J.J. Abrams and the Assault on my Fandom...
I catch a lot of flak from people because of my EXTREME displeasure with the spin J.J. Abrams put on the so called "New" Star Trek franchise (it is even difficult to type the name when I am referring to his movie). Look at it as you will but I have A TON of very valid reasons for feeling the way I do. And the recent announcement that Abrams is taking over the Helm at the Star Wars universe does not make me feel any better about him.
For me, and many, many others - Star Trek is more than a series, it is more than a set of movies, or a collection of books. It is inspiration. It is an imagining of what would could be. It is often referred to as Utopian but I prefer to think of it more as enlightened.
"Abrams didn't really get what Star Trek was about in his first movie. (And based on what we've seen thus far, Star Trek Into Darkness will be more of the same.) The emphasis on exploration, on pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, on using our power wisely, on trying to understand the Other, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, all that made Star Trek" something that has lasted for for more than FOUR DECADES — "it's not in the first Abrams Trek movie at all." In this fans opinion that is nothing short of criminal.
Star Trek was of course convinced as a television show, which is first and foremost entertainment. Was Abrams take on the Trek universe entertaining? Sure it was! It was flashy and there was action and cool sets and and (unfortunately quite a bit of lowbrow) humor. But that is all it was. In ten years this film will mean very little to people and have even less of an impact on society, and innovation and exploration. It will be exactly what it is now - a popcorn entertainment movie.
This brings me to the taking over of the Star Wars franchise by Abrams. First off let me say I LOVE STAR WARS - but for none of the reasons cited above for loving Star Trek. Star Wars is something else entirely. Star Wars is pure fantasy. It is a character driven story. Through these characters we see the world unfold for us. We are introduced to The Force. We are introduced to The Jedi & The Sith. We are introduced to a concept of balance between good and evil. And we are with these beloved characters a they deal with these issues, not only in the universe at large, but through their personal perspectives and actions. They are flawed, they make mistakes. We can all see parts of ourselves in all of these characters - both good and evil. We are not simply viewers, we are drawn into the story, we feel as if we are part of the story. Has Star Wars influenced it's fandom? OF COURSE IT HAS, but in very different ways. There are those that have professed to follow the religious & philosophical aspects of the Jedi. This is a world that has been created for me and frankly I don't want to see that world shattered.
Now Abrams has professed a love for Star Wars which gives me hope that he will respect the source material, but is he going to respect the impact that messing with that world will have on the fans? To quote Charlie Jane Anders (IO9):
"He certainly took some pretty major liberties with Trek, to the point where some fans still hate the film. Abrams took the classic TOS characters and gave them a massively different context, while blowing a large hole in the Trek cosmology."
I don't want him taking liberties with my Star Wars universe. I want it to be character driven. I want it to have heroes and villains who are larger than life. I want it to be an epic romp across the galaxy in which I want to see the world I've come to love grow and continue - not change into something I do not recognize!
These are my concerns. If this makes me a hater - well then I guess I am a hater. be that as it may, the destiny of the franchise is in Mr. Abrams hands now. So on behalf of all the fans that feel the way I do about the Star Wars universe - to J.J. Abrams I make this plea - please do not destroy the story, the characters, and the universe which we have tome to love so.
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