Posted on Friday, August 14th, 2015 by Ethan Anderton
When director J.J. Abrams was confirmed to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, before we even knew what the title for Episode VII was going to be, some fans were a little annoyed at his hiring. Abrams after all, already had a hand in rebooting Star Trek in 2009, and also directed the less-impressive sequel Star Trek Into Darkness. But it turns out Abrams isn’t the only Star Trek talent with hands in both sci-fi cookie jars.
As we know now, Simon Pegg has some kind of minor role in The Force Awakens as an unknown alien, because we saw him suited up on set in the behind the scenes reel that was revealed at Comic-Con. But Abrams has just confirmed that the Simon Pegg Star Wars connection also extends to helping shape the script, being an occasional part of the brain trust who brought ideas and insight into the story as well.
Again, it’s Entertainment Weekly with the new Star Wars revelation straight from an interview with Abrams. After playing dumb about even knowing who Simon Pegg was, Abrams couldn’t help but sing his praises, albeit because that’s what he was instructed to do, “I will say that Simon Pegg is a genius. Because he told me to say that.” But he wasn’t yet willing to divulge the character Pegg is playing in the movie:
“I will say this in terms of Simon: while he won’t be recognizable in the movie, in all honesty, his role in this – not the performance or the character – but his support and friendship has been massively important and helpful in the process. He was a wonderful partner in crime to kick the story around and ask questions and come up with ideas, and he was an incredibly helpful part of the process for all of us. I’m very grateful.”
And that’s when Abrams went on to reveal how much more Pegg was involved in the making of the film beyond his not-so-secret cameo. Here’s what the director said:
“He was a sounding board. He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”
Like Abrams, Pegg is a massive Star Wars fan, and it must have been helpful to have another set of eyes and ears, absorbing what was being done on The Force Awakens, and adding suggestions to make things better, both as a talented screenwriter (he wrote Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End with Edgar Wright) and a fan of the sci-fi saga. Let’s not forget that he’s doing the same thing with Star Trek 3, but in a more established role as co-writer, so Pegg really is living the dream right now.
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