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J.J. Abrams talks about why that scene had to happen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Polygon.

Spoilers Ahead

According to J.J. Abrams, Director of Star Wars – The Force Awakens:

We knew we had to do something fucking bold… The only reason why Kylo Ren has any hope of being a worthy successor is because we lose one of the most beloved characters.

I absolutely agree with this statement. It was the boldest thing done in the movie, and probably one of the only ways the franchise could move forward instead of back. From a plot perspective, this scene was absolutely necessary as it sets up a lot of different character motivations for the new characters introduced, and we’ll see a much darker Episode VIII with a worthy resolution in Episode IX

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