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J.J. Abrams talks The Force Awakens' new lightsaber and practical effects

02.05.2015

jj abrams star wars

Earlier today we told you that director J.J. Abrams was honored by the Visual Effects Society when they presented him with their Visionary Award due to his use of practical effects in the upcoming STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS among his other work in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, SUPER 8, and STAR TREK. This year he will be releasing quite possible the most anticipated movie of the last decade and surprisingly enough he seems pretty cool about it. Cool enough to talk about the movie and answer some interview questions at every turn.

During the Visual Effects Society Awards the folks at Collider had the chance to speak with Abrams on the red carpet. He talked about a few points that have been in the spotlight as of late including that new lightsaber and the films use of practical effects over CG.

lightsaber star wars 7

On the debate about the new lightsaber, Abrams said:

I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I have received from people who have both defended it with unbelievably detailed graphics…I’ve gotten things that are nuts, and I’ve gotten people who’ve shown how it’ll kill you and how it doesn’t make any sense.  It’s been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing. It was a number of conversations [that led to the design].  It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse.

He admitted he has not seen a first cut of the movie yet since they’re still editing but confirmed what we learned last year about one sequence being shot in IMAX:

It’s really one sequence so it’s not a ton [of IMAX footage], but it’s a good sequence.

star wars VII

Abrams talked about putting the practical effects back in the STAR WARS universe as well as combining it with a lot of CG:

I feel like the beauty of this age of filmmaking is that there are more tools at your disposal, but it doesn’t mean that any of these new tools are automatically the right tools. And there are a lot of situations where we went very much old school and in fact used CG more to remove things than to add things. There are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can’t wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important that we build as many sets as we could and that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight, if it was an exterior scene, or if we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen, do it where we could. It was a very important piece of work.

I can’t say I put too much thought into the new lightsaber, I thought it was cool and moved on with my day. As for the effects, I’m looking forward to this combination he mentioned and my hope is that it’s all on the screen long enough for us to enjoy.

While we get closer to its release, I’m sure things are only going to get more exciting and crazy around here. With every image, poster, teaser or rumor reported, we get closer to the real thing. I was there in line for THE PHANTOM MENACE and I was on my couch for the next installments. Now I’ll be in line for THE FORCE AWAKENS, a vicious cycle I’m proud to take part in.

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS opens in theaters on December 18th 2015.

Source: Collider

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