AFI Movie Club: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – American Film Institute

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AFI Movie Club: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Expanding on a cinematic legacy from the mind of AFI Life Achievement Award recipient George Lucas, STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS features the talents of Life Achievement Award honorees Harrison Ford and John Williams, as well as AFI Honorary Degree recipient Lawrence Kasdan and AFI Board of Trustees Chair Kathleen Kennedy.

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STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS – Reelgood

Watch STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS director J.J. Abrams pay tribute to legendary composer and AFI Life Achievement recipient John Williams in this AFI exclusive video:

Movie Trivia About STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

DID YOU KNOW?

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS was not co-writer Lawrence Kasdan’s first foray into the iconic “galaxy far, far away.” Kasdan had previously scripted both STAR WARS: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (credited alongside author, screenwriter and genre pioneer Leigh Brackett) and STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI. He would later return for SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY, which he wrote with his son, Jonathan Kasdan.

DID YOU KNOW?

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan also wrote RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, from a story by STAR WARS creator George Lucas – and has additionally written and directed countless other staples of American cinema, including THE BIG CHILL, THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST and SILVERADO. He received an Honorary Degree from the American Film Institute in 2015.

DID YOU KNOW?

Harrison Ford broke his leg during the production of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS when one of the Millennium Falcon’s hydraulic doors crashed down on him. Less publicized at the time was the fact that director J.J. Abrams also suffered a significant injury from the same incident, breaking his back while attempting to rescue the iconic star.

DID YOU KNOW?

To prepare for the physically demanding role of Rey, Daisy Ridley trained five hours a day, five times a week, and maintained a very strict diet including “fish, legumes, and spirulina shakes.”

DID YOU KNOW? 

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS marks the feature film debut of Billie Lourd – the daughter of STAR WARS actress Carrie Fisher. Lourd has since appeared on TV’S SCREAM QUEENS and in the breakout role of Gigi in Olivia Wilde’s BOOKSMART.

DID YOU KNOW? 

J.J. Abrams showed an early cut of the film to fellow director Ava DuVernay, who suggested that during the Kylo/Rey fight, Daisy have one really cool moment. Abrams reshot some of the closeups from the lightsaber fight sequence as a result to allow Rey to have a quiet moment thinking of the Force as she holds off Kylo Ren’s lightsaber.

DID YOU KNOW?  

Maz Kanata’s role was quite small early on in the design process, and originally was intended to be a puppet. As the part grew, they decided on a 100% CGI approach to allow for more freedom of movement and flexibility. Academy Award® winner Lupita N’yongo not only voiced Maz Kanata, but also performed the part through motion capture.

DID YOU KNOW?

Before Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron gave John Boyega’s defecting stormtrooper FN-2187 the nickname “Finn,” the four-digit number had appeared previously in the saga – as Princess Leia’s cell number on the first Death Star, in 1977’s STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE.

DID YOU KNOW?

Starkiller Base actually took its name from preliminary drafts of George Lucas’ script, which was originally titled THE STAR WARS: FROM THE ADVENTURES OF LUKE STARKILLER, but ultimately released as STAR WARS, and later referred to as STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE. “Starkiller” would later resurface as the name of the protagonist in the 2008 LucasArts video game, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.

DID YOU KNOW?

Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz are credited as “vocal consultants” for BB-8’s distinctive chirps and droid sounds. Schwartz came on board first, providing “English dubbing” of BB-8’s thoughts and dialogue so that the animators and sound design team had a baseline. Later, Hader joined the production and provided the actual sounds emitted from BB-8 with J.J. Abrams modulating Hader’s voice with a synthesizer.

DID YOU KNOW?

Anthony Daniels – who has starred as C-3PO since the first STAR WARS film in 1977 – is the only actor to have appeared in every single theatrical release of the famed franchise.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-How does STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS subvert what audiences know about the events of “a galaxy far, far away?” How do those twists and subversions impact the narrative? How do they affect how you perceive the previous stories?

-What do you think is the best order to watch the STAR WARS films (and television shows)?

-What does “the Force” mean to you?

-What does the title mean? In what sense does the Force awaken – and in whom?

-How is Rey’s journey similar to Luke’s and/or Anakin’s? How is it different?

-With the Empire’s evil ostensibly reborn in the First Order – even after the Rebels’ great triumph in STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI – what does this say about the persistence of evil?

-Since the first-released film in 1977, STAR WARS has been filled with homages and inspirations from other classic films. What other films or genres do you see reflected in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS? How does STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS interact differently – or similarly – with those references than previous films, and how do those differences reflect the times in which the respective films were released?

-What do you think it is about STAR WARS that makes it resonate to this day – with new movies and series – more than four decades after its release?

-How would you rate STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS?

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

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