When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released many people considered it a return to form for the legendary franchise.
However despite the film doing well both critically and commercially not everyone was in love with it.
The main criticism seemed to be that the movie, as good as it was, didn’t take any risks with its story and was actually too close a copy of A New Hope.
The film does hit a lot of the same beats that A New Hope does, including; a naive newcomer from a desert planet who’s introduced to the wider galaxy, a menacing enemy dressed all in black with a perchant for violent outbursts and of course most obviously the Star Killer Base which is just the death star dialed all the way up to 11.
However director J.J. Abrams claims there’s a reason for the similarities, Screenrant reports.
Speaking to Chris Rock at the Tribeca Film Festival Abrams explained the reason why the films feel so similar, he said that it was to provide a familiar jumping-off point for audiences when introducing the new story-line that will drive the sequels to come.
This movie [The Force Awakens] was a bridge and a kind of reminder; the audience needed to be reminded what Star Wars is, but it needed to be established with something familiar, with a sense of where we are going to new lands, which is very much what 8 and 9 do. The weird thing about that movie is that it had been so long since the last one. Obviously the prequels had existed in between and we wanted to, sort of, reclaim the story. So we very consciously — and I know it is derided for this — we very consciously tried to borrow familiar beats so the rest of the movie could hang on something that we knew was Star Wars.
With the benefit of hindsight it’s pretty obvious that Abrams would play it safe story wise, especially after the whipping that the prequels get for tainting Star War’s reputation.
Here’s hoping though that now they’ve established the world in Force Awakens they’ll take some risks in the next film.