What more can be said about Star Wars: The Force Awakens that already hasn’t? It’s literally been a topic of conversation for years, and you’d think it would slow down eventually. Instead, it’s the opposite — especially since the film hits digital download today and we found a ton of new info in the extras.
Both the digital and the Blu-Ray/DVD release (arriving April 13) of The Force Awakens contain a good selection of extras, including an hour-plus documentary called Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey, several featurettes, as well as a few deleted scenes (including one exclusive to the digital download).
We checked them all out and pulled our favourite new (or mostly new) information. Some of this stuff is already out there, or won’t come as a surprise to fans, but most of it is brand new. Major spoilers for the Blu-ray (and the movie) below!
• “The Force Awakens” doesn’t just refer to Rey. It refers to Kylo Ren too. “This was not just ‘The Force Awakens’ in a young woman,” says the documentary. “It’s the dark side of The Force awakening in the villain.”
• Though you get a brief sense of it in the movie, the documentary says that Kylo Ren felt abandoned as a child because his parents weren’t there when he was growing up. They were “absent on their own agendas”, and he felt “lost in the world he was raised in”. That’s part of why he was so angry and so open to Snoke’s suggestions. He lacked their guidance.
• Mark Hamill felt that Luke has “great reservations” when Rey finds him on Ahch-To. “He’s very conflicted,” the actor said. “We’ll have to wait and see [what happens].”
• The first scene Daisy Ridley shot was of scrubbing the scavenged part; John Boyega’s was filming around the crashed TIE Fighter.
• The Dejarik (or holochess) game that Finn mistakenly turns on in the Millennium Falcon picks up immediately after the game played back in A New Hope. No one has played it since then!
• In order to prep for all the running in the Jakku (or, really, Abu Dhabi) sand, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega rehearsed some scenes while running on a treadmill.
• Han seems to know Finn is lying about who he is immediately, but how? A deleted scene that’s only on the digital downloads reveals that Han knew because Finn changed all his clothes except his boots, which are Stormtrooper issue. (The scene also explains how Finn lost the gun Han gave him).
• Most of the lightsaber fights were shot with props that looked very much like real lightsabers, but Han’s death was shot without a saber at all. It’s all CG.
• In a deleted scene from early in the movie, we learn that Finn’s mercy at the Jakku village extends beyond not just firing at the villagers. He ran into a young woman behind a hut, too, and let her go.
• When Andy Serkis performed as Supreme Leader Snoke, he stood on a ledge 7.62m above Adam Driver and Domhnall Gleeson.
• Leia and the Resistance were alerted to the destruction of the Jakku village and, though Poe was missing, she figured out BB-8 had the map.
• The scene where the Resistance opens the map that leads to Luke Skywalker was at one point going to include Maz Kanata. We know because the documentary shows the same footage, but with actress Lupita Nyong’o kneeling next to the other actors her mo-cap outfit. It’s likely she was digitally erased from the final shot.
• Kylo Ren and his Snowtroopers find and board the Millennium Falcon on Starkiller Base, which is how Kylo knows his father was there, and that the Resistance’s attack is imminent.
• Several famous people visited in the set. On the Blu-ray alone we see director Peter Jackson, Malala Yousafzai, Karl Urban and also Simon Pegg (who played Unkar Plutt, but we knew that).
• In a deleted, unfinished scene, Rey and Finn are chased across Starkiller Base in a snow speeder. Things aren’t going well, until Finn gives Rey the wheel and he gets the blaster.
• Originally, Poe Dameron was going to die in the script but Oscar Isaac asked that that be changed, so it was. (You can watch that clip above.)
• Trimmed from the shot of Han returning to the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon was him taking the legendary fuzzy dice out of his pocket and hanging them back up.
• Maz Kanata’s character was so inspired by J.J. Abrams’ teacher, Rose Gilbert, that there were photos of her on set.
• Lupita Nyong’o had 149 dots on her face to do Maz Kanata performance capture
• At the table read, Mark Hamill read all the stage directions. Not like he had anything better to do!
• Warwick Davis plays the character Wollivan (above) in Maz’s bar, but his daughter is also a character.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now available for digital download, and it will be on Blu-ray on April 13.