Most important to make Star Wars 'delightful'

J.J. Abrams.
J.J. Abrams.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES • How do you make a Star Wars movie "delightful"? That is the question that was foremost on film-maker J.J. Abrams' mind as he embarked on the mammoth task of making the new Star Wars movie.

"That was really the only requirement Larry and I imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful," the director told Wired, referring to Lawrence Kasdan, the film's co-writer.

"It was not about explaining everything away, not about introducing a certain number of toys for a corporation, not about trying to appease anyone," he added in the latest issue of the monthly magazine published on Monday.

"This has only ever been about what gets us exited."

The latest instalment of the much-anticipated Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens, opens in the United States on Dec 18 and fans are snapping up any tidbit of information about the film ahead of its release.

Last Friday, fans went wild as a new version of the film's trailer with new footage was released with no prior warning on the Japanese version of the Star Wars website. For the discerning Japanese filmgoer, the trailer rolled out cinematic space-crash scenery, stormtroopers with flame-throwers, new names, more dialogue and a close-up of Chewbacca's hand (opposable thumb and all), prompting analysis of each picture frame.

Abrams said the fact that he was making the first film in the new Star Wars trilogy gave him some leeway as to how he approached the project.

"It's not very often that you get to work on something where you know there is a continuum," he said.

"And it's kind of great. It unburdens you," he added.

He also hinted that he realised he had big shoes to fill given what George Lucas was able to do with the first Star Wars movie, "let alone the next ones".

"Forget how incredible it looked, forget the technology, forget the humour of it, the heart, the romance, the adventure - all the amazing moments that made us love it," he told Wired.

"Think about what he was able to stir up. This, to me, is one of the greatest things about Star Wars."

The director also said he could not fathom not releasing any trailers until just before the movie's opening, given the wide appeal of the sci-fi series.

"I... pushed to have a teaser come out a year before, just because it felt like, as a fan of Star Wars, if I could see even the littlest thing, I'd be psyched a year out," said Abrams, whose directorial work includes Star Trek (2009) and Mission: Impossible III (2006).

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 11, 2015, with the headline 'Most important to make Star Wars 'delightful''. Print Edition | Subscribe