Director J.J. Abrams revealed some insights into his process making “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in an exclusive interview with Wired published today.
Every aspect of “The Force Awakens” has been meticulously planned and crafted to fit an already established history and a plan for future sequels. Having the already familiar backstory helped determine the plot in an “organic” way, Abrams said.
“We didn’t have to come up with a backstory that would make sense; it’s all there,” he said. “But these new characters, which ‘Force’ is very much about, find themselves in new situations — so even if you don’t know anything about ‘Star Wars,’ you’re right there with them. If you are a fan of ‘Star Wars,’ what they experience will have added meaning.”
But with Abrams not coming back to direct the forthcoming “Episode VIII” (the entry after “Force Awakens”), transparency with director Rian Johnson and producer Ram Bergman was important. Abrams also revealed that the script for “VII” is written.
“I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping,” he said. “Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans… That will be his movie; he’s going to do it in the way he sees fit. He’s neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process.”
When collaborating on the story for “The Force Awakens,” Abrams said he and Lawrence Kasdan, who also co-wrote “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi,” focused on the film both as filmmakers and as fans of the series.
“That was really the only requirement Larry and I imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful,” he said. “It was not about explaining everything away, not about introducing a certain number of toys for a corporation, not about trying to appease anyone. This has only ever been about what gets us excited.”
As for casting, Abrams said it was important to find actors capable of carrying the story through for “at least three” films.
“That, to me, was the biggest challenge. When we met Daisy Ridley, when we found John Boyega, and then Oscar Isaac and Adam Driver came aboard, we got really excited. And yes, Daisy and John could work together, but what happens when Harrison’s in the mix? What will that feel like? If it doesn’t spark, it’s a fucking disaster. Yes, BB-8 is a great character, amazingly puppeteered, but what will happen when he’s suddenly in a scene with C-3P0 or R2-D2? Will it feel bizarre? Will it feel wrong? Somehow it didn’t…We worked really hard to cast and to write and to put it all together, but you just don’t know until you start shooting. Then all of a sudden, you’re on-set watching it and you know.”
Abrams also credited Disney for allowing him to keep secrets about the film held close, which has spawned numerous fan theories. But the director also understands the importance of teasing material and actually pushed for the short teaser that was released last year.
Wired’s “Star Wars” issue will hit newsstands November 24.
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