In the blockbuster sci-fi sequel “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (directed by J.J. Abrams), it is 30 years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, and the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn (played by John Boyega) crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” also stars Carrie Fisher, reprising her role as the heroic Leia.
Other cast members include Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, a Resistance X-wing fighter pilot; Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, a commander of the First Order’s Starkiller Base; Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, an officer in the First Order; and Lupita Nyong’o, voicing the CGI character Maz Kanata, the operator of a cantina. J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt co-wrote the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote the “Star Wars” sequels “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Revenge of the Jedi.” Abrams, Lucasfilm Ltd. president Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk are producers of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Here is what Ford, Boyega, Isaac, Christie and Kennedy said when they gathered for a “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” press conference (moderated by actress Mindy Kaling) in Los Angeles.
Harrison, aren’t you rich? Why did you want to do this movie?
Ford: That’s a very good question. It’s because it’s what I do. It’s what I like to do. It’s what’s fun for me. And I had a chance to work with people I really admire to do something that I thought was going to be fun and what turned out to be fun. And to work with J.J., whose work I had long admired and known about. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Kathleen, since you can’t really talk about what’s in the movie, can you talk about what’s not in the movie?
Kennedy: Jar Jar [Binks] is definitely not in the movie. Ewoks are not in the movie, because Harrison insisted on it. It was contractual.
John, you’re poised to become an international heartthrob. Do you have an attorney?
Boyega: I have an attorney. I’m looking to be rich like Harrison. I’m trying to have planes and do all that stuff.
Harrison, can you talk about being one of the bridges from the original “Star Wars” movies to this new generation of “Star Wars” movies?
Ford: It’s gratifying to be asked to be a part of this. There was an interesting story to tell through the character. It’s always nice to anticipate working in something that you know people will have an appetite for. This is not a crap shoot. This is a big casino. It’s been fun to play with these toys again. It’s been a great experience. Thank you.
Kathleen, have you started mapping out the stories for “Star Wars: Episode VIII” (directed by Rian Johnson) and “Star Wars: Episode IX” (directed by Colin Treverrow)?
Kennedy: We haven’t mapped out every single detail yet, but obviously, everybody’s talking to one another and working together. That collaboration is what is going to guarantee that everybody’s got a say in how we move forward with this. And so far, it’s going great. J.J. and Rian [Johnson] have already talked at length because Rian’s about to start shooting “Episode VIII.” [The actors] are getting ready to head over in January . And then, Colin [Trevorrow] will start working with Rian and spending a lot of time on set with us.
What “Star Wars” character you would like play, other than the one you’ve already played?
Christie: That’s tough. A character I don’t really think I’d be particularly suited but I would definitely like to play is, of course, Han Solo. I might have a modicum of swagger, as opposed to the grand canyon that [Harrison Ford has].
Ford: I’m grateful for the kind attention.
Harrison, what’s the biggest difference between the first “Star Wars” movie and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”? How did it feel to be back on a “Star Wars” set?
Ford: It’s hard to say what the difference is. I can tell you how it feels. It feels familiar. It feels good. It’s good to be home, as Han said in the teaser trailer. I’m aware of the value that’s placed on these films by the audience, and I’m gratified that they’ve been passed on, generationally, through families.
And there’s still an audience for those of us who were in the original film. There’s still some value to them in interpreting life somehow. It’s a bit of a mystery but it’s very gratifying to be part of that.
What was the difference between the wrap party for the first “Star Wars” movie and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”?
Ford: It was hard to get a drink at the last wrap party. Wasn’t it, Oscar?
Isaac: It was.
Ford: It was hard to get a drink. I didn’t know where the bar was. It was so big.
Harrison, did going back to a “Star Wars” movie ramp up the “cool” factor for your kids?
Ford: My kids don’t think I’m cool at all, and being in this movie is not going to convince them otherwise. They’re just glad to see that Dad is still working.
Whose trailer was the most fun to visit on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”? Where did you hang out?
Isaac: I went to my trailer. It was mostly going between Carrie’s and my trailer. It was a party trailer.
John, did you go to Carrie’s trailer?
Boyega: No, I didn’t go to Carrie’s trailer.
Isaac: My uncle came to visit. My uncle’s a huge “Star Wars” fan. He’s so obsessed with “Star Wars.” I lost him. I couldn’t find him, and then I heard all this laughter coming out of Carrie’s trailer. So I went in there and he was there, with Gary Fisher, her dog, just hanging out with them. I said, “Tio, what are you doing? Get out of there!” So yeah, that was a fun place to hang out: Carrie’s trailer.
For more info: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” website