J.J. Abrams has responded to the criticism of some fans that Star Wars: The Force Awakens bares a resemblance to story lines from the original trilogy.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast, Abrams said, “I knew that, whatever we did, there would be a group of people – and I was just hoping and praying that it would be smaller than not – that would take issue with any number of things.” True enough, Abrams notes that no matter what he did, someone would inevitably say something. It’s just the world we live in now.
Abrams even admitted that the whole project scared him, but that he “knew we weren’t making the movie for any other reason than we believed that it could be something meaningful and special and entertaining and worthy of people’s time.”
But in response to the criticism, “I can understand that someone might say, ‘Oh, it’s a complete rip-off!'” he says, adding, “What was important for me was introducing brand new characters using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new — to go backwards to go forwards.”
Going backwards to go forward. Makes perfect sense, especially in the context of the Star Wars franchise seeing it’s first true sequel since 1983’s Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, as the more recent trilogy were prequels.
Speaking of looking forward, Abrams comments on the future of the franchise, revealing that he was offered the opportunity to stay on the series for future installments, but instead declined. “I realized when I was working on [The Force Awakens], the amount of energy that was required to tell the story, and do it justice, knowing when Episode VIII would start shooting, there was no way — if I wanted to still have my children talk to me in my old age — that doing that would make any sense,” he says. “If The Force Awakens worked, it was the perfect place to say, ‘I got to make a Star Wars movie,’ and not be a greedy bastard. If it didn’t work, no-one would want me doing it anyway.”
Abrams goes into a bit more detail about where the franchise is going and more on his concerns regarding accepting the responsibility of directing an installment in the Star Wars franchise in the first place, the influence of the Harry Potter movies on Force Awakens casting, the differences between Star Trek and Star Wars and where Abrams’ loyalties lie as a fan on the podcast. It’s a good listen, so check it out!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently in theaters (as if you didn’t already know).
Source: The Hollywood Reporter