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Old 01-29-2013, 04:03 PM   #314
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Abrams spilling his guts about Star Wars.


“When Damon Lindelof walked into my office for the first time and he was wearing not just a Star Wars shirt but an original Star Wars shirt — and I could tell it was his, not just some vintage purchase,” Abrams adds. “I immediately knew that we were long lost brothers. It was the first thing that made me say, ‘Okay I love this guy.’”


“My first Star Wars memory was seeing the words ‘Star Wars‘ in Starlog Magazine and thinking it was a weird title,” Abrams recalls. “I remember seeing an early concept poster by Ralph McQuarrie for the movie. It stuck in my head even though I didn’t know what it was — but it looked important. My second memory is actually seeing it in the theater on opening day in Westwood at Avco Theater and never being the same again.”


“It was absolutely the first film that struck a cord and that resonates to this day,” Abrams continues. “I think it’s because everyone relates to being stuck in your life and feeling like something extraordinary is just around the corner. To have something scary and tragic happen, like what happens to Luke’s aunt and uncle, is such an engaging story that could take place on a farm in the middle of the U.S. and be just as compelling. And the fact that he ends up being the key to preventing this galactic takeover is kind of an amazing wish fulfillment. I think this taps into a universal desire that we all have to find meaning and purpose that is larger than what we ever could have imagined.”


“I don’t know how many times in developing stories I have referenced the archetypes of Star Wars,” Abrams says. “As a fan of Joseph Campbell and the use of myth in storytelling, you could argue that it is a classic paradigm but it is the common language among all of us because we are all so familiar with the Star Wars canon. It’s hard to remember breaking a story for an episode of a show, whether it was Lost, Alias or even Felicity and not feel like there was some way to reference the love triangle you felt in Episode IV or the struggle of good and evil that you have seen in all six of the films.”

“Star Wars is probably the most influential film of my generation,” Abrams adds. “It’s the personification of good and evil and the way it opened up the world to space adventure, the way Westerns had to our parents’ generations, left an indelible imprint. So, in a way, everything that any of us does is somehow directly or indirectly affected by the experience of seeing those first three films.”


“I was probably most affected by the end of the film when we are returned to some of the sets on the ship that we see in the first Star Wars movie, Episode IV,” Abrams says. “I was surprised by how good it felt to be home. Given all of the scope and scale of everything that had come before, there was something incredibly satisfying and warm and fuzzy about being back in those white hallways that sort of rekindled the feeling you had when you saw the Stars Wars universe for the first time.”


“Obviously, his fall was inevitable and you learn that from the early films,” Abrams says. “You know it’s going to happen and watching it happen is tragic. What’s fascinating to me is that I grew up in a time when my friends related to Luke and now, my kids relate to Anakin. There is an interesting social comment there — that when I grew up the hero was an optimistic young neophyte who becomes this hero and the new generation’s hero is a strong-willed, ambitious and ultimately vilified protagonist who is misled and, for reasons of ego and heartbreak, literally becomes the very villain that my generation fought against.”


“I feel like the world of Star Wars has gotten to be so vast, not just in terms of the various mediums that Star Wars occupies, but because of the visual possibilities that technology has allowed and Industrial Light & Magic is so remarkably capable at creating. My favorite thing about Star Wars is the ability to tell an incredibly personal, intimate, and emotional story against a backdrop of conflict and battle that’s planetary and massive. What I would love to see is a story about characters that I am desperately entertained by and definitely care about, and keep that story as focused as possible and make more of that than the pyrotechnics of it all which to me is what makes Star Wars so brilliant. If it’s a TV show, that’s terrific. If it’s animated I’m all for it. If it’s a radio show or a video game or an online experience — whatever it is I would love to discover in this vast universe some new characters that make me feel the way that Luke, Leia, and Han Solo did.”


“It’s funny how in a weird way sometimes by demystifying a character it takes away from some of the fun that you felt about that character. It takes the mystery out of it. Sometimes a character is more interesting when you don’t know everything about them. Even someone from my generation — and I’m ancient compared to so many of the Star Wars fans that are out there — for me the character of Darth Vader was always so compelling because you were putting together all these thing in your head and making all these assumptions that to get to know Anakin as much as we ultimately did, changes the way you consider Darth Vader. It’s crazy to me that my kids relate to Anakin; which to me is criminal because I grew up believing Vader is a bad guy. I related to Luke and Leia and Han Solo. You don’t relate to Vader! I still think it’s wrong to be on Anakin’s side. So I guess there’s no one character I can point to and say that I want to know more about him or her, it’s just that Star Wars is so vast it would be great to find characters that have that level of emotional intimacy.”


“Star Wars used to have a very defined focus as to what it was and who the characters were, now it’s so vast that it encompasses so much more. It’s not unlike how Star Trek was when it first came out and you knew all the characters, but now when you ask about it you have different answers from different generations of fans. So the possibilities are endless even though so much of Star Wars has been explored in the novels and elsewhere. Online is the perfect place to have something like an interactive Senate where fans could represent different worlds and debate in character. I could see a giant Star Wars debate team tackle all the issues that the prequels dealt with and having characters from the movie moderate the discussion. ”


“I don’t ever look at genres of movies, but instead characters I’d like to see. There are so many genres that are already out there. If you want to go see a Western, or a ’70s period piece, it’s available. The reason behind almost anything I work on is because it’s not out there right now and I want to see it.”
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