JJ Abrams on the Star Wars: Episode VII set
“Here I am on the Star Wars set, which I know Star Trek fans will love.” Screengrab from YouTube

In the wake of Colin Trevorrow’s ouster from Star Wars: Episode IX, comes today’s (September 13) announcement that JJ Abrams will replace him. The official Star Wars site said that Abrams will also co-write the movie with Chris Terrio.

Just as with Ron Howard for the Han Solo movie, Lucasfilm have again gone for a safe pair of hands for the ninth Star Wars movie. We at Geek Crusade agree with the choice of Abrams – here’s why.

1He has a good track record with big franchises


Star Wars fans won’t like being reminded of this, but JJ Abrams also successfully revitalised Star Trek. These were two immensely popular sci-fi franchises that had fallen on hard times, and Abrams managed to make both movie-goers and the studio happy – no mean feat.

Looking at what Abrams did with The Force Awakens (see our review), there’s a reason fans call him DJ Abrams: because he’s good at remixes. But as Cinemaniac Di Othman points out, fans weren’t looking for revolution. They wanted that familiarity and the classic elements of Star Wars, and Abrams delivered, even if it did attract a fair amount of mockery.

It’s also worth noting that Abrams delivered on Mission: Impossible 3 and is producing Mission: Impossible 6. So he certainly plays well in other people’s sandboxes, which is an invaluable trait in Hollywood.

2Lucasfilm trusts him

Screengrab from YouTube

After the fiasco of Phil Lord and Chris Miller, which preceded Trevorrow’s firing, it’s little wonder that Lucasfilm went for the tried and trusted option in Abrams.

The industry buzz is that the keeper of the Star Wars flame now is Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. It’s little surprise that Lord/Miller/Trevorrow’s dismissals came amid reports that their working relationship with Kennedy had gone downhill.

After three high-profile firings – including the ill-fated Josh Trank – Lucasfilm surely can’t afford a fourth. It makes the most sense to choose someone they know will colour within their designated lines. Kennedy’s own statement on Abrams’ recruitment is telling:

“With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy.”

3He’s been there from the beginning

Screengrab from YouTube

After three dismal prequels, Abrams was given the honour – and immense pressure – of re-starting the Star Wars franchise. The fact that he succeeded suggests that he has a good grasp of the mythology, its merits and – even more importantly – its limitations.

While I hope that Rian Johnson will deliver a different take on Episode VIII, it feels fitting to have a director who kickstarted Star Wars in the modern era for Episode IX.

Although we should point out that George Lucas did invent the mythos, and just look what he did with the prequels. Just thinking of those movies makes me feel like I’m being Force choked.

4He picked the Episode VII cast


Abrams has a good track record with ensemble casts, from Star Trek and Mission: Impossible to The Force Awakens and Lost. Perhaps it also has something to do with the fact that most of the actors he worked with in those franchises were relative unknowns at the time.

But the key thing here is that the likes of John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) were all cast by Abrams. They all feature in Episode VIII and will form the backbone of the Star Wars universe for years (decades?) to come.

Given the onscreen chemistry between the characters in The Force Awakens, it’s quite clear that they respond well to Abrams. It surely can’t hurt to have someone familiar and capable to helm Episode IX.

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