At about 1:46 p.m. yesterday (Pacific Standard Time), a bombshell was dropped; Deadline reported that Disney was in final negotiations with JJ Abrams to direct the seventh Star Wars movie. The internet immediately exploded in a burst of jokes about lens flares. (Lens flare jokes? Still? Some of you guys need to hire better writers.)
The “Who will direct Star Wars?” discussion began in earnest back in October when the Lucasfilm to Disney deal was announced. We’ve know for several weeks that Oscar winner Michael Arndt was writing the script, but we didn’t know who would be behind the camera until this afternoon.
I think Abrams is a very good choice, and here’s why:
1. He’s a fan. I think it was imperative for the new director to, you know, like the material. The prequels often gave off a vibe of complete indifference. That will change with a new sheriff in town. Sam Mendes was a huge Bond fan and that turned out pretty well, didn’t it?
2. He’s had two Star Trek movies to practice on. A lot of critics referred to Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek reboot as the best Star Wars film since 1980. Who can argue with that? Well, maybe the Star Tours reboot at Disneyland was better. Abrams knows how to work with an effects team; ILM did the effects work on Star Trek, Super 8, and Into Darkness. Abrams knows how to do big action and spectacle from working on Trek.
3. He knows the importance of character. Anybody remember the opening moments of Star Trek, where Chris Hemsworth kills it as George Kirk? I’m not at all ashamed to admit that that sequence made me very, very misty. I remember thinking, I’m crying at a Star Trek movie? In the first five minutes? Has the world gone mad? Remember that JJ Abrams cut his teeth on television with Felicity. He will create a big-hearted Star Wars in which we’re invested in the characters. Keep in mind that Arndt wrote Toy Story 3, so the script will likely be great.
4. I can’t wait to hear Michael Giacchino’s score. I love the music he wrote for Space Mountain at Disneyland, and he did write for Star Trek. He’s one of the best, young composers in the business.
A lot of people seemed to want an auteur to take over Star Wars, but I would argue that a solid craftsman who gets the material is just what the doctor ordered. I mean, does anybody want to see Wes Anderson’s Star Wars, where the Jedi Council is all dressed in turtlenecks and corduroy?
I didn’t think so.