Five months after I was defending Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I found myself taking down my poster of the film, even though it was a kind gift from my father. Why? Admittedly, it was because of just one news story. I read that J.J. Abrams, director of The Rise of Skywalker, said that the Star Wars sequel trilogy lacked a plan.

JJ Abrams directs Knights of Ren actors on the set of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair)

The Rise of Skywalker, sequel trilogy, and Abrams’ influence

Now, I had personally believed that the sequel trilogy lacked a plan. I came to that realization eight months before Abrams told Collider that the sequel trilogy lacked a plan. but I didn’t realize how much an authority figure like Abrams saying it would influence my own thoughts on the matter. I truly could not have imagined that.

Abrams stated the obvious. But coming from a credible source, much less the director, made all the difference. My mind went from moving on from my realization in September to thinking for a month about Abrams’ admittance.

Star Wars fandom and The Rise of Skywalker

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in The Last Jedi. (Disney/Lucasfilm)

Actually, I liked Star Wars: The Last Jedi as well. (Not as much as The Rise of Skywalker, but I still gave it a 7/10 on IMDb.) But that changed with Abrams’ remarks to Adam Chitwood. So now, while I like nearly all the other Star Wars films – I do have a poster of Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back proudly hanging – I don’t care much for either The Last Jedi or The Rise of Skywalker.

(My fandom for Star Wars: The Force Awakens stayed intact because I find that it was the follow-up films that needed the planning since The Force Awakens on its own was planned.)

I get Star Wars fans who take issue with other Star Wars fans who claim to be fans, but then dislike most of the offerings of the franchise. But branching out to the shows and books, I like nearly all of those offerings – I had a Mandalorian poster proudly hanging also before I gave it to my brother – and how much of an argument do you have when Star Wars creators themselves are suggesting certain offerings are bad? And given those same factors, hopefully people can see that this isn’t an issue of toxic fandom (which I loathe).

Abrams’ statements

In case you missed the two-month-old news, this is what Abrams said. It no doubt stems from the difficulties of directing The Rise of Skywalker. He started by speaking from his experience in television:

“I’ve been involved in a number of projects that have been – in most cases, series – that have ideas that begin the thing where you feel like you know where it’s gonna go, and sometimes it’s an actor who comes in, other times it’s a relationship that as-written doesn’t quite work, and things that you think are gonna just be so well-received just crash and burn and other things that you think like, ‘Oh that’s a small moment’ or ‘That’s a one-episode character’ suddenly become a hugely important part of the story.”

‘You have to plan things as best you can’

Abrams added:

“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. 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.”

J.J. Abrams directed Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. (Image: Disney/Lucasfilm0

Abrams also remarked that he has discovered that you are better-off having a plan and be amenable to alter it than not have any plan whatsoever:

“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.”

Perhaps other Star Wars fans are like me in their perceptions of The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker changing after Abrams said that the sequel trilogy lacked a plan. Does that include you? Comment below!