Boyega and Ridley on diversity, the Millennium Falcon, and lightsabers in The Force Awakens

Daisy and John

I’m not sure if we’re coming up on the last of the Entertainment Weekly stuff or not (my issue did not arrive in a timely fashion, as per usual, and the app is awful) but this afternoon brought interviews with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Addressed is some of the backlash:

“We see through the eyes of children that they’re not talking about race the way we grown folks are. They’re not talking about color or how much melanin is in someone’s skin. That should teach us something,” Boyega says.

The bigots trying to sully things? He has no time for them. “We’ve been having a continuous struggle with idiots, and now we should just force them to understand – and I love the way I just used Force there, by the way – just force people to see this is the new world,” he says. “There are loads of people of different shades and backgrounds. Get used to it.”

Ridley talks about Harrison Ford and the Millennium Falcon:

She even got some sage starship-flying advice from Harrison Ford. “I was doing random switch-flipping and Harrison kind of put his hand out and said, no, everything had to have a purpose. Like, you flip a switch and then you see what it does, before you do anything else,” she says. “I was probably flipping switches too quickly!”

There was one other awkward moment. “Um, probably when I sat in his pilot seat,” Ridley says. “There’s a shot where I pilot the Falcon by myself. And then [on another day] Harrison and I went to film together. I went to get into the pilot seat and he was like, ‘That’s mine,’ and I was genuinely mortified. And J.J. was sitting there like, ‘Oh my God, oh my God.’ And, you know, I moved into the co-pilot seat.”

And Boyega on lightsabers:

“It started in rehearsals. We had [Kylo Ren actor] Adam Driver. That was the first time ever I had a stick in my hand that I could pretend was a lightsaber, which was the first stage of excitement,” he says. “I had to do all the sound effects and stuff by myself.”

In front of the cameras, he was given a much more elaborate prop. “That’s when I got the real saber, which is blue, it’s lighted, and just looks really epic,” Boyega says. “It felt monumental in my hand. I knew not to play like I used to when I was a kid, but to actually use it in serious combat for a scene. It’s absolutely crazy to have in your hand. It’s a bit heavy but it’s worth it. “

I believe that’s confirmation of something Making Star Wars posted last month, about how custom versions of Force FX lightsabers were used on set to help with lighting and other effects.

Abrams, Gleeson on Starkiller Base and General Hux

General Hux

In today’s first Entertainment Weekly feature, J.J. Abrams and Domhnall Gleeson discussing the First Order’s Starkiller Base and General Hux – and EW’s first spoiler warning.

Starkiller Base (poster)Above that, however, Abrams describes Starkiller:

“It is very much — and it’s acknowledged as such in the movie — apparently another Death Star,” Abrams says. “But what it’s capable of, how it works, and what the threat is, is far greater than what the Death Star could have done. Starkiller Base is another step forward, technologically speaking, in terms of power.”

As for Hux, Gleeson reiterates that the character is ruthless

“You don’t get that high up in your life that quickly unless you’re pretty ruthless,” says Gleeson, who’s 32. “You have to put a few people down on the way to get there.” The actor also says Hux doesn’t carry a signature weapon: he has other people to do such dirty work.

What’s the appeal of the First Order to Hux? “It’s in the title: order,” Gleeson says. “It’s a desire to lump everything in its place and just have power. The desire for power is hugely motivating for a lot of people and normally the people who want all the power are not the ones who should have it.”

On his relationship with Kylo Ren, EW goes for “frenemies:”

“He’s kind of opposite Kylo Ren,” Gleeson says. “They have their own relationship, which is individual and unusual. One of them is strong in different ways than the other. They’re both vying for power.”

The ‘spoilery’ stuff is mainly speculation, but it’s not hard to connect the dots.

Video: Unboxing ‘Wings of the Master’ and the dark side of Honey Nut Cheerios

Unboxing Star Wars - B-wing Cheerios

Yowie and I go over the latest in the Star Wars galaxy in this week’s Unboxing Star Wars video. We bring out a B-wing as we talk about Hera in this week’s Rebels episode, ‘Wings of the Master’, and try some Star Wars packaged Honey Nut Cheerios. We also show off some Star Wars stamps from the UK and talk about the upcoming Vader Down comic crossover event. I even talk about a scene from Rescuers Down Under.

Video: New The Force Awakens footage from #TGITAwakens


A new TV spot debuted on ABC Thursday night, with a few glimpses of new footage, including more on Jakku, the Resistance command room, Finn and the lightsaber, and, above, Rey and Han. Here’s the official Youtube:

A few stills – and thoughts – below the cut, in a gallery. Continue reading

Entertainment Weekly is not going to spoil you about Luke Skywalker


Entertainment Weekly isn’t going to tell you where Luke is in The Force Awakens. J.J. Abrams isn’t going to, either. And certainly not Mark Hamill.

Because Luke Skywalker missing is the whole point. A more interesting question may be, what does the rest of the galaxy know?

“It was the thing that struck me the hardest, which was the idea that doing a story that took place nearly 40 years after Jedi meant that there would be a generation for whom Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia would be as good as myth,” Abrams says. “They’d be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who they may have heard of, but maybe not. They’d be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale.”

Abrams does talk at length about how Rey and Finn would perceive Luke or the Jedi, however. For Rey, there’s only the scattershot stories she may have heard. For Finn, “raised from the ashes of the Empire,” Luke is a propaganda villain. (Han Solo? A footnote.)

As for the blue lightsaber, it’s “an important piece of the puzzle that will reveal Luke’s fate and whereabouts.”

And yes, there’s more quotes from Abrams and Hamill, but they’re not going to give you the full story. Not yet.

Serkis on Snoke: “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like.”


Andy Serkis didn’t know what Supreme Leader Snoke looked like at first, either, he tells Entertainment Weekly. “It’s the first time I’ve been on set not yet knowing what the character’s gonna look like. I mean talk about secrecy!” And his look was changing throughout filming of The Force Awakens:

“When we first started working on it, he had some rough notions of how Snoke was gonna look, but it really hadn’t been fully-formed and it almost came out of discussion and performance,” Serkis says.

He’s too “tall” and “extreme” for prosthetics, Serkis says. “Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone structure and facial structure.”

As for the character:

“Supreme Leader Snoke is quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful,” Serkis says. “Obviously he has a huge agenda. He has suffered a lot of damage. As I said, there is a strange vulnerability to him, which belies his true agenda, I suppose.”

He’s not anyone we’ve already met, either. (It’s been a bad week for Darth Plagueis-based rumors.)

“No, he’s a new character in this universe. It is very much a newly-introduced character,” Serkis says. “He’s aware of what’s gone on, in the respect that he has been around and is aware of prior events. I think it’d be fair to say that he is aware of the past to a great degree.”

Serkis also says that he and Lupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata “are the only two performance-capture characters in an otherwise very analog world.”

J.J. Abrams confirms orange alien is Maz Kanata, reveals some of her story

mazLupita Nyong’o’s Maz Kanata is indeed the orange alien we see on the poster, J.J. Abrams confirms to Entertainment Weeky, and the googles are an important part of her character:

Her eyes have special meaning and power. “I had some specific ideas about how she would work and what she would do,” Abrams says. “I had this pitch about these goggles that she wore. Her eyes are an important aspect of her character, and you’ll see how it plays out.”

He also says she was a pirate for a very long time, and “she’s lived over a thousand years. She’s had this watering hole for about a century, and it’s like another bar that you’d find in a corner of the Star Wars universe.”