‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: 4 New Secrets Revealed by J.J. Abrams

JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan talk on set of Star Wars The Force Awakens

JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan talk on set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

It’s a great time to be in love with Star Wars. Star Wars: The Force Awakens not only shattered box office records, but it marked the beginning of a new era for the saga, while introducing a number of key questions that sequels will begin to unravel. That means not only the arrival of the first standalone Star Wars film with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but also the growing anticipation behind the forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII. Considering that the “galaxy far, far away” had taken a decade-long hiatus from the big-screen, the past year has been a dramatic turnaround, and fans just can’t seem to get enough of the saga.

Now, a brand-new 3D collector’s edition Blu-ray of The Force Awakens is available. The release is designed to capitalize on Rogue One‘s recent release while also biding fans’ time until The Last Jedi hits theaters later this year. Thanks to the bevy of deleted scenes and an audio commentary from director J.J. Abrams that was absent from the initial Blu-ray release, we’ve been learning all kinds of fun behind-the-scenes tidbits about The Force Awakens. Here are a few of the most interesting aspects of the film’s production that shed a bit of light on its story and hint at what may happen in the future.

1. Rey’s Force vision almost featured Luke

Luke Skywalker - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Luke Skywalker in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) Force vision at Maz Kanata’s bar is loaded with all kinds of Easter eggs relating to the saga’s monstrous mythology. It includes voice cameos by Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi as well as flashbacks to Rey’s own childhood. However, there’s also a brief visual reference to Luke’s climactic battle with Vader in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, though neither character is seen.

In an earlier version of the vision, moviegoers would have seen that fight from Rey’s perspective, but that decision — one of many explored ideas for that sequence that didn’t wind up in the final film — was ultimately scrapped so that the film could center more on Rey’s own journey instead of revisiting familiar characters for nostalgia’s sake.

2. Unkar Plutt faced Chewbacca’s wrath

Unkar Plutt in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Unkar Plutt in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

One of the most memorable lines in Star Wars: A New Hope happens during a heated game between Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker). Frustrated that he’s losing, Chewbacca begins to grow angry and impatient, prompting C-3PO to instruct R2 to “let the Wookiee win.” Not a bad piece of advice, considering their tendency to rip arms out of sockets for a lot less. That’s a word of caution that Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg) should have heeded.

In a deleted scene, Unkar Plutt and Chewbacca cross paths, and the results are none too good for the former. Having tracked Rey to Maz Kanata’s castle, Unkar Plutt confronts her but finds himself on the wrong end of a dispute with Chewbacca instead.

3. Rey’s Force-channeling moment

Daisy Ridley in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

One of the most powerful moments in the climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is when Rey takes a moment to meditate and reach into the Force to tap into her power. It’s the beat that turns the tide of the fight, but according to Abrams, it almost never happened. Instead, the fight was once more free flowing. Yet, it felt like something was missing, and Selma director Ava DuVernay suggested giving Rey a heroic moment.

Not only does this brief character moment make Rey that much more of a strong hero, but it adds more depth to her spiritual awakening and her own connection with the Force. In short, it makes the fight more focused and more personal for Rey.

4. Kylo Ren feels trapped beside Snoke

Knights of Ren in Star Wars The Force Awakens

The Knights of Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

It’s a spoiler for those of you who still haven’t seen The Force Awakens, but the tragic death of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) at the hands of his own son is among the most heart-wrenching scenes in the entire saga to date. Anyone who believes that Kylo Ren was simply biding his time in his chat with Han may wish to check out Abrams’s commentary. In fact, Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo is actually attempting to distance himself from his family, feeling as if he has gone too far in his mission to support Snoke.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable

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