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

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Parnage:
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.

Nono! Ripping off Wrath of Khan "added mystery" to it. We didn't no if it was or wasn't Khan until we actually saw the movie. See! MYSTERY!

$5 says his Villian in the new piece is Darth Vader. Or Luke Skywalker wearing Darth Vaders mask.

I gotta be "that guy."

Here's what I would like to see in the next Star Wars movies:

It's far in the future after Return of the Jedi.
The Republic that was established (or re-established) after the fall of the short-lived Empire has grown lazy, decadent and corrupt.
It has long since disintegrated, leaving the provincial (i.e., planetary) governments to look after themselves.
The mighty light-side Jedi have been cut loose by the Republic they served and upheld for so long and must now fend for themselves.
The vicious dark-side Jedi have flourished with the light-side fools and the Republic no longer holding them back.
Left to their own devices, the Jedi on both sides have insinuated themselves into the provincial governments of many planets all across the galaxy.
The two most powerful star-system governments (one preferring the light side of the Force, the other preferring the dark side) begin to move against one another with the goal of uniting the galaxy into a new Empire/Republic.

Our hero is a roguish, clever and charming teenager with incredible Force sensitivity who has an innate talent for (if little skill in) balancing the two halves of the Force and using them both.

The hero's internal struggle -- which comes to a head in new movie #2 -- is to maintain a balance of the Force within rather than be seduced or overtaken by either side.
The external struggle that plays out across the first new trilogy (if not more movies) is our hero helping to empower and defend a third political faction of star systems that can act as a check (or a -- wait for it -- BALANCE) against the other two.

--Morology!

PS: That one's yours for free, Mister Abrams. I just want a story consultant gig. I'll settle for a "Story by" credit.

Predication! We'll know if Abrams had more influence, expect some variation on or, redesign of the Yuuzan Vong. Sure, it probably won't happen (also probably misspelled that species name) but it would be neat to see them come to life on the big screen.

Uratoh:
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.

Plus Lando is now white, so he can be played by Christian Bale.

The only thing I took away from this is that I failed to notice J.J. Abrams is now a co-script writer.

Wow. Just... wow. I hope to God that we don't Star Wars Episode VII: Lost or something.

I'm sorry, I just can't stand Abrams as a writer. I mean, I guess since its a movie, we won't get any "I'm just making shit up as I go along, folks!" syndrome.

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.

Pretty much. Everything gets bogged down the longer it runs, but then this is J J Abrams so yeah...

Great, I just can't help but feel that things are taking a bad turn.

There -isn't- any mystery in Star Wars anymore.

Sorry, but it's done and gone. There have been far too many writers doing what Lucasarts wanted in Books, comics, TV shows, games, RPG's and etc for there to be ANY aspects of the universe left up for grabs. If you're a Star Wars fan you have had some exposure to the extended universe. I don't give a damn what Lucasarts says about it being not cannon to the films, sorry...but George's people argued for distinct things to occur in every one of those expansions.

Perception is reality, and I can tell you that a lot of people were probably pissed about the Prequels because it contradicted what had been discussed and developed in the books that followed. IF you're a fan, you've been exposed to that extended world to one degree or another, it might be you only watched 'Droids' or played 'Rebellion' or you've read every single novel that has ever been put out with 'Star Wars' in the title including 'Death Troopers'. Fans perception of what Star Wars is has been defined by far more than the movies, and any fan with a passing interest in Star Wars knows more about it than what's in the Movies. Sure, your average fan might not be able to name all the women Luke Skywalker has had sex with, but I'm sure that you might be able to point out a Twi'lek or know who the last Imperial Grand Admiral is.

If you want 'mysterious' then don't do Star Wars. If you're saying 'skip it forward a thousand years' then what's the point of doing a Star Wars movie? Just do another Sci-Fi film. If you're going to do Star Wars then you can't blatantly ignore the fact that there is a universe which has been fully fleshed out and you need to accept and acknowledge that framework. Lucas didn't in his own writing and look what it got him, a fanbase that has defined 'divided nerdrage' far more than Mass Effect's ever will.

Let me get out of the way that J.J. Abrams isn't the antichrist. I think he's done some decent work, though he's perhaps gotten more high-profile work than his modest and rather specialized talents would seem to warrant.

But I worry that with the scope of an entire new trilogy to work with, his love of "mystery" could lead us to another Lost in the worst way- obscurity for obscurity's sake, lots of hanging plot threads that are never tied off, melodrama dependent on motivations that we can't identify with or condemn because we never fully understand them or the characters who harbor them.

There's also the problem of scale. It's not the mystery or lack thereof that worries me so much as the need for one-upsmanship. Luke was the farmer-turned-apprentice-turned-knight, Han was the scoundrel turned rebel hero, and Leia- well, Leia was pretty much always awesome, to be honest, so her growth most had to do with her relationships with the other characters. The prequel trilogy started with Jedi, and, yeah, there were moments where watching Jedi do cool Jedi things was sort of neat, in a fanboy-ish sort of way. But every time the "Jedi are so awesome" characters did something dumb, or ran into some arbitrary limitation, or defeated an enemy only because they showed even less forethought and planning than the Jedi-- it served only to reduce the title of "Jedi" that we spent so much of the original movies learning to admire.

I think if the new movies are going to work, we need characters who can grow, and not in the arbitrary "inevitable" way that Annakin grew from a cypher to a punk to a jerk. We need people who might be recognizable archetypes, but make the roles their own and flesh them out. We need struggles that we understand and care about on a human scale.

I hope we'll get them.

I am excited to see some NEW Star Wars. I wasn't a big fan of the prequels, I actually really liked the clone wars cartoon (not the CG one) that aired on cartoon network before ep3 came out. You know, the series that they kind of swept under the rug and no one ever talks about.

The thing that keeps me from truly loving the clone wars, even though it is WAY better written with far more interesting characters than the prequels, is that I already know what happens. I mean, why should I get at all invested in anything going on when I already know that Palpatine is playing both sides in order to rise to Galactic Emperer? I already know what becomes of virtually every character, and can infer that Rex and Cody either die or kill Jedi in the end. Asoka dies, Obi-Wan dies, everything is already set in stone.

I know of, but haven never actually read (or even seen in a book store) the bajillion Star Wars books out there. I'm hoping that good, bad, or whatever the new movies turn out to be that they are at least ORIGINAL. Not "oh that is a nod to this, or that guy looks like this other guy in the books" etc.

I want it to be NEW.

Owyn_Merrilin:
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.

Eh, the EU's been a lost cause for a long time now. Yes, this probably means good stories like the Thrawn saga will be tossed out, but there's a ton of crap that will be gone as well (Dark Empire, the Jedi Academy books with that stupidly OP Sun Crusher, Darksaber, that Yuzzhan Vong crap, etc).

Or you could do what Star Trek fans do and treat EU sources as their own "alternate/divergent universe" that's separate from the "canonical" one. That way if there's any discrepancies you can just chalk them up to "different reality, different outcome."

Therumancer:
they do not want to be handed something different in the name of a mystery

Sorry midiclorians are a fucking stupid idea. A mystical force that is mostly unexplained is way better.

Also I demand 2 hours of dry political exposition about the intricacies of trading embargoes and tariffs. Leave nothing to the imagination I say.

Therumancer:

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.

Yes the death of a tyrannical empire and their death weapon is totally a 'downer.'

Therumancer:
Now, it's a testament to the horrible.. ..acting ability of some of the people doing the prequels that this is not more obvious.

The prequils were blanketed with great actors and actresses. It's hard to act when the dialogue is written by an idiot and all the scenes are you just standing there infront of a green screen while the camera cuts back and forth as you read your lines to an imaginary anthropomorphic dinosaur-rabbit.

Therumancer:
but the universe was literally stepping all over his will and making it so he would do specific things.

So your interpretation of the star wars prequils is that all the space bacteria got together and planned to murder Anakin's mother because something something darkside?

And it is also your opinion that JJ Abrahms is a bad story teller? Right... ok...

Therumancer:
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.

Big fucking citation needed.

Therumancer:
In KoToR2 the basic theme is free will

No it isn't. The most it even talks about free will is an offhanded comment by Kreia in the first 10 minutes of the game. If the basic theme of starwars was that you don't have any free will then it probably wouldn't be a pick your own dialogue, decide what happens at the end of missions kind of game.

Therumancer:
The over all resolution of the story arc would be Luke's fall to the dark side

This makes zero sense, and is entirely unsupported by any cannon source whatsoever.

Therumancer:
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.

The prophecy concerned Anakin and only Anakin. The prophecy is over.

Therumancer:
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".

JJ didn't write lost. He wrote and directed the pilot. And he co-wrote the first episode of season 3. That's two episodes total. Other than that he had next to nothing to do with lost except having his name stamped on it as the creator. So congratulations on knee-jerk blaming someone for something he had next to nothing to do with?

I mean man George Washington was such a shitty president. He shut the government down in October and he invaded Iraq in 2003. What's that you say? He had nothing to do with it and hasn't been running the US government for hundreds of years? Screw that I'm just going to pretend he did anyways to support my fallacious argument.

You know what, I agree. Good stories let the reader/viewer/listener fill in the blanks. Star Wars (the original trilogy) understood this and "show, don't tell" perfectly. We knew the Empire was evil, not because we were told, but because of how they were presented. Even before Darth Vader even spoke, we knew fairly well what his role was.

The prequels treated the viewer as much dumber than they actually were, relying too much on exposition to convey its story while bringing little in evocative elements to the table.

The main problem ist, that JJ Abrams doesn't seem to know what a mystery is. A good mystery is interesting and intriguing while it is a mystery and it becomes awesome once it is revealed. It should put everything in a new perspective. All Abrams can do is little secrets with no payoff.
I think it is totally possible to write interesting stories in the Star Wars Universe. It was done with the Jedi Knight Series (the Story of Kyle Katarn) and with the KotoR series. KotoR even had a twist, which was a pretty decent mystery! There, maybe JJ Abrams should take a look at those.

Lots of very angry nerds in this thread. Movie Bob's army must be out in force.

Personally, I can't wait for the new Star Wars films. JJ hasn't let me down yet. I was never interested in Lost and I loved the Trek reboots, so bring it on! My one and only concern is that it's all feeling a little rushed with constant mentions of deadlines and targets. I can't help but feel as though that isn't good for the films.

JJ Abrams loves mystery so much he doesn't even bother to make a good pay off. He just likes mystery nothing else. It's really become his one trick pony. It has been in EVERY one of his movies and shows. He did an entire presentation about how he loved empty boxes because it got people interested and the contents really didn't matter. The dude has his head so far up his ass it's a mystery how he still can spout the same bullshit so consistently.

What he says is right though. Lucas went and tried to explain things that didn't need explaining. The fact he explained it incredibly horribly poorly also added to the problem. However I'd rather have no mystery than a JJ Abrams style mystery. I dread for anything this guy does now because it always has to have the stupid empty box where he tries to lure people in with mystery and completely forgets that build up needs pay off. He's the used car sales man of the movie industry.

Not more mystery like Lost I hope . I don't think I could go through 3 films wondering why there are polar bears in space.

Theres actually a really easy way around this... do what Bioware did and have the setting thousands of years away from the film, that way you still have the star wars setting but almost complete freedom with characters and politics etc

It's like that Disney guy pushing for the 2015 release date is unaware of what happened to the last two Star Wars titles that were rushed. Maybe he'll think this one will be different because Disney has tons of money and it's a movie not a video game like the other two (more likely, he doesn't care about video games). I mean, it's not like EA didn't pour millions into SWTOR. And it's not like KotOR 2 wouldn't have been frelling amazing if Obsidian had had time to finish it and Lucasarts execs hadn't rushed it. And it's not like there aren't unexplored mysteries in Star Wars, Mr. Pretentious "Stories can't be good without mysteries except I can't write a resolution to mysteries without telegraphing them a parsec away or making it really dumb" Lens-Flare. There's a big swath of space called the "Unknown Regions", for Space-Christ's sake.

Let's just hope Kasdan is like "nuh-uh, that's dumb, Abrams. I will give you script, you will tell the actors where to move and the special-effects guys (and girls, I don't know) what to make pretty and where to stick the lens flare."

Okay, so I'm looking back at the article and what Mister Abrams said, and now I'm thinking people are getting way too bent out of shape at the use of the word mystery. (No doubt the author of the article's intent.) It doesn't look like Mr. Abrams is saying he wants to add a mystery to the script of the next Star Wars or write it as a mystery. He's just lamenting that there are so many answers to the questions that most intrigued him when he first saw the Star Wars movies.

That implies that he doesn't like the answers he got. But lots of us felt the same way when Liam Neeson started going on about midichlorians for the first time. It also implies that he'd rather not have to abide by some of the dumbness that's been injected into Star Wars over the years. I'd feel the same way if I were writing it, as would many of you I suspect.

So settle down, people. The more you convince yourself the movie isn't going to be good in the two years of run-up before it even comes out, the less you're going to be ABLE to enjoy it no matter how good it turns out to be. There's no need to poison your own joy.

--Morology!

KoudelkaMorgan:
I am excited to see some NEW Star Wars. I wasn't a big fan of the prequels, I actually really liked the clone wars cartoon (not the CG one) that aired on cartoon network before ep3 came out. You know, the series that they kind of swept under the rug and no one ever talks about.

The thing that keeps me from truly loving the clone wars, even though it is WAY better written with far more interesting characters than the prequels, is that I already know what happens. I mean, why should I get at all invested in anything going on when I already know that Palpatine is playing both sides in order to rise to Galactic Emperer? I already know what becomes of virtually every character, and can infer that Rex and Cody either die or kill Jedi in the end. Asoka dies, Obi-Wan dies, everything is already set in stone.

I know of, but haven never actually read (or even seen in a book store) the bajillion Star Wars books out there. I'm hoping that good, bad, or whatever the new movies turn out to be that they are at least ORIGINAL. Not "oh that is a nod to this, or that guy looks like this other guy in the books" etc.

I want it to be NEW.

QFT.

The biggest thing I want out of the new movies is new characters. Yea, Luke and Co. can have a cameo or whatever but I'd like to see new characters off doing something away from them.

Okay people, calm down. For starters, Abrams was only the director, not the writer on Star Trek: Into Darkness. Blaming that movie's (alleged, haven't seen it myself) crappiness entirely on him is blowing things out of proportion. Abrams himself only wrote less than 10 episodes of Lost, whose petering out seems to be also placed on him. As for this... I don't really care either way. It's been years since I saw any Star Wars movie and I just can't muster much giving a crap right now.

Damon Lindelof, on the other hand, now there's a hack if there ever was one! He was mostly responsible for Lost's story, ST: Into Darkness is credited to be written by him on IMDB and he was one of the main writers of Prometheus, whose script was a pile of absolute dogshit. As long as his name doesn't get near Star Wars (let's be serious, even if he did, I really wouldn't care), it has all the potential in the world.

I am sort of wondering what kind of mystery he might be talking about. We have the backstory of Darth Vader, the Clone Wars, the Force (as stupid as it might have been) all down, so what's there left to explore? Or is he going to make up new stuff of his own?

The first new Star Wars film will be great, unbelievable, everything we could need for a fresh start. Once the second one gets here it will turn into a disaster. Abrams can write an amazing set up, the problem is he doesn't have a clue what to do afterwards. He's the opposite of a writer who comes up with a great ending and tries to write a story around it.

'Star Trek' was a great introduction to a series that could have take then franchise anywhere, but all Abrams could think to do was turn it into 'Ultimate Star Trek'. First series of 'Lost', amazing, great development, cool mystery.....oh wait he has no idea where he's going with this..... Even 'Mission Impossible 3', nice opening, solid plot, interesting mystery.....oh wait, he has no idea what the weapon is or what the bad guys motivations are.

If Disney wants this to go well then let Abrams do the first film then toss him out for someone who knows how to write a full story and not the first five chapters.

Actually I suppose that makes him the perfect heir to George Lucas, a man who comes up with cool ideas but then fails when he doesn't step aside and let other people hammer them into something cohesive.

The prequels were far worse than shadows of the empire.....

Mycroft Holmes:

Therumancer:
but the universe was literally stepping all over his will and making it so he would do specific things.

So your interpretation of the star wars prequils is that all the space bacteria got together and planned to murder Anakin's mother because something something darkside?

And it is also your opinion that JJ Abrahms is a bad story teller? Right... ok...

JJ Abrams is a horrible writer and that is the explanation provided in the movies. You simply don't like it and neither do I, but it's the reality. The whole crux of the chosen one is in prophecy, which deals with destiny, which deals with the concept of free will. It's a stupid concept to think that the force is bacterial concentrations... but that's what's presented in the movies. Anakin was conceived by them. Space bacteria = the force, and the force created the chosen one. Free will is very much in question here.

Therumancer:
In KoToR2 the basic theme is free will

No it isn't. The most it even talks about free will is an offhanded comment by Kreia in the first 10 minutes of the game. If the basic theme of starwars was that you don't have any free will then it probably wouldn't be a pick your own dialogue, decide what happens at the end of missions kind of game.

Kreia is essentially Nietzsche, though not based entirely on him, much of her views parallel with his own. The force is stated to be a mystical energy surrounding and controlling all living things. She states that she hates the force. She poses as your teacher throughout the game and is a companion, then betrays you. You end up hating her because she manipulated you all that time, yet she herself believes she is being manipulated by the force along with everything else. It is a central theme in the game.

At 2:14 in the video, she states it outright. The game has all the choices and dialogue options, you are correct. You can decide at the end of the missions, yet in the end it's all as the Force intended. Whatever you chose was part of your destiny. Get it?

I'm not saying I don't GET what he's saying, I'm just saying he's a hack and should go back to television.

Mycroft Holmes:
JJ didn't write lost. He wrote and directed the pilot. And he co-wrote the first episode of season 3. That's two episodes total. Other than that he had next to nothing to do with lost except having his name stamped on it as the creator. So congratulations on knee-jerk blaming someone for something he had next to nothing to do with?

He was also executive producer and consultant to all 115 episodes, making him the ruling creative force for the entirety of the show.

JJ Abrams should be forbidden from using the word mystery

The way Abrams talks about his "mystery box," the more I'm thinking that we're gonna have a lot of retconning, or just simply a "EU" and "Abrams Universe."

Which I'm not TOO against, tbh, since a lot of the EU enjoyed reviving Palpatine and redoing the Original Trilogy's storyline until we were sick to death of it. Barring the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Second Galactic Civil War (the one where basically every organization became an asshole and Jacen Solo turned to the Dark Side), a lot of the storylines in the EU were... how you say it... not all that great to write home about.

I just have to keep repeating to myself "he can't be worse than Lucas... He can't be worse than Lucas..."

... this isn't as comforting as I'd hoped.

If he wants to return mystery to the universe, he should start with the Force, and a retcon.
I imagine a scene where Luke is talking to the main character of the new films about the old Jedi Order, and how they thought that this type of cell called "Midi-Chlorians" was an indicator of one's ability with the Force.. but that it was later discovered by the Empire that that was totally wrong, that Midi-Chlorians had nothing to do with the Force, and that in fact no one knew how or why the Force manifested in a person.

I honestly can't figure out why J.J. Abrams is famous. I started to formulate a theory that he gets by on a catchy "name" and hipster glasses. I didn't watch Lost and the Star Trek movies were bad. And these days Lost is just used as a funny joke as to how nobody knew wtf happened.

I honestly tried to figure this out before and came up with nothing credible. Please, someone tell me why J.J. Abrams has superstar status.

Edit: and somehow he was famous even before he got Star Trek.

Johnny Novgorod:

He was also executive producer and consultant to all 115 episodes, making him the ruling creative force for the entirety of the show.

Executive producer is a pretty meaningless title. Producers have more to do with hiring people, fund raising, and arranging distribution than they do with deciding the actual content. And consultants have no creative control either; especially in JJ's case where it was more a courtesy than anything.

JJ left during season 1 to go film a new mission impossible movie and do actual work on Alias. The entire non season 1 plot was brainstormed and executed by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. JJ Abrahm's had next to nothing to do with the overarching plot.

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_lost/8/

Mycroft Holmes:

Johnny Novgorod:

He was also executive producer and consultant to all 115 episodes, making him the ruling creative force for the entirety of the show.

Executive producer is a pretty meaningless title. Producers have more to do with hiring people, fund raising, and arranging distribution than they do with deciding the actual content. And consultants have no creative control either; especially in JJ's case where it was more a courtesy than anything.

JJ left during season 1 to go film a new mission impossible movie and do actual work on Alias. The entire non season 1 plot was brainstormed and executed by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof. JJ Abrahm's had next to nothing to do with the overarching plot.

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2010/04/ff_lost/8/

I dunno, David Chase was "executive producer" of The Sopranos. Would you say he had "next to nothing to do with the overarching plot"? He also wrote 24 of the 86 episodes, but the show had writers with more eps to their credit.

Executive producers have a creative hand in the stuff they produce, which usually goes uncredited. It's nothing new.

Johnny Novgorod:

I dunno, David Chase was "executive producer" of The Sopranos. Would you say he had "next to nothing to do with the overarching plot"? He also wrote 24 of the 86 episodes, but the show had writers with more eps to their credit.

Executive producers have a creative hand in the stuff they produce, which usually goes uncredited. It's nothing new.

Executive producer can be pretty open ended. In the 1950s and 60s producers controlled most everything about a movie or tv show. Nowadays you can do literally nothing and be added to a project as a producer.

Ontop of that it depends on the person. Some people are producers who control every aspect of a project still, by being the director and writer as well. David Chase clearly decided to be a writer as well and apparently wrote over 25% of all the episodes. So yeah no shit he had a creative hand in the show. Just like how Tarentino can produce, direct and write at the same time. Because they choose to be involved on all levels.

Tarentino wasn't a giant creative force on the set because he was producing it, he was because he wrote it and he directed it. David Chase wasn't a creative force on the show because he produced it, he was because he obviously wrote a ton of the episodes and was thus involved in the characterization and the plot direction. JJ Abrahm's wasn't a creative force on Lost he wasn't writing for it. He wasn't even around. He was off making a film, or off working on Alias. He directed and wrote the pilot, and wrote one other episode. David Chase literally wrote the last episode of the Sopranos. JJ Abrahm's wasn't even around for the last two seasons. It isn't even remotely the same thing. Cuse and Lindelof talked about how they sat down together and hashed out the overarching plot of the entire series. They didn't sit down with Abrahms. JJ Abrahms wrote an episode where a plane crashes, shit gets real, a few main characters are established and then they go out in the woods and there's a polar bear. And wrote but didn't direct an episode where Sawyer, Kate and Jack were locked in polar bear cages and Ben want's Jack to do his surgery. That's basically 90% of his entire contribution to Lost. Mostly him trying to ramroad polar bears into the series and being ignored by all the other writers in every other episode.

He's just a man who loves polar bears and had really nothing to do with the Lost story.

Guys, I figured it out! JJ Abrams is the Peter Molyneux of film!

Think about it, he constantly oversells his movies as some kind of insane, you-can't-even-imagine kind of work that will redefine entire genres, then when they release they turn out to be just perfectly average and forgettable installments, only noteworthy for how spectacularly they failed to live up to their creator's hype.

What if...what if Abrams and Molyneux are the same person?

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