Continuing the trend of former "Star Wars" cast members being quizzed about their involvement in Star Wars: Episode VII, Digital Spy reports that Warwick Davis was recently asked the million dollar question:
He said on The Jonathan Ross show: "I haven't been asked. I was delighted to hear they're doing some more.
"I'm not overly keen to jump in those furry feet again, but would like to be part of it."
Davis added: "I'd love a light sabre this time, who doesn't want a light sabre? I think a darker character, someone on the dark side would be interesting. When you're an actor, the baddies are the ones people remember."
Visit the link above for more. And when is someone going to ask Denis Lawson if Wedge will be back?
Meanwhile, over April Fools' Day there were many "Episode VII" jokes. But the best one seems to have been played by Peter Jackson as reported by ComicBook.com:
Because it's April Fool's Day, we really don't know what to make of this once, except it's absolutely true. Earlier today, Peter Jackson released around a six minute excerpt of the live event that was done the other week to preview The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
During the video, Peter Jackson bends down to retrieve some artwork from a drawer in a coffee table in front of him. As Jackson pulls the artwork out, some other papers fall out for only a brief second. One of the documents that falls down is a Star Wars Episode VIII script that is labeled Peter Jackson. This all happens at exactly the four minute and fifty-one second point in the video, so you can check it out with your own eyes.
You can see the whole video here, but blink and you'll miss it:
SFX spoke with J.J. Abrams about the "Star Wars" influences on "Star Trek."
FX: Will we be seeing even more Star Wars influence this time out?
"I wouldn't say that the first movie is an absolute Star Wars derivation. The irony of course being that Star Trek came out before Star Wars. We're inheriting Star Trek, so we're allowed to do space stuff. Of course when Star Wars came out, people referred to Star Trek, because it was spaceships. Everything is sort of a derivation of everything else. Just the way Star Wars was of Flash Gordon and of dogfight war films in the TIE Fighter sequences. Everything has something it borrows from.
Visit the link for more.
Finally, Josh Lange created this fun mashup of the "Little Miss Sunshine" poster and "Star Wars." Click the link for details!
When can we expect the Episode VII Title and Trailer?
As plans for "Episode VII" develop, there are going to be many rumors about the title and the eventual release date of the trailer. On TheForce.Net, these were big topics of discussion before all three prequels. So what can fans expect for the new Star Wars sequel? Before looking forward, it helps to look back.
On "Episode I," there were many rumored titles years before the official one was announced. They included names like "Balance of the Force," "Genesis," "Children of the Force," "Guardians of the Force," and "Crusaders of the Force." While these were all either wishful thoughts by fans or outright fabrications, some rumored titles did have a degree of truth to them. For a while, "Red Tails" was even thought to be a cover name for the film, but it turned out to be the title for George Lucas' long developing pet project about the Tuskegee airmen. It also turned out that "Episode I" did have a working title different from the final title. Early scripts simply called it "The Beginning." The final title of "The Phantom Menace" was announced on September 25, 1998 on StarWars.com. That created a resounding, "Huh?" from fans. The announcement was only eight months before the film was released on May 21, 1999.
The title for "Episode II," "Attack of the Clones," was announced a bit earlier on StarWars.com on August 7, 2001. That was just 9 months before the May 16, 2002 release date. "Episode II" had a working title as well. It was "Jar Jar's Great Adventure" which was a joke by Lucas after the bad fan reception to Jar Jar in "Episode I." Lucasfilm took a different tactic for announcing the title to "Episode III." Steve Sansweet announced the title "Revenge of the Sith" at the San Diego Comic-Con on July 26, 2004. That was 10 months before the film was released on May 19, 2005. (T-shirt sales immediately followed in the exhibit hall.)
As for the trailers, the first trailers always appeared in the November before the release date. Accurate descriptions of the trailers typically appeared in October before that as insiders started getting sneak peeks at them.
So what can fans expect for "Episode VII"? The current target release date is 2015. It's probably safe to assume that the film would be released mid-May 2015 if they can stay on target (see what I did there?). You may hear some working titles leak out any time between now and then, but I wouldn't expect the official title to be released until late summer of 2014. And while they released the title of "Revenge of the Sith" at San Diego Comic-Con, I would expect Disney to save that announcement for their D23 convention some time in 2014 (if there is one, usually they happen every other year and there is one this August). As for the trailer, expect accurate descriptions to leak out in October 2014 and the release of the trailer in November 2014. (All this being said, I think expecting them to release the film in 2015 is possible but unlikely. 2016 seems more realistic.)
Star Wars Video Games
The big news of the week was that Disney shut down LucasArts and laid off all but a few of their staff. They released the following statement:
"After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."
Variety also reports that the LucasArts shutdown has had impacts at ILM:
Today's announcement of the shuttering of LucasArts Games and the layoffs that followed has had a ripple effect within Lucasfilm: Layoffs at Industrial Light & Magic.
Lucasfilm has long had a strategy of sharing technical resources and staff among visual effects, animation and games. But with production finished on the "Clone Wars" animated series and the next Star Wars animated series not yet in production, and the closing of LucasArts, a portion of its staff was left working only for ILM's vfx business.
The fallout from this is that the recently announced game Star Wars 1313 is now in limbo along with the game "Star Wars - First Assault." The games could be cancelled altogether or may be on hold according to different news sources. A gameplay trailer for Star Wars 1313 can be seen below. MTV UK also adds that the game was rumored to have starred Boba Fett.
NBC News - Raven Software has made the Jedi Knight game source code open to the world.
Around The Web
In honor of Roger Ebert, here's the Siskel & Ebert 1983 special "Secret of Star Wars" (Part 1 of 3)
Yahoo News talks about "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" and what they reveal about personality disorders:
Thanks to the infamous "Star Wars" prequels, we now know that the villainous Darth Vader was not always bad. But the greatest villain of "Star Trek," Khan Noonan Singh, was literally born bad–a product of genetic engineering who believed himself superior to lesser men. So, which is the better story?
"Vader is someone you can probably diagnose with borderline personality disorder," Mattu said. "In fact, the American Psychological Association hosted a talk on this very topic in 2007. Whereas Khan is the most dangerous thing in social psychology when you dehumanize people. You get things like the eugenics wars and the Nazis."
"Khan had a later life transformation," said Larry Nemecek, author of "Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion." "When we first met him in the "Stark Trek" television series, he was a villain. But when he comes back in the second film ("Wrath of Kahn"), his wife has been killed and his adopted planet ruined."
For her part, Dr. Andrea Letamendi, a psychologist, said Vader's story was more compelling because of its complexity.
"George Lucas really has an understanding of what makes evil," she said. "There is a sophistication of what makes risk, loss and antisocial behavior. We are reminded that humans are complex."
For his part, "Robot Chicken" writer Hugh Sterbakov did see one common failing of the two diabolical leaders: "They're both really bad at choosing assistants," he said, noting that in the accompanying photos for the panel, both men are seen lifting men into the air by their throats.
In case you missed it, Dark Horse Comics announced at WonderCon that they will be adapting George Lucas' first draft of Star Wars into comic form. ComingSoon.net posted the details. Here's the press release:
It's no April Fools' prank! Dark Horse is honored to announce a dream project: working with J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at LucasBooks, and artist Mike Mayhew (Avengers) to adapt the rough-draft original screenplay which spawned the biggest franchise in film history!
Three years before his 1977 film, George Lucas put down on paper his first story set in a galaxy far, far away—a tale of fantastic adventures, daring escapes, "lazer swords," romance, and monsters. A story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker, an alien named Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights. The screenplay was titled The Star Wars!
"I'm not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago—but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side," said longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley. "I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,' so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true."
"While researching in the Lucasfilm Archives I've found many treasures—but one which truly astounded me was George's rough draft for The Star Wars. His first complete imaginings were hallucinating to read—mind blowing," said writer J.W. Rinzler. "While working with George on another book project, I once asked if we could adapt his rough draft. He was hesitant. Years later, with Dark Horse's invaluable help, we showed him a few drawn and colored pages of what it might look like. He gave us the okay."
Originally conceived in 1974, The Star Wars has been the subject of rumor and legend in the fan community throughout the history of the galaxy far, far away. Now, Lucas has seen fit to grant Dark Horse the right to adapt this fabled story into an eight-issue comic series launching in September!
Hollywood.com got additional details on the project from writer and editor J.W. Rinzler:
A Long Time Ago…: Lucas did indeed write an opening crawl into his earliest draft. The Jedi Bendu were guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy for 100,000 years in The Star Wars, as opposed to the canonical 36,000 we've come to know. And they didn't serve the Galactic Republic. No, they actually were the personal bodygards of a benevolent Emperor. They led his space forces across the galaxy to bring order from chaos, much the way the Jedi lead the Republic's military during the Clone Wars. The Jedi and their Emperor were defeated by the "Knights of Sith." The Sith replaced their rule with a New Empire.
It's Still a Father-Son Story: Like Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope, The Star Wars is about the coming of age of a young man. But that young man isn't Luke Skywalker. It's Annikin Starkiller (the name was an homage to Swiss Family Robinson director Ken Annakin), who, with his father Kane Starkiller, a former Jedi Bendu, must leave their home planet of Utapau in the Kissel system for Aquilae, a planet still independent from the rule of the Empire.
It's incredible to think that the word "Utapau" would make it into Lucas' draft in 1974, but not actually appear onscreen until Revenge of the Sith 31 years later. (For those of you with short memories, Utapau is the sinkhole planet where Obi-Wan duels General Grievous.) And "Kissell" seems to be an early version of Kessell, home of the galaxy's most notorious spice mines.
Visit the link for more details.
Another great unofficial book has been released - "The Star Wars Filming Locations of The United States." As the title states, it features the exact locations and information about every filming location of the movies in the US. Co-author Carl Cunningham explains:
We made a couple of discoveries during our trip to Death Valley National Park in April of last year. One was a "new" location, the other one was one that has significantly changed due to a freak flash flood a couple years ago. In the essence of completeness and accuracy this required us revisiting our travel guide book to add a short new chapter on the additional location, and updating information on the other. This new edition of the book will be the FINAL, definitive version and only one on the U.S. Locations. And it is available NOW. Here's a direct link to it on Amazon:
Also... We do still have a few (10) copies of the original, First Edition book left for those interested. What's more, we have these copies in-hand ourselves, they are SIGNED, and because we have them ourselves we can sell them a little cheaper than Amazon (who now only stocks the new 2nd Edition as of today). Once these last 10 copies of the 1st Edition are gone, that's it... they're gone for good. We can sell them for $30 shipped within the U.S. If you're interested, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Amazon.com now has a new cheaper edition of Star Wars Blueprints. If you ever wanted to build your own X-Wing or droid, this is required:
Star Wars: The Blueprints brings together the original technical drawings from deep within the Lucasfilm Archives. Combined with insightful commentary from best-selling author J. W. Rinzler, the collection maps in precise, vivid, and intricate detail the very genesis of one of the most enduring and beloved stories to appear onscreen.
The meticulously researched text gives voice to the groundbreaking and brilliant engineers, designers, and artists that have, in film after film, created the most imaginative and iconic locales. Blueprints shows how in bringing this extraordinary epic to life, early concepts were translated into iconic sets—the rebel blockade runner, the Millennium Falcon, the bridge of General Grievous's flagship, Jabba the Hutt's throne room, and many others—thanks to the exquisite craftsmanship and artistry of successive art departments.
•More than 250 blueprints
•More than 500 photographs and illustrations
Live in Sacramento, CA? Then you might want to check this out. WestSac.com has details on Star Wars Day:
Vacuum your Chewbacca suit, or polish your Storm Trooper armor:
A "Star Wars Day" celebration is planned for 4-9 p.m. on Sat., May 4, at the West Sacramento Community Center, 1075 West Capitol Avenue. It will be a celebration of the culture of the movie series, with Star Wars toy appraisals, patrolling Storm Troopers, games, shows, memorabilia, children's costume contest, and more. Co-sponsored by the City and Toyfusion.com.
Hit the link for more info.
TheForce.Net alerts us that Femi Taylor (Oola) & Tim Dry (J'Quille & Mon Calamari Officer) have been added to Celebration Europe.
RebelScum.com - Topps has a new set of Star Wars cards on the way that will include Harrison Ford signed cards. Click the link for details.
Austrian Independent reports that some controversy over the LEGO Jabba's Palace has prompted LEGO to announce that they will end production of the set.
Toy giants Lego have agreed to remove a Star Wars play set after furious Turkish community leaders said it was racist and anti-Muslim.
The Jabba the Hutt set is supposed to show the movie-villain in his intergalactic lair surrounded by his henchmen and prisoners.
But angry Turkish community leaders in Austria say they have forced Lego to scrap toy by after a campaign declaring the set "sacrilege" and "racist."
The row first erupted in January, after a Muslim dad complained when a relative bought one of the toys for his son as a Christmas present.
Now Birol Kilic - president of the Turkish Cultural Association of Austria - claims that Lego has climbed down over the row.
A press release from the association states: "We are very grateful and congratulate Lego on the decision from 2014 to take the Lego Star Wars product Jabba's Palace out of production and no longer to have it on sale."
LEGO typically produces a limited number of their sets anyway, so they had probably finished making the sets anyway despite this group's claim of victory.
IGN - Want the soundtrack to "The Phantom Menace" on vinyl? You're in luck.