→ The meat of the Entertainment Weekly preview piece seems to be this analysis that showed up today, plus sidebar on John Boyega that showed up on Tumblr. Neither really tells us anything we don’t already know, but the illustration by Martin Ansin is nice.
→ Andy Serkis dispels a couple of The Force Awakens rumors in a chat with Entertainment Weekly: He’s not playing more than one character, and he’s “not leading a band of gymnasts or acrobats.”
Episode VII is (naturally) featured in the next issue of the magazine, which looks ahead to 2015 and is teasing some additional stuff in addition to Serkis. EW stuff we’ve seen online but not in print includes Mark Hamill and the cards. Or maybe we’ll see some other stuff in the next few days. (Cross your fingers.)
→ If you’re still stuck on the broadsaber, Popular Science got some real swordsman to weigh in.
Maisie Richardson-Sellers was one of the first actresses whose name we heard connected with Episode VII, and although she was never confirmed by Lucasfilm, she’s now at least allowed to admit she’s in the movie. She tells Refinery29 that Star Wars was her first screen acting job:
It is really strange, but it’s also fantastic. I’d always done theater, and his was my first screen experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to introduce me to the world of screen acting.
On Star Wars in general:
I grew up watching them and I’ve always been fascinated about how they use the epic nature of the story — but also make it really personal. It has tender relationships, and it’s funny and quirky. I feel it’s really well-rounded and that’s why it’s so popular; it’s so accessible for so many generations and backgrounds. Even though it’s such a surreal story, it feels very true. All the relationships are very true. It breaks down the age old story of good versus evil in a very accessible manner.
On keeping secrets:
I had to sign many, many contracts. It’s very, very secret. But, everyone who’s working on it loves and respects the franchise so much, they all want to keep it a secret. We wanted to hold it tight, so it wasn’t hard for anyone. It wasn’t a forced thing; it’s our little child which we’re going to present to the world in a year.
We have a new character name for The Force Awakens this morning – one Captain Phasma. Stitch Kingdom dug the name out of some trademark registrations.
But whose role does the name belong to? Speculation quickly pinpointed Gwendoline Christie, no doubt due to the name’s feminine sound and previous rumors, but it’s probably a last name, which means it could be anyone. Remember how there were also rumors that Christie’s character was originally male?
We got two new Mark Hamill interviews today, as he continues to promote Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, and it’s not like The Force Awakens just isn’t going to not come up. With the Chicago Sun-Times, he talks about secrecy measures of the internet age:
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been on a movie set where if you go from your trailer to a soundstage, you have to put on an enormous robe with a hood that hangs down over your head. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘What’s this all about.’ They told me, ‘Oh, it’s because of the drones,’ flying overhead, taking photographs of people walking to the soundstage.
“Really, it’s come to that? In the old days, the studio was like a sanctuary. You were protected from the outside world. You could relax. Not anymore!”
He told Entertainment Weekly that he and the other old-timers knew in advance they weren’t going to be featured in the teaser.
And of course, lots about the beard.
Rumor: The Force Awakens teaser poster coming next week? It’s a little suprising one didn’t drop more closely in conjunction with the trailer and stills, as seems to be the trend lately… But hey, it’s Star Wars. They do what they want. And we haven’t really seen a truly fantastic Star Wars teaser poster since The Phantom Menace, so my hopes here are a bit high.
→ #BEARDWATCH LIVES. Well, sort of. Mark Hamill talks about his Episode VII beard at Yahoo: “…face foliage is almost a part of the costume. And it does bring a gravitas, perhaps unearned, but nevertheless, it makes a statement that they wanted to make, and I’m more than happy to oblige them.” He also reveals that BB-8 is an actual prop, not CGI.
And I wasn’t able to get to this yesterday before the big news dropped, but Hamill also talked to IGN about the trailer, with lots of praise for the new kids.
→ It will surprise absolutely no one that today brings a report that Star Tours is going to get a new mission related to the new films. My only real question: When will it be added? Because wouldn’t that be a nice perk for Celebration Anaheim?
Lucasfilm and Entertainment Weekly have paired up to give us character names from The Force Awakens – in trading card form. Daisy Ridley is Rey, John Boyega is Finn and Oscar Isaac plays Poe Dameron. The ball droid is BB-8 (which I’m guessing is pronounced/abbreviated as ‘Bebe,’) and our mysterious villain is Kylo Ren. The card numbers have some significance as well – a mystery to chew on… In addition to Finn and Rey’s last names.
This also puts to bed a popular theory that Gwendoline Christie could be playing the character we now know as Kylo Ren, referring to “his lightsaber.”
→ George Lucas hasn’t seen The Force Awakens trailer yet, Page Six reports this morning. “I don’t know anything about it. I haven’t seen it yet,” he said. “Because it’s not in the movie theater. I like going to the movies and watching the whole thing there.”
→ On the other hand… “I got really excited when I saw the trailer the other week,” Domhnall Gleeson said recently. “I am a fan. I saw the prequels before I saw the first ones. I am very excited about it.”