As if J.J. Abrams hadn’t already made it clear he’s essentially ignoring the Star Wars prequel movies, he once again reiterated that stance in a new interview with Empire Magazine. In it, the director touches on one of the best parts of any Star Wars movie: lightsaber battles. And in The Force Awakens, Abrams said he wanted a more “primitive” style compared to the more choreographed battles we saw in the prequel trilogy.
“When you look at Star Wars and Empire, they are very different lightsaber battles, but for me they felt more powerful because they were not quite as slick,” Abrams said. “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.”
We’ve seen Finn use Anakin’s old lightsaber in a number of different trailers and TV spots, while Kylo Ren’s controversial cross guard lightsaber has been an area of intense focus for fans. However, we haven’t actually seen footage of any big duels—we do get a glimpse of Kylo Ren and Finn about to face off in a snowy forest, but the footage stops short before we actually see any fighting.
One of the more recent TV spots does Finn face up against a Stormtrooper (above), where Finn uses more powerful swings rather than calculated moves. That is to say he relies much more on his strength rather than being a graceful Olympic fencer. It sounds like that’s more or less the approach to all of the duels we’ll see, calling back to the early days of Star Wars.
Abrams has said all the right things up to this point in order to assure longtime Star Wars fans that The Force Awakens will be nothing like the prequel trilogy. The lightsaber duels will be one or the most important parts of the new movie, and if that means more hacking off limbs and less of Yoda doing gymnastics, I’m all for it.