Opinion: Is an Abrams Star Wars a bad idea?

Could this be the biggest mistake Lucas has ever made?

So, it's official - J.J. Abrams is the man leading Star Wars into a bold, daring new era with Episode VII. But is it a good idea? Total Film's Matt Risley weighs in with his thoughts...



If it's one thing we can all definitely agree on, it's that the original Star Wars trilogy was one of the most iconic and timeless sci-fi adventures of all time.

If it's one thing we can all definitely argue about, it's that the prequel trilogy was a misfire of the most disastrous, childhood memory-ravaging order.

Any nostalgic goodwill that hadn't already been eradicated by the laughably naff Holiday Special, Lucas' insistent tinkering and re-editing of the original trilogy, or the soul-destroying array of tack-tastic tie-in merchandise (because a R2-D2 aquarium or spatula just screams artistic integrity), was all but smothered by sexy, fantastical talk of trade embargoes and midichlorians, maddeningly annoying miscasting, brain-dissolvingly stupid dialogue and The CGI Monstrosity Who Shall Not Be Named (if Yoosa Getsa Me Drifta).


In short, there wasn't really a huge audience outside of the nerdcore clamouring for more Star Wars after Episode III.

So when news broke that the House of Mouse had nabbed the rights to the force, I was pretty worried it was a deal more driven by the Dark Side (read: accountants and businessmen) than the Light (read: creative arty geeky types).

But while the attraction of unleashing countless new lines of Happy Meal toys is still an undoubted factor, the news that J.J. Abrams will helm the relaunch has me simultaneously relieved and unsurprised.

We suggested way back in 2010 that Abrams would be a great fit for the Wars-iverse, and our reasoning still stands.

He's proved he can balance both creative nous, studio concerns and fan fear, and treat a beloved franchise with reverence without falling into sappy nostalgic fawning (*cough* Superman Returns *cough*).

Throw in the facts that he's been a genuine fan since he was a child, he has a proven track record with crafting intelligent, heartfelt and kick-ass sci-fi and fantasy (Cloverfield, Star Trek, Super 8, Lost, Alias and Fringe), and has worked with Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound on all his features, and it seems like a no-brainer.

Check out this cleverly edited Wars/Trek mash-up for an idea of how exciting the result could be....

Sure, there are concerns - what the chuff happens to the Star Trek franchise, which - from everything we've seen so far - looks like it's soaring to even higher heights with Into Darkness?

Will he be able to wrangle the demands of not only the Lucas camp, but Disney's new controllers?

And more importantly - will lightsabers + lens flare = disintegrating corneas on a global scale?

Whatever happens, I'm definitely along for the ride. And whatever your doubts, at least we know it can never get any more awkward than this:


Matt is Total Film's Online Editor and a part-time Star Wars nerd. You can follow him on Twitter @spliggle.

What do you think? Are you excited by the prospect of an Abrams Star Wars? Or would you prefer they leave the whole thing alone?


    • FBMJackson

      Jan 29th 2013, 12:02

      I'm both a Trek and Wars fan and thought JJ Abrams take on Star Trek was incredible, it made the geekiest franchise in history worthy of the mainstream. I am however genuinely worried that by taking over Star Wars that he might pull out of any proposed Trek 3 and I doubt any other director could do it any true justice. On the other hand, look whats he's done for Trek, Wars (original trilogy) was already considering cool outside of geek circles. It could be something truly special.

      Alert a moderator

    • TheGreatWent

      Jan 29th 2013, 14:12

      Massive conflict of interest here with the whole, Trek thing, plus I am also worried about lens flare overload. JJ is massively overrated, but he can't f**k it up any worse than George.

      Alert a moderator

    • SiMan

      Jan 29th 2013, 14:16

      Do the SW films need a 'name' director with their own distinct style though? The SW universe already has an iconic look that has been set over the 6 films and is quite distinctive. Surely it just needs someone who can not necassarily bring a new vision, but can just tell a compelling story within the confines of what has come before?

      Alert a moderator

    • SiMan

      Jan 29th 2013, 14:17

      On a seperate note; can i just confirm - does the Blu-ray boxset contain the original, untampered trilogy? or is it just the versions that Lucas messed with?

      Alert a moderator

    • alexr

      Jan 29th 2013, 15:36

      The Lucas versions.

      Alert a moderator

    • glennwiseman

      Jan 29th 2013, 15:53

      if he chills on the lens flare i think he should do a great job, I mean look what he did with Star Trek, so he obvously knows how to craft a great sci fi film. And he is a big Star Wars fan (I'm pretty sure he wasn't a Star Trek fan when he directed Star Trek and look how that turned out) so that should motivate him even more not to f**k the franchise up. I think he can'tdo any worse than Lucas did on the last Star Wars 3 films. A few directors i would have liked to see direct would have been Guillermo Del Toro, Josh Whedon, Mathew Vaughn Sam Raimi, and Speilberg.

      Alert a moderator

    • FBJRider

      Jan 30th 2013, 0:15

      When you really sit and think about it is there anyone else who you'd want to handle it? I really don't think there are any other directors that I'd want handling this film other than Abrams.

      Alert a moderator

    • joshtorok

      Jan 31st 2013, 14:56

      The amount of b******g on the lens flare through every story I read on this topic makes people criticising one insignificant yet repeated aesthetic of a truly riveting film seem petty. I hope he puts a lensflare on a few lightaber clashes just to teach people that there are more significant things to b***h about. Like lame characters, stale dialogue, overdone CG and unnecessary pod races. The Phantom Menace will always make me cringe and die inside. And with regards to doing Trek and Star Wars at the same time, he was making great films while supervising Lost and Fringe. I think keeping an eye on two projects will be fine for him. JJ will do this justice. You watch.

      Alert a moderator

    • TheGreatWent

      Feb 1st 2013, 0:45

      The lens flare was only the tip of the Star Trek sucking ice berg

      Alert a moderator

    • Hadouken76

      Feb 1st 2013, 19:27

      Put it this way, would it have been safer in the hands of McG, Brett Ratner or Len Wiseman? Case closed.

      Alert a moderator

    • MovieMind

      Feb 3rd 2013, 10:53

      Can any reasonable, rational, sane or intelligent person be anything other than ecstatic about JJ Abrahms directing the new Star Wars movie. I mean, come on, do you realise how lucky you lot are that this is happening, look at the facts: 1) Firstly ...... There is a new Star Wars Film being made! (a cause for celebration!) 2) It is not being made by Lucas 3) It will be directed by one of the best Sci-fi directors around today (and a die hard fan no less!) - Star Trek was staggeringly good 4) It will not be directed by the following directors .... McG, Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich etc etc etc. Quit your moaning, you lucky lucky b*****ds! ( and before anyone says what about Christopher Nolan, Duncan Jones or any of the other usual obvious ones ,,, we all know they wouldn't touch it with a ten foot barge pole anyway, so get on with your life and enjoy 2015) You know I am right Peace out.

      Alert a moderator

Most Popular