J.J. Abrams reveals how Ava Duvernay improved ‘The Force Awakens’

It takes a village to make a Star Wars movie, and J.J. Abrams just revealed yet another creative powerhouse who worked on The Force Awakens behind the scenes.

In the director’s commentary on the upcoming 3D Collector’s Edition, Abrams revealed that he turned to Selma director Ava Duvernay for advice on Rey’s duel with Kylo Ren. You can listen to a clip of the commentary track on Yahoo, where Abrams explains that he showed an early cut of the film to DuVernay, who had “a bunch of great suggestions.”

For Rey and Kylo Ren’s lightsaber battle on Starkiller Base, DuVernay recommended that Abrams include a “really cool moment” for Rey. Specifically, the intense close-up where Rey pauses to gather the power of the Force while struggling with Ren. They also added a shot where Rey knocks Ren to the ground, another powerful moment for the franchise’s most passionate lightsaber battle.

As well as being a cool detail from behind the scenes, this clip is a useful illustration of how reshoots are not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of fans are worried that Rogue One‘s reshoots indicate problems with the film, but Abram’s commentary makes it clear that there’s nothing wrong with filming additional material—or asking for outside help.

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor