Now moving beyond his obligations to Disney and Lucasfilm as The Rise of Skywalker approaches its final few weeks in cinemas around the planet ($1,048,058,721 worldwide and counting), J.J. Abrams and wife Katie McGrath discuss the issue of representation at Bad Robot and in particular in the realms of Star Wars.
“In the earliest stages, we talked about, ‘If we have this moment, this privilege, what do we want to do with it?’” said McGrath of “The Force Awakens,” the first of two “Star Wars” films that Abrams would helm. “And not from a place of being preachy or feeding people spinach, just from a place of — any time you have a privilege, you have an obligation, period. That’s just how we try to live our lives.”
With that film, Abrams “thought about building this story with the female protagonist, a set of four main characters: One of whom was Latinx, one of whom was a Nigerian Londoner, one of whom was a woman — a white woman — and one of whom was a white guy,” said McGrath. “How can we find a way to have every kid who’s going to go see that movie see a version of themselves, in a way that isn’t often considered at scale?”
When asked about his approach to storytelling and creating additions to the “Star Wars” franchise in a polarized world, Abrams said, as with every project, you “do the best you can with everything you have,” and that his aim is to make audiences feel good.
“The truth is that these are things that are meant to entertain people, to make them feel something and hopefully make them feel good,” said Abrams, calling his involvement with the Lucasfilm trilogy a “blessing.” “Obviously, it doesn’t always work. It’s hard when it doesn’t, and when it doesn’t, you have to understand it, you have to acknowledge it, you have to examine it.”