‘A new hope’: An open letter to J.J. Abrams

Star-Wars-The-Force-Awakens1Dear Mr. Abrams,

It’s hard to believe it’s been more than two years since we first heard the announcement Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and that we’d finally be getting an episode 7 — something most Star Wars fans had long since given up on. It’s now less than a year until that sequel hits theaters, arguably the most anticipated movie of the year (and dare I say it — decade?)

There was some skepticism about bringing you on as director, since you were already helming the rival Star Trek franchise. However, you’re one of my favorite directors, and I think you have as good a shot as any of successfully continuing the saga.

Understandably, we as fans are both excited and nervous about this sequel. The prequels divided the fan community, but I think we all agree Star Wars is ready for a fresh start. I’m hoping you can work the same magic you worked with Star Trek. But the pressure is on — this can’t be a mediocre or even just a good (but unremarkable) movie. It is, in effect, a relaunch of Star Wars, and it has to be great. Whether it’s fair or not, fans and critics expect to be wowed.

What we’ve seen so far is promising. I’ve heard some fans say “The Force Awakens” is a bit of a generic title, but I like it. It fits with the other titles — “A New Hope,” “Return of the Jedi.” It also leaves a bit of mystery. Is the force awakening good or bad, a sign of the dark side or the light side increasing in power? Is it the rebirth of the Jedi or the rise of the Sith?

I really like the look of the teaser trailer. Although it doesn’t give away much of the plot, I think it’s best that way. Go ahead and pique our curiosity. I want to go into this and be surprised. I love how the trailer captures the feeling of the original trilogy, but also with a touch of newer technology. This is something both old and new. The cast you’ve picked is strong — it’s great to see some familiar faces (Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher), while also some promising new talent (Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, etc.).

Hollywood has changed quite a bit since the last Star Wars movie opened back in 2005. Superhero movies rule the big screen, and another Disney property, Marvel, has established itself as the king of the pack. Will Star Wars be able to top the Avengers sequel “Age of Ultron”? The first Avengers broke box office records, but if it’s really, really good, “The Force Awakens” could beat it. Sci-fi also has experienced a bit of a resurgence as a film genre, with your two Trek films, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and others. Star Wars certainly has name recognizability, and if reviews are good, I think this project will go far.

So, I wish you luck, Mr. Abrams. I know you’re probably still putting some final finishing touches on the film, but most of what will define this movie already has been locked in. I know it’s kind of cheesy to say it, but I can’t resist — may the force be with you!

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