So you’ve seen “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” once or twice or more — after four weeks in theaters, it’s currently at $1.73 billion worldwide, surpassing the $1.6 billion figure that “Jurassic World” hit after its entire 23-week run — and you’re thinking about all those deleted scenes you either heard about or saw in the trailers. There’s Maz Kanata handing Leia Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, there are extended parts to Rey’s dream where she’s whispered at by Ben Kenobi and Yoda, and much more.
Will we ever seen them? Yes, but it’s unclear if you’ll see all of them, and you surely won’t be seeing them in a new cut or extended edition. During the recent Television Critics Association powwow in Los Angeles, J.J. Abrams was on hand discussing some of his many shows, including Hulu‘s “11.22.63” in particular, and of course ‘The Force Awakens’ came up.
Abrams discussed the criticisms that have been leveled at the film — that it’s essentially just a remake of ‘A New Hope’ and a remix of the original trilogy — and was also asked about potential extended versions of ‘The Force Awakens.’
“There will be deleted scenes, but not an extended version,” he explained. Abrams was also asked about the length of the longest cut of the film (the final version is two hours, 16 minutes). “I don’t know what the longest cut was. Probably, if it were with credits, close to two hours and 50 minutes was the first cut.”
How many deleted scenes and how much time does it add up to? All of that is unknown and details likely won’t surface until the DVD or Blu-ray comes out — and knowing Disney, they’re going to hold off as long as possible to release it. It would not surprise me if they held it off until November in time for Christmas. It also wouldn’t surprise me if, when it does arrive, someone cuts those deleted scenes back into the movie to create their own mega-version.
Abrams also addressed why Rey, the lead character of the film, is not the focus of the plethora of merchandising tie-ins for ‘The Force Awakens’ like the recently unveiled Monopoly set. Well, the conventional toy wisdom goes that female characters sell less, but that’s a fight that everyone seems to want to take on, including Abrams.
“I wish I had more details about merchandising and the schedule,” he said. “I’m learning things as you are. I will say that it seems preposterous and wrong that the main character of the movie is not well represented in what is clearly a huge piece of the Star Wars world in terms of merchandizing. […] I read that she wasn’t in the Monopoly game and was quickly making phone calls about this because if it were true — and it is true, and now Hasbro, of course, has said they’re going to put Rey in — it doesn’t quite make sense why she wouldn’t be there. She’s somewhat important in the story.”
Will ‘Force Awakens’ crack the $2.7 billion mark that “Avatar” struck in 2009? A $53 million opening in China certainly helps and could put it over the top, but early projections have guestimated that ‘Episode VII’ may fall short. We’ll have to wait and see on that one. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is in theaters now and likely will stay there domestically well into the spring and possibly beyond. Lastly, watch this amusingly sarcastic video essay titled “The Force Awakens and Star Wars Formula” below.