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Circuit Q&A: J.J. Abrams vs. Rian Johnson – Who Did ‘Star Wars’ Better?

**Circuit Q&A’s are our daily community question, posed to the readers of AwardsCircuit that cover various topics from film and television to general wonderings and for instances**

Over the past week and change, a number of “Star Wars” debates have been raging. Many have to do with the quality of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” but within that resides a major conversation. That one is in regards to the two filmmakers who have guided the new trilogy, helping to shape the next generation of “Star Wars” tales. They are two wholly dissimilar yet equally talented storytellers. In one corner is J.J. Abrams, the director and co-writer behind “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as well as “The Rise of Skywalker.” In the other corner is Rian Johnson, the writer/director of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi.” Ever since “The Last Jedi” came out, battle lines have been drawn. Today, we ask you which side of the debate you fall on. Are you Team Abrams or are you Team Johnson?

For some, Abrams is the true heir to George Lucas, paying tribute to his original vision. “The Force Awakens” especially held very true to even the story beats of Lucas’ original tale. Coming back with “The Rise of Skywalker” after Colin Trevorrow left the project, he was free to wrap up plot points he began, as well as rectify what some fans, as well as potentially Abrams himself, saw as failings in Johnson’s middle chapter. With Abrams, you also have someone who successfully jumpstarted an entire IP, then had to “end” it, so his degree of difficulty certainly is higher than normal.

Others prefer what Johnson did to shake up the stasis of the franchise. He saw the series as being too insular and too small, desiring to make it more than about simply one family in space. There were bold choices, including how he depicted Mark Hamill‘s Luke Skywalker, but a definite sense that this was “Star Wars” as we’d never quite seen it before. Quickly, it became divisive, with most fans appreciating or even loving his choices, but a vocal minority attacking it with real vitriol. Few films this decade created the social media firestorm that Johnson’s “Star Wars” sequel evoked.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” has also presented a whole new group of equations into the mix. There are some who love the last two but found this one lacking. There are those who preferred Abrams’ original outings but see this one as the worst of the bunch. Then, there are folks who take issue with the retconning that Abrams did on Johnson’s ideas. The two have such differing styles, going back to Abrams always ran the risk of this happening. Unfortunately, it appears that in trying to please everyone, Abrams, Disney, and LucasFilm managed almost do the opposite.

We put it to you now. When it comes to “Star Wars” and the Saga movies, are you in the J.J. Abrams camp or do you side with Rian Johnson? There’s no wrong answer and the choice is yours. We’re all ears!

Do you prefer the “Star Wars” visions from J.J. Abrams or Rian Johnson? Let us know in the comments below! 

What do you think?


Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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