WHO: Director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, quite possibly the most anticipated film of the decade.
WHY: As much as it sounds like a dream ticket, directing a Star Wars film is actually the most difficult job in cinema. On the one hand, you’re forced to work within the restrictions of one of the biggest franchises in history; but if you produce a film that is anything other than perfect you’ll be labelled a disappointment. It’s a brave, perhaps foolish, person who takes it on.
This issue went to press before The Force Awakens was released, so we’ll have to reserve full judgement – but in many respects, JJ Abrams has already succeeded. Over the past year and a bit, he has brought the joy back to Star Wars. When the world saw that first trailer, reuniting us with Han Solo, Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon, grown humans were moved to tears with the rush of nostalgia. He made it fun to be a Star Wars fan once more. It almost doesn’t matter what the final film is like, the anticipation has been the year’s greatest cinematic joy. And we have one man to thank for that.
WHAT HE SAYS: “I would love for people, younger people, to see this movie and feel like they see themselves in it. I want them to leave the theatre like I did when I was young, feeling anything is possible.”
WHAT PEOPLE SAY ABOUT HIM: “He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.” – George Lucas
HOW HE MADE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE: Regardless of how the film turns out, Abrams got us excited about Star Wars for the first time since 1999.
Read about why we picked the rest of our People of the Year 2015:
Taylor Swift – For establishing herself as the most powerful pop star on the planet
Kendrick Lamar – For making rap righteous again
The Libertines – For the year’s most beautiful (and unlikely) comeback
Mhairi Black – For changing the face of British politics
Skepta – For taking grime global
Miley Cyrus – For refusing to conform, and celebrating diversity
Nicki Minaj – For speaking out on race, gender and sexuality
Mathieu Flamini – For trying to save the world with his geo-energy company GF Biochemicals
Adele – For breaking every record in music history
Jennifer Lawrence – For being the year’s best role model
Noel Gallagher – For cutting through the crap and making us laugh