Wired has a fresh interview with writer/director J.J. Abrams about the process of creating Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In addition to sharing some behind-the-scenes shots, which you can see in the gallery below, Abrams talked about capturing the excitement and feel of the original trilogy and bringing it into today's world.
He assured fans that the teasers and trailers are good indicators of the feel of the film.
"What I’m excited about is that the movie itself feels like those teasers and not like the movie is one thing and the teasers are something else," Abrams said. That means that the movie is "very much about these new characters," as the trailers have focused heavily on the young trio of Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and to a lesser extent Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), as well as the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
To capture that feeling, he worked with Lawrence Kasdan, who was the co-writer of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, with the primary goal of fixing any "fundamental story problems" before they ever shot a single frame. He said working with Kasdan was "an extended master class," and helped him prevent any of the mistakes he'd made in previous films.
The other major balance came in figuring out how, when, and what of the film to release in promotion before the movie itself.
"It's not just about what piece you put out for a talk show," Abrams intimated. "This is also about: Well, what does that character say as a toy in that particular line of action figures, as opposed to that one? We want to preserve some of the rarefied air of the actual experience and not open all the windows so it all just gets depleted." That of course referred to the way publications like Wired, IGN, and of course ComicBook.com immediately combed through the dialogue of toys released on Force Friday this year for hints at the story - something they had apparently heavily considered.
The Force Awakens, of course, is the first in a new trilogy, and Abrams said he has had meetings with Rian Johnson, who is helming Episode VIII, and showed him an early cut of the film to help him on his way into production; some preliminary scenes for that film, due out in May 2017, have already been shot.
"It’s not very often that you get to work on something where you know there’s a continuum, where you know it’s basically part seven of nine—at least. That’s a very interesting way to approach a story, and it’s kind of great. It unburdens you," Abrams said. He looks back on the past of Star Wars as fondly as he hopes for the future, and notes that George Lucas's ability to "ask exactly the right questions" when making the original trilogy is what has allowed it to survive and thrive as a franchise. "Working on this new movie has been as much about trying to set up elements of what is beyond what you’re seeing as it has been about telling a story that will be satisfying in and of itself."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18, 2015.