Obvious spoilers follow for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
We just learned Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda had an appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, now check out early story details as well as an explanation of what was going on with R2-D2 and Luke Skywalker.
Regarding the early story details that were part of an older draft of the script, screenwriter Michael Ardnt offered the following (via EW):
• R2 and C-3PO were originally written as showing up together, but Lawrence Kasdan said they should be kept separate from each other.
• Back in a version of the script from 2012, Rey met Luke Skywalker on Jakku following her home having been destroyed. Rey then went on to kick the "bad guy's ass."
• One story had the movie going in the direction of searching for Darth Vader's remains.
• Another version had them on a quest to the underwater wreckage of the second Death Star to recover a key piece of history about sacred Jedi sites in the galaxy.
Why wasn't Luke featured heavily?
• The reason why Luke wasn't featured in The Force Awakens is because they thought any time they wrote him into the movie, Luke took it over, and then it was thought no one would care about the other (new) characters.
There has been question online surrounding what happened to R2-D2 and why he woke up the way he did. Here is the text from a post-credit screening Q&A that touches upon the subject:
• R2-D2’s arrival had to be presented as a kind of delayed gratification, building up the audience’s expectation before the droid rolls out and starts beep-blooping.
• “We had the idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star, and that’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are,” Arndt said.
• “But the idea was that in that scene where R2 plugged in, he downloaded the archives of the Empire, which was referenced by Kylo Ren,” Abrams said. Thirty-eight years later, in both our own and galactic time, that data becomes useful in The Force Awakens when a new droid approaches the dormant R2.
• “BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’” Abrams said. “The idea was, R2 who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. And it triggers something that would ultimately wake him up.”
• “While it may seem, you know, completely lucky and an easy way out, at that point in the movie, when you’ve lost a person, desperately, and somebody you hopefully care about is unconscious, you want someone to return.”
• So for those let wondering: BB-8’s earlier question rattles around inside R2’s dome for a while. Those old astromechs must just take a while to boot up again.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has a December 18, 2015 release directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer.
Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.