There’s been a plethora of ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ news this week. Here’s a roundup of some new information from Entertainment Weekly’s current issue, including Leia’s new title, final runtime, Andy Serkis talks Supreme Leader Snoke, Abrams and Nyong’o on Maz Kanata and more.
According to the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (via SlashFilm), “The final edit of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is complete and has a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes. Picture was locked on November 3rd 2015 at midnight, but JJ Abrams and crew will be spending the next few weeks finalizing the film’s visual effects, sound effects and a final scoring session with composer John Williams.”
Princess Leia Has A New Title:
Carrie Fisher’s iconic character has a brand new title. During an interview with EW, director J.J. Abrams revealed that Leia will be referred to as General. “But … there’s a moment in the movie where a character sort of slips and calls her ‘Princess.’ The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned. But it felt historic to have her, especially with Harrison, back in scenes together. I can only imagine the baggage that they bring to it, I’m just a fan who loves this stuff, but they’ve been living with it — and living in it — since ’77.”
Fisher says that Leia is “not easily” handling her new position. She describes Leia as “solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.”
‘On The Set’ U.S. Featurette:
‘On The Set’ UK Featurette:
Supreme Leader of the First Order Concept Art:
Fans got a taste of Andy Serkis’ Supreme Leader Snoke voice during the first teaser trailer, and got a glimpse of Serkis in his mo-cap suit. Now thanks to Indie Revolver, we have an early concept art of what Snoke looked like during the early stages of production. It’s probably nowhere near what Snoke looks like. We’ll just have to wait till the movie.
Andy Serkis Talks Supreme Leader Snoke:
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Andy Serkis revealed some interesting details about Supreme Leader Snoke. Serkis said that he had no idea what his character looked like. “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean, talk about secrecy!”
Serkis was able to share some info about Snoke. “Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful. Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda. He’s a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character. He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree.”
He went on to say that his character couldn’t have been played without the use of performance capture. “The scale of him, for instance, is one reason. He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design – you couldn’t have gotten there with prosthetics. It’s too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]”
Serkis told EW that Snoke is a new character, but is aware of past events: “No, he’s a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character,” Serkis says. “He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree.”
Lupita Nyong’o and J.J. Abrams Talk Maz Kanata:
“I have lived long enough to see the same eyes in different people. I see your eyes. I know your eyes.”
During an interview with EW, J.J. Abrams revealed that Maz Kanata “has been hiding in plain sight, and many fans have already.” Her character can be seen in the center of the movie poster, “sporting a small smile and a large pair of dark goggles.”
Abrams told EW that Maz’s eyes have special meaning and power. “I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do. I had this pitch about these goggles that she wore. Her eyes are an important aspect of her character, and you’ll see how it plays out.” Lupita Nyong’o added, “As an actor for films, your eyes are a lot of the way you communicate anyway. So it was definitely a gift to have that be the means to her magic as a motion-capture character.”
Abrams revealed some details on Maz’s backstory and the castle in which she lives in. “Her history is that she was a pirate for a long time,” the director said. “She’s lived over a thousand years. She’s had this watering hole for about a century, and it’s like another bar that you’d find in a corner of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.” Abrams went on to say that her Maz’s origin story will not be explored in the movie, but instead will be “coming out in other venues.”
Abrams originally wanted to create a puppet for Nyong’o’s character, “but once we figured out the things that she was required to do, it felt like [performance capture] was the way to go.”
“Maz needed to look and feel and be just like one of those creatures. And given her mobility, and given the role that she played, it became clear that was one creature where we should use the tool of CG,” Abrams told EW. “But the performance was all Lupita. She was there on set, and we did capture sessions afterwards as well, and I can’t say enough about working with her.”
Who is Rey?
Rey was abandoned by her family on Jakku when she was five.“She’s been alone for a long time,” Ridley told EW. “When something occurs when you’re 5, you know what went on but you don’t understand the reasoning. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead, whether that involves the past or not.” Daisy goes on to say that being abandoned hasn’t made her vulnerable to the Dark Side. “Hope makes people good, a lot of the time,” Ridley said. “You hope for a brighter future, and resentment is outweighed.”
She added, “Rey, Finn, and Kylo, they all start off in a place where they have been led to feel like they’re wanting. She’s never sat around a table and had a meal with someone else. She works to feed herself, and she goes to sleep, and she gets up again. It is a sad life … The film, for Rey, is a journey of finding out that no one is no one.”
Ridley debunked rumors that her staff look like the staff lightsaber of Darth Plagueis. “I mean everyone is praying that it’s Darth Plagueis’s staff. But… it’s just a staff,” Ridley told EW. “She’s a young woman in a galaxy by herself. It’s not primarily a weapon, it’s useful as well. It does all sorts of things roamin’ around Jakku. She uses it to defend herself. That’s really as far as it goes, unfortunately.”
First Order’s Starkiller Base:
Abrams confirms that the First Order’s Starkiller Base is another Death Star, but more powerful. “It is very much — and it’s acknowledged as such in the movie — apparently another Death Star,” Abrams says. “But what it’s capable of, how it works, and what the threat is, is far greater than what the Death Star could have done. Starkiller Base is another step forward, technologically speaking, in terms of power.”
General Hux and Kylo Ren:
Domnhall Gleeson, who plays General Hux, is defined by arrogance and contempt. “There’s an air of superiority, and being better than those people around you,” he says. “He’s pretty ruthless. A strong disciplinarian would be a mild way of putting it.”
On Hux’s appeal to the First Order, “It’s in the title: order,” Gleeson says. “It’s a desire to lump everything in its place and just have power. The desire for power is hugely motivating for a lot of people and normally the people who want all the power are not the ones who should have it.”
Gleeson says that Hux is opposite to Kylo Ren, “They have their own relationship, which is individual and unusual. One of them is strong in different ways than the other. They’re both vying for power.”
Directed by J.J. Abrams. Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams. Produced by Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk. John Williams will also return as composer. Stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, Simon Pegg and Anthony Daniels.
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.