‘Star Wars’: J.J. Abrams Asked if the Sequel Trilogy Needed a ‘Plan’ from the Start

J.J. Abrams helped bring Star Wars to the screen for a new generation, however, the sequel trilogy was not without its controversies. Some fans walked out of The Rise of Skywalker feeling the trilogy wasn’t planned out. During an interview, Abrams was asked whether he believes the new trilogy would have benefited from planning. Here’s what he had to say.

J.J. Abrams | Mireya Acierto/FilmMagic

‘Star Wars’ director J.J. Abrams discusses planning for the unexpected

Abrams gave an interview to Adam Chitwood of Collider for the 10th anniversary of his science fiction adventure Super 8. Chitwood noted The Last Jedi possibly took the trilogy in directions Abrams did not intend for it to go — but Abrams had to complete the story anyway. During the interview, Chitwood asked Abrams if he felt “the Star Wars trilogy would have benefited from having a plan from the very beginning?”

“I’ve learned… a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year working with writers [has become clear], 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,” Abrams said. “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.”

A trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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J.J. Abrams discusses lessons he’s learned from making films and television shows

Subsequently, Abrams said something very different. He told Chitwood having a plan can be a curse unto itself. After all, sometimes deviating from one’s initial ideas for a project can make it even better than it otherwise would have been. However, Abrams ultimately affirmed the importance of thinking out projects beforehand.

Abrams said learning this lesson wasn’t always easy. “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,” he opined. “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.”

A teaser from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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How did critics and audiences react to J. J. Abrams’ ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

Regardless of Abrams’ thought process behind making The Rise of Skywalker, it was a not a huge critical success. The film got a rating of 53 on Metacritic. This means the film received average reviews overall.

On the other hand, the movie performed well. Box Office Mojo reports it cost $275 million and made over $177 million during its opening weekend. Overall, the film grossed more than $1 billion worldwide. The Rise of Skywalker made its budget back and much more — whether a lot of planning went into the sequel trilogy or not.

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