J.J. Abrams’ variation of Star Trek, now known as the “Kelvin Timeline” has not been without its share of detractors. Many fans felt his interpretation of Trek played too much toward the popular perception of aspects of the original series rather than adapting the reality of it.
James Kirk is portrayed more than once in the Abrams films as something of a womanizer, while fans will argue that reputation ignores the character’s many progressive (for the 1960s at least) attitudes toward women.
The previously discussed casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in a role that was originally played by and described as a person of color received criticism for “whitewashing” the character (including criticism from Sulu actor John Cho).
Bringing in Khan at all, and the similarity between scenes in Star Trek Into Darkness and The Wrath of Khan led to some complaints about “rehashing” the earlier film, and Abrams himself has admitted there may have been too many “nods.”
Also as discussed before, the technical continuity of previous Star Trek films seemed to be ignored in some aspects of the Abrams films with trips between planets taking minutes rather than days. The aforementioned issues with starships in the atmosphere still draws the ire of many “techno-Trekkies.”
Most similar complaints about the Sequel Trilogy in Star Wars have focused more on Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi and some decisions on his part that were not what might have been expected.
Abrams did receive some criticism for The Force Awakens perhaps being too much like the original Star Wars, with many pointing out similarities between those two films…again similar to “rehash” complaints about STID. Though it is doubtful The Rise of Skywalker will just re-imagine older material, it does need to be a film that can speak to the events of all eight earlier Saga films, in order to provide closure to the narrative.
No doubt there will be fans who find his solution controversial. Indeed, there may be controversy of Abrams decides to “retcon” some of Rian Johnson’s decisions in TLJ.
Understanding that there is no film Abrams can make that will please everyone, TROS hopefully won’t try, and will just be J.J. making the movie he wants to make. He should balance the characters he helped develop with their larger part in the Saga, and close out a story 45 years in the making.
His Star Trek films, though divisive in some circles, do have a large following and are a valuable contribution to that franchise. Even so, they show a man who loves his Star Wars perhaps a little more than the property he first worked on, and isn’t afraid to take risks with established materials and ideas.
That is exactly what The Rise of Skywalker should do: take what we know, expand it, give the audience a new perspective, and then deliver a great Star Wars tale. Mr. Abrams work on Star Trek demonstrates he will likely do just that.