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How Much Control J.J. Abrams Actually Has Over Star Wars

With three saga films on the way, in addition to three so-called Star Wars Stories, it's pretty clear that Lucasfilm and Disney have a very clear vision for what they want to do with the future of George Lucas' great sci-fi franchise - but apparently that vision includes giving J.J. Abrams a lot of control when it comes to kicking off the newest era. How do we know? Because apparently the studios were willing to give him final cut on Star Wars: The Force Awakens... minus a few loopholes.

We should probably expect to see Abrams popping up everywhere in the next few months as his Star Wars movie enters the final phases of its marketing strategy - but most recently he took part in a panel for Vanity Fair that also featured Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive and was moderated by producer Brian Grazer. During the hour-long conversation, the three men touched upon numerous topics, but when it came to Abrams' control over The Force Awakens the subject was actually broached by Grazer directly asking about it. The filmmaker was quick to confirm, saying "Yeah, yeah," but added an important caveat:

When you do a Disney project, there’s a clause in there that you kind of go, ‘Well, if I were a lawyer I could probably drive a truck through it…'

To be perfectly honest, the idea of J.J. Abrams having true final cut on Star Wars: The Force Awakens - as in 100% approval on everything featured in the version of the movie sent to theaters - is just a tad bit ludicrous. Back in October 2012, Disney paid a cool $4.05 billion for the ownership of Lucasfilm and the rights to Star Wars, and it's pretty impossible to believe that they would put potentially the most important movie in the series (again, the title that will launch the new era of titles) all in the hands of one guy.

That being said, one could see how J.J. Abrams talked himself into a better position when it came to the issue of final cut for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Let's not forget that in December 2012 he actually turned down the opportunity to helm the film, only to wind up signing a deal one month later. It's pretty clear that Disney and Lucasfilm really wanted Abrams to make their movie, and that surely allowed him a great negotiation stance.

Just because of the size of the Star Wars franchise and the amount of influence it will have in the next few years, it will probably be a long time before we learn exactly is all J.J. Abrams in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and what came as a result of compromise - but first we'll actually have to see the thing. That day is coming on December 18th.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.