When asked about considerations for the sequel, he replied: “[W]hat’s cool is we’ve obviously had a lot of time [during the development process] to talk about what’s happened outside of the borders of the story that you’re seeing. So there are, of course, references to things, and some are very oblique so that hopefully the audience can infer what the characters are referring to. We used to have more references to things that we pulled out, because they almost felt like they were trying too hard to allude to something.”
He also discussed balancing creating a movie worthy of the Star Wars name, and focusing on the new the story itself: “There are a few specific references that are kind of my own little stupid, secret ones. But what I realized early on was it was all about point of view – meaning it’s not like you just objectively throw in a star field or a spaceship or a desert planet or whatever the thing. The question is, who is that person in that experience? Why does it matter to them? What are they desperate for or afraid of? For me, you could reference all the stuff you want, but the experience of the audience in this is that they’ve got to be sitting with someone who happens to be on-screen going through these experiences. And then that’s not just a desert planet; it could be the most desperate place in the world. Or that’s not just a spaceship flying by; it could be the greatest, most heroic moment of your life. That, to me, has been the constant struggle: to make sure that none of these things are treated like either they’re a museum piece and we’re trying to honor them or they’re gratuitous and thrown in because, well, it’s a ‘Star Wars’ movie, so you’ve got to put these things in. Everything has got to be essential to the characters in the film.”
The new film will be released on December 18, 2015.