The Star Wars News Roundup – 3.29.13


Episode VII and Spinoff Movie News Summary

Check out this great fan-made Star Wars: Episode VII poster created by Adam Schickling!

This week, Empire Online released an excerpt from their upcoming issue featuring an interview with J.J. Abrams about Star Trek Into Darkness. In the interview, Abrams had the following to say about “Episode VII”:

“I don’t know because we’re just getting started. So it’s a great question that I hope I’ll have a good answer to when I know what the answer is. There are infinitely more questions than answers right now, but to me, they’re not that dissimilar. Though I came at these both from very different places, where they both meet is a place of ‘Ooh, that’s really exciting.’ And even though I was never a Star Trek fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think ‘that’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that.

“How we were going to get there, what the choices were going to be, who was going to be in it – all of those things I knew would have to be figured out, but it was all based on a foundation of this indescribable, guttural passion for something that could be. It’s a similar feeling that I have with Star Wars. I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.”

The link above has even more from Abrams and the upcoming issue should have additional Star Wars-related quotes.

While promoting G.I. Joe: Retaliation, we asked Dwayne Johnson if there was any movie he’d like to be a part of. His reply:

“‘Star Wars,'” Johnson smiles. “And that’s not to say that they need it. Obviously they’re doing very well. J.J. [Abrams] is just gonna crush it. I’m so excited. There’s a guy, by the way, who’s not just a brilliant director, but who honors and respects mythology. You’ve seen that with ‘Star Trek’ and you’re going to see that with ‘Star Wars.’ I’m very excited about that.”

That may seem like wishful thinking on the part of Johnson, but back in the ’90s, Samuel L. Jackson expressed his desire to be in the “Star Wars” prequels and it got the attention of George Lucas who ultimately cast him as Mace Windu. So Hollywood, start petitioning J.J. Abrams at your next press junket! You never know what might happen.

Yahoo! Movies UK also spoke with actress Diane Kruger and she expressed her interest in also having a role in Star wars:

She also explained that ‘Star Wars’ was her “first love”.

“I would love to be in ‘Star Wars’. Are you kidding?” she said. “I had to go to Comic-Con one year and I put on a Darth Vader mask and walked the grounds. It was so cool!”

Meanwhile, Ian McDiarmid spoke with Sci-Fi Now about whether we might see him back as The Emperor in one of the standalone movies

“Yes, I’m sort of interested in any future development he might have,” admits McDiarmid. “Unfortunately, as you probably know, he died at the end of Episode VI, Vader sent him to cosmic hell so he’s not going to feature in any of the new Disney ones, I don’t think.

“On the other hand they’ve got lots of exciting ideas for spin-offs about separate characters and so on, and then there is the television series which George has talked about and decided to make into being for a number of years, and that takes place between Episodes III and IV when the Emperor is very much alive. So I think he probably does have a future.”

Hit the link above for the full interview. Thanks to TheForce.Net for the alert!

The Associated Press caught up with Harrison Ford at the 42 press junket and quizzed him about “Episode VII”:

Harrison Ford isn’t ready — “yet” — to talk about his reported part in Disney’s planned “Star Wars” sequel, but he praises its director, J.J. Abrams.

“I think he’s fantastic,” Ford said in a recent interview. “I did his first movie, ‘Regarding Henry,’ with Mike Nichols. A wonderful talent. Extraordinary guy.”

The 70-year-old actor — who came to fame playing Han Solo in the “Star Wars” trilogy — is shrugging off questions about that character while promoting his role as Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey in the upcoming Jackie Robinson film “42.”

Asked how he feels generally that the “Star Wars” sequel and Disney spinoffs are in the works, Ford responded: “I don’t feel anything at the moment yet.”

Visit the link above for more or watch the entire awkward exchange below.

MTV also caught up with Harrison Ford and talked to him about starring in sequels to his earlier films.

When MTV News spoke with Ford at the press junket for “42,” he said that any one of those properties could draw him back, as long as the ambitions were lofty.

“It might be nice, depending on the circumstances, to revisit any one of those characters. What interests me now is the opportunity to work at all and to work in ambitious projects. I can’t think that way,” Ford said. “What I’m looking for is the next opportunity, the next ambitious opportunity. It doesn’t matter if it’s one of those. If it’s one of those, great. If it’s not, that’s fine too.”

But if Ford is to throw on Han Solo’s black vest back for another go as the galactic smuggler, where does this put his relationship with George Lucas? In the past, Ford had publically mocked Lucas’ ability to write convincing dialogue, but the actor now insists that those words should stay in the past.

“I might have said things in the past that were characterizations of how I felt at the time,” he said. “That was then. This is now. It doesn’t matter.”

Roger Christian, second unit director on “Return of the Jedi” and “The Phantom Menace,” told The Star that he does not expect to return for any new Star wars movies:

The man behind the lightsabers and the Death Star and everything we have come to know and love of the original Star Wars, will not be returning to the new franchise reboot.

Roger Christian said he has no plans to return to the “galaxy far, far away” under the helm of director J.J Abrams and Disney.

“The franchise is in a whole new world now. It’s Disney’s now,” said Christian, who won an Academy Award for art direction for the first Star Wars movie, which was later renamed Episode IV: A New Hope, in 1977.

“George (Lucas) and I became great friends and struggled to make the first Star Wars.

“But it’s gone into a different world,” he told reporters here. He did not elaborate on what he meant by the new franchises’ direction.

Christian, 69, served as the second unit director for Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace. He received a second Oscar nomination for his work in Ridley Scott’s Alien.

Visit the link above for more.

Finally, the Motley Fool predicts that “Episode VII” will be the next $2 billion movie after Titanic and Avatar.

Star Wars Television

TheForce.Net reported on a rumor about what’s going to happen with the lingering plot threads on “The Clone Wars.”

A source in the know tells me that Lucasfilm is only finishing two story arcs from the material that they had planned for The Clone Wars Season Six. Among the story arcs that will not emerge in this post-cancellation era is one that dealt with Boba Fett and the other bounty hunters who have menaced the heroes for several seasons. This story arc, which my source tells me was almost done, would have shown us the fates of Cad Bane and Aurra Sing.

Follow the link above for more info!

Star Wars Video Games

Club Jade – Rumor is that Disney is shutting down LucasArts. Meanwhile, the official line is they are not. Follow the links for more details.

Check out this incredible trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic:

Star Wars Angry Birds updated yesterday with Cloud City and a Boba Fett pig! Check it out!

C-Net talks about the Star Wars: The Old Republic expansion, which will launch April 14

It’s finally here. More than a year after it debuted and months after it went free to play, Star Wars: The Old Republic is getting its first downloadable expansion, Rise of the Hutt Cartel, due to arrive on April 14 (or April 9 for early preorders). The obvious question is, what has it got that could tempt former players to come back?

First of all, a new planet and more story. Much of the appeal of BioWare and LucasArts’ MMO is the way every quest takes place against the backdrop of the galaxy-wide struggle between the Empire and the Republic, and every player class ends up playing a different but pivotal role.

Rise of the Hutt Cartel picks up at the end of the original story: The Republic’s beating back the Empire, and the war machine on both sides needs fuel (hey, it’s more dramatic than trade sanctions). The resource-stripping Hutts decide it’s a good moment to take over the galaxy and be generally slimy, as they are wont to do, but now you can shoot them. Yay! Actually you’re fighting their mercs. What starts as a quick smackdown of the Hutts turns into something more urgent and planetwide, and as usual, it’s all up to you.

Visit the link above for more!

Around The Web

Neatorama – Check out this brief biography on Star Wars composer John Williams courtesy of the always entertaining “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.”

Neatorama – Check out these movie mashups by Fernando Degrossi. (One may be NSFW)

Geekologie – An AT-AT bunk bed!

Wired – A Star Wars-themed nursery! – Check out footage from the DVD release of LEGO Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out.

Jedi News UK – Check out this excellent article at The Secret History of Star Wars discussing how Marcia Lucas had a much bigger impact on “Star Wars” than she has been given credit for:

Mark Hamill also notes in 2005 how her sensibilities influenced the content and structure of his films:

“You can see a huge difference in the films that he does now and the films that he did when he was married. I know for a fact that Marcia Lucas was responsible for convincing him to keep that little ‘kiss for luck’ before Carrie [Fisher] and I swing across the chasm in the first film: ‘Oh, I don’t like it, people laugh in the previews,’ and she said, ‘George, they’re laughing because it’s so sweet and unexpected’– and her influence was such that if she wanted to keep it, it was in. When the little mouse robot comes up when Harrison and I are delivering Chewbacca to the prison and he roars at it and it screams, sort of, and runs away, George wanted to cut that and Marcia insisted that he keep it.” [lviii]

One interesting bit of trivia relating to her and Lucas’ cinema is that Indiana, the Alaskan malamute that gave Indiana Jones his name and also gave Lucas the inspiration for Chewbacca, was in fact Marcia’s dog, not George’s. [lix] On the subject of Indiana Jones, Dale Pollock provides an anecdote which demonstrates how Marcia’s presence in her husband’s life influenced his films in subtle but significant ways–in this case, changing the ending for Raiders of the Lost Ark:

“[Marcia] was instrumental in changing the ending of Raiders, in which Indiana delivers the ark to Washington. Marion is nowhere to be seen, presumably stranded on an island with a submarine and a lot of melted Nazis. Marcia watched the rough cut in silence and then levelled the boom. She said there was no emotional resolution to the ending, because the girl disappears. ‘Everyone was feeling really good until she said that,’ Dunham recalls. ‘It was one of those, “Oh no we lost sight of that.” ‘ Spielberg reshot the scene in downtown San Francisco, having Marion wait for Indiana on the steps on the government building. Marcia, once again, had come to the rescue.” [lx]

It’s a fascinating read and you can check out the full write up, and more, at the link above.

Business Insider – John Stark talks about sneaking into a test screening of Star Wars back in 1977 and the ensuing mindblowing experience:

At show time I took a seat next to the person who sneaked me in. “That’s the director, George Lucas, sitting in front of us,” my friend whispered to me. Preview cards were passed around for audience members to fill out before leaving. The auditorium was packed with people of all ages. There were a lot of families.

The theater went dark and the gold curtains in front of the Northpoint’s super-wide screen parted. Then on came the words that would inspire a pop-culture empire: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”

Seconds later the “Star Wars Theme” announced itself.

I was taken aback. The past? Whoever heard of a sci-fi film that didn’t take place in the future? But that was only the first of the film’s many startling innovations, which didn’t take a huge budget to achieve. Creativity rarely does.

As the film’s plot unfolded the audience became more and more pumped: cheering, laughing, clapping. It was as if we were all passengers on a fantastic journey. I’ve yet to experience a more electric moment at the movies than when Han Solo’s spaceship, the Millennium Falcon, jumped to light speed. The man sitting next to me had his little girl on his lap. They both screamed with joy. The whole theater did.

At the end of the film the audience went ballistic. They couldn’t stop applauding. I watched Lucas slump in his seat, overwhelmed, as if he’d just outrun the Death Star’s super laser. Attendants tried to collect the preview cards, but nobody was filling them out. There was no need.

Visit the link above for much more!

AICN – Check out this vintage shot of George Lucas with a prototype for R2-D2.

Telegraph UK – Read this interview with a man building a life-sized Millennium Falcon.

National Review – A look back at Ronald Reagan’s SDI program and its nickname “Star Wars.”

Kotaku – Star Wars figures are modified to make an incredible video game trailer.

Web Pro News – Another day, another Star Wars-related White House petition. This time a petition for “R2-D2 Day.”

Neatorama – Check out the Easter Trooper!

Book & Comic News

Random House posted the synopsis for the upcoming “The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi” by J.W. Rinzler:

Get up close to the action and feel like a studio insider as

• creator George Lucas, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan, and director Richard Marquand huddle in a script conference to debate the destinies of iconic Star Wars characters, as well as plot twists and turns for the epic final showdown between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire
• artists and craftspeople at the groundbreaking Industrial Light & Magic facility top their own revolutionary innovations—despite the infamous Black Friday—with boundary-pushing new analog visual effects
• a crack team of sculptors, puppeteers, actors, and “monster-makers” bring Jabba the Hutt and his cohorts to startling, slobbering life from the inside out
• a who’s who of heavyweight directors—from such films as Superman, Gremlins, Halloween, Dune, Scanners, and Time Bandits—are considered for the coveted job of bringing a new Star Wars adventure to the silver screen
• actors and crew race to the finish line at Elstree Studios, in a fiery desert, and beneath the trees of a dense redwood forest—before money runs out—to answer the questions that audiences had waited three years to find out: Is Darth Vader really Luke’s father, who is the “other”—and who or what is the Emperor?

Star Wars’ stars from both sides of the camera—including Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse, Alec Guinness, director Richard Marquand, producer Howard Kazanjian, Ralph McQuarrie, Joe Johnston, Dennis Muren, Phil Tippett, and mastermind George Lucas—weigh in with candid insights on everything from technical challenges, character design, Ewoks, the Empire’s galactic city planet, and the ultimate challenge of bringing the phenomenal space fantasy to a dramatic close. The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi gives a spectacular subject its just due, with more than five hundred images and many, many new interviews.

Visit the link above for more. This bill will be released October 8, 2013. Thanks to TheForce.Net for the alert!

Star Wars book editor J.W. Rinzler also tweeted the following: “Here’s who’s signing the deluxe SW Art Concept book prints: Joe Johnston, Erik Tiemens, Ryan Church, Doug Chiang, and Iain McCaig. Wow.”

Event News announced that Carrie Fisher will be attending Celebration Europe:

The original princess with an attitude, Carrie Fisher, is slated to appear at Celebration Europe this July 26-28 in Essen, Germany. Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy, Fisher will be greeting fans and signing autographs in the Celebration Autograph Hall organized by Official Pix, and is scheduled to appear on stage for an interview and a question and answer session.

“I’m always excited to do anything that has to do with Star Wars,” said Fisher. “It’s an opportunity to travel with my metal bikini and not take the opportunity to wear my metal bikini. Especially for Germans, the last group of people I’d want to offend, metal-bikini-wise.”

TheForce.Net reports that Billy Dee Williams will be appearing at the “Star Wars – Where Science Meets Imagination” exhibit:

A band of dastardly Stormtroopers challenge the noble Jedi in an epic face-off outside The Tech, where actor Billy Dee Williams, who starred as Lando Calrissian in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, “Obi-Shawn” and other costumed characters reveal the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition arrival in October.

Grab a front row seat and join a cast of larger-than-life characters and a few of-this-world guests to unleash the Force of the blockbuster traveling exhibition that is ending its 20-venue worldwide tour at The Tech.

Visit the link for more info.

The Disney Parks Blog released your first look at the merchandise that will be sold for Star Wars Weekends. Below is a small sample. Hit the link for more!

Finally, Disneyland Tokyo has started promoting their “Star Tours” upgrade. Check it out!