On the Star Wars sequel news front this week, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC (via TheForce.Net) that George Lucas' mention of the original cast being signed may have been premature:
No decision has been made about reuniting the old "Star Wars" cast in the coming sequels, Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger told CNBC's "Closing Bell" on Tuesday.
"This is one of the biggest franchises ever created so we're thrilled to have the opportunity to be associated with it and bring it into the future," Iger said of "Star Wars."
Owning the "Star Wars" franchise is perfect for Disney, he said, because the company is adept at managing "great character franchises" like Mickey Mouse, Pixar and Marvel superheros.
"With franchises, we leverage them very well across all our businesses, across territories and if you have a really solid franchise that you're fueling with great creativity over a long time," he said.
Disney bought Lucasfilm, the film-production company started by "Star Wars" creator George Lucas, late last year in a deal worth over $4 billion.
But fans won't know whether the old cast will make an appearance in the new movies. "George Lucas was quoted as saying they would, but we haven't made an official announcement yet," Iger said.
While it seems futile that Disney would be denying this, it does highlight one of the interesting changes at Lucasfilm. In the past, LFL only answered to George Lucas. Now LFL answers to Disney and its stockholders. While timing of movie announcements used to be done at Lucas' preference, now Disney has to tie them with bigger meetings, stockholder meetings, stock prices, etc. It's going to change how information is released on the movies.
Billy Dee said, he has been asked, but hasn’t decided if he is going to do it or not yet.
Who knows if this report is reliable, but there you have it. I'm still waiting for that Wedge / Denis Lawson casting news! And what about Warwick Davis?
During the SXSW festival in Austin, Digital Spy asked Joss Whedon about which characters he'd like to see in the new films:
"You know, I wouldn't go back, I'd go forward. I would want to create characters that would resonate the way that they did," he explained.
This then immediately got spun into "Joss Whedon thinks the original actors are too old to return to the films" by some outlets which is not what he said at all. He was addressing the standalone movies focusing on Yoda, young Han, etc. But this did prompt an interesting article at Entertainment Weekly that asked the tough question....are Hamill, Fisher, and Ford too old to return to the sequels? Check out the article for their conclusion.
Finally, a couple of fun items. Total Film asked a number of actors and actresses at recent junkets if they'd be interested in appearing in the new Star Wars movies. They asked Mark Strong, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, and even Ewan McGregor. Check out the fun and baffling answers.
Then there's something I ran across from last year at The Huffington Post. Mike Ryan breaks down Harrison Ford's love/hate relationship with Han Solo and maps out how it went from love with "Star Wars" to hate by "Return of the Jedi." He also directs readers to a few great vintage interviews on YouTube. Check it out! Here's a sample of one of the links.
The Clone Wars
Lucasfilm announced this week that "The Clone Wars" is ending with Season 5 which just concluded.
As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.
As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.
After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we're continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we've decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date.
We are incredibly proud of the teams at Lucasfilm Animation for creating some of the most amazing animation ever produced for TV. Keep checking StarWars.com for new developments on these and future projects.
While it's somewhat of a suprise since "The Clone Wars" was at the top of its game, it's also not a suprise since the show aired on Cartoon Network, which is a direct competitor of The Disney Channel. But the shift does leave several big question marks for fans. What will happen to Ashoka? At the end of Season 5, she left the Jedi Order. (You can watch the full episode at StarWars.com.) Does she survive the Jedi Purge from "Revenge of the Sith"? Does she join the Rebellion? Does she eventually face off with Darth Vader? There are also lingering questions about the fate of Darth Maul, Asaaj Ventress, and other favorite characters from the series.
TheForce.Net compiled reactions from those involved in the series including this one from Obi-Wan voice actor James Arnold Taylor:
Thousands of lines of dialogue recorded, over a hundred episodes and yet it still seems like we have said too little and that there's so much more to add. And from what we can tell there will be more to come. Clone Wars will have a future, although we're not entirely sure where or when, there are still stories to tell in what I consider the best animated program television has seen thus far. I only wish the show had been more recognized within our industry with awards to the writers, artists, and of course our greatest proponent and visionary for it, Dave Filoni. Dave's love of Star Wars and story telling far surpassed what any of us as a cast could have imagined and it is because of his ability to craft and create along side, the master creator Mr. George Lucas himself, that we all can stand eight years later with so much new history and legend to add to the Star Wars universe. So with that I say my greatest thanks would be to Master Dave Filoni and his crew, for allowing me to not only take part in history but to be a part of something each and every one of us longs for... Family. I am not only a part of the Star Wars family now, I am a part of The Clone Wars family, and that, in my humble opinion, has had the greatest impact on what Star Wars brings to families all over the world. From here in the states to my new friends in Japan to perhaps even galaxies far, far away. I don't know if I'll ever get to say again in the voice of my favorite Jedi Knight for anything Star Wars related but I say it to you now and mean it more than I ever have...
"May the Force be with you all... always."
Thank you for letting me be your Obi-Wan Kenobi.
StarWars.com also has a farewell video from supervising director Dave Filoni. But don't count Dave Filoni out yet. TVLine rounded out the "Clone Wars" news this week with the following update:
Disney Channels Worldwide boss Gary Marsh also said the company is “working closely with Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy and director Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) to explore new Star Wars content for our platforms,” to be detailed later this year.
So hopefully more of the "Clone Wars" veterans will be involved with the Disney endeavours as well. Thanks to TheForce.Net and Jedi News for the alerts.
Around The Web
The Hollywood Reporter - Obama made up for his Star Wars / Star Trek mix-up last week. Check out how he recovered from the fumble at the link!
Geekologie - A sonogram showing...the Emperor? You have to see it to believe it.
Check out Simon Pegg's photo of Han Solo meeting Captain Kirk
Comic Buzz - See a sneak preview of Star Wars: Legacy Volume 2 #1
Free Comic Book Day will be on May 4th, 2013 (as in May The Fourth Be With You) and there will be a brand new Star Wars story from Dark Horse. You can check out a preview of the comic here!
View the new trailer for Star Wars Celebration Europe at StarWars.com. And as an added bonus, Ian McDiarmid, the Emperor himself, will be making a rare appearance. More details are at SciFiNow.
LEGOLAND in San Diego will be opening a new exhibit in the "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace" mini-land. Check ABC News for the details.
TheForce.Net - Eric Walker, who placed Mace Towani in the Ewok movie, has started doing the autograph circuit.
Jett Lucas, George Lucas' son, who played a Jedi in "Revenge of the Sith," will also start touring and doing autographs at cons. You can see him at Planet Comiccon, Comicpalooza, ABQ Comic Expo, and Supercon.
Disney Parks Blog has unveiled the latest logo for Star Wars Weekends coming in May through June. It will celebrate the 30th anniversary of "Return of the Jedi." Check the link for more info. (Thanks to Rebelscum.com for the alert!