The idea of making a new Star Wars movie must be daunting, especially the next chapter, The Force Awakens. This is the first film without franchise creator George Lucas involved and in charge, and it follows the prequels, which, rightly or wrongly (I know there are fans out there), inspire a great deal of hate, so there’s a lot to make up for. And this stress is only amplified when you’ve been a lifelong fan and you don’t want to fuck it up yourself and all the other Star Wars obsessives out there in the world. That’s the situation J.J. Abrams stepped into, and regardless of how you feel about him as a filmmaker (I’m well aware that there are those of you who fall on both sides), it took some stones to accept that job. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t nerve wracking as hell.
Abrams showed up on the red carpet at the National Board of Review, and took a moment to speak to MTV. Notoriously tightlipped as he is about his films, he didn’t actually say anything about The Force Awakens, not that anyone expected him to, but he did talk about the intense pressure. He said:
It is, without question, an intense and terrifying prospect. … The opportunity, I think, is greater than the fear, greater than the risk. I’m more excited about the work that everyone has done in the movie and the incredible cast.
But Abrams wasn’t the only fan of Star War on the Pinewood Studios set. We all know about the members of the original cast returning for another adventure in that far, far away galaxy, but there are also a ton of newcomers, like John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Andy Serkis, Max Von Sydow, and Domhnall Gleeson, many of whom have never lived in a world without Star Wars. Abrams goes on to say:
It was an amazing experience making this movie, for everyone. There was a sort of weird buzz in the air when we were making this movie. But we were all just aware of how hard we had to work to make it something worthy of peoples’ time.
Given the massive way that Disney is looking to expand the Star Wars universe beyond The Force Awakens (you don’t spend $4 billion to buy Lucasfilm and not go for broke), Abrams, even though he’s the first, isn’t the only filmmaker who’s going to experience this massive pressure. Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank, both relatively young when it comes to the industry, are directing standalone movies and have remarked about how worrying it can be. When it was announced that Looper director Rian Johnson will write and direct Episode VIII, and possibly Episode IX, he posted a video of Scott Glenn from The Right Stuff that just said, “Dear Lord, please don’t let me fuck up.”
We don’t know when we’ll get our next look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but now we’re less than a year away from the December 18 release date, and the countdown is in full swing.