With the news that J.J. Abrams will be directing the much-anticipated new “Star Wars” film, we realized he’s already demonstrated how the George Lucas series helped inspire his body of work. Daddy issues? Secret siblings? Cocky antiheroes who ultimately save the day? Check, check and check. And we could argue that “Lost””s Hurley and Charlie owe something to R2D2 and C3PO, too.
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite moments from “Fringe,” “Lost,” and “Alias” that show Abrams has been under the influence of The Force all along. (Bearing in mind that Abrams didn’t create or write these shows all alone. Hats off to his fellow, obviously equally ‘Star Wars’-obsessed collaborators.)
Also, just so you “Felicity” fans don’t feel left out, there’s always this.
WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for “Fringe,” “Lost,” and “Alias.”
10. Being Caught in Nets
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Leia, Han and C3P0 get caught in a net in the forests of Endor (“Return of the Jedi”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Jack (Matthew Fox) and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) get caught in a net in the jungle (“Lost,” “S.O.S”) It seems that the inhabitants of any densely wooded area — whether they be wily Ewoks or mad Frenchwomen — love to set net traps. In “Jedi,” it leads to the revelation that the Ewoks worship shiny C3P0 as a god. In “Lost,” it led to a sexy “Jate” moment (Jack and Kate, played by Matthew Fox and Evangeline Lily).
9. The Chokehold
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Leia chokes Jabba the Hutt (“Jedi”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Sawyer (Josh Holloway) chokes the real Mr. Sawyer to death (“Lost,” “The Brig”) “The Real Mr. Sawyer” (Kevin Tighe) ruined a lot of lives on “Lost,” so he more than deserved it when Sawyer (Josh Halloway) <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emMq_r1BrGE”>choked him to death</a> with a length of chain as payback for the death of his parents. It played out very much like the scene where Leia <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x1toKHOqMg”>secured her freedom from the odious Jabba the Hutt</a>.
8. Shooting First
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu-TZpGdszA”> Han shoots first</a> (“Star Wars”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Sawyer shoots first. And often. (“Lost,” “Pilot,” “Outlaws,” and “Through the Looking Glass”) Sawyer — the surly, only-in-it-for-himself criminal who ultimately proved to have a heart of gold and a soft spot for a certain brunette — was clearly molded after Han Solo. And just like Han, Sawyer liked to get off the first shot. Like when he<a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjJOIHb4vx”> shot the polar bear</a>, the evil “Other” Tom or (in the episode “Outlaws”) the guy he thought was the con man who’d ruined his life.
7. Discovering Dead Family Members
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Luke finds the bodies of his aunt and uncle (“Star Wars”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Sydney (Jennifer Garner) finds the body of her fiancé, Danny (“Alias,” “Truth be Told”) Who can forget that moment in “Star Wars” when Luke returns home to discover his aunt and uncle have been cruelly butchered? Not Abrams. Compare the scene in the pilot of “Alias” when Sydney finds her fiancé dead in the bathtub after having told him the truth about her work as a spy. As with Luke, Sydney’s journey had just begun — and it was fueled by the need for revenge. (The moment in “Alias” happens at the nine-minute mark.)
6. Learning About Long-Lost Family Members
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Luke learns <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3GaRN3SA4E”>there is another Skywalker</a> (“Jedi”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Jack finds out Claire (Emilie de Ravin) is his half-sister (“Lost,” “There’s No Place Like Home, Part 1″) So Jack’s father was a philandering drunk and Luke’s was a Jedi who’d turned to the dark side. Both of their sons were stunned to learn they had a sister, someone they already knew very well! In Jack’s case, Claire was his half-sister and no, he never tried to kiss her. (Although some “Lost” fanfic writers were probably upset to learn the two were related.) On “Alias,” Sydney also learned that she had a half-sister she hadn’t known about (Nadia, played by Mia Maestro), revealed in the fourth season.
5. Learning About Long-Lost Family Members (Part 2)
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Leia realizes she “always knew” <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9JiGljx3Ec”>Luke was her brother</a> (“Jedi”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Claire knows Jack is her brother (“Lost,” “The Last Recruit”). It took a lot longer on “Lost” (two whole seasons) before Claire revealed that she knew Jack was her brother. Like Leia — who figured it out in the same movie as Luke — we sure always knew “somehow.”
4. Tearful Goodbyes
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Han kisses Leia goodbye, then <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO-KR-14uXM”>is frozen in carbonite</a> (“The Empire Strikes Back”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Sawyer and Kate have a tearful goodbye as he faces certain death (“Lost,” “I Do”) Kate doesn’t say “I love you” and Sawyer doesn’t say “I know,” but the heartwrenching moment where Sawyer is led away to be shot is strikingly similar to the carbon freezing scene in “Empire.” And if you wanted an epic goodbye kiss, Sawyer <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_Jgx1RTh30″>gave Kate one in the “There’s No Place Like Home” episode</a>, before he jumped out of a helicopter to save her and several others.
3. Being Guided By a Ghost
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Luke is <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2we_B6hDrY”>instructed by the ghost of Obi-Wan Kenobi</a> (“Star Wars”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> The characters on “Lost” are guided by the mysterious Jacob “Lost”‘s mumbo-jumbo philosophy — we’re still not sure we fully understand it — involved a shadowy figure named Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), who was able to appear and guide people even after his death.
2. Father Issues
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Luke won’t accept that Darth Vader is his real father (“Empire”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Peter learns Walter is <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u7BrdtNJOI”>not his real father</a> (“Fringe,” “The Man From the Other Side)” “Fringe” fans found out before Peter (Joshua Jackson) did that Walter (John Noble) had kidnapped him from an alternate universe as a boy after his own son (Peter’s double) had died, so it didn’t come as the complete shock that Darth Vader’s “Luke, I am your father” did. It was only one of the biggest movie reveals of all time, so Luke’s, “Nooo!” was understandable. Peter had a much more subdued, but equally horrified, reaction, one that had him rejecting the man trying to be his father. (On “Alias,” Sydney was also horrified to learn that her mother, whom she’d long thought dead, was alive, and so evil that she’d shoot her own daughter.)
<strong>LUCAS:</strong> Obi-Wan Kenobi sacrifices himself to be one with The Force (“Star Wars”) <strong>ABRAMS:</strong> Walter sacrifices himself to save everyone in the world (“Fringe,” “An Enemy of Fate”) Is it a coincidence that three of J. J. Abrams’s series end with main characters sacrificing themselves to save others, much as Obi-Wan allowed himself to be slain by Darth Vader in one of the most memorable moments in “Star Wars?” In “Lost,” Jack gave his life to save the island and everyone on it, on “Alias,” Jack Bristow (Victor Garber) didn’t hesitate to blow up his mortal enemy along with himself and on the just-concluded “Fringe,” Walter willingly went with an Observer to save the entire world.