Following one of the biggest marketing campaigns in recent memory duly followed by what is shaping up to be the biggest box office haul in history, The Force Awakens has reinstated Star Wars’ status as a cultural phenomenon, and that’s after the prequels threatened to tarnish such a prestigious track record.
It’s for this reason that J.J. Abrams’ recently-released juggernaut is being compared to A New Hope in its ability to kick-start a trilogy – not to mention the numerous callbacks to the seminal 1977 film, with everything from trench runs to cameos to planet-crushing Death Stars. Such a trajectory will soon place the spotlight on Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII, which boasts a script so good that Abrams regrets not agreeing to direct.
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Now that The Force Awakens is out in the wild and blasting past box office records left, right and center, Abrams will step down from directing duties to assume an executive producing role in Disney and Lucasfilm’s rejuvenated franchise, offering creative assistance to the likes of Gareth Edwards, Colin Trevorrow and Johnson as the franchise begins to take shape once again.
However, according to The Force Awakens actor Greg Gunberg, Abrams harbors an inkling of regret that he didn’t take on Episode VIII himself. Per The Washington Post, Gunberg revealed that the director “said something he never, ever says. ‘It’s so good, I wish I were making it.’ He may have said something one time on ‘Lost,’ with Damon [Lindelof, the co-creator], but I never hear him express regret like that.”
Details for Star Wars: Episode VIII are thin on the ground at this early stage, though series stalwart Lawrence Kasdan has teased that will be a very different movie to The Force Awakens, bringing a degree of “cool, sci-fi realism” to this most beloved of universes.
The Force Awakens is out now in theaters, while Star Wars: Episode VIII will act as the next mainline installment in the trilogy when it opens on May 26, 2017.