30 Nov 2015 9:51 AM +00:00 UTC

How J.J. Abrams Made The Lightsaber Battles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Different From The Prequels

While filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams did what he could to set the new film apart from George Lucas' prequels. There will be no Jar Jar Binks, no mention of the midi-chlorians, and instead of green screens, they've focus on using more practicial effects whenever possible. They've also staged the lightsaber battles differently than in Episodes 1 to 3.

We already know that there will be at least one lightsaber duel in the movie, as revealed in the trailer: John Boyega's Finn is wielding his blue lightsaber, ready to fight Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). According to the director, the lightsaber duels in the prequel films were highly stylized, choreographed almost like a dance. He wanted to take a different approach when it came to the Finn/Kylo Ren fight, and looked to the original trilogy for inspiration, telling Empire (via Star Wars News Net):

"When you look at Star Wars and Empire, they are very different lightsaber battles, but for me they felt more powerful because they were not quite as slick [as the prequels]. I was hoping to go for something much more primitive, aggressive and rougher, a throwback to the kind of heart-stopping lightsaber fights I remembered being so enthralled by as a kid."
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This makes a lot of sense with in the largest context of the saga, and it looks clear in the trailers that Finn's skills with the lightsaber are still rough, still not as polished as the Jedi's predecessors. In the prequel Episodes, the Jedi had a larger presence, having trained for years to sharpen their techniques. And during the original trilogy's time period, Luke lived in a world with no Jedi, so it took him some time to sharpen his lightsaber skills. It would be exciting to see the rought kind of lightsaber battle in The Force Awakens.

The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.

The film will be released U.S. theaters on Dec. 18.