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JJ Abrams Appreciates Fear, the Fans, and the Franchise

JJ Abrams Appreciates Fear, the Fans, and the Franchise

Entertainment Weekly has had a gangbusters week of Star Wars exclusives, and it was pretty awesome to read about their last interview with JJ Abrams going into this weekend’s Disney D23 conference and its coverage. The interview has an honesty and depth of feeling to it that I know makes me continue to hold out hope that this will be the sequel we have all been waiting for since the disappointment of the prequels. Here are some of my favorite (hopefully not too spoilery) bits. That said, if you’re very against the spoilers, I recommend you only read this first paragraph and then be on your way.

Abrams sat down with EW‘s Anthony Breznican for this interview, and over the course of their talk, we the fans actually figured in to their discussion. He spoke of his admiration for Lucasfilm and the community that has grown up around the films.

“One of the great things that Lucasfilm has done over the years is embracing the community of Star Wars fans, and it’s because they realize that it’s really the fans’ story. And that understanding, that sharing of information and engaging with the fans is something that I really admire,” he said. “My instinct is to typically keep things quiet – and if I had my way, perhaps we would be showing less – but the truth is, I want to make sure that the fans aren’t feeling like we are holding back for the sake of it.”

And Abrams understands that some of us really don’t want to be spoiled. I’m not personally in that camp, but I get it. As he told Braznican, “I also have read more comments than I ever expected where people say, ‘don’t spoil it for me, don’t show me everything, don’t ruin the story, I don’t want to know it yet.’ And I’m always grateful for that. So it’s a little bit of a tightrope, and we want to make sure we’re being forthcoming, but that we’re not spoiling.”

Now, if you’re someone who does not want to know a single spoiler before the movie comes out – you may even be avoiding the trailers – please be on your merry way now.

Abrams did admit that the trailers, teasers, and behind the scenes footage that has been released so far does tell a story and could be seen as cohesive if you look at it the right way. Here’s the trick though: he’s not going to tell you the right way. Much like George RR Martin, who has claimed that he has dropped the Easter eggs necessary to figure out who wins the Game of Thrones, Abrams says the pieces are there but he will not tell you if you’re right, wrong or crazy. If you think this didn’t lead to me running back to rewatch everything, you’re wrong. Oh, and of course, it’s not simply that easy. Not everything in the currently released footage is super important – some of it is throwaway material, some of it just doesn’t matter. So, you know, don’t get too excited if you have a theory.

As we all know, Andy Serkis will appear in a motion-captured role in the new film but all we have to go on right now is the name of his character, Supreme Leader Snoke. Abrams won’t say more, but he was happy to talk about the genius that will done the motion-sensitive balls and stand in front of the camera. He spoke of Serkis in tones of admiration, saying, “He is the kindest, sweetest, most lovely guy, so it’s not that he puts on any airs of being pretentious or anything at all, but he’s simply so damn good, that when I’m working with him, I feel like I’m working with someone who is, you know, like a Charles Laughton, or someone who is just so extraordinary.”

And finally, Breznican asked the question that so many of us probably wonder about, though we may phrase it in a more confrontational, less polite way. Is it scary taking on something like Star Wars? The answer from Abrams is that of course it’s scary. He said, “There have been ongoing pockets of crazy questioning and uncertainty, and I would be very worried if there weren’t.” This acknowledgement of the heady weight of responsibility on his shoulders is admirable, and I remain hopeful that what we see when the film hits theaters in December will be incredible. It sure doesn’t feel like his fear is leading him to the Dark Side.

Read the full interview to get Abrams’ thoughts on the genius of sound designer Ben Burtt.

HT: Entertainment Weekly

Feature Image via FuriousFanboys

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