There are a million moving parts on a blockbuster like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and with so many people working on such a sprawling project, the original vision for the film was bound to evolve quite a bit.
Fortunately, a new book entitled The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens gives us an inside look at that evolution and tracks the record-breaking film from its early concept art to its finishing touches. As you might imagine, this was almost a very different movie from the one we ended up with and Slash Film broke down some of the ideas that were changed or scrapped entirely before everything was finalized. Here are some of the most interesting takeaways:
WARNING: Spoilers Ahead
Supreme Leader Snoke Was Almost a Woman
Along with Maz Kanata, Supreme Leader Snoke was one of the last characters finalized for the film and both were still being tinkered with until a couple of months before its release. Before we ended up with the ancient, creepy-looking male character we saw in The Force Awakens, JJ Abrams & Co. considered making the character a female and also tinkered with the idea of making him younger.
Rey Was Named Kira and Desperately Wanted Out of Jakku
Apparently, Daisy Ridley’s Rey was once a temperamental bad-a** named Kira. While Rey is reluctant to leave Jakku in the film, Kira desperately wanted to get away from her home planet.
Finn Originally Had Han Solo-Style Charisma
Finn, John Boyega’s AWOL stormtrooper, was originally named Sam and was going to be a young white man. Instead, the producers went with a more nuanced take and created a character who had to build up the courage to stand and fight.
Poe Dameron Was Almost a Jedi or Bounty Hunter
Early concept art depicted the character that became ace pilot Poe Dameron as a middle-aged black man and the character was almost written as a Jedi or a bounty hunter before producers settled on a charismatic Rebel pilot.
We Were Almost Visited by the Ghost of Anakin Skywalker
For a time, the plan was for Luke Skywalker to be visited by his father’s ghost, who would have vacillated between the light (Anakin) and the dark (Vader). Franchise superfans will remember that Anakin Skywalker’s ghost appeared at the end of Return of the Jedi, but Vader’s mangled mask was the closest The Force Awakens got to a cameo from the character.
The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently in stores and contains plenty of interesting insights into the film-making process. Prices vary but most outlets seem to be offering the book for $25-$40.