SPOILERS AHEAD: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. If you want to read our spoiler-free review, click here. The rest of you, read on… but know that you have been warned.
If there was one thing that truly set The Force Awakens apart from the other movies in the Star Wars franchise, it’s the way that the film did not resolve itself at the end. While the original Star Wars and even The Phantom Menace were mostly complete adventures unto themselves, this one makes it clear that there’s a larger tale being told. So where is the story going from here? Well, it looks like, while there is an ultimate goal in mind, how it gets there is anybody’s guess.
Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams co-wrote the script for The Force Awakens, so if anybody knows where the story is going, it should be the guys who got it all started, right? Not so much. While Kasdan says that there is a place that the story is going, they’re letting the writers and directors of the next films add their own creativity to how the story gets there.
[The Force Awakens] sets up a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of people to deal with. And Rian took on that job and he’s going to change it, because he’s Rian. And I’m sure Colin [Trevorrow] will change what Rian does…. We talked about [the ending] — and there’s a certain thing that people who are involved with it feel should happen. There’s a kind of movement that happens. But it’s not in your control. It’s going to veer off with Rian, and it’s going to veer off another way with Colin.
A "certain thing." That’s...something. There are two ways to look at these statements. One is that everybody will be working toward a goal, while being allowed to add their own creativity to how the story gets there. The other is to see this as an admission that nobody has a damn clue where they’re going or what they’re doing and it’s all going to be made up as they go along.
While we’re sure many will view Kasdan's comments to the Los Angeles Times as the latter, we’re not sure it’s quite that simple. The fact is that while George Lucas created much of the original mythos himself as a complete story, it still went through a number of changes over the years. What ended up on the screen was not exactly what he had originally written, even before he went and changed everything with the Special Edition.
In the grand scheme this is likely a good thing. The new trilogy has an amazing group of talented people involved and not letting them use their talents would be a mistake. Rian Johnson’s script for Episode VIII is apparently so good that J.J. Abrams wishes he was directing it. Whether or not it’s the same story Abrams would have told isn’t relevant. As long as everybody is on the same page for creating good movies this will work. If a plot point from The Force Awakens doesn't resolve the way Abrams thought it would is ok, as long as it resolves, and it does so in a way that makes sense. The fact is, we’ll never know the difference.