J.J. Abrams Leaps from Star Trek to Star Wars

Disney and Lucasfilm made it official: J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII (2015). Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes). 

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

Abrams, his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said producer Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas gave his blessing: “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.  He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

They obviously made Abrams an offer he couldn’t refuse, and now he has the two biggest sci-fi franchises at his fingertips.  Of course, the fanboys went berserk once The Wrap got the scoop after Abrams denied it back in November when Disney announced its purchase of Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. But it makes perfect sense after his successful reboot of Star Trek in 2009 and the confidence displayed in Into Darkness (May 17).

And once Abrams read Michael Arndt’s treatment of Episode VII, any reservations about tackling Star Wars must’ve vanished. The director was no longer an intimidated fanboy. He imagination must’ve been stirred about how to reboot the mythology and design and explore a fresh dramatic conflict.

Chatting with Abrams and checking out his Bad Robot studio late last year only reinforced his understanding and appreciation of sci-fi and pop culture. And viewing footage from Into Darkness reinforced his talent for distilling the iconic into spectacle that resonates emotionally. Therefore, Kennedy was correct  in going with Abrams. He’s the new Spielberg and best qualified to reinvigorate Star Wars.

According to University of North Carolina cinema professor Dale Pollock, author of Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas, Star Wars was originally a 12-part saga. He told The Wrap that he read all the outlines and that episodes VII, VIII, and IV were the most exciting because of their “propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters.” Pollock has no doubt that they’re being mined for the new trilogy.

The only issue now is time management as Abrams simultaneously navigates Star Trek and Star Wars.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Animation, Movies, previs, Tech, VFX, Virtual Production

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