J.J. Abrams Reacts to George Lucas Criticism

George Lucas giving up Star Wars in his sale of Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company in 2012 was undoubtedly a difficult thing for him to do. It probably got significantly harder when he learned that producer Kathleen Kennedy, director J.J. Abrams, and writer Michael Arndt would not be following the new trilogy storyline he charted out long before the sale took place. So no one was surprised to hear that George Lucas was disappointed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but director J.J. Abrams says he doesn’t take it personally. And despite not having the same story Lucas envisioned for the future of Star Wars, he still made an effort to “adhere to some fundamental aspects of the story” after meeting with Lucas before The Rise of Skywalker.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, director J.J. Abrams was asked about how he felt after learning George Lucas was disappointed in The Force Awakens, as dictated in Bob Iger’s recently released book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Abrams handled it very diplomatically, saying:

“I’ve only had gratitude for George. It’s probably a complicated thing for him. To decide you’re going to sell this thing that you created, that was your baby, to anyone — that must be more complicated than signing a check and smiling about it. But he’s been incredibly gracious. He’s been super-generous.”

It’s not as if George Lucas hasn’t spoken with J.J. Abrams since seeing the movie. In fact, Lucas met with Abrams before they started working on The Rise of Skywalker, and the two had an extensive discussion about ending the saga. Abrams recalled:

“He came over, we had a meeting when we first started working on this [new movie], talked through a ton of different ideas and stories, and heard from him what was important. And we’ve done nothing but try and adhere to some fundamental aspects of the story. It wasn’t a difficult thing to try and do. And again, he was really gracious. So I’m only grateful. Do I wish that [Force Awakens] had been his favorite movie of all time? Yes, I only wanted to do well by him. I would just say that I have nothing but profound respect for the guy and am still truly, even more so now, working on these movies in awe of what he created.”

It’s easy for some to brush off George Lucas nowadays, especially after the prequel trilogy was disappointing for so many fans. And let’s not forget that he wanted to dig even deeper into the microbiotic world of the Force after introducing Midi-chlorians in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace something that was discussed (between Abrams and Lucas). But even so, that doesn’t mean Lucas is without valuable perspective and ideas when it comes to wrapping up the Skywalker in a satisfying way. Lucas started us on this journey over 42 years ago, and it only makes sense that he should have at least a small guiding hand in how it ends.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.

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