Last night saw the Twitterverse explode with news that J.J. Abrams will direct the next episode of the Star Wars saga. Recent reports had claimed J.J. had declined the offer, so yesterday’s revelation that the Spielbergian director of Lost and Super 8 will be taking the reigns of George Lucas’ space opera immediately sent anyone with even a remote interest in the property into a state of jubilation.
J.J. is a great choice to continue the Star Wars legacy, having already demonstrated his science-fiction / fantasy chops with 2009’s Star Trek, a movie that borrowed a number of beats and themes from A New Hope and effectively served as a Paramount funded showreel to shoehorn himself into the thoughts of Episode VII’s producer, Kathleen Kennedy.
Ultimately J.J. Abrams just gets it, and that is probably the most important part of this appointment. There are countless directors that could have brought success to the franchise, but the benefits of having someone that truly loves the series and understands what makes the original three movies great cannot be underestimated. J.J. will bring a level of respect to Episode VII that other directors would have been incapable of delivering.
It will be interesting to see whether J.J. is contracted for one film, or whether Disney has signed him up to oversee the entire trilogy of Disney produced Star Wars films. Having one director for the entire project would be beneficial in terms of consistency, but part of me hopes we’ll get to see another director influence the direction of the Star Wars universe, mostly due to Ben Affleck’s current resurgence as one of the most gifted and consistent directors in Hollywood. Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and 2012’s Argo were all critically acclaimed and lauded by moviegoers; if given the reigns to a project the size and scope of Star Wars, I believe Affleck would deliver something truly special.
Hypotheses aside, there were very few lists that weren’t topped with the name of J.J. Abrams. With a proven director and self-confessed Star Wars fan being backed by a corporation that has a track record of good service to beloved franchises (the Marvel movies, the Muppets, etc.), I have no doubt that Star Wars: Episode VII is in some of the safest hands we could have hoped for.
What if the next Star Wars film turns out to be better than the originals… Surely that can’t happen?