Franchise creator George Lucas knew the “Star Wars” prequels wouldn’t live up to fan expectations. But he persevered regardless, crafting them as he wished and in accordance with his own unique, sometimes alienating visions. The prequels lacked some of the big thrills and twists of the original trilogy, and their convoluted plot mechanics were probably a bit too political and complex for kids’ movies. All of that, plus the tragic arc and all the grievances that older fans of the show brought to the movies (whether it was performance issues, early digital photography, or a wobbly green screen) meant that the trilogy had ended up receiving a largely mixed reception at the time.
With Lucas handing over control of the franchise to Disney, the company was given a clean slate on which to repurchase the series. Whatever “Episode VII” would be would be a reaction to these complaints and this division. Reports from this period suggest directors like David Fincher, Brad Bird, Jon Favreau and Matthew Vaughan were up for the gig at one point or another, but Abrams ended up with it.
If the typical complaints of the prequel trilogy, then most recent films in the series, largely boiled down to the films being boring, overly complicated and wordy, dry and flat, Abrams was a director who would go in the direction opposite. With his main directive with co-writer Lawrence Kasdan being to “delight” audiences, he would handle the project with energy and elegance. And there wouldn’t be a single scene set in the Galactic Senate Chamber.