When J.J. Abrams decided to write and direct The Force Awakens for Disney, we know he rejected the ideas of franchise creator George Lucas and went his own way with the story. At the time Abrams didn’t think he would be back in the sequel trilogy as Rian Johnson was directing Episode 8, and Colin Trevorrow was directing Episode 9.
Johnson did, of course, direct The Last Jedi, but Trevorrow was replaced as director on Episode 9 and it ended up coming back to Abram’s to finish off the sequel trilogy with this December’s The Rise of Skywalker. Much has been made of the way fans felt that Jonhson’s The Last Jedi didn’t follow on the threads of The Force Awakens enough. As someone who didn’t like The Last Jedi, I also can’t help feel that Abram’s The Force Awakens didn’t leave Johnson with very much to work with. At the time I excused The Force Awakens as having to erase the bad feelings around the Star Wars prequels, but realistically, after viewing The Last Jedi, I felt like The Force Awakens was little more than a copy/paste job from Abrams.
So how is Abrams going to follow The Last Jedi, and what did he think about the direction Johnson took the middle movie of the trilogy. Abrams recently spoke with Empire and discussed how he finishes a story that went a different direction than he would have in the middle. You can also follow that link above for a new official image of The Knights of Ren from the upcoming Star Wars movie.
“I never found myself trying to repair anything,” the director says. “If I had done VIII, I would have done things differently, just as Rian would have done things differently if he had done VII. But having worked on television series, I was accustomed to creating stories and characters that then were run by other people. If you’re willing to walk away from the thing that you created and you believe it’s in trustworthy hands, you have to accept that some of the decisions being made are not gonna be the same that you would make. And if you come back into it, you have to honor what’s been done.”
Honestly, I half buy this, and I half don’t. I genuinely feel like Abrams never gave much thought to what comes next as he was there to gives fans ‘what they wanted’ from a Star Wars film. I also think he was brought back because Lucasfilm perceives The Force Awakens as being well received and The Last Jedi as being not as well received. Just my own guess, I have no evidence to really back that point of view up.
The one thing that appears apparent to me despite Lucasfilm protests to the contrary, is that they had no definite plan for how this story would play out as a trilogy. It does seem to be a relay effort of sorts as the baton is passed from Abrams to Johnson, and back to Abrams again. I also can’t help but worry that what Abrams will deliver will be more or less a remake of Return of the Jedi, with just enough differences that fans of the sequel trilogy will be able to claim it’s not. I genuinely hope to be proved wrong come December, but the Emperor being back, whilst at first exciting me, now leaves me worried that this movie will undo the most powerful moments of Return of the Jedi i.e. the redemption of Anakin Skywalker and his fulfillment of the prophecy.
What do you think of Abram’s comments? Lay it out in the usual place below.
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