During promotion for his new film Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Wars Episode VII director J.J. Abrams talked to MTV about the importance of Episode VII for the future of the Star Wars franchise. MTV News' Josh Horowitz asked Abrams if he was just working on Episode VII or if, like Joss Whedon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he was also consulting and producing on the spinoff films. Abrams told him:

We're focusing right now on [Episode VII] because this movie feels like this is the one that has to work for anything else to work. There are discussions about what would happen later and how to make this thing and to tell this story. You can't look at it in a sort of binary way. It's obviously part of something much greater. But to talk about those other off-shoot films, that's something you have to talk about with Kathy Kennedy.

This statement, though vague in traditional Abrams style, does seem to suggest that the future of the Star Wars franchise hinges on the success of Episode VII. It's probably a foregone conclusion that the film will be a massive global blockbuster, but I would argue that the film also needs to be a critical success. After the three prequels, which did not find mainstream critical appeal like the original trilogy did, it stands to reason that another film of mixed quality will lead people to ask an important question: should I even bother watching more Star Wars movies?

Given that, I for one am happy to hear that Abrams is involved in discussions about the greater direction of the franchise, even if it's just to a limited extent. I mentioned the Marvel Cinematic Universe before, and that's a great example of a series that knew what it wanted to accomplish and knew what it needed to do to get there. While Abrams and Lucasfilm don't need to follow the MCU beat by beat, taking some cues from past success is definitely a good idea.

What do you think? Does Episode VII need to be a smashing success for the Star Wars Saga to continue into the future? Let us know by sounding off below!

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