Mary Jo: A first cut is never a first cut. It's usually my fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth cut by the time I'm ready to show it to J.J.. It's one reason why I absolutely detest the term 'editor's assembly'. We are taking a point of view, and cutting something with intent. We are not 'assembling' anything. [...] Creative COW: Out of curiosity, were either of you Star Wars fans in a major way before this?
Maryann: I was a big Star Wars fan. [...] Mary Jo: I was not a fan. I mean, it's not that I was anti-Star Wars, I just wasn't particularly into the films and I didn't see them until it turned out that I was going to be working on them. [...] I also think there was an actual advantage to that. I didn't have this feeling of things being sacred. I could just look at it, maybe at times a little more dispassionately. "Well even if it is true that you're making this reference to this thing that you all hold near and dear, it's not really working here," or whatever.
And I think J.J. felt that too. In fact, when I first told him that I hadn't seen the Star Wars movies, he said he didn't want me to see them. That was his first response. "Oh that's great! Don't see them! You'll be be like the person we want to attract who's never seen the movies."
[...] Mary Jo: We started with the dialog between the characters, and their actions. We might have something to slot in if there was a previz done for the scene, but most of the time, we didn't have that. The fact that we start with the actions of characters creates a personal way into the action of the scene.
Maryann: Any action sequence is better if you're in it WITH the character.