New ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Set Photos, Plus J.J. Abrams Talks ‘Episode 8’
Just when you thought Star Wars might lay a little low this week after unleashing a new trailer, posters and a TV spot, we’ve got a couple of updates on the franchise, as Lucasfilm has released a new set of behind the scenes photos from The Force Awakens, while director J.J. Abrams is opening up about his involvement in the franchise, both present and future.
The new behind the scenes photos (above) from The Force Awakens were revealed over at Wired, which has an interesting, extensive chat with Abrams about the film and the future of Star Wars. There’s a lot of great stuff from the director in the interview, including his approach to cracking the story with original trilogy writer Lawrence Kasdan:
We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle, and end but at the same time, like A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow. When Star Wars first came out, it was a film that both allowed the audience to understand a new story but also to infer all sorts of exciting things that might be. In that first movie, Luke wasn’t necessarily the son of Vader, he wasn’t necessarily the brother of Leia, but it was all possible.
Abrams, who is well-known for his “Mystery Box” approach to marketing, goes on to reveal that he actually pushed Disney to release the first teaser last fall. He also discusses the balance in marketing the film:
There’s a really positive side to keeping quiet. You can protect the audience from spoilers or certain moments that, in a way, obviate the movie experience. But on the other hand, you risk being seen as coy or as a withholding shithead. That’s never my intent.
But I don’t want to destroy too many illusions. We’re walking a tightrope. If you fall on one side it’s no good, because we’re showing too much. If you fall on the other side it’s no good, because we’re not showing anything and we look like arrogant jerks.
When it came to marketing, I was expecting Disney to want to put out an overabundance of material. But they’ve been incredibly reluctant to do that. They want this thing to be an experience for people when they go to see the film. And I’m grateful for that.
As for Episode 8, Abrams says the script is complete and he’s executive producing for writer / director Rian Johnson:
The script for VIII is written. I’m sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what [Kasdan] and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going. We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we’ve been as transparent as possible.
And although Episode 8 is based on the story by Abrams and Kasdan, Abrams says this is 100 percent Johnson’s film:
Rian has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well. But you’re right — that will be his movie; he’s going to do it in the way he sees fit. He’s neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.
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