Star Wars: Why J.J. Abrams Is A Really Good Choice

January 31, 2013 — Leave a comment


George Lucas and J.J. Abrams in January 2013

George Lucas and J.J. Abrams in January 2013


J. J. Abrams  is  a really good, maybe the best choice,  for continuing the Star Wars legacy. He  is ginormously gifted and  understands that any  truly great scene reveals character in action.  Fans of   literature or film, should see  Abrams’  TED presentation  on “The Mystery Box”. To watch you can click here.

In the TED presentation, J. J. brings up his fervent admiration for the screenplay Ordinary People , written by Alvin Sargent from the best-selling book  of the same name by Judith Guest . I have fond memories of that script and movie as I was the Story Editor  at Paramount and cut my teeth on that project. J. J.’s   reference to  his love for Ordinary People is profound ….it is  entirely non fan boy. It is  script and movie  about suicide, redemption, and  an unfailing love that a father has for his troubled son.

Of course, J. J.  has experience  and success with adding new life to beloved franchises like Mission Impossible and Star Trek. But it is his understanding of nuance in character that gives his hiring last week as the director and producer of Star Wars hope. If you do look at the TED piece you will see his poignant analysis of a scene from JAWS — a scene that really wasn’t  about a shark but revealed something seminal in Roy Scheider’s character.

Certainly, George Lucas recognized character in the first script of Star Wars. It  is a brilliant piece. But, none of the other pictures, as good as they may have been, have measured up to the essence of the first one.

I was skeptical of the announcement by Disney of the acquisition of Star Wars. It is always a bit scary when we see the guardianship of a creative cannon being taken over by a fortune 500 Company.

But two things have changed my skeptic’s mind: the hiring of J. J.Abrams as the creative force for Star Wars and the announcement by George Lucas that he is taken the majority of the $4 plus billion purchase price and putting it into education concerns for a future generation.

It also doesn’t hurt  that both Lucas and Abrams share a healthy  respect for the mysterium tremendum.

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