J.J. Abrams has been behind some of the most successful reboots and revivals of the last decade, including Mission Impossible, Westworld, Star Trek, and, of course, Star Wars. But the legendary filmmaker is quitting reboots cold turkey, according to an interview with People Magazine.
"You know, I feel incredibly lucky to have gotten involved in things that I loved when I was a kid," Abrams, who was probably gaunt and visibly shaking, said in the interview. "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."
Of course, while the desire to quit making reboots is one that filmmakers hopelessly trapped in the grips of reboot addiction often dream of, withdrawal from making reboots can have very serious health consequences. For more on this, Bleeding Cool spoke to an expert in the field of Reboot Recovery at the prestigious University of Phoenix, Professor Thaddeus T. Puffinbottoms.
"Side effects of reboot withdrawal are extremely dangerous," Puffinbottoms explained, pointing to several posters on his wall explaining the perils of reboot abuse. "A filmmaker's body changes from making lots of reboots over a long period of time, with multiple receptors in the brain looking for that rush of hormones that are produced whenever a dormant property that can be repurposed as a blockbuster film or hit TV show is discovered. To suddenly just stop make reboots, without getting the proper medical treatment, a filmmaker can expect drastic changes to their brain chemistry that their body may react violently too. In experiencing these negative symptoms, a filmmaker could be tempted to return to the comfort of making reboots."
Illustrating the point, Abrams didn't even finish the People interview before he began reminiscing about his reboot days, glorifying the lifestyle of a habitual rebooter.
"You know, I do think 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," the director said in the interview, we imagine obsessively scratching himself while rationalizing his urge to reboot and downplaying its negative effects. "But film is a fairly young medium and there are stories that have lasted for centuries. 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."
Professor Puffinbottoms recommends that directors and producers looking to give up the unhealthy practices of rebooting or reviving popular franchises consider seeking treatment from a qualified medical professional, as well as attending twelve step programs designed to help filmmakers deal with the struggles of trying to come up with new ideas after spending so many years of their career just rehashing old ones. He also says that rebooters in recovery should get plenty of rest, drink lots of water, and engage in healthy filmmaking activities, avoiding gateway techniques like overuse of lens flare.
"Look at Michael Bay," Puffinbottoms warned. "I'm told he doesn't even remember how to make an original movie anymore. It's just explosions, explosions, scantily clad woman writhing on the hood of a car, more explosions. It's sad, really. J.J. Abrams has a lot of talent, and we don't want him to end up like Michael Bay. Nobody wants that."
"I hope he gets the help he needs," Puffinbottoms concluded.
It's a sentiment we all share. Get well soon, J.J. Abrams. And stay off the reboots… one day at a time.