helming the Wars!!!!    

20 comments:

  1. I like what he did with the first Star Trek but this is another level. I'm holding out hope but the prequels were far from what I expect from Star Wars.

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    1. I agree Nunz. Lots of people will have high expectations for this one. We shall see...

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  2. I like what he did with the first Star Trek but this is another level. I'm holding out hope but the prequels were far from what I expect from Star Wars.

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  3. To your cons....

    As someone who is a fan of both Wars and Trek, him departing Trek is not necessarily a bad thing. While I can't argue that his Trek is anything bu wholly watchable, it's not really a "Star Trek" movie. If anything, it's a Star Wars movie.

    JJ has said many times during his initial Trek run that he was an unabashed Star Wars kid and never watched any Trek. And the proof is in the pudding on that one. The only reason he took the Trek gig is because Star Wars wasn't available. So he definitely did what he was supposed to do with that franchise, and definitely revitalized it, but for the older Trek fans, his departure, not so bad.

    To that point and your second notion, the Star Wars/Star Trek rivalry, if there ever was one, doesn't exist anymore. The Star Trek fans are all new, casual, Trek fans who don't give a crap, and the Star Wars fans in a modern sense are still either hiding or defending the prequels. While I agree it does strike me as a little incestuous on the surface, it's a non issue.

    And as far as his input, we don't know any of that for sure. He has never been on a project where he didn't have story input, and I would wager he will have some clout when it comes to this as well. And there's also nothing that says he is doing anything beyond Episode VII. And personally I think that's a good thing. The OT had a different Director for each installment. Each with a different vision. Star Wars is a perfect Directors franchise. I say let JJ start it off, then let somebody else have a shot.

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    1. Great point Rob... I didn't really think past the first film, but in the article I may have sounded like he was tackling a trilogy. That was unintentional. I think it could be great if a few people took a crack at it. Lookk at the Potter movies. i think they had 5 directors over 8 movies and they were all pretty great, and each film had a unique vision. That could be cool...

      and you are right, the days of Trek/Wars fans killing each other are over. But that clip above from Fanboys still kills me....

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  4. ::dusts herself off:: It's been a while...

    While I think your concerns are valid ones, I think JJ is much smarter than most (want to) give him credit for. He makes smart, thoughtful choices, doesn't cave in beyond his gut, always protects the integrity of whatever he is working on and I think it's these qualities about him that makes him successful. Besides his kick-ass talent for making shit.

    I think he understands that taking this responsibility has huge risks, which is obviously why he hesitated to take it in the first place. That & combined with his dedication & involvement with the Star Trek franchise, he's got his hands deep in the ass of two of the most beloved & profitable franchises ever. I don't think he's taking any of this for granted.

    It's too early to predict if he'll do anything justice or anything at all since we really don't have much more details other than his involvement. My attention has been grabbed and I'm excited to see how this continues to unfold. I don't think I've been this excited about Star Wars since a Cease and Desist letter was issued out by LucasFilms to a little hole in the wall bar in Brooklyn for a certain party (haha). In other words, it's been an uneventful run for quite some time.

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    1. Oh, the good old days of CCD being put down by the man (aka George Lucas)... wow!

      Anywho, another good point KMG. I think I should have put the cons first and the positives second, because it seems like all you guys are talking about my cons but not mentioning my pros. If you read above I truly think it could be great with JJ. The concerns I have, albeit some major possible ones, are things that will come to light long before the movie comes out. So I am sure my opinion will skew one way or the other, so we need to see how this develops.

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    2. That is true Kal. I loved Alcatraz, but when he moved on to another project the show tanked. Same with many of his other projects.

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  5. As long as JJ doesn't have to make ten movies he will be keen and excited about this. He is best when he is enthusiastic but we all know how his TV shows just pettered out and died after he moved onto other things. When he is focussed, however, there is no one else that can do the franchise right except maybe Brent Bird from Pixar. With all the effects these Star Wars movies are practically animated anyways.

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  6. hmmmmmm.
    A good question to ask is how many more Star Treks will be made? How great of a pause can a Star Trek not be made? We're guaranteed three more Star Wars, correct?

    It's takes real strength to harness and retain the energy, yet disassociate each, respectively...

    We shall see

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    1. I agree TJ. While I will say that Trek is definetly at the high point of the franchise right this second, I don't think it is as viable a franchise as Star Wars. So I think he is making the right move....

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    2. But Trek is at a pivotal point at this time, also, cause the last movie brought the young people back into Trek [ a tad ]. Can't lose that momentum, or at least keep it in priorities.

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  7. I have mixed feelings. Directing both is like a conflict of interest. I'd hate to see the Trek series suffer because he's doing Star Wars. I'd much rather see another Star Trek movie than another Star Wars film any day.

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    1. I disagree with rather seeing a Trek movie than a Wars movie, but as of right now I can see your point. If we are only going on the last efforts in each franchise and not past glories than I am with you too. Trek is riding high and the Wars is at middle ground at best....

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    2. ya. good point. but it's so funny...cause only this past week...3 different people in 3 different areas...is where I heard dissent about Star Wars. First time in long time.

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  8. I'm apparently a Star Wars apologist, so I will do what I do best as far as future Star Wars film releases in any form. .....get extremely excited for them, and make excuses for them when and if people decide they suck. Keep in mind, that I'm pretty certain Zack Snyder's been confirmed for a side-story Star Wars film. What's he? chopped liver all of the sudden? 'Preciate your input but these new films will rock!

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    1. Jeff, they came out and denied that story... but I think it could still happen. Snyder is the man, and I love him. But I don't think they wanted to confirm a side story Wars movie BEFORE they announced the director for Episode VII. Now that JJ is locked in, I wouldn't be surprised if we get more news on that 'side story samurai movie' I have been reading about....

      I am with you Jeff. While I don't defend the prequels as vehemently as you (I just can't argue anymore.... I feel like a battered wife) I see them mostly in the same light as you and I can't wait for a new installment.

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  9. I don't think the Trek/Wars rivalry really exists anymore, as mentioned before. Generally there's just Sci-Fi fans (I know, SW is fantasy, but for the purpose of discussion...) that all seem to like Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, etc. etc. So I'd say that's pretty much a non-issue.

    JJ will probably have to leave Star Trek, which I think is okay...as long as he's part of the start up of the TV that needs to happen. Star Trek is television. The movies really enhanced the experience and rewarded the fans, but it has been and always shall be your fr- uh, a TV phenomenon, rather. I don't know if they'd be able to get all the cast from the movies back for a show but hey, anything's possible. Especially if it's on cable. Also, I think there are some fans of the old series that don't like JJ's version, but for the most part I think it was well-received and breathed new life into the franchise. It wasn't quite as philosophical and methodical as any of the shows or any of the older movies (Well, the good ones), but I think there was a lot in there to please old fans and bring in new ones. It's probably my second favorite Trek movie, which says a lot.

    As far as JJ working off a script, I'm sure he'll be able to have some directorial input. And here's where I start talking about the future of Star Wars instead of the future of Star Trek: Star Wars should absolutely adopt the Marvel method of movie making. Abandon "Episodes". Start making a series of movies in a non linear pattern, sharing continuity and characters, with a larger over arching plot. Snyder denied his "Seven Samurai in Space" attachment for a Star Wars movie, but just his attachment. If JJ handles one set of movies, or something, and they bring in other directors to handle other movies, they could really have an expansive universe with enough detail to satisfy new fans, old fans, and even fans of the Expanded Universe stuff (Though they really have to accept that the new movies might not be straight adaptations, which is OK and makes senses).

    All in all, I think this is a damn good thing.

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  10. Here's great article that hits on some of the same points I was making, but much better.

    http://www.tor.com/blogs/2013/01/jj-abrams-star-wars-and-the-homogenization-of-geek-pop

    JJ already made his Star Wars movie. I know what that looks like.

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  11. Pretty sound point of view after we've seen/heard a year's worth of the films evolution.

    Interesting. You're one of the first I've read mentioning the name of Rian Johnson in the 'Star Wars' mix...and now he's a key player.

    Great reader points as well.

    I'm liking all I've seen so far with the latest filming rumors. I have my fingers crossed but, I'm pretty sure it'll be EVERYTHING to me for the next few years.

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