J.J. Abrams Addresses Complaints About Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Similarity To A New Hope

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J.J. Abrams, director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has addressed people’s complaints about the film feeling far too similar to A New Hope.

Prior to the release of The Force Awakens in 2015, many fans were hopeful that it would reinvigorate the franchise and take it in new and exciting directions, and when the film came out, the narrative and thematic similarities between it and the ever-sprawling saga’s original installment were clear and undeniable. Much of the audience was perfectly happy with this, as it allowed them to relive what the movie made them feel when they saw it as children. Others, however, were not as forgiving, seeing the repeated story beats as evidence of a lack of imagination and the entire endeavor as an exercise in nostalgia bait, George Lucas among them.

Abrams is perfectly aware of people’s issues with the film though, and addressed them during an interview with Rolling Stone, saying:

“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.’ 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’.”

Abrams also addressed people’s issues that the movie wasn’t about the characters of the Original Trilogy as they had hoped. He responded by stating he “felt like the way to use them was to be in support of a new story,” since “the main characters in this trilogy felt naturally connected to those characters that came before.” He also stated that “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.”

While Abrams’ words are all very well and true, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to create a world in which the events of three decades previously have swiftly passed into legend, but also where the story in which they feature doesn’t feel like a recycling of them, as the two are in no way mutually exclusive.

Also, such is the proliferation of Star Wars in popular culture, it certainly doesn’t take an entire movie of intentional back treading before moving forwards is possible. There’s a lot of discourse surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ similarity to A New Hope, but the primary point is that it’s one of those complicated situations in which one person’s reasons for disliking something are exactly the same as why another enjoyed it, making it all a matter of personal preference.

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