We film-goers can be a sensitive bunch can’t we? Whether it’s kicking off about Ben Affleck being cast as the new Batman (still not convinced, by the way) or completely hating a director for ruining a beloved franchise (looking at you Michael Bay and Brett Ratner), we often take to the internet to virtually scream, shout and cry.
In November 2012, when it was announced that George Lucas was selling Lucasfilm to Disney and that a new Star Wars trilogy was on its way, I did just that. In a post called The Needless Return of The Jedi, I launched into a rant about how I thought these new films were a bad idea and nothing more than George Lucas selling out.
Whilst my thoughts on Lucas remain the same (brilliant ideas but little else to offer), with the shooting of Star Wars Episode VII in full swing, I admit I was wrong and perhaps slightly premature in my original response. So why the change?
The first thing that really peaked my interest was the announcement of J.J Abrams as director. A self-confessed Star Wars geek, he may not be very popular with Trekkies right now but he’s certainly the best person for the job of reviving the franchise. Everything he has been involved in I’ve loved, and so his appointment is a big part of why I’m back on board the proverbial spaceship.
Subsequent to this, directors such as Gareth Edwards and Rian Johnson have been lined up to direct various spin-offs and sequels. Neither have made films quite as big as Star Wars (Edwards’ Godzilla being the exception), but both have made interesting and different films, which despite smaller budgets have had huge scope. Choosing them as opposed to the big-name directors shows that the producers are taking these films seriously and it promises a unique visual stamp with each instalment.
The way that information and teasers have gradually been leaked out to us has also increased my interest. Considering Abrams is usually a stickler for keeping his projects top-secret, he and his team have managed to create a real buzz surrounding the production. First there was the picture released of the entire cast (both old and new) meeting for the script’s first table read. This picture immediately struck me as cinematic history in the making and regardless of the film’s final outcome, I have no doubt that generations to come will look at this picture as a huge landmark in film.
With the announcement of the Force For Change initiative (supporting UNICEF by offering bidders a chance to be in Episode VII), we’ve had fleeting glimpses of aliens and a battered x-wing. Other cryptic pictures that include a robotic hand (said to be Luke Skywalker’s) and my personal favourite below have won me over.
Star Wars Episode VII could indeed be a terrible film. Andy Serkis could be doing motion capture as the child of Jar Jar Binks and it could end up being worse than The Phantom Menace. All signs so far point to the contrary however, with excellent talent involved both in front of and behind the camera and a sense of faithfulness to the original films, it seems that the franchise is in good hands.
More than anything though, for the first time in a long time, the film community is buzzing with excitement as to what is in store. One thing is for certain; come next Christmas when the cinema lights go down and the words ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away’ appear on screen, there’ll be clapping, cheering and smiles from a lot of people. And I suppose that after all the moans and groans about films, isn’t making people happy one of cinema’s greatest jobs?
So, are you looking forward to the Episode VII? Leave your thoughts below!
Next Week: The Last Of Us and other video game to film adaptations.