J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy Talk About The Unprecedented Secrecy of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS
The press junket for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was held in Los Angeles this past weekend, and Disney and Lucasfilm are keeping such a tight lid on the film that they refused to screen it for press beforehand. I've never heard of a junket taking place without press having seen the movie before, and I really hope this isn't going to set a precedent for how blockbuster films are handled because it's difficult to come up with relevant questions for the cast and crew of a movie no one has seen yet. I can easily see Marvel adopting this method for their future films, and it seems like because it's happening with The Force Awakens, it might happen with all future Star Wars movies as well. We'll have to wait and see.
In any case, I was invited to attend the press conference yesterday, and both writer/director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy separately spoke about the film's unprecedented amount of secrecy. I'll have more from the press conference for you in a different article, but I wanted to highlight their quotes about this topic specifically for those of you who are interested:
Abrams: I realized how engaged with the fans and forthcoming Lucasfilm had always been, and my nature — which is to keep things quiet — was something I was certain we were going to have fights about, in my wanting to keep the audience surprised when they went to see the movie. But Disney, to my shock, was arguing to not ruin, not reveal, not show, every story beat. We’ve all seen trailers for films that literally show you the movie in Cliff’s Notes form, and you go see the film, and you’re like, ‘Yeah, that was literally the movie. I saw it in a two minute and ten second piece.’ So I was very grateful that Disney actually took the lead on trying to keep things quieter, and obviously I ask all of you — we’re incredibly grateful for you being here — that when you do see the movie and hopefully talk about it to your fans and readers and stuff, that we maintain some level of surprise, so people can get to see the movie and don’t have it ruined for them just because it’s finally been released, which I cannot wait for, by the way.
Kennedy: I think right from the beginning, we’ve respected the fans. The fans have been the ones who have been focusing around making sure that everybody and anybody who walks into this movie gets to be surprised. We have so little things that surprise us anymore when you walk into see a movie. It’s all told in the trailers, it ends up online way in advance. I think that’s something that overwhelmingly — I’ve even had people say to me, ‘I don’t want to read anything at all.’ So they can get into the theater and actually have a pleasant surprise. So that’s really all that’s driving it. We have respected that in all ways we can.
There you have it. A little extreme? Definitely. But we'll find out if their extreme tactics were worth it when The Force Awakens hits theaters the night of December 17th.