Secrets of The Force Awakens - A Cinematic Journey: Five Things We Learned
It’s the film that restored faith to millions of fans around the world, helped introduce us to a new band of heroes, gave us a heartbreaking goodbye to the saga’s most loved character and became the third highest grossing movie of all time. And now, thanks to the excellent documentary Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, we get an inside look at how JJ Abrams and Disney brought Star Wars back to the big screen. Here are five things we learned from the doc...
John Boyega auditioned nine times
The audition process for such an important film would undoubtedly be arduous for both the producers and hopeful stars. The Force Awakens' lead, Daisy Ridley, had to conjure up the tears from one of Rey’s most intense moments in order to bag a seat on the Falcon. But it was the film’s traitorous FN-2187 who would endure the most gruelling casting process, as John Boyega had to audition a total of nine times before landing the role.
The lightsabers were real...sort of
Looking back at the original trilogy, the actors had to perform the fight scenes with a grey stick in place of the laser swords. But thirty years on, the genius prop department developed ‘working’ lightsabers that featured real light effects, helping create a more interactive experience for the cast, as seen during the making of the epic clash of red and blue between Rey and Kylo Ren in the film’s climactic scene.
Poe Dameron originally died early in the film
In the original script, Oscar Isaac’s charismatic X-Wing pilot was killed in the Tie Fighter crash on Jakku. But, thanks to Isaac’s performance and enthusiasm for the role, director JJ Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan reconsidered Poe’s fate and we’re all the better for it, as we'll get to see the bromance between Poe and Finn bloom into Episode VIII.
Captain Phasma’s costume was originally pitched for Kylo Ren
With the original trilogy having brought us the most iconic villain in film history, it seemed almost impossible for JJ and the team at Lucasfilm to deliver a character as revered as Darth Vader. With hundreds of potential concepts on how Kylo Ren would look, one possible design saw him clad in chrome armour and a modified Stormtrooper helmet. Of course he’d later become the hooded Vader fanboy we’d all come to witness stopping blaster fire in mid-air. But JJ was keen on using the chrome look elsewhere... and so Captain Phasma was born.
Star Wars really is multi-generational
The Force Awakens had one major requirement from its director; it had to be in keeping with the feel of the original trilogy. And by a happy coincidence that rule managed to go beyond the tangible sets and effects and apply to the people working behind the camera. From plasterers, production designers, builders and ILM animators, we get to hear from the people working on The Force Awakens and how their parents helped bring the original trilogy to the screen.