As part of their full-on blitz of everything Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Vanity Fair interviewed Director J.J. Abrams, the man some are already calling the savior of the Star Wars franchise. Of course, Abrams kept to his usual tight-lipped and super-secretive ways and did not reveal much in the way of details for Episode VII, but he did open-up about filming the movie, his connection to the franchise, and some references to the previous Star Wars films that he cut from The Force Awakens, while choosing to keep others in.
VF talked about the direct reference to the Clone Wars in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, and how that link to the past was something that back then was basically glossed over, because we the fans knew practically nothing about the Star Wars universe, way back in the late 70’s.
Abrams’ response was one of nostalgia…how we the audience had no clue that Vader was Luke’s father, or Leia, his sister:
"“You felt the presence of all these things and you understood because it was all being referenced in a way that allowed you to fill in the blanks, and that’s a very powerful thing.”"
VF then went on to ask Abrams if he planned on filling in the blanks, since The Force Awakens takes place some 30 years after Return of the Jedi.
"“Well, what’s cool is we’ve obviously had a lot of time [during the development process] to talk about what’s happened outside of the borders of the story that you’re seeing. So there are, of course, references to things, and some are very oblique so that hopefully the audience can infer what the characters are referring to.”"
The connection to what has happened after Return of the Jedi, will hopefully be made by the upcoming books that will begin to be released on September 4th, which are being called Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Of course, one does hope that we will get some back-story from our favorite old-school characters like Han Solo, Leia, and Luke.
VF and Abrams both go on to compare Star Wars to the old television westerns, where the iconic imagery such as the Plains, Saloons, Coaches and Horses can easily be transferred to the Star Wars universe. All you have to do is look back at the Original Trilogy, where Tatooine represented exactly that.
J.J. does talk about specific movie references that he has placed into The Force Awakens, and while he is keeping those a secret, for now, he did expound a little bit.
"“There are a few specific references that are kind of my own little stupid, secret ones. But I will say that because the world is a different place now than it was when that movie came out, we can’t come out with the same thing and expect people to react as if they hadn’t seen it before.”"
Finally, VF asked Abrams what it was like to direct Max von Sidow, and how the Director got the legendary actor to commit to a part in The Force Awakens.
"“It was amazing. What a sweet man. When we were first communicating, he didn’t have email. So I had to fax something to him…”"
Wait…what? It’s 2015 and Sidow doesn’t have Email? Okay, maybe I’m getting distracted…sorry. Turns out, Abrams made an incredibly elaborate fax page he called “Fax von Sidow,” to woo the actor, and which he also admitted he didn’t think the Sidow much appreciated or at the very least, found funny.
It kind of reminds me of all the interviews and letters that have been uncovered with Alec Guinness and Episode IV. How he thought Lucas was silly and the story, and unnamed actors like Harrison Ford, were ridiculous. These have all been attached to the digital release of all six Star Wars films, as extras.