J.J. Abrams says lightsaber battles in The Force Awakens will be “not quite as slick” as the prequel duels.
In a special Star Wars: The Force Awakens– themed issue, Empire Magazine printed an interview with J.J. Abrams, the director of Episode VII, in which he reveals what we can expect from lightsaber battles within the new movie (via Not Yet Rated).
"“When you look at Star Wars and (The) Empire (Strikes Back), they are very different lightsaber battles, but for me they felt more powerful because they were not quite as slick. I was hoping to go for something much more primitive, aggressive and rougher, a throwback to the kind of heart-stopping lightsaber fights I remembered being so enthralled by as a kid.”"
The lightsaber battles in the prequels are known for their tight, lightning fast choreography; but I can see how the duels of the original trilogy would be more appealing through their graceless chops and elegant, almost tapping exchanges. There’s more room for focusing on the expressions on the opponents’ faces, as opposed to the fight itself.
But there’s a lot to love about the duels of the prequels, as well. Their fluid style was appropriate to the era, in which the Jedi Order was at the height of its skill (and arrogance). It follows, then, that the style of the original trilogy lightsaber battles is naturally more rough and unwieldy, given the absence of real opponents for those in possession of lightsabers. The Force Awakens, too, should follow that trend and may in fact contain lightsaber battles even rougher than those in Episodes IV-VI.
Abrams also expressed his inspirations for what he hopes The Force Awakens will look like, as a film (via Not Yet Rated).
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"In the same interview with Empire, the director also credited visual auteurs Terrence Malick, Akira Kurosawa and John Ford as influences for what he’d like The Force Awakens to be like in terms of visual style and composition. Malick for the “powerful stillness”, Kurasowa for the “unbelievable scene choreography and composition”, and Ford for the “confidence” in their respective pictures."
The original and prequel trilogies were inspired by great filmmakers and movies, so it’s only fitting the sequel trilogy is following in those footsteps. No matter how this film rates with regard to story, it’s safe to stay it’s going to be a visual stunner.