Skip to main content

Star Wars sequel trilogy director J.J. Abrams reflects on planning

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
(Image credit: LucasFilm)

J.J. Abrams has spoken about planning and the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

The director reflected on the Star Wars sequel trilogy in an interview with Collider (opens in new tab), and when asked about the three movies – The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker – he talked about his experience in television and planning.

"I feel like what I’ve learned as a lesson a few times now, and it’s something that especially in this pandemic year working with writers [has become clear], the lesson is that you have to plan things as best you can, and you always need to be able to respond to the unexpected," he said. "And the unexpected can come in all sorts of forms, and I do think that there’s nothing more important than knowing where you’re going."

He added: “You just never really know, but having a plan I have learned – in some cases the hard way – is the most critical thing, because otherwise you don’t know what you’re setting up. You don’t know what to emphasize. Because if you don’t know the inevitable of the story, you’re just as good as your last sequence or effect or joke or whatever, but you want to be leading to something inevitable.”

Though not going into specifics, one thing that heavily affected the sequel trilogy was the death of Carrie Fisher, who played Leia. The character was intended to have a major role in Episode 9, but her part was minimal in the final version. Jurassic World 3 director Colin Treverrow was originally meant to conclude the trilogy, following on from Abrams and Rian Johnson, but Abrams eventually replaced Treverrow.

The results were mixed. Some Star Wars fans heavily dislike The Last Jedi, the other half hate The Rise of Skywalker. If there's one thing for sure, it's that no one can agree on which director best handled Rey, Finn, and co.

Still, whatever your opinion on the sequel trilogy, there are plenty more adventures in a galaxy far, far away coming to the big screen – check out our guide to all the new Star Wars movies.

Emily Garbutt

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.