Phantasm (1)

J.J. Abrams is a big fan of Don Coscarelli‘s horror cult classic Phantasm. He’s such a big fan of it, in fact, that he even pays tribute to it in Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Phasma, the “Chrome Trooper” played by Gwendoline Christie, is named after the 1979 movie.

And his love for the film doesn’t stop there. We’ve now learned that Abrams’ company Bad Robot has secretly overseen a 4K restoration of Phantasm from the original camera negative. Noted Coscarelli: “Star Wars isn’t the only ’70s franchise he’s rejuvenating this year!” More on the Phantasm 4K restoration after the jump.  Read More »

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jj abrams

Since it was announced that J.J. Abrams was going to direct Episode 7 of the Star Wars saga, he hasn’t talked too deeply about the process of developing the new film. So when I had the opportunity to talk to Abrams at the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket, I was filled with questions about how his vision of the next episode of Star Wars came about.

After the jump you can read my full J.J. Abrams interview. Some of the quotes have been previously features on the site (for instance, the stuff on working with Rian Johnson and The Raid guys and also his belief on the Force being more inclusive than midi-chlorians and bloodlines). But the interview packs a lot more: I ask Abrams about how his vision of the future of the Skywalker saga differed from the treatments that George Lucas turned in for the upcoming sequel trilogy, the lessons he took away from the Star Wars prequels, and more.

And you’ll notice that Abrams uses his Jedi mind tricks to not directly answer some of these questions, but his answers (for instance, his response about what he loved about the original trilogy) are actually very calculated and telling responses.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens reviews

The world premiere of JJ AbramsStar Wars: The Force Awakens happened last night in Hollywood California at an unprecedented gala that took over the three big theaters on Hollywood Blvd: El Capitan, The Dolby Theatre and The TCL Chinese Theatre. While full on reviews are embargoed until Wednesday morning at 12:01am, guests in attendance at the premiere were allowed to tweet their brief reactions. After the jump you can find the first First Awakens reactions from the premiere screening.

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The week has finally come, a new Star Wars film will hit movie theaters in just a few days. The world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens takes place tonight in Hollywood, and the first reactions are probably coming shortly after that. I’m extremely fortunate to be attending the premiere tonight and am so excited. I will give you my reaction afterwards on twitter (non-spoiler of course, followed by more in-depth review on the site later in the week). Okay, lets take a look at the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens news and tidbits:

  • Steven Spielberg recommended that Disney hire J.J. Abrams for Force Awakens.
  • Adam Driver’s response to the question of if Force Awakens will be better than the prequels.
  • See new behind the scenes photos featuring Daisy Ridley and John Boyega.
  • Find out how Jakku market merchant Bobbajo was created
  • Learn more about Andy Serkis‘ character Supreme Leader Snoke
  • How the Force Awakens world premiere in Hollywood is “bigger than the Oscars”
  • Is Force Awakens about Star Wars fandom and is Kylo Ren just a huge Star Wars geek?
  • J.J. Abrams designed Rey’s outfit so that it would be simple enough that kids could doodle it in class
  • Preview some of the limited edition “Galaxy Premiere” merchandise which will be sold in select theaters
  • John Boyega talks Force Awakens deleted scenes
  • Watch BB-8 explore London.
  • Header photo thanks to HeroicHollywood

All this and more in today’s Force Awakens Bits. Alright Chewie, Punch it! Hit the jump for hyperspace!

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JJ Abrams Interview

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not just a movie, but the beginning of a new trilogy of films. How does a filmmaker like J.J. Abrams balance worrying about this film versus setting up ideas and characters for the rest of the arc? Did he create a treatment for the sequel trilogy with Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt? Did he work with Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson and Episode IX helmer Colin Trevorrow?

At the Star Wars: The Force Awakens press junket, I sat down with Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy and Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams to learn how the future of the Star Wars saga is being created.
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john williams force awakens score

The trailers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens have been filled with temp and trailer music, so we’ve yet to really hear John Williams‘ score for Episode VII… until now. 60 Minutes is doing a profile on the new Star Wars film and in a preview released online we get to see director JJ Abrams direct John Williams on the scoring stage. Williams conducts an orchestra playing new music from Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this preview clip. Watch and listen to the John Williams Force Awakens score in the clip embedded after the jump.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens chief of creature and droid effects Neal Scanlan poses with the creatures from the movie.

It’s Friday and we’re less than a week away from Star Wars: The Force Awakens hitting theaters nationwide. I thought we’d be in Star Wars overkill at this point, but even with a Force Awakens round-up each day on the site I was expecting to be bombarded with much more Force Awakens content the week before JJ Abrams’ Star Wars sequel hits theaters. In today’s edition of Force Awakens Bits, we take a look at the following:

  • Take a first look at Greg Grunberg‘s character: X-Wing pilot Snap Wexly
  • See Four new international Force Awakens character posters revealed
  • Are all Bad Robot office visitors are forced to sign a Star Wars NDA?
  • Russell Crowe saw 9 Minutes of The Force Awakens calls it “Spectacular”
  • Nearly an hour of John Williams Force Awakens score was discarded, modified or rerecorded
  • Alamo Draft House Cinema offers Star Wars-themed meals listed on a Millennium Falcon menu
  • How Rick Carter‘s art team effected The Force Awakens scriptwriting process
  • For preparation, Oscar Issac was given blueprints of every button that had ever been used on screen in an X-Wing
  • Why JJ Abrams And Lawrence Kasdan started from scratch when Michael Arndt left Force Awakens 
  • And the header photo shows Star Wars: The Force Awakens chief of creature and droid effects Neal Scanlan posing with the creatures from the film. So cool.

All this and more in today’s Force Awakens Bits. Hit the jump to hyperspace.

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The Raid Star Wars

Three of the main actors from Gareth EvansThe Raid and The Raid 2 have roles in J.J. AbramsStar Wars: The Force Awakens. How did The Raid series star Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian (who played Mad Dog and Prakoso in the films) and Cecep Arif Rahman (who played “The Assassin” and fought in the kitchen finale of the sequel) make it into the new Star Wars film? I asked director J.J. Abrams for details and here is what he told me about The Raid stars in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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new star wars images 2

The awakening is coming, can you feel it? We are now 7 days away from the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here is a look at what we’ll be talking about in today’s Force Awakens Bits:

  • A look inside the Star Wars writers room.
  • J.J. Abrams and Daisy Ridley on whether you should see the film in 3D, 2D or IMAX.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already been shortlisted for an Oscar.
  • Harrison Ford says Han Solo’s lines in The Force Awakens trailers aren’t what they seem.
  • In India, Force Awakens could be upstaged by Bollywood holdovers.
  • Learn about Harrison Ford‘s contributions to the script.
  • NASA says BB-8 isn’t well designed.
  • Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy explains George Lucas‘ involvement with Force Awakens and the future of Star Wars.

All that and more. Hit the jump to hyperspace!

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