Fans have spent the past two years speculating about what we might see in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” when it bows in theaters on Dec. 18 — but at the “Episode VII” press junket on Sunday, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director J.J. Abrams did provide some solid answers about what we won’t see in the sequel.
“Jar-Jar’s definitely not in the movie,” Kennedy promised, addressing fan theories about the much-derided CGI character from the prequel trilogy, before teasingly adding, “Ewoks are not in the movie, just because Harrison [Ford] insisted.”
Abrams confirmed this in his own portion of the press conference. “No, there are no Ewoks in this film… But there are a lot of them in ‘Return of the Jedi,'” he laughed.
Although “Star Wars” is now part of the Disney roster alongside Marvel Studios, the long-running franchise won’t be taking a page out of its corporate sibling’s playbook. Abrams assured reporters that there is no post-credits scene after “The Force Awakens” — a feature that has become ubiquitous in comic book movies thanks to Marvel’s interconnected cinematic universe, in which each film serves to set up the next.
“All the scenes are actually in the movie,” Abrams promised.
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Still, according John Boyega, there are some mysteries in “The Force Awakens” that may not be revealed until “Episode VIII” or “Episode IX,” since he still doesn’t know the whole truth about his character’s backstory.
Kennedy and “Force Awakens” co-writer Lawrence Kasdan also addressed the unprecedented secrecy around the film, which was not screened for press before the junket.
“Right from the beginning, we respected the fans and the fans have really been the ones focused around making sure that everybody and anybody who walks into this movie gets to be surprised,” Kennedy noted. “We have so little things that surprise us anymore when we walk in to see a movie — it’s all told in the trailers; it all ends up online way in advance… That’s really all that’s driving [the secrecy].”
Kasdan admitted that when he and Abrams set out to write the script, “we didn’t really have fear, we had trepidation about fulfilling people’s expectations, that they’d be satisfied by what we came out with.”
Many fans have speculated about potential plot points for the sequel trilogy by trying to extrapolate based on events and characters that were part of the franchise’s previous “Expanded Universe” of books and tie-in material, which have mostly been rendered obsolete by Disney’s acquisition of the property and the plans for the new films.
“We didn’t want [fans] to know what we were gonna come up with, and we wanted this moment that’s coming up next week to be a fresh moment for as many people in the world who were interested in it,” Kasdan explained, noting that they eschewed the Expanded Universe stories in favor of making sure “The Force Awakens” felt like a natural progression from “Return of the Jedi.”
“We were aware, we were respectful of the canon, but we really wanted to do a story that interested us and delighted us, and didn’t really want any rules and parameters,” Kasdan admitted. “We said, ‘we can do anything we want with this story — what would be the most fun thing to do on this page and the next page and the page after that?’ and that was sort of a guiding principle more than the canon or anything that had come before.”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” debuts in theaters on Dec. 18.