JJ Abrams Says THE FORCE AWAKENS' Lightsaber Duels Are More "Aggressive", Less "Slick"

Fans have wondered whether Star Wars: The Force Awakens would replicate the beautifully choreographed, visually stunning lightsaber battles of the prequels or return to the more visceral, aggressive fights of the OT. JJ Abrams may have just revealed the answer to that...


Lightsaber battles have always played a key role in Star Wars, starting with that first nail-biting confrontation between Obi-Wan & Darth Vader in A New Hope, and getting more and more elaborate with each new installment. The fight scenes in the prequel trilogy offered some of the most visually stunning sequences of the entire saga. Relentless and beautifully choreographed, they ushered in a new wave of young fans (like myself) who embraced them with glee.

However, there's a case that they were almost too perfectly choreographed, and in being so, lost all meaning or sense of internal struggle they once had. The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams seems to share this point of view. Speaking to Empire (via ScreenRant), 
he promised a return to the raw, "heart-stopping" lightsaber battles of old this December:

“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. 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 director also elaborated on where else he drew inspiration from on The Force Awakens (outside of the Star Wars movies). In the extract from Empire inserted below, he claims the works of celebrated auteurs like Terrence Malick, Akira Kurosawa and John Ford all had a very strong influence on the visual style and composition of his blockbuster movie.

[Abrams] looked at “the confidence” of John Ford Westerns. He took in the “unbelievable scene choreography and composition” of Kurosawa’s High and Low. And he studied “the powerful stillness” of Terrence Malick. “It’s not something I would normally have thought of coming to Star Wars,” he says. The spare visual style of Ford, Kurosawa and Malick points to a key mandate for Abrams’ approach to Episode VII: the distinctive less-is-more quality of the originals.



It's fascinating to see a Star Wars movie influenced by so many distinguished filmmakers - but the prospect of watching a new breed of lightsaber fight is even more exciting. If Abrams has managed to find a blend between the magnificent visual style of prequels and the orginal trilogy's raw substance, we could be in for some of the most impressive fantasy action sequences of all-time here. What do you think of what he had to say? Be sure to leave your thoughts below!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres December 18.
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