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J.J. Abrams Is Ready to Step Away From Remakes and Reboots, and Thank Goodness For That

Despite the fact that he was attending the Golden Globes representing Westworld, the HBO/Bad Robot TV reboot of the 1973 Michael Crichton film, J.J. Abrams says that he’s ready to move on to telling original stories and I, for one, couldn’t be happier.

In an interview with People Magazine’s JD Heyman at last night’s award show, Abrams talked about the fact that, while he’s been grateful for the opportunity to work on properties he fell in love with in his youth, he’s looking forward to moving on. “You know, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten involved in things that I loved when I was a kid,” he says. “In fact, even Westworld, which we’re here for tonight, is one of them. But I don’t feel any desire to do that again. I feel like I’ve done enough of that that I’m more excited about working on things that are original ideas that perhaps one day someone else will have to reboot.”

When asked if he’s concerned by the film-going audience’s seeming thirst for reboots and remakes, he does express the concern that “if you’re telling a story that is not moving anything forward, not introducing anything that’s relevant, that’s not creating a new mythology or an extension of it, then a complete remake of something feels like a mistake.”

“But film is a fairly young medium and there are stories that have lasted for centuries,” he added. “And it’s not uncommon, I think, for stories to be retold — whether it’s at campfire or on film, but I think you always have to be additive. You can’t just be remaking something just for the sake of remaking it.”

Much though I think reboots and remakes not only have their place, but can be extremely valuable, I also believe that more Hollywood studios and production companies should be taking chances on original stories and ideas. When it comes to J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot, groundbreaking TV shows like Alias, Lost, and Fringe are a big part of what put them on the map, and as much as I’ve loved their take on existing franchises (and as much as The Force Awakens is My Star Wars), I’ve been wanting for the focus to return to more original stories, particularly in film.

Super 8 was a lovely, if imperfect start, and has long made me wonder what other stories Abrams as a writer/director has up his sleeve now as a more experienced filmmaker. Meanwhile, the Cloverfield films are intriguing, and seem to be a part of a greater plan that goes beyond films. The film industry is a seemingly endless sea of not only reboots and remakes, but adaptations of pre-existing works in other mediums (I’m looking at you, every comic book movie). We need more producers focusing on stories that are exclusive to film. What can film, specifically genre film, do and say about our world that no other medium can? I’m looking forward to Abrams helping us find out.

(featured image via screencap)

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