Many were disappointed when it was confirmed that director J.J. Abrams wasn't showing any footage from Star Wars: The Force Awakens at Comic-Con last month. Those same fans were likely delighted, though, by the behind-the-scenes video that debuted during the panel, which confirmed, among other things, that Simon Pegg does have an on-screen role. During a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, J.J. Abrams wouldn't say exactly what the actor's role is, but he did confirm that Simon Pegg was part of his behind-the-scenes team that helped him hash out the story.
"I will say this in terms of Simon: while he won't be recognizable in the movie, in all honesty, his role in this - not the performance or the character - but his support and friendship has been massively important and helpful in the process. He was a wonderful partner in crime to kick the story around and ask questions and come up with ideas, and he was an incredibly helpful part of the process for all of us. I'm very grateful."
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was first announced, Michael Arndt (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) was tasked with writing the screenplay. The writing duties were eventually taken over by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan. While Simon Pegg wasn't involved in the actual writing process, J.J. Abrams revealed he became an invaluable asset during the course of principal photography.
"He was a sounding board. He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help. We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine - but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn't so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He's one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless."
You may recall that, long before his on-screen role was confirmed, Simon Pegg revealed that Daniel Craig actually plays a Stormtrooper in the movie, since he was shooting Spectre at Pinewood Studios at the same time Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filming there. When asked if this rumor is true, J.J. Abrams wouldn't bite.
"I've been asked to say nothing by Her Majesty's Secret Service."
Simon Pegg's behind-the-scenes contributions shouldn't be that surprising, since he recently wrote the script for another massive sci-fi adventure, Star Trek Beyond. He also co-wrote Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World's End with Edgar Wright, along with Run, Fat Boy, Run and Paul. What do you think about Simon Pegg's off-camera contributions to Star Wars: The Force Awakens?