If J.J. Abrams is nervous about taking over one of the biggest film franchise in cinema history, he’s hiding it fairly well from the thousands who are hanging on to his every word at the recent Star Wars Celebration.
Abrams joined executive producer Kathleen Kennedy to kick off the convention held in Anaheim in April with a few teases about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” scheduled to open Dec. 18 (as you can tell from this countdown).
Abrams original balked at taking on the directing challenge. Part of his hesitation came from the fact he calls the first experience of seeing “Star Wars” as being “mind blowing.”
He was 11 when the original “Star Wars” opened and became such a fan of the films that Abrams dressed up as a Jawa for one Halloween. He smiles and says that he doesn’t want to tell what year that was.
This isn’t the first re-boot rodeo for Abrams as he successfully re-launched the “Star Trek” franchise. There’s a huge following for Capt. Kirk and the gang but it is trumped by the global interest - with multiple generations - for “Star Wars.”
Abrams isn’t just a passive employee when it comes to the “Star Wars” world. He knew that there was a long tradition among “Star Wars” fans of giving back to the community. He and Kennedy went to the Disney executives and convinced them to be a “Force for Change.”
Part of that fund-raising effort was a chance to be in the new “Star Wars” movie. The selection was made through everyone who donated $10 to UNICEF. More than $6 million was raised for the charity organization to date.
“That’s real money helping thousands of children around the world,” Abrams says.
Now, he’s got to think about the millions around the world who are waiting if “The Force Awakens” is a worthy addition to the massive “Star Wars” universe.
The countdown continues ...