– by Joseph Jammer Medina

As of this writing, we are ten short days away from what will perhaps be one of the defining moments of the film industry. After of years (nay, decades) of waiting, we will finally get “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a sequel to one of the most culturally significant film trilogies of all time. As I write this, I know that I’m speaking in massive hyperbole, and that it may ultimately be my undoing if the film is a disappointment, but more than half the fun of a movie is the anticipation building towards its release, in my opinion, so why not bask in the glory and reverie? 

Disney, of course, understands what an important time these ten days leading up to the film are, and if you are one of those folks who prefers to steer clear of the dozens of TV spots being thrown our way, you can always keep abreast of the latest via the many interviews and press conferences.

A recent press conferences took place at an undisclosed location. Actress Mindy Kaling was the moderator for the panel that included director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and the whole main cast of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

While most of it was just cotton candy fluff, there were a few good tidbits to be pulled from the press conference.

The opening question from Kaling asked Abrams why he would take on a huge project like “Star Wars.”

“This is a project that I was incredibly lucky to be asked to be a part of — expect for maybe Harrison — when I say that this is not a job. I don’t think anyone took it on because it was a gig or because it was available. It was something that felt like a true passion.”

For those wondering, if that Harrison Ford line was said in a tongue-in-cheek fashion — it totally was. 

Also of note in this conference were a couple of things fans have been waiting for official confirmation on. The first came from Abrams who said: â€œThere are not Ewoks in this film.”

The second confirmation came from Kennedy, who confirmed that “Jar Jar is definitely not in the movie.” As ridiculous as it sounds, I know there’s a very small minority who are still adamant that Jar Jar is actually Supreme Leader Snoke. While studios have lied in the past (Khan!), I feel pretty confident that Jar Jar will not be one of the new trilogy’s main villains.

Another noteworthy response came from General Leia herself, Carrie Fisher, when asked what the difference was between the set atmosphere that George Lucas brought back in 1977, and the one Abrams brought last year.

“We drank through the whole trilogy, in the beginning. [The Force Awakens] was a sober set. That’s what J.J. brought to it. Sobriety!”

Gwendoline Christie's Captain Phasma.

Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma.

One of the characters that’s been touted as a big deal by the studio is the first female villain in “Star Wars”: Captain Phasma. While her chrome armor is all sorts of badass, not much as been revealed about her place in the story, or her motivations. Actress Gwendoline Christie said the following about the new baddie:

“This is a character who we have related to due to her choices and her character and not due to the way because she has been made into flesh.”

While all the Darth Vader parallels seem mostly to be aimed at Kylo Ren, in many ways, the comparison to Phasma may be a more apt one. Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Vader was able to make a name for himself as one of the most evil men in the galaxy based on his decisions as well. Can we expect the same from Phasma? One can hope!

John Boyega's Finn going Jedi?

John Boyega’s Finn going Jedi?

We also got one potentially-revealing bit came from John Boyega, who plays the character of Finn. Up to this point, whether or not he is a Jedi in the film remained kind of a question mark. Sure, we’ve seen him in the trailers wielding a lightsaber, but there have been rumors that the First Order had been training stormtroopers to do so. Is Finn actually a Jedi, or just a stormtrooper trying to fight for his life with a lightsaber?

While we don’t know the answer, Boyega recalled someone at a recent Hollywood party tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Yo, black Jedi!” This man was none other than Samuel L. Jackson, who played Mace Windu, the only official black Jedi we know about so far in the films. While I wouldn’t consider this a reveal — Jackson would likely not be privy to any story details — it does seem to enforce the thought of Finn being a Jedi.

Harrison Ford was also asked what his experience was like on “The Force Awakens” compared to the original trilogy:

“It feels familiar. It is good to be home, just like Han said in the trailer. I am aware of the value that is placed on these films by the audience, and I am grateful that their is still an audience for the original films.”

Do any of these quotes stand out to you? Let us know your thoughts down below!


Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.