7:50am PT by Graeme McMillan
J.J. Abrams: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Is A Self-Contained Story
Despite a promotional campaign that leans heavily on invoking the original trilogy of Star Wars movies, director J.J. Abrams says that he went into Star Wars: The Force Awakens intending to make a movie that stands on its own.
"We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle and end but at the same time, like A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow," Abrams told WIRED in an interview that will be part of the magazine's next issue. "We’ve been able to use what came before in a very organic way because we didn’t have to reboot anything. We didn’t have to come up with a backstory that would make sense; it’s all there. But these new characters, which Force is very much about, find themselves in new situations — so even if you don’t know anything about Star Wars, you’re right there with them."
Abrams said that he drew on personal experience in order to ensure that The Force Awakens was all it could be. "For example, I didn't want to enter into making a movie where we didn't really own our story," he explained. "I feel like I’ve done that a couple of times in my career. That’s not to say I’m not proud of my work, but the fact is I remember starting to shoot Super 8 and Star Trek Into Darkness and feeling like I hadn’t really solved some fundamental story problems."
Describing working with Lawrence Kasdan as "like taking an extended master class" in filmmaking, Abrams said that "the only requirement Larry and I imposed on each other" was that The Force Awakens be "delightful. It was not about explaining everything away, not about introducing a certain number of toys for a corporation, not about trying to appease anyone. This has only ever been about what gets us excited."
The full interview can be read here. Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released Dec. 18.