Monday, May 18, 2015

Daisy Ridley and Kathleen Kennedy Talk 'The Force Awakens' and More

By: Dominic Jones

A couple of weeks ago Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley held a press conference in Japan to promote the December release of The Force Awakens.   At the time only a brief video of the conference was released, but now have posted more details and quotes from the event.  Kennedy and Ridley tackle a variety of topics including preparation for the film, stunt work, and Boba Fett's future.  Here's what the had to say,

(Keep in mind the answers were translated from English to Japanese and then back to English, so they may seem a bit awkward at times.) 

Kotaku: As we get into this epic saga, what research did you do in advance?

Kathleen Kennedy: In order to understand George Lucas’s fictional world and his method for creating it, we spent a considerable amount of time doing research onto what he made. The contents, it is his prior research, which was carried out in order of production, such as about the work that he was affected by, such as Flash Gordon and Akira Kurosawa’s movies. In addition, we looked a lot at early concept art by Ralph McQuarrie; we also went to the San Francisco Lucasfilm archive. The Death Star of the model that was actually used in the movie from the archive in San Francisco can be pulled out, and the Stormtrooper costume can be examined anew. Since the staff there are super Star Wars geeks, they fainted when we stopped by. [Laughs]

Daisy Ridley: Compared to Kathleen, I didn’t do nearly as much research! [Laughs] What I did for the movie was look into how to portray an independent character in a compelling way; what I mainly did for this was to conduct physical training. Reading the script and interpreting Rey’s thoughts and actions were also important, as I wanted to understand what I should show in the film.

Kennedy: Daisy trained with the swordfight choreographer of
Game of Thrones.

Kotaku: She did a lot of training in swordfighting as well?

Kennedy: She learned the bōjutsu fighting style. Rey uses the staff she has in the trailer to fight. Daisy’s gotten to be so good at bōjutsu that even grown men on the set fear it. [Laughs]

Kotaku: The movie’s about half a year away. What are the fans going to do during the wait?

Kennedy: We’ll be unveiling the story in stages in the next six months or so. Fan conventions are important, so I think we’ll show up along with the hardcore fans. Maybe we’ll say something at the Star Wars exhibition being held in Roppongi.

Kotaku: Ms. Daisy, did you get any advice from the cast that appeared in the previous movies?

Ridley: The cast members of Episode IV gave us great warm love and courage. They noted we were about as old as they were when they filmed A New Hope.

Kotaku: Kathleen, did the various actors and crew members need a lot of convincing to sign up to work on/in the next Star Wars movie?

Kennedy: We weren’t hard to convince – we wanted to join! I got a lot of phone calls, so it was harder to find the people who were not able to participate.

Kotaku: In yesterday’s kick-off meeting, you joked that Jar-Jar does not come back. On that note, will Boba Fett come back? Also, is there a possibility of Ewok re-appearance?

Kennedy: Don’t worry: Boba Fett is a high priority among our list, please wait. But seeing how the Ewoks could return is a little harder to imagine. It is quite difficult to give the many stars of Star Wars their own stories on film.

While most of the interview is simply a repeat of stuff we've heard before, there is some interesting tidbits.  Based on the answers, it seems we can expect Rey to see some serious action specifically with that staff we see her holding in some behind the scenes images and in the trailer.  Also, Kennedy talks about the importance of fan conventions to the marketing of the film.  We saw this in action last month at Star Wars Celebration.  Now there seem to be 3 big conventions left where Lucasfilm could, in theory, have some kind of presence, San Diego Comic Con in July, D23 in August, and New York Comic Con in October.  We know Lucasfilm will be at D23, but the other two are somewhat in doubt, especially given how close together in time SDCC and D23 are, plus the fact that Marvel Studios will not be attending SDCC this year.  NYCC seems possible given that it's the last major convention before the film's release.  

And finally, Kennedy stated that Boba Fett is important to the future of Star Wars.  While I don't believe any of the speculation (occasionally being passed around as rumor/fact) that Max Von Sydow is playing Boba in the film, I fully expect to see Boba Fett on the silver screen before the end of the decade.  One of the longest standing rumors is that the second Anthology film, slated for a 2018 release date, will be a Boba Fett film.  This was reported as recently as two weeks ago, when it was reported that the film would be an "origin story" for Boba Fett.

Follow The Star Wars Underworld on Twitter @TheSWU for more updates about this story and other breaking Star Wars news.


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