There is a big Star Wars rumor info dumb out this weekend that allegedly has its origins in the creature shop.
We’re posting this as parts of it check out, while other stuff is impossible to confirm yet. It could be legitimate, or it could be extremely well-researched speculation being passed off as spoilers.
As this was originally posted in /v/ on 4chan, we can’t vouch for all of the rumors in it. However, some stuff here absolutely comes off as legitimate. It’s impossible to verify the character name stuff he talks about, but the behind the scenes stuff definitely corresponds with things that have been known for a while. That’s why we’re posting this.
Specifically, these things check out:
- The “Asiatic-style” sequence that was cut from the film refers to the “Exotic City”. A lot of concept art was done for this part and its inhabitants and it was definitely Asian-inspired. An executive cutting that due to concern over the designs being offensive could be due to the insane amount of money movies make in China.
- We know for a fact that Warwick Davis is in the film, and Kiran Shah was at the wrap party for the movie. The scale dummy the guy mentions can be seen in this image.
- The motion-capture puppeteering stuff has been rumored for a while, and it’s actually a technique that the Jim Henson Creature Shop has been working on for years. So that sort of thing being used in The Force Awakens wouldn’t be shocking.
- While most people believe BB-8 was the version they showed at Star Wars Celebration, it’s an established fact that the filming version was a rod-puppet.
Again, the stuff about the character names (and rumored dialog) is impossible to entirely confirm at this point. However, it’s interesting that he gives a last-name for Finn, and it’s not a fanservice sort thing like “Calrissian”.
Here’s the complete post, please be aware there are a couple MAJOR spoilers in it and I’ve blacked out one (just highlight it to see it):
“I’ve heard a LOT about The Force Awakens from my friends who are artists and worked as consultants for the Creature Shop. If you didn’t know, they are the ones who fabricated and all the aliens, puppets, props and such for the film.
One of the things they constantly tell me is that they are afraid of a fan backlash against the film like with the prequels. As old fans themselves, they say everyone at the shop was really positive going in but are honestly worried about the final product (in terms of art design and execution of concepts and so on, they don’t know anything about the film’s acting or pacing obviously). It has been almost a year since any of them has done actual work on TFA and only spec work for Episode 8. Second is that the design process got a bit hellish at times, with an art director telling them they had to throw out literally an entire planned section of the movie, with asiatic-style architecture and aliens and culture, everything, because one of the executives thought it could be racist. That led to a giant crunch to get new, less offensive aliens, which is why the puppets already revealed in the Vanity Fair article tend to look similar with smushed noses and rhino skin. Basically they tried to get away with reusing multiple designs for the same alien as different aliens. They say the architecture is now “uninspired.” Another thing are aliens who were supposed to be in the start of the film got replaced with humans, again because of questionable design. There is also a montage of aliens in the film including a large crime boss who is “not Jabba the Hutt but might as well be.” Very few old species are back, except famous characters they said, and that a lot of character design concepts besides aliens were also scrapped because of rewrites and collapsing scenes together. One of the cooler things they told me is that Warwick Davis and Kiran Shah both play alien puppets in the film (not Ewoks), but they also gave Shah a cameo in the film as a body on an operating table in a medic bay. They made a scale dummy for him and everything, and they even sneaked it into a photo at the TFA panel at the Star Wars convention.
In terms of the plot, they didn’t tell me much besides the middle of the film has an insane amount of aliens, almost all puppets with animatronic parts. There is a really cool process that allows them to do mocap on actors just for the face and gestures and map it onto a puppet. That is, they filmed a scene with a physical prop and use CGI to animate the face and subtler movements. Apparently it looks super realistic. Andy Serkis and Lupita Nyong’o and others both play mocapped puppet aliens, Serkis being part cybernetic and Nyong’o being small, cute, and funny. There are also new puppet/CGI droids they are excited for.
Now for the juicier stuff that they dropped on me. The worst kept secret of course is that Han Solo dies. The rumor is there is a dumb “You are not my father” line in the scene. Everyone in the shop also knows Daisy Ridley who plays Rey has a Padme/Amidala moment where her real name is revealed to be Kira Skywalker, and she had been living in hiding and thought dead like Luke. They say that’s also a stupid reveal because they used her real name all through production and everyone already knew. John Boyega’s character is Finn Gruno (or Grunno), a stormtrooper who defects early in the film. Oscar Isaac plays Poe Dameron, “the new Han Solo” who apparently hits on alien chicks (at least in concept art) and a pilot named Gleev. Only other major thing is Domhnall Gleeson plays Major General Tarkin, a clone of the original Tarkin. It’s rumored he dies in the film but will obviously implied he could be cloned again.
Lastly, some other tibits are that a running joke in the film is kicking the new BB8 (ball) droid. Rey, Poe, and C3PO all supposedly kick him, which was apparently harder to do than you’d think because the little guy is a puppet on a stick. Another rumor in the shop is that an alien who gets his arm ripped off by Chewbacca in the middle of the film is played by Simon Pegg. And of course, they say everyone is going to love seeing Admiral Ackbar again saying “It’s a trap!” but this time, it’s the good guys’ trap.”