Remember when Star Wars: Episode I was a total letdown? And then Star Wars: Episode II was a total letdown? Followed by Star Wars: Episode III, which was actually okay by comparison, but definitely not good enough to save the new trilogy?
JJ Abrams is saying all the right things to distance himself from the direction that doomed I-III.
Per The Verge:
“… Director J.J. Abrams hints that Star Wars: Episode VII may return the saga to its gritty, “space western” roots.
Abrams, known for Lost and his grandiose, lens-flare heavy take on the Star Trek franchise, says that he is set on returning the sense of mystery that so pervaded the original trilogy — something that critics and fans alike have complained was lost in the prequel. To pull that off, audiences can expect to see a dirtier aesthetic more akin to the frontiers of the Old West than the gleaming futurescapes of the prequels.”
I won’t listen to any contrarian, “Episode I was actually kind of good” arguments because it just wasn’t. It was a kid’s movie masquerading as the first chapter in one of the most important franchises in movie history. George Lucas knew what he was doing, too, as this just-released footage of Jar-Jar Binks dying in Episode I can attest to:
Apparently, Binks was supposed to die early, which would have cast a much more somber cloud over the entire movie. Not doing so definitely propelled it into kid/family-friendly territory (as did casting Anakin as a seven-year-old). Tough to say whether or not letting Jar-Jar die would have saved the first couple of movies entirely, but letting him live – and thrusting him into the middle of the spotlight – definitely took away from the grit that serious fans were hoping for.
Abrams was – and is – a fan of the franchise, and he seems to understand why the most recent films were considered such letdowns. That in itself is news worth celebrating.