J.J. Abrams is pining for the old days.
In a new interview with the Times of London (via The Hollywood Reporter), the "Star Wars: Episode VII" director says he has a soft spot in his heart for the very first entry in the blockbuster sci-fi franchise, when fans knew next to nothing about the universe the film was taking place in.
“If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do," says Abrams. "They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is. You don’t know what Leia is princess of. You don’t yet understand who Jabba the Hutt is, even though there is a reference to him. You don’t know that Vader is Luke’s father, Leia is his sister – but the possibility is all there. The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went."
Abrams, who recently took over writing duties on "Episode VII" alongside "Empire Strikes Back" scribe Lawrence Kasdan (the pair replaced "Toy Story 3" screenwriter Michael Arndt on the project), has previously voiced his intention to capture the essence of the earlier "Star Wars" films with this new installment, and the new quote certainly falls in line with that ethos.
Also in the interview, Abrams addressed the budding rumor that "12 Years a Slave" star/likely Oscar nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor is up for a role in the new installment, stirred up after Times of London reporter Rhys Blakely spotted the actor in the lobby of Abrams' office prior to his interview with the filmmaker. When asked about Ejiofor's presence, the director stated in typically cryptic fashion: "[He is] a very talented gentleman."
"Star Wars: Episode VII" is expected to hit theaters in the summer of 2015.