It was a very busy news weekend thanks to D23 and new revelations about various Disney projects in the Marvel, Pixar and other subsections of the studio. And, oh yes, Star Wars too. Now the most major of the major revelations had to do with Rogue One, the first of what’s been called the Star Wars Stories series of stand-alone films, but as you know, it is Star Wars: The Force Awakens that will stand-up to close scrutiny first as to the viability of this bold new era of Star Wars in December. Well, J.J. Abrams isn’t worried. The director shared this thoughts on a couple of points concerning Star Wars after the presentation at D23 over the weekend.
While talking to reporters (including Collider) backstage at D23, a couple of topics were covered including the identity of Abrams’ favorite new character from The Force Awakens. For the record, it’s Captain Phasma, the chrome plated super Stormtrooper played by Game of Thrones regular Gwendoline Christie. Abrams didn’t offer any specific new character details, but he did have high praise for the actress under the helmet.
“I can only say that Gwendoline Christie is my favorite. She just killed it. You think, ‘Well, what? It’s wearing a costume.’ But it’s a lot to wear and to have a performance when you’re wearing that requires a different kind of skill set and an additional talent, and she’s got it. It’s an incredible thing to work with her. I am glad that a character has been designed that is visually as stunning as that is, because she deserves it and the fans do to. When I first saw that design my mind was blown because it looked so undeniable.”
Perhaps part of the appeal of Phasma is that she’s real, as in a real presence on set for the other actors to engage with organically as opposed to the likes of General Grievous and the Battle Droids of the Star Wars prequels. Abrams also addressed the return of practical sets and location shooting as a way to create
brave new worlds a galaxy far, far away. The too long; didn’t read version: fake things look fake.
“It was really important for a sense of authenticity that the set be built, the exterior, interior, that we go to real locations that were actually in the sun. I know it sounds silly, but in the behind the scenes reel you see this giant gimbal of the Millennium Falcon cockpit and it was outdoors. The reason we did it – we didn’t have to do that, but the reason we wanted to was, you just can’t fake sunlight. You can do a pretty good imitation, but you can just tell. There was something about wanting to see Daisy’s character actually sitting in the cockpit with sunlight streaking across in motion. It’s a little detail and I’m not sure anyone’s going to care about that, but it’s an incredible thing when you see it just how much better it looks because it’s real. So we just tried to do that as much as we could and it was often challenging but it was worth it.”
In a final note, Abrams commented on the hiring of Colin Trevorrow to direct Star Wars Episode IX and whether or not he has any advice about directing Star Wars to pass on. Of course, Treverrow’s last movie made more money than all of Abrams’ movies combined so…
“Colin doesn’t need my advice, he’s going to kill it. But I will say that he is going to be spoiled by this remarkable cast and incredible crew. I’m jealous that he gets to work with them, because they’re terrific, all of them.”
Audiences will see for themselves how awesome Star Wars: The Force Awakens is when it hits theaters everywhere on December 18.