J.J. Abrams Yearns For Mystery In The Star Wars Universe

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J.J. Abrams Yearns For Mystery In The Star Wars Universe

Gosh, it was a world of possibilities when A New Hope was the only Star Wars that ever was.

J.J. Abrams, director and now co-scriptwriter of the latest Star Wars movie, yearns for mystery. Gone are the days, he laments, when we knew nothing about Star Wars; when the Empire was a name without a backstory, and Leia was just a Princess, not Luke's sister or Vader's daughter. The first Star Wars was great, but since then too many stories have provided too much detail.

"The beauty of that movie [A New Hope]," says Abrams, "was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went." But by implication, Abrams doesn't seem too happy at the prospect of having those potential plot threads closed off by the later movies. "I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before," Abrams said a while ago, in the bygone days when Michael Arndt, not Abrams, had scriptwriting duties.

Abrams is co-scripting with Lawrence Kasdan of The Empire Strikes Back fame, but you have to wonder who carries more weight in that team: Abrams, the director and the person Disney put in charge of its big franchise, or Kasdan, whose last trip to the Star Wars universe was 1996's Shadows of the Empire video game. However it pans out, there's not much time left to write this thing, not if Disney CEO Bob Iger's 2015 deadline is to be met; and Iger's adamant that it will be.

Shooting is to start spring 2014. Cross your fingers; this one may need all the luck it can get. Always assuming that there is such a thing as luck, of course.

Source: Hollywood Reporter

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This guy is half a step away from going full Shyamalan.

Of course he's going to shoehorn in some useless mystery that everybody's going to see coming from a galaxy far, far away.

He act as if The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were the big offenders in destroying mystery, even though the prequel trilogy was designed around explaining away everything that was mysterious about the classics. Everything from how Vader fell, to how the Empire came to be, to how the Force works was explained. Either way, moving away from being clear about everything is definitely a step in the right direction, and shows that he gets what made A New Hope so good to begin with.

P.S. Thanks

P.P.S. To an extent, it's reasonable and even necessary that more was explained in episodes V and VI, since they were largely told from Luke's point of view, and he himself was becoming more worldly and experienced. To keep him in the dark would've been a slap in the face of his growth as a character, and to keep audiences in the dark of things Luke was becoming aware of would've been shoddy storytelling.

Karloff:

J.J. Abrams, director and now co-scriptwriter of the latest Star Wars movie, yearns for mystery. Gone are the days, he laments, when we knew nothing about Star Wars; when the Empire was a name without a backstory, and Leia was just a Princess, not Luke's sister or Vader's daughter. The first Star Wars was great, but since then too many stories have provided too much detail.

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No, just no. Or if you Luke Skywalker, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The universe is what sets Star Wars apart and makes it cool and unique, not the straight out of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" story that made up the original trilogy. Not to say the story was bad, but compared to the ships, planets and aliens its merely a framework.

In other words, J.J. Abrams will continue his policy of obscuring detail with copious amounts of lens flare.

As moviebob has said before, Abrams is obsessed with his mystery box, and this quote only serves to reinforce that theory. I am not looking forward to this.

Giving the world back some of its mystery is admirable, but I doubt Abrams is the one to pull this off. Star Trek was an enjoyable movie and a fantastic "get the band together" affair, but his flaws shone through brightly with Into Darkness. It was a nice twist to change things around in the plot, but in the end it was all more show than substance. One of the more blatant examples of his shortcoming is that the women in his movie are lesser characters. Their uniforms have no rank insignia, Uhura's only reason to be in ST:ID is to be Spock's GF and Carol Marcus got shown in her underwear for fanservice's sake. With all of this taken in to account, I shudder to think what he's going to do with Star Wars, a universe with women equally as strong as the Star Trek TV series (& their movies).

You know it almost makes sense what he's saying, but then you just know that the end result is going to be something ridiculous.

Love of god someone get him away from Star wars. This is the guy who thought ripping off Wrath of Khan made him creative and original. I do not want him throwing in stupid crap when we already have enough on screen stupid crap thanks to prequels.

"We need a mystery", no Star wars needs a court ordered do not come within 100 yards of me paper.

Ugh! Fuck this guy and his mystery box bullshit. I can't wait until details are "leaked" about the movie that point to some big conspiracy/mystery that ultimately amounts to fuck all.

Disney, you're burning away all the goodwill you earned with Avengers.

So in other words... he wants to make something different. He can do that, go create a new IP, leave Star Wars alone. Also- I really REALLY don't want to see a lightsaber fight full of lens flares. Lens flares can arguably work in speculative fiction / scifi if that's the aesthetic you're going for, but definitely not in a fantasy like Star Wars, it would be like having the battle of Helm's Deep full of lens flares.

If anything this sounds like Abrams is trying to build undue hype for a film that hasn't started filming nor has a finished script yet. That's like Newell coming out and saying how he wants Half-Life 3 to be more open world when we have no word on it's actual production yet. (lol).

What Abrams and Disney need to do to build up any sense of mystery is just shut the fuck up about the film and not talk about anything until it's time to bring out trailers. And, even then, only show us the stuff that matters that will make us want to see this beyond the "oh look, more star wars" reaction. Right now, I have no interest in this film because its progression seems rather... um... lacking in progression.

stfu
Abrams stupid "mysteries" have never worked out because the resolution is always stupid or half-assed or pointless or boring or all of the above.
is it too late to fire him?

Scribblesense:
This guy is half a step away from going full Shyamalan.

Of course he's going to shoehorn in some useless mystery that everybody's going to see coming from a galaxy far, far away.

I think it's 50/50. Lack of mystery definitely hurt SW, but as stated above it wasn't Empire or Jedi. They filled in some gaps, but the fun mystery of the Clone Wars was still there, and all the bad guys were still ominous. The problem is when writers think that EVERYTHING has to be tightly tied together without any information being unknown. The best mysteries don't feel like they have to be explained. Fan speculation is what keeps some of the biggest franchises alive.

Scribblesense:
This guy is half a step away from going full Shyamalan.

Of course he's going to shoehorn in some useless mystery that everybody's going to see coming from a galaxy far, far away.

He's constantly talking about his retarded "mystery box" which already ruined Lost after a while:

But seriously this guy should stay the fuck away from long-time beloved franchises.

He hasn't really produced anything of value, Alias, Lost and Fringe were great at first but turned to shit the more they went on.

Mission Impossible III was pure shit, Armageddon and Cloverfield were passable at best and Super 8 never really made it over "promising".

He hasn't produced anything of really great worth. James Cameron or Christopher Nolan he is not.

He's already ruined Star Trek and is heading for Star Wars now and he's involved with possible Half Life and Portal movies.

Whenever I think about any of this my face turns to:
image

It seems like all you'd have to do to put the mystery back into Star Wars (leaving aside whether that's even a good idea) would be to set the story either well back in the past before the prequels or well ahead into the future after the original trilogy. Just disconnect it from anything having to do with Anakin or Luke Skywalker, and you're fine. That, and don't explain anything. Start fresh. Don't start OVER, just fresh.

--Morology!

PS: What it really sounds like, though, is that Mister Abrams is lamenting all the information out there in the various books and video games and comics, and trying to prepare people for the fact that he's not going to be using any of that expanded universe material to inform the scriptwriting.

I'm just gonna post some advance spoilers here...

The 'dark robed figure' in the trailers he says is totally not a sith and we're going to have to watch the movie to find out what his deal is turns out to be a sith.

I could definitely see where he's coming from. For the most part, we pretty much knew what was going to go down in the prequel trilogy. Anakin's fall, his romance with Padme, Palpatine's ascension to Emperor, yadda yadda yadda. Assuming that they are ditching EU material completely, as a sequel this movie is almost certainly going to need some kind of intrigue, especially if it's going to unfold into a full trilogy.

As far as franchises being "ruined," all I can say is that I wish I had more eyes to roll.

Considering how he telegraphed Khan from a Galaxy Far Far away, I do not think J.J. even knows what the meaning of the word Mystery is.

That said he will create movies that will not ruin the franchise, they will just add little to nothing to it.

Hey, the series has no where to go but up. I personally welcome Mr. Abrams vision, whatever it may be.

I can sort of see his point, a the beginning of a franchise you've got potential, before you are locked into whatever it is you end up doing. Only, a franchise ends up doing whatever it is it is doing.

The only real way to bring that back is to make you new stuff mostly unrelated to the old, in which case it's not so much part of the franchise anymore.

Daemascus:

Karloff:

J.J. Abrams, director and now co-scriptwriter of the latest Star Wars movie, yearns for mystery. Gone are the days, he laments, when we knew nothing about Star Wars; when the Empire was a name without a backstory, and Leia was just a Princess, not Luke's sister or Vader's daughter. The first Star Wars was great, but since then too many stories have provided too much detail.

Permalink

No, just no. Or if you Luke Skywalker, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The universe is what sets Star Wars apart and makes it cool and unique, not the straight out of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" story that made up the original trilogy. Not to say the story was bad, but compared to the ships, planets and aliens its merely a framework.

I'm sorry, but no. I enjoyed Star Wars much more before learning that Alderaan was once inhabited by orgy bugs, Vader's greatest rival was a lizardman that emitted rape-phermones, the Emperor's fake son was assassinated by robot Leia, Han forcibly abducted the woman he went on to marry and took her to reverse-Gor, and Luke once fell in love with a Computer-Ghost (no I am not making any of this up)

Ace Morologist:
It seems like all you'd have to do to put the mystery back into Star Wars (leaving aside whether that's even a good idea) would be to set the story either well back in the past before the prequels or well ahead into the future after the original trilogy. Just disconnect it from anything having to do with Anakin or Luke Skywalker, and you're fine. That, and don't explain anything. Start fresh. Don't start OVER, just fresh.
.

It would be pretty cool to see the events of the classic movies from the point of view of people who consider it to be ancient history.

Abrams can't write mystery. He makes a big deal of it, and then can't answer it in a satisfying way.
Eiher have the mystery make sense, or have it be inconsequential for the story.

For example, what the Force is. It's a mysterious thing, (even mitochlorians hardly explains it, just introduces plot-holes)
But the story of SW isn't about finding out what the Force is, it's about the characters and adventure and stuff.

Or, let's say you have a mystic ancient civilization we know nothing about. The mystery itself can be a point, how it's tragic this knowledge has been lost and we'll never know.

But you can't bring it to the foreground and act like you have the answer.

You know, I kind of agree with him, though I don't think the subsequent films are to blame.

Anyone who's familiar with the Expanded Universe knows that the films have been pretty much been picked clean for content like a strip mining operation. For example, they've given elaborate back stories to every single alien in the Mos Eisley cantina, no matter how little screen time they received. Couple that with the fandom's stance that just about all of it is canon and you end up losing any sense of wonderment or intrigue. It's one of the reasons why I stopped following the EU a long time ago and just came up with my own headcanon, cherry picking what I liked and disregarding what I didn't.

In any event, I'm still of the "wait and see" attitude about all this. I just hope any kind of mystery makes sense in the context of the story rather than being mysterious for its own sake.

You see, this is what happens when you don't hire Chris Avellone to write your Star Wars stories. You get geniuses like Abrams who don't know their own talent.

Yeah yeah yeah, whatever J.J. Abrams. The craptastic prequels already sodomized any mystery or credibility the franchise had. Not to mention every bit of so called mysteries from the first three films were some of the most hackneyed and shallow plot devices of all time anyway. So stop agonizing over the fact you can't just waltz in years later and come up with some stupefying plot twist, or a more honest description of your work, pointless mysteries with zero payoff.

The Star Wars universe is just "pew pew laser beams" and psychic neon Samurai. The whole franchise is just one giant feel good adolescent power fantasy. I say go with that. Stop trying to make it into something it isn't, and never was. You want to create a movie based around hip young people solving mysteries? Then go make a fucking Scooby-Doo film.

I do not have a strong opinion about Abrams (and, frankly, the lens flare thing is pretty old at this point). However, this attitude worries me. It's pretentious and... well, I sense through the Force that there could be some behind-the-scenes troubles during the production process.

Psychobabble:
Yeah yeah yeah, whatever J.J. Abrams. The craptastic prequels already sodomized any mystery or credibility the franchise had. Not to mention every bit of so called mysteries from the first three films were some of the most hackneyed and shallow plot devices of all time anyway. So stop agonizing over the fact you can't just waltz in years later and come up with some stupefying plot twist, or a more honest description of your work, pointless mysteries with zero payoff.

The Star Wars universe is just "pew pew laser beams" and psychic neon Samurai. The whole franchise is just one giant feel good adolescent power fantasy. I say go with that. Stop trying to make it into something it isn't, and never was. You want to create a movie based around hip young people solving mysteries? Then go make a fucking Scooby-Doo film.

I actually think a JJ Abrams Scooby Doo movie would be really fun, and the best part is that having an unsatisfying ending to the mystery is half the joke! :D

I think some of you might misinterpret what he means when he says he yearns for more mystery. I think he's referring to stuff like the clone wars mentioned in A New Hope and Anakin Skywalker. There's all these things that were purposefully left unexplained which made the universe feel bigger, you could always wonder about the Clone Wars and how Anakin turned to the dark side. I would like to see more of this in the new movies, i find it uninteresting when they feel it's neccesary to explain everything, one of the reasons i find prequel stories pointless.

The only movies he seemed to take issue with were 5 and 6, not a harsh word about the prequels. To be honest this feels like a setup for another smoke monster (i.e. incredibly artificial mystery that the writer can't find a solution for) in the new films because of the whole strict 2015 deadline.

Either way if this film sucks that'll be it for me watching JJ Abrams films, he's just too consistent in his ability to disappoint.

RandV80:
You know it almost makes sense what he's saying, but then you just know that the end result is going to be something ridiculous.

I agree, what he says does make a lot of sense and of course the end result will blow, because it's him. He doesn't have the talent to breath life into his ambitions. Between J.J. Abrams leading this sensitive matter and the quick draw CEO determined on releasing this in 2015, I know that the new Star Wars will be shit. Just absolute shit... oh well.

(leaving)

It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3. It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3. It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3...but that doesn't mean it can't still be bad.

I'm excited regardless, I think J.J likes Star Wars enough to not mess it up, and he has another writer to (hopefully) pull him in if he goes a bit overboard.

So he wants to respect what came before without revering it, and he's talking about pretending nothing since the original friggin' Star Wars came out exists? I've got a bad feeling about this. And about what it means for the EU.

RandV80:
You know it almost makes sense what he's saying, but then you just know that the end result is going to be something ridiculous.

Going by what happened with "Star Trek" that's right on the money. Though I can hold onto some vague hope here simply because he's doing a sequel, not being given the authority to reboot the entire franchise.

That said, I think we just saw the death of Star Wars in JJ's comments, before much in the way of solid production has taken place. The thing is that Star Wars is a proven brand, people who like Star Wars know what they want, they do not want to be handed something different in the name of a mystery or see the status quo shaken up simply for the sake of a new creator putting his mark on things. Most people have a basic idea of where this entire thing is going, and it's less a question of people wanting to be surprised, and more a question of people wanting to see it done well.

To be honest ignoring the so called "Expanded Universe" is pretty much expected, it's a mess to put it bluntly, and a lot of people writing for it pretty much managed to get their personal fan fictions published without much in the way of oversight. Even some of the more popular characters from the EU like Mara Jade come with a lot of contradictory baggage attached to them, not to mention some horrendous writing towards the end of their story arcs.

The biggest problem with Star Wars is simply that finishing up the story told in the first six movies results in a real downer of an ending. You need to move substantially into the future (by thousands of years) to see things start to turn out on a high note again.

While it's less exciting when spelled out this way, Star Wars is pretty much a universe without free will as we understand it. It's a universe that is guided through cycles by a metaphysical entity known as "The Force" where good and evil both get their turns ruling, with a period of balance in between when one cycle ends and another begins. The Force users are merely puppets by which the universe directs it's will, and presents the illusion of free will, sort of telling a story for it's own amusement. Even the mitochondria [SP] revealed later feed into this, where it's sort of like points of articulation on a puppet, the more important someone is to guiding the cycle, the more the force works through them directly, and thus the more of this they have.

The Star Wars storyline works entirely based off of a prophecy, which is quite simply about Anakin bringing balance to the force. He's even arguably created by The Force itself to work it's will as opposed to being born in a traditional fashion (Immaculate conception). The thing is that before Anakin's arrival, the galaxy was in a cycle of peace and prosperity, there was no real need for standing armies, there was little need for the Jedi other than as investigators and mediators assisting the police, and they were few in number. In the end with good ruling the universe the only place for there to be "balance" is for good to go down. This is mentioned directly in the movies where some Jedi are cautious about the prophecy, while others argue that it's meaning is that Anakin is intended to defeat the return of the Sith (who were so badly destroyed previously to the point where nobody knew much about them). This was not the case. Papaltine also made a similar mistake, by thinking Anakin was supposed to bring down The Jedi, and he was indeed closer, but again it's time for balance, not evil, so Anakin ultimately kills him too. While it was disappointing to a lot of movie goers who saw the redemption of Darth Vader as an awesome moment, and saw him "replaced" by a confused, angsty kid, that was always the way it was supposed to be, Vader was the very definition of a tool.

Now, it's a testament to the horrible writing and acting ability of some of the people doing the prequels that this is not more obvious. The point of some of the "WTF" scenes was that Anakin really wanted to be a good guy, but the universe was literally stepping all over his will and making it so he would do specific things. This is the point of him getting his ducks in a row (so to speak) right before he finds his mother getting gang banged to death by sand people, the point of which was that it was instrumental in why he started channeling some serious dark side by engaging in a very un-jedi like slaughter in the name of revenge.

This is also why some of the odder moments in the series happen, like Obi-Wan pretty much pulling his victory against the much superior seeming Darth Maul out of his posterior. Obi-Wan was needed, and more favored by prophecy. Like most similar duels, nobody really "beat" anyone else, The Force more or less had already dictated the outcome. You also see this in various scenes in both prequels and "original trilogy" where when it would be convenient the force suddenly goes "cloudy" preventing people from finding what they need, and the Jedi themselves mention at least once I believe that they feel the force weakening in them, which is in part why they are so concerned about The Sith (their time is actually ending). This is also how Sidious is able to beat multiple Jedi Masters, including Mace Windu, which is pretty much the same "Obi Wan improbability" from the opposite direction.

The point of this explanation is that the original series pretty much ended on as high a note as possible, something which Lucas in his toy-crazy obsession doubtlessly did intentionally. The over all resolution of the story arc would be Luke's fall to the dark side (which is why images of him doing so were so common and popular even before the EU writers considered it) and the birth of an new age of evil ruled by The Dark Side. Sort of like "The Empire Strikes Back" (the most popular of the series) but without the knowledge that it was just a cliffhanger. This is also probably why George Lucas was so resistant to doing sequels, and also fairly dismissive towards the EU at times in talking about what he considered "Canon".

Now there are TWO ways this can end on a high note, later movies showing the end of a cycle of darkness with Jedi coming up as a tiny force against a galaxy-wide Sith empire and throwing them down again. This would be thousands of years in the future. The OTHER option is a little more complicated:

While the game wasn't especially good due to problems with rushed development, "Knights Of The Old Republic 2" was apparently based on Lucas' writings and he allegedly ghost wrote parts of it for all intents and purposes. In KoToR2 the basic theme is free will, it's all about you being manipulated by a former Sith named Kreia into pretty much destroying The Force itself. How she planned to achieve this was never revealed due to the rushed ending, but her first step was to pretty much wipe out all the big time Jedi and Sith (probably to limit the intermediaries The Force would work through). She dies before we ever find out how she planned to destroy a metaphysical entity, but of course the ending also lends some doubt as to whether it could have been done, she might have just been another tool, as before he death she starts spouting prophecy about the future (the force showing it to her). A big part of the surprise being that the actions in the KOTOR games, put the Sith empire (the dominant force in the galaxy) on a collision course with the Republic, something which ends badly for The Sith and leads to their total destruction and the end of their long standing reign, leading to the massive period of peace and prosperity (a new cycle) which is just ending with the movie series.. in theory however if someone DID manage to find a way to destroy The Force itself (in effect ending all force users and other methods of less direct metaphysical manipulation) and restore free will before the new cycle of evil actually starts, the series could still end on a high note without needing to move forward thousands of years.

Sure, JJ is right, when it's all spelled out there in black and white it's a bit less mysterious, however that's fundamentally what Star Wars is, a sort of dark fairy tale with space ships and blasters, which is all about a prophecy and it's fulfillment. Mess with that and it's not Star Wars anymore. In JJ's case it's his job to write now that the mystery is out of the bag without being able to use the unknown as a crutch like he did with "Lost".

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