In a spotlight panel this Saturday at the Producers Guild’s Produced By Conference, director J. J. Abrams dropped two bits of Star Wars: Episode VII news – one not particularly surprising and one that will surely have fans talking about this week.
The first is that the film will probably be filming in early 2014, not much of a surprise given that Disney wants to ave the film in theaters the following year. I guess we should be bracing for real casting news to start appearing over the summer.
But the real news comes from Abrams’s evasive answer to the direct question of whether or not the new trilogy of films would be derived from any of the numerous Star Wars Expanded Universe novels –
It is so massive and so important to people. I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before.
Now it had been previously reported that the new trilogy would not be adapted from any of the existing novels. But was does Abrams mean by “honoring but not revering what came before”? Personally, I see that this indicates a continuation of what we’ve seen from Lucasfilm in the past. While they won’t go out of their way to validate the canonicity of the Expanded Universe, it is all good unless there is a specific story they want to tell that would invalidate a book or assumption about a character.
And in a way, isn’t this a sentiment similar to the approach that Abrams took when he rebooted the Star Trek franchise for Paramount? The only problem here is that he doesn’t have the “alternate reality” escape hatch here that he had with Trek, so if he does do something that violates what had been established in the Expanded Universe he is bound to alienate a certain fraction of hardcore fans.