Star Wars: The Hype Awakens | *Updated November 14*
Long story short: I’ll be posting on PorchDrinking.com every single day between now and the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with new bits of information and my own personal adventures in getting hyped for the new movie.
Sunday, November 8
Tried watching A New Hope last night. Two takeaways:
- I started way too late in the night and I fell asleep right after Alderaan blew up.
- I really thought I knew the entire text of the opening crawl. I didn’t make it past “It is a period of civil war.”
Also, opening crawls are kind of limited to Star Wars movies, as best I can tell. I vaguely remember once reading something about how the Director’s Guild of America challenged George Lucas on the fact that there’s a whole bunch of text and no director/casting/editing credits at the top of the movies like most films.
Yup, quick Google search later, Lucas was fined a quarter million for putting this opening crawl in and not his own name. But the Lucasfilm title card sorta speaks for itself, huh?
Still… in 1996, I was a little bit nervous about Star Wars because I had to read 3 paragraphs of exposition and my 1st-grade-reading-level brain just wanted to see spaceships.
I’m going to try to watch this movie again. Stay tuned.
Monday, November 9
Hey, shout out to the other PorchDrinkers who have been riding the Star Wars Hype Train Express for the last several years. Here are some other posts from the PD archives written by people other than me that talk about how much Star Wars means to them.
- Last November, we had a roundtable discussion about the best movie franchises. The Star Wars trilogies were pretty widely beloved among our staff
- Earlier this year, we had another roundtable just about Star Wars in honor of May 4th. Get it? May the Fourth be with you. Get it!?!? …
- Laura penned a post last March about just what makes Star Wars so awesome. I highly recommend it; her perspective is succinct and astute.
- When Disney bought Lucasfilm, PorchDrinking had an update from Nik Heimach about what a big freaking deal it was. This is where the hype all started.
I’m not alone here. I have a lot of other Star Wars nerds on this porch.
MORE NEW FOOTAGE
We were promised new TV spots, and we have TV spots.
Pretty incredible how a few seconds of footage can still get me this excited.
It really seems that Lupita Nyong’o is going to be a big part of this movie – our last three trailers have had her narration. She’s so prominent, I even committed the spelling of her name to memory.
We see Rey kicking ass with her staff (which apparently just works as a big stick with which to hit people – no lasers or anything), shooting at Kylo with a blaster, and sort of being the catalyst to get Finn moving. But no lightsaber for her yet. I still think she’ll be the Luke of this trilogy; we just gotta wait until Episode VIII to see her wield a blade.
Geeze, Han looks sad in this footage. Anyone else worried about Captain Solo’s mortality in this movie?
And is Rey piloting the freaking MILENNIUM FALCON?!!
She’s CLEARLY the freakin’ hero of this movie, right? Finn holding the blue lightsaber is a red herring. Further, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Rey is someone’s daughter. Luke? Han & Leia? This girl is cool as hell.
Interesting thing I forgot to post about the international trailer last week but has relevance this week: early on, Rey says, “I know all about waiting… for my family.”
Sorry for posting last week’s new footage. You should be re-watching today’s new footage. Again and again.
Tuesday, November 10
This is a message from my brother, Rob.
Battlefront is the online video game where teams of players fight for domination (and just shoot the heck out of each other) in the worlds of Star Wars. You play as rebels or stormtroopers (or the droid army versus the clone army) to win control of outposts in places like Endor, Hoth, and Tatooine. My brother Rob and I spent hours and days of our youths playing Battlefront and Battlefront 2 in our basement. Back then, the game looked like this:
Throwback to PS2, indeed.
The new Battlefront game looks like THIS, though.
Technology has been kind to Star Wars gameplay.
My brother went on to invite me to a Battlefront game session in our parents’ basement when I’m home for the holidays next month. I will gladly take him up on that, and I will kick his ass. But if his Battlefront message wasn’t enough to hype me, there’s this.
Did you see that at 58 seconds in? Anna Kendrick is in the ad for the new Battlefront. People who know me know that I’m fond of Anna Kendrick. She’s…. cute.
Props to Tristan, too, for posting on Facebook and accurately predicting that Anna Kendrick’s presence in Battlefront would be my daily dose of hype.
You may have seen the viral images of a guy who “sculpted” Star Wars characters in the style of ancient Greek statues. For example:
Pretty cool images. This is the internet, though, so you can’t really take anything at face value. In fact, the artist, Travis Durden, super-imposed Star Wars characters’ heads onto his own photographs of already-existent sculptures. The marble-like texture you see in this photos is a testament to really good visual effects and computer-generated graphics.
However, if you want to see a REAL Star Wars sculpture in a prominent location…
Yes, that is a Darth Vader helmet on the National Cathedral in Washington. More about this sculpture from the National Cathedral’s website:
In the 1980s, while the west towers were under construction, Washington National Cathedral held a decorative sculpture competition for children. Word of the competition was spread nationwide through National Geographic WorldMagazine. The third-place winner was Christopher Rader, with his drawing of that fearful villain, Darth Vader. The fierce head was sculpted by Jay Hall Carpenter, carved by Patrick J. Plunkett, and placed high upon the northwest tower of the Cathedral.
So the next time you’re in DC, you can skip the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. Instead, drive about 15 minutes northwest of the National Mall, and behold the celebration of Star Wars at a cathedral built when Theodore Roosevelt was President.
I think Teddy would’ve liked Star Wars.
The first of many tidbits I could pull from JJ Abrams’s new interview in WIRED magazine…
When Star Wars first came out, it was a film that both allowed the audience to understand a new story but also to infer all sorts of exciting things that might be.
This is exactly why I have never been very fond of all the extended universe canon. I’ve always preferred using my imagination to fill in the gaps of this galaxy far, far away. So I didn’t feel compelled to read an ‘official’ story of how Han Solo got the Millennium Falcon from Lando Calrissian; the story I made up in my head was always good enough.
So imagine what JJ Abrams must have felt when he was told he’d be crafting the next trilogy of Star Wars. All those gaps and imagined backstories are now his to tell with hundreds of millions of dollars at his disposal. He grew up playing with Han, Luke, and Leia action figures, making them move around and act out his own Star Wars stories… and now he gets to do it with the real actors.
For example, when we were on-set and we were shooting a scene, it was always amazing to me to see Harrison Ford dressed as Han Solo. Or, wow, there’s a guy—a stormtrooper!—and he looks exactly like a stormtrooper.
That’s every kid’s dream. And what hypes me for this movie is that JJ isn’t just satisfied playing with real-life action figures of people we loved 30, 40 years ago. He wants to tell a story:
What makes this story have a beating heart? What makes it romantic or fun or surprising or heartbreaking or hysterically funny? We simply approached this narrative from the point of view that this is a story about a young man and a young woman, not with the idea that we can do anything we want.
That is way more restraint than I would have. And I’m thinking that’s a good thing.
Okay, I revoke my prior moratorium. You can buy this flask for me for Christmas.
Wednesday, November 11
Planning a trip to Disneyland.
In case this comes as any surprise, I am the type of person who un-ironically and with no cynicism loves Disneyland. I had never been until last January. I’ve been four times since then. And each visit is just as magical as the last.
But the news of Star Wars Land gave me reason to celebrate – and maybe even to renew my annual pass for a couple years. And in the meantime, Disney is offering a sort of soft-launch of their Star Wars attractions as cross-promotion for the new movie this month.
There’s a ride at Disneyland called “Star Tours” that takes riders through a 3D ride in space, including through the worlds of Star Wars. Starting this month, the world of Jakku (new to The Force Awakens) will be one of those worlds, reportedly. I will be standing in line for a very long time to experience that.
There’s something called Star Wars Launch Bay, which looks like a really good way to spend a lot of money. I will be spending a lot of money.
There’s something else called Hyperspace Mountain — which is just Space Mountain with more Star Wars. I will be riding that as well.
Yes, I’m a grown man who is planning a Disneyland trip more than a week ahead of time because he’s excited about a movie that doesn’t come out for another month and a half…
I love Disneyland.
Entertainment Weekly has 4 new covers, and they’re cast members from The Force Awakens. And how cool does Han Solo look here? But a word of warning – if you’re the type who REALLY doesn’t want to know ANYTHING about the plot of the movie, do NOT read the text on this cover. Potential spoilers below!
The only thing that gives me pause about this movie is the inclusion of what EW & JJ are calling “a bigger, badder Death Star.”
Isn’t that sort of going back to the well on something we’ve already done before? Do we really need to see this same shot from a third angle?
I’d like to think that the bad guys in the Star Wars movies could be a little bit more creative.
Oh, you want MORE mildly-spoiler-y image-y goodness?
EW has provided a full gallery of behind-the-scenes photos from The Force Awakens.
But beware the dark side. And spoilers. I know this sounds like clickbait, but #7 really did shock me. I was surprised that they would be willing to throw in a reveal like that from such a climactic scene.
Thursday, November 12
I saw an announcement that The Force Awakens will carry with it the trailer for the new X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse.
This got me thinking. Let’s take a look at the career of Oscar Isaac for a second. Maybe you’re familiar with his work, or maybe not. But even going back the last few years, he’s been popping up more and more. And it seems that his trajectory has led him into a new stratum.
Next month, people going to see the new Star Wars movie will see Oscar as Poe Dameron, the new hotshot Resistance pilot…
….and be treated to a trailer where Oscar is playing the main bad guy in an X-Men movie….
…which comes out just a year after Ex Machina, which stars Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, who are both IN STAR WARS…
…which was just a year and a half after the release of ANOTHER Oscar Isaac movie with a Star Wars co-star, Adam Driver; they were both in Inside Llewyn Davis.
All of this truly amounts to nothing more than coincidence, of course. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to predict that Oscar Isaac is about to become one of the biggest names in Hollywood. About time; the guy has been working for awhile. He graduated from Julliard in 2005 and has been taking on progressively larger roles as he’s built his career. A lot of actors just have to go through roles like “Detective Fartman” in Lenny the Wonder Dog before they can get to a J.J. Abrams Star Wars movie.
Yes, Oscar Isaac really played a character named Detective Fartman. That’s a real thing.
And just for fun, I watched this video today, imagining that it was Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren singing about outer space instead of some dudes in the 60s.
Small identity crisis: Three weeks into writing a blog that I’ve titled “Star Wars: The Hype Awakens,” I just now had the thought that maybe a better title would be “Star Wars: A New Hype.” Damn, that’d be a good title. But The Hype Awakens works too… right, Han?
Friday, November 13
Remember the Myers Briggs personality test? Do they still do those? I took the Myers Briggs test when I was in 8th grade, so maybe the results have changed, but I’ve spent the last 12 years thinking my identity was defined by 4 letters in a big booklet.
If you don’t know Myers Briggs, here’s how it works: you take a personality quiz, and based on your answers (and some sort of calculations they do), it assigns you one of two letters in four different categories:
- Introvert or Extrovert (I or E)
- Sensing or Intuition (S or N)
- Thinking or Feeling (T or F)
- Judgment or Perception (J or P)
So you come out with 4 letters that define you – INFJ, or ENTP, or ISFP, or any of the other 13 possible combinations of these types; you get the idea. What does this have to do with Star Wars, you ask? Well, my sister (hi, Katie!) shared with me an image that aims to assign Myers Briggs personality types to several Star Wars characters. Shout out to GeekInHeels for the methodology and design of this thought experiment. I want to share this and then play around with it a little bit. Here are the Myers Briggs scores of 16 prominent Star Wars characters:
Now, if you know your Myers Briggs type, you can see check to see with which character you supposedly share a personality type. According to my own Myers Briggs assessment circa 2003, I am INFJ (introverted, intuition, feeling, judgment), which means I’m Obi-Wan Kenobi. Not bad!
Maybe you disagree with the person with whom you’ve been aligned here. Or maybe you have beef with the categorization of the Star Wars characters themselves (How can a droid be an extrovert? How come all the Jedi are “intuition” when they’re always talking about how they “SENSE a disturbance in the Force?” Why is Jimmy Smits even involved in this?) … but this is fan-created, after all. Don’t take it too seriously.
Now it’s time for me to take it too seriously. I looked up the SUPPOSED Myers Briggs personality types of 16 celebrities (outside the Star Wars universe) and paired them with the characters they supposedly match. It’s time to see who in the real world fits in to the galaxy far far away based on personality alone. And yes, I did research these people’s personality types. These are things I do for Star Wars.
- ISTJ = Owen Lars… and George Washington
- ISFJ = C-3PO… and Kanye West
- INFJ = Obi-Wan Kenobi… and Daniel Day-Lewis
- INTJ = Emperor Palpatine… and Jay-Z
- ISTP = Chewbacca… and Clint Eastwood
- ISFP = Bail Organa… and Rihanna
- INFP = Luke Skywalker… and Johnny Depp
- INTP = Yoda… and Tina Fey
- ESTP = Han Solo… and Kevin Spacey
- ESFP = Wicket the Ewok… and Miley Cyrus
- ENFP = Qui-Gon Jinn… and Sandra Bullock
- ENTP = R2-D2… and Robert Downey, Jr.
- ESTJ = Darth Vader…. and Hillary Clinton
- ESFJ = Jar Jar Binks… and Sarah Palin
- ENFJ = Padme Amidala… and Bono
- ENTJ = Princess Leia… and Charlize Theron
Let me summarize the Star Wars movies for you using this cast as our characters.
Johnny Depp is a farm boy who yearns for more than his humble desert living. He learns from Daniel Day-Lewis that he’s the son of a great warrior, and possesses a power known as the Force. With this power, Johnny Depp finds himself in the middle of a struggle against the ruthless Hillary Clinton who serves an evil emperor, Jay-Z. Along the way, our hero makes friends with a wise-cracking pirate (Kevin Spacey) and a princess who turns out to be his sister (Charlize Theron), and trains with the quirky but wise Tina Fey.
Yep. I’d see that movie.
I’m going out of town this weekend. Don’t worry, thanks to the internet age, I will continue to log my hype here on PorchDrinking.com.
However, going out of town means I am going to miss this exhibition:
There is a gallery in Los Angeles holding an exhibit called “Art Awakens” — a showcase of many artists and their Star Wars-inspired work. This is even affiliated with Bad Robot. Winners of a contest will be judged by Disney and Industrial Light & Magic (the effects team behind Star Wars). Pieces will be available at auction (I won’t be able to afford them).
And I will be out of town. But if I get back Sunday in time, I will be making an effort to check out “Art Awakens” — I love good The Force Awakens wordplay, obviously.
MORE NEW FOOTAGE
I have a special font for new footage; that’s how excited it makes me. Don’t watch if you’re one of the non-spoiler people.
Two things that made my jaw drop:
- Finn fighting a stormtrooper who has some sort of force-field staff/blade
- Han f#&%ing Solo shooting a f#&%ing blaster for the the first time in 32 years. That’s pretty awesome.
There could be no plot at all in The Force Awakens, and I will STILL pay to see this footage at a movie theater. Especially when I see the other 120 minutes of it.
Saturday, November 14
I’ve promised I would only show fan-made trailer mashups if I considered them genuinely well-done. I’m making an exception to show why I have that rule.
This was on my Facebook “trending” list. As a fan of “Always Sunny” and Star Wars, I figured some industrious fan must have found clips from “Always Sunny” to cleverly insert into existing The Force Awakens footage to make clever and yet apropos edits that merge the two series. My confidence in this clip was bolstered by headlines and comments calling it “epic” and “perfect” and “hilarious.”
In fact, after the first few seconds, it’s clear that this is just a video of Star Wars footage with a the Dayman song from “Always Sunny” underneath it. It’s not that funny. Because it’s lazy. There’s no work or narrative to tie the two bits of pop culture together. The lines from the show don’t line up with what we’re seeing on screen (except maybe an instance of Kylo on screen at “fighter of the Nightman”).
The proliferation of buzz words across the internet is alarming. Nothing is just a “kinda funny” video; a headline will say “this is EVERYTHING.” Gone are the days of “thought-provoking,” because anything mildly insightful is now deemed “perfect.” We can’t call people “good-looking,” because it’s more attention-grabbing to say “flawless.” We don’t even say things are “viral” anymore; the only moniker of success is that content “broke the internet.”
In the late 90s and early 2000s, we all got chain emails that promised we would get killed in our sleep if we didn’t forward, and we’d get a kiss from our crush at midnight if we did. The sheer implausibility at those efforts to make something trendy now manifests in headlines that promise high-quality and deliver “meh.”
Sorry to YouTube user Brown Moses; it’s not a BAD video. But I don’t think it’s EPIC, either. And when blogs pick up his video and build it up as something spectacular, I honestly feel bad for Brown Moses that people are coming to his channel with such big expectations.
I’m as excited for The Force Awakens as anyone else; I’m probably more excited than most. But we don’t need to manufacture excitement where it doesn’t belong. If you want something that’s truly amazing and epic and fantastically made, I recommend a couple more viewings of this: