J.J. Abrams Yearns For Mystery In The Star Wars Universe

Thaluikhain

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I can sort of see his point, a the beginning of a franchise you've got potential, before you are locked into whatever it is you end up doing. Only, a franchise ends up doing whatever it is it is doing.

The only real way to bring that back is to make you new stuff mostly unrelated to the old, in which case it's not so much part of the franchise anymore.
 

Mahoshonen

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Daemascus said:
Karloff said:
J.J. Abrams, director and now co-scriptwriter [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/129229-Star-Wars-Episode-VII-Its-2015-Or-Bust-Says-Disneys-CEO] of the latest Star Wars movie, yearns for mystery. Gone are the days, he laments, when we knew nothing about Star Wars; when the Empire was a name without a backstory, and Leia was just a Princess, not Luke's sister or Vader's daughter. The first Star Wars was great, but since then too many stories have provided too much detail.

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No, just no. Or if you Luke Skywalker, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

The universe is what sets Star Wars apart and makes it cool and unique, not the straight out of "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" story that made up the original trilogy. Not to say the story was bad, but compared to the ships, planets and aliens its merely a framework.
I'm sorry, but no. I enjoyed Star Wars much more before learning that Alderaan was once inhabited by orgy bugs, Vader's greatest rival was a lizardman that emitted rape-phermones, the Emperor's fake son was assassinated by robot Leia, Han forcibly abducted the woman he went on to marry and took her to reverse-Gor, and Luke once fell in love with a Computer-Ghost (no I am not making any of this up)
 

Lieju

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Ace Morologist said:
It seems like all you'd have to do to put the mystery back into Star Wars (leaving aside whether that's even a good idea) would be to set the story either well back in the past before the prequels or well ahead into the future after the original trilogy. Just disconnect it from anything having to do with Anakin or Luke Skywalker, and you're fine. That, and don't explain anything. Start fresh. Don't start OVER, just fresh.
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It would be pretty cool to see the events of the classic movies from the point of view of people who consider it to be ancient history.

Abrams can't write mystery. He makes a big deal of it, and then can't answer it in a satisfying way.
Eiher have the mystery make sense, or have it be inconsequential for the story.

For example, what the Force is. It's a mysterious thing, (even mitochlorians hardly explains it, just introduces plot-holes)
But the story of SW isn't about finding out what the Force is, it's about the characters and adventure and stuff.

Or, let's say you have a mystic ancient civilization we know nothing about. The mystery itself can be a point, how it's tragic this knowledge has been lost and we'll never know.

But you can't bring it to the foreground and act like you have the answer.
 

Neverhoodian

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You know, I kind of agree with him, though I don't think the subsequent films are to blame.

Anyone who's familiar with the Expanded Universe knows that the films have been pretty much been picked clean for content like a strip mining operation. For example, they've given elaborate back stories to every single alien in the Mos Eisley cantina, no matter how little screen time they received. Couple that with the fandom's stance that just about all of it is canon and you end up losing any sense of wonderment or intrigue. It's one of the reasons why I stopped following the EU a long time ago and just came up with my own headcanon, cherry picking what I liked and disregarding what I didn't.

In any event, I'm still of the "wait and see" attitude about all this. I just hope any kind of mystery makes sense in the context of the story rather than being mysterious for its own sake.
 

deathbydeath

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You see, this is what happens when you don't hire Chris Avellone to write your Star Wars stories. You get geniuses like Abrams who don't know their own talent.
 

Psychobabble

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Yeah yeah yeah, whatever J.J. Abrams. The craptastic prequels already sodomized any mystery or credibility the franchise had. Not to mention every bit of so called mysteries from the first three films were some of the most hackneyed and shallow plot devices of all time anyway. So stop agonizing over the fact you can't just waltz in years later and come up with some stupefying plot twist, or a more honest description of your work, pointless mysteries with zero payoff.

The Star Wars universe is just "pew pew laser beams" and psychic neon Samurai. The whole franchise is just one giant feel good adolescent power fantasy. I say go with that. Stop trying to make it into something it isn't, and never was. You want to create a movie based around hip young people solving mysteries? Then go make a fucking Scooby-Doo film.
 

templar1138a

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I do not have a strong opinion about Abrams (and, frankly, the lens flare thing is pretty old at this point). However, this attitude worries me. It's pretentious and... well, I sense through the Force that there could be some behind-the-scenes troubles during the production process.
 

RafaelNegrus

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Psychobabble said:
Yeah yeah yeah, whatever J.J. Abrams. The craptastic prequels already sodomized any mystery or credibility the franchise had. Not to mention every bit of so called mysteries from the first three films were some of the most hackneyed and shallow plot devices of all time anyway. So stop agonizing over the fact you can't just waltz in years later and come up with some stupefying plot twist, or a more honest description of your work, pointless mysteries with zero payoff.

The Star Wars universe is just "pew pew laser beams" and psychic neon Samurai. The whole franchise is just one giant feel good adolescent power fantasy. I say go with that. Stop trying to make it into something it isn't, and never was. You want to create a movie based around hip young people solving mysteries? Then go make a fucking Scooby-Doo film.
I actually think a JJ Abrams Scooby Doo movie would be really fun, and the best part is that having an unsatisfying ending to the mystery is half the joke! :D
 

MrBaskerville

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I think some of you might misinterpret what he means when he says he yearns for more mystery. I think he's referring to stuff like the clone wars mentioned in A New Hope and Anakin Skywalker. There's all these things that were purposefully left unexplained which made the universe feel bigger, you could always wonder about the Clone Wars and how Anakin turned to the dark side. I would like to see more of this in the new movies, i find it uninteresting when they feel it's neccesary to explain everything, one of the reasons i find prequel stories pointless.
 

Battenberg

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The only movies he seemed to take issue with were 5 and 6, not a harsh word about the prequels. To be honest this feels like a setup for another smoke monster (i.e. incredibly artificial mystery that the writer can't find a solution for) in the new films because of the whole strict 2015 deadline.

Either way if this film sucks that'll be it for me watching JJ Abrams films, he's just too consistent in his ability to disappoint.
 

Itchi_da_killa

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RandV80 said:
You know it almost makes sense what he's saying, but then you just know that the end result is going to be something ridiculous.
I agree, what he says does make a lot of sense and of course the end result will blow, because it's him. He doesn't have the talent to breath life into his ambitions. Between J.J. Abrams leading this sensitive matter and the quick draw CEO determined on releasing this in 2015, I know that the new Star Wars will be shit. Just absolute shit... oh well.
 

Jonny49

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It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3. It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3. It can't be worse than 1,2 and 3...but that doesn't mean it can't still be bad.

I'm excited regardless, I think J.J likes Star Wars enough to not mess it up, and he has another writer to (hopefully) pull him in if he goes a bit overboard.
 

Owyn_Merrilin

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So he wants to respect what came before without revering it, and he's talking about pretending nothing since the original friggin' Star Wars came out exists? I've got a bad feeling about this. And about what it means for the EU.
 

Therumancer

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RandV80 said:
You know it almost makes sense what he's saying, but then you just know that the end result is going to be something ridiculous.
Going by what happened with "Star Trek" that's right on the money. Though I can hold onto some vague hope here simply because he's doing a sequel, not being given the authority to reboot the entire franchise.

That said, I think we just saw the death of Star Wars in JJ's comments, before much in the way of solid production has taken place. The thing is that Star Wars is a proven brand, people who like Star Wars know what they want, they do not want to be handed something different in the name of a mystery or see the status quo shaken up simply for the sake of a new creator putting his mark on things. Most people have a basic idea of where this entire thing is going, and it's less a question of people wanting to be surprised, and more a question of people wanting to see it done well.

To be honest ignoring the so called "Expanded Universe" is pretty much expected, it's a mess to put it bluntly, and a lot of people writing for it pretty much managed to get their personal fan fictions published without much in the way of oversight. Even some of the more popular characters from the EU like Mara Jade come with a lot of contradictory baggage attached to them, not to mention some horrendous writing towards the end of their story arcs.

The biggest problem with Star Wars is simply that finishing up the story told in the first six movies results in a real downer of an ending. You need to move substantially into the future (by thousands of years) to see things start to turn out on a high note again.

While it's less exciting when spelled out this way, Star Wars is pretty much a universe without free will as we understand it. It's a universe that is guided through cycles by a metaphysical entity known as "The Force" where good and evil both get their turns ruling, with a period of balance in between when one cycle ends and another begins. The Force users are merely puppets by which the universe directs it's will, and presents the illusion of free will, sort of telling a story for it's own amusement. Even the mitochondria revealed later feed into this, where it's sort of like points of articulation on a puppet, the more important someone is to guiding the cycle, the more the force works through them directly, and thus the more of this they have.

The Star Wars storyline works entirely based off of a prophecy, which is quite simply about Anakin bringing balance to the force. He's even arguably created by The Force itself to work it's will as opposed to being born in a traditional fashion (Immaculate conception). The thing is that before Anakin's arrival, the galaxy was in a cycle of peace and prosperity, there was no real need for standing armies, there was little need for the Jedi other than as investigators and mediators assisting the police, and they were few in number. In the end with good ruling the universe the only place for there to be "balance" is for good to go down. This is mentioned directly in the movies where some Jedi are cautious about the prophecy, while others argue that it's meaning is that Anakin is intended to defeat the return of the Sith (who were so badly destroyed previously to the point where nobody knew much about them). This was not the case. Papaltine also made a similar mistake, by thinking Anakin was supposed to bring down The Jedi, and he was indeed closer, but again it's time for balance, not evil, so Anakin ultimately kills him too. While it was disappointing to a lot of movie goers who saw the redemption of Darth Vader as an awesome moment, and saw him "replaced" by a confused, angsty kid, that was always the way it was supposed to be, Vader was the very definition of a tool.

Now, it's a testament to the horrible writing and acting ability of some of the people doing the prequels that this is not more obvious. The point of some of the "WTF" scenes was that Anakin really wanted to be a good guy, but the universe was literally stepping all over his will and making it so he would do specific things. This is the point of him getting his ducks in a row (so to speak) right before he finds his mother getting gang banged to death by sand people, the point of which was that it was instrumental in why he started channeling some serious dark side by engaging in a very un-jedi like slaughter in the name of revenge.

This is also why some of the odder moments in the series happen, like Obi-Wan pretty much pulling his victory against the much superior seeming Darth Maul out of his posterior. Obi-Wan was needed, and more favored by prophecy. Like most similar duels, nobody really "beat" anyone else, The Force more or less had already dictated the outcome. You also see this in various scenes in both prequels and "original trilogy" where when it would be convenient the force suddenly goes "cloudy" preventing people from finding what they need, and the Jedi themselves mention at least once I believe that they feel the force weakening in them, which is in part why they are so concerned about The Sith (their time is actually ending). This is also how Sidious is able to beat multiple Jedi Masters, including Mace Windu, which is pretty much the same "Obi Wan improbability" from the opposite direction.

The point of this explanation is that the original series pretty much ended on as high a note as possible, something which Lucas in his toy-crazy obsession doubtlessly did intentionally. The over all resolution of the story arc would be Luke's fall to the dark side (which is why images of him doing so were so common and popular even before the EU writers considered it) and the birth of an new age of evil ruled by The Dark Side. Sort of like "The Empire Strikes Back" (the most popular of the series) but without the knowledge that it was just a cliffhanger. This is also probably why George Lucas was so resistant to doing sequels, and also fairly dismissive towards the EU at times in talking about what he considered "Canon".

Now there are TWO ways this can end on a high note, later movies showing the end of a cycle of darkness with Jedi coming up as a tiny force against a galaxy-wide Sith empire and throwing them down again. This would be thousands of years in the future. The OTHER option is a little more complicated:

While the game wasn't especially good due to problems with rushed development, "Knights Of The Old Republic 2" was apparently based on Lucas' writings and he allegedly ghost wrote parts of it for all intents and purposes. In KoToR2 the basic theme is free will, it's all about you being manipulated by a former Sith named Kreia into pretty much destroying The Force itself. How she planned to achieve this was never revealed due to the rushed ending, but her first step was to pretty much wipe out all the big time Jedi and Sith (probably to limit the intermediaries The Force would work through). She dies before we ever find out how she planned to destroy a metaphysical entity, but of course the ending also lends some doubt as to whether it could have been done, she might have just been another tool, as before he death she starts spouting prophecy about the future (the force showing it to her). A big part of the surprise being that the actions in the KOTOR games, put the Sith empire (the dominant force in the galaxy) on a collision course with the Republic, something which ends badly for The Sith and leads to their total destruction and the end of their long standing reign, leading to the massive period of peace and prosperity (a new cycle) which is just ending with the movie series.. in theory however if someone DID manage to find a way to destroy The Force itself (in effect ending all force users and other methods of less direct metaphysical manipulation) and restore free will before the new cycle of evil actually starts, the series could still end on a high note without needing to move forward thousands of years.

Sure, JJ is right, when it's all spelled out there in black and white it's a bit less mysterious, however that's fundamentally what Star Wars is, a sort of dark fairy tale with space ships and blasters, which is all about a prophecy and it's fulfillment. Mess with that and it's not Star Wars anymore. In JJ's case it's his job to write now that the mystery is out of the bag without being able to use the unknown as a crutch like he did with "Lost".
 

faefrost

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Parnage said:
Love of god someone get him away from Star wars. This is the guy who thought ripping off Wrath of Khan made him creative and original. I do not want him throwing in stupid crap when we already have enough on screen stupid crap thanks to prequels.

"We need a mystery", no Star wars needs a court ordered do not come within 100 yards of me paper.
Nono! Ripping off Wrath of Khan "added mystery" to it. We didn't no if it was or wasn't Khan until we actually saw the movie. See! MYSTERY!

$5 says his Villian in the new piece is Darth Vader. Or Luke Skywalker wearing Darth Vaders mask.
 

Ace Morologist

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I gotta be "that guy."

Here's what I would like to see in the next Star Wars movies:

It's far in the future after Return of the Jedi.
The Republic that was established (or re-established) after the fall of the short-lived Empire has grown lazy, decadent and corrupt.
It has long since disintegrated, leaving the provincial (i.e., planetary) governments to look after themselves.
The mighty light-side Jedi have been cut loose by the Republic they served and upheld for so long and must now fend for themselves.
The vicious dark-side Jedi have flourished with the light-side fools and the Republic no longer holding them back.
Left to their own devices, the Jedi on both sides have insinuated themselves into the provincial governments of many planets all across the galaxy.
The two most powerful star-system governments (one preferring the light side of the Force, the other preferring the dark side) begin to move against one another with the goal of uniting the galaxy into a new Empire/Republic.

Our hero is a roguish, clever and charming teenager with incredible Force sensitivity who has an innate talent for (if little skill in) balancing the two halves of the Force and using them both.

The hero's internal struggle -- which comes to a head in new movie #2 -- is to maintain a balance of the Force within rather than be seduced or overtaken by either side.
The external struggle that plays out across the first new trilogy (if not more movies) is our hero helping to empower and defend a third political faction of star systems that can act as a check (or a -- wait for it -- BALANCE) against the other two.

--Morology!

PS: That one's yours for free, Mister Abrams. I just want a story consultant gig. I'll settle for a "Story by" credit.
 

Shoggoth2588

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Predication! We'll know if Abrams had more influence, expect some variation on or, redesign of the Yuuzan Vong. Sure, it probably won't happen (also probably misspelled that species name) but it would be neat to see them come to life on the big screen.
 

octafish

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Uratoh said:
I'm just gonna post some advance spoilers here...

The 'dark robed figure' in the trailers he says is totally not a sith and we're going to have to watch the movie to find out what his deal is turns out to be a sith.
Plus Lando is now white, so he can be played by Christian Bale.
 

Brian Tams

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The only thing I took away from this is that I failed to notice J.J. Abrams is now a co-script writer.

Wow. Just... wow. I hope to God that we don't Star Wars Episode VII: Lost or something.

I'm sorry, I just can't stand Abrams as a writer. I mean, I guess since its a movie, we won't get any "I'm just making shit up as I go along, folks!" syndrome.