‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Documentary Debuts At SXSW

It appears the force is still awakened in Austin, Texas, just in time for SXSW week. Festival attendees were lined up around the block to watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens behind the scenes documentary, Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. The film documentary will be available on the Blu-ray DVD in April, but Disney decided to screen it a bit early for fans, press, and special guests. Director J.J. Abrams was on hand at SXSW, speaking at the Paramount Theatre, for a Q&A. At the premiere, J.J Abrams had some choice words about the documentary, via Inc.com.

“This is something that I’m really excited for you to see. What’s so cool about this is that it shows and highlights people who put their heart and soul into making The Force Awakens. They were the greatest group of filmmakers, artists, and storytellers. To get to see the people behind the scenes was fun, frankly, even for me, and I was there.”

In addition to The Force Awakens documentary, Abrams discussed his Bad Robot production company and its usage of new CGI technology to create the Star Wars space look. Abrams made it clear that while The Force Awakens pushed the limits of CGI, the production also used makeup and practical effects, as well. Star Wars: The Force Awakens was recently nominated for an Oscar for best visual effects.

Entertainment Weekly outlines 10 disclosed details from Secret of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. But here are three huge details revealed from the documentary.

  • “Daisy Ridley, the actress who won the role of Rey, auditioned with the scene in which her character is questioned by Kylo Ren. In the room, Ridley wowed the casting directors and Abrams with her ability to go to a very emotional place — even working up some tears — and taking direction with ease.”
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[Image via LucasFilms]
  • “Oscar Isaac was originally wary of the role of Poe Dameron because the ace pilot died in an early version of the script and the one the actor first read. He told Abrams that he was ‘sick of dying early on’ in movies, since he had in a few recent projects. By the time Abrams called Isaac to offer him the role, the script had changed, and Poe would survive.”
  • “In explaining the character of Kylo Ren, Abrams draws a strong connection from his turn to the Dark Side and his parents’ fractured relationship. Making matters worse was Supreme Leader Snoke, who knew the child of Han Solo and Princess Leia would be powerful and targeted Ben from an early age, corrupting him and then recruiting him to the First Order.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is reaching its end run in theaters, as the DVD will be released next month. According to Box Office Mojo, Star Wars: Episode VII has made over $2 billion worldwide. The film has broken the United States (domestic) box office record at an astonishing $930 million dollars made in just 87 days. The film didn’t quite beat director James Cameron’s mega-hits, Avatar and Titanic, which remain the No. 1 and No. 2 highest grossing films of all time, leaving The Force Awakens at No. 3.

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[Image via LucasFilms]

Io9 reports filming has started for Star Wars: Episode VIII. Director Rian Johnson had been filming via studio, but is now filming on the hills of Croatia. While filming outside, it’s liable that spy photos will surface. Episode VIII photos have appeared on Twitter which show new characters, ships, and locations.

[Image via LucasFilm]