Aside from the teaser and trailer, we know a few crucial details about The Force Awakens that suggest this new Star Wars series will be a tremendous return to form. The prequels received a lot of grief, and while there are people who liked them, the consensus is that they were below par compared to the original trilogy. Some would blame this view on hype, others have blamed George Lucas – but the big question facing every fan of the series now is: will we be disappointed again?

I doubt it. The Phantom Menace was born in a world that had nothing but love for Star Wars. Fans couldn’t conceive of ever being let down by the series, but now we are all older and wiser, and the producers of this new series have listened to the fans. The Force Awakens will boast fewer green screens, more practical effects and puppets, no midichlorians (at least so far – and let’s hope it stays that way), not to mention the return of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. But what excites me the most as a fan is the fact that JJ Abrams is directing it. Abrams is the perfect director to breathe new life into Star Wars, because, in a way, he already did a great job of directing a Star Wars film.

JJ Abrams first landed on my radar after the 2009 Star Trek reboot. I was taken away into a realm of escape that only Star Wars had offered before. The rivalry between Trek fans and Wars fans is one of the most prominent and well-known aspects of geek culture. Personally, I like both for different reasons: Star Trek stimulates the mind, with its fully-formed Klingon language, well-conceived intergalactic federation and general style. Star Wars has always been more action-driven, emotionally stimulating, and spiritual.

What makes the 2009 reboot special is that it tells a Star Trek story in a Star Wars kind of way. That approach is not an accident. Abrams has admitted that he wasn’t even a fan of Star Trek when he was signed on to direct the reboot, and that he wanted to make a movie that non-fans would enjoy. The reboot didn’t just emulate the intensity, epic scope, young cast of inexperienced heroes, and space action of Star Wars. In fact, there are quite a few “coincidental” connections between Star Trek 2009 and Star Wars: A New Hope. While the script was written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, bear in mind that JJ Abrams had influence and final say on the framework of the plot. Let’s take a look at the framework…

An orphaned farm-boy (Kirk) is recruited by a recognized commander (Pike) in a greater galactic struggle to fight against the forces that destroyed his father (time-travelling Romulans). He meets a cold, distant person (Spock), and while they initially don’t get along, they develop a strong friendship by the end of the film. There is also a female lead (Uhura) who is the love interest of the cold hero (Spock). Still wet behind the ears, this new hero is forced to deal with the impact of the destruction of an entire planet (Vulcan) by a giant laser weapon (the mining vessel’s drilling apparatus, which paved the way for the Red Matter torpedo). The climax of the film involves the hero and his new friends formulating a plan to thwart the forces of evil from destroying yet another planet (Earth) with their giant laser. Failure for the hero seems imminent until the enemy is defeated at the last minute. There is much rejoicing. Roll credits.

Sound at all familiar? Let’s try that again…

An orphaned farm-boy (Skywalker) is recruited by a recognized commander (Kenobi) in a greater galactic struggle to fight against the forces that destroyed his father (the Empire). He meets a cold, distant person (Solo), and while they initially don’t get along, they develop a strong friendship by the end of the film. There is also a female lead (Leia) who is the love interest of the cold hero (Solo… but not until Empire Strikes Back). Still wet behind the ears, this new hero is forced to deal with the impact of the destruction of an entire planet (Alderaan) by a giant laser weapon (the Death Star). The climax of the film involves the hero and his new friends formulating a plan to thwart the forces of evil from destroying yet another planet (Yavin 4) with their giant laser. Failure for the hero seems imminent until the enemy is defeated at the last minute. There is much rejoicing. Roll credits.


While Star Trek certainly borrowed quite a bit from A New Hope, it also deviates in numerous ways and succeeds by holding true to the source material. Star Trek is an ensemble, after all, and some of the best moments of the film belong to Bones, Sulu, and Scotty. The reboot prominently displayed a humor, dynamic, and drama that Star Trek has always had. It was kinetic, quirky, fun, engaging, and payed tribute to the source while also branching out in a new direction. So not only has Abrams been itching to make a Star Wars film so bad that he secretly did it with Star Trek six years ago, he managed to simultaneously maintain the integrity of Star Trek and include many nods and references for Trek fans to enjoy along the way. The guy is a geek genius.

Lens flare issues aside, Abrams is a fan at heart and is the best man to handle the tremendous responsibility of presenting us with the next level of the Star Wars universe. The force is strong with this one.

image

Comments

Leave a reply

You may also like