JJ Abrams and Team Spill The Force Awakens Secrets to EW

Finn Crashes on JakkuJust ahead of their parent company’s expo, D23, Lucasfilm gave Entertainment Weekly some big secrets and interesting reveals for December’s The Force Awakens. They include new photos, details on how they arrived at certain character’s names, part of Kylo Ren’s true name, the big, enticing question which brought JJ on board, and Harrison Ford’s first day on set/Han’s Anthology film details (and a few more items on Friday).

The biggest and most mysterious information drop so far in EW’s coverage comes from JJ Abrams spilling some metaphorical beans about Kylo Ren’s true name. JJ says Kylo gains the surname Ren when he joins the Knights of Ren, a group who will remain a mystery until December 18th. They have never appeared in any Star Wars canon yet, so like a lot of this movie, it’s completely new. Seeing as Kylo Ren is aligned with the First Order, are the Knights of Ren aligned with them too? Do they have their own agenda? Is Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis’ character, heard speaking in the very first teaser) the leader of the Knights of Ren or the First Order or possibly both? How many Knights are there? Are any other Knights active at this time? How long have they been active? Enjoy all these questions folks because we’re currently in an unprecedented moment where even the longest standing Star Wars fan is the equal in knowledge to someone coming into the franchise today…at least in regards to these Knights of Ren.

As for Kylo Ren specifically as a character, JJ and Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter for TFA, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the upcoming Han Solo Anthology film) both discussed his obsession with Vader—meaning he’s likely the one carrying the smoking ruin of Vader’s helmet—and how he’s a very emotional character as Kasdan notes, “I’ve written four Star Wars movies now, and there’s never been a character quite like the one that Adam plays. I think you’re going to see something that’s brand new to the saga.” If that doesn’t get you excited to unmask Kylo Ren and his place in the galaxy, I don’t know what will.

Another intriquing reveal was the question Kathleen Kennedy, fresh as the new head of Lucasfilm, asked JJ that convinced him to direct TFA, “Who is Luke Skywalker?” It seems the idea of answering said question is exactly what made JJ’s involvement possible and it seems to fuel some of the storytelling ideas for the sequel trilogy and KK points to what Lucas said that made the question of who is Luke Skywalker possible:

George spoke often about that tension in everybody between what’s good and bad. He always felt that it was easier to be bad than good,” she says with a laugh. “I’m not sure all people would agree, but I think that that’s always an interesting conflict to explore. So that’s a big part of the themes inside of Episode VII.

This segment of EW’s coverage also confirmed a few things and cleared some others up:

  • The lightsaber Leia is handed in the second teaser is Luke’s from his duel with Vader on Cloud City.
  • The Empire slowly morphed into the First Order (so it seems there’s no Empire left, they are just the First Order now).
  • Han, Chewie, Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are the lead leads, i.e. most screentime.
  • JJ will not be directing Ep. IX
  • There are also some details about Rian Johnson’s process on Ep. VIII


Another segment of their coverage spent time on how certain character names were devised, like how Phasma is an old pop-culture reference and BB-8 has a hilariously simple source for his name, while there’s a new character called Teebo who rides a luggabeast introduced.

For Thursday’s news, there was an insightful look at how Harrison Ford’s presence on set effected everyone positively, including the often skeptical of Star Wars Ford himself, as we witnessed from his appearance at SDCC this year. I’m sure I’d have been like everyone on set for his first day aboard the Falcon and be in complete awe, much like I was when we saw him and Chewie in the second teaser. This has to be my favorite bit from that article:

….it was amazing. I mean, he was Han Solo again. That’s why everybody else got so quiet! They were like, ‘Oh my God, he’s back!’”

And then, later, they dropped a door on him.

Once EW was done discussing Ford’s various injuries, they focused then on details for the upcoming Han Solo Anthology film (being nicknamed Hanthology around the web these days). There’s not a whole lot there considering they don’t know the whole story yet either, but they can confirm he’ll at least be late teens to early 20’s in age.

They have one more update scheduled for Friday (and that’s when their Fall Movie Preview issue hits newsstands), but until then check out their gallery full of new images from the film.

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

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