Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Poster

The major ‘Autumn/Fall’ marketing push has just begun for Star Wars: The Force Awakens with the release of the Official ‘one sheet’ Poster originally reportedly to be done by the legendary artist Drew Struzan, but instead by team that look after Marvel‘s posters.

As for the content, the main ‘additions’ from what we’ve already seen is that new ‘DEATH STAR. The most notably is the omission of Luke Skywalker yet again from any official marketing, although the new look Princess Leia played by Carrie Fisher does look pretty nice.

So what about that new ‘First Order’ Death Star that they are going to unleash on the Resistance, is it me! or does it have an uncanny resemblance to some of Ralph McQuarrie’s early concepts,? they have said to be re-using his early concepts art throughout the film, as mentioned in an earlier post The McQuarrie Influence

This poster is just the beginning, the next stage of marketing will see the release of the new The Force Awakens trailer, which will arrive in the US on the October 19th sometime around 8pm EST, which is 1am Tuesday 20th in the UK. Star Wars have announced that it will appear on ESPN during Monday Night Football, which would be a huge audience for the new trailer, and it’s no coincidence that ESPN is a Disney-owned network. When it airs on television first, you can be sure it will be online almost simultaneously, and finally the release of the tickets will go on sale around the world will go on sale on the 19th of October.

UPDATE:

It seems the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Film poster is not by Drew Struzan, like the one he did the recently when he came out of retirement to do a promotional limited edition poster release for the fans at D23 Expo 2015, that poster also had lots of hidden clues on it, the most notable was the ‘Cloud City’ reference.

I can’t wait for the next in line with Lucasfilm’s new marketing push…the official full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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The New Characters of Star Wars

The names of Star Wars characters are a  kind of art form on their own. They have the cadence of real names, but they’re like nothing we’ve ever heard, they also tend to have deeper meaning that pushes subconscious buttons in our heads. Luke Skywalker is an obvious one: The last name is a bit on the nose for a tale about space adventure, but “Luke” also comes from the Latin lucere, which means light (although, remember, the devil started out as Lucifer).

Darth Vader, famously, comes from a variation on “dark” and the Dutch word for “father.” Han Solo, well… It suggested a roguish, loner quality, even if the smuggler was kind of a gadabout.

Below are the recently released promo character photo’s, I’ve also added excerpts from a recent interview Entertainment Weekly Star Wars: The Force Awakens had with director and co-writer J.J. Abrams, he was asked how he came to some of the new names joining the Star Wars universe, and here’s what Abrams had to say …

CAPTAIN PHASMA

Turns out, Abrams sometimes does go out of his way to pay homage to unusual pieces of cinematic pop culture. The proof is Captain Phasma, a First Order warrior garbed in mirror-like armor, played byGame of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie.

During preproduction, Abrams was reminded of Phantasm, a 1979 horror film that featured a gaunt, terrifying figure known as The Tall Man and a flying, silver sphere that bores into its victims’ bodies like a bullet crossed with a drill-tip.

“Phasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe team. It reminded me of the ball inPhantasm, and I just thought, Phasma sounds really cool,” Abrams says, but as he was telling this story, I remembered the last time I’d seen The Tall Man actor, Angus Scrimm.

It was an episode of Abrams’ TV show Alias.

“He was in Alias!” Abrams says. “I think, maybe two episodes, but definitely in the pilot.”

Then, we venture far from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it’s a testament to Abrams’ love of old-time movies – and old-time actors. “I have a funny Angus Scrimm story, which is we were shooting at like two in the morning one day, and he’s a very tall, older guy, one of the sweetest people ever,” Abrams says. “His voice, he’s got this great sort of British accent. He sounds just like James Mason. He speaks like this,” Abrams says, breaking into a stately accent.

“I remember we were just sitting there, waiting for the cameras to be ready, and I said to him, ‘So, Angus, where are you from?’ And he goes, ‘Kansas City!’” Abrams says with a laugh. “It was just like, he had this [accent] of an actor, it turns out.”

He also learned during that downtime that the creepy Tall Man from Phantasm had a side career. “He won a Grammy award for writing liner notes for a classical music album!” Abrams says. “So he is a Grammy Award-winning scary guy.”

There probably isn’t a character in The Force Awakens named Scrimm, but maybe there should be. Either way, you can see that Abrams’ love of Phantasm runs deep enough to name his own scary stormtrooper after it.

POE DAMERON

Again, back in December, when Abrams debuted those Topps trading cards with the names through Entertainment Weekly, everybody’s first instinct was to try to divine some meaning from their IDs.

Poe Dameron, the X-Wing pilot played by Oscar Isaac, seemed especially confounding. Poe… Was that a reference to spooky old Edgar Allan? And Dameron… something about it was familiar. Like it was right in front of me.

Turns out, it was.

Others theorized that it was a warped spoonerism on Nicolas Cage’s hero from 1997’s Con Air — Cameron Poe. It’s an eerie coincidence, but it also didn’t make sense. Would J.J. Abrams really go out of his way to pay homage to a cheesy old movie?

Then I looked at the email of his assistant, who had sent the images of the Topps trading cards: Morgan Dameron. Mystery solved!

Almost. There’s a little more to it.

“Dameron came out because it was, obviously, a name that I know, and it just musically felt right,” Abrams says. “There was no sort of deep reasoning behind it, and I also knew it would make Morgan blush if we named a character that. So she had this giant smile on her face.”

He thought he might change it eventually, but then got used to it. “We kept it for awhile, and it just stuck like things that work seem to,” Abrams says.

As for Poe, Abrams says it was also one he switched back and forth on.

“We went through a bunch of different names, and Poe ultimately felt like the right name,” he says, though he admits there may have been a deeper meaning than he realized. “Someone reminded me recently that my daughter had had a polar bear named Poe [or Po’ — short for “polar”], and that might’ve been why it felt right. There was a kind of sweetness to, and a charm to that name.” (The polar bear also suggests shades of Lost.)

BB-8

So if Oscar Isaac’s pilot was named after Abrams’ longtime assistant, was there a chance some other characters were homages to friends or family?

Another individual who has been aligned with Abrams for years is Bryan Burk, a producer on The Force Awakens, who first joined with the filmmaker back in the middle of the run of ABC’s Alias. He co-founded Bad Robot productions with Abrams and has been involved in every one of his projects since.

Bryan Burk. BB. Is that how BB-8 came to be?

Abrams draws in a deep breath — and exhales a laugh. “No!” he says. “But don’t tell Bryan that.”

Abrams chose the droid’s name because it looked round and bouncy. “I named him BB-8 because it was almost onomatopoeia,” the director says. “It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the 2 B’s.”

A lot of names were second-guessed into oblivion, but this is one they never changed, from very early on. “It’s funny how sometimes, the bad ideas, you try them out and kick the tires a little bit, and it just kind of falls apart and you can go somewhere else, you’ve just got to know it’s temporary. And that one, he never had another name. But Bryan Burk, whom I adore, is not the father of that name.”

So no love for his producing pal?

Abrams laughs. “I throw him love in other ways.”

FINN AND REY

When Abrams first revealed the names of his new characters, by way of mocked-up Topps trading cards last December, two were notable for being… singular…Secret Box?

The runaway stormtrooper played by John Boyega was known only as Finn, and Daisy Ridley’s desert scavenger was identified only as Rey.

I finally got to ask: Is that deliberate? Is there a piece of information that’s being held back there about their names — perhaps because their last names are ones we may already know?

Abrams isn’t ready to reveal their full identities, but did confirm that this theory was getting warm. “I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record,” he says.

GENERAL HUX

This powerful figure from The First Order is played by Domhnall Gleeson, and little is known about his plans or motivations. He’s eager to reveal them, however. (Even if Abrams is not.)

Hux is young for a general, according to the filmmaker, who says that in this scene the military leader stands in his command center, longing to reveal the full might of The First Order’s military power to an unsuspecting galaxy.

His name doesn’t have the same meaning as the others. In fact, it’s hard for Abrams to remember the origin, although he thinks it came to him during the long storytelling walks he would take with co-screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (who previously penned The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

“Larry and I would walk all over the place when we were breaking the story, and we would record our conversations,” Abrams says. “We were walking through a cemetery that’s near the Bad Robot offices, and we would often, as we were talking about characters, sort of just be glancing at names to see if any of them stuck. I don’t believe that Hux came from there, but it may have.”

An online search of the cemetery database FindAGrave didn’t turn up anyone named Hux buried in the vicinity of Santa Monica, but the character identifier may also have come from a portion of a name they saw – or it may simply be a new Star Wars legend.

Another villain in The Force Awakens, Captain Phasma, has a much more definitive namesake, as you’ll see.

KYLO REN

FORCE AWAKENS STORMTROOPER

THE SNOWTROOPER

THE FLAMETROOPER

The original trilogy characters also return, but with the absence of Luke Leia & Han in the latest batch of promo character photos.

 

“Who IS Luke Skywalker?”

“Noooo! I’ll never join you!” That’s what Luke Skywalker cried out when Darth Vader asked him to cross over to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy alongside him, and J.J Abrams basically said the same thing to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy when she first reached out to ask if he’d sign on to help launch the first in a new assemblage of Star Wars films.

Kennedy persuaded him to helm the film by asking him one simple question, one with the potential to upend our core beliefs about the galaxy far, far away. “In the context of talking about story and laying out what we were thinking, I said one thing to him,” Kennedy recalls.“‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’”

Abrams, decided he needed to know the answer, even if he had to devise it himself. “He said, ‘Oh my God, I just got the chills. I’m in,’” Kennedy says. “I mean, it really was almost that quickly.”

So what got J.J Abrams so excited about the question “‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’”and more importantly what has he done to answer that question, we haven’t truly seen Luke Skywalker in ‘any’ of the marketing collateral, which leads me to believe his new persona is more than what we originally thought, and even though the footage shown in the teaser trailers provides clues to supplement the other rumors, but as for Luke, all we’ve seen are out of context shots and we still have no official synopsis; and any idea of Skywalker’s whereabouts or his state of wellbeing, which are among the film’s most talked about mysteries at this point. The closest fans have gotten to date is a short glimpse of the actor, sporting an Obi-Wan like beard, discussing the series’ return to practical filmmaking in the behind-the-scenes reel that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

Image used under kind permission of Anthony Riordan Photography

The only real place he’s been seen during filming is on Skellig Michael west of the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry in Ireland in Kerry, which has long been believed to be the site of some of the last shots of the movie, including what is quite possibly the last shot. I would personally imagine that such a zoom-out scene would involve Luke training his ‘presumed’ daughter Rey, since Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley were the only cast members present – it would also explain why their stunt doubles were brought along, as they could be shot from a distance. If the rumor is true and the scene zooms out, that would be a bit of a departure from the previous six Star Wars films, which have all ended with group shots (unless BB-8 happens to be there or something).

These rumors have started to add a bit credence as they both have just returned to film on Skellig Michael for a few weeks for Star Wars: Episode VIII with director by Rian Johnson.

I also believe we have been thrown a ‘Jedi’ red herring with Finn and ‘that’ LightSabre scene in the snow. He is part of the Resistance. He escapes the First Order after defecting and gets pulled to the other side of the conflict. He’s going to use a lightsaber, which is going to be great and is part of the official marketing, but he’s probably not going to be the protagonist that is the main face of Good for this side of The Force.

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

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The true protagonist is going to be Rey, whose identity has always been something that has been under dispute ever since we were calling her “Kira” based on certain spy photographs from production. There’s been the rumor that she’s a Solo child because of that Japanese interview where Daisy Ridley said her character was “solitary” and her and Kathleen Kennedy then laughed, you feel Kathleen was having a double laugh, and is quietly thinking back to her ‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’” moment with JJ, and that Rey is somehow linked to the family of Skywalker. We’ve also heard rumours that Rey appears in a flashback where we see young Jedi attacked by evil forces, possibly the Knights of Ren, and and Kylo was present. Which has made us assume these attacking forces have assumed that Kylo and Rey are related, potential to the Skywalker bloodline somehow, which brings me back to that question ‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’ …what has Luke been doing in the abyss after Return of the Jedi, built a new Jedi Order that went wrong? started a family?…who knows!! I just hope J.J.Abrams has taken that initial question and turned it into one great Secret Box of answers.

One final bit which might add a bit of proof to the above, check out these recently leaked Topp Trumps cards…Rey the Jedi, so are the news films From the ‘continued’ Adventures of Luke Skywalker …and his Family?? …bring on December the 17th for the real answer.Rey Skywalker the Jedi

The Promo Art of The Force Awakens

If the recent week’s deluge of Star Wars new promo material wasn’t enough to satisfy your geeky cravings, we’ve now got this latest haul of new promotional posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens for your viewing pleasure. These iconic Star Wars posters have always served as a key visual link between the films, but yet again the characters of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia are still not present, this seems to be part of J.J Abram’s secret box ‘grand plan’, it almost feels like we getting a surprise Christmas Present on December the 17th in the UK.

Click on each images for the hi-res versions…