This morning, Entertainment Weekly dropped a couple bombs on fandom with a pair of articles revealing new details regarding about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first article, which also included some new still images from the film, also went into some more details regarding how J.J. Abrams was finally convinced to direct the film.
The director, who had previously rebooted Star Trek for the big screen in 2009 and was in the midst of finishing his 2013 sequel Star Trek Into Darkness, simply said he preferred to turn to some original projects. Undeterred, Kennedy persuaded him to helm Star Wars: The Force Awakens by asking a simple question, one with the potential to upend our core beliefs about the galaxy far, far away. “In the context of talking about story and laying out what we were thinking, I said one thing to him,” Kennedy recalls. “‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’”
Abrams, who’s 49 now but was only 11 when the original Star Wars debuted in 1977, decided he needed to know the answer, even if he had to devise it himself. “He said, ‘Oh my God, I just got the chills. I’m in,’” Kennedy says. “I mean, it really was almost that quickly.”
They also briefly touch on the state of the galaxy and the thought process behind why the ending we thought we had in Return of the Jedi isn’t where things start off in The Force Awakens.
“Any good story has conflict,” Abrams says. “And if all were rosy 30-some years post-Jedi, we would be hard-pressed to find an interesting story to tell.” He’s not ready to reveal the political layout of the galaxy in The Force Awakens just yet, but what we know so far: There is no peace in the heavens.
In the article, the arc of the Sequel Trilogy is also discussed a couple of times.
Was there anything from the original films they struggled to echo in The Force Awakens? “I think we can’t explore in quite as much detail issues of compassion, the way [Lucas] did in terms of the values of the Jedi,” Kennedy says. “But we’re going to get there, let’s put it that way. In the arc of all three movies, that will increase.”
The story arcs he and Kasdan mapped out will be picked up by [Rian] Johnson, so Abrams will find himself becoming sort of like ghost Obi-Wan Kenobi in Empire and Jedi — a presence, an influence, but not part of the action. He likes that. “It’s a thrill to see [Johnson] take things and elevate them beyond what we had imagined at the time,” Abrams says.
Kennedy says the trilogy story has been approximated, but is ever-evolving. “We know where we’re going, but only in the broadest sense,” she says. “When Rian came in and started writing his script, he started from scratch, other than knowing what we had done in Episode VII and projecting out where it was going. He then sat down and put pen to paper, and it’s 100 percent him.”
Finally, we know who will not be directing Star Wars: Episode IX.
…when Abrams is asked about the odds he’ll return to the trilogy later, he’s unwavering. “No, I’m not going to direct Episode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies,” he says.
There’s a lot more great material in the article and you should definitely check it out and let us know what you think!