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Attached are two pictures, one from the trailer, one from the BD release. It shows that the flags outside if Maz's temple have changed, specifically ones from the prequels.

Two things come to mind:

  1. Are we certain that these changes were intentional in the BD release and not something done as a result of refining the unfinished digital effects from a trailer? One reddit user with a pirated version of the theatrical release confirmed that the flags are the same as that in the BD release. Meaning that the flags were done differently in the trailer, then edited in post-production for the official releases.
  2. If they did change these flags intentionally, what might be the reasoning? This question still holds water. Why include prequel flags in the trailer and then edit them out of the official release? Are the editors and SFX teams just toying with the community? Creating Easter Eggs for what would undoubtedly be one of the most anticipated set of trailers for the year?

Extended Question: What are Disney's long term plans for the pre-OT time frame? We've already started with Rogue One happening before the OT, but after the prequels. Is there a possibility that Disney could reboot the prequels with new actors, screenplays, directors, stories, etc? Speaking of, what are Disney's rights with the existing properties?

Current BD release version enter image description here

Trailer version enter image description here

Anakin's pod racing flag, removed enter image description here

Edit: photos from imgur user ERAUAerospace

  • The most likely explanations IMO: They were inserted as an Easter Egg for fans, or to encourage inaccurate theorizing. – Plutor May 2 '16 at 13:56
  • The existence of the flags is not in question. They were there in the trailer. Now they are not. Are you suggesting they would purposefully put things in the trailer and then edit them out of the BD release, and possibly the theatrical release? – dasMetzger May 2 '16 at 13:59
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    Yes, that is my suggestion. Also, this redditor claims to have screenshotted a pirated version of the theatrical cut, which matches the BD release (not the trailer): reddit.com/r/movies/comments/4hfyor/… imgur.com/y54m2MK So the changes in question happened during post-production – Plutor May 2 '16 at 15:04
  • Interesting find. I think that revises my question then not specifically to the meaning behind the post-production change from the trailer... but now the details behind using material from the prequels and other sources from the EU. – dasMetzger May 2 '16 at 15:28
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    Those are two different frames, isn't it possible the flag had just moved enough in the wind to make the insignia less visible in the BD version? There still seems to be some kind of white-and-blue flag there on the same flagpole in the BD screenshot, it just seems more transparent so the pattern is harder to see and you see more of the color of the orange flag behind it shining through. And I think there's also a difference in color grading between the shots. – Hypnosifl May 2 '16 at 15:47
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The flags were changed at the insistence of JJ Abrams because he wanted to divorce his film (as much as possible) from the Prequel trilogy.

Abrams, fresh from his speech about the importance of details, sits at the center of the editing room, at a computer set-up that allows him to draw with a stylus on images on the big screen in front of him, doodling on his own movie – at one point, he jokingly draws a Coors logo on a snowy mountain. Effects supervisor Roger Guyett and Kennedy are on a conference call from London, watching the footage, and Abrams' scrawls, on their own screens.

They begin by reviewing a shot shown in the trailer, where dozens of flags appear on a castle that belongs to Maz Kanata, a mysterious little goggle-wearing creature, played by Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) via motion-capture and CGI. The flags are designed to drive superfans nuts with references to the earlier movies, but Abrams tells Guyett that too many of them allude to the first of Lucas' prequels: "I don't want to be too about podracers," he says. "I'd rather come up with our stuff." - Rolling Stone Interview

As to why they were included in the first place, the simplest answer seems to be that LucasFilm brought a large number of props with them to decorate the castle. This included the flags from the original films.

  • That's a great interview. Didn't know that existed until now. And I think that answers the core of the question. The easter eggs were there for the superfans who would dissect every frame. But edited out to distance episode VII from the prequels. – dasMetzger May 3 '16 at 15:48
  • @dasMetzger - yes, as well as a certain amount of laziness from the prop master. Why make/design new flags when you've got 30 of them in your storage locker gathering dust; i.imgur.com/Vzl86jy.png – Valorum May 3 '16 at 16:05

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