J.J. Abrams has been an influential part of my entertainment life growing up. I watched Felicity, Alias and Lost so I am huge fan of his work. When I heard that he was going to be the director of Star Wars I knew that the franchise was in good hands. What J.J. brings to a story is amazing because of his character development and strong female leads.
Fanboy or Director
J.J. Abrams was 11 years old when he saw Star Wars in the movie theater and he became a fan for life. When Kathleen Kennedy, president of LucasFilm, asked him to direct Episode VII he initially said “No.” This was in part because he had completed many back-to-back projects and his family was planning a long vacation. He also cared about Star Wars so much that the idea of taking it on was something that he couldn’t even imagine, it was intimidating.
Kathleen had a second discussion with him and shared that J.J. would have the opportunity to continue the story since Return of the Jedi and this peaked his interest. He realized that the new installment would take place 30-some years later and the main characters would have been born 10 to 15 years after Return of the Jedi.
He found this aspect of the story compelling because the Star Wars tales would be ancient history for kids who were 19 or 20 years old. Being able to explore what they knew, what they believed about the Force and ultimately what they believed in was a story he wanted to tell. The idea of finding these young people who exist in a Star Wars universe was so compelling to him, and that feeling of re-discovering a world and a feeling that was so powerful for him growing up was undeniable.
J.J. said that he tried to approach the movie from a point of view of acknowledging how much he loves what George Lucas created. Yet, at the same time he understands that being a fan doesn’t make the story work or make the scene any good. Being a fan is great but for this project he needed to be a storyteller and a filmmaker.
He knew it was an honor to be asked to get involved in the project and that his role would be as temporary guardian of the saga. Being available to help relaunch the saga for a new generation of families is an amazing feeling. He knows that he’s passing the torch to future directors that are going to be exploring Star Wars in different offshoots. Now he will be able to sit back and enjoy it as a fan.
The Birth of BB-8
J.J. knew a droid was going to be a critical piece of the puzzle for the story, but he didn’t know if he was going to be bi-pedal like C3-PO or roll around like R2-D2 or something different. He had an idea that if it had a sphere and then a semi-sphere on top they could get quite a bit of expression without a face. J.J. drew a sketch of BB-8 with the eye and little antenna, it didn’t have a color pattern or other critical details. Neil Scanlan’s team began to develop designs that would follow his concept.
He said that it was amazing how quickly it looked like it could work because I didn’t know if they would be able to create something that could be performed on camera which he knew was going to be important. He will never forget the first day that he came to see BB-8 being performed. Brian, the puppeteer, came out and wheeled BB-8 on a rig and literally within seconds Brian disappeared but he was still in the room. BB-8 was rolling around and he was curious, you could feel the soul because Brian was imbuing him with life.
Captain Phasma was developed when they were trying to figure out the look of Kylo Ren. An amazing design was presented to the team and they were floored. It was the coolest thing they’d ever seen.
They knew it didn’t make sense for Kylo Ren, but it was really great and they started coming up with a new character. Captain Phasma was created as the head of all the stormtroopers, and yes she is a female stormtrooper.
I feel that J. J. has set up Episode VII in a way that other directors can take it, put their own feel to it but still be able to continue the story he created. I hope you enjoy the movie as much as I did. It was everything I wanted it to be and then some. I feel as though J.J. has given the greatest gift to all Star Wars fans. Not only did we get the story we wanted, but now our children get to live in his Star Wars world, a world that was ultimately created by an 11 year old fanboy. 😉
Read more about Star Wars on my blog:
- Secret “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Press Event
- Harrison Ford Talks About Stepping Back Into Han Solo’s Boots
- Exclusive Interview with Rising Star Daisy Ridley (Rey)
- Exclusive Interview with John Boyega (Finn)
- 7 Spoiler Free Things You Need to Know About Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- Kathleen Kennedy is More than Just a Mom, she Rules the Galaxy
- Interview with a Pilot and a Pirate, Lupita Nyong’o and Oscar Isaac Talk About their Star Wars Roles
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer
Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.
The film is open everywhere – go see it!!!
Visit the official STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS website.
Disclaimer: I was invited by Disney and LucasFilm to cover the StarWarsEvent for 5 Minutes for Mom and all expenses were paid for but all opinions are my own.