Since Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters back in December fans have been waiting to pick up a blu ray copy for their collections. Finally that time has arrived, and it comes with enough bonus material to choke The Sarlacc!

Secrets Of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey

This “making of” documentary highlights the profound sense of humility and privilege that pervades the cast and crew, from J J Abrams himself, to the writers and artists, and all the actors. Seeing all the pre-production artwork, and getting a glimpse of the mindset that everyone was in makes it quite clear why The Force Awakens was always going to be a massive success.

abrams and R2It’s clear that the goal of The Force Awakens was to tell a story in an existing world that had very definite rules, as well as a strong established identity. Star Wars is held in such esteem as a richly imagined universe that The Force Awakens had to feel like it belonged. In creating the “next generation” set within this universe, Abrams was dead set on making this film recognizable in style and substance, while becoming a starting point for the next saga.

What’s most apparent in this look behind the scenes is how there’s a true feeling of belonging among everyone involved in the original films, and how they instantly took in all the new faces, making them part of something larger than any of them. The magic of Star Wars is laid bare in this documentary, as is the grueling, magical journey that is making a major science fiction epic.

The Story Awakens: The Table Read

The first full cast read through of the Force Awakens script must have been a magical experience, for actors, fans, and those actors who were fans. This brief featurette gives us a chance to realize the true magic of film; turning a story on a page into a gorgeous visual epic through actor’s bringing timeless characters to life.

Crafting Creatures & Building BB-8

Stunning practical effects, and mind blowing CGI have become synonymous with Star Wars. The original trilogy turned the world of science fiction on its head with its fantastic space battles, and breath-taking aliens. The prequel trilogy pioneered a new age of CGI techniques, and dazzled us in new ways. The Force Awakens found the critical proportions between the two, and in a way, brought balance to the force.

BB8To see the world of practical effects alive and well in 2016 is truly special. There’s just something more “real” about practical effects that CGI somehow still can’t quite capture (well, maybe with Maz Kanata). Whether it’s the play of shadows off the physical set or alien, or it’s the human performance that brings a droid or creatures to life, practical effects have cemented their place in science fiction film. The Force Awakens proved it indispensable, and necessary for the Star Wars universe.

The creation of BB-8 is particularly fascinating. Droids are characters as critical to Star Wars as any human or alien. C-3P0 and R2-D2 are no less iconic than Darth Vader or the Millennium Falcon. Trying to bring a new droid into the Star Wars story that would be as loved as the originals was a tremendous task. It’s amazing how BB-8 fits so seamlessly into the story, as well as a perfect addition to C-3P0 and R2-D2. By creating a more contemporary design but staying true to the aesthetics and personality of the classic droids, BB-8 is a critical element that legitimizes The Force Awakens.

Read Part 2