There are many, many questions regarding the continuation of the "Star Wars" series -- the first of which, "Episode VII," is now being worked on by J.J. Abrams -- but one of the most pertinent of them is the extent to which franchise granddaddy George Lucas will be involved. As the creator of the series, and the director of the first movie, many will feel ambivalent about "Star Wars" films without Lucas involved, but others could be comforted by his absence, given the general quality of the prequels, all of which were directed by Lucas.
It's not been any more clear due to the uncertainty of whether Lucas will actually be involved. He was initially described as a 'creative consultant' on the new films, and while he was said to have been involved in meetings with writers, said he had no part in picking Abrams to direct, and has emphasized a certain distance from the new movies. And it seems that he's not been kidding, as Lucas has revealed that he hasn't even talked to Abrams about "Episode VII" yet.
Access Hollywood (via /Film) talked to Lucas this week, and the bearded billionaire told them "I have not spoken to J.J. He's been busy with 'Star Trek,' and I'm sure that he'll let me know when he's got some questions. So, you know, that's all going well. Kathy [Kennedy] tells me it's working out great." So it sounds like any fears of Lucas pulling the strings from behind the curtain have been pretty much unfounded; with Abrams now on full-time 'Star Wars' duty, and Lucas still out of the loop, the dynamic seems to be in place.
But should we pleased or disappointed that Lucas isn't more involved? "Star Trek Into Darkness" proved that Abrams certainly isn't infallible, and Lucas knows this universe better than most, so the occasional courtesy phone call might not be the best way to team the two up. But then, it's hard to think back on "The Phantom Menace" and think that Lucas should have any influence on future 'Star Wars' pictures. Either way, Abrams is moving towards a shoot in the new year in London, so Lucas should probably expect some contact of some kind before then. "Star Wars Episode VII" is expected to hit in 2015.