Saturday January 26, 2013

May the Force live long and prosper.

J.J. Abrams, director of the latest "Star Trek" movies, will direct the seventh "Star Wars" film, a source Thursday told The Wrap, a Hollywood news website. The report spread through many major news outlets, and Berkshire sci-fi fans and film buffs are lighting up about the pick, showing support, and curiosity.

"With [Abrams], it’ll be a movie that I’ll enjoy," said Jay Lalime, a digital compositor at Sandbox FX in Pittsfield and a "Star Wars" fan. "I know he’ll pull it off. Whether he’ll pull it off the way someone like Joss Whedon would have, we’ll have to see."

The news came as a surprise, since J.J. Abrams had previously announced that he would in fact not be directing "Star Wars: Episode VII."

"Barring excessive lens flares, he’ll probably include some of the banter that the original had," Lalime said. "I’m certain the stories will be more engaging than in the recent ‘Star Wars’ films."

J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot of "Star Trek" was a critical and box office success, and the anticipation is high for the May release of the sequel, "Star Trek Into Darkness."

Jeffrey Morgan of Pittsfield has been a "Star Trek" fan since he first saw "The Next Generation" on TV when he was 7 years old. He provided an exhaustive list of facts and information about the franchise, and said "J.J. was able to breathe new life into ‘Star Trek’ " with his latest film.

" ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ have had a symbiotic relationship from the beginning," Morgan said. "I don’t think the ‘Star Trek’ films would have happened if ‘Star Wars’ hadn’t been so successful. I think it’s appropriate they finally come together."

"Star Wars: Episode VII" is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015, and Morgan said he’s a "little worried" it will delay future J.J. Abrams-directed "Star Trek" films.

It was previously announced that Michael Arndt ("Little Miss Sunshine" and "Toy Story 3") will be writing the script for "Star Wars: Episode VII."

"I think I agree less with who’s writing it than who’s directing it," said Scott Kirchner, the co-owner of Mad Macs on North Street in Pittsfield and whose "Star Wars" toys are a lasting memory of his childhood. "The script has got to be spot on."

Kirchner also was concerned that "Star Wars: Episode VII" will be too "kid-friendly," since The Walt Disney Co. acquired Lucasfilm in December for just more than $4 billion.

Lucasfilm was founded by George Lucas in 1971. The acquisition also included rights to Lucas’ Indiana Jones franchise.

Great Barrington resident Karen Allen, from the Indiana Jones movies, said she’s just hoping for a good story in "Star Wars: Episode VII," as she always does in a movie.

"I’m a low-tech girl," she said. "I can deal with anything as long as there’s a good story at the heart of it. I can take or leave all the CGI."

To reach Adam Poulisse:
apoulisse@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6214.
On Twitter: @BE_Poulisse