As if bringing the Star Wars franchise back to life wasn’t hard enough, director J.J. Abrams also has to balance the story elements that will eventually build out into another full-fledged trilogy. No pressure, right?
In an interview with /Film, the director opened up about that process and the tightrope he’s had to walk with The Force Awakens. He said he’s definitely spent some time collaborating with Rian Johnson (Looper), who is already signed on to direct Episode VIII. Meanwhile, he is trying to simultaneously tell a “complete” story without wrapping everything up to the point that a sequel seems unnecessary.
Here’s an excerpt from Abrams' comments:
“We don’t write a treatment but there are countless times we came up with something and said ‘Oh, this would be so great for Episode VIII!” or “Thats what we could get to in IX!’ It was just that kind of forward moving story. But we knew this had to neither be a backwards moving nostalgic trip only nor a beginning of a movie without a satisfying conclusion, and that was part of the balancing act — embracing what we have inherited and using that where and whenever possible to tell a story that hasn’t been seen yet. We also knew that certain things were inevitable in our minds but that didn’t mean it would be inevitable for whoever came in next.
When Rian who I admire enormously and adore, came on board, we met and talked with him about all the things we were working on and playing with, and he as a spectacular writer and director has taken those things and has written an AMAZING script that I think will be an incredible next chapter, some of which incorporating things we were thinking of and other things are things we could never of dreamed of.”
Though we take it for granted in the post-Marvel Cinematic Universe days, it’s easy to forget just how much effort and planning go into creating these massive, cohesive franchises. Not to mention the fact that you’re building on a world that is already six movies and two television series’ deep in canon.
With The Force Awakens opening this weekend, we’ll know soon enough if Abrams was able to nail the balance.