J.J. Abrams Struggled To Keep His Fandom In Check While Making ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’

Disney's Star Wars Celebration 2015
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Judging by the crowd’s reaction (and the internet’s meme-generating machines), the second Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser stirred a great deal of sentiment among the franchise’s die-hard fans. YouTube is littered with reaction videos from the Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, as well as individual and collected videos from fans across the world. According to director and co-writer J.J. Abrams, the strongest fandom was his own, so much so that he had to dampen it during the film’s development.

The Playlist provided snippets from an interview Abrams did with Vanity Fair:

“…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,” he told Vanity Fair, in an interview that’s not yet online. “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.”

Sounds like Abrams was worried that a film packed with overzealous references to past films and future endeavors would endanger The Force Awakens. Sure, the second teaser’s money shot of Chewbacca and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) onscreen in something new for the first time since 1983 was wonderful. Yet, the movie’s marketing so far has focused entirely on what’s new, and that’s great news for fans.

“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,” he said.

It means that Abrams would rather tell a great (albeit respectful) story instead of pandering to the fandom’s ludicrous desires. (For example, see the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its current state and constantly-lauded future progressions.) As long as this horrid monstrosity never becomes a reality, I’m okay with it.

(Via The Playlist)