J.J. Abrams has a lot to say right now. Not only is he developing a Superman reboot for Warner Bros., and working on an adaptation of the popular videogame Portal, but he’s also celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of Super 8, and it’s while doing the rounds promoting his ode-to-Spielberg that he opened up about the problems experienced planning the Star Wars sequels.
Abrams directed the $2 billion grossing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as reluctantly being drafted in as a last minute replacement for Colin Trevorrow on the much-maligned trilogy-capper, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. In-between he’d seen the foundations laid in Episode VII veer off in different directions than he’d intended, or in some cases abandoned completely by The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson.
This perceived lack of creative communication between the Star Wars directors was addressed in an interview with Collider, where Abrams admitted that “there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going”.
“I’ve been involved in a number of projects that have been – in most cases, series – that have ideas that begin the thing where you feel like you know where it’s gonna go, and sometimes it’s an actor who comes in, other times it’s a relationship that as-written doesn’t quite work, and things that you think are gonna just be so well-received just crash and burn and other things that you think like, ‘Oh that’s a small moment’ or ‘That’s a one-episode character’ suddenly become a hugely important part of the story. I feel like what I’ve learned as a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year working with writers [has become clear], the lesson is that you have to plan things as best you can, and you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected. And the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms, and I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going.”
Abrams, who has previous experience when it comes to criticism about something he created being accused of not knowing where it was going with ABC’s Lost, added:
“You just never really know, but having a plan I have learned – in some cases the hard way – is the most critical thing, because otherwise you don’t know what you’re setting up. You don’t know what to emphasize. Because if you don’t know the inevitable of the story, you’re just as good as your last sequence or effect or joke or whatever, but you want to be leading to something inevitable.”
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Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sees J.J. Abrams (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) directing a cast that includes Star Wars veterans Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Greg Grunberg (Snap Wexley), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) as well as new additions Naomi Ackie (Lady Macbeth), Richard E. Grant (Logan), Dominic Monaghan (Lost), and Keri Russell (The Americans).