J.J. Abrams responded to criticism over narrative choices in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in a podcast recorded with The Hollywood Reporter this week. When considering accusations that the film relied too heavily on plot elements found in the original Star Wars trilogy, Abrams acknowledged the film could come off to some fans as a "rip-off," in Abrams' words. "I respect every reaction. I completely see that is a problem for some people," he said. "It was obviously a wildly intentional thing that we go backwards in some ways to go forwards in the important ways."
Abrams mentioned that the original Star Wars films themselves were based on classic storytelling themes that heavily influenced creator George Lucas. "Those simple tenets are, to me, by far the least important aspects of this movie," Abrams said. "They provide the bones that were well proven long before they were used in Star Wars. What was important to me was introducing a brand new chapter, brand new characters, using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new."
"We go backwards in some ways to go forwards in the important ways."
Whatever narrative legacy The Force Awakens leaves behind, it will do so having broken some very important records. By the end of Wednesday, the film had grossed $766 million in the US, putting it just ahead of James Cameron's Avatar as the highest grossing film in US history, but $1.3 billion shy of ousting Cameron's film for the No. 1 spot on the worldwide highest grossing list. With an opening in China on Saturday, we'll see if The Force Awakens can claim the crown.
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