Back when the hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was at its absolute peak, everyone was looking for a way to get in on the fun. This includes Saturday Night Live, who parlayed the anticipation for the new film in a couple of skits. Not only did Adam Driver reprise Kylo Ren for “Matt the Radar Technician,” the long running comedy show also showcased a handful of “screen tests” that director J.J. Abrams conducted while casting Episode VII. Featuring cameos from celebrities such as Emma Stone, Jon Hamm, and Michael Bublé (as well as impersonations of others from the SNL cast), it was one of the more amusing sketches of the most recent season.
The Force Awakens may have come and gone, but Star Wars is constantly in the headlines these days due to a full slate of projects Lucasfilm has in the works over the next handful of years. Simply put, now there’s never a bad time to release more Star Wars content. As fans await all the announcements and reveals of Star Wars Celebration 2016, SNL is giving viewers some more comedy in a galaxy far, far away with outtakes from that earlier Episode VII screen test skit (watch it above).
The bonus material follows a similar format as the version that made it to the air (with Hamm providing one final zinger before it ends), though there are obviously some differences. For the most part, the actors testing out for the roles (again a mixture of A-listers and impressions) are all new, including Matthew McConaughey’s subdued attempt to demonstrate his “Lando voice” and Taran Killam hamming it up as an overly enthusiastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Kyle Mooney also shines as Shia LaBeouf, offering a parody of the thespian’s intense personality and methods.
John Boyega gets another opportunity to poke fun at the criticisms of him portraying a black stormtrooper. He shares his take on what an “urbanized” soldier would sound like, hilariously chastising a stormtrooper slacking off at his job on the Death Star (quoting Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris in the process). Another highlight is Vanessa Bayer as Jennifer Lawrence, riffing on the Oscar winner’s “goofy” charm before taking a spill reminiscent of Lawrence’s at the Academy Awards. Also, before Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda helped create music for Force Awakens‘ version of the cantina, Abrams held an audition for the Black Eyed Peas, apparently.
Overall, this extra footage doesn’t deliver the laughs quite as often as the official sketch, which is probably why these were cut from the episode. Still, the bits are fun to watch on their own, offering good-natured ribbing and enjoyment for the fans. The video operates as breezy entertainment, and it is successful in that regard. It may not rival Matt the Radar Technician, but there are some chuckles to be had.
With Disney planning annual Star Wars releases, SNL will almost surely dish up some more themed sketches for next season, in conjunction with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Where they go with it remains to be seen. The headlines concerning the film’s reshoots may not be a hot topic anymore come December, but there should be something SNL can do – even if it’s just more forgotten screen tests.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIIIon December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: Saturday Night Live