Celebrate Star Wars Day with new details about ‘The Force Awakens’

Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) at the cast read-through of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver and Writer Lawrence Kasdan.

Happy Star Wars Day! It’s May the Fourth, which means it’s the best time — at least until “The Force Awakens” opens on Dec. 18 — to celebrate life in a galaxy far, far away where the light sabers glow, bikinis are metal and wrinkly green Jedi masters like this talk.

So the timing is perfect for a Vanity Fair feature about how director J.J. Abrams ushered this new chapter onto the screen. The story is even accompanied by an Annie Leibovitz photo spread. Here are some of the exciting new tidbits.

– Jar Jar Binks may be dead

All hail Abrams, who said he’s playing with the idea of briefly showing the bones of one of Naboo’s most annoying exports. “Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it,” he told Vanity Fair. It’s not quite as exciting as if Abrams was planning to show Jar Jar’s death on screen with “Game of Thrones”-level gruesomeness, but we’ll take what we can get.

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– Harrison Ford will tone down the growling

Recent Ford performances reveal an actor seriously abusing his vocal chords. But there will be no channeling of Christian Bale’s Batman in the next “Star Wars” episode. “I knew that (Ford) had done in some movies a kind of more growly thing, and I didn’t want Han to be growly,” Abrams said.

– Abrams is going old-school with the effects

Up to a point, anyway. One of Leibovitz’s photos shows Lupita Nyong’o covered in little motion-capture dots, which will help transform her into the computer-generated character of Maz Kanata. There wasn’t any of that in 1977’s first installment/fourth episode.

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And yet, when he can, Abrams is steering clear of too much digital manipulation. When a creature pops out of the sand in one scene, for example, the set-up involved a puppet and a seesaw instead of computer-aided trickery.

– Adam Driver looks suitably terrifying as bad guy Kylo Ren

Between the all-black get-up, the ghostly white face and the snowtroopers behind him, Driver seems like he’ll make a perfectly creepy addition to the Star Wars villain collection.

– Oscar Isaac looks suitably swashbuckling as a Resistance fighter

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The actor is best known for serious dramatic roles, but he fits right into the “Star Wars” universe. In Leibovitz’s photo, Isaac, who plays a fighter pilot for the Resistance, is posed as if climbing into his X-wing while rocking an orange jumpsuit and wind-swept hair.

– Abrams is channeling his inner kid

The excerpts from the article paint the picture of a director having fun on set, where Abrams was caught making ray-gun noises while reviewing footage. Producer Kathleen Kennedy compared Abrams to an 11-year-old boy. And while that’s not a compliment necessarily, it’s exactly what you want for the person in charge of the next Star Wars installment. Because if there’s one thing 11-year-olds have, it’s a big imagination and loads of enthusiasm.