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Between the Lines: If anyone can revive 'Star Wars,' it's Abrams

Let’s face it: There’s nothing that can be done to the Star Wars franchise that George Lucas didn’t do himself.

When it was announced that George Lucas sold the rights to the franchise and that Disney would be creating a new trilogy, fans cried outrage, claiming that their beloved franchise would be diminished into another generic, family-friendly blockbuster. You know, like John Carter.

But really, all of the integrity of the franchise died more than 10 years ago, and it was called The Phantom Menace. Once a series with such iconic imagery and memorable characters, it had been ruined, becoming a series of child-focused dreck.

I mean honestly, is there any way that anything in the series could be worse than The Phantom Menace? Or Attack of the Clones?

Well, yeah. But really, the faults with the prequels lie within one simple factor: there was no ambition. Everything about it felt forced, calculated and manufactured. It wasn’t the same labor of love as the original movie. It was a business move to sell merchandise.

But here’s the thing: This movie isn’t directed by George Lucas. It was just announced that the director of Star Wars Episode VII will be J.J. Abrams. For those of you who don’t know, this is the guy who directed the 2009 reboot of Star Trek and Mission: Impossible III.

If Abrams can do anything, he can save a franchise. Mission: Impossible III was, perhaps, one of the most ridiculous movies ever made. And no, I don’t mean that in a good way. But Abrams was able to take that franchise and make it fun, lively and engaging again. And that was just his first movie.

In 2009, J.J. Abrams took another sci-fi franchise, Star Trek, and also made it fun, relevant and entertaining again. Gone were the tired members of The Next Generation gang, and in were lively action sequences, spirit, passion and enjoyment. The movie was fast-paced, well-made and entertaining. And, best of all, it had inspiration and — surprisingly enough — even a brain.

If Abrams can do to Star Wars what he did with Star Trek, then we’re set. Most important, however, is the fact that this isn’t just another job for the filmmaker.

Star Wars is one of his favorite movies and one of the primary reasons why he is a filmmaker today. Much like us, he wants this movie to be good, and he’s going to do everything in his power to make it so.

Plus, Michael Arndt is writing the movie. This is the guy who wrote the scripts for Little Miss Sunshine, the upcoming Hunger Games: Catching Fire and Toy Story 3. Yes, Toy Story 3. Even on the story front, this movie is in a good place.

It’s natural to feel nervous about a new batch of Star Wars movies. But people, we’re in good hands. So, just calm down, grab your lightsabers and join me at the theater in 2015. I think we’re in for a good time.

Will Ashton is a reporter for The Post. Email him at

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