Director of Technology
The recent announcement that J.J. Abrams is slated to direct Star Wars Episode VII has sparked plenty of concerns and controversy in the movie-going audience, particularly among the Star Trek and Star Wars’ fanbases. So, to my fellow lightsaber-wielding Vulcan-ear wearing brethren I say; relax, J.J. has this.
I’ve been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember, you can just ask my parents how much of their attic is dedicated to my collection of Star Wars merchandise, so trust me when I say that I’m just as invested in the future of the franchise as any other fan. Star Trek was never my thing growing up. It was methodical, more intellectual, drier than the Wars series. It was for the older crowd, something I wouldn’t appreciate until I was a teenager, or in reality, a college student.
The 2000′s brought the Star Wars trilogy, and disappointment to fans everywhere. It too became dry, slow, and more involved in special effects than character development and good story telling. When 2009 came around and brought a film reboot of Star Trek, I ignored it. And I ignored it until 2010, when a friend of mine (a girl no less), told me how great it was. So I borrowed her DVD and watched, jaw agape at the masterpiece before me. J.J. Abrams had done the impossible. He made Star Trek exciting and watchable.
The new Star Trek film was more akin to the original Star Wars trilogy than the prequel trilogy had been. It’s as if their roles had been reversed. Abrams had managed to maintain many of the critical aspects of the original series, while still making it new, refreshing, and accessible to general audiences. A master of character development and story telling he was able to make nearly every character relatable and significant in a very short amount of time, while still giving time for action-packed special effects and adventure. It’s everything that Star Wars IV, V, and VI were and what I, II, and III weren’t. And Abrams is not known to disappoint. As the writer for Armageddon, Lost, and the mastermind behind Super 8, he does not pull any punches.
Another issue that the fans of both franchises have is “loyalty”. For decades, there has a been an ongoing debate, a feud almost, over which franchise is better. In some cases it was an identifying factor in the-what was then considered-the “nerd” fandom. Were you a Trekkie, or were you a Jedi?
Well, times have changed. Being a nerd or a geek is now mainstream and more socially accepted, and the fanbases of both franchises are more diverse than ever. Sure, the hard-core old guard will remember when things were different and will forever be the “true fans”, but nowadays franchise “loyalty” is less of an issue. Just take a look at all the metal-bikinis at comic-con.
In a way, having J.J. Abrams as director, is a way of finally bringing the two sides together at last. The Star Trek sequel “Into Darkness” will be released this May, and if it is anything like its predecessor, I’m sure Abrams will not leave fans wanting. And the 44-year-old Abrams, unlike the 68-year-old George Lucas, truly grew up with both franchises. Star Trek premiered in 1966, the same year that Abrams was born, and Star Wars premiered 11 years later. Abrams will know what’s important to fans, and what’s too over-the-top. I doubt we will have any Jar-Jar moments in 2015.
So, if you’re worried about the future of the franchise; don’t worry she’ll hold together (come on baby hold together). Abrams will make sure that Star Wars will live long and prosper.
And remember, it could be worse; Michael Bay could be directing.