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How did Star Wars: the Force Awakens evolve during the development process? What were some of the early ideas they were playing with that didn’t end up in the final film? The new book The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens gives us a peek inside the development of Episode 7, from the earliest concepts to post production.

Did you know that Starkiller Base was originally called The Doom Star? That Poe Dameron’s character began as a Jedi or Bounty Hunter? Or how about that they toyed with the idea that Anakin Skywalker would appear in the film as a Force Ghost? Learn about how The Force Awakens changed from the earliest story ideas to the movie you’ve now experienced.

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JJ Abrams and Lawrence KAsdan

Earlier this week, director/writer J.J. Abrams and his co-writer Lawrence Kasdan appeared at the Director’s Guild Of America for a screening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Some of the quotes from JJ and Kasdan talking have come out of the 32 minute question and answer session that followed this screening. And thanks to the DGA, the entire half hour long Q&A is now online for everyone to watch.

The conversation between Kasdan and Abrams is mostly geared towards people working within the film industry, talking about the development and directing process (after all, it is for the union members of the DGA), but there are quote a few Force Awakens bits and stories relayed here. Watch the Force Awakens DGA conversation now after the jump.

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forceawakens-dowutin-lady-cantina

JJ Abrams is one of those filmmakers who loves to hide easter eggs in his films and television shows. And we love to go on the easter egg hunt and find them. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is packed with inside jokes, cameos, fun references to past films, as well as some things that pay homage to the inspiration and fandom of the series.

How many Game of Thrones cameos did you spot? Is it possible the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the Lost Ark might be hidden in this movie somewhere? Find out this and over 50 other Star Wars: The Force Awakens easter eggs, after the jump.

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Star Wars Jurassic World Box Office

As expected, Star Wars: The Force Awakens obliterated box office records this weekend — including the one set by Jurassic World earlier this year for the biggest opening weekend of all time. But apparently there are no hard feelings on Jurassic World‘s side. Just as the Marvel team congratulated Jurassic World on a job well done when it took over The Avengers‘ record, the Jurassic World gang is gamely toasting Star Wars‘ stellar performance.  Read More »

the force awakens details

Before you freak out, the names in the headline is NOT A SPOILER. There is absolutely no way you would spot any of these fellows in the movie unless you had some idea of where to look. They are not surprise appearances, they are fun easter eggs that you wouldn’t know unless someone told you about them. Knowing where to find them can only enhance you’re viewing, not detract. That said, while the names are not spoilers, pointing out where they appear requires me to spoil plot points, so don’t read this post unless you’ve seen the movie.

Composer Michael Giacchino, James Bond series star Daniel Craig, and Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich all appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens in cameo roles. Did you see them in the film? Find out about the Force Awakens cameos now after the jump.

Again Warning: Spoilers from the movie are after the jump.

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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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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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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