Tonight in The Force Awakens: Red carpet shenanigans

mark-redcarpetI 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.

I wasn’t able to collect tweets, but here are some from The Hollywood Reporter, Jedi News and @bahnree. There are also pictures at Variety and The Wrap. (The best. Or maybe…)

UPDATE: Kathleen Kennedy’s speech inside the theater and some of the first reactions.

→ 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.

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.

Today in The Force Awakens: Why Leia isn’t a Jedi, lightsabers coming to ESPN

Head to our Tumblr to see more new Stills.
Head to our Tumblr to see more new stills.
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.

→ Spoiler corner, book edition: Jedi Bibliothek has screenshots of picture book leaks and the beginning of Finn’s tale in Before the Awakening.

→ Spoiler corner, Hasbro edition: A Rey action figure featuring her second outfit (which we first saw yesterday) has a pretty hefty spoiler on the packaging. (It’s not her last name.)

→ Also: A new BB-8 poster, a few of John Boyega’s impressions and Anthony Breznican on the Millennium Falcon.

Today in The Force Awakens: Isaac on the Resistance, Captain Phasma was originally a man

tfa-poe-bigOscar 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.

→ You can listen to both yesterday’s press conference(s) thanks to Full of Sith. Or watch the videos (1, 2.)

→ 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.

→ Droid tales: Anthony Daniels get profiled by Vulture, while CNN talks to the BB-8 designers about the droid and his adventures on set.

→ On Twitter, Greg Grunberg confirms his action figure and his character name.

→ Everyone wants their trailer on Star Wars! We know X-Men: Apocalypse will be there, but now The Hollywood Reporter says Star Trek Beyond will be attached as well.

Today in The Force Awakens: Meet the planets

tfa-c1-01-falcon-castleEmpire 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?

(For what it’s worth, Pablo says the map was created for The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, one of the December 18th releases.)

→ 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.)

John Boyega hasn’t seen The Force Awakens yet, while Gwendoline Christie would like to go dancing as Captain Phasma.

→ Google will now translate Aurebesh, because why not.

Today in The Force Awakens: It’s officially PG-13

A new Poe Dameron image from Empire. This looks to be part of the scene we saw filmed in SDCC's behind-the-scenes reel.
A new Poe Dameron image from Empire. This looks to be part of the scene we saw being filmed in the behind-the-scenes reel from SDCC.
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.

→ 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.

BB-8’s gender is still up for debate

tfa-t4-08-bb8sees3b

Both Artoo and Threepio have been ‘he’ from the start, but it seems the jury may still be out on the new addition. Is BB-8 a girl droid or a boy droid?

During the design phase, it was up for debate whether this character would have a male or female personality. “I’m still not sure, dare I say, whether BB-8 is male or female,” [Neal Scanlan, the head of The Force Awakens creature shop] says. “BB-8 was female in our eyes. And then he or she became male. And that’s all part of the evolution, not only visually, but in the way they move, how they hold themselves.”

So far, pretty much everyone involved with the film, from Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams on down, has been calling BB-8 a he. Yes, it may be silly that this is even an issue, but that’s fandom for you.

As for the droid’s actual personality:

“We always imagined BB-8 as being quite manipulative,” says Scanlan. “I think he knows he’s cute. He knows that he can win people over. And he uses that like children do to get his own way. In this film, he has a very important mission that he has to accomplish and so he uses his personality, his coyness, and all of those things.”

Maybe the ‘BB-8 is evil’ camp has been onto something all along?