JJ on Canon and Parallels

Interesting conversation on whether George, his rules, and his canon still apply . . . with almost a hint of parallelism . . .


Peter: George Lucas based a lot of the saga on Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey, and we’ve seen a lot of “the chosen one” stories and the Star Wars prequels I think made the “chosen one” prophecy even more specific because Force/Jedi-potential was linked to having a high midi-chlorian count, making it seem like you had to be born into being a Jedi. Does The Force Awakens explore the possibility that anyone can have the power? Know what I mean?

J.J. Abrams: I do. I will just say this. I would never presume to question anything George Lucas says is canon in Star Wars. And our job was not to negate or undo… A lot of people who are critics, and I respect all of them, of Star Trek, the ones that we did, said we destroyed what they loved and negated everything. And we worked hard to clarify that we are not saying that our Star Trek over-rides a thing of the original Star Trek — it was a parallel timeline. I never wanted to negate canon that fans held so dear. And because I love Star Wars and have for too many years…

Peter: But I think, for me, as a kid watching Star Wars, part of the power of those stories were that I could be Luke Skywalker.

J.J. Abrams: Yes, and what I’m getting to is having said all that and meaning it — I don’t want to presume over-write or change what George says the rules are. I’m not someone who quite understands the science of the Force. To me Star Wars was never about science fiction — it was a spiritual story. And it was more of a fairytale in that regard. For me when I heard Obi-Wan say that the Force surrounds us and binds us all together, there was no judgement about who you were. This was something that we could all access. Being strong with the Force didn’t mean something scientific, it meant something spiritual. It meant someone who could believe, someone who could reach down to the depths of your feelings and follow this primal energy that was flowing through all of us. I mean, that’s what was said in that first film! And there I am sitting in the theater at almost 11 years old and that was a powerful notion. And I think this is what your point was, we would like to believe that when shit gets serious, that you could harness that Force I was told surrounds not just some of us but every living thing. And so, I really feel like the assumption that any character needs to have inherited a certain number of midi-chlorians or needs to be part of a bloodline. It’s not that I don’t believe that as part of the canon, I’m just saying that at 11 years old, that wasn’t where my heart was. And so I respect and adhere to the canon but I also say that the Force has always seemed to me to be more inclusive and stronger than that.