Odds are you’ve heard that JJ Abrams of Star Trek fame has been selected to direct the new Star Wars movies under the Disney brand. What do I think?
It’s great news. Say what you will about Star Trek, but it was a great movie and a very accessible film. Sure, it messed with the canon, but it messed mostly with the canon from the original series — who cares? Star Trek was languishing with so many bad movies being made from it. Add in the failure of Enterprise to be watched and it was pretty clear someone needed to come in and make it good again. Abrams was the man for that job.
JJ was, allegedly, already approached for the Star Wars movies. He declined originally because, again, allegedly, he didn’t want to touch something so sacred. That’s right — JJ Abrams, a man painted as a money-hungry control freak with a penchant for lens flares was scared of messing up Star Wars. That’s a good sign. And they have a skilled writer in Michael Arndt, so unless Abrams insists on messing with the script too badly, we have nothing to worry about.
A final point, of course, is Disney’s past insistence on the new films not following the canon. Obviously we all want a Thrawn trilogy of films but it’s not going to happen — Zahn‘s magnum opus is going to be left sitting in a parallel universe. That’s something we kind of have to live with. What this means is that even if the new movie(s) are horrible, we can still take solace in the fact that the books haven’t been desecrated.
I would be shocked if Abrams and Arndt could screw this up. They are both big names, they’re both riding off big successes, they’re both nerds, and they both know what’s at stake. They could single-handedly revive a dying franchise that’s only hanging on by the occasional new novel and/or tabletop RPG. Besides — the New trilogy was god awful. How could they do worse?