The Force Awakens is rated PG-13 for “sci-fi action violence,” per filmratings.com. It’s only the second Star Wars to be rated above a PG, after Revenge of the Sith – although to be fair, the PG-13 rating didn’t even exist until 1984. (And I personally doubt this one will have anything to match extra crispy Anakin.)
→ Box office tracking estimates for the film came out today, and they are, as you might expect, pretty nuts. Oh, and it’s selling a lot of stuff.
→ If you really love hyperbole, Entertainment Weekly wants you to start thinking about The Force Awakens’ Oscar chances. Uhh, okay guys.
In today’s Empire tidbit, Mark Hamill doesn’t give us any hints to the film itself (Because Mark Hamill can keep a damn secret,) but he does share an interest parallel:
“It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia on the salt flats [shooting the first Star Wars]. If you could get into your own mind and shut out the crew and look at the horizon, you really felt like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I had that same wave of emotion happen to me when I was on Skellig Michael in Ireland. I wasn’t anticipating it.”
There’s a fairly epic gallery of props from The Force Awakens at Wired today. Lots of good stuff for weapons and helmet geeks. And yes, some of them do have very complicated names.
→ Mark Hamill on keeping secrets. (No, he’s not in mo-cap for Star Wars.)
→ The Force Awakens has already pulled in more than $50M in advance ticket sales, the Wall Street Journal reports.
→ Empire has a new Kylo Ren photo (not that different from several of the old Kylo Ren photos) and Adam Driver’s compares the character to a religious fanatic. (It’s Adam Driver’s birthday, by the way. He is 32.)
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.
The Associated Press was first to ask The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams about how Luke Skywalker has been missing from all the promotional material. “These are good questions to be asking,” he said. “I can’t wait for you to find out the answer.”
“It’s no accident,” he continued.
One thing we can put to rest: Luke is not Kylo Ren. Adam Driver is playing Kylo Ren, not Mark Hamill, which we’ve known since the Vanity Fair shots were unveiled in May. Bring up the Kahn fib from Star Trek Into Darkness all you like, but no one was going around saying that Benedict Cumberbatch’s role was actually being played by Bruce Greenwood. A ten-year-old video of Mark Hamill saying he’d have liked a more complicated arc in Return of the Jedi is not really the best evidence for that actually happening now.
Abrams also addressed where production stands: “The visual effects process goes on for so long that my guess is we’ll probably be doing visual effects for the next three or four weeks, even though the cut will be done before then. We’re in the editing room working on the cut, going over visual effects and going over reviews. We still have another scoring session with John Williams, who’s a god when it comes to music.”
Mark Hamill narrowly avoided a dangerous fall during The Force Awakens filming on Skellig Michael last year, the Times (via the Daily Mail) reports. He was caught by a guide from from the Irish Office of Public Works.