It seems the more and more people I talk to about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the more people are coming to realize the movie wasn't really all that good.
Don't get me wrong, it was a very entertaining movie, and it was nice to see Star Wars back on the big screen, but as our movie reviewer told me, once you take your Star Wars fanboy/girl goggless off, the movie falls short of Phantom Menace.
A big gripe fans have with the movie is that -- we've seen it all before; even the major death scene, and the movie didn't progress any of the storyline.
Now J.J. Abrams responds to the criticisms.
"I knew that, whatever we did, there would be a group of people — and I was just hoping and praying that it would be smaller than not — that would take issue with any number of things," Abrams says in the latest episode of THR's Awards Chatter podcast, admitting that everything about the project initially scared him. "But I knew we weren't making the movie for any other reason than we believed that it could be something meaningful and special and entertaining and worthy of people's time."
"I can understand that someone might say, 'Oh, it's a complete rip-off!' " he says, adding, "What was important for me was introducing brand new characters using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new — to go backwards to go forwards."
Regarding why he didn't continue on with the second movie:
"I realized when I was working on [The Force Awakens], the amount of energy that was required to tell the story, and do it justice, knowing when Episode VIII would start shooting, there was no way — if I wanted to still have my children talk to me in my old age — that doing that would make any sense," he says. "If The Force Awakens worked, it was the perfect place to say, 'I got to make a Star Wars movie,' and not be a greedy bastard. If it didn't work, no-one would want me doing it anyway."
On Episode VIII:
"Larry [Kasdan] and I had a bunch of thoughts of where certain things could go and we shared those things with Rian Johnson, who's directing VIII," he says. "He had things that he came up with where he asked if it was possible if we could make some adjustments with what we were doing at the end, most of which we did — there were just a couple that didn't feel right, so he made adjustments — but it was just collaboration."