This past Sunday afternoon, I found myself somewhere in a galaxy not too far, far away in Los Angeles, California at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket. It was a super-secretive press gathering for the film – so secretive that I couldn’t even tell my own family and friends where it was taking place!
It was interesting to see the same secrecy that has been the hallmark of the film so far also enter into a space where knowledge of the film would be key. All the media, including I, that were invited to the junket hadn’t seen the film. We were already thinking the press conference we were there for to ask the cast and creators questions about the film would be of little help to our story writing.
That was indeed the case with little news regarding the plot and other important elements coming from the cast. Nevertheless, they did treat us to small tidbits of information that will help us appreciate the film before we see it.
Episode 7 was a “passion” project.
Albeit everyone still got paid.
“…it was nothing that I think any one of us took on because it was a gig that was available. It was something that felt like a true passion and something that every single person brought much more than any of could have expected, and so I do honestly feel honored to be part of this group.”
– J.J. Abrams
The fundamental question on why The Force Awakens was made:
How do we want to make people feel?
In other words, they didn’t want the whole story of Ep. 7 to be dependent on the past 6 “canon” films.
“We’re respectful of the canon, but we really wanted to tell a story that interested us and delighted us and we didn’t really want any rules and parameters particularly…What would be the most fun thing to do on this page, and the next page, and the page after that? And that was sort of the guiding principle, I think, more than the canon or anything that had come before.”
– Lawrence Kasdan
The film is not just meant to be nostalgic.
They were clear: you do NOT need to know anything about the past six Star Wars films in order for you to enjoy the new film. You’ll get bonus feelings if you do, though.
“I will just say that this is all to tell a new story. Meaning, it’s not a nostalgia trip. We had to go backwards in order to go forwards. And if you look at 4, 5, and 6 those are stories that continue. This is 7, so the history of 7 will be what we’ve seen before. So the fabric needed to be that we are familiar with, in order to tell a brand new story.”
– J.J. Abrams
They were intentional in making lead female characters.
With the re-incaration of now General Leia (Carrie Fisher) as well as newcomer Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) a new sense of what Fisher calls “girl power” is a welcome sight to the cast (and hopefully to audiences).
“[It was] confirmation of that seemed to be, to me, in this amazing character of Captain Phasma, who is Star Wars’ first on-screen female villain. And more than that, this is a character who, so far, we have related to due to her choices, due to her character, and not due to the way she has been made in flesh…The response from the audience and the fans has been so celebratory, it makes me think that this is the kind of thing people want to see.”
– Gwendoline Christie
Disney took lead on marketing the film with the use of secrets.
It wasn’t just J.J.’s request.
“But Disney, to my shock, was arguing to not ruin, not reveal, not show, every story beat. So, I was very grateful that Disney actually took the lead on trying to keep things quieter, and you know, obviously I ask all of you that when you do see the movie, and hopefully talk about it to your fans and readers and stuff, that we maintain some level of surprise for people who get to see the movie and don’t have it ruined for them.”
– J.J. Abrams
Check for Part 2 next week.
Until then, relive even more of what the cast and creators had to say at the press conference via our live tweet feed.
T-minus one week everyone. The excitement should be awakening now.
Like what you see here on DisneyExaminer? Help support us grow and be rewarded with even more content and experiences by becoming a DisneyExaminer Patron!