Dear Mrs Kennedy and esteemed colleagues,
As a Star Wars fan I cannot thank you enough for giving us so much more to celebrate and appreciate. I write this letter out of love for Star Wars, and from the bottom of my heart and I hope it finds you well.
Now is a wonderful time to be a Star Wars fan - we get to have the originals and prequels, and now we are fortunate enough to look forward to the sequels and all the other new content that's being produced. The excitement over the announcement that Episode VII was in the making was massive! I would scour the internet for any information I could find (I still do) and it was such a blast to be part of this new incarnation of the franchise (it still is). However, I remember many a concerned Google search about the status of the prequel trilogy and how it fits into the plan of all involved. As a very big fan of the entire saga it's disheartening to see Disney collaborating with many individuals who are very vocal about "prequel-bashing", as it is called, while it is claimed that the prequels are respected and to be a large influence on what is to come. It is every person's right to an opinion, but I feel that when someone as closely linked to the production of the franchise as a producer, writer, or director does not remain publicly and creatively impartial and appreciates that there are masses and masses of people who are pained when the parts of the franchise they love (and in a degree of extension, themselves) are insulted or ignored, a step must be taken back to evaluate the strategy.
When I saw Episode VII for the first time it was surreal - I couldn't believe I was reading an all new title crawl. I enjoyed the movie through and through, but, of course, there was the feeling of bitter disappointment at the exclusion of most connections to the prequels and the strict focus on Episode IV. Two things that bothered me especially was comments made by director J.J. Abrams regarding the desire to place Jar Jar Bink's skeleton somewhere in the movie. This may have been in jest but I feel these kinds of sentiments, when expressed directly and deliberately, are unfair to the fans who appreciate Jar Jar's character. The second thing that struck me was the removal of Anakin's pod racing flag from Maz Kanata's castle followed by the statement “I’d rather come up with our stuff.”, this while Episode VII was, to put it bluntly, very heavily relying on Episode IV. These may be minor issues and not something one should fret about, but I believe they represent a bigger issue.
Getting to the point of this address, I only wish to express my sincerest hope that Episode IX, under the writing and direction of Mr Abrams, does not go out of its way to ignore or exclude fans of the entire saga. Of course, I am not asking for a pot full of references to the prequel era, or "fan service", but I am asking for its due respect and consideration, especially in narrative and continuity.
Star Wars is about heart, and I pray that what is given to the fans will be as near to their hearts as it is to yours.
My kindest regards,
Johann F. Potgieter