“The Force is Strong in this One” – JJ Abrams as the Savior of Star Wars

It has been announced that two more well known actors are to join the ever growing cast list to Star Wars Episode VII. 12 Years a Slave’s Oscar Winning Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne in Game of Thrones) are to star in the much hyped JJ Abrams sequel to Star Wars. 

These announcements follow a recent flurry of galactic activity including more cast announcements (Harrison Ford is back), and the chance for fans to appear in the galaxy they wish they had grown up in through offering charitable donations to UNICEF. Whatever news we’ve had from the galaxy far, far away, it seems to be positive. There have been no director changes or studio delays, script re-writes or any sign of Jar Jar Binks. Instead, it has seemed to be smooth sailing thus far and that can only be a good thing for both the series and fans alike.

If one thing is certain – Star Wars is coming back with a bang.

After months of questioning the whole Disney takeover – will-they-wont-they ruin it – I think it is safe to say that Star Wars might be back on track. It has been taken from the clutches of the gradually darkening Sith Lord (George Lucas) and handed over to a young Jedi (JJ Abrams). The Force is strong in this one.

jj abrams

Rights; Joi

Abrams’ film history shows he is the man for the job:

Cloverfield took the ‘found footage’ genre, injected it with steroids and blew people’s minds. Can he do monsters? Check!

Star Trek, was rebooted, given a sequel and has been well received by Trekkies and other sci-fi fanatics; some of the hardest people to please in the business. Can he do space? Check!

The myriad of images and videos show that Lucas’ gung-ho ‘shove everything in front of a green screen and click add special effects’ approach died with the memory of the prequel trilogy. Abrams seems to be taking Star Wars back to its heyday. Filming is taking place in real locations, the return of puppets and background actors gives that more authentic look and only a small use of special effects echoes everything that made the original trilogy the timeless piece that it is. The casting choice of “master of the Ping-Pong ball suit”, Andy Serkis, highlights this. Motion capture suits allow for more ‘acting’ and less ‘insert audio’. Instead of frolicking around set being chased by nothing, actors will go face to face with whatever friend, foe or beast Serkis will play. Provided the suit still fits…

The choice of bringing back the original cast may also give an insight into the story that Episode VII will take. After the events of Return of the Jedi, the Empire is no more, suggesting the rebirth of the Jedi Council and perhaps the reason behind Mark Hamill’s return. Similarly, Kenny Baker and Antony Daniels are back (despite a history of feuds over Daniel’s supposed rudeness) and will continue the roles of their better-known droid counterparts and comedy duo R2D2 and C3PO.

But it isn’t just the well known and slightly more wrinkled faces returning that has me twitching like a Storm Troopers trigger finger either; the fresh faces and array of British actors raises an infinite number of questions as to what the story will be. Are the Sith Lords back? What have Chewie and Han been getting up to? What happened to the Ewoks? It’s only a matter of time before we find out.

No doubt, we will gradually see more and more of these pig beast puppets and Millennium Falcon type jets start to litter our news feeds and conversations. Lets just keep our eyes, ears and Jedi mind tricks across every pixel that is unveiled. Be it a tiny Jawa or fear inducing Imperial Cruiser, the Star Wars flame is roaring once again.

 

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Dom D'Angelillo

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Dom is an English Language graduate. He loves superheroes, gaming, and that expensive kid's toy called Lego!