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Today in The Force Awakens: $100M in presales alone

tfa-bb8-reyThe Force Awakens’ advance ticket sales have passed the $100 million mark in North America, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That’s at least four times as much as the previous record holder, The Dark Knight Rises.

Don’t forget that the reviews – including mine – will come off embargo tonight at 12:01 a.m. PST (3:01 a.m. EST.) Don’t worry too much, we’ve been asked not to reveal spoilers. (There’s always the Force Block browser extension if you’re paranoid.)

→ Official featurette on your new favorite droid, BB-8, and a Force for Change highlight reel.

→ Slightly more women than men have been talking about The Force Awakens on Facebook, and Rey is the character driving the most anticipation for the film, according to a new survey.

→ Oscar Isaac is GQ’s latest cover dude. Meanwhile, in the Miami New Times, he’s interviewed by his brother, Mike Hernandez.

→ Lupita Nyong’o tells Ellen DeGeneres how she didn’t know that she was auditioning for Star Wars.

→ In /Film’s full J.J. Abrams interview, the director talks about developing the film

→ What does comedian Bill Hader have to do with BB-8?

→ You’ll never guess what some of the internet’s most disgruntled Expanded Universe fans are threatening to do now! Oh wait, you totally will, because it’s utterly pointless and deranged. That Force Block thing is looking pretty good about now, yeah?

This weekend in The Force Awakens: 60 Minutes extra, why Nyong’o chose to go CGI

tfa-60m-260 Minutes posted extra footage after tonight’s feature on The Force Awakens, including John Williams conducting some of the first music in the film, but we also get a glimpse of the scene with Rey, BB-8, Teedo and the luggabeast.

→ Lupita Nyong’o tells Buzzfeed why she chose to play a CGI character.

Rolling Stone shares a few things they learned about The Force Awakens that didn’t make the main article.

→ Spot the new stuff in today’s commercial.

Dan Mindel on the The Force Awakens cinematography, and how the film being pushed back turned out to be a positive.

→ Also: Another fun Carrie Fisher interview; Sisters and other films that have gone up against Star Wars.

Today in The Force Awakens: The review embargo is in

tfa-kylo-finn-reyWe’ll be seeing the first The Force Awakens reviews on Wednesday, December 16th at 12:01am PST. Plan accordingly. In Hollywood, things are shaping up for the Monday premiere, which will have “Academy Award levels” of security and crowd control.

The Force Awakens will be featured on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, and in the preview video we get to hear some of John Williams’ new score.

→ Today’s best bet: Samuel L. Jackson and Gwendoline Christie chat for Interview magazine.

→ J.J. Abrams has more praise for coffee enthusiast Pablo Hidalgo from in the Toronto Sun. Elsewhere, he talks about The Raid stars with /Film.

→ Costume designer Michael Kaplan on Kylo Ren’s helmet for Time.

Vice News did a half-hour piece on Adam Driver’s Arts in the Armed Forces organization. (Guess what made the headlines?)

→ Also: Phasma and Rey action figures flying off the shelves, Lupita Nyong’o was on GMA this morning, and Anthony Breznican on Bobbajo.

Today in The Force Awakens: Red carpet to be livestreamed, Abrams on the script and starting from scratch

Today on Twitter: @HamillHimself is such a troll. (USA Today asked the cast.)

Today on Twitter: @HamillHimself is such a troll. (USA Today asked the cast; Carrie’s is best.)

After a successful deployment at Celebration Anaheim earlier this year, StarWars.com will be livestreaming The Force Awakens red carpet at the film’s official world premiere in Los Angeles on December 14. Andi Gutierrez, Anthony Carboni, and David Collins will be hosting and interviewing the cast and other notables.

→ J.J. Abrams talks to io9 about the script process (including Michael Arndt’s exit,) starting fresh with Lawrence Kasdan and even the Expanded Universe. (On that note, The Hollywood Reporter on the pre-Abrams story meetings.) At Nerdist, he says he wants to see Selma’s Ava DuVernay do a Star Wars film. She seems game! And Pablo Hidalgo’s fame continues to spread, as he’s the subject of the first question from the Associated Press.

→ Harrison Ford sheds some light on “Chewie, we’re home,” at io9, and says The Force Awakens “correctly ambitious in every sense” in the LAT.

→ Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are in the New York Times! With the AP, John shares the story of how (and why) he got Robert Downey Jr. as his mentor in fame. But he couldn’t resist getting a little saucy about Star Trek with Yahoo. (Well, about William Shatner, technically. Which is, I believe, legal under the Carrie Directive)

→ It was Oscar Isaac’s turn on Good Morning America today, where he talked about flying an X-wing.

→ In an interview with IGN, Adam Driver says that Darth Vader’s “commitment” is inspiring to Kylo Ren. He’s in favor of Stephen Colbert’s explanation for the broadsaber.

→ A film still of Billie Lourd in the movie has been floating around for a while now (plus she was in one of the first TV spots) but People has an official character portrait, in which we can see she wears her hair in a toned-down version of Leia’s iconic buns. Still no character name, though.

→ J.J. Abrams, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Adam Driver were in Seoul today goofing around, while Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o and Kathleen Kennedy were in Mexico City. I can’t find any reports in English, but damn they looked cool.

→ Also: The Force Awakens was the #1 movie on Facebook for 2015; Yesterday’s spoilerific Rey action figure got DMCA’d; NASA scientist would pick Threepio over BB-8 or Artoo to take to space. I am outraged! I have to go lay down now.

No end credit scene, Kylo Ren’s star sign: What we learned from The Force Awakens press conference

STILL-tfa-trailer3-kylobridge

A two-part press conference with The Force Awakens notables was held this afternoon in Los Angeles. It was moderated by (surprise!) Mindy Kaling, and here are a few things we learned. (Thanks to Entertainment Weekly and ComicBook liveblogs, plus all the live-tweeters.)

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Han spoils first: Highlights of the #TwitterAwakens Q&A

J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and several of The Force Awakens’ stars were on hand today for #TwitterAwakens, a live Q&A via the @starwars Twitter. It was a crazy whirlwind, and yes, Harrison Ford dropped what may be a major spoiler – if you haven’t been paying attention. (It’s the spoiler – it’s not about Luke or anyone’s parentage, though he did spell Kylo as ‘Kilo,’ which is hilarious.)

Also, Mark Hamill trolled, and Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac sang a (brief) duet.

I’ve collected most of the tweets, but to see the actual questions you have to read it on Twitter. If you want to avoid Harrison’s spoiler, skim over everything from the Lupita picture (or Carrie’s “Good, I was jealous.”) until you see Harrison’s own mug (above center.)

Today in The Force Awakens: Lawrence Kasdan, Carrie Fisher, and so much more.

Abrams and KasdanToday’s must read is Lawrence Kasdan at the Los Angeles Times. He talks about coming back to Star Wars, working with J.J. Abrams, canon (pure gold here), and the inate goofiness of the original trilogy. Just some great stuff.

Plus, on Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII: “He’s going to make some weird thing.”

(The LAT also headed to Abu Dhabi.)

→ Carrie Fisher was on Live! with Kelly and Michael this morning, where she dubs her poster hairstyle “the baboon ass.” She’s in the Wall Street Journal as well.

→ The Fiat Chrysler Star Wars commercials are surprisingly clever (particularly given how weird their Hunger Games ones are) and one even has today’s MVP, Mark Hamill! (Okay, he’s just narrating.)

→ On the talk shows last night, we had Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver.

J.J. Abrams’ assistant Morgan Dameron on having a character named after her.

→ J.J. Abrams and John Boyega are firmly on Team Han Shot First. Sorry, George.

Chat alerts: There’s a cast Q&A tomorrow on Twitter, while John Boyega and Oscar Isaac will be answering questions via Complex Magazine on Tumblr.

Today in The Force Awakens: More magazine covers, interviews

tfa-carrie-goodhousekeepingCarrie Fisher is on the cover of Good Housekeeping, or at least the U.K. edition, for January. (That’s December in magazine world.) Most of the soundbites pulled out of the interview have been about being older in Hollywood and having to lose weight for The Force Awakens, but it does look like there may be more to the interview. Lifestyle magazines, go figure! Other new Star Wars covers include Lupita Nyong’o for Elle UK (you can find her on Essence in the U.S.) and Daisy Ridley for Glamour UK. Daisy’s December cover for Elle US is on shelves now. People also has a The Force Awakens ‘collector’s edition’ coming to newsstands December 9.

→ On Good Morning America, Harrison Ford revealed he’s seen The Force Awakens and declines to reveal Han Solo’s relationship status. Howard Stern had Adam Driver on, and I definitely recommend giving it a listen. (Driver revealed – accidentally? – he’s signed for 3.) And going back to yesterday’s J.J. Abrams interview on Sirius XM, he talks about that first cast photo.

→ New features from the Disney Channel on Finn and BB-8. And in his second explainer video, Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican talks about Rey’s speeder.

→ If you feel like you’ve been seeing a lot of Star Wars commercials lately, that’s because Disney has claimed the top spot in movie ad spending for The Force Awakens.

→ Of course Abu Dhabi (aka Jakku) will be hosting the film’s Middle Eastern premiere. It’ll be December 16th at the Dubai International Film Festival. Meanwhile, the movie will open on January 9th in China.

The Force Awakens stars on talk shows this week

J.J. Abrams on The Tavis Smiley ShowIt’s going to be a busy week for our DVRs. Good Morning America will have J.J. Abrams on Monday, Harrison Ford on Tuesday, and John Boyega and Daisy Ridley on Wednesday. Carrie Fisher will be on Live with Michael and Kelly on Thursday.

Abrams and Ford will also be on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on Monday and Tuesday. Then, Lupita Nyong’o will be on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah on Wednesday, while Fallon will host Adam Driver. Daisy Ridley will be on Fallon Thursday night.