Check out this extensive, ten-minute effects reel for The Force Awakens. It gives us a look at the entirely digital parts of Jakku, Maz Kanata, the lightsaber battle and more. Recommended additional reading: Studio Daily’s interview with ILM VFX Supervisor Roger Guyett. (via)
The Force Awakens novelization by Alan Dean Foster has made it to #1 on the the New York Times bestseller list, Lucasfilm’s Jennifer Heddle announced today.
The novelization was released in two phases – as an ebook on December 18th, with the hardcover not debuting until January 5.
(Pablo Hidalgo’s The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary has also been doing well, and is probably the most helpful resource out there right now.)
Despite over 20 years of the current publishing program, only 3 previous Star Wars novels have topped the NYT list: Timothy Zahn’s Heir the the Empire in 1991, Terry Brooks’ The Phantom Menace novelization in 1999 and Sean Williams’ The Force Unleashed novelization in 2008. Quite a few have made the top ten, with Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath recently peaking at #4.
John Boyega talks to Vogue UK, and he tells them that the Episode VIII script is “great” but “much darker” than The Force Awakens, and that his part in the new film “will be much more physical.”
J.J. Abrams discusses The Force Awakens with The Hollywood Reporter, including the criticisms that the film is too similar to A New Hope, and why it was important “to go backwards to go forwards.”
→ At Studio Daily, ILM VFX Supervisor Roger Guyett talks about the film’s visual effects, including the Falcon on Jakku.
→ The Force Awakens has opened strong in China with a record $33M Saturday opening. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., there’s some real box office competition this weekend thanks to The Revenant. Who wins? Either way, Domhnall Gleeson.
→ Business Insider profiles Joonas Suotamo, who doubled for Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca.
→ Award watch: John Boyega is a nominee for the BAFTA’s Rising Star award. TFA itself is up for BAFTAs in production design, sound, music and visual effects. The film is also up for a Costume Designers Guild Award.
There’s a new name in the mix for the unknown new female character in Episode VIII: Diary of a Teenage Girl’s Bel Powley. Previous names related to the role are Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who’s apparently out?) Gina Rodriguez and Olivia Cooke.
There was an earlier rumor that there were two new roles for the Rian Johnson directed film drawing from the same shortlist, but that’s yet to be collaborated beyond the initial report.
As always, remember these are only rumors, and they are anything but solid. Episode VIII is due to begin shooting this month, so hopefully we’ll hear something solid on any newcomers soon.
Finn/Poe may be the internet’s favorite The Force Awakens ‘ship, but it seems at least one of the actors involved isn’t quite on board. John Boyega told ShortList Magazine’s Chris Mandle that the (possible) romance is “all in Oscar’s head.”
Oscar Isaac admitted to “playing romance” on a pre-release interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, though he declined to specify with who. He earlier remarked about how his only romance in the film was with “those two little balls” – aka BB-8. (But who doesn’t the man have chemistry with?)
Mandle’s Boyega interview – and any additional context – will be published later this month. Mandle has a post up, including Boyega’s full comment, where he calls the relationship between Fin and Poe “a brotherly love, a bromance.”
But in any case, when does something like this actually stop the ‘shippers? Remember kids, it’s all for fun – no matter where the canon ends up.
There’s a lot of The Force Awakens stuff I never covered, both because of the sheer amount of things happening and because I don’t make a habit of linking to deeply stupid stuff. (YMMV, natch.) But on Facebook, from a hero called Matty Granger, there is a delightful rip of one of the absolute dumbest pieces to come out in the wake of the film, and I entreat you to read it.
Oh, and the best part by far:
29. Who trained Rey to fight with a staff as effectively as she does, given that (a) she is an orphan with no friends or family, and (b) she has never been in a battle, but is, rather, merely a scrap-metal scavenger?
Dude. Wander down to the poorest part of whatever town you’re in and pick a fight with a mangy little mutt of a guy. The smaller the better. Once you’re out of the hospital, you’ll realize that people who are forced to survive in the harshest environments don’t train to fight. They learn the hard way and they get really, really good at it.
Now, I don’t necessarily agree with all of Granger’s assumptions/theories, but it’s always nice to see stupidity brought low.
Though he’s been dubbed TR-8R, his real name (‘name’) is FN-2199, aka Nines. As often speculated, he’s one of Finn’s former squadmates, and we first met him in Greg Rucka’s Before the Awakening, which details some of Finn’s pre-Jakku life and training.
The character was voiced by Skywalker Sound’s David Acord, and played by stunt performer Liang Yang.