Star Wars is finally upon us and for the next few weeks media coverage will only intensify. But the mood was light and playful at the official Star Wars press conference, with the word fun on everyone’s lips. First though, the participants told the assembled media exactly what they wanted to hear: “Jar Jar is definitely not in the movie” proclaimed producer Kathleen Kennedy, to rousing cheers. Director JJ Abrams got the biggest response when asked if Ewoks, the beloved fur balls from Return of the Jedi, would return: “Living?” he deadpanned to gasps, before the audience realized he was joking. “Listen, if a man can’t joke among friends…”
It’s difficult to imagine any actor turning down the role, but panel host Mindy Kaling asked Harrison Ford why he returned. “It’s what’s fun for me,” said Han Solo, “doing something that I thought was going to be fun, and which actually turned out to be fun.” And if there was any doubt, he later continued “It’s been fun to play with these toys again.”
On the subject of toys, actor John Boyega who plays stormtrooper Finn, mentioned that he returned to appear in character in the Disney Infinity game. “To be a playbook character, I get to play with myself. It’s been amazing. It’s been fun.”
Screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on Episodes V and VI (The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) touched on the intense secrecy which has surrounded the entire production. Many fans have speculated that the canon would drive the plot of the new movie, Episode VII. But nope, fun. “We just said, we can do anything we want with this story. What would be the most fun thing to do on this page, and the next page, and the page after that? And that was sort of the guiding principle, I think, more than the canon or anything that had come before.”
Leave it to Carrie Fisher–the beloved Princess Leia–to provide the most fun of the day. When asked if Leia has a sense of humor she said “She would have to. Wearing those hairpieces and you know, I do have now a baboon ass hairstyle. And I mean that with love. And so you need a sense of humor for that sort of thing. It keeps it lively and fun when you’re getting shot at and everything.”
Star Wars opens in the United States on December 17th.