J.J. Abrams and Pablo Hidalgo finally gave an answer to why Constable Zuvio was only barely in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
You have probably seen Constable Zuvio, even if you haven’t heard his name before. He appeared in the public consciousness most prominently as a Hasbro Black Series action figure, and later in a production photo from the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He is also the star of his own short story by Landry Q. Walker, “High Noon on Jakku.” So why did a character who was so present in marketing for The Force Awakens appear for only four frames, per Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo, in the actual film?
Entertainment Weekly got to the bottom of the quandary, and what they found out is surprising.
Constable Zuvio began life as a creation of the Lucasfilm creature shop. Pablo Hidalgo named him, and gave him a species and a backstory in The Force Awakens Visual Guide. Hidalgo is very familiar with the character, having spent so much time developing him, and he was able to spot Zuvio in the film where others could not: in the background of the chase scene in the Jakku market, a mere blip of a backside to the far right of the frame.
"“I think there’s like four frames of him. Literally,” Hidalgo says."
If was going to have less screen time than other creatures who weren’t given action figures, why was he part of The Force Awakens marketing? J.J. Abrams offered an answer; that is, he offered an answer, after he was reminded who Zuvio was. Once his memory was refreshed, the director told EW:
"“I guarantee you that as they were reviewing ‘safe’ characters that can be made into action figures and presented to the public, that was one of those characters,” Abrams says. “They had no idea and, frankly, we wouldn’t know either back when we were shooting, if he would end up in the final cut.”"
According to Abrams, there wasn’t even a plan or an idea for Zuvio to have a line of dialogue.
So there you have it. We have marketing to thank for introducing Zuvio to us, otherwise he would have remained how he appears in the movie: a blip on the screen. However, Hidalgo pointed out that back when the original trilogy came out, characters who barely had any screentime got action figures. This time around, I don’t think anyone thought Hasbro would release a superfluous character, especially in Black Series form. When Rogue One and Episode VIII action figures start coming out, it would be wise to not assume too much about their involvement in he actual movies.