Take a Peek at STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Bonus Features. You’ll Thank Us!

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For you impatient A-types who don’t stick around after a movie’s over, shame, shame. Star Wars: The Force Awakens provides a gripping and emotional reminder that good things come to those who wait.

After having reveled in the movie when it was released to cinema at the tail-end of 2015, my family pre-purchased the DVD, and then shortly after got the streaming version of the movie on our Amazon Video subscription, thanks to a special Disney credit that was available through the DVD. Isn’t technology great?

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Anyway, in both cases, after the credits end, the patient viewer gets treated to a couple of hours worth of what is, let’s face it, marketing. But, oh, what glorious marketing it is. Director Laurent Bouzereau does a fabulous job on the making of SW:TFA. Seriously, if you haven’t checked it out yet, do.

Here’s an overview of what you’ll see:

  • Interviews with George Lucas about his decision to turn over the production responsibilities to Kathleen Kennedy.
  • Kathleen Kennedy talking about the decision to bring in several key players, such as Lawrence (Larry) Kasdan.
  • Several interviews with J.J. Abrams, e’er in just-right hipster chic, talking about the responsibility of helming this massive effort, and in at least one case, seriously fan-boying out. Also, how the idea of a new, young heroine at the center of the story is what pulled him in.
  • Interviews with original cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher, expressing trepidation over being able to add anything new to the storyline (but obviously doing so).
  • Rich Carter, production designer, and his focus on what the Force’s relevance is in the current setting.
  • Several designers, art directors, and artists talking about the process of creating images, art, creatures, settings, etc., wherein J.J. gave the nod (or didn’t) and the good stuff ended up in the film.
  • Interviews with Larry Kasdan, the writer who finalized the script, and the process that he, J.J., and the team went through to collaboratively build out the storyline.
  • Interview with the inimitable music composer John Williams (who’s worked on all of the films).
  • A tour of the Lucasfilm Archives. It’s a feast for the eyes, especially if you have any appreciation for the special effects props.
  • Discussions around the balance between shooting real footage on film with wide-screen views, vs. pulling in the best CGI guys in the business at ILM.
  • The process that went into pivotal selection of Daisy Ridley to play vulnerable but tough Rey.
  • Similarly, the process to select John Boyega to play Finn (he auditioned nine times!).
  • A peek into the initial cast read-through in April of 2014.
  • The challenges of shooting in the initial desert location for Jakku.
  • Simon Pegg’s experience performing as Unkar Platt.
  • What BB-8 brought to the movie in terms of the storyline and for the actors.
  • How revisiting the old Pinewood Studios in the UK brought a second generation of crew into the the Star Wars fold.
  • The importance of Oscar Isaac’s casting of Poe Dameron, and how the producers hoped to capture a bit of Han Solo’s essence with his casting.
  • The new take on femininity with this movie. Female stormtroopers, the amazing Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Rey…they’re all obviously female without being sexualized. Like, they bring value other than as objects. What a novel idea!
  • Adam Driver’s experience of getting into (angry) character.
  • The process of recreating the Millennium Falcon.
  • The anxiousness on set of seeing Harrison Ford back on the Millennium Falcon for the first time.
  • Peter Mayhew, and the challenges that faced him with reprising the role of Chewbacca, but how the film-makers included him all the same (props to those guys).
  • The decision to include another cantina, and how the crew sought to make it both familiar yet new.
  • How Andy Serkis took on the duties of the shadowy Snoke, but also consulted with Lupita Nyong’o on the challenges of acting in a CGI suit.
  • C-3P0’s red arm, and future storylines around it.
  • How Kylo Ren came to be such a broken character.
  • How that death scene affected cast and crew.
  • How this movie was simultaneously all about Luke Skywalker, but never really was his story.

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I’ve watched the extras several times, and see something new each time. Even if you’re not a die-hard fan, it’s well worth a watch, because you’ll learn a ton about movie-making. May the 4th be with you all!

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