Together with producer Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams rebooted Star Wars and made it relevant for a whole new generation. While the sequel trilogy has been a huge success in terms of revitalizing the franchise, there has also been criticism that the arc of the trilogy as a whole was not well planned and that passing off between directors and writers did not go well.During a press trip to Tokyo, J.J. Abrams, director of The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker, addressed fan criticisms that the sequel trilogy has suffered from a lack of cohesion. Speaking to IGN Japan, Abrams reflected on the hits and misses of his work on the series, on the eve of the release of Episode 9.“I was brought on to work on The Force Awakens and then I was brought on to work on Episode 9, which became Rise of Skywalker,” he explained. “The story that I was working on for The Force Awakens with Larry Kasdan was something that we projected forward what the ending would maybe be, would possibly be, likely would be. But we were very busy working on Episode 7, and Episode 9 was two movies quite a way away. So the focus was on 7. While we worked on 7, Kathy hired Rian Johnson to work on 8, because there was no way I would be conscious to work on 8 and then 9, and she had that responsibility.”That was supposed to be the end of Abrams’ directorial responsibilities. Abrams was an executive producer on Episode 8, The Last Jedi, which he told us he enjoyed as an audience member. He previously discussed what he thought was Johnson's "unconventional approach" to the movie, though John Boyega said he thought some of Johnson's approach to The Last Jedi was "a bit iffy."“When we were done with 7, I was very happy to be in the audience again, and thought that what Rian did had amazing surprises and shocks and subverting expectations at every turn, and was fun for me as an audience member," said Abrams.But after the planned Episode 9 director Colin Trevorrow departed the project in September 2017, Abrams was brought back in to finish the trilogy he had launched. He told IGN Japan that he was put in the position of revisiting the concepts he had considered during production of The Force Awakens, but having to update these to fit in with the plot of Johnson’s movie.“On 9, we got to continue conversations that we’d had back on 7, which was really fun,” said Abrams. “And instead of it being two movies away in the future, it was ‘Oh my God, it’s happening right now and we have to end this in the best, most satisfying emotional way possible.’”Despite the disjointed production process, Abrams insisted that he feels there was, in fact, a sufficient continuation between the three films. “Rian did things I never would have thought to do that ended up helping where 9 went in a way that was even more satisfying than I expected it would be. And ultimately the challenge, which was fairly terrifying at the beginning – how do you end not just a trilogy but three trilogies? – was always more gratifying than it was frightening. It ended up having more potential and opportunity than it did terror.”As for whether he felt any regrets for how this process panned out, Abrams replied, “I always look at what I have done and see things that I wish I had done better or differently. I wish that Chewie hadn’t walked past Leia in the third act of The Force Awakens after Han died. There are things all over the place I always know I could have done better, but that’s part of learning, I guess.”For more Star Wars, check out how J.J. Abrams was inspired by the prequel trilogy, and what the cast thought of the first Rise of Skywalker screening.Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hits theaters on December 20, 2019.