“Who is Luke Skywalker?”
It’s both ironic and not surprising that the very character that drove J.J. Abrams to direct The Force Awakens is the very character we’ve seen almost nothing of thus far in the promotional materials for the film. Han and Leia have been glimpsed several times, but we only have one hooded frame of Luke and his cybernetic hand. But the character of Luke, and the question of who he really is, became the inspiration for J.J. Abrams to craft The Force Awakens.
In a piece in Entertainment Weekly, director Abrams, producer Kathleen Kenedy, and writer Lawrence Kasdan give us a little insight into the creative process of the new films.
What are the highlights from the article?
You want the cliff notes? We got them for you:
- The question that lured Abrams to do the movie after initially refusing was “Who is Luke Skywalker?” After Kathleen Kennedy asked, Abrams signed up only immediately. “After all these years, we thought we knew him, but what if there was more to that Tatooine farmboy? Or… what if there was less? The answer could alter not just how audiences look at the original trilogy, but the arc of a planned universe that now tallies at least five more upcoming films.”
- Before Abrams signed on to Episode VII and asked for Lawrence Kasdan’s help, Kasdan was already working on the Han Solo Anthology film.
- When they started figuring out the story to The Force Awakens, all they really knew is they could use Luke, Leia, and Han. They have to figure it out from there.
- The Empire has definitely become the First Order. It’s not a proxy faction.
- The Resistance, however, is called “a splinter group.” But a splinter group from what? The New Republic? If so, they would fit our theory about a Cold War situation in the galaxy.
- While we don’t know how much screentime will go to Luke and Leia, Han Solo is a main character in the film.
- Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader.
- Apparently Luke has been struggling with the price of war.
- It seems The Force Awakens hasn’t taken much from Lucas’ original ideas but has instead taken the themes he wanted to focus on to heart, “George spoke often about that tension in everybody between what’s good and bad. He always felt that it was easier to be bad than good. I’m not sure all people would agree, but I think that that’s always an interesting conflict to explore. So that’s a big part of the themes inside of Episode VII.”
- Lawrence Kasdan was asked to return to write the Star Wars prequels, but was no longer intrigued by the galaxy. But he found himself intrigued by that same question that caught Abrams, “Who is Luke Skywalker?” And, furthermore, Kasdan wondered if he could take his last thirty years of life experience and use it to write the older versions of Luke, Han, and Leia.
- Abrams and Kasdan discussed the setting and story of the movie as they went for walks. “Eventually, they walked far enough to find what they were looking for.”
- Abrams is not going to direct Episode IX, though that film will use the story arc that Abrams and Kasdan helped lay out.
- Leia comes into possession of Luke/Anakin’s lightsaber. But how?