J.J. Abrams wanted to direct 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' because he wanted to know what happened to the trilogy's main characters like every other fan.
The filmmaker was approached by Disney - who bought the rights to the sci-fi franchise from George Lucas' Lucasfilm Ltd. for $4.05 billion in 2012 - to helm the new movie and as a life-long 'Star Wars' fanatic he couldn't resist the opportunity to set out what happened to the likes of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Chewbacca.
Abrams decided he would use Daisy Ridley's mysterious character Rey to explore the story of the Rebel Alliance versus the Empire.
In an interview on 'Sirius XM' radio's 'The Howard Stern Show', he revealed: "When Kathy Kennedy (Lucasfilm President) and I started talking about these characters, the idea that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, this is 40 years ago. For someone that is like 19 years old, this is their myths. Who knows what they know about them! People wouldn't know who some of these characters are. The thing that got me, that grabbed me was that feeling of a new young character, in the case of this conversation was a female character. Didn't know anything about her. But in the conversation the question of this young woman asking 'Who is Luke Skywalker?' I don't know why ... but it made me feel, like, 'F**k that's so cool!' "
Abrams also revealed 'The Force Awakens' has a retro feel in keeping with the original three films in the series.
He added: "We started talking about what this thing could be. As we were talking about it, I found myself suddenly on fire about it. We were talking about the idea of these characters. When George Lucas did 'Star Wars', he wanted to do 'Flash Gordon'. He couldn't get the rights to Flash Gordon. So he created 'Star Wars'. But what's amazing is that the movie we just did is about 40 years after 'Star Wars: A New Hope' ... There's this feeling of wanting to continue this retro feeling which I love. I love the feeling when I watched the original film."
Meanwhile, Lucas has admitted the end of his work with 'Star Wars' - the global phenomenon he created - feels "like a divorce", but he accepts his presence on set would have been difficult for Abrams.
He said: "There is no such thing as working over someone's shoulder. You're either the dictator or you're not. And to do that would never work, so I said 'I'm going to get divorced.' I knew that I couldn't be involved. All I'd do is make them miserable. I'd make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision - J.J. has a vision, and it's his vision."