Through his work, J.J. Abrams has always come across as a big picture guy. Whether it’s in television or on in features, the guy has developed a habit of a taking on large fictional worlds and developing them over many years. Of course, the latest venture for the filmmaker is the Star Wars saga, but with many films planned to come out in the next few years, we’ve been left wondering exactly how creatively involved he will be with all of the proceedings. It was a question that I got to ask the director this past weekend, and I learned that it will essentially be about creating a balance between his individual vision for the future of the series and the valuable and significant creative input coming from the filmmakers involved with the individual projects.
Abrams and I chatted on camera during the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket held in Los Angeles, and I took the sit down as an opportunity to ask the writer/director about both his thoughts on being creatively involved with the future of the series and also how much planning for the future was done on his part while constructing the seventh chapter of the saga. Confirming that he will stay involved with Star Wars as an Executive Producer, working alongside Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, he added that he will be serving as a creative asset for filmmakers taking the helm of future movies. Said Abrams,
It will be really interesting as a fan of Star Wars to see the off-shoot movies, which I’m sure will be fantastic, and I know that there are amazing people working on them. So it will be fun to see how it all comes together. My involvement is going to be as needed, but luckily with people like Rian Johnson working on these next movies, these are not filmmakers who need help so much as they just need to be given a chance to do their thing.
With these comments, you might think that J.J. Abrams is just letting all of the big creative decisions moving forward go to directors like Rian Johnson (who will be taking the helm of Star Wars: Episode VIII) and Colin Trevorrow (who has been hired for Star Wars: Episode IX) – but don’t take that to mean that he doesn’t have some important ideas about the direction of this new generation for the franchise. Following up, I asked Abrams how much planning for the future went into The Force Awakens, and he not only said that he and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan had a vision for the future, but added that some of those elements will definitely be featured in future titles. The director explained,
Larry Kasdan and I, who wrote the script together, definitely were setting things up and were conscious of the fact… which is a really weird opportunity in features to know that this was going to be the beginning of a three picture story. So we were working on versions of what we knew we would have done or wanted to do, and had meetings with Rian and Ram [Bergman], who is a producer, very early on and went over what we were thinking. But also knew that Rian had his own ideas coming in. He was going to take this thing in the place that he felt right. So he’s incorporated some of the stuff in the way that we were expecting and hoping, he’s gone in other places we never would have dreamed of.
You can watch J.J. Abrams talk about his vision for and creative involvement with the future of the Star Wars franchise in the video below:
Naturally, for now all of those visions for Star Wars: Episode VIII and Episode IX are being kept tightly under-wraps, but it’s interesting to think that in five years we will be able to look back at The Force Awakens and perhaps see how the directions that began with the seventh film in the saga evolved and turned into something completely different. And of course, we’ll wonder exactly how much of it J.J. Abrams had planned it from the get-go.
We’ll see how it all kicks off when Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters on December 18th.