JJ Abrams: Episode IX “Has a script…Starts shooting END of July”

Around the Galaxy: Star Wars News & Notes - Feb. 22, 2018

Officially, we may start looking ahead to December 2019….

And this is a slow burn, so bear with me.

Late last night (early this AM), The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert and director JJ Abrams talked Star Wars:

“I was terrified,” said Abrams about the prospect of directing the Star Wars movie that became Episode VII: The Force Awakens. “Luckily, I was surrounded by incredible people.

“We had a lot of fun, and being back for Episode IX is as surreal as it gets… I’m really excited.”

A Scary Opportunity

Indeed, some of the questions that Stephen puts forward have been previously vetted. However, the one new sub-note during the entire interview was Cobert’s allusion to the difficulty of pleasing everyone in Star Wars fandom – from The Maker, George Lucas, to the casual movie-goer.

As scary as it is to put yourself in [front of] that firing squad, the opportunity is always bigger than the fear…”

…said Abrams, in a very Yoda-like sentiment.

However, Colbert pulled the rug out from under that statement, recalling that when Abrams first got the news, he would direct Star Wars, he called Stephen and asked, “Can I come to your office and just drink?”

To which JJ retorted, “I didn’t say, ‘Can I come to your office and just drink?’ I said, ‘Can I come to your office and drink.'”

Abrams thought the one word edit softened the manic sentiment.

However, as they imbibed, a good conversation ensued, with the JJ Abrams apparently (and initially) shaking his head (according to a laughing Colbert) repeating, “I just don’t know…”

On Episode IX

Naturally, the audience ate all of this up, and Colbert asked the director whether he could tell us ANYTHING about the upcoming Saga film.

“We have a script,” said Abrams. “Which is a big deal for me… it starts shooting at the end of July.”

Apparently, Abrams again feels surrounded by awesome people, and called Episode IX co-writer Chris Terrio “a genius.”

BTW: I know I am going on and on about this clip, and transcribing much of what you will see (which will reach its full impact when you actually do watch it). However, I think the entire Late Show segment speaks volumes to Abrams personality and, indeed, a side of his character we don’t often experience.

Finally, to end his Late Show appearance, Colbert, Abrams, and the entire crowd headed down Broadway in New York City to a showing of the JJ-produced Lyceum Theater based The Play That Goes Wrong.

You can watch the march down Broadway via Facebook.

Another Side to Abrams

This humorous side to Abrams represents the yin to the yang presented in Kate Erbland’s Indie Wire piece from Feb. 16:

If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’ You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [‘Star Wars: A New Hope’] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough. Anyone who wants to find a problem with anything can find the problem. The internet seems to be made for that.

Here, I caution everyone reacting to the headline of the article (J.J. Abrams: ‘Star Wars’ Fans Who Didn’t Like ‘Last Jedi’ Are ‘Threatened’ By Women Characters) to please READ THE PIECE.

JO 101

To that end, I include a bit of inside knowledge; one of the first things you learn in Journalism 101:

In large media company publications, the author of a commentary or article does not always compose the headline or sub-heads. Many times — and I can’t speak to the instance of the Abrams article — titles are used to draw the eye up, so the reader will read down the page.

Moreover, traditional AP-style articles are often written in an inverted pyramid style, with the most interesting (pertinent, controversial) tidbits at the top (including the headline), with more refined details at the bottom (so if an editor has to cut for space the stuff at the bottom is often sacrificed).

“So?” you ask.

Well, I answer, most folks don’t read entire articles and remain hard-pressed to read more than three paragraphs. In fact, should I get anyone telling me —  via my Twitter handle, linked at the bottom of this blog — that they read this entire thing I may tear up.

With that reality in mind, the actual passage used by the writer directly quotes Abrams:

Asked by IndieWire about pushback from “Star Wars” fans who decried Rian Johnson’s film for its focus on more female-centric stories (bolstered by the edition of franchise newbies like Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran), Abrams was clear: “Their problem isn’t ‘Star Wars,’ their problem is being threatened.

Read the Article

So, at no point in the article did Abrams deride everyone who disliked The Last Jedi. He directs his ire at those who complained about the “female-centric” storytelling of Rian Johnson.

Meaning, what Abrams said is actually in the political (and hopefully increasingly inclusive) tradition that is Star Wars.

To wit, Abrams said:

If you are someone who feels threatened by women and needs to lash out against them, you can probably find an enemy in ‘Star Wars.’ You can probably look at the first movie that George [Lucas] did [‘Star Wars: A New Hope’] and say that Leia was too outspoken, or she was too tough.

Frankly, I liked the guy before; now I love JJ Abrams.

Go beyond the clickbait…

Finally — and to his and Lucasfilm’s great credit (insofar as they keep the implied promise to expand their selection of movie-makers beyond white men) — Abrams said of being honored by the Athena Film Festival’s “Leading Man Award,” given to men in Hollywood who have a strong track record of serving as vocal allies of and effective advocates for women in entertainment:

Why does there have to be a special award for someone who is working to be as collaborative with as many women as possible? That’s simply good business … We will keep making mistakes and trying to do better, but the end game is equality.

But, and here lyeth the lesson, DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR ANY OF THIS.

Form your OWN opinion

I am a writer, blogger, tweeter; a content producer, so I have opinions, too.

I’ve been writing for publication since 1992. And, if you pay attention, even the pieces to which I point (usually more subconsciously, rather than purposefully) serve to further my own beliefs and opinions and fascinations regarding Star Wars.

So, as I often instruct my readers (my friends), be sure to watch the clips above, and read the story, too.

Always make up your own opinions, rather than RT’ing clickbait. We become better fans when we become better consumers; not just of films and swag, but of information.

As always, thanks for reading guys. Argue with me here: @jmbishopjr JB


John Bishop

A graduate of Boston and Northeastern universities, John Bishop became the beat reporter for BostonBruins.com prior to the B’s 2006-07 hockey season. While with the Bruins, “Bish” traveled North America and Europe to cover the Black & Gold’s every move via laptop, blog, and smart phone. The co-author of two books, Bygone Boston and Full 60 to History: The Inside Story of the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, John covered the XXI Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010 and the B’s 2011 championship run and banner raising before taking a faculty/communications position at a prep school outside Boston in 2013. He lives with his wife Andrea and sons Jack, Scott, and Luke in central Massachusetts.

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