Everything We Learned From The ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Press Conference

Last Sunday was Star Wars media day, during which cast members of Star Wars: The Force Awakens gave interviews and participated in a panel discussion moderated by Mindy Kaling. The Hollywood Reporter gave a run down on the whole discussion, but we wanted to focus on the parts that reveal new details, which we’ll format as helpful bullet points like this isn’t a disorganized smattering of stuff relayed secondhand.

  • J.J. Abrams promised there will be no Ewoks in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy promised there will also be no Jar Jar Binks.
  • We already knew Lupita Nyong’o is playing (via motion capture) a space pirate named Maz who goes way back with Han Solo, but Nyong’o revealed Maz is a former pirate who now runs a cantina. No word on if that cantina is a hive of scum and villainy.
  • Ever wonder how much partying was happening on the set of the original trilogy? Carrie Fisher said the biggest difference between Force Awakens and the early movies was all the drinking: “We drank through the whole trilogy, in the beginning. This was a sober set. That’s what J.J. brought to it. Sobriety!”
  • John Boyega told a funny anecdote about being tapped on the shoulder by someone saying, “Yo, black Jedi!” while at a Hollywood party. When he turned around, it was Samuel L. Jackson.
  • Boyega also turned to an interesting source of inspiration before his final audition to play Finn: He watched Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford’s original Star Wars auditions on YouTube.
  • Kathleen Kennedy revealed Star Wars: Episode VIII will start filming in January, so if you thought we’d stop obsessing over Star Wars for awhile after Force Awakens opens December 18, you were more wrong than George Lucas was about Jar Jar.

You can read more about the Star Wars media day press conference at The Hollywood Reporter.