Arts & Entertainment

J.J. Abrams Can Save Star Wars If He Ignores the Trolls

After disappointments like Solo, Disney and fans are worried.
Comments

In September 2017, Disney announced that J.J. Abrams would replace Colin Trevorrow as the writer and director of Star Wars IX. This marked the fourth time Lucasfilm had replaced a director on a Star Wars project after Abrams relaunched the franchise in 2015. Director Gareth Edwards was sidelined for screenwriter Tony Gilroy to overhaul Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Then, six months later, news broke that Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired in the middle of production for Solo and replaced by Ron Howard.

Eight months later, Solo was released to underwhelming reviews and box office numbers, which caused Disney and Lucasfilm to scramble and rethink the longterm Star Wars strategy. A number of stand-alone films—including the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi movies—were put on hold as Disney attempted a course correct. Meanwhile, a small minority of trolls—possibly Russain bots!—were vocal about their hatred for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Now, as Variety reports, Abram's Star Wars IX "has been billed as a course correction at Lucasfilm after spinoff films like Solo failed to meet the label’s high commercial expectations." This is a pretty clear message: Abrams needs to get fans and critics excited about Star Wars. How is he going to do this? Varietydoesn't go into details, but it's clear what the conversation around Star Wars has been about within the last year.

Given the turnover of Star Wars directors since 2015, it's clear Abrams needs to appease the powers that be at Disney and Lucasfilm, while still taking enough creative license to please fans. This is no easy task. Last year, Rian Johnson delivered the most unique entry in the Star Wars franchise to date—an emotionally complex and bold Episode VIII, that divided fans and critics.

That debate continues to rage, and this week, Johnson even chimed into a Twitter discussion about Luke Skywalker's character in The Last Jedi.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

This conversation was in direct response to the Variety news that Abrams is tasked with course correcting the Star Wars franchise.

One thing is certain, J.J. Abrams is a master of fan service. The Force Awakens was a loving, if very familiar, ode to the original Star Wars trilogy. It was fun, it was safe in a way that appeased most fans—fans who don't enjoy seeing the Star Wars franchise change or progress with time. But perhaps that same familiarity is what stalled Solo at the box office? Audiences were clearly not excited about a familiar Star Wars story. They want something new, unexpected—even if a small minority of fans want the same Star Wars story told over and over again with hot white male actors.

Fans have theorized that Abrams will fix the mistakes made by Johnson in The Last Jedi, that we'll learn the true identity of Rey's parents, the driving force of Snoke, and that Luke will return with a major twist consistent with the boy we saw 40 years ago.

But, does he need to? No. He just needs to make a good movie, a satisfying conclusion for the greatest sci-fi franchise of all time. And that's no easy task, especially when on top of that, he's charged with re-energizing a multi-billion dollar franchise for one of the biggest entertainment companies in the world.

Put within that context, nit-picky troll quibbles about Snoke's plan and Rey's parents seem pretty trivial. Those were artistic decisions that made for unexpected twists in The Last Jedi, and Episode IX will make its own artistic decisions to continue the story arc that Johnson so brilliantly wove in his film. To think that Abrams is making a movie to fix whatever fans think Johnson did wrong in The Last Jedi, is a narrow, and simply naive understanding of the movie business. No, Abrams will expand on Johnson's film, and hopefully, bring it to a satisfying conclusion for everyone. But, more realistically, Abrams will do a pretty good job and everyone will bitch about it.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

This story originally appeared on Esquire.comMinor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

Comments
View More Articles About:
About The Author
Matt Miller
Matt Miller is the Associate Culture Editor for Esquire.com
View Other Articles From Matt
Comments
Latest Feed
 
Share
The draft federal Constitution proposes a lot of changes that have nothing to do with federalism.
 
Share
A whole lot has changed, not least their paychecks.
 
Share
A study picked through data from 47,000 films to work out which titles and actors cast the longest shadow
 
Share
Co-founders Mike Concepcion and Omar Quiambao share a candid account of the collaborative process with the Three Stripes.
 
Share
You deserve an award if you've seen them all
 
Share
Actress Angel Aquino set fire to the internet this year with a clip from her latest movie, 'Glorious'. She isn't online enough to enjoy it, but that's fine.
 
Share
This comes after a string of gender-related violence against women in campuses in recent months.
 
Share
Congressmen have been filing bills for the regulation of motorcycles for hire for over a decade.
 
Share
In the meantime, GrabRewards users can book (almost) free jeepney and P2P rides.
Load More Articles
Connect With Us