Los Angeles – As we watched director J.J. Abrams introducing the first images of his “Star Wars - The Force Awakens” a few months ago in front of a hysteric crowd of geeks and ultra-fans, we couldn’t help but think: he’s the first guy to have directed both a “Star Trek” and a “Star Wars” movie. A master of storytelling mixed with pop entertainment and a heavy dose of special effects and digital enhancements: who better than Abrams can guide us through the complex and exciting maze of the new technologies applied to film?
After all he’s the creator of successful, suspenseful TV series as “Alias” and “Lost,” and has helmed big budget movies such as “Mission: Impossible III” (2006), the reboot of “Star Trek” (2009) and its sequel “Into Darkness” (2013), and he’s now done with the new “Star Wars” (Episode VII) with Harrison Ford, which he also wrote, with Lawrence Kasdan, and produced alongside the saga’s godfather George Lucas with his Lucasfilm and Disney Pictures (December 2015).
Episode VII will kick off a new trilogy: Disney’s president Alan Horn – sitting next to Abrams – announced that the next two instalments of the saga will be released in 2017 and 2019: Episode VIII will be directed by Rian Johnson, while N. IX will be passed to Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”), under the supervision of the same Abrams. Horn has also announced the project of a new “Star Wars” themed area to be built inside Disneyland.
“‘Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope’ (1977) is probably the most influential film of my generation,” Abrams says at the D23 event in a huge hall filled with “Wars-maniacs” in Luke Skywalker or Ian Solo drags with their own lightsaber, at the Anaheim’s Convention Center (soon thereafter, we met Abrams again at the Comic-Con convention in San Diego, another “geek stravaganza”). “That work was the personification of good and evil and the way it opened up the world to space adventure, the way westerns did to our parents’ generations, it left an indelible imprint. So, in a way, everything that any of us does is somehow directly or indirectly affected by the experience of seeing those first three films.”
“George Lucas was a genius at creating this amazing universe and filling it up with so much heart, soul and hope,” says Abrams. “As Lucas did, I also insisted on real, palpable sets for Episode VII, and practical on-camera effects, with robotics and animatronics to give the audience the feel of a world they’ve already explored and seen, though they still don’t know the new stories we’re about to tell. I wanted to provide continuity to the things Lucas has started, and Steven Spielberg has continued and developed. “Jurassic Park” and its mix of animatronics and digital animation, or CGI [computer graphic imagery], for example, sprang open new horizons: from that moment on, it was open season!”