Force Awakens Bits: Abrams On 3D Vs. 2D, Writers Room, George Lucas' Involvement, NASA Criticizes BB8's Design And More

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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Inside the Star Wars Writers Room

The Hollywood Reporter has an amazing piece on the writers room for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the sequel trilogy, the standalone films like Rogue One and, yeah, basically the future of Star Wars. Here is a short excerpt:

It was around Christmastime 2012 when Michael Arndt, Lawrence Kasdan, Simon Kinberg, Pablo Hidalgo and Kiri Hart converged for the first time in an office at Big Rock Ranch in Marin — the 1,000-acre spread George Lucas built next to his beloved Skywalker Ranch — to carry out an initial brainstorming session. Over the next month, they began creating the framework for Episodes VII, VIII and IX as well as such spinoffs as Rogue One. "It didn't really begin with much of an agenda other than to put a bunch of people in a room who love Star Wars and are storytellers and see what stories come out of it," recalls Kinberg.

Kiri Hart remembers, "It was very much about putting ideas up on the board and exploring together. There were millions of things that we bounced around and abandoned." Oh how I would have loved to be a fly on the wall in that room in those days/weeks.

Oscar 2015 predictions

Force Awakens Shortlisted for an Oscar

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is officially an Oscar contender... kind of. The film has made the Oscar shortlist in the Visual Effects category, alongside Ant-Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Bridge of Spies, Chappie, Everest, Ex Machina, Furious Seven, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, In the Heart of the Sea, Jupiter Ascending, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, The Revenant, Spectre, Terminator Genisys, Tomorrowland and The Walk.

There will be another shortlist of ten nominees revealed later this month. The final five contenders will be announced on January 14, 2016.

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Harrison Ford Says Han Solo's Lines in The Force Awakens Trailers Aren't What They Seem

Over at io9, my good friend Germain Lussier talked to Harrison Ford about Han Solo's line "Chewie, we're home" which appeared in the second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ford explains that the line is actually not what you think it is, and plays very differently in the movie itself:

"'Chewie, we're Home,' is about something else," Ford told io9 when asked if this line was referring to the Millennium Falcon. "It's about [director] J.J. [Abrams]' genius—because it's preceded with new characters and new stuff, all of which is really intriguing. It's like walking up to a new house and then you get a glimpse through the window of the new stuff inside. Then 'Chewie, we're home' is the key in the lock that opens the door. To your memories, your emotional memories of the thing. It's not about Han. It's not about Han and Chewie. It's about triggering the memory of the experience."

Ford says the "It's true, all of it" line from the third trailer is also played very differently in the film:

"By the time you get to the 'It's all true' part of the movie, there's a big, full story that fills the frame, and it's not all about Han," Ford says. "But in the context of Han's story, you will learn about things that have occurred offstage in the intervening years, which will lead you to an understanding of why he is capable now of saying the things he says."

So for those who think they know too much about the film from watching the trailers, it seems clear they are cleverly editing moments to play differently in the ads than they do within the film.

Bajirao Mastani

Force Awakens Faces Bollywood Holdovers In India

While Star Wars: The Force Awakens is tracking to break box office records in most of the world, it will have real competition in India. When the film hits theaters on Christmas Day it will go up against two huge Bollywood releases: Both Rohit Shetty's Dilwale, starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Bajirao Mastani, starring Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra open a week earlier on December 18th.

Leading Indian distributor Anil Thadani of A.A. Films tells Variety, "They are both big films and since they are releasing on the same day, one week is not enough to do them justice at the box office." So the box office performance of those films will determine how many screens Star Wars will get in that country.

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Harrison Ford Contributed to the Script On Set

Over at Moviefone, Lawrence Kasdan talks about writing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The most interesting Episode 7 tidbit from the interview comes from how Harrison Ford was involved in the screenwriting process:

Harrison definitely has input. He is so amazing in this movie. And his history during the movie, what he went through. He's an actual superhero! He's not a fake superhero. I've never seen him better, more generous, or more sweet and giving with everyone and with me. He contributed enormously, as he always did. ...  A lot of the writing happened while we were shooting. We had a first draft in six weeks, but then we've writing for another two years. It's really changed a lot over that time. Harrison had a big impact.

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens Breaks UK Pre-booking Records

Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already broken some UK ticket sales records. Theatre chain Vue announced that the film has now sold 290,000 tickets at its UK venues alone, overtaking the previous record of 284,850 tickets held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, which was released five years ago.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D glasses

J.J. Abrams on Whether You Should See the Movie in 3D

When Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams appeared on the Howard Stern Show last week, he mentioned that he doesn't really like seeing movies in 3D because of the annoyance of having to put the 3D glasses over his glasses. Now in a newer interview with the Associated Press, Abrams seems to be pushing for people to see the film in 3D:

When I was watching the reels in 3-D, there were a number of shots — and I know this sounds insane — that I hadn't understood in the three-dimensional space quite the way I did when I saw them in 3-D. I actually felt that there were things that were playing better in 3-D. I had never felt that before. And if people have access to a theater that has laser projection, it is shockingly better.

Of course, purchasing the 3D ticket means a bigger box office number, so why wouldn't the filmmaker try to advocate for that? When co-star Daisy Ridley was asked on Jimmy Kimmel about how we should view the film, she suggested fans first see the film regularly, then go back and watch the IMAX 3D version. And of course Daisy is taking the more profitable approach of advocating fans see the film two times, and once with the expensive IMAX ticket.

All of that said, my opening night ticket is for the Manns Chinese IMAX theatre, which has laser projection. I want to see it there for legacy reasons, but also because of the sequence that was shot in full frame IMAX.

NASA Says BB-8 Isn't Well Designed

NASA roboticist Brett Kennedy has analyzed the design of Star Wars droids and found that BB-8 is the least well-designed of the three which included R2D2 and C3PO. The Mary Sue points out that "BB-8 has no design flaws in our hearts, of course."

George Lucas Star Wars Episode VII

Kathleen Kennedy On George Lucas' Involvement

The Hollywood Reporter talked to Kathleen Kennedy about a variety of topics, including the marketing, the merchandising, her work day, and the development of the movie. But the most juicy part is where Kennedy talks about George Lucas and his public skepticism of the new film:

I talk to George all the time. George has gone through his own personal process of trying to find his own way of letting go of something that has a huge amount to do with his entire adult life. It's really impossible for him to only get involved a little bit. He either feels he needs to get involved 100 percent and really be running everything or not at all. He had to make that choice for himself, to step away. When I first came into this company, I had about five months where it was back and forth in his mind as to whether he was going to sell, when he was going to sell. At the same time, we were talking about making new movies. He was the one who  initially approached Harrison and Mark and Carrie. All of that he initiated, and I think realizing what it meant to stay involved with its execution was what he had to reconcile. And it's been tough, watching this go on without his direct involvement, but at the same time, I think he really wanted to step away, knowing that it was in good hands. That's why he always, always wanted to sell to Disney. There was no debate around that.

Wouldn't it be better if he didn't talk about the new movie?

I don't want to second-guess what George feels he needs to say or do. It's up to him. If there's one thing I've always known about George, he's never held back on his opinions. Of course I want him to be happy with what we're doing. But having him 100 percent on board is up to him. He's said in his own words, he can't do that unless he's the one running everything. [But] he's seen the movie, and he really liked it.