Lucasfilm announced today that production of Star Wars: Episode VII will take place in the United Kingdom. All of the six previous live-action Star Wars movies have included UK production in such famed studios as Elstree, Shepperton, Leavesden, Ealing and Pinewood Studios.
"We've devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I'm thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that," said Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm. "Speaking from my own longstanding connection to the UK with films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Empire of the Sun and recently War Horse, it's very exciting to be heading back."
Earlier this year, representatives from Lucasfilm met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in London to establish an agreement to produce Star Wars in the U.K. "I am delighted that Star Wars is coming back to Britain. Today's announcement that the next Star Wars film will be shot and produced in the UK is great news for fans and our creative industries," Osborne said today.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Michael Arndt and is scheduled for a 2015 release.
Star Wars Celebration also announced that Kathleen Kennedy will be appearing at the convention in Germany this summer, so you can expect some "Episode VII" news to be released there:
Kathleen Kennedy - Her Premiere Celebration Appearance!
Kathleen Kennedy, the President of Lucasfilm and producer of Star Wars Episode VII, will make her inaugural Star Wars Celebration appearance in Essen this July. Expect to see Kennedy on the Celebration stage, talking with celebrity host Warwick Davis about her amazing career in the movie industry and her recent move to Lucasfilm. This will be a landmark experience especially for fans at Star Wars Celebration Europe!
"When I joined Lucasfilm, I immediately saw the true passion shared by Star Wars fans around the world. I'm thrilled to attend my first Star Wars Celebration and see in person that energy that makes the Star Wars experience so special."
Visit the link for Celebration details.
Speaking of Kathleen Kennedy, a couple of weeks ago she mentioned that "Episode VII" might not have the level of secrecy that fans have come to expect. /Film spoke with "Episode VII" producer Bryan Burk who said he actually wants some secrecy on the project:
Well we haven’t had those conversations, but I’m sure she would agree, and by the way having grown up watching all of her movies, you know… nobody saw ET before and I didn’t know what the temple in The Temple of Doom was until I saw it. I guess what I’m saying is it’s always that balance. It’s a hard thing. If I were to right now tell you all of the things that were going to happen in Star Wars in detail, the left side of your brain would say ’Awesome,’ you guys would have this exclusive and know all of this stuff. But the right side is going to sit down one day and see the movie for the first time and you’d have all of that kind of spoiled, so it’s that balance of wanting to know everything and not wanting to know everything at the same time.
It’s like a magic trick and there’s nobody who wants to know how all of the magic tricks are done more than me. Then the second I learn how they are done, it’s like “Oh” and it kind of goes away. So it’s a little bit of that balance and it’s funny, because I’m having this conversation with Damon sitting next to me who we would regularly talk about this on Lost. His mother is one of those people who, when reading a “whodunnit” novel, will always turn to the last page immediately and find out who did it. She is one of those people, but I think people who are desperate to find out what’s going on with Star Wars as we move forward are going to find out what’s happening with it. It’s just you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t.
Visit the link for comments from Damon Lindelof on his thoughts about spoilers online.
J.J. Abrams visited the Howard Stern Show and spoke a bit about Star Wars: Episode VII. You can hear the interview in the video below. The "Star Wars" talk begins at 23:52.
Jon Stewart also interviewed Abrams on "The Daily Show" where he spoke more about "Episode VII":
Abrams was also interviewed by Omelete and he spoke about his favorite film in the original trilogy and who shot first:
The Wrap also has an interesting theory that a battle over "Star Trek" rights between Paramount and CBS helped push J.J. Abrams to "Star Wars":
A struggle over the U.S.S. Enterprise's past and future helped sour J.J. Abrams on the "Star Trek" franchise and may have contributed to his decision to take on the "Star Wars" universe.
Competing ambitions between Paramount, CBS and Abrams' production company Bad Robot over merchandising surrounding the first film in the rebooted "Star Trek" franchise led the director to curtail plans to turn the series into a multi-platform experience that spanned television, digital entertainment and comic books, according to an individual with knowledge of the dispute.
"J.J. just threw up his hands," the individual told TheWrap. "The message was, 'Why set up all this when we'll just be competing against ourselves?' The studio wanted to please Bad Robot, but it was allowing CBS to say yay or nay when it came to what was happening with the 'Star Trek' products."
Read the link for more speculation.
The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Brad Bird who confirmed that he turned down an offer to direct "Episode VII":
"They did come to me. But the problem was, the schedule they had in mind made it impossible to do…unless I dropped Tomorrowland. And I was just really deeply into this film at that point. It’s easy to say, “Just put it on hold.” But you’re moving now; you don’t know if you’re going to be able to move later. Maybe it’s true of filmmakers like Cameron or Spielberg, but I have to act on momentum. We had reached a critical mass where it would’ve thrown the furniture around from the train stopping. I really want to see this movie. I love the Star Wars films, and I can’t wait to see what J.J. does, but it meant I’d have to shut down one dream to participate in another. I feel like [with Tomorrowland] we’re making something that’s really special and unique."
Visit the link for more of the interview.
Add R2-D2 actor Kenny Baker to the list of people who are waiting by their phone for a call from J.J. Abrams. The Lancashire Evening Post reports:
"I will drop them a few hints and hopefully they will give me a call eventually!"
Kenny Baker doesn't know whether he will feature in the next instalment of Star Wars - reprising his role inside the lovable robot R2-D2.
But the announcement that filming of the next movie will take place in England, returning the cult sci-fi series to its British roots, has left the 3ft 8in actor hopeful of being part of the biggest blockbuster of 2015.
The 78-year-old, who lives in Preston, says: "I don't know if I will be part of it, but it’s very good for the industry as whole, the filmmakers down at Pinewood.
"They've got some specialist people down there, the guys using woodchippers, making sets, electricians, designers, they’ve got a gang of them, a really good team, so it will be good for them."
The link above has more from Baker.
J.J. Abrams had a little fun on the Jimmy Kimmel show as he took story ideas for "Episode VII" from fans in the audience including a couple of surprise guests:
Star Wars Television
Dave Filoni continues to tease about the upcoming "Star Wars" animated series by using the beloved TIE Fighter:
TheForce.Net also noticed a few other Easter Eggs in the video. Visit the link for details.
Forbes reports that EA is setting up a new office in Los Angeles specifically dedicated to their upcoming Star wars games:
In order to specifically deal with this opportunity, EA is opening a new branch of DICE in LA (using some of the old Medal of Honor staff), nestled right near Activision’s Infinity Ward and Treyarch. DICE is based in Stockholm, but the new LA office should eventually have 60 to its name, with a dedicated focus on new Star Wars IPs.
What this means is that yes, these new Star Wars titles will use the rather fantastic Frostbite 3 engine. A report says that EA is considering either making entirely new stories in the Star Wars universe, or expanding on stories currently in the cannon. No word on what sort of games Disney will oblige them to make in conjunction with the movies, but that’s still a long ways off.
Visit the link for more.
Around The Web
How Star Wars Characters Eat Their Food
StarWars.com recaps the Entertainment Weekly 30th Anniversary Screening of Return of the Jedi
CNN - CNN goes fanboy and starts debating the technology of "Star Wars" and "Star Trek." Can't we all just get along?
The Telegraph - "Doctor Who" fans battle "Star Wars" fans. Apparently we can't get along.
Dark Horse announced a new Ewoks book that takes place immediately before the events in "Return of the Jedi"
STAR WARS: EWOKS—SHADOWS OF ENDOR TPB
Until now, the Ewoks had been able to ignore the arrival of the Empire's stormtroopers on Endor. But when they discover their rivals, the Agluks, have been enslaved and a legendary beast has been awakened, the Ewoks realize they may have to prepare for war—as soon as they figure out how to survive the beast!
* Leads directly into the events of Return of the Jedi!
* Ties into the beloved Ewoks TV series and movies!
This will be in stores October 18, 2013.
Newsarama - Check out this interview with "Star Wars Legacy" creators Corinne Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Rebelscum - Check out this listing for all of Dark Horse Comics August "Star Wars" listings.
Jedi News UK - Check out the 2013 "Star Wars" LEGOs including Jabba's Sail Barge!
Disney Parks Blog announced that they'll be selling exclusive "Star Wars"-themed gift cards at the park during "Star Wars Weekends":
Weekend 1: Skywalker Mickey, May 17
Weekend 2: Darth Donald, May 24
Weekend 3: Yoda Stitch, May 31
Weekend 4: Darth Goofy, June 7
Hit the link for more details.
Geekologie - Check out this miniature metal Millennium Falcon model. Hit the link for an R2-D2 as well.