With all the atrocities that the Galactic Empire carried out in mind, one must ask: why would anyone in the Star Wars Galaxy want to work with the remnants of the Galactic Empire – or rather, the First Order? The Los Angeles Times asked this very question to director J. J. Abrams, and he provided an interesting explanation.
From the Los Angeles Times:
L.A. Times: The earlier movies, the first movies, things were good and things were bad. The Force was good and the Empire was bad. But now in today we live in a more gray area. I’m curious, 30 years after the fall of the Empire, why would someone want to start a First Order? Why would someone want to associate with the dark side when it’s corrupted everyone that it’s touched?
J. J. Abrams: Exactly, these are the questions aren’t they? Yes, I couldn’t agree with you more. I do think the sort of obvious answer is that the Force has a light side and a dark side. It’s not just one thing. It’s not just that the Force is good, the Force is … it can be a very dangerous thing. It can be a very seductive thing. I think that the story clearly requires a conflict of some sort. And so if people were rejecting the dark side somehow entirely it would be a hard thing to figure out what we would be up against. It was part of the, what felt like an authentic and true inevitability of what might of happened in the years post Jedi.
LAT: Are there people that are Empire deniers? Usually in these fallouts there are these weird groups that arise out of the eventual end of a war?
JJA: You mean who makes up the First Order, basically? Is that what you’re asking me? Obviously, you’ll see the movie to understand it, but I will say that the interesting thing for me, is the history of these characters is these films, is the history that we know. So they’re aware of what’s come before. And there are, I would argue, those who feel like what the Empire was doing was righteous and had something not gone wrong, as we all know it did, they probably would have succeeded. And it might be worth trying again.
Based on J. J.’s answer, it looks as though the movie is indeed going to try and explore a more “gray” look at the traditional good-versus-evil conflict of the series, and the movie will indeed shed light on the problems that the Galaxy has faced since the Galactic Empire fell. We’ll be able to see exactly what Abrams is talking about four months and one day from now.