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The Star Wars News Roundup - 5.24.13

Source:   Scott Chitwood
May 24, 2013



Episode VII and Spinoff Movie News Summary

Latino Review posted one of the first casting rumors for Star Wars: Episode VII:

This is a name that has been thrown around a lot, especially since he has a relationship with J.J. Abrams. He appeared in Mission Impossible: III, directed by Abrams.

Sounds like he already has it.

He's none other than…

The Tudors (2007-2010) star Jonathan Rhys Meyers.


We'll see if this pans out!

Patton Oswalt's hilarious "Episode VII" filibuster from Parks & Recreation, now animated!



Wired speculates on what Star Trek Into Darkness could mean for "Episode VII":

That said, there are rumors that former Star Wars faces like Harrison Ford/Han Solo and Carrie Fisher/Leia will return. And in the event that they do, Abrams can handle it. For all of the missteps in Darkness‘s self-referencing, he did a fine job working original Spock Leonard Nimoy into the 2009 Trek film. He just needs to lean more toward the fun, loose feel of his first Trek film and not the trying-a-bit-too-hard vibe of the second.

Bottom line: While there are still a lot of pitfalls for Abrams to avoid in his forthcoming Star Wars, they won't be the same ones he faced with Trek. He's a visionary at making space spectacles and his "Mystery Box" formula of keeping things under wraps until butts are in seats (and sometimes even after that) lends itself well to this brave new world of uncharted Star Wars territory. And, by his own admission, he was always more of a Millennium Falcon fan than an Enterprise lover.


Visit the link for more!

Grantland spoke with Damon Lindelof about whether or not he'd be involved in a "Star Wars" film:

Now, it does sound, based on what I'm hearing, like Disney is going to make 14 Star Wars movies a year, maybe 15 if they can squeeze it in.

I've heard that, yeah.

So there'll be a January Star Wars movie, a February one —

Holiday specials.

I joke, kind of, but clearly, they've got a number of different projects, and if I were a betting man, I'd say they're going to have to flirt with killing the golden goose, and then they'll pull back. But I'd say over the next decade, you and I are going to get five Star Wars films, and it won't be Episode VII, but I may be involved in one of them when the pressure isn't as intense.


He talks a lot more about "Star Wars" and writer Michael Arndt at the link.

The Wall Street Journal also spoke with "Star Trek and "Transformers" writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci who addressed whether or not they'd be doing a Star Wars film:

Is there any chance you'll work with J.J. Abrams on "Star Wars"?

Kurtzman: I don't think so. Obviously the God analogy applies there as well. But I think all of our slates are pretty full right now. I think we're very happy with what we've done on "Star Trek" and our heads have been there, you know? They haven't really gone past that point. I think right now we're mostly excited to sit there in the theater and be fans of the next "Star Wars" movie. You don't get that opportunity very often so I'm not sure we want to dilute it.


Meanwhile, Buzzfeed spoke with long time J.J. Abrams collaborator Michael Kaplan who confirmed he'd be working on costumes "Episode VII":

So will you be switching up and maybe picking a period drama for your next film? What's coming up next?

Well, I've just learned I'll be working on the new Star Wars movie, again with J.J. Everything just got formalized [last week], I haven't even had the chance to talk to anyone about it all other than to be told ‘welcome aboard.' It's a little too soon to know exactly what's in store but I'm excited, absolutely, to get to work on another prestigious sci-fi series."


Variety reports that Star Wars veteran John Knoll has been promoted to Chief Creative Officer of ILM alongside president Lynwen Brennan:

"We have well-established supervisors here that certainly don't need me to interfere with their projects," said Knoll. "Michael Bay comes because he wants to work with Scott Farrar. J.J. (Abrams) comes to ILM because he has a great relationship with Roger Guyett. These things are already working and I don't need to interfere. (My role) is just to help from a facilities standpoint to make sure they get the resources they need, and to troubleshoot problems."

ILM is in active planning for the next "Star Wars" picture and Brennan said the company is planning to manage all of the vfx for "Episode VII" and future "Star Wars" pics, though she left the door open to subcontracting some of the work. The company is investigating the possibility of opening a London branch, said Brennan.


The link above has more details.

Finally, add Josh Holloway to the list of actors who would love to be in "Star Wars. Visit E! Online for his comments.



Star Wars Television

The big news of the week is Disney's new animated series entitled "Star Wars Rebels." StarWars.com has the press release:

Production has begun on Star Wars Rebels, an exciting, all-new animated television series based on one of the greatest entertainment franchises of all time. Scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, it will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.

Leading the development of the series is a creative team of exceptional talent. Screenwriter/producer Simon Kinberg (X-Men: First Class, Sherlock Holmes, Mr. & Mrs. Smith) is an executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and will write the premiere episode. He is joined by Dave Filoni as executive producer, who served as supervising director of the Emmy nominated Star Wars: The Clone Wars since 2008. Executive producer Greg Weisman brings with him a wealth of animation experience with credits such as Young Justice, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Gargoyles.

Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer, Disney Channels Worldwide, said, "The entire team at Lucasfilm has provided extraordinary creativity and innovation for over three decades, and we're thrilled to be bringing the expansive and imaginative world of Star Wars to Disney XD's viewers."

"I couldn't be more excited to explore new corners of the Star Wars universe," said Kathleen Kennedy, president, Lucasfilm. "I think Star Wars Rebels will capture the look, feel and fun that both kids and their parents love about Star Wars."

The action-filled series is set between the events of Episode III and IV -- an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen. Star Wars Rebels takes place in a time where the Empire is securing its grip on the galaxy and hunting down the last of the Jedi Knights as a fledgling rebellion against the Empire is taking shape. Details about the show are a closely guarded secret at this point.

Star Wars Rebels will be produced by Lucasfilm Animation, featuring many of the key talents that made Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe will be the first to get an exclusive look at the new series. Casting will be announced at a later date. More information about this developing project will be found on StarWars.com and on Facebook at facebook.com/starwarsrebels.


This, obviously, is what Dave Filoni has been teasing fans about on his Twitter feed. Sounds like it will be fun!



A fan posted a bootleg video of one of the unaired episodes from the sixth season of "The Clone Wars." This was shown at the Disney Star Wars Weekends.





To promote the upcoming Cartoon Network special "The Yoda Chronicles," LEGO has built a life-sized X-Wing Fighter! Here's the press release:

The LEGO Group today unveiled the world's largest LEGO model, a 1:1 replica of the LEGO® Star Wars™ X-Wing starfighter, in New York's Times Square. To celebrate the upcoming premiere of The Yoda Chronicles on Cartoon Network on Wednesday, May 29 at 8:00 p.m. (ET, PT), the massive replica took 32 master builders, five million LEGO bricks and over 17,000 hours to complete. The model weighs nearly 46,000 pounds, stands 11 feet tall and 43 feet long, with a wingspan of 44 feet. The Model will "take off" for a summer landing at LEGOLAND® California Resort where it will be installed through the remainder of the year.

"Just as kids love to test and hone their LEGO building skills and imaginative storytelling, our LEGO Master Builders are always testing their creative skills to top their last larger-than-life sized creations," said Michael McNally, Brand Relations Director for LEGO Systems. "The size and structural complexity of a freestanding model 42 times the size of one our retail sets was a challenge they could not resist."

LEGO Star Wars is the original and most successful licensed product collection in The LEGO Group's history and remains among the best-selling global toy lines. The theme's evergreen strength comes from its appeal across generations to fans of all ages and a steady introduction of digital content such as The Yoda Chronicles to compliment the building experience.

"Much the same way that fans can build the Star Wars universe with our LEGO sets, we are fortunate to work with Lucasfilm to build new stories, characters and vehicles through one-of-a-kind content such as the new 'Yoda Chronicles' miniseries launching on Cartoon Network," said Nicholas Hort, LEGO Star Wars brand manager.

LEGO Star Wars X-Wing Starfighter Model Fun Facts
Contains 5,335,200 LEGO bricks
Weighs 45,980 pounds
Height: 11 feet / 3.35 meters
Length: 43 feet / 13.1 meters
Wingspan: 44 feet / 13.44 meters
32 builders spent 17,336 hours to construct – about 4 months

Built in the LEGO Model Shop in Kladno, Czech Republic
Is a one-to-one replica of LEGO Star Wars set #9493; The model is 42x the size of the retail building set

The model was heavily engineered to withstand all the transportation, setup/break down and to ensure it was safe for Times Square given the subway system below and California's seismic requirements for the LEGOLAND California Resort installation.

How to Celebrate From a "Galaxy Far, Far Away" with Cool Content and LEGO Bricks "The Yoda Chronicles"

The Yoda Chronicles is an exciting, funny and action-packed new LEGO Star Wars story told in three animated TV specials. "The Phantom Clone" will premiere on Wednesday, May 29 at 8:00 p.m. (ET, PT) on Cartoon Network with specials two and three airing later this year. In the first of three specials, a brand new character, Jek 14 will enter the Star Wars universe. Created by the LEGO Group, Jek 14 is a clone who has been 'enhanced' by the Force.

LEGO Star Wars Red Five X-Wing Starfighter™
The most detailed and realistic version of the construction set, the LEGO Star Wars Red Five X-Wing Starfighter, is now available as the ultimate collectible. This exclusive model that contains over 1,500 LEGO bricks comes with a special display stand and data sheet label, is available at LEGO® brand retail stores and shop.LEGO.com for $199.99 USD.
For more information, visit LEGO.com/StarWars


Gizmodo has a full photo gallery of the X-Wing as well as a video of its functions.


TIME also has an article that details the construction of the X-Wing.



Video Games

EA announced via its blog that company president Frank Gibeau will give specific details about their "Star Wars" plans at this year's E3 Expo.

Our E3 briefing "The Download: EA 2013 Preview" will be a showcase of next-generation games like Battlefield 4, Need For Speed, a full range of EA SPORTS games and a first look at our plans for the Star Wars partnership with Disney. Tune in on Monday, June 10 at 1pm PT on Spike TV or atwww.ea.com/e3 to experience it all. I'm eager to your reaction in the comments and the forums, Facebook and Twitter.

Macrumors - Is "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" coming to the iPad?




Around The Web

Mark Hamill makes a surprise appearance on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.



LA Times - Mark Hamill's pants from "A New Hope" are up for auction and you can own them for an estimated $70,000 to $100,000!


Neatorama - Trek Wars cookies! Check out the delicious mash-up.

Disney Star Wars Weekends - Dance-Off With the Star Wars Stars 2013 finale medley.



You can see the full 23 minute version here:



The Hollywood Reporter has a nice but brief interview with Ben Burtt on jumping from "Star Wars" to "Star Trek":

Coincidentally, Star Trek was an early influence for Burtt. "When I worked on the very first Star Wars I was in some sense inspired by Star Trek the television series, along with earlier science fiction like Forbidden Planet and War of the Worlds," he told The Hollywood Reporter.

In the end, Burtt gave an "organic" feel to George Lucas's Star Wars galaxy. "To make things sound real as if they used actual technology, the sounds would be derived from motors and aircrafts and machinery. We would record it in a factory or aircraft hangar and bring it back [to the studio] and process it a bit so you wouldn't quite recognize it, therefore giving Star Wars a credibility."

To keep his worlds separate, he gave his Star Trek universe its own set of rules. "I have always said Star Trek should be musical," Burtt explained. "If someone presses a button and the elevator door opens on the Enterprise, it should play a little melody. That is something signature to the original TV series. Most of the sound effects for that show were done by musicians in the music sessions while they recorded the score. Gene Roddenberry was instrumental in pushing for each room [in the Enterprise] to sound distinctive and have a personality."


Visit the link for more!

A sneak peek at director Kyle Newman's "Return of the Jedi" retrospective, in which some famous fans discuss Luke's return to the galaxy's "slimy mudhole."



Entertainment Weekly has a longer version of the video at the link featuring Kevin Smith, Seth Green, Chris Hardwick, Jaime King, Topher Grace, Fall Out Boy, Eli Roth, and Jason Mewes.

The Hollywood Reporter profiles Disney's lead attorney Brian McCarthy who helped facilitate the deal to buy Lucasfilm:

Before The Walt Disney Co. could complete its $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in October, its lead attorney, Brian McCarthy, and a team from Skadden Arps faced a daunting task: figuring out whether George Lucas actually owned the rights to Han Solo, Lando Calrissian and about 10,000 characters and elements from the six Star Wars movies and their various offshoots.

McCarthy, the head of his white-shoe firm’s Los Angeles office, narrowed the task down to 290 primary, copyrighted characters. To sort through them all, he assembled a legal team of bona fide Star Wars fans. “I tried to find people in the office who ... didn’t have to spend time figuring out who Princess Leia was,” recalls McCarthy. “I was shocked by how many people knew the intricacies of whose father-in-law was married to whose sister.” The top-secret process — code names were employed to keep office chatter to a minimum — started in June 2012, and crunch time came during a six-week period beginning in August, when as many as 20 Skadden employees (from $500-an-hour partners to less expensive paralegals) pored over complex chain-of-title documents related to Star Wars and Lucasfilm.


The article also reveals that 20th Century Fox still owns the distribution rights for the original "Star Wars" films which is an interesting footnote. Visit the link for more info!

StarWars.com - Read about how "Jaws" made "Star Wars" possible.

Check out this IGN video featuring a battle between "Star Wars" and "Star Trek" played out over San Francisco:



MTV News - Go in-depth into the great Ewok debate - furry agents of death or merchandising ploy?

The Onion - George Lucas reveals "The Events Depicted In ‘Star Wars’ Actually Happened To Me":

It should be obvious to any moviegoer of perception that I created a series of highly personal films with my famous Star Wars franchise. But I think one of the things many critics miss about my six-part space opera is that the works are much more autobiographical than one might initially think. I mean, it's not like I dreamed this stuff up—I made these movies the way I did because the events depicted in them actually did occur.

This is my life we're talking about here. And people need to respect that.

I'm not saying it was a literal transcription of the events of my life, of course. There was some artistic license—for example, I wasn’t ever actually an X-Wing pilot; I was flying a Y-Wing at the time—but I did blow up the Death Star at the age of 17. (And don't think those Y-Wings aren't just as hard to fly, either. They're arguably even more difficult to manage in a dogfight situation.) So, sure, there was some embellishment, but the core events and emotional experiences of the storyline are all very real.




Book & Comic News





The Huffington Post talks to J.W. Rinzler about the upcoming "Making of Return of the Jedi" book. Here are a couple of notable excerpts:

On sex among the actors who played Ewoks:

I don't know how much of that has been exaggerated over the past but, yeah, a few people had funny stories about having to knock on any doors that contained private places. I think there was one Ewok couple that did get married a few years later, which is not in the book, but that did happen. What they said, normally little people aren't used to seeing so many other little people at the same time -- so it was kind of a new experience for them.

On the trials of the director of "Return of the Jedi," the late Richard Marquand:

Certainly George did not want to have a repeat experience of "Empire" in terms of the time and the budget ... George wanted coverage of every scene, which he didn't really get as much of with ["The Empire Strikes Back" director] Irvin Kershner. It made it harder to do what he does in the editing room -- and for George, that's where some of the most important filmmaking takes place, so he really wanted to get that footage and he was determined to get it for "Jedi." And Marquand was kind of wondering at some points, "What's my job?" Kershner was kind of -- not exactly doing it like Hitchcock -- but more like Hitchcock. Saying, "I know what this is going to look like. I know how it's going to cut together." That forces the editor into a single way of cutting it together, and George didn't want to be handcuffed that way.


Visit the link for more and a trailer.

There there's another excerpt at The Huffington Post where Lucas maps out the prequels with Lawrence Kasdan and Richard Marquand back in 1981:

Lucas: Well, anyway, Luke's father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor. On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed—and it's because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down. The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke's mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.

Now, when he falls into the pit, his other arm goes and his leg and there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor's troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried about it. He goes back to Vader's wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi.

When he goes back his wife, Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twins, so she has these two little babies who are six months old or so. So everybody has to go into hiding. The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, "I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe." And so Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow. Ben can't raise Luke himself, because he's a wanted man. Leia and Luke's mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben's. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.

Kasdan: She does know that?

Lucas: Yes, so we can bring that out when Luke is talking to her; she can say that her mother died when "I was two years old."


The link above has much more. Check it out!


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