Whenever a studio digs its talons into a beloved property and enlists new people to bring it back to the big screen, fans are bound to wonder: who’s ultimately in control? Are studio execs sitting around a table somewhere trimming and tweaking whatever they get to try to create exactly the movie they want to sell, or are they trusting in the abilities of whichever filmmaker they hire?
This line of questioning has come up again and again with respect to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the wake of Disney buying Lucasfilm in order to bring the galaxy far, far away under its wing. Perhaps understandably, fans have fretted that the company seeks to make Star Wars Disney, something more in line with the House of Mouse’s storytelling model than the world George Lucas originally created – and, to the appreciation of many, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams recently went on record to confirm that’s not the case here.
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Speaking at a Vanity Fair function, Abrams said the studio is “not trying to Disney-fy” Star Wars and confirmed that he has the last word on all edits to the finished film, ensuring there won’t be any creative meddling to try to check certain studio boxes.
Abrams also spoke freely about how much he’s enjoyed working with Disney brass:
“I cannot say enough about how Bog Iger and Alan Horn have understood this thing that is now part of the Disney company. And they’re not trying to Disney-fy it, they’re not doing anything other than, I think, an incredibly smart thing, which is letting Kathleen Kennedy — who is a remarkable person and producer — run and lead Lucasfilm to a place where I think it wants to go. They let us make the movie we wanted to make.”
It’s nice to get this confirmed by Abrams, not that he’d be allowed to or interested in trash-talking Disney ahead of the film’s release. Still, if there were any major problems, we would have heard about them by this point. Now, with the issue of Disney interference somewhat resolved, the question becomes, will Star Wars fans be happy with Abrams‘ take on the material? We’ll find out when the movie opens December 18.