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Star Wars 7: J.J. Abrams Talks New Lightsabers, Practical Effects, And More

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Star WarsWe all expected the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer to incite a great deal of conversation when it dropped just after Thanksgiving, but a lot of people were surprised by just how much people focused that new lightsaber. The uproar certainly surprised director J.J. Abrams, and the notoriously tightlipped filmmaker recently opened up on that topic, as well as others, like practical effects, future Episode movies, and more.

Collider caught up with Abrams on the red carpet for Visual Effects Society Awards, where he received their Visionary Award. Though he is for being secretive about his films, the Star Trek director did talk a little bit about the lightsaber controversy, and shared a few more pieces about the film.

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J.J. Abrams Admits Making A Star Wars Movie Was Terrifying

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jj abramsThe idea of making a new Star Wars movie must be daunting, especially the next chapter, The Force Awakens. This is the first film without franchise creator George Lucas involved and in charge, and it follows the prequels, which, rightly or wrongly (I know there are fans out there), inspire a great deal of hate, so there’s a lot to make up for. And this stress is only amplified when you’ve been a lifelong fan and you don’t want to fuck it up yourself and all the other Star Wars obsessives out there in the world. That’s the situation J.J. Abrams stepped into, and regardless of how you feel about him as a filmmaker (I’m well aware that there are those of you who fall on both sides), it took some stones to accept that job. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t nerve wracking as hell.

Abrams showed up on the red carpet at the National Board of Review, and took a moment to speak to MTV. Notoriously tightlipped as he is about his films, he didn’t actually say anything about The Force Awakens, not that anyone expected him to, but he did talk about the intense pressure. He said:

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Star Wars 7: Chewbacca, R2-D2, And More Have This Special Message For Fans

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We’re now officially less than one year away from finally seeing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Hell, by December 19, 2015, some of us will already have seen it three four times, maybe more. Earlier this year, J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm, and Disney capitalized on this massive fan interest and channeled it for good. Their “Force for Change” campaign raised millions of dollars to help at risk children around the world, and Abrams, the crew, and a couple of notable franchise stars, want to say thank you.

The earlier “Force for Change” videos offered fans our earliest official looks at the new film, with a special emphasis on the practical effects side of production. We got our first peek at that Jim Henson-esque character, and saw Abrams hanging out in front of a new X-Wing Fighter. While this video doesn’t have any cool reveals like those, both Chewbacca and R2-D2 stop by, or in R2’s case roll by, in order to thank everyone for helping out.

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Star Wars 7: Read The Note J.J. Abrams Sent The Cast And Crew On Their Last Day

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Star Wars: Episode VIISo apparently Star Wars: Episode VII has finished shooting, or at least wrapped up principal photography—odds are that, over the next year plus, there will be the need for some reshoots pick ups or things of that nature. But for now, that side of the film is done. There’s such a veil of secrecy covering the production, if you were involved, and someone said, “Oh yeah? Prove it,” you might not be able to. Until now. J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Bryan Burke, and the rest of the higher ups, sent this sweet note out to all of the members of the “extraordinary cast and crew.”

While this is just a nice little gesture (isn’t it always pleasant to get a touch of praise from your boss? Even if you hate your job it feels good to be recognized), like I said, part of the motivation for this is so that those involved have something to show off. A piece of the letter reads: “How lovely it would be if you had, in addition to your name on the screen, some actual, real, tangible proof that you were part of it! Here, then, is that proof.”

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The Wrath Of Khan’s Director Shares His Thoughts On The Star Trek Reboot

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MeyerIt takes a certain amount of chutzpah to take on the task of rebooting the venerable Star Trek franchise in the first place. It takes an extra-special brand of crazy to tackle arguably the greatest villain of the franchise, who starred in arguably the greatest film of the franchise. But that’s precisely what director J.J. Abrams and screenwriters Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and Damon Lindelof did with last year’s controversial Star Trek Into Darkness. Trek fans have certainly let the world know how they felt about nü-Khan, but does the guy who actually directed The Wrath of Khan think?

Director Nicholas Meyer (seen above, with actor Ricardo Montalbán) was recently doing the rounds to promote the History Channel’s Houdini miniseries, which he directed. At one of those press conferences, a reporter asked the very question we posed above. At first Meyer deflected by recalling a story about how he gave J.J. Abrams a copy of The Annotated Sherlock Holmes for his Bar Mitzvah, but one of CraveOnline’s journos pressed the question by asking, “So, you liked his movies, or…?” Meyer’s response was both diplomatic and insightful:

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Stephen King, J.J. Abrams, And Hulu Get Together For Time Travel Series 11/22/63

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11/22/63It doesn’t stretch your credulity much when you hear that J.J. Abrams is connected to a story that involves time travel. He was involved in that Alcatraz show, his Star Trek movies touch on the idea, and Lost is, well Lost is Lost. But when you hear the names Stephen King and Hulu, time travel may not be the first thing that immediately comes to mind. However, all three of these entities are coming together for an event series based on King’s novel 11/22/63, which involves jumping back through the years.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the online streaming service has given the project a straight-to-series order. That’s not much of a surprise. An adaptation of King’s Under the Dome has had some success as a series on CBS, and Abrams continues to be all over the board, directing Star Wars: Episode VII and producing anything that comes into his line of sight. He has, however, had a run of bad luck on the small screen, with two notable shows, Almost Human and Believe, getting the axe after a single season last year (and Revolution limped through two seasons). But when has that ever stopped him before?

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