The Star Wars News Roundup – 11.1.13


The purpose of this roundup is to put the highlights of all things Star Wars from the last week in one location. If you read this each week, you should be able to converse fluently with any Star Wars fan on everything from the latest Star Wars: Episode VII developments to the latest toys. And maybe you’ll even share with them something that they might have missed.

Let’s get to it!

Image from Rare Star Wars Pics

Episode VII Movie News Summary

The Hollywood Reporter says that Disney’s push for a 2015 release date may be causing issues on the production:

With the Oct. 24 exit of Star Wars: Episode VII writer Michael Arndt, the studio is under the gun to keep the film on course for a 2015 release despite a script that several insiders say isn’t close to ready.

According to those close to the project, producer Kathleen Kennedy and most of the film’s creative team have asked Disney to push the release to 2016, but studio CEO Robert Iger is adamant that Episode VII — perhaps the franchise’s most anticipated installment since 1999’s The Phantom Menace — not budge. That has created enormous pressure on all involved, with director J.J. Abrams stepping in to take over scripting duties with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote 1980’s Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, considered the best film in the series…

Some sources say Abrams has become autocratic in recent months, wresting some casting control from Kennedy. But others disputed that notion, saying Abrams and Kennedy both have been involved in casting sessions. Unlike Kennedy, Abrams is said to be more in sync with Iger’s desire to meet the 2015 release target — which allows zero margin for error — at all costs.

Visit the link for more of the report. Personally, I’d rather them take their time and do it right, but that’s not what Disney wants to tell shareholders.

Jedi News UK had their source return to give details on the deal with Harrison Ford:

A verbal agreement with Ford to play Han Solo once more has been in principle place since before the Disney deal. Over the course of this summer financial settlements were reached. The outstanding points that had dragged on but are now resolved are:

– Ford wanted to see the synopsis for his character’s development over more than just Episode 7. He saw this in August and is happy with the story arc.

– Ford wanted a commitment to Indy 5. He did not get this as there is no plot line or script in place. What did happen was an agreement was made wherein an outline would be developed by the end of calendar year 2014, and if all parties can agree to it moving forward, efforts would be made to move on Indy 5 for release before the end of 2016.

– Disney wanted a multi film deal with Ford which transcends Episode 7. This has now been agreed.

Jedi News UK also reports that there are actually two production designers on Episode VII:

There are two production designers on Episode VII, Rick Carter and Darren Gilford. This is highly unusual and a sign that they are moving swiftly towards production and want a fast set-up. That could mean that they’ll be designing and building on location and on the soundstages at the same time, thereby speeding up production.

Their source also goes on to say that Disney remains committed to the 2015 release date.

Everyone continues to try and figure out what the switch of writers on “Episode VII” means, but The Huffington Post reminds everyone that this happened on “The Empire Strikes Back” and that turned out OK:

Lucas doesn’t get near enough credit for turning Empire into the movie we know today. It’s become the norm to blame Lucas for writing the sterile prequels (and, yes, he deserves his share of blame for that), but Lucas is mostly responsible for writing Empire as well, even though Lucas did not award himself a writing credit. It was only after Lucas finished his draft that Lawrence Kasdan was brought in to polish up some dialogue. (Kasdan played a much larger role on Return of the Jedi than he did Empire.)

The original Leigh Brackett draft of Empire is a bit of a marvel in and of itself. It’s online if you want to read it (which I have), and it is really drastically different than what appeared in the final film. And it’s an oddity worth exploring to illustrate just how much a story can change from the first draft to the final draft…

As in Empire, Luke winds up on a mysterious bog planet. Only, instead of meeting Yoda, Luke encounters a less cryptic creature named Minch. Minch eventually introduces Luke to the ghost of Ben Kenobi and, most surprisingly, the ghost of Luke’s father.

Yes, one of the biggest twists in cinematic history — Darth Vader being Luke Skywalker’s father — was not in the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back. And, to be honest, it’s not much of a meeting, except that Papa Skywalker explains to Luke that Luke has a sister named Nellith that Papa Skywalker hid in another part of the galaxy. Eventually, Luke takes the “Jedi oath,” which is as corny as it sounds. (Also: this pretty much proves that the Vader-Luke, father-son relationship was not Lucas’ plan all along.)

/Film also has a good summary of everything we know one year since “Episode VII” was announced.

Visit the link for more of the interesting analysis.

Finally, Retroist found this video of Mark Hamill discussing “Episode VII” way back in 1983.


TheForce.Net – New LEGO Star Wars The Yoda Chronicles “Attack of the Jedi” – Premieres Wednesday Nov. 27 on Cartoon Network

Around The Web

George Lucas Interview: Carrie Fisher – In this special featurette from the Lucasfilm vault, George Lucas talks about he came to cast Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in Star Wars. He was “looking for a princess who was young,” around 16 or 17 years old, but who could also convey a sense of authority and hold her own with older, experienced actors. Lucas had seen thousands of potential actors, narrowed it down over the course of nine months, and finally selected Fisher.

StarWars.Com – announcing new Star Wars pins benefiting Variety the Children’s Charity.

Lucasfilm Ltd. has collaborated with Variety the Children’s Charity to create limited edition pins featuring Yoda and Darth Vader for Variety’s 24th annual Gold Heart Pin Campaign. Proceeds will benefit Variety programs that serve children who are disabled and disadvantaged.

The collector’s items will be available for a minimum donation of $3.00 in movie theaters and select retail outlets nationwide from November 2013 – April 2014. A full list of participating locations can be found at

Donations from the 2011 Gold Heart Campaign, featuring fan favorites C-3PO and R2-D2, totaled more than $1.8 million.

“We challenge everyone to be a hero for kids in their community by buying a Variety Gold Heart Pin so we can raise even more this year,” said Erica Lopez, executive director of Variety.

Since 1991, the Gold Heart Pin Campaign has been Variety’s signature fundraising endeavor. Variety works with one major motion picture studio every year, including Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Universal, Sony, Paramount, and Warner Bros. to design a pin based on a film or character. Through this partnership, the Gold Heart Campaign has raised millions of dollars to help children in need.

Visit for more on this year’s limited edition Star Wars pins.

Historic Star Wars-related artifact – 30 minutes of Return of the Jedi footage from a long lost EditDroid Laser Disc!

Historic Star Wars-related artifact of a now dead pre-Avid/Final Cut Pro computerized editing system developed by Lucasfilm which quaintly/wackily used multiple laserdiscs to cue up edits in a ill-conceived, overly-complex, bug-ridden system. One of Lucas’ few commercial flops (you might call this the “Howard The Duck” of editing systems). This is a generic Scotch Videodisc with computer printed label was used to demonstrate the EditDroid system which was debuted at the NAB show in Las Vegas in 1984. Now here’s the amazing part for you Star Wars freaks out there… Approximately 30 minutes of unedited raw, unsweetened work print takes in letterbox format of scene 50 (Luke on Dagobah with Yoda) from “Return of The Jedi” were used – NEVER OFFICIAL RELEASED MATERIAL. Slates, people yelling action, multiple takes of the same scenes of Luke and Yoda…

Star Wars: Theatrical Re-Release Trailer – This trailer for the theatrical re-release of Star Wars showcases many of the film’s most famous scenes and features some surprises — including unfinished lightsaber effects during the duel between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Also notable is the narration, which describes the movie as “a billion years in the making,” and the closing graphic that celebrates the film’s Academy Awards.

The Force – An installation for Google Zurich Office. It consists of over 16,000 LEGO bricks, and took about 10 hours to complete.

For Halloween – The Cat-Piloted Decoy Chewbacca

Video Games

Books and Comics

The Star Wars Blooper Reel from “The Making of Star Wars” Enhanced eBook by J.W Rinzler has been making the rounds online, but it has been removed as fast as it has gone up. Search around on YouTube and you should be able to find a copy of it. It’s well worth checking out!

Bleeding Cool – The Star Wars Sells Out

The Star Wars #1 was a favourite for weeks in the reorder charts on Bleeding Cool. Well, looks like Dark Horse Comics have finally burned through the last of their stocks and the recreation of George Lucas‘ original Star Wars screenplay drafts in comics form has finally sold out. So they’ve gone for a second print.

I understand that the original print run was a sizable 50,000. A second print will be out on the 4th of December (cover, right).


Denver Business Journal – Coming in 2014 – Star Wars Crocs!

The Hollywood Reporter – Report: Disney Quietly Ends Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Slot Machine Deals

Statistic Brain – Star Wars Total Franchise Revenue