Star Wars: The Force Awakens Power of Storytelling Q&A

A  couple weeks back, the cast and filmmakers behind the new Star Wars film Star Wars: The Force Awakens participated in a Power Of Storytelling Q & A at YouTube Space Los Angeles. Video of the entire 44 minute stage presentation is now online. YouTube executive Danielle Tiedt moderates the question and answer session, which includes Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, producer and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Gwendoline Christie.

The topics include the first stories that inspired them, how do you keep Star Wars fresh over almost four decades, how JJ Abrams became involved in the project, Abrams talks about how you have to look backwards to go forward, the pressure from the intense fanbase, building characters that are different than your own story, what characters inspire them, how did they plan the sound design of Force Awakens, advice for young female creators, managing the human elements in a Star Wars movie, will the Force Awakens capture new audiences like the original did, how do you balance telling an original story but based in a branded franchise, practical effects vs computer generated effects, and the struggles of performing in 125 degree heat in a stormtrooper outfit.

All that and more. The video is filled with some interesting and insightful answers into the inspirations and creative process behind these stars and filmmakers of The Force Awakens.  Hit the jump to watch the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Power of Storytelling Q&A.

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Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters tonight nationwide. Before you see the movie, check out the latest edition of Force Awakens bits for the following spoiler-free info:

  • Force Awakens has sold more tickets than any other movie on Fandango, not just pre-sales but their full theatrical run.
  • Learn how C3PO’s suit was greatly improved for the filming of the new movie.
  • JJ Abrams explains why he didn’t return for Episode VIII or IX.
  • Abu Dhabi recreated Starkiller Base as a tourist attraction.
  • Force Awakens is 95% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with 200 reviews, a ranking currently higher than all the previous Star Wars films.
  • Adam Driver explains how the lightsabers in Force Awakens finally realized George Lucas‘ original vision.
  • Costume designer Michael Kaplan on creating Han Solo’s more mature look.
  • Force Awakens will screen in space
  • The header image is a behind the scenes shot from a featurette on shooting in Abu Dubai, which you can watch in this post.

All this and more. Hit the jump to hyperspace!

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Kathleen Kennedy and JJ Abrams

As excited as I was to chat with filmmaker J.J. Abrams about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I was even more excited to chat with super producer Kathleen Kennedy, who aside from producing many of the films of my childhood is the head of Lucasfilm — which means she is in charge of the future of the Star Wars franchise.

I talked to Kennedy about how she and her team are planning out the future of the Star Wars franchise, how George Lucas’ treatments evolved into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the abandoning of the Star Wars expanded universe, what was being developed at Lucasfilm before George sold to Disney, how the theme park stuff is being worked on, the differences between the Saga films and the Star Wars Story anthology films, the collaboration between J.J. Abrams and future sequel trilogy directors Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, and whether they can top Darth Vader with Kylo Ren. Obviously, some of these quotes were featured on the site last week, but there is so much here that wasn’t — so please read it in its entirety.

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Elders React to The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was shot on 35mm (with one sequence shot on 70mm IMAX film), but most of the over 4,000 screens showing the film this weekend will be presenting the movie via digital projection. So where can you go to see the movie projected on real 35mm film? There is only one theater in Los Angeles that you can see the film on the same format it was shot on.

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ZZ765AA6EB

The world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens took place Monday night in Hollywood, and you’ve already probably read the first reactions and spoiler-free reviews. But the Force Awakens news bits keep on coming. Lets take a look at the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens news and tidbits:

  • JJ Abrams confirms that the film’s new X-Wing pilot pays tribute to both Lost & the Beastie Boys
  • The Force Awakens Has Already Pre-sold $100 million in tickets
  • If you don’t want to play the video games to learn about the Force Awakens prequel, here is the story behind the Battle Of Jakku.
  • Lupita Nyong’o Didn’t Realize She Auditioned For Force Awakens
  • Cinematographer Dan Minel explains how he shot The Force Awakens 
  • Check out all the new Force Awakens books and merchandise hitting stores on December 18th.
  • Watch the entire recorded Force Awakens Premiere live stream
  • And the header image was created by artist Jerrod Maruyama, who says “I can’t wait to see what JJ does with George’s toys!”

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

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new star wars image

On Monday night, I was very fortunate to attend the world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in Hollywood. To say this film is highly anticipated for me is an understatement. This is without a doubt the most anticipated film of not just the year but of my lifetime. I’m a huge Star Wars fanatic, and I’m a big fan of JJ Abrams (warts and all), so my expectations were already higher than the buildings on Cloud City.

After the jump you can read my initial reaction to the film, completely free of spoilers of any kind. Did the film live up to my expectations? Find out in my Force Awakens spoiler free review.

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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 »

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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