Fans holding out for an extended cut of the highest grossing film of all time will be sorely disappointed, it appears. Speaking after the Television Critics Association panel for the Hulu miniseries 11.22.63, which he executive produced, Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams fielded questions about the box office juggernaut and revealed that there are no plans to put an extended version of the film on the Blu-ray. There will, however, be deleted scenes included on the home video release, so it’s probably inevitable that someone will take it upon themselves to add those scenes back into the film—assuming that’s possible.
Abrams previously spoke about some of the deleted scenes from the film, revealing that in the originally shot version of The Force Awakens, Maz Kanata follows our heroes back to the Resistance Base, where she then presents General Leia with Luke’s lost lightsaber. Obviously in the final cut we see Kanata hand the lightsaber over to Finn, so that’s just one of a few scenes that were restructured during reshoots.
The question now is, how many deleted scenes will be on the Blu-ray? Abrams didn’t say, but he did reveal the length of his first cut:
“I don’t know what the longest cut was. Probably, if it were with credits, close to two hours and 50 minutes was the first cut.”
The final cut of the film is 2 hours and 16 minutes, so while I doubt there will be a full 34 minutes of deleted scenes on the Blu-ray, hopefully we get something substantial.
But Abrams didn’t only speak about the home video release of The Force Awakens. Disney launched an Oscar campaign for the movie after its release, and Abrams spoke a bit about his awards hopes for the film:
“I’m only hoping that there are certain people I know that deserve it desperately, and it would be wonderful if they got it. I feel like I have the gift of working on that film is such that I don’t need any further validation other than the movie being out there and people liking the movie, but there are people that I will be disappointed if they don’t get nominated. If I mention 8 people, the 9th person will be like ‘thanks.’ But honestly, it feels obvious to me who deserves that kind of recognition. They might no even care. They may say ‘Oh please,’ but I saw how hard some of these artists work and they are very deserving.”
When asked if he was referring to BB-8, Abrams quipped that he’s hoping for a new category, “Best Droid.” One imagines he’s actually speaking about the various craftspeople involved in bringing the film to the big screen, from the production designer to the costume designer to the visual effects artists that rendered the Star Wars universe anew. The film’s chances in the Best Picture category have become far less certain after being left off the nominations lists from the Producers Guild of America and the BAFTAs—two serious Oscar indicators—but some below-the-line recognition from the Academy is certainly warranted.
Finally, Abrams addressed the insane box office numbers that The Force Awakens has been racking up, issuing an apology to parents worldwide:
“Whatever the numbers are, I’m just so grateful that the movie is out there and it’s being well received… I’m grateful to anyone who has gone to see the movie, and when I hear anecdotally 7-8 times, I just want to apologize to I’m guessing their parents. No, I’m just very grateful and I can’t believe it’s done. It’s 2 years of very intense work by a lot of people. I’m so happy with the work that people did, even the people you don’t see in the movie, like the puppeteers, I watched them in 120 degree heat in Abu Dhabi bring BB-8 to life, and then we [CG] them out of the movie, and I’m just so happy people get to see what they did.”
Here’s hoping we get an extensive, feature-length documentary on the Blu-ray that highlights the intense work that went into making The Force Awakens a reality. In the meantime, the film continues its climb up the box office charts with no end in sight.
Look for much more coverage from the TCA’s all weekend as Collider’s own Allison Keene and Haleigh Foutch are on the ground, speaking with these folks directly.