With people scrambling to add to their credit card debt last Friday as new Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise flooded store shelves, it appears that the power of the fully operational Death Star known as the Disney marketing division is now upon us. People loaded up on BB-8s, action figures and lightsabers without even knowing whether the J.J. Abrams-directed movie is any good -- and with barely any idea of what it's actually about.
One person who is not impressed with the mystery box surrounding the movie is Anthony Daniels, the British actor who has played C-3PO in all seven Star Wars films, including the new one. Speaking with The Guardian, Daniels said:
"The secrecy has been beyond ludicrous. For heaven’s sake, it’s a movie. When I got the script, it was typed in black on paper of the deepest red so you couldn’t photocopy it. I got a hangover just reading it."
But Daniels' grievances extend to more than just getting a headache; he's been appalled at the way the studio has monitored his communications on Twitter and the like:
"I said that I’d met so-and-so. An actor who plays a...thing in the film. A character. Immediately I received a message from Disney: ‘Remove the tweet! You’re not allowed to say that!’ Honestly. It’s a kind of Kremlin attitude. Look, I know perfectly well not to tell you now what I’m giving you for a Christmas present because it would spoil the surprise. And these films are all about opening the box on Christmas Day."
As for the heart of the matter -- the story itself -- Daniels didn't seem that impressed:
"When J.J. told me the story of the new one, my eyes sort of glazed over.”
There's a big difference between someone telling you the plot of a movie and watching it on the screen, so let's try not to let that last comment ring any alarm bells just yet. And Daniels did have some nice words for Abrams as a director, saying:
"George (Lucas) has changed a lot over the years but I think he finds it slightly hard to collaborate. He made decisions that I believe might have been better discussed with other people. J.J. is more collaborative. He likes to listen.”
Daniels also praised Abrams for getting back to an "old-fashioned kind of filmmaking" with "actual sets," as opposed to the CG-dominated prequels, of which the actor said, "The effects are clever but pointless. The skill is there, but so what? Coldness, that’s the word. Bleakness, even.”
Having been involved with Star Wars for nearly 40 years, Daniels has seen it all, so he certainly has a larger view of the way the franchise has evolved over four decades. And if he feels a little exasperated with the thick veil of secrecy surrounding the whole thing, I'm sure many of us are feeling the same way.
No point in fretting about it, though: We've got a long four months of marketing ahead of us until Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on Dec. 18.
(via The Playlist)