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Now is the good time for J.J. Abrams. Having spent almost three years worrying about every little thing to do with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and whether or not he was about to ruin the franchise for good, the filmmaker can now sit back, relax, and enjoy the acclaim that is coming his way. But there’s one specific aspect of Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ success that J.J. Abrams particular likes, and that’s the personal impact that the film has had on audiences.

J.J. Abrams, who was tasked with rejuvenating the Star Wars franchise but won’t be returning to write or direct the impending eighth or ninth episodes, spoke about how happy he was with the reaction to The Force Awakens at Tuesday’s Television Critics Association. And after admitting that he was relieved that the blockbuster is finally out and has been well received, Abrams then explained (via Variety):
I’m more excited when I hear that people went to see the movie with their parents who took them to see the original movie when they were kids, or who took their own kids who maybe had never seen a Star Wars movie and who fell in love with Rey [Daisy Ridley] or found Finn [John Boyega] to be someone that they wanted to be for Halloween. Those kinds of stories are frankly infinitely more impactful and gratifying than all the numbers.

It actually took some convincing from Kathleen Kennedy, the producer and new Lucasfilm president after the company was sold to Disney back in 2012, to get J.J. Abrams involved. Abrams actually turned down the opportunity to direct Star Wars 7 because he had become tired of making sequels, having previously overseen the likes of Mission: Impossible 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness.

But after speaking to Kathleen Kennedy about Star Wars, J.J Abrams found himself inspired, dreaming up the character that would later become Rey, who would herself rediscover the original Star Wars world in the film. But rather than taking control of the Star Wars universe’s latest trilogy, J.J. Abrams only agreed to tackle Episode VII

And he was obviously the best man for the job too. Having proven with his array of scriptwriting, directing, and producing work that he is probably the best mainstream filmmaker out there at the moment, J.J Abrams was able to immediately get to the heart of Star Wars’ appeal with The Force Awakens. Abrams approached it with the enthusiasm and passion of a bona-fide fan, and incorporated aspects and characters from the original series that we all were dying to see again.

It’s safe to say that J.J. Abrams' approach worked too, because Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already the most successful film in US history, and while it’s unlikely to eclipse Avatar’s record global box office haul, it’s rejuvenated the beloved franchise. Because of its success, new fans of all ages can't wait to continue the intergalatic adventures, starting with the releases of Rogue One and Episode VIII in December, 2016, and May, 2017, respectively.