However, some fans later came to complain that the movie was little more than a remake of A New Hope, people that now might be weary of Abrams returning to the director's chair. But while there were obvious similarities between the two movies, one can only surmise that this was a conscious artistic decision. The story of Star Wars is cyclical in nature, so it made sense that Abrams began the wheel turning anew with something that was familiar, while setting the groundwork for an entirely new chapter. And he did just that by introducing us to a new generation of heroes and character like Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, BB-8 and Poe Dameron, standout characters that would otherwise have not gotten a chance to shine, let alone exist, if it weren't for The Force Awakens.
Abrams launched these new characters into a new chapter, and Rian Johnson is now in charge of continuing it. From what we've heard so far, The Last Jedi looks to be a much different film than what we are used to in the Star Wars universe, a much darker undertaking that will take most characters to places that will surprise us – not the least of which is Luke Skywalker himself. Johnson looks set to break the wheel, or at least put quite a few new bumps in its path. But once The Last Jedi breaks it all, it will be up to Abrams to pick up the pieces, and stick the landing of quite possibly the most highly-anticipated closing chapter of a trilogy in the history of cinema. A strong storyteller will be needed to pull this off magestically, and that is exactly what Abrams can do -- there is no doubt that the director will follow Johnson's story organically to give us a proper conclusion.
After Colin Treverrow fell through, it made sense for Lucasfilm to defer to Abrams. Lucasfilm will want to end its latest trilogy on the strongest possible note, one that calls back to the original trilogy while at the same time giving proper conclusions to all of these new characters. And since Abrams was the one who helped bring these new characters to the world, it only makes sense that he would be the one to bring their stories to a close -- or, at least, a close for now.
It's easy to simply complain that the third Star Wars movie will simply be a remake of Return of the Jedi, and it's even easier to overlook all of the strengths of The Force Awakens, both on a technical and personal level. Visually, the movie was spectacular, shiny and new yet somehow familiar all at the same time. Its characters were engaging, and they were filled with depth. It introduced the first live-action female Jedi in Rey, positioning her to become the next big character in the franchise. It brought back so much of our favorite elements from the original trilogy while exploring them from the vantage point 30 years after Empire's conclusion. And it also set up many new mysteries that people are still debating two years later, mysteries that will surely (hopefully!) be answered by the time the credits roll on the still-untitled third and final installment. Abrams more than proved himself with Episode VII, so there is no need to worry about Episode IX. It's in great hands.