The Director’s Super Power

Alyssa is disappointed that J.J. Abrams will direct the next Star Wars. She notes that major movie franchises “are opportunities for writers and directors to exert enormous cultural influence”:

There should be debates about what it means to have extraordinarily powerful people emerge in our society, which is why I’m glad that Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel apparently is going to explore a much more ambivalent reaction to the rise of superheroes than either The Avengers or Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies ever contemplated. There should be arguments about what our future is going to look like, which is one of the reasons Abrams’ Star Trek, which was a dramatic retreat from the socially engaged tradition of the franchise, was a disappointment even as it was highly entertaining.

And while Star Wars is a space opera, it’s also always been about totalitarianism, religious extremism, torture, and the moral value of political engagement, too. The source and meaning of mystery isn’t the only issue worth considering. And white, male geek gods aren’t the only people with profound investment in these franchises, and the way they express these questions.