Since damn near the very first moment that Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped just after Thanksgiving, there has been an endless back and forth among fans about that new, broadsword-style lightsaber lugged around by Kylo Ren. There have been all kinds of theories about how functional it would be with those small blades that come out at the hilt, and if it would really protect your hands or be a hindrance and liability in actual combat. Now I know nothing about swordplay aside from what I’ve seen in the movies, but luckily for all of us, there’s this dude on YouTube who put these this newfangled weapon through it’s paces to see if it’s practical or not.
The 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:
Now that production has wrapped and we’re less than a year away, it seems strange to just be learning about actors that are going to appear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but if this latest bit of news does in fact turn out to be true, it has the potential to be totally badass. Three actors who play significant roles in Gareth Evans’ bonkers action flicks The Raid and The Raid 2 are apparently going to show up in The Force Awakens.
According to Twitch’s sources, the trio of Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, and Cecep Arif Rahman will lend their crazy martial art talents to J.J. Abrams’ upcoming space opera. There’s no word about who they play, if they’re good or evil, or even if we’ll see them in any capacity other than glorified stunt performers. But none of that matters because whatever they’re doing will be awesome, and this is a huge piece of good news for all of you hoping for more practical action rather than CGI composites.
As far as characters go, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer sticks with the new kids on the block, offering fans our first look at Finn (John Boyega), Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), BB-8, and Kylo Ren. None of the returning fan favorites like Luke, Leia, or Han, are anywhere to be seen, but we already know a lot about them, so no big loss. We do, however, get a look at some familiar spaceships. The Millennium Falcon soars around as she does, and while the X-Wings are readily identifiable as such, they definitely got a makeover, though they’re not the only ones. A few TIE Fighters can be seen zipping around the Falcon, but some concept art has surfaced showing off a new redesign that throws a wrinkle into the proceedings and raises some questions.
Check out the leaked image over at Indie Revolver, and what you see is definitely not your standard TIE Fighter. This looks more like something an officer or dignitary travels in rather than one of the small, agile crafts that are out there in the middle of the shit, dogfighting with X-Wings and the like. It just looks bigger and less agile, more like a transport vehicle than a fighter. That said, it still doesn’t look like anything you want to mess with if you have the choice.
Since the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer arrived just after Thanksgiving, there has been almost nonstop back and forth chatter about broadsword-looking lightsaber wielded by the hooded character we now know as Kylo Ren. One of the concerns is that those new add-ons, while they may look totally badass, might not be the most practical enhancement. If these are indeed new additions, it also makes you wonder what other things folks have added to lightsabers over the years, and this new animated video imagines this idea played out to the ridiculous extreme.
There was one rumor floating around about this weapon a while back, and the more I think about it, the more it starts to make sense. We heard that this particular weapon isn’t new but is in fact very old, one of those Sith relics that one character, we don’t know who exactly, may collect. If that turns out to be the case, this is likely a design that was abandoned, probably for many of the reasons people have thrown out there. It could also explain why the blade is all wonky and ragged, perhaps this is simply very old and doesn’t work quite as well as it once did.
Over the last month, since the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped, fans looking to gain every scrap of practical knowledge have poured over each frame, dissecting every last shot. Once we learned the names of some of the new characters, we did it all over again hoping to peer even deeper into the upcoming film. But it’s also inspired imitations, homages, and all kinds of fan art. We’ve seen paintings, drawings, and posters, but we’ve also had not one but two Lego versions of the trailer, a Saturday Night Live spoof, and another filtered through the quirky, twee sensibilities of Wes Anderson. Now some enterprising fans have made their very own shot-for-shot recreation with intricate cardboard sets, full costumes, and all kinds of improvised props.
When I say shot-for-shot, that’s precisely what this is. Every last image, from John Boyega’s Finn popping up into that first frame to the Millennium Falcon soaring through the air, battling TIE Fighters, is present and accounted for. The best, however, is ingenuity these fans use to recreate everything. For instance, Daisy Ridley’s Rey still rides off into the distance, but instead of a new variety of speeder, it’s a bike rigged with some extra crap. And where you expect to hear John Williams’ score, these folks replace those notes with noises from their very own mouths. All in all, it’s a pretty good time, not to mention inventive as hell. I’m certainly not dedicated enough to pull off, or even attempt, something like this.