Fantastic 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Set Photos, Plus Stills Of Maz Kanata And Supreme Leader Snoke

During the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were hungry for any set photos they could feast their eyes on. Now with the film in theaters and breaking box office records, there aren't any secrets that can be learned from set photos, but that doesn't mean they don't offer a cool glimpse at production, including the climactic lightsaber battle. This is especially true when they come from the film's cinematographer Dan Mindel.

In addition, the first official stills of motion capture characters Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke, brought to life respectively by Lupita Nyong'o and Andy Serkis, have been revealed as well. But keep in mind that you may not want to continue after the jump if you haven't seen The Force Awakens yet, because there will be some spoiler talk.

First up, here's some of the behind the scenes photos from Dan Mindel's Instagram:

As you can see, Mindel snagged an awesome shot of the snowy forest set from the surface of Starkiller Base when Adam Driver and John Boyega were shooting their lightsaber battle as Kylo Ren and Finn. And he also caught some cool shots of BB-8, as well as some monitor shots of Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the Millennium Falcon cockpit with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and the moment after Finn and Rey escape from the TIE Fighters on Jakku. This makes me excited to see what kind of featurettes end up on the Blu-Ray and DVD release of The Force Awakens in a few months. You can see more at Dan Mindel's Instagram page right here.

In addition, for those who have been interested in taking a closer look at Maz Kanata and Supreme Leader Snoke without paying for another ticket to the multiplex, Entertainment Weekly has released a small batch of images:

The Force AwakensSupreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force AwakensThe Force Awakens

Ever since seeing Supreme Leader Snoke on the big screen, I've thought that doing motion-capture for the character was unnecessary, even with a master mocap performer like Andy Serkis behind the character. Previously, Serkis said that this was the best way to make the character work:

"The scale of him, for instance, is one reason. He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design — you couldn't have gotten there with prosthetics. It's too extreme. Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure. You could never have done it [in real life.]"

However, Guillermo del Toro did a fine job created some rather ghastly, hollow ghosts in Crimson Peak with a combination of prosthetic and visual effects, and I wish they would have done that for Snoke as well. He just didn't quite feel real, and I feel the same way looking at these Supreme Leader Snoke photos. That may be just because of the sheer size of that hologram. Perhaps Snoke will look better when we presumably get to see him in Star Wars: Episode VIII.

As for Maz Kanata, she looks great even in still form, something that's not always easy with fully computer generated characters. However, I'm wondering what more there is to the character since she was originally supposed to go with our heroes to the Resistance base, and essentially just disappeared after the First Order attack on Takodana.

Hopefully these two new characters will have serve more pivotal roles in Episode VIII along with some new locations and characters. Because if there's one thing this new Star Wars trilogy needs, it's an expansion of the galaxy's locations and inhabitants.