On Twitter: @JamesEppler
Though as of right now it has not yet been confirmed by Disney, The Wrap
claims J.J. Abrams is the director of the next chapter in the "Star Wars" film series.
Like most things, I greeted this news with a fair amount of cynicism. Why choose Abrams, who has already revitalized and put his stamp on another space saga?
There were a number of names being bandied about for the "Star Wars Episode VII" gig. Sure, a lot of it was just fanboy daydreaming, but I quite liked the idea of established directors like Ben Affleck, Matthew Vaughn or someone really interesting like David Fincher taking it over. I would have even been fine with "Avengers" director Joss Whedon because I like the TV series "Firefly" so much.
Plus, I am and will always be more of a "Star Trek" fan. I was a full-blown "Trekkie" in elementary school (they're "Trekkers" now, apparently). And there's always been a bit of tension between "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" fans. Each series has had its highs and lows, and each has its own place in pop culture history.
I really loved what Abrams did in rebooting the classic "Trek" characters, so it did feel like a bit of a betrayal on the surface that he'd jump ship for "Star Wars."
But then I started looking into Abrams a bit more. When news broke he was taking charge of the "Star Trek" series years ago, he said more than a few times on the record that his first love was "Star Wars." He has a lifelong love and passion for it. That's exactly what the "Star Wars" series needs, I think. And I have no doubt he'll make a terrific movie without the danger of George Lucas screwing it up.
I'm already titillated at the 10 minutes of IMAX footage I saw for "Star Trek: Into Darkness" coming this summer. Abrams has a definite style of shooting and writing that fits these characters and this universe well. We'll see how it translates into the galaxy far, far away.
As for "Star Trek," I think we can already plan on a third film. I would think Abrams could stay on as a producer, but I wouldn't expect him to be too involved with a new weighty series on his hands.
So who should take the reigns?
My initial vote might be for Neill Blomkamp, who made a great sci-fi movie with "District 9." His second film, "Elysium," is set for release in August. The quality of that sophomore effort may play a huge role. Jon Favreau might also be a good choice. "Iron Man" was excellent, and damn the haters, I really like "Cowboys and Aliens."
But that's way down the road. In the meantime, we can look forward to a pair of Abrams projects with "Star" at the front of the title that could both be great movies.