J.J. Abrams , Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt explained Artoo’s actions (and lack thereof) in The Force Awakens at a post-screening event on Saturday, as reported by Entertainment Weekly. These are some pretty hefty spoilers, so check them out at the link or below the cut.
The 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.)
→ 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?
I was only able to see about half the world premiere red carpet livestream, but I did catch the most magical part: Carrie Fisher interviewing Oscar Isaac. Or attempting to interview. Whatever it was, it was wonderful, and you can watch it on Youtube.
→ Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams talked to /Film on how they collaborated with Episode VIII writer/director Rian Johnson, and how IX director Colin Trevorrow will likely work in.
→ Wired takes a look at Sphero, and how exactly BB-8 was a boon for them.
→ Some great The Force Awakens fashions by designer Catherine Elhoffer. You may have seen them on the red carpet tonight!
→ Andy Serkis ‘confirms’ evil Jar Jar on Conan.
→ Korean boy band EXO has an (authorized) song called ‘Lightsaber’. We truly live in an age of wonders.
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.
→ 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.
→ 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.
J.J. Abrams on why Leia hasn’t become a Jedi. “It’s never too late,” he said, but “it was simply a choice that she made” to lead the Resistance. We will see her Force sensitivity in play again; it’s “an intrinsic piece of her character.”
→ ESPN will air ‘The Evolution of the Lightsaber Duel’ on December 15th at 7 p.m.
→ “It’s like we’re collaborating over this vast public field,” Oscar Isaac says of his imagined backstory for Poe becoming canon.
→ Vulture runs through the Journey to The Force Awakens books and stories. Some minor errors (Poe is namedropped in Shattered Empire #2) but overall a decent roundup.
Oscar Isaac talks to io9 about the Resistance, Poe’s Shattered Empire backstory (though it’s worth noting he was already old enough to be talking – he’s mentioned in #2 – before his parents settled on Yavin) and how the X-wings have evolved.
→ Captain Phasma was originally a man, Vulture reports, and the backlash to the initial casting may have played a part in the gender swap. That said, anything that saved us from Benedict Cumberbatch is fine by me.
→ Clutch your pearls, because J.J. Abrams talked midi-chlorians with /Film.
→ On Twitter, Greg Grunberg confirms his action figure and his character name.
The first features different sounds for BB-8, and a brief new shot of Finn as the Falcon gunner.
The second is heavy on Kylo Ren and the First Order, including a new shot of Ren:
Empire today revealed the names of three planets from The Force Awakens. Takodana looks to be the jungle world where Maz Kanata’s castle is. D’Qar may be the home of the Resistance Base. The third, Hosnian Prime, is a mystery, though a Hosnian system was mentioned in Lost Stars.
As for a fourth location, copies of Empire are out in the wild, and there is a map which contains a Starkiller Base Origin Point. (It moves! Shit.) There’s some speculation floating around about the Base’s origin perhaps being Ilum. But why is Rakata Prime, a planet that apparently originates in Knights of the Old Republic, on the map? Could it be TFA’s Dantooine, a planet that gets mentioned but never seen, or will it meet a more sinister fate?
→ Mike Cooper at Eleven-ThirtyEight figures out just how much of The Force Awakens we’ve seen. Today’s spot brings it up to 5:43 minutes, so please calm down about being ‘spoiled’ by officially released footage.
→ Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican talks about BB-8 in the first of four videos. (Nothing here really struck me as anything we don’t already know, but if you’re not glued to the internet, there may be something here for you.)
→ Google will now translate Aurebesh, because why not.
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.)
→ If you really love hyperbole, Entertainment Weekly wants you to start thinking about The Force Awakens’ Oscar chances. Uhh, okay guys.
→ Yet another featurette, this time on BB-8, is coming to the Disney Channel on Sunday. Looking a bit further ahead, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill will be among the guests on Graham Norton’s Christmas show.
Believe it or not, there’s been a lot of buzz about BB-8’s gender recently. And that raises a question: Why does it matter?