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J.J. Abrams: Bad for Star Trek, Great for Star Wars

jj-abrams-star-trek-star-warsJ.J. Abrams will be great for Star Wars for the same exact reasons he was terrible for Star Trek. It’s a bold statement I know. There’s no denying that Abrams successfully rebooted the public’s interest in a sci-fi world that had not produced anything new since 2005. That’s if you don’t count the books, comics, and video games that continue to satiate the fans need for more stories.
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While the first reboot was exciting and had all the right elements for an awesome action movie, like beautiful space battles, great dialogue, lots of technology, an engaging story, women (humans and aliens alike) in revealing clothing, critics and die-hard fans agree that this movie was not Star Trek. Something was missing. For some, it was the glaring use of unbelievable Deus Ex Machina in key moments of the movie, others, the blatant disregard for Star Trek’s canon, and for most fans, it was the lack of an overall theme that explored questions of humanity, philosophy, morality, and science.

Just in case you guys aren’t sure of what Deus Ex Machina is, it’s a technique used by writers to get their main characters out of impossible situations. The words translate to “god of the machine”. Ever see Lord of the Rings when the Eagles saved Gandalf from Sauron’s tower and wonder why they didn’t just use them get to Mount Mordor and dispose of the ring?

And if a story is considered canon, that means it is accepted as a part of the story in a specific fictional universe. For example, every Star Wars movie is considered canon. That means any story written about the Star Wars universe set after the events in the movie must not contradict the events that happened in the movie.

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Abrams will make a great director/writer for the new Star Wars trilogy. Remember that one scene in Star Trek where Kirk was marooned on an ice planet and miraculously ran into Spock (Leonard Nimoy), who was able to somehow transport Kirk back onto the Enterprise using outdated technology and a computer algorithm that no one has ever heard of before?  This falls within the first two points I mentioned earlier. Kirk is extremely lucky and without this chance meeting, he would not have been able to regain control of “his” ship and save the Federation. I say that with quotation marks since he was technically not the captain. It told me nothing about Kirk other than the fact that Kirk needs all the help he can get. What a cheater.old-spock-with-new-kirk

Also, in terms of Star Trek Canon, there was never any mention of technology that would allow someone to be transported instantly between solar systems. Not unless they discovered alien technology thousands of years ahead of theirs. In almost every episode, the story is quick to point out how their technology isn’t advanced enough to help the characters solve whatever problem they faced. And in the reboot, Kirk was out of luck. His ship was probably light years away and no technology in the universe could get him back. Luckily, Spock knew exactly how to do it with pinpoint accuracy using a technique that the Scotty from his timeline developed. I know Scotty is smart, but he’s not THAT smart. Kind of makes you wonder why Spock personally delivered the red matter in a tiny ship when he could just have easily transported the damn thing into the super nova.

When it comes to Star Wars, the use of Deus Ex Machina is a lot more believable thanks to that special power known as the Force. Jedi and Sith alike can do many things with it like move objects, read and control minds, predict the future, and enhance one’s strength and mobility. If something happens, it’s because it was meant to. As long as Abrams doesn’t let it control key moments within the story line without a good explanation, there shouldn’t be a problem there.
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Also, I just want to say that I’m so glad Disney was able to buy the Star Wars property. If their involvement with the Marvel universe is any indication, the Star Wars canon will be tightly controlled. As I mentioned before, everything you’ve seen in the Star Wars movies is considered true canon. Disney is currently in the process of establishing what the new canon will be, which means that Abrams already has a good foundation for the next movie. While many of the fans will wish that Abrams acknowledge stories from the various books that have already come out since the original trilogy’s debut, it will be worlds better in terms of story line continuity and dialogue compared to the travesty of Episodes I – III. Plus, instead of reinventing the characters, Abrams can evolve them, so to speak. This is years into the future where Han, Leia, and Luke are all old. They may have changed . Some for the better, others for worse. Any change in character or setting can easily be explained because of it.

And while Star Trek was very much about exploring humanity, philosophy, current issues and the like, Abrams, and Star Wars, doesn’t make it a focal point. He’s more about action, excitement, a fast pace story that ends with an epic brawl and the good guy winning. What’s more Star Wars than the good guys celebrating a much deserved win after an epic lightsaber battle in one spot with an epic spaceship battle close by. Hopefully, these new movies will make up for the travesties that came before.

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Jun Kim
Jun Kim is a writer based out of Los Angeles, California. After graduating with a B.A. in Comparative Literature, he worked as a researcher for a prominent Orange County law firm. Currently he is the head technical writer for a corporate tax consulting firm who splits his day between analyzing tax credit studies and sneaking naps in his office. A self-professed lover of EDM and gamer extraordinaire who loves concerts and moonlit strolls to liquor stores.

2 thoughts on “J.J. Abrams: Bad for Star Trek, Great for Star Wars

  1. Like you said, they made warp travel completely obsolete with transwarp beaming. Way to kill the entire premise of the franchise, Abrams!

  2. Just wanted to say with the transporter thing, I agree, in a way, that that was mistake. But that is also a regular feature of the show and movies. They always develop some kind of technology to solve a problem that seems like it would change everything but is then never mentioned again. Oh, we can go back in time by flying around the sun…but never do it again. They make a shield that can take ships into the sun, but again, only used once. They make the most powerful weapon ever to fight the Borg (it fails) but surely it would have worked on some Klingons or something, but never talk about it again.

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