J.J. Abrams Explains Those Deleted Scenes from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailers

Wednesday, 23 December 2015 - 11:44AM
Star Wars
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Wednesday, 23 December 2015 - 11:44AM
J.J. Abrams Explains Those Deleted Scenes from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailers

Mild spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow!


For all that we all wanted to be surprised, Star Wars fans watched those first few Force Awakens trailers over and over again, to the point that we all noticed certain shots that didn't make it into the film. The shot of Kylo Ren turning on the crossguard lightsaber, for example, which was arguably the most iconic shot from any of the trailers aside from "Chewie we're home," was jettisoned from the actual movie:

Opening quote
"There's a shot where Kylo Ren turns on his lightsaber, which was... not in the movie," director J.J. Abrams told EW. "There were a bunch of things we ended up not using."
Closing quote

As a result of all the secrecy surrounding the film, some speculated that some footage was shot just for the trailers, to avoid revealing too much actual footage. But Abrams confirms that they shot that footage with the intention of using it, and it just ended up on the cutting room floor.

Opening quote
"Sometimes you discover that things you would have cut off a limb to shoot on the day are absolutely inconsequential, and in fact less impactful than if you were to remove it."
Closing quote

I think it would be smart for movies to start doing that, actually, because then they wouldn't feel so much pressure to make a movie that has trailer-worthy shots. And some of the voice-over was likely made just for the trailer, especially when Luke is speaking, but most of it was just run-of-the-mill editing:

Opening quote
"As much as you try to kick the tires and write and shoot only what is necessary - no one wants to waste anyone's time - when you're in the editing room you realize, for instance, that introducing the character there actually diminishes their power," Abrams said. "Or, giving that information actually distracts you from what you should be concentrating on. Or, having that moment happen concurrent with that moment actually gets in the way of both - things like that."
Closing quote

Although the Kylo Ren scene was probably the most memorable one that was cut from the trailers, another missing shot, in which Maz Kanata hands a lightsaber to General Leia, represents a more significant change in the plot.

Opening quote
"That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out. At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to be sitting around," Abrams said. "Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt it [sic] unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out."
Closing quote


But then, why did it end up in the trailer? "The moment was nice and the people who cut the trailer didn't give a s–t," Abrams joked before quickly correcting that they had planned to use that shot at the time the trailer was made.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is now out in theaters.
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens