Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams recently admitted that the Star Wars sequel trilogy needed a plan.
Abrams was asked by Collider, “Do you feel like that trilogy would have benefitted from planning out a very strict three movie story from the very beginning or do you enjoy that kind of creative freedom to kind of take characters different ways and see how that goes?”
Abrams responded with a rambling answer, before he eventually admitted that Star Wars needed a plan.
He stated, “What I’ve learned as a lesson, a few times now, it’s something that, especially in this pandemic year, working with writers, the lesson is you have to plan things the best you can.”
Abrams continued, “And you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected, and the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms. And I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you are going.”
The Superman producer then said, “There were projects that I worked on where we had some ideas, but we hadn’t worked through them enough, we had sometimes, some ideas, but then we weren’t allowed to do them the way we wanted to. I had all sorts of situations where you plan things in a certain way and you suddenly find yourself doing something that is 180 degrees different.”
“And then sometimes it works really well and you feel like, ‘Wow that really came together’ and other times you think, ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe this is where we are.” And sometimes when it’s not working out it’s because it’s what you planned. And other times when it’s not working out it’s because it didn’t…you just , you never really know,” Abrams relayed.
Abrams then admitted the sequel trilogy needed a plan, “But having a plan, I have learned in some cases the hard way, is the most critical thing. Otherwise you don’t know what you are setting up. You don’t know what to emphasize. Because if you don’t know the inevitable of the story, you are just as good as your last sequence, or effect, or joke, or whatever.”
He concluded saying, “But you want to be leading to something inevitable.”
Interestingly enough, Abrams, Disney, and Lucasfilm did have a plan for the Star Wars sequel trilogy, a plan that George Lucas gave them. However, they decided to buy it and put it on ice.
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger and the company’s current Executive Chairman claimed in his memoir that they purchased completed outlines for a sequel trilogy from George Lucas and then decided not to buy them.
Iger wrote, “At some point in the process, George told me that he had completed outlines for three new movies. He agreed to send us three copies of the outlines: one for me; one for Alan Braverman; and one for Alan Horn, who’d just been hired to run our studio.”
“Alan Horn and I read George’s outlines and decided we needed to buy them, though we made clear in the purchase agreement that we would not be contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he’d laid out,” he added.
Later Iger would detail, “Early on, Kathy brought J.J. and Michael Arndt up to Northern California to meet with George at his ranch and talk about their ideas for the film.”
He added, “George immediately got upset as they began to describe the plot and it dawned on him that we weren’t using one of the stories he submitted during the negotiations.”
Iger then admitted the truth, “The truth was, Kathy, J.J., Alan, and I had discussed the direction in which the saga should go, and we all agreed that it wasn’t what George had outlined.”
“George knew we weren’t contractually bound to anything, but he thought that our buying the story treatments was a tacit promise that we’d follow them, and he was disappointed that his story was being discarded,” he wrote.
And while they did have George Lucas’ plan and decided not to use it, what might be the most interesting part of this interview with Abrams is that he appears to be tacitly admitting that the Star Wars sequel trilogy isn’t any good.
It’s also appears to be Abrams attempting to distance himself from Star Wars as well as he moves onto producing a number of DC projects for WarnerMedia including a new Superman movie from reparations activist Ta-Nehisi Coates.
He’s also reportedly developing a Justice League Dark series for WarnerMedia as well.
What do you make of Abrams’ comments about the Star Wars sequel trilogy?