Star Wars: The Force Awakens revealed a controversial new lightsaber in its first teaser trailer… but did this new design go too far?
That’s the question on everybody’s lips. And it looks as though director J.J. Abrams has already had those same conversations with the Star Wars designers. But will this new design turn out well in the end?
And what does J.J. think of our reactions?
During an interview with Collider, J.J. Abrams addressed the new lightsaber design… and it seems that our discussions of the new hilt are conversations he’s already had with designers.
“A number of conversations [led to the design],” he said. “It was a sketch that became a whole thing and, you know, this was not done without a lot of conversation and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse.”
Of course, it’s comforting to know that Abrams has already thought of everything… and has had these very same discussions amongst the Lucasfilm inner circle.
“I will say that what’s been funny is, since the lightsaber’s come out, I cannot tell you how many contradictory emails I have received from people who have both defended it with unbelievably detailed graphics… I’ve gotten things that are nuts, and I’ve gotten people who’ve shown how it’ll kill you and how it doesn’t make any sense. It’s been the funniest thing to see the arguments that have developed over this thing.”
Whether or not the new lightsaber works well on the big screen remains to be seen… and the real proof will come when we finally see it in action. Of course, the new lightsaber is just the tip of the iceberg. But with IMAX heading to the galaxy far, far away it seems it wasn’t used as extensively as we thought.
“It’s really one sequence so it’s not a ton [of IMAX footage],” he explained. “But it’s a good sequence.”
We’ve already seen some scepticism about using IMAX in a film which will supposedly attempt to capture the look and feel of the original films. But J.J. Abrams insists that they’ve found the right balance between practical effects and ‘going digital’.
And perhaps he’s the right man for the job.
“I feel like the beauty of this age of filmmaking is that there are more tools at your disposal,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that any of these new tools are automatically the right tools. And there are a lot of situations where we went very much old school and in fact used CG more to remove things than to add things.”
“There are obviously an enormous amount of CG effects in the film, and I can’t wait for you to see the combination. But it was very important that we build as many sets as we could and that the film have a tangible, sort of authentic quality that you believed that these things were actually happening in a real space with real sunlight, if it was an exterior scene, or if we could build a big portion of a scene and not have anything be blue screen, do it where we could. It was a very important piece of work.”
Of course, we’ll find out whether or not he’s got the right balance when the film is finally released. But judging from the recent trailer, I can’t help thinking it’s practically perfect.
After the recent Star Trek films and his own Super 8, I get the feeling that if anyone can recapture the old-school magic, it’s J.J. Abrams. But for now, we have to wait and see.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens heads to cinemas on 18 December 2015.
What do you think of the Star Wars VII lightsaber? Will J.J. Abrams get the CGI balance just right? Let us know what you think in the comments below…