With Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters in just 16 days, the cast and crew are starting to make the press rounds, which means plenty of new details are starting to surface. Today, Rolling Stone has a detailed profile on the production, along with new photos, where director J.J. Abrams offered new insight into why he wanted to tell this story. While the filmmaker was initially hesitant about taking on such a massive project, producer Kathleen Kennedy's question 'Who is Luke Skywalker?' was what lead him to sign on. The director revealed that, in the movie itself, it's Daisy Ridley's Rey that asks, 'Who is Luke Skywalker?'
"With any movie that ends with going off in the sunset and a celebratory moment, you can ask, 'Well, what happened the day after?' Then decades go past. We were literally asking, 'Well, what happened to the disbanded Empire? What happened to the Republic?' (It centers on) a young woman who would ask the question 'Who is Luke Skywalker?' It got me thinking, 'Oh, my God, 35 years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi there are young people in that world and what are they up against?' But more importantly, what do they know of the history of the Jedi and the Empire? A young woman was always at the center of the movie. It wasn't a corporate determination that this number of billion dollars should be spent because of what's possible with merchandising and films and animation. Though I'm sure these discussions were held in big rooms at Disney. What's been incredible for me has been the creative freedom, and the desire to make something hopefully worth people's time - and not a commercial for toys. I'm not itching to be involved in creating things that end up in a landfill. I wanted to tell a story: What would happen if you were 19, 20 years old and you found yourself in a Star Wars universe?"
The production was not without its complications, including Harrison Ford's on-set injury that caused a brief production hiatus after the actor broke his ankle. He was out for eight weeks while recuperating from surgery, but the December 18 release date remained intact. Despite an incredible amount of pressure from the studio and fanboys all over the galaxy, producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed the director never lost his cool.
"I've never seen him yell at anybody or lose his cool. [Abrams] is a fountain of ideas, nonstop. In fact, it usually exhausts everybody else around him. He's endlessly curious, and he wants to try things, and then you finally have to say, 'All right, we're running out of time, you have to make a decision!'"
Star Wars: The Force Awakens brings back original trilogy stars Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), reprising their iconic roles for the first time in over 30 years. One of the most memorable lines in the second trailer was delivered by Harrison Ford, who tells his Wookie friend, "Chewie, we're home." The actor had high praise for J.J. Abrams, who revealed that line was birthed out of exploring other options.
"Nine times out of 10, J.J. was dead-on with it. You know, it doesn't feel right in your mouth, and you try a couple of other things, and then you say, 'You know what? You're right.' And 'Chewie, we're home' is manifestly better than 'We're home, Chewie,' or a couple of the other options that I tried."
In related news, The Sun has a new report that claims Lupita Nyong'o's motion capture character Maz Kanata has been significantly reduced in the final film. The site's source claims that the actress had a lot of trouble with the motion capture aspects of the character, which lead to this role being significantly reduced. Here's what the unidentified source had to say.
"The CGI seemed to be what Lupita struggled with, perhaps because it meant she felt less of a connection to the character. There was a general sense that something wasn't working so a lot of her scenes ended up being either re-worked or cut. Unfortunately she just didn't end up delivering. It does happen in Hollywood, but not usually with Academy Award winners. Her part in the final film will now be a lot smaller than was initially expected. It's ultimately quite embarrassing for Lupita but she's still thrilled to even be in such an iconic movie."
While we never saw her in any of the trailers, J.J. Abrams confirmed recently that Maz Kanata is seen on the poster, as the diminutive alien creature with googles, but we still haven't seen what this creature will look like in the finished film. The character is a space pirate who owns a bar that is similar to the iconic Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. If all of these details aren't enough, we also have new photos from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which you can take a look at below.