Why Star Wars 7 Is Not a "Complete Rip-Off," According to JJ Abrams

"Ultimately the structure of Star Wars itself is as classic and tried and true as you can get."



Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been a big hit critically and commercially. But one piece of consistent criticism about the movie is that, for some, it feels somewhat familiar to the 1977 original. Now, director JJ Abrams has acknowledged that this familiarity may be a problem for some people, but maintains that The Force Awakens does enough new and interesting things to make it stand out.

No Caption Provided

"I respect every reaction," Abrams told The Hollywood Reporter. "I completely see that that is a problem for some people. It was obviously a wildly intentional thing that we go backwards, in some ways, to go forwards in the important ways, given that this is a genre--that Star Wars is a kind of specific gorgeous concoction of George [Lucas]'s--that combines all sorts of things. Ultimately the structure of Star Wars itself is as classic and tried and true as you can get. It was itself derivative of all of these things that George loved so much, from the most obvious, Flash Gordon and Joseph Campbell, to the [Akira] Kurosawa references, to Westerns--I mean, all of these elements were part of what made Star Wars."

Abrams went on to say that he understands how some people might see The Force Awakens as a "complete rip-off" of A New Hope. But he stressed that, although The Force Awakens may follow a well-established formula, those parts are "by far the least important aspects of this movie."

"The story of history repeating itself was, I believe, an obvious and intentional thing," he said. "And the structure of meeting a character who comes from a nowhere desert and discovers that she has a power within her, where the bad guys have a weapon that is destructive but that ends up being destroyed--those simple tenets are by far the least important aspects of this movie, and they provide bones that were well-proven long before they were used in Star Wars."

Instead, Abrams said it was more important to him to introduce new characters and relationships in The Force Awakens. Head to The Hollywood Reporter to hear more from Abrams on this subject and others.

The Force Awakens opened in December and broke all kinds of records. Most recently, the sci-fi blockbuster surpassed Avatar to become the top-grossing movie in US box office history.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Join the conversation
There are 309 comments about this story