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 Retro Star Wars Strikes Back
Episode VII Movie News Summary
In a little bit of news, StarWars.com quietly opened their “Episode VII” section collecting all of the sequel articles to date.
Within the new “Episode VII” section, a new article was added talking about the first behind the scenes photo last week. While it confirmed that R2-D2 is, in fact, in “Episode VII” (Seriously? Was this ever in doubt???), it did add a very significant bit of information – fans have been hired to fabricate R2-D2 and all of the droids in the film:
Meet Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, Star Wars fans and members of the worldwide R2-D2 Builders Club. They create fully functioning, film-accurate astromech droids like the R2-D2 seen in the photo, and they’re officially part of the Creature Effects team for Star Wars: Episode VII. They didn’t apply for their jobs, but still had what is probably the best reference one could hope for.
“It all started when Kathleen Kennedy toured the R2-D2 Builders area at Celebration Europe this past summer in Germany,” says Steeples, who finished his first R2-D2 in 2007, after 10 years of collecting parts and researching. “She posed for pictures with us, looked at all the droids we’d built and was very complimentary. I mentioned that the R2-D2 Builders in the UK were available if required, as a semi-joke. When I was contacted to work on the film by [executive producer] Jason McGatlin, it was on her recommendation.”
The link has a lot more information, so check it out.
Casting calls for “Episode VII” continued around the world. TheForce.Net did a nice roundup of reports from Chicago. Here’s a recount of what the hopefuls faced:
“The spiel from a casting director came when the hopefuls were finally inside the Park West after a line that stretched around the block.
It was all for about 20 to 30 seconds, one-on-one with a casting director.
More young men than young women showed up for the meet-and-greet.
Many of them had brought head-shots. Nobody showed up in a Star Wars costume, following directions from the directors.”
The Detroit News also reported that 2000 turned up for the casting call in Troy:
The casting call drew actors from as far away as Connecticut. Some were asked to return today for follow-up video interviews. Most others got brief face time.
“They really didn’t talk to us that much,” said Ben Boynton, 18, of Waterford Township. “They just asked us one or two questions and they sent us on our way.”
Visit the link for more details. TheForce.Net has a roundup of other reports from the casting call.
But surprisingly, actor Jason Flemyng (“X-Men: First Class”) posted a page from an audition script on Instagram. Though it has been removed, this is the internet and nothing ever dies here. ComicBook.com grabbed the image.
Bleeding Cool also transcribed the text of the script pages being used for auditions:
Rachel labors to bear Thomas’s weight as they inch their way down a deserted road, blood dripping from his leg.
He’s trying to stomach an apple
THOMAS (kidding): Can’t you go any faster?
RACHEL: Shut up and eat your apple.
He enjoyed that, but every step is sheer agony on the leg.
RACHEL: There’s a barn a little farther up the road
A big barn, dark and damp. Rachel covers the floor with hay, then lays out her sleeping bag. Thomas looks through her backpack for anything he can use as a bandage.
RACHEL: You need rest.
She lowers him down which puts her face mere inches from his open would. She cringes without meaning to.
THOMAS: Sorry. I know it’s –
RACHEL: It’s fine. I’m just not a big fan of blood.
Check out the link for the full text.
Bleeding Cool posted a rumor that “Doctor Who” actor Matt Smith also auditioned for a role.
J.J. Abrams was interviewed by NPR and talk turned to Star Wars:
RATH: Are you able to talk at all about the new “Star Wars” film?
ABRAMS: I mean, it’s too early to say anything specific, but I will say that we’re hard at work on it and it’s – it could not be more of a thrill to be involved.
RATH: You know, I have to say, for a lot of science fiction geeks like myself – before anybody complains – that when you took over the “Star Wars” franchise, our heads almost exploded. It’s almost like that was too much power for one man.
RATH: How do you feel about that?
ABRAMS: I agree. It’s too much power for one man. The truth is that the “Star Wars” series is something that had such meaning for me as a kid. When they approached me about it, I was insanely flattered but felt like it was too much. Having done, frankly, you know, “Mission Impossible” and “Star Trek,” I was already involved in a couple series that pre-existed me, and I wanted to get back to doing original stories.
Visit the link for the full interview.
There’s a nice little interview with John Williams over at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He spoke briefly about his future plans:
At 81 years old, legendary composer John Williams is busier than ever, as he scores JJ Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII” and is raring to work on Steven Spielberg’s “Indiana Jones 5.” John quipped that he expects to be working until he’s 100 and beyond. The Oscar and Golden Globe awardee’s credit list is staggering as it stands: all six “Star Wars” films, the first three “Harry Potter” films, the “Indiana Jones” films, “E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial,” “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Schindler’s List,” just to mention a few.
Check out the article for much more.
ComingSoon.net caught up with Production Designer Rick Carter, who spoke about “Episode VII”:
“I offered my services to Kathy Kennedy,” Carter says of Episode VII, “who I had known for a long time. I said, ‘If you’re going to get involved with ‘Star Wars’ in this new generation, I’d love to be a part of the dialogue and help.’ She invited me in last January and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Then J.J. [Abrams] came in and we hit it off.”
The Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm production is taking an interesting approach to the film’s design, teaming Carter with a younger designer, Darren Gilford. Carter explains that, by working in tandem, the pair can mix classic and modern sensibilities.
“We’re kind of both production designing the movie as a team,” Carter continues, “to help give J.J. the best of what his generation and the new generation can offer with Darren Gilford and also myself as a guide that takes us back to not so long, long ago, but to the ’70’s where I was around and making movies that old-fashioned way. Whenever we want to touch that level, it relates to something that’s not just being made up as though it’s new. It’s being rediscovered.”
Check the link for more of his comments.
Samuel L. Jackson visited David Letterman and the discussion went to “Episode VII.” View his comments below! You may also note that he says Mark Hamill hasn’t spoken to Abrams yet. That got some people’s attention this week.
Investors are reacting to the news that Star Wars will be delayed .and believe it or not, sanity seems to be prevailing. Daily Finance reports:
The force is strong with Disney, although apparently it isn’t quite strong enough yet considering Disney delayed the release of the much-anticipated new Star Wars trilogy until December 2015. Originally set to release a full seven months earlier, Disney CEO Bob Iger stated, “We’ve chosen a date we believe will allow the creative team the time to make a great film.”
While obviously a disappointment to fans, the move may not be much of a disappointment to investors. Considering the massive popularity and scale of the series, the paramount objective for management at Disney is to create a new trilogy in the Star Wars universe that is of the highest quality. Not only will the new movies draw in the legions of already loyal fans, but they have the potential to dazzle a whole new, younger generation as well. The success of the movies also ties in directly to the success of ancillary video games and animated series spin-offs.
The Orlando Business Journal further breaks down why a delay is a good thing:
Haste makes waste: Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm set social media on fire with speculation. Several fans still believe the Disney magic will dilute The Force and change the appeal of the resulting films. But pushing back the release date shows Disney’s commitment to taking its time and producing a superior product. Sticking to the original release date, especially after a production shake-up, which resulted in J.J. Abrams sharing writing duties with Star Wars royalty Lawrence Kasdan, would make Disney’s lack of flexibility disturbing.
Avoiding the crowd: A new Star Wars film will be a big deal no matter when it’s released. But there is already a big line forming in the opening-day queue for summer 2015. Disney will be releasing the next Avengers movie and Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland that season. And franchises like Jurassic Park, The Hunger Games and Terminator also are returning to theaters at that time. Waiting until the field has cleared will make Star Wars stand out even more. Besides, it was the release of the first Star Wars film in May 1977 that started the summer blockbuster trend. Why not start the new chapter by re-writing the book.
Putting the hype in hyperspace: Along with more production time comes more promotion time. And not just for themed monorails on Disney property and online movie trailers. I’m talking about revenue-generating events. Events like the Star Wars Celebrations and Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios represent a plethora of opportunity for teasers, meet-and-greets and sneak peeks. If there were additional pre-release events in Walt Disney World and Disneyland parks, the fans would follow.
Read the article for more.
Finally, stunt coordinator Nick Gillard is not expecting to return for “Episode VII.”
@MakingStarWars. I'd say that was very very unlikely.
— Nick Gillard (@TheNickGillard) November 19, 2013
Here’s a new “Star Wars Rebels” rumor:
Billy Dee Williams let slip that he's doing voice work for #StarWarsRebels at Rhode Island Comic Con? And my cousin in RI didn't tell me!?
— Johnamarie Macias (@BlueJaigEyes) November 16, 2013
A new poster was also posted online:
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 20, 2013
Around The Web
Variety – Star Wars’ Characters to Appear in Lego’ Movie.
Gigwise – Giorgio Moroder: “Star Wars influenced Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love.'”
Art of VFX – An interview with ILM’s John Knoll.
Can it truly be? pic.twitter.com/JmzePr6zAs
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) November 15, 2013
— Rare Star Wars Pics (@UnseenStarWars) November 15, 2013
— Rare Star Wars Pics (@UnseenStarWars) November 15, 2013
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK: (No joke) The Empire team initially hired a trainer and a MONKEY to hold a cane & play YODA. pic.twitter.com/tQPt5Jebqp
— will mccrabb (@mccrabb_will) November 18, 2013
— Rare Star Wars Pics (@UnseenStarWars) November 19, 2013
— Nathan Fillion (@NathanFillion) November 20, 2013
Harrison Ford meets David Blaine…
George Lucas Interview: Writing Star Wars – This recently unearthed George Lucas interview covers the evolution of the first Star Wars script. Lucas, writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, says that his original screenplay was “way too big to make into a movie.” He took the first third of his script and used that as the basis for what would become Episode IV. In the process of rewriting, he decided that Ben Kenobi was not necessary for the story after his duel with Darth Vader; in the original version of his rough draft, Kenobi lived, but Lucas realized it would be more interesting if Vader was to kill him, and Kenobi could take another form. After the success of the film, Lucas had to make other changes to the overall story. In the original concept, the Battle of Endor from Return of the Jedi was meant to take place on a Wookiee planet. Since Lucas had established Wookiees as being mechanically inclined by making Chewbacca an able co-pilot to Han Solo, he felt he could not use them for the final battle; thus, Ewoks were introduced. Similarly, since Obi-Wan Kenobi was killed, Lucas needed another Jedi Master who could train Luke Skywalker. This led to the creation of Yoda for The Empire Strikes Back.
Star Wars: Theatrical Re-Release Trailer (1981) – This Star Wars trailer is for a limited two-week re-release of the film on April 10, 1981. This re-release was historic, as it would mark the first appearance of “Episode IV A New Hope” in the movie’s opening crawl, officially rebranding the film as Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope — in its original release, it was simply called Star Wars.
The short trailer features clips from several scenes, including Han Solo blasting Stormtroopers on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s encounter with Sand People, and the Millennium Falcon’s escape from the Death Star. The trailer’s narrator calls the film “legendary” and describes it as “the most popular film of all time” — referencing the box office record for ticket sales held by Star Wars at the time.
ABC News – Amazing Star Wars Scenes In LEGOs.
Neatorama – Felted Star Wars Tributes.
Books and Comics
— J. W. Rinzler (@jwrinzler) November 15, 2013
— StarWarsBooks (@DelReyStarWars) November 15, 2013
— PREVIEWSworld (@PREVIEWSworld) November 18, 2013
COVER REVEAL ALERT! We're really excited to show you guys the great cover for Honor Among Thieves by Alan Brooks. pic.twitter.com/YmlshinW6D
— StarWarsBooks (@DelReyStarWars) November 19, 2013
Disney Press' product listing for the Rebels picture book has been updated & it will come with an ebook free pic.twitter.com/LeXHnvZJ5k
— Rebels Report (@RebelsReport) November 12, 2013
StarWars.com – Star Wars in the UK: Star Wars Comic Book Annuals.
Variety – Star Wars’ Video Games to be Treated as Their Own Franchises by Lucasfilm, EA.
— Rare Star Wars Pics (@UnseenStarWars) November 17, 2013
— io9 (@io9) November 19, 2013
The first to have printed arms, this variant of Boba Fett is one of the rarest and most collectible LEGO minifigures pic.twitter.com/VNumgABptu
— DK US (@dkpublishing) October 21, 2013
Rebelscum – Star Wars ViewMaster With Prequel Stories Found.