J.J. Abrams Addresses the Lack of Luke, Leia, and Han in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy

To some, the iconic three heroes of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, [...]

To some, the iconic three heroes of the original Star Wars trilogy, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Han Solo, are the beating heart of the franchise. Actors Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and the late Carrier Fisher could never escape the spotlight of Star Wars even after their tenure supposedly ended in the 1980s. When it was announced that The Walt Disney Company had purchased Lucasfilm and would be developing a seventh Star Wars movie, the first thought of many fans was seeing the return of these iconic characters and how they would lead a new series of films. As we now know, they certainly came back, but they weren't first on the call sheet, something which has become a sticking point to many fans about the seventh and eighth episodes.

Speaking in an interview with Rolling Stone, director J.J. Abrams was asked point blank about this criticism that some have leveled at the "sequel trilogy," noting that there was potential to make the stars of the original film series the stars of the sequel but that was never the plan. As Abrams points out though, the presence of these three character works seamlessly in the new story being told, even if they don't have as many lines as some might like.

"It certainly could have been their story," Abrams said. "But it felt like the way to use them was to be in support of a new story. The great thing about Star Wars fans is they care so much. And even those who are the most cynical or the most negative are still people who, for the most part, embrace what's being done, even just as fodder for debate. All I can say is that the main characters in this trilogy felt naturally connected to those characters that came before."

Abrams also addressed the criticism leveled at The Force Awakens that it was too much of a retread of the original movies, something even George Lucas reportedly said about the film. The director said he "gets" that criticism and resepcts anyone who holds that viewpoint.

"The idea was to continue the story and to begin with this young woman who felt like Luke Skywalker was a myth. And to tell a story that was not just history repeating itself, but a story that embraced the movies that we know as the actual history of this galaxy. So that they are still living in a place where there is good versus evil, they're still living in the shadow of what has come before, still grappling with the sins of the father and the people who have preceded them. This was not about a nostalgia play. It felt, to me, like a way of saying, 'Let's go back to a Star Wars that we know, so we can tell another story.'"

Fans will see how Abrams will conclude the Skywalker Saga with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker on December 20th. We already know going in that Mark Hamill will return once again as Luke Skywalker in some capacity, and that the late Carrie Fisher will also appear, her scenes constructed from about 8 minutes of deleted footage from 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.