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ST J.J. Abrams (Director Of TFA & TROS) Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Sequel Trilogy' started by Pro Scoundrel , Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Oh I disagree after Siege of Mandalore only Two Episode in i feel Maul has become one of the most fascinating Prequel characters we have
     
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  2. Obironsolo

    Obironsolo Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Well given the current state of SW, I am happy to have him back as well. But the quiet, stewing Maul was a better character IMO than the intelligent, well spoken character he has become. Not at all trying to knock the new Maul, so much as commenting on the mystique aspect. Again, I am glad he's back nonetheless.
     
  3. Darth PJ

    Darth PJ Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2013
    I'd agree with that wholeheartedly. Maul, like Dooku and Grievous, was designed specifically to be a disposable villain. The irony is, IMHO, that whilst TPM (the internal logic of the film) has been lessened by Maul's survival, the EU (specifically TCW and the Clone Wars related comics/books) have been hugely enriched... and the last couple of TCW cartoons have been so much better than anything Star Wars related in the last few years (IMO).
     
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  4. Obironsolo

    Obironsolo Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 7, 2005
    Well it kind of makes sense. Lucas created a great character with enormous potential, and by disposing him at the end of TPM, it created so much lore that many years later, they could take advantage of that mystery, which as you say, they've done really well.
     
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  5. JediVision

    JediVision Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Is JJ already concretely linked to numerous future projects? Could TROS end up being "career-ramifications bad" or is he already bulletproof?
     
  6. Oissan

    Oissan Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Mar 9, 2001
    A movie with mixed reception all around, and that's really the worst you can claim about TROS, doesn't ruin a career, much less an established and successful one like Abrams has had...

    He signed a 250m deal with Warner last autumn, and nothing has changed about that. Basically every company around tried to sign him to an exclusive deal. I'm not sure if the next movie he will direct has been announced yet, but he is producing a ton of different projects right now.
     
  7. JohnWilliamsSonoma

    JohnWilliamsSonoma Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Career-ramifications bad! [face_laugh][face_laugh][face_laugh]
     
  8. JediVision

    JediVision Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Sep 6, 2015
    Laugh all you want. The consensus has clearly turned against the ST. Even with the heavily-moderated "no bashing" regime here in place the hatred for these movies is palpable. Although to say "hatred" is the chief reaction to the ST perhaps dignifies it too much; truly, it is apathy. Those of us who used to live and die with Star Wars now no longer even care about Star Wars. TROS lasted all of about 30 seconds in the general public consciousness and the new characters have absolutely no cultural status whatsoever. The only thing people will remember about the ST is that it's when Star Wars stopped being Star Wars.

    JJ Abrams failed with Star Wars. Kind of a big freaking deal.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020
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  9. Darth PJ

    Darth PJ Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2013
    No it won't hurt Abrams 'career', as he already has a reputation for making relatively popular/successful, albeit not very good films. As a filmmaker, I'm sure he'll be forgotten quite quickly once he's not making big budget action films, because he has very limited ability (IMHO).
     
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  10. PendragonM

    PendragonM Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 7, 2018
    I look forward to seeing him as a footnote in future film histories or a cautionary tale of how all these franchises were trashed by his presence. And before anyone says it, yes, I AM that petty.
     
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  11. godisawesome

    godisawesome Sequel Trilogy Manager star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2010
    Abrams has a history and resume that involves several successful TV shows, a successful production company, multiple successful movies, two rebooted franchises, and even TROS was still a profitable film by itself, and he was also a producer on TLJ, albeit not a very involved one.

    I would not be surprised if he can easily “dodge” the main fallout from TROS thanks to both the abbreviated schedule, being called in to replace Trevorrow after some BTS drama, and LFL’s general fumbling of the films when compared to what their strategic objective was. You also do have TROS’s production being less than ideal as well, being the third of the five Disney era films to end up seeing LFL trying to get more involved with its production... and since his film still isn’t Solo, that provides him some cover there as well.

    Abrams the storyteller failed the Sequel Trilogy as a whole... but LFL the production company and Kathleen Kennedy the producer were more involved in that than he was, and Abrams the businessman still comes off pretty well, and Abrams the director can obfuscate and explain why TROS was just a bad set-up for everyone involved.

    He seems like an even more production-focused version of Joss Whedon during Phase 1-2 of the MCU, and unless he has the type of burnout Whedon had with Ultron, he’s probably going to be fine.

    There *is* an interesting element of narrative conflict between his production company and LFL regarding the ST that might be involved from here on out, though. His editors saying that they felt TLJ rejected TFA, when there *is* a $700 Million difference between those two films, and the way that Terrio and others have aired the reasons behind some decisions with the film, *could* became a bit of a Production talking point for years to come, and a possible excuse Abrams could offer up. The difference between TFA and TROS’s take at the box office is even greater by quite a bit... but Abrams didn’t handle the “meat” of the story sandwich, and many of the BTS problems with TROS have to do with the story after TLJ, not necessarily Fisher’s death (which is an area he also might be able to spin as a sign of his and his company’s skills, instead of a liability.)
     
  12. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Shelf of Shame Host star 9 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Nov 20, 2012
    I've liked his stuff in the past. TROS was a gigantic misstep, but I hope he recovers.
     
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  13. Darthvader1975

    Darthvader1975 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    May 2, 2020
    I don't really think he failed. I just think he delivered a story most people weren't expecting. The whole killing of han solo was something I think Ford had wanted since empire. I think he returned on the condition solo would be killed off. That's my impression. I enjoyed the force awakens and even my wife became a fan after seeing it. These characters though haven't been around long enough to become cultural icons like the OT characters are.

    Kylo ren a poor man's darth vader, rey a female luke and poe dameron a han solo type but an x wing pilot and not a smuggler. Jj did not fail he did what he could. This was Disney trying to cash in properly on star wars. Despite contradictory interviews over the years Lucas akways said that the skywalker story was only 6 episodes not 9. He wasn't really interested in telling lukes story later on after jedi. The original star wars story was the rise and fall of anakin skywalker and his ultimate redemption. The ST was very much a tacked on trilogy to the main story with some classic characters thrown in the mix. It could easily have been set a 100 years after jedi and have no luke han chewie or Leia. But they wanted these characters in it. It's just how I see it. Abrahms did a good job but it was never going to appease long term. Star wars fans who see the ST as a Disney cash in.
     
  14. godisawesome

    godisawesome Sequel Trilogy Manager star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2010
    The way I’d put it is that Abrams made exactly the kind of Star Wars Sequel film Disney wanted with The Force Awakens: use the original cast as a selling point, cash in on familiar and profitability guaranteeing nostalgia, and try to set up the next two films and establish some new main leads and IP’s going forward.

    He made the kind of film that conventional Hollywood wisdom would say was a sure bet for a successful sequel to ROTJ... and by and large, he was very good at exploiting that line of thought to massive box office success and extreme hype going forward. Arguably, the only risks he took were in casting, and that was still arguably something he should split credit on - while casting a black British man as the male lead is to his credit, the female lead was something Lucas and Arndt already had planned.

    And as a Legends fan, I *do* think his TFA story could have been used as the foundation for a strong, if conventional, new era of Star Wars stories; most of his “safe” choices were echoed in Legends stories of variable quality, but there were some clear successes and gems in those Legends retreads - if the ST was closer in quality to the Thrawn Trilogy or Legacy comics in terms of recreating an Imperial threat, for instance, that would be a nostalgia-dependent but still high quality direction to go. And *if* LFL/Disney/Abrams/Johnson’s had the wisdom to make Rey a Skywalker, and approached her with the kind of creativity of Legacy, or the best parts of the New Jedi Order series, etc., in regard sot being the literary heir to Luke and Anakin, I think you”d guarantee extreme success there.

    But the fatal flaw and cardinal sin of Abrams, LFL, and Disney about TFA was the failure to plan ahead, to look towards the future of the story and ascertain what kind of choices could justify the decisions of TFA - and it was an especially bad move when the Sequel Trilogy was already so dependent on nostalgia and familiar details. You need to be focused, self-aware, and keyed into executing ideas very well of a story you’re doing is in anyway a “reboot”/“retread”/“remake”, even if it’s only that in a marketing sense.

    The core strength Abrams had invested TFA’s time in to try and sell the new Sequel Trilogy was the new heroes interacting with each other and the old heroes... and that was the one thing TLJ seemed to reject outright. And once that happened, the otherwise hollow nature of the rest of TFA’s setup became clear - if the story of Rey and Finn against Kylo, with the aid and support of the OT3, wasn’t the main plot and key to the ST, then the ST was really just a a weird theme park ride of the OT by someone who was less than attentive in their movie watching.

    That’s one the reasons why TFA and TLJ make such bad companion films to each other - they just undermine each others’ strengths and emphasize each other’s weaknesses. It’s hard to offer up a defense of one movie without the other movie offering up a counterargument, and in spite of the conflict between each film, they share the same weaknesses.
     
  15. Starith

    Starith Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 5, 2020
    Bearing in mind I still haven't seen TROS... one thing that stands out to me is Leia training Rey, and how that affects TFA and TLJ. Apparently Leia always had enough Jedi training to train Rey, but doesn't that make her seeking Luke in TLJ, which ultimately leads to his death, all the more pointless? Couldn't Leia have just trained her from the start?... Unless I'm missing something here and it's more nuanced than that.
     
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  16. Darthvader1975

    Darthvader1975 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    May 2, 2020
    TFA was definitely a nostalgia fest full of returning characters and ships and yet another desert world that wasn't tatooine. There were so many similarities to ANH that it put off a lot of people and yet it introduces new characters to the franchise in kylo ren smoke pie finn rey etc even if most of these new characters are very similar to the OT characters. I agree that it set up star wars to move forward and yet with TLJ the biggest complaint for most fans was the handling of an OT character namely luke and we weren't talking about finn and rey we were talking about the character assassination of luke skywalker. I think jj should've done the trilogy in the way Lucas did the prequels and maybe TLJ handling of the new characters and treatment of a classic one would've been better.

    Its hard to know how it would've panned out and how the ROS would've been written if jj didn't have to try and undo what rian had done with last jedi. Which may or not have hindered the final movie. I wouldn't like that pressure of having to wrap up a 40 odd year saga that means so much to so many people.
     
  17. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016
    @godisawesome

    Agreed one hundred percent on this no matter where you spin it.

    Agree on this...BUT i think the on split and the split in the Sequel Trilogy in general does come from TLJ...Whether or not you believe that TLJ rejected TFA...I think to many people are GLAD that TLJ rejected TFA. Many people liked the directions that TLJ was going with characters, story, themes...etc etc.....and I think that in lies the split.

    TFA made people comfortable yes, but I think for some the split comes to those wanting to continue the TFA path...or those who like Rian Johnson are like...Nope, not doing that...Let's do a one eight and go somewhere else, and that in lies the split. Then you have the issue of continuing that trajectory (Ironically where Colin was doing but I think he just executed it wrong) or going back to it which JJ did...Kinda...Because TROS feels like their is a middle movie we are missing that would have set up stuff like Palpatine and what not.

    To be fair I know MANY who would argue that TFA and TLJ are perfect companion films and that TROS is the outlier but I don't have time to argue that one

    But I do think that lack in planning in general is defiantly the problem no matter if you are positive or negative about it.

    Because without it..The Sequel Trilogy has no authorial context.

    It's just three movies with three different takes on the universe with no consistency on where it wants to go even if you do feel TLJ builds off TFA better or not.

    Mild Example I think most can agree upon

    Snoke in TFA- Emperor 2.0 to be probably our mega bad in the third film.

    Snoke in TLJ- A foil for Kylo to overcome to become the Supreme Leader and make a larger leap into darkness even defying his whole as the Darth Vader waanabee

    Snoke in TROS- Just a clone and Palpatine the big bad the whole time.

    So again like TLJ hate TLJ think TFA and TLJ go together well....One has to admit that the lack of cohesion is a problem.

    As a TLJ fan then I sorta come into it that essentially Abrams failed Rian and not other way round. Which is sorta weird since that's not how history or timelines work. Granted I think maybe if you asked people (Including Lucasfilm officials) in hindsight I think they may honestly say "Yes Rian should have done the Sequel Trilogy". So it is this weird catch 22 of ...If you like TLJ then you feel JJ failed Rian in both TROS and TFA, if you like JJ then you feel Rian failed him in TLJ.

    Again that split within a trilogy itself.

    Closet comparison to that is if you for reason hate A New Hope and Return of the Jedi but love Empire.....But even then I don't know for sure if that was even a thing. (Well the Empire/Jedi split probably but not Hope/Empire)

    @godisawesome I do have a question I'm curious to get your response on, while Abrams yes did do what he needed to do for TFA....Do you think his "Mystery Box" approach hindered things in the long run...Leaving to many questions like "Who is Rey" "Who is Snoke" what is Kylo gonna do...Instead setting up more concrete character lore from the get go so that it would force other directors hands right away.

    We do tend to leave TFA with more questions than answers...A Abrams trope for sure but that means others have to answer them and well...if you don't like what other directors think the answers are well...Abrams probably didn't know, or if he did....He didn't care enough to put them in the movie.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
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  18. obi-arin-kenobi

    obi-arin-kenobi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 10, 2005
    There was next to ZERO risk in The Force Awakens. The ONLY thing that could be perceived as risk in that film was going against Lucas and playing it too safe, a risk which has shown to actually hit the franchise negatively, ironically. People were going to give Star Wars 7 a chance, period. The marketing was as calculated as you can get.
     
  19. Darthvader1975

    Darthvader1975 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    May 2, 2020
    Leias role was more of a general then luke ever was. She was a general a leader of the resistance and took that on rather then be a mentor to rey or anyone else. Her priority was leading the resistance and maybe she felt she couldn't give rey enough time. Once luke had passed it took that decision out of her hands and she had to combine the two roles
     
  20. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016
    Again I think this is where the split happened...Sorry to repeat myself here.

    When TLJ "Rejected" that premise of TFA, then everyone who was "United" with TFA because that was the only one split...now you had the TLJ fans who also "Rejected" that premise and wanted essentially what TLJ was trying to do, and that is a somewhat large segment that split. I don't want to play number game could be less then TFA could be more ...I don't know....But it is significant enough to make a sneeze at.

    Their in lies the split isn't.

    if you like Rian then again, you feel JJ failed him and the Sequel Trilogy

    If you don't like Rian and TLJ then you feel JJ failed Rian.

    The Split in lies in ...How many people also rejected TFA or realized the reject TFA once they saw TLJ.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  21. Lulu Mars

    Lulu Mars Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Also, Luke was much more to Leia and the Resistance than someone who could train future Jedi. He was a powerful ally, a leader, a hero and an inspiration. In short, he was the legend the galaxy needed.
    Not that him becoming that legend at the end of TLJ made any difference whatsoever in TROS, but that was the idea, at least.
     
  22. Darthvader1975

    Darthvader1975 Jedi Padawan star 1

    Registered:
    May 2, 2020
    Agreed he was a figurehead that the resistance needed. A symbol. Leias role was equally important but she knew that luke was the symbol that the galaxy needed and that his return would galvanise the galaxy.
     
  23. godisawesome

    godisawesome Sequel Trilogy Manager star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Dec 14, 2010
    In the long run the mystery boxes definitely hindered things, but almost entirely because Abrams refused to give answers or put his foot down about what type of answers they could be, and because no one at LFL wanted to do that either.

    There *is* a long term advantage to a mystery box in the area of marketing, and I think we can see that benefited the ST for a while, but it can become twisted into a liability without a plan for the answer - which it did.

    The mystery box merely aggravated the problem of the lack of planning exponentially compared to other areas of oversight without a plan - the fact no one had any concrete idea for why Ben fell and became Kylo, the fact no one had any idea who Rey’s parents were, the fact no one had an commitment on what Snoke was... all of that exacerbated issues on more general disagreements between the films, like who was the male lead, what relationships should be at the center of the story, what holistic conflict should dominate the story.

    The mystery box is basically a Shrodinger’s Plot Point - either it’ll rock or it’ll suck, and you won’t know until someone provides an answer.

    And you don’t build a story on a variable.

    This is just pure curiosity, but what would you say were the three biggest failings in TFA from Abrams towards Johnson’s upcoming film? Because I know I tend to focus on character work, and I *do* genuinely think that the character work of the two films horribly clashes, while I think the “OT Retread” thing with the military and politics emerged more from Disney and LFL, and that seemed to be an area where TLJ and TFA are actually more in alignment than not.
     
  24. Jid123Sheeve

    Jid123Sheeve Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 9, 2016

    Three big failing of TFA okay...and I won't use OT retread.

    1. Lack of a cohesive thematic element. At least TLJ I see the themes of "We are what we grow beyond" as the main theme of the film while TFA...I'm not sure what the Theme is. It's plot driven, in fact I think both TFA and TROS suffer from being a bit to Plot driven and not allowing for inner contemplation of the characters. TFA is better but that was probably Kasdan adding in his own spin. But I still feel like I don't get into the characters heads that much.
    2. I feel character arcs aren't as fleshed out and cohesive as they are in TLJ and don't serve a greater theme. Although I actually do see the arguments with Finn so I will concede on that front a bit. But I think the TLJ versions have a bit more depth to them Again don't feel like I'm getting in those characters heads really feeling for them like I do for TLJ. Where are the quite moments the moments of just sitting around and thinking. TLJ has that, with Rey, with Poe, a few good moments with Finn...I've loosened up on the Finn complain a bit but I do really love the themes and ideas of Canto Bite and the idea of the rich and powerful funding a Never Ending war.
    3. And (And this probably a Lucasfilm thing in general) just not having a good sense of what the dynamics should be from the start. Like yes you could see Rian went in a different direction in terms of the Rey/Kylo relationship than TFA and their are clashes BUT...I feel Abrams left it vague enough that anyone who interpreted that relationship in going the more "Romantic" angle could....Because quite frankly....I could honestly have seen it myself.
    4. Relying two heavily on a sequel to answer and move forward the plot instead of TFA really standing on its own. Even though yes it is part of a trilogy even Phantom Menace (to it's detrimen) works as it's own movie. With TLJ i feel like I can watch that movie on it's own even without seeing TFA, with TFA I feel like I need a part two because I didn't get a full movie.

    If anything TFA's and Abram's biggest problem I think is just not setting things into a more harden stone from the start...he left things to loose and in some cases up to interpretations that I think TLJ when going into those areas I think honestly I don't Rian for having that interperations because I think TFA leaves you in a position of really "Their are no wrong answers"


    Heck Abrams has said in interviews essentially that with TROS in "Their are no wrong answers" and that is the biggest failing...Not defining things early on so that if another direct took over they had more hard foundations to follow.

    So yeah, despite what I listed I think TFA BIGGEST failing was just.....Not firm enough foundations for a trilogy, in terms of character, story and even world...and I'm not even against the idea of Rebels vs Resistance 2.0 but I do think that is a big failing as well.

    Again to sorta just round out my rambling.

    With TLJ i feel like I have a full complete FILM, with cohesive arcs, themes, characters.

    With TFA, I feel like I have 25% of a download and that the next two installments of DLC package will have fill in those areas. Or maybe a better acknowledgment would be a game demo. While with TLJ I feel like I have a full video game.

    I know not everyone feels that way and that's cool but at least to me that's how i feel while watching the two films.

    and TROS...TROS feels like a expansion pact...A fun expansion pact, but not the whole thing

    Hope that answers your question I get rambley a lot because I wanna cover all my basis and give benefit of the doubt when I can.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  25. AhsokaSolo

    AhsokaSolo Force Ghost star 7

    Registered:
    Dec 23, 2015
    I don't think there is nuance. I simply do not believe it was always the plan for Leia to train Rey. I remember very very clearly that during TFA promotions, JJ talked about Leia choosing not to become a Jedi. Leia's story in TFA was that she was the general and she needed Luke in order to bring back the Jedi. This in no way sets up Leia being a secret Jedi. I remember it clearly precisely because I was so disappointed with the decision to deprive Leia of a Jedi history. When I saw TFA, I didn't even think that film necessarily ruled out that she may have simply retired from being a Jedi long ago. It was JJ discussing her choice, plus Bloodline, that were the final nails in the coffin of my disappointment.

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/star-wars-jj-abrams-explains-847013

    If it's a choice she's made so far, but might change in the future, that doesn't make her a candidate for training someone as a Jedi.

    If they wanted Jedi Leia, why on Earth wasn't she that from the beginning? I don't see any good narrative reason. I think JJ simply changed his mind, and probably because RJ killed Luke and Rey still needed training.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020