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Why Didn’t All the Scenes from the Trailer End Up in The Force Awakens? J.J. Abrams Responds

leia-and-maz

If you’ve seen The Force Awakens, you might recall a few scenes from the trailer that didn’t seem like they showed up anywhere in the final draft of the film. If you haven’t seen The Force Awakens, then you might not want to continue reading this article.

I don’t know about you, but I had watched the trailer for The Force Awakens a whole lot of times before I got to see it (especially the music-only cut of the trailer, which I still recommend). As a result, I couldn’t help but notice that a couple of scenes didn’t seem to make the cut. Some changes made sense — the lightsaber battle between Finn and Kylo Ren has a lot more long shots in the trailer, for example, such as the notable one in which Kylo turns on his lightsaber. I assumed those changes happened for the sake of high-stakes action pacing, although I guess it does render this gif obsolete …

Boyega lightsaber

But the scene pictured up top, in which Maz Kanata appears to be handing Luke’s old lightsaber to General Organa … was that in the trailer so as to misdirect the audience? Or was it from a real scene that got cut?

Apparently it was the latter, as J.J. Abrams explained to EW,

Sometimes you discover that things you would have cut off a limb to shoot on the day are absolutely inconsequential, and in fact less impactful than if you were to remove it. As much as you try to kick the tires and write and shoot only what is necessary — no one wants to waste anyone’s time — when you’re in the editing room you realize, for instance, that introducing the character there actually diminishes their power. Or, giving that information actually distracts you from what you should be concentrating on. Or, having that moment happen concurrent with that moment actually gets in the way of both — things like that.

That was a scene actually filmed, but we took out. At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to be sitting around. Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out.

Fair enough. Personally, I’m glad Maz gave the lightsaber to Finn instead (I have my own fan theories about that) — but it is too bad that Maz and Leia never got to meet in this film.

(via Joblo)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).