The topics for this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories practically generated themselves. After Star Wars Celebration earlier in the year, in August the city of Anaheim hosted another huge fan gathering: the D23 Expo featuring all things Disney. In addition to major news about a Star Wars land coming to Disney Parks, The Force Awakens and Rogue One also put Star Wars movies in the spotlight at the convention, along with major coverage in Entertainment Weekly. Joining us for the episode is Ryan Hurley of Turtle Power Podcast, whose core fandoms – Star Wars, Disney, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – fit in perfectly with our topics.
We begin with considering the influence of Disney on Star Wars now that the multinational, publicly traded company owns Lucasfilm. In addition to its own creations, Disney has managed the successes of fellow subsidiaries Pixar and Marvel. Observing how Disney protects the images of its characters in its theme parks, for example, may indicate how Star Wars characters will be handled in the future. Another important impact of Disney’s influence on the future of Star Wars was the willingness of Disney’s leadership to transition away from the treatment for Episode VII created from the notes of George Lucas to a script written by Lawrence Kasdan and J.J. Abrams instead.
For our speculation meta segment we discuss the challenges of speculating about a movie when multiple versions of a story or screenplay exist during the course of the development process. Ryan shares his experience with following the production of Michael Bay’s 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, which underwent at least four substantial story revisions, including a major re-edit of the film after principal photography had concluded. For The Force Awakens, it seems likely that some of the concept art and rumors about the film have emerged from the period of the Lucas treatment and very early versions of the screenplay – and it is entirely possible that some of this information, while accurate at one point in time, may no longer reflect the content of the film.
In the worldbuilding segment we evaluate some of the information revealed about the core characters in The Force Awakens that provides new insight into the state of the Star Wars galaxy at the time of their adventures. In Entertainment Weekly, J.J. Abrams revealed that Kylo Ren’s name comes in part from his membership in the Knights of Ren, and in Empire magazine he shared a few hints about the motivations of behind the rise of the villainous First Order. In an interview conducted at D23, John Boyega disclosed that Finn and Rey have parallel backstories, which also creates interesting dynamics for the characters and their world.
The storytelling segment ventures into the latest officially released information about The Force Awakens, including the D23 poster by renowned artist Drew Struzan, cast interviews from the convention, and additional information from Entertainment Weekly. We assess what these latest hints reveal about the story design to be unveiled in full detail just a few short months from now when the movie opens on December 18th.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams on fans, spoilers, puzzles, and the value of fear (EW)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren’s shroud is pulled back at last, but… (EW)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explains what’s in a name (EW)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: J.J. Abrams explores ‘Who IS Luke Skywalker …?’ (EW)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens: 12 exclusive EW looks at the new galaxy (EW)
- Simon Kinberg describes the brain trust that is plotting the next generation of Star Wars films (EW)
- JJ Abrams Spills Details On Kylo Ren (Empire Magazine)
- J.J. Abrams explains why anyone would still want to join the new Empire in ‘Star Wars’ (L.A. Times) (D23)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens at D23 – Cineplex Interview (YouTube video) (D23)
- Daisy Ridley Roundups: D23 Expo and August 25 editions
- previous episodes of Hyperspace Theories discussing the influence of George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan, and J.J. Abrams, and the plot device of lack of resources
Hyperspace Theories is on Twitter @HyperspacePod!
Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.
Ryan is @figdonpat on Twitter.