Top 10 Star Wars revelations from the 'Force Awakens' panel | Inquirer Entertainment

Top 10 Star Wars revelations from the ‘Force Awakens’ panel

/ 02:41 PM April 20, 2015

There are more or less seven months remaining until ‘‘The Force’’ finally awakens, so die-hard fans are so lucky to be treated to a few chunks of new information about the upcoming film ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, during the panel discussion headed by director J. J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy at Anaheim Convention Center, California.

The panel discussion was held via a live streaming simulcast in 23 countries, including the Philippines, last Friday at SM Mall of Asia IMAX Theatre.

Here are some of the juicy takeaways from the event.


1. Director J.J Abrams is a big fan of Star Wars.


Abrams, who was also the director of the space opera Star Trek, said he was 11 years old when he got a glimpse of the Star Wars movie. He said it was a great age to have his mind blown. He even dressed up one time as a Jawa (short rodent-like natives of Tatooine) for Halloween, though he jokingly refused to disclose when it was.

“It was the first time a movie made me laugh that way and made me believe in the another world. And it was really George Lucas’s brilliance not only creating these incredible characters and amazing universe but also it had such heart. And the biggest thing for me is it had such hope. And that to me is incredibly powerful, even for 11 years old,” he said.

Abrams starwars site

Director J.J. Abrams. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars Youtube video

2. Director J. J. Abrams initially said “NO.”

George Lucas, the Star Wars creator, asked Kathleen Kennedy, the Co-Chairman of The Board and President of Lucasfilm Ltd., to have lunch with him in a small restaurant in New York three years ago. He said to Kennedy that he was retiring and thinking of somebody to carry on the legacy.

“And I thought he was gonna ask me recommendations on who might do that. And I said ‘Who are you thinking about?’ He said ‘I was thinking about you’,” shared Kennedy.

She said she can’t do it alone and was grateful J.J. Abrams gave her a hand, though he didn’t say yes right away. Why?


Abrams clarified: “I said no partly because it is incredibly daunting thing. Partly because my family and I had me had this plan what were gonna be doing that next year. Partly because it felt like I’ve been doing sequels and things in the past I just wanted to sort of break away from that…but it was impossible to say no.”

Abrams and Kennedy-starwars site

Director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars Youtube video

3. Tatooine isn’t the place seen in the first trailer.

Abrams said they began filming the first ten days of the movie in Abu Dhabi, where they endured a scorching heat that clocked 128 degrees. Many fans assumed that the sandy world they saw in the first trailer is the series mainstay Tatooine. But they are wrong. It is Jakku, a desert planet located in a remote section of the Outer Rim Territories.

The desert palnet Jakku. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer

The desert planet Jakku. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer

4. Several new R2-unit domes were built.

Two years ago at the Stars Wars fan convention held in Germany, Kennedy discovered two droid mechanics, Oliver Steeples and Lee Towersey, who are so faithful in creating a fan-built replica of the astromech droid R2-D2. They were eventually hired as part of the film’s creature effects team.

The mechanics said they designed several squared-off domes for new droids in the film. According to Steeples, there are RO-0, RO-LO, R5 and R6 units that will be brought by the X-wings (battle spacecraft) in the universe. He also said every specific pilot will have his own droid at the back.


SCREENGRAB from FilmEdgeNet YouTube video

Oliver Steeples working with the droids. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video.

Oliver Steeples working with the droids. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

5. The rolling droid is BB-8.

BB-8 is the weird and one-eyed droid in the trailer rolling in the sand like an orange-white soccer ball. And fans got into frenzy when they found out it is a real robot! Reports said that BB-8 supposedly operated thirty years after the Battle of Endor. It also graced the surface of Jakku at one point.

“There were a lot of discussions about how having a CG BB-8 would be so much easier for the shooting. But we also knew it would be better for the film, for actors, for the sets, for the look of it if it were performed and Neil Scanlan and his unbelievable team built and puppeteered BB-8 in the movie,” Abrams said.


BB-8 and R2-D2. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

6. Rey

Actress Daisy Ridley revealed that her character is named Rey. She is a scavenger at a shipyard in Jakku. She said Rey is a completely self-sufficient woman and does everything for herself. She is very solitary until she meets Finn.

Daisy Ridley. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

Daisy Ridley. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

SCREENGRAB from Star Wars trailer

Daisy Ridley as Rey. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars trailer

7. Finn

Finn is the first face that appeared in the trailer released last November. He could be seen wandering around Jakku. John Boyega, the actor playing the role, said people will find Finn in “an incredible danger and the way he decides to react to this danger changes his life and launches him to the Star Wars universe in a very unique way.” He also confirmed he is a Stormtrooper, though he was mum when asked if he is a good guy or a bad guy.

Boyega was so vocal about his love for the film. He couldn’t even tell how many times he paid the Stars Wars game on his PS3. He said he freaked out a bit seeing Harrison Ford in front of him. He shared he had Ford sign his Hans Solo toy on the set. “I went to Harrison to sign the doll and he says ‘It’s weird but ‘I’ll sign it for you.’

The hilarious moment came when Boyega admitted he was scared to tell his parents that he landed a role in the film in case they didn’t believe him. “I waited before that cast photos were released before I told my parents… I told them I was filming 24 (the TV series).”

John Boyega. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

John Boyega. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video


John Boyega as Finn. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars trailer

8. Poe Dameron

Actor Oscar Isaac didn’t mince words when he said he’s the best freaking pilot in the galaxy! His character Poe Dameron in actuality is a Resistance T-70 X-wing pilot. He wore a flight suit with a Rebel Alliance symbol and Aurebesh (a writing system for the basic language in the galaxy) markings that translated to “pull to inflate.” Isaac said Poe has been sent on a mission by a certain princess and he ends up coming across Finn and their fates are forever intertwined.


Oscar Isaac. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video


Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars trailer

9. Physical, tangible sets

According to Abrams, they built around practical sets for the film, aside from the spectacular visual effects.

“There are gonna be endless number of effects that will be done  CG and otherwise of course. But we need a standard. We needed to set a standard that was real, that felt like you knew that people were on those places,the way the light interacts with the set. You want it to be legitimate. You want it to be authentic and so building as much as we possibly could was really the mandate,” he said.

Sets jakku

SCREENGRAB from Star Wars trailer

10. Female characters are on the way.

When asked by a fan if who is the character she wants to portray, Kathleen Kennedy said it would be Princess Leia, because she “wouldn’t have had a lot of choices.” But that’s going to change as she revealed there would be additional female characters in the coming Star Wars movies. AU

Original Star Wars cast members, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video

Original Star Wars cast members, Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Anthony Daniels. SCREENGRAB from Star Wars video


Other sources:

www.starwars .com

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TAGS: cinema, Entertainment, J.J. Abrams, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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