Star Wars' triumphant return with 2017's The Force Awakens shocked life back into George Lucas' sci-fi series. Helmed by Star Trek director J.J. Abrams, the movie successfully turned Star Wars back into a blockbuster property again.
Of course, Abrams soiled the billion-dollar bed with the release of Episode 9: Rise of Skywalker. With no plan in place, the director resorted to tired tropes and attempts to undo previous plot points. Instead, a good sequel's goal should be pushing the story forwards. Now, the director has admitted his fallacy.
J.J. Abrams believes he should've planned Star Wars 7-9
In an interview with Collider, Abrams said his work on Star Trek and Star Wars taught him the hard way. After two huge franchise bombs due to a lack of planning, the filmmaker now understands the importance of planning.
“You just never really know, but having a plan I have learned – in some cases the hard way – is the most critical thing, because otherwise you don’t know what you’re setting up. You don’t know what to emphasize. Because if you don’t know the inevitable of the story, you’re just as good as your last sequence or effect or joke or whatever, but you want to be leading to something inevitable.”
The filmmaker said his prior method of filmmaking was based on his time working for TV productions. While an overarching journey is good for long-running TV, unexpected fan reactions can spark the future of the story. The director’s hugely successful TV show Lost followed this formula to a T; that show also had a bad ending.
“I’ve been involved in a number of projects that have been – in most cases, series – that have ideas that begin the thing where you feel like you know where it’s gonna go... You think like, ‘Oh that’s a small moment’ or ‘That’s a one-episode character’ suddenly become a hugely important part of the story. I feel like what I’ve learned as a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year... the lesson is that you have to plan things as best you can, and you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected. And the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms, and I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going.”