With the Earth-shattering news that J.J. Abrams is to direct ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ the Twittersphere has been awash with exasperated reaction tweets and so many lens flare jokes that we can’t keep up with our sighing.
As the news continues to settle in, we’ve decided to take a look at seven things you can expect the man to bring to the resurgent franchise.
And no, lens flare isn’t on our list.
For all the faults many fairly or unfairly accuse him of having, few can deny the confidence with which Abrams approaches his work. His debut film was ‘Mission: Impossible 3’, a big franchise sequel and Tom Cruise vehicle that more than washed away any bitter memories of John Woo’s questionable sequel.
He then set his sights on reinvigorating the tired ‘Star Trek’ series, offering up in 2009 one of the best ever reboots of a major franchise and one of the better blockbusters of recent times. If anyone has a track record of putting film series back on track, it’s J.J. Abrams.
Recapturing that ‘Star Wars’ magic
If there’s one reason for our faith in Abrams it’s 2011’s ‘Super 8’. A homage to the works of ‘Spielberg’, the film told the story of a group of kids whose town is thrown into a chaos by a mysterious alien menace.
It perfectly captured the magic of similar films from the 70s and 80s without ever feeling like a cheap imitation. Such films were a huge influence on the self-confessed geek Abrams’ life, and so was ‘Star Wars’. Whether he’ll try and recapture that feel of the old ‘Star Wars’ or not, he is certainly more than capable.
Abrams is passionate about all of his films but from what he has said in interviews it’s hard to imagine any film he’d be more passionate about than ‘Star Wars 7’. Speaking to Empire magazine last month he said: “I’m a huge fan of ‘Star Wars’, ‘Empire’ and ‘Jedi’, and the idea of the world continuing is exciting and will be amazing.”
Being such a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan, so he’ll be under enormous pressure from himself, let alone the millions of cinema-goers watching and waiting to see what he has in store.
‘Star Trek’ and ‘Super 8’ both had lead characters with daddy issues – Kirk lost his father on the day he was born and ‘Super 8’s Joe struggles to connect with his dad following the death of his mother. Luke Skywalker outdoes them both however – his daddy is a half-robot evil dark lord.
Daddy issues are central to the ‘Star Wars’ saga, and possibly a reason a young J.J. Abrams connected with the films. Expect parental problems to pop up once again in ‘Episode 7’.
All of Abrams’ films are well cast, from Phillip Seymour-Hoffman as ‘Mission: Impossible 3’s scenery-chewing villain to the young cast of ‘Super 8’ to the pitch perfect re-casting of the U.S.S Enterprise’s crew – he nails it every time and gets performances to match.
Lead characters finding a family
This is a factor of Abrams’ films more than the Daddy issues. Ethan Hunt brought his complicated home life together with the globe-trotting espionage of his work life to find a family much like Captain James T. Kirk, who found a sense of responsibility and belonging in ‘Star Trek’.
Abrams loves a bit of mystery. Everything he makes from ‘Lost’ to ‘Super 8’ is shrouded in a cloud of red-herrings and misdirection. He does it to rekindle a sense of the unknown when we head to the cinema in the age of the internet and easily digested information.
Whether it’s the look of a monster, the purpose of MacGuffin or a character’s true name (see this year’s ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ and the whole furore into whether Khan was the villain), there is always something tantalising about his film. Expect the same with ‘Star Wars’.