With the recent and ongoing success of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, it looks as though writer/director JJ Abrams has once again proven himself a valuable asset to the production of practically any big budgeted sci-fi/action film. Now credited by many Star Wars fans as the man who saved the franchise from the mixed feelings that hovered in the wake of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels, Abrams has kicked off the first of the scheduled next three Star Wars films with a considerable bang.
Given the amount of money that The Force Awakens has brought in to date and the box office records it has obliterated, it’s understandable that the massive success of the film could significantly bolster Abram’s confidence. Yet despite how it may appear now, there was a point when The Force Awakens was unsurprisingly a very stressful situation for Abrams – like the time he screened the unfinished film for Disney executives, and subsequently summed up the experience as “horrifying”.
Thankfully for Abrams, those days are behind him now. His contribution to Star Wars lore has been duly noted and he can enjoy sitting back and watching the foundation he's place down be expanded. However, while recently speaking with The Washington Post's Comic Riffs, Abrams/ lifelong friend and Force Awakens actor Greg Grunberg revealed that Abrams’ reaction to Rian Johnson's Episode VIII script was anything but placid.
“He read it and said something he never, ever says. He said: ‘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.”
For those who don’t know, Star Wars: Episode VIII was written and will be directed by Rian Johnson (Looper, Brick). For obvious reasons, there have been close communication between Johnson and Abrams throughout the production of The Force Awakens, so it hardly comes as a shock that Abrams was among one of the first to have ever read the next chapter in the new trilogy.
Some will surely feel Abrams’ regret that he isn’t on board to direct the next film, given his blockbuster track record and what he’s already done with The Force Awakens. However, it’s worth noting that despite not being front and centre as the director of Episode VIII, Abrams will still be producing both Episode VIII and Episode IX. This should offer some small level of comfort for those fans who feel that the series could use Abrams’ touch to keep things in check.
Abrams’ regret is perhaps understandable – on one hand he helped usher in a new generation of Star Wars storytelling that can now officially be recognised as a hit. It makes sense that given this knowledge, he would’ve loved to stay on and give life to what he feels is a wonderful script. At the same time, there’s little reason to doubt Rian Johnson’s ability to give us something spectacular. Though George Lucas blew audiences away with Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, he was not at the helm for either The Empire Strikes Back nor Return of the Jedi, showing that the old adage of ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’, doesn’t always ring true.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Washington Post