In just 35 short days, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be arriving in theaters, the first adventure from a galaxy far, far away in over 10 years. We have already given you a wealth of details about this highly-anticipated sequel over the past few days, including a TV trailer that aired on ABC last night, a preview from Disney XD UK, and much more. The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived on newsstands today, which includes a number of tidbits that haven't been released yet from the issue, including the official run time, which clocks in at two hours and 15 minutes.
Director J.J. Abrams confirmed the runtime, adding that he locked picture on November 3 at midnight. The filmmaker added that he still plans on tweaking the visual effects, sound effects and finalizing the score with composer John Williams. You may recall that a report surfaced last month which claimed that the runtime was two hours and 16 minutes, which would have been the exact same runtime of 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Now that the 135-minute running time has been confirmed, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the third longest Star Wars movie, behind Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace and 2002's Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (142 minutes).
Shortly after Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first announced back in October 2012, Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) came aboard to write the screenplay. Eventually, director J.J. Abrams took over the writing duties with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the scripts for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Lawrence Kasdan revealed to EW that they started over from scratch.
"We started from scratch, it was getting a little critical. We had so little time that you can't allow yourself to get stuck, you just keep moving forward all the time."
Interestingly, Michael Arndt will still receive a writing credit on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we obviously won't know which elements of the story were created by him, and which came from J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. It is also hinted that the First Order may have been different in the original draft by Michael Arndt. Before J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over as writers, production designer Rick Carter and his team created an image that reportedly gave the script a new direction.
Rick Carter's image is described as a "Nuremberg-esque rally for the new legion of evil, the First Order." After J.J. Abrams saw this image, he apparently wanted to create a story around this gathering of First Order troopers. Rick Carter himself wouldn't offer too many details on the photo, stating that, "It's more than just a rally." While we don't know for sure, it's possible the image he's referring to was seen in the second trailer, with General Hux addressing thousands of First Order Stormtroopers.
J.J. Abrams also added that Kylo Ren's mask is meant to be a nod to Darth Vader's iconic helmet, and the issue also offers more about Rey's speeder that was seen in the first trailer released back in November. While it contains no weaponry, the grill is actually from a vintage 1922 Aston Martin, which art director Gary Tomkins spotted while visiting a UK event known as the Goodwood Revival, which features a number of classic cars. Actress Daisy Ridley also shared an amusing story about a scene where she flies the Millennium Falcon.
While there is one scene shown in the trailers that she flies the Falcon by herself, there is another sequence where she co-pilots the iconic ship with Harrison Ford's Han Solo. We have seen a number of photos and pieces of footage with Rey in the Millennium Falcon cockpit, but we haven't seen her flying it together with Han Solo yet. Daisy Ridley revealed that she was "mortified" after Harrison Ford reminded her she was sitting in the wrong seat.
"I went to get into the pilot seat and he was like 'that's mine.' I was genuinely mortified and J.J. was sitting there like 'Oh my god.'"
While we have heard a number of details regarding the Kylo Ren, we haven't heard much from the actor portraying him, Adam Driver. We know this villain forms what is called The Knights of Ren, and that he is part of the First Order. The new trailer shows Kylo speaking to the burnt helmet of Darth Vader, saying he plans on finishing what Vader started. While we don't know much about why Ren is so evil, the actor offered a tantalizing hint.
"Really its just because someone wasn't loved enough or felt betrayed."
There has been a lot of speculation about the unknown surnames of Finn and Rey, with some rumors claiming they may be the offspring of classic Star Wars characters. Could it be possible that Kylo Ren has a mother and/or father that has already been established in the Star Wars universe? Stay tuned for more details about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as we get closer to the December 18 release date.