The Force Awakens Bits: Set Stories From A Stormtroopers, Deleted Scenes, And A Bunch Of New Toys

Star Wars: Episode 8 may be filming, but there's still plenty of Star Wars: The Force Awakens news floating around. In today's edition of The Force Awakens Bits:

  • Oscar-nominated editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon share some deleted scenes.
  • An actor who played a Stormtrooper and a Resistance soldier shares his stories.
  • The coolest BB-8 toy ever.
  • Maz Kanata finally gets her own action figure.
  • The next wave of The Force Awakens Pop figures have been revealed.
  • The producers of The Force Awakens are going to court over Harrison Ford's injury.
  • A few wacky fan theories.
  • And more!
  • captain phasma armor

    It's no secret that great swaths of Star Wars: The Force Awakens were reshot and that significant story beats were reshaped in post-production. Over the past few months, minor details of scenes that were chopped out of the final cut have begun to emerge, with several of them actually confirming old rumors from early in the film's production. The latest batch of tidbits come to us from Oscar-nominated editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon, who sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and discussed a few deleted scenes. From Star Wars News Net:

    The first scene involved Captain Phasma and cut footage that involved a slight continuity issue. Markey explains "There was actually a fun thing with Captain Phasma ordering all the ships into the air, but we didn't realize that Han and Finn had just thrown her down a garbage chute."

    This is not the first deleted Captain Phasma scene we've heard about, which confirms that her character used to have a lot more to do in an earlier version of the film. The other deleted scene they talk about feels minor, but it would have provided closure for a minor character:

    Brandon explains that in their version of the Maz Castle Cantina scene Unkar Plutt, a junkyard dealer tracked Rey to the castle. "They have a confrontation and Chewie comes in and tears his arm off," Brandon said, "Emotionally it didn't track with the story."

    This explains why there are set photos of Plutt (who was played by Simon Pegg in the film) on the cantina set. More importantly, it confirms rumors from well over a year ago that The Force Awakens would feature a scene where Chewbacca literally tears someone's arm out of its socket.

    Star Wars The Force Awakens rey bb-8 2

    If you want to hear more from Markey and Brandon, the editors also sat down for an interview with NPR, where they discuss how they formed their partnership and their long history with J.J. Abrams (they both worked on his spy series Alias). Some of their more interesting comments don't even have to do with Star Wars, like when Markey explains why women make such good editors:

    One advantage that women have had in editing is that women were editors from the beginning of the film business. It was considered women's work at one point, and not so much in a very artistic way — certainly not the way that we talk about filmmaking now. It was considered, like, knitting. You got your strips of film and you had to cut them up and you had to glue them together in a very precise way or they would come apart. And I do think that one of the reasons that young women coming out of film school choose to go into editorial is that they believe they have a chance to succeed in that field. And in fact, when I was in the film business but not in editing, I remember going past a room and seeing that there were women working in it. Then I just walked in and said hey, what are you guys doing?

    Star Wars The Force Awakens stormtroopers has shared a surprisingly interesting interview with actor Mark Alec Rutter, who plays a Stormtrooper and a Resistance soldier in The Force Awakens. While he's not a main character and only appears on screen as an extra in a few key shots, his stories from the set provide a wonderful window into a huge production. Here's him speaking about getting recruited into the film's amy of Stormtroopers:

    I was put up for the role by my agent and went along for the screen test and boot camp. The role of a Stormtrooper is actually quite demanding and your measurements are quite important for the suit. When I got to Pinewood Studios I was slightly dismayed that 98 % of the guys were under 25, 'No pressure then!'  I am 53, the oldest Stormtrooper on The Force Awakens, but just got on with it and as always did my best. After two days of being tested for various different assessments , including stair walking in suit, weapon maneuvers, marching and running in formation, the 100 or so Troopers were split into three groups, A, B and C group. I had made it into a group! And later told I was to be in the core 8, which would be used for all close work on camera.

    He also played one of the Resistance soldiers who helps carry a wounded Finn off the Millennium Falcon, which allowed him to brush soldiers with the main cast:

    On the day of the Falcon scene I turned up and was sent straight into makeup, so knew it was going to be a special day, and it was. The AD said to me: ' remember me when you're famous!', I remember laughing. This specific scene where I help Chewie carry Finn off the Millennium Falcon was considerably longer than what you see. Initially I run up to Chewie from camera left and help him down the ramp to a sort of first aid wagon. The camera pans round and I turn to camera — face clearly seen — and then we were filmed traveling away through the crowd who had turned up to see the arrival of Han Solo off the falcon. Poe (Oscar Isaac) was on the wagon and they drive off slowly with me running alongside holding Finn on the back. I had a trouble keeping a straight face as Poe was making fun of Finn and cracking jokes, it made a hot day much more fun.

    There are many more great stories to be found at the link above.

    bb8 toy

    If you've already exhausted your Sphero BB-8 toy, Spin Master has got you covered. Their new BB-8 toy stands over 16 inches tall and responds to voice commands, so yeah, start saving your loose change right now. Here are some details courtesy of Gizmodo:

    When you talk to BB-8 it will automatically turn its head to follow your voice, which is a fun interactive element. It will also respond when you say its name, and is smart enough to track your position and roll over to you when you call it, which is just one of several voice commands this BB-8 understands. It even has a Follow Me mode which makes BB-8 automatically roll beside you like a loyal puppy.

    The Spin Master BB-8 will be available later this year and will retail for $180.

    pop figures

    Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is getting ready to exit theaters to prepare for its upcoming home video release, all of the formerly secretive characters are finally getting toys. New images have emerged from the 2016 New York Toy Fair giving us our first look at the next series of Star Wars Pop vinyl figures. As you can see, this next line includes an unmasked Kylo Ren, Rey with her spoilery lightsaber, Maz Kanata, Luke Skywalker with his spoilery beard, and General Leia. You know, character and elements that were deliberate left out of the marketing. A few other characters also get their due, like General Hux, Snap Wexley, Admiral Ackbar, and even FN-2199.

    maz kanata visual effects

    And while we're on the subject of formerly top secret characters getting toys, remember when Lucasfilm bent over backwards to keep Maz Kanata's physical appearance a total secret? Those days are long gone, as Lupita Nyong'o's wizened cantina owner is finally getting her own action figure. Entertainment Weekly has the details:

    Here is Maz Kanata in all her glory as a Hasbro action figure, complete with blaster to help fend off The First Order's invasion of her flag-draped castle. The toy includes her headgear with goggles (all the better to see your eyes), but she also comes with much more. For now, Maz cannot be purchased individually, but will be available at an unspecified date this spring as part of the Takodana Encounter 3-75-inch playset, which features three other characters.

    The downside here is that the die hard fans will have to buy Finn, Rey, and BB-8 again if they want to complete their The Force Awakens collection. But there are worse problems to have, right?

    Star Wars The Force Awakens han solo leia

    As everyone already knows, Harrison Ford suffered an injury on the set of The Force Awakens when the hydraulic door of the Millennium Falcon malfunctioned and broke his leg. England's Health and Safety Executive has investigated the incident and has concluded that Disney subsidiary Foodles Production is responsible for the accident and violated several workplace safety laws. Here's part of their statement:

    By law, employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers — this is as true on a film set as a factory floor. We have investigated thoroughly and believe that we have sufficient evidence to bring the case to court.

    This will likely result in a fine that will be hefty for most people, but spare change to Disney. In the end, this will be more embarrassing than anything else.

    We know that a new LEGO Star Wars series is coming to Disney XD, but you'll soon be able to whet your appetite with a new miniseries titled LEGO Star Wars: The Resistance Rises. You can watch a preview of the first episode, which is titled "Poe to the Rescue" and follows Poe Dameron as he rescues Admiral Ackbar from Captain Phasma, above.

    Mashable has posted a very funny video mocking crazy fan theories, with a slightly deranged Star Wars nerd desperately searching for secrets by creating anagrams out of random phrases and names taken from The Force Awakens. For example, the letters in The Force Awakens can be re-arranged to spell "fake cheaters won," which has to mean something, right? Right?!return of the jedi han solo

    And while we're still wearing our tinfoil hats, let's close out with this little tidbit. A Reddit user claims that The Force Awakens aligns with Pink Floyd's classic album The Dark Side of the Moon. This concept is obviously a riff on how the album famously (and mysteriously) lines up with The Wizard of Oz, with many of the lyrics commenting on the film in some very strange ways. Anyway, this user (obviously working from a pirated copy of the film) points out that the album's lyrics occasionally coincide with the action on the screen. For example:

    i'm not afraid of dying. anytime will do.

    This is said on the album right after poe wakes up on the torture chamber and stares at kylo (Torry starts her screams at the same time poe screams in the movie)

    Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town, waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

    All the lyrics of "Time" happens while the movie shows rey's daily struggles. The whole scene just fits with the song

    And after all, we're only ordinary men

    This is sung at the same time that rey tells finn that she had never seen anyone from the resistance, and he says "This is what we look like. Some of us, others look different"

    to hear the softly spoken magic spells

    Cut to kylo talking to vader's helmet, trasitioning into the sad piano of The Great Gig in the Sky

    The whole thing seems a little far-fetched, especially since The Dark Side of the Moon's lyrics are often vague enough to feel like they can be commenting on anything. Still, if you have an evening to kill once you have the Blu-ray in your possession, there are worse experiments you can conduct.