There has been a lot of talk about J.J. Abrams' audio commentary for The Force Awakens. Some people are claiming the audio commentary reveals that Kylo and Rey have never met, others insist that the audio commentary proves they knew each other prior to the events of last year's Star Wars movie. I've heard the commentary, and I can tell you it's both entertaining and gives some interesting insights into the making of the movie, but spoiler laden it is not...
I didn't pay much attention to what J.J. Abrams said about the connection (or lack there of) between Kylo Ren and Rey. Most of the things that caught my attention were little pieces of Star Wars The Force Awakens trivia, One of those being the identity of the man bringing to life, one of the stormtroopers man handling Poe on Jakku.
The stormtrooper is FN-3181, and is to the right of Poe in this image. The man behind FN-3181 (or at least the man beneath the helmet) is none other that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story composer, Michael Giacchino. Pronounced Jack-Eno, you hear J.J. Abrams pronounce the name on the commentary, so if nothing else, we learn that. FN-3181 isn't the only new stormtrooper with a day job either.
Rey manages to use the Force to overpower her captor, FN-007, onboard Starkiller base. FN-007 is none other than Daniel Craig. Daniel even provides the voice work for FN-007. The man is certainly Star Wars fan ladies and gents.
Here's something that really blew me away.
We all know that the production shut down following Harrison Ford's accident that left him with a broken leg. But did you know that when the production returned from the downtime, J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan had been rewriting some of the script? In fact, some of what J.J. Abrams and Kasdan had rewritten, would require reshoots, and some of the shots would need to be modified to reflect the changes that took place over that period of time. Specifically, Harrison's hair had grown whilst the production was down and so J.J. Abrams chose to modify the shots already "in the can" at the time of Harrison Ford's accident. The result was a couple of shots with digital altered hair lengths. See the first of these below:
This is where J.J. Abrams mentioned the digital alterations and it reminded me that therein a shot a little later in the movie that has bothered me since the first time i saw the movie. In fact, i do mention it on an earlier episode of the Talk Star Wars podcast. It's a shot of Rey talking to Han on Takodana, just before they meet Maz. Check it out below.
I don't think I've ever seen shot of Harrison Ford look as odd as this one. Was this another shot modified after the break in shooting following Ford's accident? Doesn't it look weird? Ok, thats not the only weird piece of shot manipulation in The Force Awakens either. J.J. Abrams was talking about the scene where Rey first attempts to use the Force by influencing FN-007.
In this shot J.J. Abrams and co chose to remove an eye blink from Daisy Ridley's Rey. Now that is fine tuning!
J.J. Abrams also called out one of the shots they "flopped" in post. This means reversing the image so the information on the right moves to the left, giving us a mirror image of what was shot. What fascinated made was that the scene he called out wasn't the one that stood out in the movie as having been reversed!
Some of J.J. Abrams comments have sparked a lot of conversation, specifically the comment about how Rey and Kylo Ren hadn't met prior to The Force Awakens, but there was one other thing he said that is much more important. During Rey's "Force Back". In the shot where Little Rey is being held by Unbar Plut, J.J. Abrams clearly states that Rey was being left by her parents. Not by Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker or Han Solo, but her parents. We do need to bare something in mind here though. There is a chance that how J.J. Abrams interprets the events of The Force Awakens, may not be the way the story plays out longterm. Remember when Obi-Wan said to Luke, "Darth Vader betrayed and murdered your father", well that was George's story at the time. Vader wouldn't become Anakin until Empire. So the way J.J. Abrams views this moment with Rey, could become something very different once Rian has completed his run on the saga.
Have you heard the commentary yet? If so what did you take format that you'd like to share? Leave them in the comments.
Thank you for reading,