MMM Podcast, Episode 107: Boldly Going to a Galaxy Far, Far Away

Ep 107

JJ Abrams has left his director’s chair on the set of “Star Trek” for the one on the set of Disney’s “Star Wars” revival. It is an undeniably MASSIVE opportunity for Abrams. All is not well aboard the Enterprise, though, as every excited “Star Wars” fan is matched by a disgruntled or at least disappointed “Star Trek” fan. The Gentlemen weigh in on the excitement and the controversy.

Also in this episode, we discuss the latest casting news for the sequel to “The Amazing Spider-Man” and new images from “Man of Steel.”

Download the show HERE.

  • Stock

    Due mainly to my visits to MMM, I am looking forward to the new Supes movie. And Cavill does look good in the suit. I have to dismiss some of the dismissals of Chris Reeve from you guys, owing mainly to your youth, but he WAS Superman like he’d never been seen before his time, cartoonish suit and all. The tech just wasn’t there at the time, nor was the money.

    Amazing Spiderman? Paul Giamatti? Giamatti would make a great Penguin, but its hard to picture him as a Rhino, although he will be able to play the rage. I sometimes wonder about Hollywood. I understand he’s a great actor, but to be honest, I think for the guy who played John Adams to such perfection, its a little beneath him. Some guys I wish would just steer clear of superhero films and he’s one of them. And someday I’d like someone to explain why its ok to cast a relative unknown in the part of the hero, but the villain has to be played by a previous Oscar winner?

    Abrams? I think we’re looking at a Red Sox vs Yankees situation in that some people love or hate either side, so when a player switches for whatever reason, its a betrayal to them. I like both franchises. I love the maritime Horatio Hornblower vs pirates in space motif of Star Trek, and the original Star Wars movies were my childhood. Abrams did a good job with Trek, allowing the three main characters to be enough like the original Kirk, Spock, and McCoy to be close interpretations without absolute mimicry. The rest of the crew resemble the originals not at all and you can accept that. With the exception of the Uhuru/Spock thing. That’s just…you know, whatever.

    Star Wars is going to be a much harder task for him as it is unlikely that he will have established characters to play with and reform. I would hope he would leave the Skywalker/Solo families as settled and move on to some new challenge besides the Force vs the Dark Side, because quite frankly that was getting repetitive during the 1st series of films. I know that’s the whole basis for the mythos, but didn’t Lucas kind of kill that with his explanation of the Force being a genetic blood disorder? I really hated that.

    • Adrian

      I know it’s only your opinion but I think it’s unfair to say that Paul Giamatti is above playing this sort of role or being in this sort of film. For all we know he’s a huge fan of the source material and he was jumping up and down with joy at the opportunity to be part of the film.

      I think unknowns are sometimes better for the heroic leads simply due to the fact that there will be less scrutiny. Nicolas Cage didn’t have the reputation back then that he does now and that was already some huge controversial casting with him as Superman.

      (Thankfully that never came to pass …)

      With Oscar winners playing villains, I just think it’s fun for them. There’s no rule saying that just because you win an Oscar you can’t play fun or over-the-top roles. ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ did have its flaws but I don’t think Webb’s casting was one of them.

      As far as Star Wars goes, I keep in mind that most of what we hear are just rumors but I do think that the cast from the original series will play a part. If they are going with young leads to carry the baton, I can see Luke’s Jedi Academy having a hand in that.

      • Stock

        Giamatti is a great actor for certain parts, and I suppose with some new tech retro-fitting, he could even play the Rhino. I just like him better in indie films where he gets to play an unusual lead. And, like I said, he was great as John Adams.

        If you’re heading into uncharted territory film wise with Star Wars, I think its a better option to get out of the conventional plot of Dark Side vs the Force. It was getting tired before the prequels, and I think they’ve squeezed every drop out of it. Just a wish-list for me. I know they’ve got tons of books to use as source material, and I haven’t read a one of them, so can’t comment on their quality.

  • heyberto

    A few thoughts. One, I’m a fan of both franchises. I loved them both as a child, and any notion of a rivalry between the two seems silly to me. There are things I can say I like inherently more than other things (DC over Marvel for instance) but these franchises are so different, its easy for me to just enjoy them or disapprove them.

    But the nonsense over JJ spurning ST for SW is just downright stupid. One, I don’t think he’s abandoning ST. I too think he’ll be involved at some level, but I don’t see him directing the third one. He’s set the tone for that franchise, and they can get a great director to pick up that ball and run with it. I think Orci and Kurtzmann have said they’re thinking trilogy, and I do hope that the next director maintains the visual continuity as well as the tone and pace that’s been established. So I too am excited for SW’s gain and there’s no doubt in my mind he can bring SW back to where it needs to be, and I’m excited about that. I’m a little sad for ST, but I think he’s done enough with it, that it can continue with his hand still felt in it.

    But another thing you guys touched on, was Abrams’ creative ability, his passion for the projects he takes on. I want to point out an observation about his success that you guys didn’t mention. He’s a wonderful collaborator, and it’s his secret. While George was the control freak, JJ seems to trust his team more. He puts good, smart and talented people in place that he trusts, he cuts them loose, let’s them do what they do. That doesn’t mean he’s hands off.. he’s there at every step.. he pats on the back, he works through these things with people. He makes his decisions based on what they recommend and advise. There’s no ego with him. He very much reminds me of Nolan that way as well. It’s no wonder guys like that are so successful. I relate to that because its how I work in my job. It’s why ST will succeed without him, yet still feel like a JJ Abrams film, in a sense. I think the core creative team will remain in place.

    So I really want to encourage Chris Clow to not worry, I think JJ is leaving the Trek franchise in great shape and his influence will continue to be felt in at least one more film.

    • Adrian

      Agreed. It’s a bit unsettling to me when I read in articles and hear on this podcast about Abrams ‘jumping ship’, ‘leaving Star Trek’, ‘moving on’. It all just seems dramatic and not at all the right description. Paramount is already saying that they’re going to keep him at whatever capacity he is willing to stay and that’s that.

      While it makes sense that he will not be directing the third Star Trek film, I’m of the mind that he’s going to play a big role in his replacement while staying on as a producer or something similar. Hell, I’m sure he has Brad Bird on speed dial and there are others out there like David Yates. He’s set everything up quite well.

      What I find interesting is that some fans who didn’t like Abrams’s new Star Trek film are suddenly calling him a traitor and whatnot. It just goes to show you that you can never win. It’s not like he was contractually obligated to three films. It was on a film-to-film basis and if stays on as a producer then that’s awesome.

      • heyberto

        Well said. I’d like to add, that at this point, I don’t really want JJ to direct a 3rd Trek. Go focus on SW and make it great again. He’s already done that for Trek. Iron Man 3 is looking phenomenal after Favreau left. As long as the studio takes finding the next guy seriously, Trek will be fine.

  • Michael Lalaian

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with J.J. going over to Star Wars, but I will say that I think it was actually really poor form to make the announcement before Into Darkness comes out. It just kind of steals the thunder from it and makes it more of a bittersweet event for fans now. But I guess they couldn’t keep it a secret for the next few months.

    Just another thought, now that J.J. is in the Disney family, I wonder if he’ll ever make an entry within the Marvel Cinematic Universe…

    • Adrian

      To be fair, it was more leaked than announced. I don’t think they could’ve kept it a secret throughout the entire press tour for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ anyway. I’m sure he’ll be asked quite a bit about it but Abrams always seems to do well in interviews.

      In another podcast I listened to someone made a comment that the news might actually get even more people interested in the new Star Trek film because some people will want to see how it and he does since Episode VII will be his next film. Who knows?

  • Adrian

    On a side note that pertains to Felicity Jones, I don’t know why the fans are thinking she’s playing Felicia Hardy/Black Cat. It’s not impossible but the first character that came to mind for me was Betty Brant.

    I mean, they’re already introducing a second potential love interest in Woodley’s Mary Jane Watson so I can’t imagine they’d want to throw in a third interest in the form of the Black Cat. Just my two cents.

  • Michael Lalaian

    I doubt it would be Black Cat was well, but I guess people are making the connection since both the character and the actress have similar first names. That’s an indicator, you know.

    :P