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Image via The Howard Stern Show

Image via The Howard Stern Show

A few short years ago, it was a huge mystery as to who was to carry on the legacy of the “Star Wars” franchise. Rumors were all over the place as to who would further the world that George Lucas created back in 1977. Whoever took over the franchise would be facing immense pressure, and no matter how well they did, they’d be facing unprecedented scrutiny from fans and critics alike. 

On January 25, 2013, it was revealed that J.J. Abrams would be taking on the then-unnamed “Star Wars Episode VII.” The director had already shared his talents with such franchises as “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek,” and seemed like the perfect fit to continue the epic space opera. Little did fans know that it was Abrams’ involvement in the previously mentioned franchises that nearly prevented him from saying yes to “Star Wars.”

On the “Howard Stern Show,” Abrams talks about why he originally said no to the directing gig.

“I said no. I didn’t want to do a sequel. I’d done a ‘Mission Impossible’ movie; I’d done a ‘Star Trek’; I’m sick of doing movies with numbers.”

Though of course, we know that Abrams eventually took on the job. But what made him change his mind? Well, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wasn’t ready to give up on him just yet. Kennedy and Abrams had already known each other for some time, and the former was already well aware at Abrams would bring an unprecedented enthusiasm and talent to the table.

“Kathy said can we get together, and so we sat down and we just started talking about ‘Star Wars.’ We just started talking about what this thing could be, and as we were talking about it I found myself suddenly on fire… When Kathy and I started talking about these characters, the idea that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia—this is 40 years ago, so for someone who’s 19 years old, they’re myths. Who knows what they know about them? People wouldn’t even know, maybe, who some of these characters are.”

“And the thing that got me, that grabbed me, was that feeling of a new, young character–in the case of this conversation it was a female character–didn’t know anything about her. But in the conversation that question of this young woman asking, ‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’, I don’t know why but it made me feel like, ‘F— that’s so cool!’ That there would be a discovery, these would be essentially kids who didn’t see ‘Star Wars’ themselves who would be in this universe. The idea of sort of rediscovering this world.”

The rest, as we know it, is history. Whether or not this is a history we will fondly remember or look back on in disappointment, we can only wait and see.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters on December 18, 2015. Are you pumped yet? Let us know your thoughts down below!