One of the most interesting and controversial stories to rock the movie, business and ‘fan-boy’ world broke on the 31st of October 2012. CEO and owner George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney for the princely sum of $4.05 billion. After this news was announced, Disney swiftly declared that Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII and IX would be going into production, with episode VII hitting movie screens Summer 2015. This announcement was not only a clever plan to sate the appetite of the franchise’s legions of fans but also to stem the negative comments by Star Wars’ enthusiastic aficionados. Star Wars devotees’ reaction to the Disney buy out was akin to that of the Empire’s response to Princess Leia’s insubordination. Instead of blowing Alderaan out of the cosmos however, Star Wars geeks took to the internet to declare their disgust!
Later on, after the furore had died down, what followed was a guessing game on a massive scale to try to determine who would be the lucky (or unlucky depending on your point of view) man or woman to sit in the director’s chair. Many names were quickly publicised as being contenders such as Gareth Evans, Brad Bird, Matthew Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Guillermo Del Toro to name but a few. As quickly as names were announced they were either ruled out by Lucasfilm or the directors themselves. The wait to know exactly who would be helming the worlds most beloved sci-fi property eventually came to an end this evening (U.K. time) and was revealed to be none other than J.J. Abrams!
The director himself had slyly misled interested parties earlier on this month by stating the following to Empire movie magazine:
“I am looking forward more than anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!”
Misdirection and Star Wars has always gone hand in hand however. Ewan McGregor himself, for example, denied being cast as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace until it was officially broadcast. Interesting that Lucasfilm would pick a director who is so closely associated with their (friendly) rival Star Trek. J.J. Abram’s latest effort, the sequel to his immensely popular Star Trek in 2009, is Star Trek: Into Darkness which opens later this summer. Besides Star Trek, J.J. Abrams has massive geek credentials. His achievements include directing the enormously enjoyable and clever found-footage monster film Cloverfield in 2008 and the beautiful and understated, Speilberg-esque Super 8 in 2011, as well as helming the ever popular Lost. He has a wonderful ability to fully realise a world that he sets out to create. As a viewer, one is truly sucked in and engrossed from start to finish due to his delicate touch as a filmmaker. That said, he can deliver set pieces to rival any movie by James Cameron in terms of excitement or adrenaline. Now that this nugget of info has been declared we just have the agonising two and a half year wait until the release. Roll on 2015!