Star Wars The Force Awakens stormtroopers 2

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 3 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.

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