J.J. Abrams Talks STAR WARS: EPISODE VII; Says He Wants to Make It Feel Real

     September 20, 2013


Director J.J. Abrams is staying predictably tight-lipped about Star Wars: Episode VII, and at this point, I don’t really mind.  We’re still at an relatively early stage, so this isn’t the “mystery box”.  This is “the-movie-is-about-two-years-away”.  EW, knowing that he wouldn’t go into any details, pitched him some more open-ended, non-specific questions about his general feelings regarding Star Wars and the upcoming sequel.  As far as the previous six movies, he couldn’t really compare any of them to what he’s doing with Episode VII:

“Impossible for me to say because it’s going to be an evolving thing. I would say we are working really hard to make a movie that feels as emotional and authentic and exciting as possible. Whatever your favorite Star Wars movie is and how to compare it is really sort of subjective.”

Hit he jump for more.  Star Wars: Episode VII opens in 2015.

jj-abrams-star-trek-into-darknessThe biggest takeaway from Abrams incredibly brief interview with EW was this snippet where he talked about any advice he’s received regarding what he should do with Episode VII:

“It’s been nice see that how important it is and to be reminded how important it is to so many people. We all know that [creator George Lucas'] dream has become almost a religion to some people. I remember reading a thing somewhere, someone wrote about just wanting [the new film] to feel real; to feel authentic. I remember I felt that way when I was 11 years old when I saw the first one. As much of a fairy tale as it was, it felt real. And to me, that is exactly right.”

That’s an encouraging statement from Abrams.  It isn’t “real” in what has become synonymous with “gritty”.  It’s real in that the Star Wars world feels like a real place, and I think that’s why the property has endured.  The original trilogy is great (well, A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back are great; I have mixed feelings about Return of the Jedi), but it’s the places and cultures George Lucas built that have drawn people in.  And if you need proof that Abrams is genuine in his statement of trying to make the movies feel real again, he’ll be shooting Episode VII on 35mm film, not digital.  The film will also use practical effects as well as CG.


  • Tom Bombadil


    • darth malgus

      Very bad work with questions. Sorry EW. ASK about mythology(that is what Abrams love the most) ask about cast… about new jedi and new sith lords.. ask about working with Kathleen Kennedy best film producer….about new story and trilogy…stand-alone films….not to ask Abrams for future star wars tv show is criminal. Ask about working with Michael Arndt and can Arndt be his next jonathan nolan as outstanding TV showrunner.

      Sorry EW to litle questions and not what fans whant to ask. Bad job IN MY OPINION!

      ps I hope when Abrams say real not meen Person of interest scary real. (PRISM/NSA)

      • Gojiro

        We shouldn’t really worry JJ’s just goona remake/reimagine “Ewoks!: The Battle for Endor”. Wilfred Brimley’s still available!

        JJ is genius!!!!+1!!! He’ll bring the writers from Star Trek to write Episode VII and fire that hack Lawrence Kasden. Orci is the best and has respect for all the fans!!!!

    • MITIOR

      go back to AICN

    • MEY

      I love you J.J.
      I know Ep 7 will be amazing! :)

      • shi

        go suck the hack’s cock why don’t you! FAG!

      • YouMustBeThisTall

        When your acne clears up, your balls drop, and your voice stops sounding like a 10-year-old girl, then you will be old enough to join this conversation. In the meantime take your juvenile, pube-free insults elsewhere.

      • MEY


        He’s married, you idiot!
        And he has no time for it because he’s making EPISODE 7.
        Yes, a new Star Wars movie.
        Slow version: Aaaaa neeeeew Staaaar Waaaaars mooooviiiie.
        Enjoy, shi, enjoy!

      • Anthony Stalder

        Exactly! In Hollywood, when a guy is married, it has always been proof positive that said guy could never possibly be gay. It just never happened. Never.

        Star Trek into Darkness was so breathtaking, so interesting, it injected so much originality into the series, without pathetically recycling old names or scenes in a desperate attempt to link that movie to Star Trek! It was in no way awful and completely disrepectful of every thing Star Trek!
        He BRILLIANTLY showed us the emotional friendship of Spock and Kirk by giving them ZERO reason to be friends at all – very ingenious!
        Plus it will be origins stories! One word: Yippee! Once again circling around THE trilogy while bringing no new Star War, but rather the origins of, of course, Han Solo, or what’s his name!

        What scope! What ambition!
        What a fracking, awful hack! Enjoy your lens flares and mini-skirts in Star Wars!

        With REAL miniatures! Because as we know, the Prequels did not at all use thousands of practical effects and miniatures! At all!

        I find it hysterical that he can get away with such horsebull. Truly the sign of a great auteur!

        Abrams super-fraud. He’s gonna make Star Wars banal. And that will kill Star Wars.
        Because he is a absolute hack. Openly copying Spielberg/Lucas and coming up with Super-8 and Into Darkness was the good choice!
        Absolute hack with excellent studio relations.
        Lens flares!

  • http://modmyi.com/forums/iphone-4-new-skins-themes-launches/740147-neurotech-hd.html#post5637502 Jay

    The last three movies took themselves far too seriously, I feel. I watched Empire again the other day and I was surprised how funny and light a lot of the moments were, thanks mostly to the complexities Han’s character, but still.

    • RiddleThemThis

      I think the seriousness only worked well in Episode III, the rest could have had a lighter approach.

    • dungeons and draccus’s

      I’m sick to death of real. Give me fanciful and fun. Real is stupid.

      • scififan

        Well, that last moment of “real” was stupid. Thanks for that slice of “real”. Can’t wait for the movie.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Give us a Dash Rendar story JJ, and I will be sold.

    • MyPartyRightOrWrong

      This is JJ Abrams. It’s very important to me that I satisfy tarek. So, while I was initially going to create a story that didn’t include Dash Rendar, now my story will be exclusively about Dash Rendar. When tarek wrote, “Give us a Dash Rendar story and I will be sold”, I knew my life’s ambition was to make sure tarek was satisfied with my choices. So tarek, it’s a done deal. Star Wars VII will be about Dash, because I know it will satisfy you. I don’t care what Lucasfilm, Disney, their stockholders, the crew, the cast or the public want. My mission became clear when I read, “Give us a Dash Rendar story and I will be sold.” And now, it is so.

      • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

        Oh fank you very butch JJ. I knew you will not fail me.

      • Anthony Stalder

        So, you see, you two! You did not waste your time choosing poor storylines that you read or discovered through video games!
        You KNEW it was gonna pay off!, well, feel vindicated, my friends! Because he will NEVER use those characters or storyline. Ever. Won’t happen.

  • http://rudeassentertainment.tumblr.com/ YouStartedIt

    Just get on with it!

    • axalon

      I kinda want them to just make it…and then start talking about it. Everything they’re talking about right now just feels really abstract.

  • Anonymous

    Since when is fliming with 35mm instead of digital cameras a sign of “feeling real”? Are you implying that the directors that use digital make their movies “feel fake” (whatever that means)? And the use of pratical effects is present in every single Star Wars film, so I don’t see what’s so surprising about that… Or are you falling for the false arguments that the prequels didn’t use pratical effects? For those who don’t know, the prequels use much more pratical effects than the original trilogy.

    • Devin Reed

      That’s not really a fair comparison, seeing as the PT had several TIMES the amount of effects shots in general than the OT did.

      • Sten

        Yep, I always saw actors in green screen and CGI pics in the making of the Prequels while the set pictures of the OT were all on live stages or model work. It’s what made the Prequels feel bland. To much CGI and theatrical atmosphere, although the Macchiavellian approach didn’t help, too. The best Star Wars feeling I got in the Prequels was the showdown in Phantom Menace. Ray Parks knocked it out of the park (pun intended) and I loved Liam Neeson. Too bad they killed both of in Part I. Can’t remember much of Part II besides that ridiculous fight between the whole CGI Yoda gummy bear versus the 80 year-old Christopher Lee. Part III was not too shabby, but can’t remember much either although it’s co. The OT – a whole different story. All classy and full of good memories. Never liked the Ewok parts though. It’s the biggest challenge to get the third part right. Wasn’t as bad as say Mad Max 3, RoboCop 3, Highlander 3, Beverly Hills Cop 3, even Dark Knight Rises and Iron Man 3 have lots of haters.

    • The_Smirking_Revenge

      Well that’s just flat out wrong. Prequel defenders have no class.

  • lolshto

    His Star Trek films felt anything but real and gritty.

    • Raptor Jesus

      Yeah, they were appallingly stupid. I don’t think this guy would recognize a smart script if it bit him on the behind.

      • MITIOR

        thankfully there’s a lot of people involved to help him, Kathelyn Kennedy anyone?

      • lionel simo

        she hired the jj shit head, she fucked up, no confidence in this shit

      • Norman Dostal

        youre among the 5% of elite snobs that hated the new Star Treks-everyone else loved them

      • the truth

        I hate the star trek remakes and hate jj hack abrahms. the people who like his shitty remakes are delusional shits that know nothing about star trek or star wars, you Norman, a FAG are one of these shits!

      • sambafreak13

        wow. so when someone says something you don’t like you start throwing out the homophobic slurs. I seriously hope you’re a 15 year old kid, so maybe somebody can slap some sense into you before it’s too late. If you’re an actual adult, you’re kinda too stupid to live. I feel sorry for you and everyone who has the misfortune to know you. Enjoy being a miserable prick for the rest of your life. I hope you never breed.

      • NoHomo

        Samba, you’re a fag!

      • I’m One So…

        (Raising hand) Actually, yes, I am one. Not sure where you wanna go after that since I’m not insulted by the implication that being homosexual is something to apologize or feel badly for. Your behavior, on the other hand, sounds like the impotent rage we’ve come to expect from virgins typing angry things in the dark of the room under a roof they don’t own.

        Oh, and by the way, this fag could totally kick your ass.

    • Snarky

      That’s a big difference between the ‘worlds’ of Star Trek and Star Wars to begin with. Star Trek ~ clean, shiny and new. Star Wars ~ dirty, worn and used.

      • landguy

        I agree, if you look at his movie Super 8, it had that authentic feel for the times it was supposed to be in. That’s all a movie really needs, is a believable universe, and actors that we care about.

    • Bob

      I disagree.

  • Bob

    Dont know why they wouldnt ask him about the lastest rumors at the end just to see what he would say.

    • darth malgus

      Thanks you. I think like you too. It’s so simple.


    JJ is spot on here!!!
    The original trilogy did feel and look
    real. That was part of its awesomeness! The models looked like real
    ships, the sets were rusty and used and greasy. The Droids looked like
    they really worked, and the ships did too. lukes house looked lived in.
    The whole Hoth Battle was like a real battle, not just loads of
    cartoony graphics copy n paste droid/Gungan army. The prequels looked
    more like Disney films, than what the new Disney Star Wars films will be

    No signs of CGI Jar Jar characters doing Looney Toons backflips with
    elasticy stretchy roger Rabbit shit! Yoda was mostly ruined in the
    prequels too, the cgi face looks just that.

    People that say that Puppets looked more fake than the CGI are nuts!
    Puppets, no matter how good or bad they are made, exist in the real
    plane. Cgi looks super-imposed, because it is. Only District-9 and
    Elysium, and Jurassic Park have got that nailed right, Gollum is very
    very close. But Puppet Yoda wins!

    Also this gritty real take, is not a fashion thing to coincide with
    films like TDK trilogy etc.. Its to coincide with the original Star Wars
    films that started it all. The Real world lived in universe that was
    the first of its kind, and what inspired Ridley Scott to make Alien, and
    other directors since. The Prequels forgot what made Star Wars so
    great in the first place, and instead rolled out 3 cartoony garish films
    to sell toys. (I liked the storyline in them though, but it was
    executed badly) I even quite enjoyed them as films, but they are not
    Star Wars to me. I find them unwatchable now, though I do love the Clone
    Wars animated, best thing to come from the prequels IMO.

    • MITIOR

      I agree on many of the things you wrote but I actually liked the CGI Yoda a lot, of course CGI and puppets don’t look real, they’re effects used to create a character that does not exist. The important thing is the character itself and if you feel emotionally involved with it.

      • MIXTER

        I agree with you about character being important, and being emotionally invested in it. And yes, the cgi Yoda was fantastic, for the most part. He was never really out of character (thanks to Frank Oz) But, the puppet Yoda, had character, Wit and we were emotionally invested, but he also occupied real space to boot. So Luke interacted with the believable puppet without trying to imagine where he was supposed to be. (Though the newer CGI Yoda added into Phantom Menace was far superior to Phantom Menace Yoda puppet, that was just ugly design. )

        I am really hoping the mistakes of the prequels, become buried and lost in time. I want to see proper sequels made to proper Star Wars.

        (Note, I’m not hating on the prequels, I think they did a good job of bringing Star Wars back to new generations, and indeed, kept it alive in a big way. But to me, the prequels were an experiment. More about pushing new technologies than staying faithful to what was great about Star Wars. Which ironically created new tech back in the day.

      • MITIOR

        Totally agreed, all six movies have been analyzed to death, fingers crossed they’ve all learned a lesson or two

    • sam j

      jj is a fool and never spot on, he has already fucked up!

  • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

    All of the things he is trying to do makes me happy. I’m glad he is trying to go old school and keep things real. It really bothered me when I saw the new trilogy that they were using CGI for something as simple as a storm trooper (Ep. II) and the same argument for replacing a Yoda as a puppet (something real that can be physically touched and seen by the actors) with what appeared to look like a cartoon – something I would have seen in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. It almost came off as laziness on George Lucas’ part. At least Abrams recognizes the weakness/strengths of what people enjoyed in the Star Wars films and is trying to push them in his vision. 2015 is gonna be a solid year for most anticipated films.

    • MITIOR

      The Yoda puppet they used in episode 1 was horrible, I’m glad they went the CGI route

      • MIXTER

        Me too, I agree. However, that Phantom Menace puppet sucked due to ugly redesign. The Empire SB Yoda still thrashes the CGI Yoda, who has also now become a vodaphone ad.

        They need to dig out the old Yoda puppet from storage and bring him back as a Ghost in the new films, and give him some memorable words of wisdom to quote for 900 years.

      • MITIOR

        probably do a combination of the two, puppet + CGI. The ESB yoda looked great when it became serious and wise but when he was acting all loony, his walking and lip movements were really off. It’s probably because Frank OZ was still getting used to handling the new puppet I guess, even the voice sounds like an imitation of Yoda in those first scenes, I still love it thou.

      • dungeons and draccus’s

        DIE FIEND!

  • Kevin

    In before HeSaidSheSaidReviewSite and Strong Enough say something stupid.

  • star wars fan

    CAST SHOULD BE GREAT. My FAN cast will be:

    Daniel Day-Lewis

    Denzel Washington OR Edward Norton

    Rachel Wood

    Elle Fanning
    abigail breslin OR Hailee Steinfeld

    • Norman Dostal

      none of them

      • dungeons and draccus’s

        Uh, yeah.

  • star wars diehardfan

    What i want(and think all star wars fans want) is :

    A bearded Hamill, training new jedi & to see Leia as a jedi also.
    -i want too see an original story, something NEW, not anything from the EU (although i don´t care if the borrow names from it)-If they did the EU that would NOT be something NEW, but they already said it is an original story

    Hopefully familiar design from original trilogy on vehicles etc. .. Hopefully forceghosts: Obi Wan, Qui Gon, Anakin & YODA (as a puppet) :) & as many as possible from the orginal cast, to see what has happened to their lives.

    & i want lightsaber duels & maybe we can see some new lightsaber colours?

    & finally i would very much like to see Warwick Davis in many roles, maybe as a villain? & maybe wicket decides to leave endor & travel in space with the crew of millennium falcon? & yes, as much screentime as possible for the MILLENIUM FALCON !!!

    & more sith lords like darth vader/darth maul(they are fan favorite of all time)! And female sith lord sound outstanding cool!!! I hope they create one as darth malgus(really like his face costume etc) and may be one new hot sith with mask helm etc. Like raven. And cool jedi too.

    • MITIOR

      Amen to that, except for the Warwick Villain haha. I would add this too:

      I would like leia to aknowledge that Padme was their mother, it doesnt have to be something really big, a little mention would do the job.

      I would like to see that Jedi are allowed to love, as that’s one of the reason Anakin went all nuts in the first place.

      Have stormtroopers/clonetroopers work for the republic again and have the villains use another army.

      Shaak Ti, finally revealing she wasn’t killed in the order 66 and Jedi purge,and maybe helping luke getting everything back together. of course she would be kind of old haha

      Starwars has a tradition of using at least one incredibly respected old actor. Who can they use for this trilogy? Ian Mckellen? they already used Saruman, it would be cool

      • MIXTER

        I can see Warwick as a villain, not a Sith, just some kerniving toad that they can’t trust. Maybe under make up like his Lephrechorn role.

        As to your Leia acknowledging Padme, I would like a mention of Leia or Luke maybe mentioning how he can see visions from the past, before his birth. That would explain how Leia had memories/images of her Mother. (Thats what I assumed all along, but some made a big deal out of that as a continuity error)

        I cant envision the Storm Troopers becoming good guys again, i dont see the trust in them occurring after order 66. However, maybe a cool new twist, what if the rebels, became fractured/split. Some of them getting corrupt, and the rebellion actually becoming the bad guys. (Not our main heroes of course, but possibly one of their children?

      • MITIOR

        Well George Lucas draws a lot form real world politics, and that has happened before when people starts a new form of goverment. Many of them become corrupt or the place ends up in a worst chaos than before.

        As for warwick that would be funny. I don’t know if you’ve seen the clonewars but they’ve used “small” villians of that kind and has worked, although they’ve been minor roles.

  • Troy MacGregor

    I just hope Zap Rowsdower makes it into the film. Then, and only then, will it feel ‘real’.

  • Max Exter

    Anybody else think that a bearded J.J. Abrams would look an awful lot like George Lucas?

    • Kevin

      Lol, can’t unsee. The clones are real!!

    • lastth

      jj abrahms always looks like shit. That is what you get for ruining star trek and now star wars, the stupid shit hack!

      • lastth

        By the way, does anyone know when pubes should start growing? I kinda wish mine would start. I’m tired of being too embarrassed to change in the locker room for gym class.


    I think what helped the movies feel real was the use of real locations, there’s so many things that happen in a real place that cannot be reproduced by the CG technology, its almost unconscious for a human to identify something that is real.
    I saw empire strikes back yesterday in beautiful Bluray and the AT-AT walkers look incredibly real, yes the movement was a little bit off but it didn’t affect it that much.

    Episode VII should be a mix of the epic scale of the prequels, and the practicality and realism of the original trilogy.
    My two cents

    • MIXTER

      Amen to this!!!

  • eternalozzie

    the CGI made Ep 1-3 look like cartoons with 1 or 2 live actors in them … Lucas went insane with cgi

  • Scurvy

    I think you are off base with ‘real=gritty’. This is JJ Abrams we’re talking about and if his henchman Simon Pegg is to be believed. ‘Real=More Lens Flares’

    • MIXTER

      Ordinarily I would Yawn at the mention of Lens Flares as it is written aaaall over the internet. That said, I do hope we get none. Well, i’d allow 1 carefully placed flare. What bothers me most about the lens flares is this… I am an artist by trade, but if i wrote my signature repeatedly over all of my work in big letters just to let people know that I made it, well, that would not be cool!

      So a film maker should not be signing his work all the way through a film so we dont forget who’s made it. Thats what end credits are for. A few tell tale signs, fair enough, but the star Trek films, i liked them but will admit the flares were all over both of those films. When i wanna see spaceships flying about i dont wanna be dazzled by glare effects. (ps, this isnt just a knock to JJ, several film makers have their “‘Signatures” throughout, but some are more acceptable than others, ie.. Raimi, Spielberg, Nolan, Jackson, Tarrantino, Bay, etc etc… we know who’s made the film without even knowing before hand. But JJ has picked an unfortunate signature that people dont like.

  • neel jenner

    oh boy, JJ you know nothing about Star Wars.

    Go away you fucking ugly JEW!

    You destroyed star trek and now star wars is fucked too!

    • neel jenner

      Sorry about the Jew comment. I’m just frustrated that my only source of excitement comes from an afternoon alone with my family dog and a jar of peanut butter. I promise to be nicer.

  • Tanisha

    My Uncle Levi just got white Hyundai Genesis Sedan by working parttime off of a pc online. a fantastic read ………………………………… Buzz55.ℂom

  • lasting impression

    Mark my words, JJ will be dead before he says action!

    I will make sure of it!

    jj the turd hack, go to hell!

    • sambosimboo

      Is that intended as a credible threat? If so, you should be aware that your first amendment rights may NOT cover such a statement. Better watch out for the FBI knocking at your door.

  • nester

    prepare for turd star wars by this abomination of a director. By the same guy who left crap all over star trek with his remake vile!

  • Adam Heatherly
  • MoMoman

    course he does…he wanted to make me cry in Star Trek 2, but I didn’t shed a tear..

  • HerbalHobgoblin

    No. real=toy sales. Oh wait I mean kids wanting to play outside again, digging holes in snow pretending they were getting ready for the Battle of Hoth. Lets not forget the fact that if you had a tricycle then you were Snowman or Chewbacca..

  • Pingback: J.J. Abrams May Film STAR WARS: EPISODE VII in IMAX | Collider()