The Force Awakens Commentary, or Brief Thoughts via J.J. Abrams
Since @mummiesandlightsabers did such a great job of transcribing the pertinent quotes from J.J.’s commentary, there isn’t a great deal left for me to say. Perhaps the best thing to come out of all this is the sense of validation. Reylo shippers - despite many words of careful and intelligent analysis and carefully considered arguments - have routinely been denigrated and ridiculed as fantasists who are merely projecting their own whims for some twisted romance onto the sacred cow that is the Star Wars franchise.
So to hear J.J. talking about the importance of making this film a fairy tale on a very deep and fundamental level, presenting Kylo Ren as a “sort of prince” and alluding to a “very interesting relationship” between Rey and Ren going forward is like music to my ears. (Let’s just say watching the movie with the commentary track on was immensely satisfying.)
I didn’t notice anything earth-shattering not already covered, but some little bits I appreciated were:
- J.J. calls Hux a “teacher’s pet”.
- When discussing whose stories they knew they wanted to tell, J.J. mentions Rey and Kylo first (alongside Poe and Finn).
- Talking about the scene where Kylo is confessing to Vader’s mask, J.J. observes:
“This scene is not about strategy or military might - it’s about crisis.”
- J.J. compares Rey and Ren’s first meeting to two trains colliding.
- J.J. pauses in a moment of thoughtful contemplation between “very” and “interesting” when saying that Kylo and Rey will have “a very interesting relationship moving forward”.
- About Carrie/Leia: “She was wonderful to work with. And I know it was hard for her at first trying to, figuring out who Leia had become. She can’t be the same person she was at 19 years old. When you’ve had a lifetime, not just a lifetime, but a lifetime with such pain and such struggle given the story of the film, what’s happened with their son, the fight she’s still desperately trying to put up.”
- R2, apparently, was “in a kind of depression”.
- Speaking about the cut from Poe’s X-Wing antics to Rey and Kylo duelling, J.J. remarks “And we’re back in the forest with the story that we really care about, the focus of the story, which is Rey and Ren.”
And there’s one final little thread I’d like to mention building off @mummiesandlightsabers‘ transcript. There is the now famous fairy-tale comment:
For example, we looked at it like a Western or a fairy tale. What are the elements that you’re going to see that makes it this genre, this specific genre? […] You’re probably going to have a castle, and a prince and a princess, if you’re looking at a fairy tale. We wanted to give these sort of, fundamental, not cosmetic, but, sort of, prerequisite elements.
As has already been highlighted, J.J. goes on to clearly identify Kylo as a “prince” type:
But when his mask comes off, you see Adam Driver, and he just looks like a sort of prince.
What I haven’t seen mentioned is that he also compares Rey to a princess, albeit one who very much breaks with convention:
What I loved was that this was a kind of ‘going to rescue the princess’ sequence but she didn’t really need rescuing. She was rescuing herself.
So, in TFA you have a masked monster who reveals himself to be a sort of prince and a captive ‘princess’ who is able to free herself. More than anything else, that kind of set-up reminds me of the fairy-tales that tend to be absent from the popular consciousness - things like East O’ the Sun, West O’ the Moon, where you have a young girl who’s kidnapped by a monster only to find he’s actually a handsome prince under a spell. The heroine in that story doesn’t need anyone to save her - she’s the one who actually saves the prince through her bravery and cunning. And if that’s the kind of fairy tale they are hoping to emulate here, I couldn’t be happier.
Here is the Commanding General of US Army Forces Command. He is the man who decided today to charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion. He did this knowing his career will probably be over because of his decision. I imagine that President Obama is tonight plotting to ruin his reputation for upsetting his attempt to whitewash what Bergdahl did so he had an excuse to free the 6 al qaeda prisoners from Gitmo. Please share his picture with all the Patriots you know. Show General Abrams how much you support his courage. He reminds me of General Creighton Abrams former Army Chief of Staff and another American Hero.
so starkiller base is a small, snow covered planet orbiting tightly to a pretty large star
but it's covered in snow
but like the whole planet is covered in snow. and it doesn't have seasons? it doesn't have an equator? does it get hot? when the band around the middle is carved out, does that change the velocity of the planet? the seasons it has? wouldn't the snow melt when starkiller is being charged and fill the carved part with water? there's oxygen on this planet because they fight on the surface, so it has an atmosphere? a magnetic field? how do the trees stay green and alive if there are no seasons? are there animals? rivers? mountains? what about the watershed system on starkiller? when is it spring?
you know... the movie is more about-
if the entire core of the planet is carved out to be filled with energy from the sun, how does it spin? how did the first order carve out the entire core of a planet? with out a metal core, the magnetic field is gone, throwing off the orbit, and exposing the entire base to harmful radiation-
1) M1A1 Abrams. American third-gen MBT named after General Creighton Abrams. Highly mobile, the Abrams is designed for modern armored warfare and tank-to-tank combat. Notable features include the use of a powerful multifuel turbine engine, the adoption of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety. The M1 Abrams entered U.S. service in 1980, replacing the M60. The M1 remains the principal main battle tank of the United States Army and Marine Corps, and the armies of Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Iraq. The M1A1 upgrade began production in 1985 and continued to 1992, adding a pressurized NBC system, a rear bustle rack for improved stowage of supplies and crew belongings, redesigned blow-off panels and new M256 120 mm smoothbore cannon.
2 & 3) XM1 Abrams. American limited production prototype for the M! Abrams MBT. After the MBT-70 program was cancelled, as well as the iterative XM803, funds were reallocated to the XM815, renamed later XM1 Abrams. This new program reused most of the XM803 features but again, in a simpler and cheaper way. The need to eliminates the costliest technologies from the failed MBT-70 project, defined those used in the new tank. In June 1973, Chrysler and GM were awarded the contract to built prototypes of the new tank designated M1, handed over to the US Army for trials in February 1976. The first batch of M1s, before standardization, were still designated XM-1s, as Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) models.
4 & 5) M52A1. American 105mm SPG based off of the M41 Walker Bulldog light tank’s chassis. Development began in 1948 and was known as the T98 Howitzer Motor Carriage and entered service in 1951. Total production amounted to some 541 vehicles and the M52 saw extensive use during Vietnam and remains in service with some armies to this day. This M52A1 was donated by the Army in 1965
6) XM551 Sheridan. American prototype for the M551 Sheridan light tank. In the immediate post-World War II era, the US Army introduced the M41 Walker Bulldog into service to fill the role of a light tank. The lifespan of the M41 was fairly short; at 25 tons it was considered too heavy to be a true light tank, and had a rather short cruising range. With the appearence of the Pt-76 amphibious tank, the prototypes in development were scrapped and the XM551 begun. The XM551 would turn into the questionably useful M551 Sheridan and serve in Vietnam. This Sheridan was acquired by the museum from Army Material Command at Rock Island, Illinois in May 1971/
7) M4A3E8(76)w HVSS. American medium tank of WWII, the M4A3(76) HVSS upgraded the standard M4′s main gun to a more powerful 76mm cannon and Horizontal Volute Spring Suspension. This new suspension allowed for greater mobility as well as heavier armor. The vehicle was mass-produced beginning in late March 1945, with a total of 4542 the М4А3(76)W tanks with both suspension types manufactured.
8) M7B1 Priest. American SPG of WWII. Witnessing the events of the war, U.S. Army observers realized that they would need a self-propelled artillery vehicle with sufficient firepower to support armored operations. Lessons learned with half-tracks also showed that this vehicle would have to be armored and fully tracked. The result was the Priest, based off of the M3 Lee chassis, mounting an open superstructure and a 105mm gun. In addition to WWII, the Priest would fight in Korea with UN forces, and with Israel in the Six-Day War, War of Attrition and Yom Kippur War. The M7B1 variant uses the M4A3 Sherman chassis instead of the M3 Lee.
9 & 10) M41 Walker Bulldog. American postwar light tank that saw limited service in Korea and Vietnam. Designed to succeed the M24 Chaffee. While the Chaffee was a success, its main gun was not effective enough against well armored opponents. Although the primary mission of a light tank was scouting, the U.S. Army wanted one with more powerful armament. The M41 was the solution, thought it did not exactly fulfill the role of a light tank, and rather fit somewhere inbetween a medium and light tank. While the M41 was an agile and well armed vehicle, it was also noisy, fuel-hungry and heavy enough to cause problems with air transport. In 1952 work began on lighter designs (T71, T92), but those projects came to naught and were eventually abandoned.
Masterpost: J.J. Abrams’ audio commentary for the 3D-Collector’s Edition of Star Wars The Force Awakens
I’ve noticed that my original post of J.J. Abrams’ audio commentary is still making the rounds even after two months when I initially posted it. In that original post I concentrated on mainly those scenes that had something to do with Reylo. Later on I actually made two subsequent posts where I transcribed also those comments that I didn’t initially put on my original transcription. Now I decided to gather all of J.J.’s comments under this one masterpost so that they could be used as a reference if need be. This time though, I’m leaving out all of my original comments, interpretations and speculations because this is going to be a humongous post even without them. And just so you know, this post still doesn’t contain Abrams’ entire commentary but basically everything that I though was interesting or relevant to the discussion about the movie is in it. I think I only left out his introduction to the commentary, his final words, some technical stuff and things like that. So, read more under the cut.
From the US Armor School: THIS DAY IN ARMOR/CAVALRY HISTORY; 1991 - Coalition forces began their ground offensive into Iraq after Iraq’s refusal to withdraw troops from Kuwait. Coalition forces offensive reached within 150 miles of Baghdad on 28 February when Kuwait was officially declared liberated and a ceasefire was declared.
Text; My sister won't shut up until I "get it" with you.
Text: Oh Taylor. While I have to admit that I find that adorable and kind of charming, I don’t want you to get or do or be anything with me unless that is something that “you” want.
Text: Cause you know I think you are pretty wonderful, Cute Nerd Girl.
Text: May I ask why your sister is particularly vested in me? We’ve only spoken a little so far. Or is she just wanting to see you happy and moved on and has noted my interest in your general awesomeness.