The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams on why return to real effects was so important

Abrams: Real effects 'often challenging, but worth it' with Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Much has been made of director J.J. Abrams' desire to return to the roots of Star Wars cinematography with The Force Awakens. In last month's behind-the-scenes reel shown at San Diego Comic-Con, the emphasis was on the use of real sets and practical effects over CGI on the new film.

Speaking to the media during last weekend's D23 Expo, Abrams admitted there are still thousands of CG shots in The Force Awakens, but further explained why the use of real sets were so important for the film.

"Obviously it's Star Wars and there's going to be thousands of CG shots in the movie, but it was really important to us that wherever it didn't need to be, it wasn't," he said to a crowd of reporters (via IGN).

"It was really important, in the sense of authenticity, that the sets be built — exterior, interior — that we go to real locations that are actually in the sun. I know it sounds silly, but in the behind-the-scenes reel you'll see this giant gimble of the Millennium Falcon cockpit and it was outdoors," he continued. "The reason we did it, we didn't have to do that, but the reason we really wanted to was because you just can't fake sunlight. You can do a pretty good imitation, but you can just tell." 

"There was something about wanting to see Daisy's character [Rey] actually sitting in a cockpit with sunlight streak across in motion," he explained. "It's a little detail and I'm not sure anyone's actually going to care about that, but it's an incredible thing when you see it how much better it looks because it's real. We tried to do that as much as we could. It was often challenging, but it was worth it."

Fans have rallied around Abrams desire for a more authentic Star Wars, as many have grown tired from the CG effects so overused in the prequel trilogy. Though the original trilogy did feature cutting edge effects, far advanced for its time, they've become dated. But they still remain a classic, and you know why? Because they've got character depth, something we hope to see in The Force Awakens. And from what it sounds like, that's what we'll be getting when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters this December.