Set Phasers to Stun While Using the Force …



Yes. I’m well aware that title makes zero sense to most people, but I will be explaining myself later.

Most of you would have heard by now that in October 2012, George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4.05 billion dollars.

As part of the announcement, Disney had said they would be completing the series of Star Wars movies, starting with number 7. Keep in mind, that even though Lucas said he would never film the final three, he’s actually pretty much written them all, so all Disney needs to do is add some finishing touches. Oh, and the minor task of finding a director to film them.

Friday morning I woke to the news that a director had been found!! Now this is where I explain the title …

“Set Phasers to Stun” is a line that frequents Star Trek. “Using the Force” is a term coined in the Star Wars universe.

Why am I mixing the two? Well the director of Star Trek, and Star Trek into Darkness (May 2013 release) is slotted to direct Star Wars Episode VII.

JJ Abrams using the force

JJ Abrams using the force

J.J. Abrams worked wonders on Star Trek. As a Trekkie, I was hesitant when I heard that they were remaking Trek. But it was fantastic. Beyond brilliant even.

But can the director of Star Trek, be a good director for Star Wars?

I don’t doubt Abrams’ ability to do this at all. I really love his style. But will his vision for Star Wars mesh well with the current movies? Or will it be completely different?

Star Wars fans are used to the movies being a certain way. It’s hard to explain how they are actually filmed. They are the way they are. The way Abrams filmed the first Star Trek was almost artistic, the way he had the Enterprise barrel roll through space, or how it peaked through the rings of Saturn.

Will Abrams go arty with Star Wars?

The biggest issue I think is that these last three movies are such an unknown entity. None of us know what to expect as far as storyline goes, we aren’t sure what characters are going to be in it, NOTHING!

What we do know is that so many celebs have put their hands up and said “hell yeah, we’ll be in it!” The original cast have said they’d love to come back, plus others actors, such as the delectable Tom Hiddleston have said they’d love to be involved. Honestly, I’d watch the movies anyway, but with Tom Hiddleston in them? Oh my …

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Number 7 is scheduled for a 2015 release date, so I’m sure more information will trickle out eventually. Until it does though, it’s speculation all round!

What are your thoughts on J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars? Do you think he’ll take it in a new direction? What actors would you like to see in the new Star Wars?

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  • John James

    Star Wars was MY movie – I was 11 when it came out…I was the perfect age for that film…but the thing about us “early-adopters” is this – we weren’t fan-boys…it was just a movie we really liked…all the fanboy stuff came later…

    Star Trak was always around on TV when I was growing up…as re-runs, but also the wonderful cartoon series (that was better than TOS, but with the same cast)…I’d argue the same thing with Star Trek…all the Trekkers and Trekies stuff came later…

    So, what am I trying to say…well, I guess I’m saying that I’m not that precious about either franchise…I like both Star Trek and Star Wars, but I’m not obsessed…not the way people younger than me are…so I don’t really care what direction J.J. Abrams takes the new Star Wars…

    All I can say about J.J. Abrams is that he has a good track record…his LOST pilot was amazing – he did a great job with Mission Impossible – and I really like his Star Trek reboot – he’s not Kubrick or Scorsese – but he is a good craftsman…I’m confident he’ll make a really entertaining film – that’s all I want – I don’t care whether it’s canonical or not…I don’t care if it “feels” different from the other Star Wars films…I just want to be entertained…that’s all I expect from Star Wars and J.J. Abrams.

    • Mandi Aylmore

      Thing is, some people are one-eyed when it comes to this. They either love Star Wars, or Star Trek, not both. Which is silly in itself but I digress …

      Having a director come in and direct both Star Trek AND Star Wars, is almost unheard of, so having JJ direct both is a big deal, fan boy or no.

      Star Wars and Star Trek are more than just movies to me. I love the fantasy of it all, the exploring strange new worlds, and galaxies far far away. I love that it removes me from the here and now and I can get completely lost in it. Yes, I may be obsessed, but I have been a Star Wars watcher since I was very little, so I don’t feel like I’m only now jumping on the bandwagon.

      • John James

        I don’t get the one-eyed thing either – I mean, I also like Dr Who (which I’m probably more obsessed with to be honest) – it’s all good! :)

  • Mitchell Osmond

    As a fan-boy, I’m super excited about the addition of JJ Abrams to the ongoing Star Wars universe. He may not be the best fit for Star Wars, but he’s definitely got the sci-fi credibility to make this new movie great.

    I still hope for a similar feel to the movies, as I think the comic book type ‘swipes’ to change scene are just as much a part of the Star Wars ‘thing’. But I’m hoping that the stories will be better than the original, movie storytelling has come so much further since then, and the prequel trilogy just didn’t live up to the original, nor modern stories.

    The man who barrel-rolled the Enterprise will have no trouble flinging the small fighters (and hopefully a Millenium Falcon?) around the universe.

    Don’t forget his work on Alias. Looking forward to finding out more!

  • An Idle Dad

    Brad Bird would have been my first choice, but Abrams is an excellent option.

    While George Lucas may have ‘mostly written’ the next three movies, the guy behind Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 is the script writer.

    Between the director and the script writer, I don’t think we could be in a better position to allay the fears of all the Star Wars fans out there. For where we are (which is nowhere), we couldn’t be better placed.

    Lets face it, the prequels suck and are a betrayal to the fans. Shit story, terrible to watch, ludicrous acting and possibly the worst wooing in any movie anywhere. These next three must restore balance to the triple trilogy, or Star Wars will be forever tainted like the Matrix is by its sequels.

    • Mandi Aylmore

      Even if Lucas was still involved, I’m pretty sure he’s admitted to making mistakes in the past. Jar Jar Binks anyone? Surely he’s learnt to remove the crap …

      I don’t loathe and detest the prequels. Ok, I don’t loathe and detest Revenge of the Sith. I mean, it’s an important movie. But the first two? The pod race scene in Ep 1, always get’s fast forwarded. Watching Ewan McGregor, as delicious as he is, do the same “Jedi-kick” makes me want to hurt people. Not sure Hayden Christenson was a good choice, although he became cooler as Vader.

      I think saying that the prequels are a betrayal to the fans is a bit much. It’s not up to us to decide what the story line is, it was up to Lucas, but it could have been done so much better.

      • An Idle Dad

        When you release three prequels to the most successful and beloved movie franchise of all time, and spend every moment maximising sales and toys and tie-ins and enriching yourself, and spend no time making sure the story is any good, that is pure betrayal.

        The origin story of Darth Vader is super important. The three movies were supposed to be all about his fall from grace and the end of the Republic, but really, only the last movie related to that (perhaps why you like it).

        But instead of the great man and Jedi who falls to the dark side hinted at in episodes 4-6, we get an annoying hot shot, and ultimately, mass murdering little shit. It makes the original movies less compelling. Forget the pod race, what was the first movie even ABOUT?

        The first movie felt like the actors were simply in the way of what Lucas considered to be awesome CGI (which was simply incomprehensible). The second movie felt the same, but in a knee jerk reaction he pasted in some terrible, terrible love scenes to sort of say “Here’s character development people!”

        Only in the third movie does Anakin even take up a cause greater than “I’m shit hot ace guy and I wanna be respected!” which laughably, is to “save democracy”.

        C3-PO is made by Darth Vader? R2D2 flies? Seriously, what-the-fuck. Obi-Wan doesn’t remember ever owning a droid, yet hung out with R2D2 for TEN YEARS?

        I mean, FUCK A FUCK FUCK.

        • John James

          George Lucas lost me at Ewoks….

          • An Idle Dad

            The signs were all there, weren’t they? A BIGGER Death Star. SMALLER Wookies.

          • John James

            Well, the bigger death star is compensating for having a smaller wookie, innit.. 😉

        • Mandi Aylmore

          Let me get this straight, you have an issue with the fact R2D2 flies? Really? It’s not like he’s freaking Superman, he just has the ability to propel himself if necessary. Sheesh!

          I don’t disagree about the love scenes. They were atrocious. If you saw my Tweets the other night while I was watching Ep 3, you would have seen me screaming about Padme brushing her hair, HER CURLY HAIR, on the balcony. There is some cheesy shit in there that’s for sure.

          BUT, his obsession with Padme is important. SHE is the reason he went to the Dark Side, because he wanted to be able to save her. The Sith game him something that the Jedi couldn’t. Even though their love story is completely cringeworthy, it’s still necessary, for without that, there would be no Vader. It wasn’t just about the Jedi not allowing him to be a Master even though he was on the council.

          And as far as the betrayal thing goes, can’t be too bad as Episode 1 is the 12th highest grossing film of all time, and Episode 3, the 32nd highest grossing film. People are still forking out the dosh.

          • An Idle Dad

            I’ll agree that R2D2 flying is neither here nor there if go agree that money made is not an indicator of quality.

            In fact, one of my points is that George Lucas spent more time ensuring he made lots of money, rather than making a good movie.

            (Incidentally, if you want to see getting caught up on minor things of no importance, you should check out the 40,000+ word war on the edits page of Star Trek 2 about whether the correct way to write it is “Star Trek Into Darkness” or “Star Trek into Darkness”).

            Yes, I’m all good with the story of the Fall of Vader as being OK on paper, but the execution is terrible. There are endless ways to say “What could have been” but let me leave you with this – Episodes One and Two were about a great Jedi being tempted to the Dark Side and Episode Three about Vader eradicating the Jedi and the Republic.

            Star Wars 7, wherever it may take us is looking good. Abrams has shown several times he can take a franchise (or even individual movies) and do them justice while being entertaining.

          • Mitchell Osmond

            I’m sorry Idle, but episode 1 was not about a great jedi being tempted by the dark side (he wasn’t even a jedi until the end, and I would not call a brand new padawan ‘great’). Episode 1 can easily have been struck from the official cannon and no one would blink. Anyone can watch episode 2 without knowing anything about 1 and it still makes perfect sense, save for a few minor throw away comments that you shouldn’t need to think about. Plus, you only get a few seconds of Jar Jar so BONUS!

            I didn’t like it very much, but I accept episode 2’s position in created Anakin into a whiney teenager that the audience can easily see would turn to the darkside. And I agree, the love story with Padme was important and necessary to create something that jedi’s were banned from having to reduce their temptations.

            The problem with R2 flying is: why didn’t he ever do it later in 4-6? Would have come in really handing in 6 where he could have floated over to the other barge instead of falling into the sand with 3PO at the climax of the tatooine scene.

          • An Idle Dad

            Sorry Michelle, I was describing ‘what could have been’ instead of what was in Episode 1-3. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. I was saying “How awesome would it have been if…”. Anakin should have become Darth at the end of Episode Two.

            I agree with your statement on Anakin – Obi-Wan describes Anakin as a great Jedi who was betrayed and murdered by Darth Vader. Except Anakin wasn’t great, and didn’t really have any ideals to betray – the ideals he begins to want in Episode 3 are Darth Vader’s ideals, not ‘good’ Anakins.

            Yes I agree about R2D2. What about on Dagobah? Instead of trying to scoot across the bottom of the lake and get eaten, it could have just flown to the shore.

          • Mitchell Osmond

            Sorry Idle, you’re right I missed your ‘what if’ comment.

            If you forgive me that, I’ll forgive you calling me Michelle… 😉

            And I agree with the Degobah situation!

          • An Idle Dad

            Mitchell, beard and all. Apologies!

    • Melissa Savage

      Brad Bird was my choice too.

  • Melissa Savage

    JJ Abrams got me into Star Trek, and I am forever grateful. I have been entertained by him since Felicity and I will watch basically everything he is involved in. Side note: if you haven’t watched Fringe (which finished this week), do yourself a favour. It is grounded in a sterling performance by an Australian actor John Noble, best known for playing Denethor in Lord of the Rings.

    I tried to watch Star Wars as a teen. I saw them on re-release in 1997, and I think it was too late. I was too old to find them entertaining. Because I’m a good little nerd, though, I watched all of the origninal movies and then of the prequels when they came out, and even before I knew the director, I knew I’d be lining up for this one too. Because nerd solidarity. And so I can keep up conversations with all the Princess Leias I meet in line at Comic Con.

    It’s a bit of an awkward decision, though, not because JJ isn’t a great director, but because I feel like he should give someone else a chance. He has so many great things to his name AND is responsible for reviving a major sci-fi franchise AND a major action series (Mission Impossible). This is the kind of film (as discussed above) that would be right up Brad Bird’s alley. The other person mentioned in the same breath as JJ is of course Joss Whedon, who turned it down because of his Avengers and Marvel commitments. JJ also has ten bajilllion commitments but that doesn’t sen to bother him as much because he gets other people to manage his TV shows. He doesn’t write the scripts for his films the way Joss does either. And when I heard they’d talked to Ben Affleck, I didn’t think that was weird at all, because Affleck is a huge Star Wars fan because like our JJ (John James), he was the right age for it when it came out in the 70s and was inspired to go into acting because of it (which I know because I spent my late teen years fangirling him and Matt Damon rather than watching sci-fi). And we all know that Affleck is a good actor but has become a great director. Although he would no doubt cast himself in it.

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