The VES Awards show honored many in Hollywood, and while Planet of the Apes and Big Hero 6 dominated the night, the real story for many is what director J.J. Abrams revealed about Star Wars: The Force Awakens after the ceremony.
While The Force Awakens has yet to hit theaters, Abrams himself walked away with the Visionary Award for his work employing unique special effects that “foster imagination and ignite future discoveries by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.” His credits include two Star Trek films, Super 8, Lost and two Mission: Impossible movies.
That may all be well and good, but everyone really wanted to know what the deal was with that new lightsaber that’s been stirring up the internet since The Force Awakens showcased its trailer. Abrams was kind enough to indulge his fans.
“I will say that what’s been funny is, since the lightsaber’s come out, I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I have received from people who have both defended it with unbelievably detailed graphics… I’ve gotten things that are nuts, and I’ve gotten people who’ve shown how it’ll kill you and how it doesn’t make any sense. It’s been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing.”
The lightsaber in question is the new “claymore” design with a cross guard at the hilt of the weapon. While new designs to the classic Star Wars weapon are nothing new, the latest version had detractors the instant the lightsaber made its was to the internet. Stephen Colbert made a solid argument in defense of the new Star Wars weapon.
The debate did not end there. Dozens of memes came out and angry fans complaining about how bad The Force Awakens may be simply because they did not think the new design was practical. Many took to the internet to create humorous memes in relation to their ire.
In defense of the design, an expert swordsman went as far as to make a video demonstrating the effectiveness and relative safety of the weapon (for the wielder, at least).
Abrams talked about how the lightsaber came to be and about the conversations that took place around the controversial Star Wars weapon.
“It was a number of conversations [that led to the design]. It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse.”
J.J. Abrams did have a thing or two to say about his involvement beyond The Force Awakens as well, stating that while he will not direct, he would stick around to executive produce the next two installments of the trilogy.
At the helm of the next film will be Rian Johnson. As Abrams sets up the next trilogy with The Force Awakens, it makes sense that he would be involved in the creative process to lend continuity to the project.
On that, he said, “I wouldn’t say 8 and 9 are my baby, Rian will be working at least on 8, but I’m executive producing those films, yeah.”
As far as the aesthetics of the film are concerned, it is well known that Abrams likes to use practical effects when possible and is very selective in the use of CGI. He mentioned that he primarily used CGI to remove things from the film, although he admitted that The Force Awakens had one scene shot in IMAX, but that “it was a good scene.”
“There are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can’t wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important that we build as many sets as we could and that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight, if it was an exterior scene, or if we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen, do it where we could. It was a very important piece of work.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens lands in theaters December 18, 2015.