Truth be told, you’d search high and wide to find a well-held criticism of Star Wars: The Force Awakens based on the onslaught of positive reviews – not to mention those record-shattering box office receipts – but one of the more resounding, say, disappointments is that Disney, Lucasfilm and J.J. Abrams play it remarkably safe in the film, adhering to a tried and tested formula that evokes more than a few memories from A New Hope.
Balancing the old with the new was naturally a hot-button topic during production, and during a recent Q&A in the wake of a screening at the Directors Guild Of America, Abrams and series stalwart Lawrence Kasdan spoke about this balancing act as they look to steer the franchise into the future.
MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB
One defining turning point in the development of The Force Awakens was welcoming back Lawrence Kasdan in lieu of Michael Arndt – who still received a credit on the screenplay. Having worked on the original trilogy, Kasdan has a deep understanding of these characters and the world they inhabit, which gave Abrams the necessary tools to simultaneously continue the arcs of Han, Luke and Leia while introducing audiences to Rey, Finn, Poe and of course, BB-8.
“I wasn’t sure I wanted to be involved. And I was a little relieved when they said Michael Arndt had been hired to write ‘Episode VII,’ because whoever writes that episode, I don’t know what you do with it. But they said, ‘Here are these other stories we’d like to do.’ And the one that caught my attention was a young Han Solo because that’s my favorite character.”
As our own Isaac Feldberg notes, it turns out that despite these similarities, The Force Awakens is a remarkable return for the Star Wars franchise, and it’s only the first chapter in what is shaping up to be an intriguing and, crucially, diverse saga.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to be a barnstorming success in theaters, and it’s only been out for a week. To catch a glimpse of some early concept art for Abrams’ box office-shaking juggernaut, check out the gallery below.