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)
→ 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.
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.”
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.
→ 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.
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?
→ 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.)
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.
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?