‘Star Wars 7′: J.J. Abrams Talks ‘Infinite Possibilities’ of Star Wars Universe

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J.J. Abrams on the U.S.S. Enterprise Star Wars 7: J.J. Abrams Talks Infinite Possibilities of Star Wars Universe

The producers of Star Wars Episode VII are currently a little undecided on just how closely they want to play the cards to their chests during the film’s production. Recent years have seen the process of film production slowly open up more and more to the fans – whether through unofficially snapped photos during location shoots, or directors sharing teasers and hints on social media.

Even this early on in the film’s gestation – with the script still being polished by screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3) – there are already quite a few details available. Legends of the franchise Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill will all be reprising their roles, though it’s been suggested that they will be supporting cast rather than placed center stage, and there have been rumors that Jonathan Rhys Meyers is in talks to star in a leading role.

Speaking at the Produced By Conference, director J.J. Abrams – who initially turned down the job due to his Star Trek commitment – played it on the safe side and was naturally evasive with regards to the project, giving “no comment” responses when asked specific questions about the plot. However, ComingSoon reports that he was happy to talk in more vague terms about his hopes for the film and how he plans to approach it, with regards to the legacy left by the previous films:

“Talk about bigger than any of us. That thing is so massive and so important to so many people. I know from seeing the first film when I was 11 what that felt like. I think the key in moving forward with something like this is in honoring but not revering what came before. There’s that deep feeling of infinite possibilities that I think was the ultimate thing I thought when I first saw ‘Star Wars’ which I would — and probably will — give my left arm to try and come close to again.”

jj abrams star wars 7 trek 3 cloverfield 2 Star Wars 7: J.J. Abrams Talks Infinite Possibilities of Star Wars Universe

Abrams expressed less enthusiasm, however, over one of the major practicalities of filming Star Wars Episode VII. Whilst he confirmed that production was set to begin by early 2014, in order to hit a summer 2015 release date, the director said that he wasn’t happy about having to shoot the film in London, since it will mean moving his wife and three children to a different country for the duration of production:

“When I came into it, there was already a pre-arranged thing for them to be shooting in England which, really does make me insane. I’ve never shot a movie outside the US or out of L.A… We are, most likely, if all goes ahead, going to be moving to London at the end of the year… There’s a whole lot of stuff happening at home. It’s not an easy thing… When you’re 13 and 14, it’s like, f–k that, I don’t care what the movie is.”

The decision to shoot Star Wars Episode VII in London does indeed go far over Abrams’ head. In an earlier statement, Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy revealed that representatives from the company had met with Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in order to establish an agreement for shooting the film at London studios. All of the previous Star Wars films have been at least partially shot in the UK, most commonly at Shepperton, Elstree and Ealing Studios, and Osborne mentioned that UK filming has been incentivized in order to attract major studios and projects.

Stuart Freeborn with Chewbacca on the set of Star Wars Star Wars 7: J.J. Abrams Talks Infinite Possibilities of Star Wars Universe

British make-up artist Stuart Freeborn working on Chewbacca

Despite Abrams’ preference for shooting in his home town of Los Angeles (where both Star Trek films were produced), the decision to base the production in London studios is beneficial to both Osborne and Kennedy. There is a lot to be gained from inviting major production companies to film in the UK, as each production provides work for a few hundred crew members, extras and cast members, leads to significant income not only for the studios where the films are shot but also for local businesses, and in general gives a major boost to the country’s film industry. Recent titles shot at London studios include Snow White and the Huntsman, X-Men: First Class, Prometheus and Disney’s upcoming Sleeping Beauty prequel, Maleficent. James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy adaptation will also be produced in the UK.

Whether Kennedy arranged for Star Wars Episode VII to be shot in London purely because of her “longstanding connection,” to the studios, or whether it simply worked out cheaper than shooting in LA is unclear, but let’s hope that Abrams gets over his misgivings and embraces the new filming environment in time for the start of Star Wars Episode VII‘s production.

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Star Wars Episode VII is currently scheduled for release in 2015.

Source: ComingSoon, StarWars.com

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  1. Well, I kinda understand how he feels: suddenly has to go overseas for a long period of time, moving away from his comfort zone. I hope if Abrams does agree to go to UK, the studio wouldn’t put too much pressure on him during the production.

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  2. Well, J.J… you don’t have to uproot your kids and take them away from their friends in that crucial time of their lives. I’m sure you can cope with being away from your family for a year, while popping over every so often when the schedule permits. Besides, how long does principal photography on a movie like this usually last anyway? 3-4 months? Doesn’t the post-production happen back in California? I find it strange that they want to movie the whole family for one movie. Ah, well…

    • Actually a lot of post-production happens in the UK even when the film is shot in LA. Especially sound, but not music. It’s weird.

    • I would imagine there is a certain “its good for you” going on, exposure to another culture, history, etc, going on. I’d do it.

  3. Not sure what to think of his comments here.

    Either suck it up for a few months or leave them at home and if he goes for the latter option, it’s not like the internet doesn’t exist to see their faces as he talks to them instead of the old telephone calls that people inevitably made back in the day with just a voice to listen to.

    I honestly can’t understand his complaint here. He’s getting a chance to step outside the LA bubble and see a different way of doing things that isn’t all contained within a Hollywood backlot. It could even help inspire him, either in this movie or his future work.

    • +1

    • @ Dazz, I think he loves the whole Hollywood setting as he is the biggest player over there with whatever he is involved in whereas with this new Star Wars film he is not by any means the biggest player thus has no control over studios that he uses. Obviously he will be very important, but for this movie, “there’s always a bigger fish” lurking just behind him. You have Kenedy, Lucus (stepping back, ok sure) and Disney. All he has to is focus on making a great film, which I am confident he can do.

    • Well given he probably knew this was part of the assignment I would say he is “sucking it up”. Plus this really doesn’t mean these are his only thoughts on his mind in regards to this. I’m sure if you could get more than a sound bite you’d find he has some positive thoughts about the upcoming experience. If I was to guess he is probably bringing his family for the opportunity to live and experience a different culture or even cultures. However just because there are positives he is probably looking forward to doesn’t mean it is a huge pain in the rear especially in the immediate.

  4. “Infinite Possibilities” great! Now JJ will have Darth Vader as the villain again.

    • Lol the more things change, the more they stay the same.

      • Haha, that’s the best line ever!

  5. I think J.J.’s misgivings on filming in the UK has to do
    more with the disruption in his children lives he alluded to.
    Absent that reality this would likely not be an issue for him.

    Special, and in this case targeted perks, which are essentially financial,
    offered by governments are a disruption of the marketplace and all
    too common these days including in the US even by states.

    Whilst it is beneficial for the UK workers and businesses, not
    shooting in the US it is not good for US workers and businesses.
    The fact of the incentive means this would shoot in the UK otherwise.

    Governments on all levels are playing this game, including here in New
    York City, so hats off to George Osborne for winning one for his team.
    This is not to say the system is fair. More like all’s fair in movies and war.

    • The thing is, the US economy has recovered better than the UK economy has plus there’s the whole tradition of shooting big pictures over here that have included the Star Wars movies (as stated int he article). In fact, I seem to recall that if they weren’t in the UK, they were in Tunisia.

      It also helps our film industry because the arts budget was lower than expected and we even had the major British film body shut down permanently, which angered a lot of people and gave us less opportunities to finance or stage a lot of big productions.

      What also helps is that it can inspire more British actors, even if they appear as extras in the background because it seems to me at least like there aren’t many people trying to get into the business and since traditionally, Hollywood movies have used British actors as the villains (not just speaking roles but people like former bodybuilder Dave Prowse as Darth Vader) and Star Wars has used our talent across the cast list (C3PO, R2-D2, Chewbacca to name just a few) and it looks great for us if it inspires the next generation of British actors and gives a chance to those who are currently struggling to find work during a time of austerity and cutbacks.

      It’s really a win-win situation for both sides, especially since the Governor of the Bank of England announced in recent months that the UK may be in recession until 2020.

      • The U.S. “recovery” is an odd thing to even mention, seeing that America is in so much debt that it almost makes no difference what kind of recovery is or isn’t happening. As for the U.K., they have the Canadian Mark Carney over there as the Governor of the Bank of England, so they should be OK, or at least, they will have a very clear picture of where they stand and where they’re heading, which is typically the problem: nobody wants to give, or hear, the hard cold facts. Americans prove that point. Only exception are probably the Canadians, and that’s why things went relatively OK in Canada.

  6. I wouldn’t really be complaining if I was JJ. Ultimate geek immortality awaits and as many of you guys have said he does not actually have to bring them with him. A plane ticket from LA to London for JJ is spare change so they could easily pop over when they have holidays. I guess it is a bit of a pain but you have to look at it as an experience, it is not often that you get a chance to live in London for a few months. It is a world class city.

    Imagine the kids in school.
    Random classmate, “why did you move to London?”
    JJ’s kid, “oh, just my Dad’s job. He’s directing the new Star Wars film.”
    Classmate, :O

    • Yeah, if those kids told their temporary class mates what their dad was working on, they’d be the most popular kids in that school.

      • I know, just imagine. I’d be premiere ticket and backstage tour hunting for a good few months. Imagine stepping onto the set, how cool would that be!

  7. Hope the move isn’t that bad for everyone in abrams’s family hope he still enjoys making the movie

  8. I imagine that Mr. Abrams will be “one and done” with the franchise. The pressures involved and the reality of how much bigger this project is may make ‘Star Trek’ seem like a vacation.

    “Uncle George” and “Uncle Walt” gave him the keys to the car, not the car itself. There will be much creative feedback throughout for Abrams, a very talented director. Disney will try to please everyone, making the film as broadly appealing and profitable as possible.

    At the end of the day, making tent pole features is a business. Abrams gets all the praise and accolades if ‘Episode VII’ succeeds with fans, but it’s the studios movie.

    Don’t be surprised to see Abrams direct something quiet and personal after ‘Ep VII.’

    When Abrams writes a book in ten years about the two ‘Star’ franchises, I’ll be there to buy a copy.

  9. Tell you what, JJ.

    DON’T BLOODY DO IT THEN.. All this moaning.. Aww, poor you and all that filthy money you are making :<

    You shouldn't be helming the two biggest sc-fi franchises anyway, at the VERY least there is a conflict of interests here, but apart from that, the ST reboot is pulp minded garbage and I personally don't want you infecting any more sci-fi with your pew-pew mentality.

    • What conflict of interest? This is a creative endeavor not a contest.

  10. JJ: if you don’t want the mad money you’ll make from filming this movie then by all means step aside

  11. This is all about incentives Disney will get for shooting in London. It has nothing to so with ‘helping’ the economy. It’s smart business.

    Btw we aren’t doing as good economically as some of you like to think economically speaking. There’s screwed and SCREWED. UK is doing worse now, but we are following Europe’s pace. We in the states can use all the business we can get…

    As far as looking at the Dow jones to see how we are doing, what do you think those numbers reflect??

  12. Yeah, I do understand the conflict of interests with one’s family, but at the same time, there’s nothing like complaining about having to go to London to direct a Star Wars film.

  13. I’m sure people are going to weep for J.J. and his kids while he has to go to London to mine coal and do hard labor……

  14. Man, I really feel bad for these millionaire Abrams kids who have to go to London for a semester to watch their dad make Star Wars. I would hate to be in that position.

  15. Lol. Save us the time and post: “I hate it here but can do whatever I want.”

  16. High maintenance director. He should suspend his ego and work in harmony with all the other production and give something back that’s of value and heart.

  17. I’m sure people are going to weep for J.J. and his kids while he has to go to London to mine coal and do hard labor……

  18. Well JJ, get use to doing things the Disney way. That freedom you enjoyed doing the Star Trek films you will not have on your dream project.
    BTW…thanks for seeing to it that Star Trek will not have a kick ass movie for its 50th anniversary.

  19. Abrams need to hire Patton Oswalt as a creative consultant on this movie, “…then the armored gauntlet of Boba Fett reaches out of the desert beast…”

    • Minus the Marvel crossover, please. :D

      • Actually TBH, I would LOVE a Marvel/Star Wars crossover. I think that could be a lot of fun.

  20. I have faith in Abrams. As a huge Star Wars fan (the originals are STILL my favorite movies ever), I think this will be the biggest movie event of my life. If it’s great, I’ll want to give Abrams a hug.

    Can we get CUMBERBATCH! to play a villain? Or a Jedi? Or something? Hell, he can play a droid for all I care.

    • Lol i agree Cumberbatch is awesome and it would be cool to see him in a Star Wars movie.

  21. Hey guys i found this really cool interview with Mark Hamill on Star Wars episode 7 feel free to take a look just be sure to listen well it can be hard to hear at times. Enjoy :)

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