How Talking About ‘Star Wars’ Got J.J. Abrams in the Director’s Chair

It seems getting offered the chance to direct a Star Wars movie isn’t as dreaming as one might think. When it was revealed that directors like Ron Howard and Robert Zemeckis turned down a chance to direct the prequels, it spoke of the enormous pressure that comes with the job. Now I’m not saying either director wasn’t qualified enough for the gig, but maybe their love for Star Wars is just that of a fan watching and enjoying what’s onscreen.

J.J. Abrams is the director for the upcoming ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens‘. However, it almost didn’t turn out that way. Abrams had initially turned down an offer to direct the film. During that time, the director had just come off directing ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness‘. As revealed in an interview with Howard Stern, that film was one of the reasons he wasn’t interested in directing Star Wars.

“I said ‘No’. I didn’t want to do a sequel. I’d done a Mission: Impossible movie; I’d done Star Trek. I didn’t wanna do another sequel—I’m sick of movies with numbers… As a fan, I’d rather just go to the theater and watch the movie.”

Its refreshing hearing that Abrams has an eye for doing original films (i.e. Super 8), but then again we’re talking about Star Wars here. So what made J.J. Abrams, a reportedly favorite choice for the job, re-consider? Credit to that mostly goes to Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm.

“Kathy [Kennedy] said can we get together, and so we sat down and we just started talking about Star Wars. We just started talking about what this thing could be, and as we were talking about it I found myself suddenly on fire… When Kathy and I started talking about these characters, the idea that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia—this is 40 years ago, so for someone who’s 19 years old, they’re myths. Who knows what they know about them? People wouldn’t even know, maybe, who some of these characters are.”

“And the thing that got me, that grabbed me, was that feeling of a new, young character—in the case of this conversation it was a female character, didn’t know anything about her, but in the conversation that question of this young woman asking, ‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’, I don’t know why but it made me feel like, ‘Fuck that’s so cool!’ That there would be a discovery, these would be essentially kids who didn’t see Star Wars themselves who would be in this universe. The idea of sort of rediscovering this world.”

Its no doubt this upcoming Star Wars trilogy will serve as an entry for an entirely new generation of fans. The discovery that characters such as Rey and Finn make about “the force”, “the jedi”, and characters like Luke Skywalker will be a similar experience for those audiences members.

For the rest of us, we’ll just be happy to see characters like Luke, Han, and Leia in Star Wars again. And hopefully we’ll be happy that J.J. Abrams took the job.

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