STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS: J.J. Abrams Talks Cutting References to Original Trilogy

     May 6, 2015

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We’ve already shared that cover shot of Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Chewbacca and BB-8, the first look at Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren, an image of Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, one of Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron and another of Lupita Nyong’o doing some motion capture work for her character, Maz Kanata, but there’s still more coming out of that Vanity Fair spread.

The Playlist just shared some quotes from director J.J. Abrams regarding references made to the original Star Wars trilogy in Star Wars: The Force Awakens:

“… we’ve obviously had a lot of time [during the development process] to talk about what’s happened outside of the borders of the story that you’re seeing. So there are, of course, references to things, and some are very oblique so that hopefully the audience can infer what the characters are referring to. We used to have more references to things that we pulled out because they almost felt like they were trying too hard to allude to something. I think that the key is—and whether we’ve accomplished that or not is, of course, up to the audience—but the key is that references be essential so that you don’t reference a lot of things that feel like, oh, we’re laying pipe for, you know, an animated series or further movies. It should feel like things are being referenced for a reason.”


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Image via Lucasfilm

We know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and includes some very familiar faces so nods to the original films are absolutely vital, but of course there’s a big difference between throwing them in in a way that says, “See what I did there,” versus using them to enhance the Force Awakens narrative. Fortunately Abrams seems to be dedicated to achieving the latter:

“That, to me, has been the constant struggle: to make sure that none of these things are treated like either they’re a museum piece and we’re trying to honor them or they’re gratuitous and thrown in because, well, it’s a ‘Star Wars’ movie so you’ve got to put these things in. Everything has got to be essential to the characters in the film.”

As Abrams pointed out, we won’t know how well these references will play until we see the final film on December 18th, but after Avengers: Age of Ultron, it’s still nice to hear that Abrams is at least trying to take things in this direction. Age of Ultron is an absolute blast, but it definitely put the need to pave the way towards future MCU films over its own narrative. I’d rather not see that happen with The Force Awakens and based on these comments, Abrams seems determined to make sure that isn’t the case.

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Image via Lucasfilm

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