At last, our global geek nightmare is over (or possibly just beginning, if you’re a Troll).
After a few weeks of denials, stonewalling and outright, behind-the-scenes deal making, the truth appears to be finally out there – J.J. Abrams is directing “Star Wars Episode VII“. Let me be amongst the first to say ‘Phew!’ and be glad that a director has finally agreed to make what is 2015’s most eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster.
Whilst this would appear to signal a farewell to his work on Paramount’s “Star Trek” franchise – a decision that many vocal Trekkers will doubtless be happy about – I’m convinced that Abrams is the right person for this job. It’s no secret that I loved his “Star Trek” reboot as, no matter what the aforementioned Trek fans might say to the contrary, his 2009 film essentially saved the venerable sci-fi series from the doldrums.
Yak on forums and social media about lens flare and sexed-up “Trek” all that you want – post 2009, the Gene Roddenberry creation is now a film series that has serious money pumped into it and has attracted a younger generation of viewers to a property which needed new eyeballs if it was going to continue. Prior to the “Trek” reboot, you had nostalgia, the con circuit and as sorry as it might sound, a steady diet of nothing new to look forward to.
Whilst the “Wars” universe is nowhere near as moribund as “Trek” arguably was, thanks to the success of the prequel trilogy and the “Clone Wars” universe in attracting younger fans into the fold, it too presents equally daunting challenges to a film maker. If fans of Kirk and Spock are vocal on the internet, they are but dilettantes in comparison to the foaming-mouthed, nerf-herding fanboy rage of “Star Wars“ fans reacting to changes in their favoured fictional sandbox.
It’s a brave director who takes on this job, but I hope that the guy who made “Trek”, “Mission: Impossible 3” and the excellent “Super 8” is up to the challenge of facing down naysayers by doing what he’s great at – making a fun blockbuster which succeeds purely as entertainment first and then as a contribution to the wider “Star Wars” universe second.
Truth be told, I have every faith in him – and there’s not a lot of directors working in this scale of genre film-making of whom I would speak so glowingly. The action will be spectacular, he works well with emotion and relationships (the previous architect of this film series? Not so much…) as does “Episode VII” writer Michael Arndt and he’ll doubtless bring Michael Giacchino aboard to bring a different musical note to the series, which will be nice.
The big question is, of course, this – who is Greg Grunberg going to play?