Pop Ed: JJ Abrams and Star Wars — Good Idea or Bad Idea?

the gang looks at the monumental announcement…

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In the world of science fiction, nay in the world of cinema, is there bigger, more important news?

JJ Abrams is directing the new Star Wars movie.

It was officially announced that, the mad genius of television and the man who successfully made Star Trek a pop culturally acceptable film series again, will be at the helm of the decades awaited Star Wars, Episode VII.

This announcement does not come without mixed feelings — is he the right choice? This is one of the most beloved and iconic film franchises of all-time, so people have extremely strong, emotional attachments and are very protective of the franchise and its future. Also, many fans were burned by the prequels and are very gun shy about any new Star Wars films.

So the crew from Pop-Break got together to answer a simple question — JJ Abrams and Star Wars, is this a good idea or bad idea?

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Ann Hale: I’ve seen Super 8 and Star Trek. I know J.J. Abrams can make a sci-fi film. With the amount of praise I heard for both of those movies, I don’t understand why everyone is up in arms over him directing the new Star Wars film. Why is he good enough for Star Trek but not Star Wars?

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The original three, Episodes IV-VI, were great but let’s be honest here, Lucas produced pure crap with Episodes I-III of Star Wars. For the most part, they were terrible movies. Maybe Abrams can find that spark to put back into the series. If he can’t, then it can’t possibly be any worse than Episode I with that terrible Anakin actor and the embarrassment that was Jar Jar Binks. Plus, with the way things are going, we can expect it to be remade in ten to fifteen years anyway.

I understand that Star Wars fans will always be loyal to George Lucas. In the beginning, I was nervous about Rob Zombie remaking Halloween. I’m a huge Halloween and John Carpenter fan but I gave them a shot and ended up loving them. My point here is that sometimes it’s worth giving things a chance. Sometimes people surprise you.

Justin Matchick: After I saw the 2009 Star Trek movie my first thought was “This is exactly the kind of movie the Star Wars prequels should have been.” Abrams’ movies are always able to elevate beyond the standard popcorn fare of the summer and have an emotional heft that the prequels sorely lacked. So I’m all for JJ Abrams directing the newest one. We just need to hope that George Lucas and Rick McCallum stay far, far away from the production process.

Jason Stives: While it never fully dawned on me at the time J.J. Abrams directing the next installment in the Star Wars saga makes complete sense to me. For some, Abrams may be all wrong to take over directing duties but that depends on your feelings towards him. I for one have always been 50/50 when it comes to his work preferring his cinematic outings over his television output but one thing I have never been able to deny is he has an eye for adventure and excitement.

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Part of me believes Super 8 had much to do with him being pushed into the director’s chair for Episode VII thanks in no small part to his collaboration on that film with George Luca’s best bud Steven Spielberg. I would also point to the overall feel and look of that film and despite how some people probably feel about the final product that movie had Abram’s childhood stamped all over it. Super 8 was an unabashed homage to the Amblin Entertainment films of his youth and because of that we aren’t exactly that far away from a love of Star Wars which Abrams has always spoke candidly about.

I would also be remised if I didn’t mention the Star Trek factor which for me is key to why Abrams is a trusting individual to take over as director for Star Wars because that reboot was absolutely splendid. I know, some could argue there were too many lens flares and some hardcore fans could easily put a damper on the overall appeal of the 2009 reboot but it brought Star Trek back fresh into the minds of a generation that probably overlooked its importance. Star Wars has never lost a sense of importance in pop culture but it has divided into two different strands. You have those who covet the original trilogy and despise the prequels and then you have the current generation of kids who have been growing up with the prequels and The Clone Wars television series.

If Star Wars is to survive into the next generation it needs fresh eyes and not live on the legacy of what started it. Expanding the universe beyond the six films that exist is key and who better to do this than a man who knows the legacy and impact of the originals but also has a keen eye to the expectations and interest of the current audience. As someone who is a fan of a franchise from my childhood that was rebooted with a new audience in mind I feel Abrams is exactly what they need to launch this new chapter of Star Wars and I look forward to it with optimistic eyes.

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Logan J. Fowler: I’ll admit, I’m not a huge Star Wars fan. Do I like the movies? Oh yeah, sure, but I don’t geek out over them like a large percentage of the population does. I like the original trilogy (pre updated coat of paint, give me practical effects any day of the week) and I mostly dig Episode III. So with all this news of Star Wars VII coming to fruition under the Disney banner, who would be best to helm the next chapter in the film saga became the ultimate question.

Well we have our answer; it’s the same guy who is directing the film franchise which is now (I guess what you could call) the foremost competition in the genre, J.J. Abrams. The man behind 2009’s Star Trek and this summer’s Star Trek: Into Darkness is now behind the wheel of the next Star Wars film. One dedicated fan of either saga could go bonkers over this news, but I’m curious to see what Abrams can do. Please leave the lens flare jokes at the door, the guy helped to resurrect the Star Trek series and I thought he did what that movie what three Star Wars prequels couldn’t possibly do in one. I loved Trek and the follow up is one of my most anticipated for the blockbuster season. While it’ll be weird seeing the director’s talents shift from one area of space to another, I’m excited at the possibilities. May the force be with you, J.J.

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Daniel Cohen: J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars…I approve. To be honest, when the news of Abrams directing Episode VII came out, I was relieved more than anything as to who wasn’t directing, especially when Jon Favreau’s name came up. The same guy who directed Cowboys & Aliens doing Episode VII…*shudder* But at the end of the day, this is a great choice, albeit an obvious one. The 2009 Star Trek is a phenomenal film, and the sequel looks great. I really don’t care about the ‘OH MY GOD, THE SAME GUY WHO DID STAR TREK IS DOING STAR WARS!?!? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!’ Star Wars just got a great director…isn’t that good enough? Also, aside from already being experienced in space opera, Abrams also has Lucas/Spielberg sensibilities, so this really is a seamless fit. The only criticism I’ve heard from other outlets, and one that I kind of agree with, is did we already see what his Star Wars movie would be like in Star Trek? But with Michael Arndt writing, I’m not too worried about it. And who knows…maybe now we’ll get a Star Wars/Star Trek cross over…that would literally break the internet.

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Marla Patcher: So… I have honestly never seen Star Wars. Not a single episode. I know that is weird and basically unheard of and whatnot, but I guess I just didn’t have parents who were into it, so I didn’t grow up watching it. My friends always want to show them to me, but they’re long and there’s a lot of them, so they never actually end up doing it. So, unlike probably everyone else writing one of these things, I don’t have a strong opinion about whether JJ Abrams is going to ruin my childhood dreams or bring my childhood dreams to a reality or some shit like that.

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However, I do have strong opinions on JJ Abrams. I think JJ Abrams has some really amazing ideas. But he doesn’t know how to follow through with them or how to write an ending. And he’s become so successful, such a money making machine, that he’s clearly not allowed to be filtered anymore. I think he is arrogant. Instead of allowing his characters to grow, he often just has so many “good” ideas, that he needs to go back in time, and explore a different timeline because this other idea is also so genius he feels the world needs to see that as well. It happens in many of his TV shows, and while it is often interesting, it backtracks for the characters and takes away from their feeling real to us. He hurts his own brilliance by doing these things.

I wanted to say that I believe JJ Abrams will kill your childhood dreams. But I remembered, that’s already been done with the last batch of episodes, right? So, while I may not like him very much, I do think he has great ideas, and this new batch of Star Wars movies will most likely be better than I – III, which royally sucked from what I hear. So, I wish all those Star Wars lovers out there lots of luck, really. Hopefully you’ll get a good ending… Though I find that highly unlikely.

Michael Dworkis: I say cool. I dig it. It is a new Star Wars for a new era. He did an amazing job on the new Star Trek, and based on his many, many successes in both film and television, I am actually pretty excited to see what he will do to rejuvenate the Star Wars film franchise. Star Wars is set to see the next step in its evolution. Disney or not, I really do not think good ol’ J.J. will disappoint Star Wars fans at all. In fact, the Trekkies out there should welcome this instead of whining how Star trek and Star Wars will forever be the ends of two extremes in the giant debate of geekness, or nerdom, or whatever. Live Long and May The Force Be With You.

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

4 COMMENTS

    • The guy is right to revive this Galactic mythology…His twi STAR TREK movies, though hardcore fans of that franchise feel the urge of hanging on Abrams for changing the philosophy of the original tv show, were the closest thing to a new STAR WARS movie, because the comming-of-age storytelling that made popular Lucas´creation. Remember that STAR WARS is NOT science-fiction, but actually a Space Fantasy, as Lucas´himself stated. His intention was simply to tell a grand epic story mashing up the Space Opera genre ala FLASH GORDON, with some of the Kurosawa´s Samurai films. You can see a lot of that old-fashioned “swashbuckling adventure in Space”, just like the old pulp novels from long ago which served to Lucas as an inspiration for SW, with all the fun and excitement characteriscally from those movies

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