J.J. Abrams took a break from his post-production work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens to attend the Visual Effects Society Awards in Los Angeles last night. Collider caught up with the filmmaker on the red carpet, and while he wouldn't discuss any story details, he did offer some interesting insight into the controversial lightsaber brandished by the villainous Kylo Ren in the trailer that debuted back in November. The weapon was easily one of the most divisive aspects of the first footage, and the director shed some new light on how it was created, and how amused he was about the reactions from the fans.
"I will say that what's been funny is, since the lightsaber's come out, I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I have received from people who have both defended it with unbelievably detailed graphics. I've gotten things that are nuts, and I've gotten people who've shown how it'll kill you and how it doesn't make any sense. It's been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing. It was a number of conversations [that led to the design]. It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation and it's fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse."
The director did tease that there was a "long story" behind Kylo Ren's lightsaber, that he will share at a later date, so hopefully we'll learn more about this controversial weapon soon. He also confirmed that one scene in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was shot in IMAX, but he wouldn't give any details about that sequence.
"It's only one sequence, so, it's not a ton, but it's a good sequence."
The filmmaker also spoke about the mixture of practical effects to CGI effects in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
"I feel like the beauty of this age of filmmaking is that there are more tools at your disposal, but it doesn't mean that any of these new tools are automatically the right tools. And there are a lot of situations where we went very much old school and in fact used CG more to remove things than to add things. Having said that, there are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can't wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important that we build as many sets as we could and that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight, if it was an exterior scene, or if we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen, do it where we could. It was a very important piece of work."
After Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this year, fans will then look forward to Gareth Edwards' Star Wars Spin-Off, slated for release in 2016, and Star Wars: Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson, in 2017. J.J. Abrams confirmed that he will be executive producing the remaining sequels.
"I wouldn't say 8 and 9 are my baby, Rian will be working at least on 8, but I'm executive producing those films, yeah."
J.J. Abrams is also producing the long-awaited Star Trek 3, which goes into production later this year. The sequel recently brought on actor/writer Simon Pegg to write the script with Doug Jung, along with reprising his role as Scotty. When asked how Simon Pegg's involvement as a screenwriter came about, J.J. Abrams had this to say.
"[Pegg] and I had talked quite a bit about story, he had a lot of wonderful ideas. It just sort of felt obvious that he would be a wonderful person to work on the story and help craft the story, so he's working on it."
What do you think about all these new updates? Hopefully we'll learn much more about both Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Trek 3 in the very near future. In the meantime, take a look at J.J. Abrams' video interview below, and stay tuned for more updates on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, arriving in theaters December 18.