JJ Abrams Wants to Kill Your Dad

by Brock Relyea on October 22, 2015

in Star Wars

This article contains speculation about the plot of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens as well as a look at some of the previous work of its writer/director, JJ Abrams, who is a more effective father killer than poor diets, lack of exercise and a sedentary lifestyle.

It seems a safe bet that at least one, maybe some, or perhaps all (never tell me the odds!) of the new leads in the Star Wars sequel trilogy will be offspring of the characters that appeared in our beloved Original Trilogy. What is not a safe bet is the father(s) of these character(s) making it out of the new sequel trilogy alive. You see, JJ has killed a lot of on-screen dads. It’s kind of his thing.

Whether writing or directing or producing or show-running, Abrams brings the world stories that result in fathers meeting their ends. The evidence follows… spoiler-alert for Abrams’ movies and television shows that if you have not already seen.

Dead Dads….in Space!

Bruce Willis in Armageddon – space sacrifice just after saying goodbye to his daughter.

George Kirk in Star Trek – space sacrifice while talking to his wife as she gives birth to his son (who will grow up to be quite the Beastie Boys fan, much like JJ himself).

Honorable mention:

Captain Christopher Pike in Star Trek Into Darkness. Apparently father figures must die, too. It’s surprising he survived the first one.

Cancelled: Dead TV Dads

Jack Bristow on Alias – mortally wounded, bury immortal enemy alive sacrifice, just after saying goodbye to his daughter. (Wait, what? The ‘just after saying goodbye to a daughter’ thing again? Yes. If one of our Original Trilogy heroes is the Rey’s dad, they really need to prepare to become One With The Force in the very near future).

Christian Shephard on Lost, which was the deadest dad show ever.

A Legend Stops the Slaughter?

You may be thinking, whoa, slow down and drop out of Hyperspace for a minute, because the dads in Super 8 did not die. Well, yeah, but I’m sure JJ wanted to kill the absolute shit out of those dads in Super 8. Steven Spielberg must have reined him in. Something else to be thankful to him for besides Indiana Jones and Jaws.

Regarding Vengeance

Also worth noting is that 25 years ago a young JJ tried to kill Harrison Ford’s slick lawyer, smoker (he just wanted some cigarettes) and, most importantly, father character in Regarding Henry by shooting him in the head. Henry got better. However, if we learn Han Solo has become a father in The Force Awakens, it’s highly unlikely that JJ will allow a cinematic Harrison Ford dad to escape his murderous designs a second time.

I’ve Got a Bad Feeling About This…

Like many of us, my father is roughly in the same age demographic as the real-life counterparts of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. I’m lucky that he’s still alive, healthy, active and a big part of my life. He’s always been my real-life hero as much as Han and Indy were my fictional ones. The fact that I’m not and will never be ready to really think about life without him bleeds into my feelings as we get closer and closer to the new Star Wars movies. One of my earliest memories is sitting beside my dad in a theater, still a toddler, watching A New Hope and having him read me Greedo’s subtitles.

One day we’re all going to die. Reality and linear, unforgiving time is absolute. Fortunately, fictional characters are not subject to those things… unless the artists that are creating their new stories choose for them to be.

I’ve never been one of the ‘fill-in-the-blank ruined my childhood memories’ crowd. That sort of thing has never made any sense to me. If the death of an iconic character like Han or Luke happens as a part of a good story, I’ll be saddened, but, ultimately, I’m all for good stories.

However, when I look at Abrams’ oeuvre (that’s fancy French for all the shit he’s done) to date, it gives me pause. Can a writer’s style and a repetitive element get in the way of the story? Can a creator that always works a certain thing into their story get out of their own way enough not to do so? If a main Original Trilogy character is revealed to be a parent and is subsequently killed in The Force Awakens how many of us will accept it as solid storytelling and how many will just see it as Abrams being Abrams?

@Brock626 won a shit-ton of creative writing contests in college and has been tinkering with novels ever since. He is a full time Human Resources carny, homeless outreach volunteer, unlicensed private investigator and friend of many feral cats. He lives with his wife in Northern Virginia and drives a 2001 Mustang that doesn’t look like much, but its got it where it counts and he’s made a lot of special modifications himself.

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