While story details about Star Wars: The Force Awakens are still scarce, we know the film centers on a young woman named Rey and a former Stormtrooper named Finn. Now, J.J. Abrams has revealed some more information about Rey and Finn - though he's still keeping some secrets close to his chest.
Abrams was drawn into Star Wars by Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, who told him the story would focus on a young woman who would ask the question, "Who is Luke Skywalker?"
“It got me thinking, 'Oh, my God, 35 years after Return of the Jedi there are young people in that world and what are they up against?'" Abrams told Rolling Stone. "But more importantly, what do they know of the history of the Jedi and the Empire? A young woman was always at the center of the movie. It wasn't a corporate determination that this number of billion dollars should be spent because of what's possible with merchandising and films and animation. Though I'm sure these discussions were held in big rooms at Disney."
"What's been incredible for me has been the creative freedom," he continued, "and the desire to make something hopefully worth people's time – and not a commercial for toys. I'm not itching to be involved in creating things that end up in a landfill. I wanted to tell a story: What would happen if you were 19, 20 years old and you found yourself in a Star Wars universe?"
Abrams started with a treatment written by Star Wars creator George Lucas, but the story quickly diverged from that vision, joining forces with Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back writer Lawrence Kasdan to create what would become Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The process wasn't easy though - Abrams and Kasdan worked with several other writers for a period of eight months before scrapping all their progress.
"Movies are just like life," says Kasdan. "They are infinitely complicated and incredibly simple. I think that what had eluded the group was finding the simple spine of the story."
But Kasdan and Abrams did find the story, and it's one that Abrams feels will fulfill the Star Wars legacy. "The idea that we're hopefully reigniting the flame of passion toward this thing George Lucas created, it's very exciting," said Abrams. "It feels like an honor to me. I'm really grateful for all the work."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters December 18 in North America.