In a recent interview with the UK’s The Times Magazine, director J.J. Abrams hints that Star Wars: Episode VII may return the saga to its gritty, "space western" roots.

Abrams, known for Lost and his grandiose, lens-flare heavy take on the Star Trek franchise, says that he is set on returning the sense of mystery that so pervaded the original trilogy — something that critics and fans alike have complained was lost in the prequel. To pull that off, audiences can expect to see a dirtier aesthetic more akin to the frontiers of the Old West than the gleaming futurescapes of the prequels.

Returning to an unfamiliar world

"The beauty of [the original film] was that it was an unfamiliar world," Abrams told The Times, "and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went."

Abrams has already teamed up with series veteran Lawrence Kasdan to pen the script. Kasdan is well-known as the writer of The Empire Strikes Back (which is typically regarded among fans as the best film in the saga) along with The Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark, none of which revel in glossy spectacle. So if Abrams wants to bring some grit back to lives of Luke, Leia, and Han, he's already off to a good start.