The original Star Wars trilogy almost immediately became a cultural sensation, cementing itself in pop culture for decades to come. When George Lucas decided to create an all-new trilogy 15 years later, expectations were incredibly high, with the different aesthetic and tonal choices by Lucas resulting in a backlash against the films. Following the announcement that a new sequel trilogy was being developed, audiences were curious about whether the new films would feel more familiar to the prequels or to the original trilogy, putting J.J. Abrams in a difficult position of creating a film that felt both fresh and familiar. The filmmaker noted that it was the necessity of setting the stage for new characters that drew those similarities between Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: A New Hope.
J.J. Abrams heard the grumbles of The Force Awakens being too similar to A New Hope, but he reminds fans that #TheRiseOfSkywalker will feel the influence of ALL the films that came before it. pic.twitter.com/m5K3dDTxSK— Fandango (@Fandango) April 13, 2019
"We've gotten a lot of flack for people saying, 'Oh, Force Awakens was just a remake of New Hope,' and while that was something that obviously was never the intention, it was about introducing new characters [and] using the old, and there's a natural sense in any hero's journey of certain tenants will come to play," Abrams admitted to Fandango.
Despite the concerns from fans about Force Awakens feeling familiar, it was still a massive success, grossing more than $2 billion worldwide and sitting at 92% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.
Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow was originally attached to direct Star Wars: Episode IX, only for creative differences between he and Lucasfilm to result in his departure. Fans who didn't enjoy the familiar feeling of Force Awakens were apprehensive about how Abrams would conclude the Skywalker Saga, though he assured it was a main directive for this film to not feel like another "remake."
"We very much wanted to make sure that we were not somehow inadvertently being so influenced by one thing, however the job of this film is to be the end of nine films," Abrams added. "So we can't ignore the fact that we come from Episodes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VI, and VIII. So it wasn't about, 'Let's choose that one. Let's do a riff on that,' it was more, 'How do these stories culminate,' and that was our job."
Fans will find out if this mindset paid off when Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker lands in theaters on December 20th.
What do you think about Abrams' remarks? Let us know in the comments below or hit up @TheWolfman on Twitter to talk all things Star Wars and horror!
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