The Force Awakens With the Cast of Star Wars

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the most anticipated movie in the past four decades.  Fans have been waiting a long time to find out the answer to what happened next. What happened to the Rebellion after defeating the Emperor?  What happened to Luke, Leia, Han and the gang after the Battle of Endor?  What happened to those lovable Ewoks?  Well, at least two of those three questions will be addressed in this new movie.  Director and writer of the newest film in the Star Wars franchise, JJ Abrams, revealed there would be no Ewoks in the coming movie.  Producer and President of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, also shared in our interview that there would be no Jar Jar Binks to which there was much applause.

John Boyega at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press event answering questions from Mindy Kaling and the press
John Boyega at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press event answering questions from Mindy Kaling and the press

At a press conference this past Sunday, the stars of the new movie as well as Abrams, Kennedy, and writer Lawrence Kasdan shared with us details about their roles, the movie itself, and answered some questions about the secrecy surrounding the newest of the Star Wars movies and the first under the Disney banner.  JJ revealed that it was actually Disney who encouraged them NOT to reveal too much and keep things quiet.  Both JJ and Kathleen mentioned how often the plot of an entire movie is revealed in the trailers.  Kathleen said, “We’ve respected the fans and have been focused around making sure that everybody and anybody who walks into this movie gets to be surprised.”

When asked what was the most important thing to bring from the original trilogy, Abrams responded, “Knowing why we are telling the story.  And it was to give people that sense of possibility and magic that we all felt when we first saw the original Star Wars.  And I will just say, it was all to tell a new story.  It was not a nostalgia trip.  We had to go backward in order to go forward…The fabric needed to be that – what we are familiar with – to tell a brand new story.”  At the same time, it was obvious from the cast, from Kathleen, and from JJ himself that he was very respectful of what’s happened before.  He said in response to a question about what was the scariest aspect of filming the movie, “Every day felt like there were challenges because I knew how important this was to so many people and that was never a presence that ever went away.”

The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens sharing a laugh
The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens sharing a laugh

Lucasfilm has worked hard on continuity, something that hard core fans of the series are passionate about. From the movies to the novels to the comic books, the new Lucasfilm Story Group makes sure that continuity is consistent throughout.  Oscar Isaac said, “I think this has been one of the coolest things about working on this with JJ and Lucasfilm is that there has been a real sense of collaboration with that kind of thing.  There’s a bit of a sandbox element of it.  We can talk about those things.”  He mentioned how his character’s origin is connected to the events in Star Wars: A New Hope and how it was revealed in Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: Shattered Empire comic book.  And while there are some elements of the story being revealed in other media, the details of the movie itself continue to be kept under wraps.

As with any highly anticipated movie, rumors are bound to surface.  John Boyega, who plays Finn, was asked about it and he said, “I remember reading the theory that Finn is Mace Windu’s grandson or something like that. I was at a party and someone behind me tapped me on the shoulder and yelled, ‘Yo, black Jedi!’ I turn around and it was Samuel Jackson. ‘You’re my son!’ That was a moment that was really proud for me.”

Harrison Ford at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press event
Harrison Ford at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press event

The highlight of the interview for me was when I was able to ask Harrison Ford about coming back to the role he is best associated with.  How difficult was it to slip back?  Was it easy?  “It seemed easy to come back,” Harrison reported. “Clothes make the man and I’ve walked more than a mile in those boots.  I was interested in the described path of the character.  I thought there was an interesting bit of business for the character to do and I’d been having a real good time with JJ talking about it and getting ready for the adventure of filming.  It was easy.”  Kathleen, who was seated next to Harrison in the event, added, “I can attest to the fact that for all of us that were there the second he walked in to the Millennium Falcon and said his first line, Han Solo was back.  It was pretty instantaneous.” Judging from fan reaction to the initial trailer, the feeling is the same.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives in theaters nationwide beginning Dec. 18th.

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