Get ready for some spoilers! In a recent intrview with Entertainment Weekly, JJ Abrams finally opened up about the screenwriting and rejected plots from Star Wars: The Force Awakens! Ever since Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit movie screens — and okay, let's be honest, long before its release — fans have wondered about how the process behind its plot. Luckily for them Abrams, along with writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt, discussed the movie's plot at a post-screening Q&A on Saturday. Arndt explained the various plots he rejected when he delved into why — Spoiler Alert — R2D2 only appears near the end of the film.
Pixar writer Arndt was working on early drafts of the screenplay for The Force Awakens, and admits he found it frustrating. “Early on, I tried to write versions of the story where [Rey] is at home, her home is destroyed, and then she goes on the road and meets Luke. And then she goes and kicks the bad guy’s ass,” Arndt explained to EW. “It just never worked and I struggled with this. This was back in 2012.” He went on:
"It just felt like every time Luke came in and entered the movie, he just took it over. Suddenly, you didn’t care about your main character anymore because, ‘Oh f*ck, Luke Skywalker’s here. I want to see what he’s going to do.’”
Arndt left the project in 2013, which is where Kasdan and Abrams picked up the task. A Hollywood Reporter article from the time said Arndt was focusing heavily on the offspring of the series' original, legendary characters — namely, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia. When Abrams took over, though, he decided to bring Solo back to the forefront, while Skywalker remained sort of the "prize" at the end of the film, so as not to overshadow the rest of it. Abrams didn't want the film to be about "how sh*t happened 30 years ago."
The writers also played with having R2D2 and C-3PO appear at the same time. In Arndt's original version, at least, that's how it went down. Arndt explained, however, that Kasdan thought the move was a mistake. “Larry very intelligently said, ‘You want to keep them separate from each other.' And of course I’m like, ‘No, no, no, Larry. You don’t get it at all!’”
But in the end, the writing team realized that the best way to introduce the characters was slowly, to spread the audience's feels out throughout the film. “You want all your character introductions to be A-plus," Arndt said. "You want to give each person their moment. Even the Millennium Falcon."
I don't know about you, but I'd love to check out the earlier versions of the script — not to mention have a peek into the writer's room as they hashed out plot details.