There has always been something a little bit off about the idea of J.J. Abrams directing both the new Star Wars and Star Trek films. Whenever the thought occurs to us, we get this creepy crawling sensation under our skin, like some unwritten rule is being violated. Star Wars and Star Trek are the two most iconic science fiction properties, and the fact that their new continuations are being helmed by the same guy feels sort of taboo. The two series are just so radically different. Star Wars is an action adventure story while Star Trek has always been a more adult-minded, philosophical television and film series. Now that they are both under the thumb of Anrams, there are fears that the two movie series will feel too similar. Abrams certainly has an eye for sci-fi spectacle, but he hasn’t quite captured the beating heart that makes Star Trek so beloved to its fans. What if this same disconnect happens to the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII?
We already know about the rumors surrounding Benedict Cumberbatch’s possible casting in the new film, but what about the rumors regarding Simon Pegg? In an interview with The Independent, Pegg denies involvment in the new film, saying, “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to be in it, to be honest. I think J.J. should cast new faces with no stunt casting.” Pegg continues, “I wouldn’t want to be popped out of the film by a knowing cameo. I think it would be great to do it properly.’
Saorsie Ronan is also being rumored to be in talks for the film. Young, fresh-faced actors like Ronan are the kinds of people Abrams should be approaching. The original films succeded partly because they casted unknowns who could perform the roles without any excess baggage or expectations.
Pegg has the right idea. With the rumors of Cumberbatch’s casting, It feels like J.J. Abrams might not be focusing enough on making a Star Wars movie, but making a J.J. Abrams movie, bringing his same cast of actors together for another romp through lens-flared space without considering the differences between the franchises. If the same director making both movies was weird, then having an actor as recognizable as Cumberbatch pop up in both series is downright sacrilegious. Suspension of disbelief is a fragile thing, and having Khan bellow lines on the Enterprise and then show up in the Millennium Falcon will shatter it to pieces. There is a special magic infused in both of these movies that makes them feel so different, and allows them to stand the test of time. With any hope, J.J. Abrams will see that and deliver a film that feels uniquely like Star Wars. Casting Ronan would be a step in the right direction.