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The deluge of Star Wars news continues with character and toy details, marketing deals

With the D23 Disney fan expo this weekend, plenty of Star Wars fans were eagerly anticipating a new trailer for The Force Awakens, anticipation director J.J. Abrams is more than happy to crush. “We are showing no footage, behind the scenes or otherwise [this weekend],” Abrams tells Entertainment Weekly. “In the fall, there’ll be a trailer.”

But while there might not be a new trailer, an international TV spot recently discovered on a Korean YouTube channel features a new shot of the extremely well staffed First Order, and yesterday EW was granted exclusive stills from the new film. In the interview accompanying the stills, Abrams spoke to EW about how the names came about for the new characters in the Star Wars universe.


George Lucas may be maligned because of the disappointing prequel trilogy, but boy did he have a way with character names. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan appear to be doing a respectable job with the monikers of their new characters; Finn and Rey’s last names remain a mystery, and, in the Star Wars universe, that probably means that they’re related to space-Kardashians, the Skywalkers. But the most Star Wars-ish of the new names is probably that of X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron; it had that right cadence, that sense of something not-quite-familiar. Turns out Dameron is actually the last name of Abrams’ assistant and “just felt musically right” to the director.

As far as our villains go, Abrams sort-of revealed the origins of Kylo Ren earlier this week, and now he suggests that Hux may have came from a walk through a cemetery that he and writer Lawrence Kasdan took while trying to crack the story of The Force Awakens. “We would often, as we were talking about characters, sort of just be glancing at names to see if any of them stuck. I don’t believe that Hux came from there, but it may have,“ Abrams says. Speaking of graveyards, Abrams says the name Phasma came from a very specific burial ground: Morningside Cemetery:

Phasma I named because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe team. It reminded me of the ball in Phantasm, and I thought, Phasma sounds really cool.

And what’s a new Skywalker adventure without merchandising? September 4th has been decreed “Force Friday” by Lucasfilm and Hasbro. That’s the day the first wave of Force Awakens merchandise will be hitting store shelves, with many outlets opening at 12:01 AM for geeks who can’t wait until morning to own a black X-Wing fighter variant. Pictures of these Force Awakens action figures in the new packaging have already leaked online, and a few of the new toys are even available for bidding on eBay. (If you really want spend an exorbitant amount of money for a toy from a movie that isn’t out for months, just click here.)

Interesting to note that the new Luke Skywalker action figure features Luke in his Bespin fatigues:


Abrams tells Entertainment Weekly that the question “Who is Luke Skywalker?” is what finally sold him on being involved in the new wave of Star Wars, and the director has been keeping images of the older Jedi master under wraps. It’s also long been rumored that The Force Awakens ties into the lightsaber that Luke lost—along with right hand—in the bowels of Cloud City, and could possibly reveal that Tatooine’s favorite son has turned to the dark side.

While Hasbro is handling the action figures, Lucasfilm is also working closely with Duracell (the Earth equivalent of the kaiburr crystal), Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard, Subway, and Verizon for the coming marketing onslaught. Covergirl and Max Factor are getting in on the game as well, with color palettes that will hopefully put to rest the notion that Star Wars is for just boys. That being said, plenty of grown men will be purchasing two lipsticks, two mascaras, and two foundations: one to (cos)play with, and one to keep in the box.


Say it with us now: The Force Awakens opens December 18th.

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