It had been 10 years since Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was released when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters in December 2015, more than enough time for fans to get excited about the prospect of the Skywalker Saga returning for one final trilogy. J.J. Abrams was hired to direct the first new Star Wars movie since Disney took control of Lucasfilm, tasked with the challenge of incorporating iconic legacy characters into a brand new continuation story. The hype surrounding its arrival led to massive financial success and the biggest domestic box office haul of all time. It was mostly praised upon release, though there were some that had a couple of bones to pick with The Force Awakens, arguing that it was too much like Star Wars: A New Hope.
Abrams has long been aware of those criticisms, and he seems to totally understand where people ar coming from. During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Abrams opened up about the complaints surrounding The Force Awakens, and why his film was about much more than nostalgia.
"And I completely get the criticism, and for those who found it too much of an overlap, I say, 'I totally hear you and respect the review,'" Abrams said. "But 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.'”
The interviewer also mentioned that another criticism of The Force Awakens, particularly from older fans, was that the film didn't really revolve around the story of Luke, Han, and Leia.
"It certainly could have been their story," he responded. "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."
What did you think of The Force Awakens? Was it too much like A New Hope in your mind? Let us know in the comments!
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters on December 20th.