JJ Abrams is Back for EPISODE IX

Given the tumultuous past year for Lucasfilm, I guess it was probably inevitable:  J.J. Abrams, director of The Force Awakens, will return for Star Wars: Episode IX.  Abrams will be co-writing with Academy Award winner Chris Terrio, of Argo (That’s Good!) and Batman v Superman (That’s Bad!) fame.

So what does this mean?  First, it means we’ll get a competently made film that looks beautiful.  Say what you will about Abrams as a creator, but the man knows how to make imagery soar, even if the imagery is hollow or shallow.  Abrams is also incredible with casting and mining stellar performances out of his actors, which was on full display in The Force Awakens as it brought Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and John Boyega into the mainstream through incredible performances.  Abrams also understands how Star Wars is supposed to feel1, which is something even universe creator George Lucas forgot with the prequel trilogy.

That said, it also means we’re in danger of getting a film that flies by the seat of it’s pants.  As much as I’ll stump for The Force Awakens, it’s a film that, while it works incredibly well in the moment, the seams are there on full display and the film doesn’t totally work.  There was a clear “one draft away” vibe to The Force Awakens that was evident in some of the action beats like the X-Wing trench run or the Rathtar scene.  This could easily be alleviated by the Abrams having more time to work on the script for Episode IX, but it’s not as if this is something that’s uncommon in his prior works either.  Abrams’ has always had films that tend to push internal logic to the extremes and there is typically a feeling that the script is only used to connect action beats, causing many, if not all, of his films to be hollow.

While it would have been cool to see a Guillermo Del Toro or a Alfonso Cuarón Episode IX2, J.J. Abrams makes sense from Lucasfilm’s perspective.  He’s a known quantity, he handled a chaotic The Force Awakens production well, and he’ll bring a film that will be loved by most audiences even if we, the online film criticism echochamber, don’t think it was “that good”.

May the Force be with you, J.J. Abrams.

 

  1. as evidenced by the opening act of The Force Awakens, which might be the best Star Wars has been since 1980
  2. or even my dream of another Rian Johnson film in this universe
  • *braces self for inevitable two-year slog of lens flare jokes and renewed debate about THE FORCE AWAKENS to come*

    • he definitely chilled the hell out with the flares after the world roundly mocked him for it in NuTrek. Rewatch the Fringe pilot for a good time.

  • Huh. Well, good, I guess. Preferable to the other guy who had the job.

  • ryanrochnroll

    Prepare to be bored-ed!

  • ryanrochnroll

    Re-hiring JJ is what executive terror looks like.

    JJ is literally a paramedic. He’s getting SW to the hospital now that it finally realized getting in the passenger side of a car driven by a drunk (Trevorrow) was a bad idea.

    I’m sure it’ll be a nice greatest hits reel

  • Lilgreenman

    To follow on from the latest podcast, this is the ultimate “We don’t know what we’re doing” choice.

  • Oh fuck

  • Andrew Clark

    This is bad news for a lot of reasons, but on a larger level it’s a clear indicator that Disney is completely uninterested in taking any risks whatsoever and that any hope for a bold choice in filmmaker, or, hell, even a female of POC filmmaker, is going to be sadly mislaid.

    JJ isn’t magically going to become a better storyteller for this movie. He’s going to make the same basic stuff he’s been doing for years, that will be forgotten down the line because he’s entirely uninterested in making movies that work in the long run. Let me put it this way, I thought VALERIAN was a better Star Wars movie than TFA was.

    And RETURN OF THE JEDI is many leagues better than TFA.

    • you guys are poopies, I never got to the point of thinking that canning Trevorrow was actually an opportunity to improve, I’m still in the mindset that the third film will be stanky no matter what – so this to me only means it’ll be less stanky than I’d espected. From that POV it’s still not terrible news…

      • Andrew Clark

        I know I’m being poopie. I had a lot of drama in my life this weekend and being grumpy about this is an easy outlet. 🙁

        • I think shooting poops at JJ is a very fine outlet <3

    • I think I’m going to come out positive on VALERIAN. I’d like to watch it again, but for all it’s flaws, I think I’ll end up liking it. Which is the same process I went through with TFA, but for the opposite result

      • Jamikel

        Jeez, I’m a pretty big TFA hater, and even I can’t honestly say it’s worse than Valerian. I felt genuinely insulted by TFA’s malignant lack of imagination, but it did have fun characters. Valerian had great world building and some cool set pieces, but the characters were unengaging and unlikeable, and the actual story was only a tiny bit more inspired than TFA’s.

        Ah, screw it. They’re both rubbish.

  • There’s literally zero reason to watch this film now

  • Allen

    I’m cool with this. I enjoyed TFA and I’ve enjoyed the other Abrams films that I’ve seen. Freaking out and complaining about JJ Abrams replacing Treverrow is a lot like if someone handed you a plate of poisonous mushrooms, but swapped it out with butterscotch pudding before you could take a bite, and then you complained because you wanted chocolate. At least it’s pudding.

    • same, granted I’m still just relieved that modern SW films feel like SW again so to an extent a sequence of fun set pieces is enough for me – but seriously, if he’d just relax his grip on his screenplays to folks who can help zip up his plot-holes, his films could be absolute standard-setters IMO. I’m not even a JJ fan particularly but his skills are so clear.

    • And then you discover the pudding is actually whipped diarrhea

      • Allen

        You’re being hyperbolic but ok

        • Okay, fine… nobody whipped it. It’s just regular diarrhea

  • Well, it’s a better choice than the last guy. So there’s that.

    • On the other hand, I just went from “Ooooh! Who will they pick?” to “Why did I care?” At least Ep. 9 will be made by someone who can direct action, I guess.

  • jeves23

    The very definition of “the safe choice”. I’ve liked a number of JJ films (MI:3 is still his best all around film, followed by Trek ’09), and so this gives me no reason to panic. It also gives me no reason to be excited beyond “yay, the capper to the new trilogy” and “I wonder what they’ll do about Leia?”