Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ First Look: Matt Damon As An Astronaut In Ridley Scott’s ‘The Martian’ Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Cannes Review: Justin Kurzel's 'Macbeth' Starring Michael Fassbender & Marion Cotillard Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Watch: Incredible Vintage Footage Of Audience Reactions To 'The Exorcist' In 1973 Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Review: Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson & Hugh Laurie Review: Brad Bird’s ‘Tomorrowland’ Starring George Clooney, Britt Robertson & Hugh Laurie Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

5 Things We Could Expect From J.J. Abrams' 'Star Wars: Episode 7'

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist January 25, 2013 at 10:57AM

With the news arriving yesterday that "Lost" co-creator and "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams will take over from George Lucas and direct "Star Wars: Episode VII," the first in a planned platoon of new "Star Wars" features from Disney, it inevitably means speculation about what, exactly, such a decision will mean for the franchise.
12
J.J. Abrams, Star Wars

With the news arriving yesterday that "Lost" co-creator and "Star Trek" director J.J. Abrams will take over from George Lucas and direct "Star Wars: Episode VII," the first in a planned platoon of new "Star Wars" features from Disney, it inevitably means speculation about what, exactly, such a decision will mean for the franchise.

This is, after all, a series that has been almost exclusively under the control of a single man since the original debuted back in 1977 (the two sequels from the original trilogy were directed by journeyman filmmakers under the tight authorial control of Lucas, who exerted his influence more extensively with his constant fussing on the "special editions"). So it seemed like a good moment to start to guess what a J.J. Abrams "Star Wars" joint will really look (and feel and sound) like, based on his earlier work and a general sensation of where the franchise is headed – back to a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away....By the way, in case you missed it here's five directions we suggested the series could go back when it was announced in October of last year. 

Star Trek Lens Flares
Lots of lens flares and whip pans? Maybe not so fast.
It birthed a million Twitter jokes, and it is true that Abrams has a trademark visual style, but will he bring the same tools from "Star Trek" to "Star Wars"? The original films had a certain "look," it's one that isn't exactly easy to pin down – a combination of psychedelic '70s album art, pulp magazine covers, and various sci-fi conventions. (The shiny robot! The floating barge lair! A city in the clouds!) By the time the prequels rolled around, Lucas had firmly planted himself in the director's chair and any sense of visual distinction had been blasted into the deep recesses of space. Instead, Lucas relied on extensive green screen work with an emphasis on computer-generated environments, characters and creatures. While seemingly cutting edge, it made the actual human actors seem like they were walking through some elaborate videogame. Nothing felt real or emotionally identifiable – the heart got lost in the pixels. Abrams has a style he honed on both his television series (most notably "Alias," still his crowning small screen achievement) and in the three high-profile features he directed ("Mission: Impossible III," "Super 8" and "Star Trek"), and while it feels like a safe assumption that we'll see some whip pans and lens flares, we're not so sure. One of the biggest concerns among certain segments is having the same guy behind "Star Trek" taking over "Star Wars." We're sure Abrams will want to put a new visual stamp on this franchise not only to assuage fans, but to honor where the series has been while also taking it in a new direction in addition to ensuring it stands apart from Captain Kirk and the gang.

Star Wars Green Screen
Actual environments!
Along similar lines, one of the better aspects of Abrams' "Star Trek" is that no matter how much computer-generated embroidery was on display, a large majority of the movie was created practically. The movie utilized expansive sets that took up whole soundstages along with actual location photography, like the Budweiser bottling plant that doubled as the spaceship's engine room. He even filmed the skydiving sequence by getting Chris Pine to roll around on a mirror in the Paramount parking lot. Sure, there was a shitload of CGI, but most of that work was done for stuff that Abrams and his talented creative crew couldn't physically build, like the giant snow monster that chases Kirk down an icy hill. "Mission: Impossible III" and "Super 8" too, for all their widescreen spectacle, aren't completely bogged down by ones-and-zeroes, either. We can see Abrams returning to actual location work, ditching much of the smothering green-screen aesthetic, and insisting on props and creatures that were actually built and controlled on set. You know, like how Yoda used to be an on-set puppet before he was turned into a pin-balling tree frog with a lightsaber.

This article is related to: Features, Star Wars, Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, Michael Giacchino, J. J. Abrams


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates