Last week, Derek Easley was the early bird with the news that J.J. Abrams is likely to be at the helm of the new Star Wars trilogy. While I consider myself to be above-average fan of both House of Roddenberry and the tech farmers of Skywalker Ranch, I’m not so sure about this move by J.J. Abrams to occupy both. I should also state that I’m also an above-average fan of J.J. Abrams’ films. Mission Impossible 3 proved that he wasn’t just a TV producer/director, Star Trek proved that he can re-boot and change the stubborn minds of Trekkers, and Super 8 proved that he’s right on par with Spielberg at producing movie magic. So, here’s the rub. Star Trek Into Darkness (ST:ID) hasn’t even been released at the box office and J.J. Abrams is being announced as the new Star Wars director. It’s really bad form on the part of Disney and Abrams to do this to Trekkers and the Star Trek franchise. It presents the possibility that Trekkers will protest watching ST:ID and it kills any momentum that’s been building since the first reboot.
In my Trekker circles, there was a lot of excitement trying to understand the origins of the new ST:ID villain, John Harrison. Some think he’s a remnant of the Eugenics War. Some think he’s connected to the U.S.S. Botany Bay. Some are digging deeper into the original series via Netflix to cover all possibilities. Since the announcement of Abrams trading in his tricorder for a lightsaber surfaced last week, the ST:ID excitement has been replaced by feelings of betrayal.
Betrayal? Remember the hugely popular skit by Triumph the Insult Dog where he visits a line full of Star Wars fans waiting in line to Attack of the Clones? In the midst of all the fun and laughter, there was a moment where a Trekker fan dressed as Spock mocked the crowd by giving the mass of Jedi the middle finger. That’s how hardcore fans draw battle lines between these two sci-fi franchises. Last week’s announcement is no different. It felt like J.J. Abrams was giving Trekkers the bird just as they’re excited about ST:ID.
What happens next for the Star Trek universe? Does Bad Robot continue to be involved? Does J.J. Abrams give Brad Bird the helm much like he did with the Mission: Impossible franchise? The only other person in Hollywood that can keep the House of Roddenberry moving forward is a guy that’s just delivered Disney the third highest grossing film of all time — Joss Whedon. But…Disney owns that Whedon film too, right?
For Star Wars fans, you’ve not only acquired a competent director in J.J. Abrams, but an excellent writing team that will hopefully feature Damon Lindeloff, Carlton Cuse, Robert Orci, and Alex Kurtzman. You’ve also inherited the genius of music man Michael Giacchino, who is to J.J. Abrams what John Williams is to Steven Spielberg/George Lucas. I appreciate that George Lucas created the franchise, but J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot are going to give us what we’ve been waiting for since Episode VI was last seen in theaters — a truly epic film that hardcore Star Wars fans won’t have to defend.
PHOTO CREDIT: Albert L. Ortega
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