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J. J. Abrams Talks About the New Lightsaber, and Balancing 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'' Effects

By Cindy Davis | Star Wars | February 6, 2015 |

By Cindy Davis | Star Wars | February 6, 2015 |

This past Wednesday evening, The Force Awakens director, J.J. Abrams was honored as a Visionary at the Visual Effects Society Awards. As you can imagine, since the release of that awesome Star Wars trailer, he’s been bombarded with comments and questions, many of them pertaining to the glory that is that fiery cross-lightsaber. Collider caught up with Abrams, who was surprisingly forthcoming about certain aspects of the upcoming film. He discusses receiving elaborate emails about the lightsaber’s design, as well as finding a balance between old school effects and CG, as well as one IMAX scene he seems pretty excited about. He also talks about his involvement with Episode VIII and IX, and working with Simon Pegg on the next Star Trek film.

If you can’t watch right now, be sure to catch it later — it’s fun to watch his expressions as he chats. Here are a couple highlights:

The lightsaber design:

“Well, it’s sort of a long story that…I can give it to you another time…but uh, I will say that it — what’s been funny is, since the lightsaber’s come out, I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I’ve received from people who have both defended it with unbelievable detailed graphics [interviewer: ‘Yes, I’ve seen.’]. No, no, no! You’ve not seen what I’m talking about. But, I’ve seen other things. But, I’ve gotten things that are nuts. And I’ve got people who’ve shown how it’s — it’ll kill you. And how it’s…it doesn’t make any sense. It’s been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing. But, uh, it’s been, a number of conversations. It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation, and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had — but in reverse.

CG vs. sets:

“There are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can’t wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important that we build as many sets as we could and that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight, if it was an exterior scene, or if we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen, do it where we could. It was a very important piece of work.”

In related news, the other day, Lucasfilm confirmed, “…there is no reason to think Stormtroopers are still Jango Fett clones,” (so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, racist ninnies!). In fact, 2014’s Disney approved Star Wars: A New Dawn debuts female stormtroopers. Yee-forkin-ha.

Cindy Davis, (Twitter)

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