Clare Sidoti Staff Writer
The flood of Star Wars news continues. It seems that not a day goes bye without something new coming from the Lucasfilm and/or Disney camp and the most recent is from massive Star Wars fan and Episode VII director, J.J. Abrams.
Having recently wrapped on his latest film for the rival space drama franchise, Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams can now focus on what is truly important… Star Wars Episode VII and for some reason, Playboy (so there really are articles in that publication) sat down and spoke to him about taking on the galaxy far, far away.
Finding it “preposterous”, “ridiculous” and “completely insane” to have found himself as director of two of the biggest sci-fi franchises, he realises the challenges he faced in signing onto Star Wars especially after stating “his loyalty was to Star Trek”. In fact, he confesses it was this “loyalty” that he originally passed on Star Wars as he felt that he “couldn’t balance the two” different worlds. It was only after a phone call from Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy that changed his mind and made him realise that it was indeed possible to do both. However, fans ultimately have his wife Katie to thank for Abrams signing on the dotted line. She convinced him that if the project was something that “really interested me, I had to consider it”. The rest is now history.
While there are numerous questions fans are eagerly awaiting confirmation on, such as whether old cast members are returning and what the feel of the new trilogy will be like, Abrams remained extremely tight-lipped. The only thing he did say was that “it’s so early it would be insane to discuss details or get into plot points about what this unfilmed movie will be”. It’s hardly surprising that he cannot answer these questions given that the script is probably only at the very early drafting stage. However, with all the rumours swirling around it’s too tempting not to at least attempt to get an answer to whatever he might let slip.
Given the general feeling of immense disappointment following the release of Episode I, it is not unexpected that fans want some reassurance that Episode VII is more in line with the original trilogy and Episode III rather than the earlier films. Abrams take is that “one has to take into account what has preceded it, what worked, what didn’t”. Well I think Star Wars fans can give you a long list of what didn’t work in Episodes I and II if need be. He continues by saying that “there are cautionary tales for anything you take on that has a legacy – things you look at and think, I want to avoid this or I want to do more of something… For me, the key is when you have a script; it’s telling you what it wants to be”. He does state that George Lucas is still around the periphery of the film and that he will certainly turn to him with questions about the universe as well as get his feedback on how Abrams is approaching the galaxy. Whether that relieves or concerns fans, is up to the individual to decide.
He admits that “no one’s a bigger Star Wars fan than [him]” but with that came the enormous responsibility to get it right. Trying not to focus on that aspect of the job, he is instead trying to just enjoy the opportunity and considers himself “enormously fortunate” to have gathered such amazing people to collaborate with for the film. It’s a very safe and familiar environment for him as he’s known Kennedy for years, worked with screenwriter Michael Arndt for “a long time” and known George for ages as well.
Considering Lucas is well-known for ensuring the franchise stays true to his vision, it’s reasonable to ask how much creative freedom and input he has in the project. He clarifies that he has “a big say in how this gets put together” and that he owns it and “[carries] the responsibility of the job”.
For his Trekkie fans, he did say that just because he has jumped ship to the Star Wars franchise, don’t count on him being finished with Star Trek. “I would say [directing the third Star Trek movie] it’s a possibility. We’re trying to figure out the next step”.
To see what else he had to say about the Star Trek universe, the possibility of an Alias movie and Cloverfield II and tidbits from his various projects from Mission Impossible and Tom Cruise to Lost and Fringe, check out the full interview at Playboy – though remember what site you are visiting when seeing the surrounding content.
For those who have lived under a rock for the past decade or so and don’t know Abrams work, you can see the trailer for his latest film, Star Trek Into Darkness, in cinemas 9 May.