One of the biggest selling points about J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that the saga's seventh episode marks the long-awaited return of classic trilogy veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher in their famous roles. But that trio is hardly the only familiar faces we'll be seeing. There's a number of old heroes coming back - even Admiral Ackbar and Nein Nunb (as shown in the behind-the-scenes reel at San Diego Comic-Con 2015).
Of course, it wouldn't feel like a Star Wars movie without the first two characters moviegoers met all those years ago, R2-D2 and C-3PO. Actors Kenny Baker and Anthony Daniels are back as the feisty astromech droid and proper protocol droid respectively, and Daniels recently spoke about his experiences making the new film (and the secrecy surrounding the project).
Talking with The Guardian, Daniels compared the directing styles of George Lucas and Abrams. Many fans are excited about the potential The Force Awakens has, especially since Lucas is not involved this time around. Daniels admitted that Abrams seemed more open to the idea of working with other people:
“George has changed a lot over the years but I think he finds it slightly hard to collaborate. He made decisions that I believe might have been better discussed with other people. J.J. is more collaborative. He likes to listen.”
The topic of Lucas yearning for complete creative control over his films has been a hot talking point for years (former Star Wars producer Gary Kurtz has discussed this at great lengths), with the prevailing belief being Lucas prefers to surround himself with people who wouldn't tell him "no." In contrast, Abrams invited criticism towards his ideas, bringing in his old friend and massive Star Wars fan Simon Pegg to act as a sounding board during the production process (among several other collaborators). Time will tell if Abrams' methods will pay off in a big way, but history has shown - especially in the Star Wars franchise - that working together typically leads to the better product.
While it's assuring to hear that Abrams is seeing the forest for the trees, what will really help calm any remaining skepticism about The Force Awakens is actually seeing the story he had in mind. Episode VII has been shrouded by a heavy veil of secrecy, and we still haven't even gotten an official plot synopsis. Daniels, for his part, feels that Lucasfilm has gone too far in guarding the movie's major revelations:
“The secrecy has been beyond ludicrous. For heaven’s sake, it’s a movie. When I got the script, it was typed in black on paper of the deepest red so you couldn’t photocopy it. I got a hangover just reading it.”
Obviously, many moviegoers like to avoid spoilers to preserve the experience of seeing a film for the first time - and nobody's saying Lucasfilm should spell out the Force Awakens narrative, ahead of time. Still, a plot synopsis only has to be a couple of sentences that paints the broad strokes of a picture. Right now, though, even certain characters' surnames have been deemed too important to reveal yet.
Then again, Lucasfilm doesn't have to reveal too much in the months leading up to The Force Awakens' release; Star Wars is a brand that sells itself. Meanwhile, the cast and crew seem to be saying all the right things about returning the series to its glory days- and that's encouragement enough, for the time being.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: The Guardian