Sunday, January 27, 2013

I Have a Bad Feeling About This . . .

For all of you who aren't giant nerds of Western stuff, J.J. Abrams has been officially named the director of the new Star Wars movies.  He's also the guy who (mostly) successfully rebooted the Star Trek franchise and brought us Lost, Alias, and Cloverfield.  And I don't know how I feel about this, or rather I'm doubtful about this.

I have come to terms, due to his deal with Disney/Marvel, that Joss Whedon cannot write and direct the new Star Wars movie.  I have grudgingly come to accept this.  It makes me a little sad, considering that Serenity and Firefly are leaps and bounds better than the Star Wars prequels, but I can console myself with Avengers 2 and him dabbling with the rest of the Marvel Movie verse that isn't in control of 21st Century Fox or Sony.  (And I found out that Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver can be part of an Avengers movie as long as they're not called "mutants", which also makes me happy because I love me some Scarlet Witch as an Avenger.)  Not to mention there's the S.H.E.I.L.D TV show in the works too, which could be really cool (bonus points if Dum Dum Doogan makes regular appearances).

Anyway, enough fanwanking of Joss Whedon, because I could do that for hours on end. 

Let's get back to J.J. Abrams, Star Trek, and Star Wars.

Back in the day, and still somewhat, "Trekkies" and Star Wars fans were at odds about who's beloved franchise is better.  The rivalry is epic in the nerd community, and while its calming down, it's still pretty heavy.  I like both franchises, I grew up with both of them.  My parents met because of Star Wars and I grew up watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and nursed a huge crush on Riker (and him voicing Xanatos on Gargoyles really didn't help that either because mrrow).  And comparing Star Trek and Star Wars is like comparing apples and oranges.  Sure they both take place in space, but that's sort of where the similarities end.

Star Trek is more grounded in reality.  It's more cerebral.  There's real science behind how things work.  Plus the common theme of Star Trek is Exploring Strange New Worlds Without Fucking With Them aka The Prime Directive.  Star Trek is all about discovery, exploration, and science.  There's no magical forces out there; anything that could be considered "supernatural" like Odo the Shape Shifter, Kingon Strength and the Betazeds' mental abilities can be rationally explained.

Star Wars on the other hand is more epic fantasy.  There's a magic like entity out there called the Force that gives people amazing powers.  There are Jedi Knights that use light sabers to protect the innocent.  There's a giant evil in the Empire and the Emperor that needs to be defeated and by damn it we're redeeming Darth Vader as well.  Star Wars is all about Good Vs Evil and the Journey of the Hero be it Luke or Anakin, even though I don't consider the prequels canon, but that's not the point right now.

J.J. Abrams is good at "cerebral".  Look at the first few seasons of Lost and the new Star Trek with its time travel and the like.  He can handle that very well.  However Star Wars is something else all together.  Star Wars is an adventure.  It's about heroes and heart while Star Trek is about the mind.  Abrams proves he has the mind, but does he have heart?

Not to mention the hard core nerd in me thinks that directing both Star Trek and Star Wars is blaspheme.  It's okay to be a fan of both, I am.  However one should only be allowed to work in one universe and not both.

Now he could prove me wrong and blow us out of the water, but right now I'm skeptical and hope that Abrams follows Whedon's advice about "Han-ing" up the new movies.  Because every good hero needs a rogue to balance him/her out and keep him/her on the straight and narrow.

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