The Icelandic paper Frettatiminn is reporting that J.J.Abrams has been scouting Iceland for possible shooting locations for Star Wars: Episode VII. Using Google translate, here's a rough quote from the article:
"They are not in the country, that's all I'll say," says Árni Björn Helgason, CEO of foreign production in Sagafilm.
Recently, the team examined by Sagafilm ground for possible filming the new Star Wars movie on Iceland. These experiments have been very secret, but they took place in the south. There is the filming locations were inspected and no information is available about this in Sagafilm. The task is even in its early established that it must be considered unlikely that the director, JJ Abrams, or other moguls have yet come to the country. Although it is known that Abrams is interested in taking up in Iceland. He intended to take up the first Star Trek movie-here a few years ago but it slipped up. Last year was cameraman on his behalf here and took the background images for Star Trek 2, which is expected in theaters later this month. It is not known if they find their way to the white tent.
Iceland has been a hot location for sci-fi films lately. "Prometheus" and "Oblivion" both filmed there. Stay tuned for more updates and thanks to Geir Finnsson for the alert!
This past week, Carrie Fisher appeared at the Calgary Expo comic convention. The Calgary Herald attended a Q&A with Fisher where she was, of course, asked about "Episode VII":
Yes, Carrie Fisher confirmed to a rapt audience at the BMO Centre Saturday afternoon that she will in fact be reprising her most famous role of Princess Leia in the next Star Wars film, which will be produced by Disney. She was the first of the original cast members to announce her participation back in March, although apparently jumped the gun. Her publicist later said she was joking and that nothing had been confirmed.
However, it seems to be a done deal now. But for fans looking for a sneak-peek of what to expect in the new film, Fisher didn't offer many juicy details.
"I like being bought by Disney, because they never wanted to buy me before," she said during a talk at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo. "I'm glad they are doing a new movie because they are sending a trainer to my house so I can get in really good shape. So I'm really eating a lot of sugar in advance, as you can see. By the time I really get down to it I will have eaten everything."
The link above has much more from Fisher.
Everyone expects security to be tight on plot details of "Episode VII." And J.J. Abrams is notoriously secretive about his projects. But Kathleen Kennedy recently stated in an interview with Screen Slam that they may be more open during filming than most people would expect.
Q: How important is secrecy for [Lucasfilm] now? And how do you try and keep secrets, considering how fast things travel now?
A: We talk about that all the time. I think the whole issue of confidentiality is gonna be fascinating as we move into making the movie. If we're shooting anything outside, it's almost impossible to not have things end up on the Internet. So my feeling is, you need to embrace that, especially with the fans around something like Star Wars. You need to recognize they're important to the process and acknowledge there are things you're gonna want to make sure they get to know. So I think that's something we're going to monitor, pay attention to and think differently about.
TheWrap reports that ILM may be setting up shop in London for the "Episode VII" visual effects:
As the new "Star Wars" movie gets ready for production, visual effects giant Industrial Light & Magic is looking at opening a facility in the United Kingdom to take advantage of foreign tax subsidies, the company told TheWrap on Tuesday.
Miles Perkins, head of corporate communications for ILM's parent company Lucasfilm, said that the company had not yet decided whether to do the visual effects work in London but was considering it. "We're evaluating a number of different scenarios and doing our due diligence," he said.
The move would be significant because ILM, based in northern California area and considered the grandfather of modern visual effects artistry, will be leading the work on the new "Star Wars" trilogy announced by Disney last year when it acquired Lucasfilm. That will likely be a sprawling, special effects intense project.
Hit the article for more details.
Trek Movie attended the press junket for "Star Trek Into Darkness" and J.J. Abrams was asked about John Williams returning for "Episode VII":
There were a number of questions for J.J. Abrams about Star Wars but he pushed those away by saying it was too early for decisions, however he did say that he expects John Williams to return and compose the score for Episode VII (something long-time Arams collaborator Michael Giacchino has said he supported).
Check out video from the press conference below and hear his quote for yourself.
Abrams was also interviewed by the BBC and spoke a bit about his approach to "Episode VII":
"It's just about about approaching it from as authentic a place as possible, and not trying to apply what you believe or think, as much as trying to filter everything and get at it from the core of the characters. [It should be] what you deeply want to see, never what you assume the fans might like."
Visit the link for more quotes about Star Wars.
And just in case you thought J.J. Abrams was slacking off of Star Wars while promoting Star Trek, Josh Horowitz from MTV posted the following on Twitter:
Star Wars Episode VII writer Michael Arndt is out here in London working with JJ. Saw him at the hotel today.
"When you write for Star Wars," he explains, "everything you do is Lucasfilm's property… whatever they want to do with it, that's their right - it's their property, they're allowed to do that. I have had fun playing in their sandbox." He goes on to explain that "It's been fun… I don't know what they're going to do. There's no reason they have to destroy the Expanded Universe, there's no reason they have to acknowledge the Expanded Universe. It's their property - they get to choose what they're going to do with it."
Just for fun, you can check out a collection of fan-made "Episode VII" posters here!
However, this poster by Scott Harben may take the cake.
Star Wars Television
USA Today spoke with "Clone Wars" supervising director Dave Filoni about the lingering plot threads left hanging by the cancellation of the series on Cartoon Network:
Supervising director Dave Filoni is heading up the completion of a few story arcs that were slated for production before Lucasfilm announced in March that it was taking its animation slate in a new direction following its purchase by Disney.
"There are questions that are pretty big as far as it comes with the Clone Wars and things that people have wanted to know," Filoni says. "They're just these concepts just hanging out there, and finally we're going to deal with them."
One of the arcs stars Jedi Master Plo Koon (voiced by James Arnold Taylor), who finds a lost lightsaber while on a mission on a sandstorm-laden planet with a platoon of clone troopers. It's the beginning of a mystery, and one that will make the Jedi question their role in the Clone Wars and the universe itself, according to Filoni.
"The Jedi have been fighting a war with an army that was commissioned by one of their own, Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas," he says. "But who was Sifo-Dyas, and what happened to him? The dark lord of the Sith has woven an intricate web to ensnare the Jedi, but it is not full-proof and sometimes a small clue, and a bit of chance, can lead to the unraveling of the best-laid plans."
While it's yet to be announced when and where these Clone Wars episodes will air, Filoni's team is coming close to putting final touches on the animation.
TheForce.Net also reports that the cast and crew of "The Clone Wars" won numerous awards from the Behind The Voice Actors organization. Visit the link for more info.
Finally, "Community" featured a "Star Wars" theme in their episode last night. TV Line had the details and a clip:
If there's one thing Community‘s Abed cannot — and will not — tolerate, it's someone attempting to "murder" Star Wars' legacy with prequels like The Phantom Menace.
The following exclusive first look at this Thursday's installment (NBC, 8/7c) — which centers on Abed's attempts to prove that the study groupers knew each other years before Greendale brought them together — finds the pop culture fiend jumping through time via a graphic novel-esque transition to warn some kiddos about the dangers of viewing the Star Wars Episodes 1-3.
Around The Web
This was the highlight of my week. Over at Imgur.com, someone collected 66 behind-the-scenes photos from "The Empire Strikes Back." Check them out and brighten your day. Here are a few samples.
Neatorama - The mayor of Reykjavik, Iceland voted in the election... wearing Jedi robes.
George Lucas attended the White House press dinner. Peter Sagal tweeted a photo from it.
USA Today has a great retrospective on the 30th anniversary of the release of "Return of the Jedi."
The only guy worse than Vader in Star Wars lore is Emperor Palpatine, the cloaked, twisted monster of a man who ruled the universe. Although he looked like he was about 120, the Emperor was played in Return of the Jedi by Scottish-born actor Ian McDiarmid, even though he was only 37 at the time.
The yellow contact lenses and prosthetic mask he wore helped — the hood was essential, too, both for the character and McDiarmid's career, since he was able to keep his hair long for the London play he was doing at night when not filming.
But to really get into the mind-set of being the worst villain of the Star Wars saga, he tapped into his time playing Satan in a radio version of John Milton's Paradise Lost.
"That character is the master of evil, the snake in the Garden of Eden, so I had a useful precedent," says McDiarmid, 68, who starred in the Star Wars prequels as the younger Palpatine. "This character was solidly evil — it wasn't as if he had a difficult childhood. He just seemed to have come from whatever ghastly womb he was ejected from, born and bred evil."
Check out the link for more interviews with Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels and Jeremy Bulloch.
Forbes - Here's an update on the new museum that George Lucas is trying to build in San Francisco.
Mental Floss - Check out their favorite "Star Wars" cosplay!
MTV - "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles" Launches May The 4th!
The LEGO Group is celebrating Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, by launching a free-to-play LEGO Star Wars spin-off on iPhone and iPad. "LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles" will see players representing the Light Side as Yoda or the Dark Side as Count Dooku in a "classic, good versus evil arcade experience."
The game delivers a mix of real time blaster battles, dungeon crawling, lightsaber duels and space combat across 15 levels and 5 mini-missions. Half of the levels will be available on launch May 4th with the second half showing up later this summer, along with an Android version of the game. LEGO Star Wars fan who don't have the necessary mobile device can play through their web browser at LEGO.com.
Visit the link for more details!
Book & Comic News
Del Rey - The official "Star Wars" novels timeline has been updated. View it at the link.
Hollywood.Com has an excerpt from the novel "Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi — Into the Void." They also show the progression of the art from the cover. Check it out!
On May 7, Star Wars fans will be able to journey back further into the history of that Galaxy Far, Far Away than ever before. Tim Lebbon's Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi — Into the Void takes us to the earliest known period of galactic history: when the Jedi were called Je'daii and carried swords instead of lightsabers, long before the creation of the Galactic Republic.
In Lebbon's novel, the young Jedi Ranger Lanoree Brock, pictured below, was separated from her brother after he failed the Je'daii trials. The Force just didn't flow through him. Years later, though, she's tasked by the Je'daii Council to track down the leader of a fanatical cult who's trying to open a gateway to uncharted space via a method that could destroy an entire star system. The fanatical cult leader in question? Her brother, of course! Yeah, getting cast out of the Je'daii can mess with your psyche, I guess.
There's also this update on the audio book of this novel:
I believe for the 1st time a #STARWARS audio book is read by a woman, January Lavoy. @timlebbon's DAWN OF THE JEDI: INTO THE VOID #SWEU
Where were you when the Emperor died? It was 30 years ago this month that Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi hit theaters and the years add emotion to this batch of exclusive never-before-published photos from J.W. Rinzler's upcoming The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
The movie (which opened wide the week after Michael Jackson unleashed a new dance move called the Moonwalk) arrived with an unstated promise of cosmic closure: "For the Skywalker saga,"' the Force told us, "the circle will be complete." Well, yes and no: a circle doesn't really have a start or end, and the Jedi universe (like Swan Lake, the Beatles, or Pride & Prejudice) never leaves.
The Rinzler book hits shelves in October but the Ewok party has already begun; there's a marathon of Jedi screenings and fan fun-fair scheduled for Saturday (which is May the Fourth) at Hollywood's historic Egyptian Theatre, site of the Jedi world premiere.
Random House posted the official synopsis of the novel "Kenobi" by John Jackson Miller
The Republic has fallen.
Sith Lords rule the galaxy.
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi has lost everything . . .
Everything but hope.
Tatooine—a harsh desert world where farmers toil in the heat of two suns while trying to protect themselves and their loved ones from the marauding Tusken Raiders. A backwater planet on the edge of civilized space. And an unlikely place to find a Jedi Master in hiding, or an orphaned infant boy on whose tiny shoulders rests the future of a galaxy.
Known to locals only as “Ben,” the bearded and robed offworlder is an enigmatic stranger who keeps to himself, shares nothing of his past, and goes to great pains to remain an outsider. But as tensions escalate between the farmers and a tribe of Sand People led by a ruthless war chief, Ben finds himself drawn into the fight, endangering the very mission that brought him to Tatooine.
Ben—Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, hero of the Clone Wars, traitor to the Empire, and protector of the galaxy’s last hope—can no more turn his back on evil than he can reject his Jedi training. And when blood is unjustly spilled, innocent lives threatened, and a ruthless opponent unmasked, Ben has no choice but to call on the wisdom of the Jedi—and the formidable power of the Force—in his never-ending fight for justice.
"Kenobi" will be released August 27, 2013. Author John Jackson Miller added the following comments on Twitter.
There's an intentional western feel to KENOBI. It's a close-knit community, and he's very much the outsider, wanting to be anonymous.
As you may know, May the 4th has become known as "Star Wars Day." It started as an internet pun and has spun into a full fledged event for fans and "Star Wars" licensees.
Disney reports that their Hollywood Studios will be having a one day event.
For one day only, Disney's Hollywood Studios will present a "Limited Time Magic" event for the annual, fan-proclaimed "Star Wars Day," May 4 – a date that Star Wars fans worldwide turn into a celebratory pun, "May the Fourth Be With You!"
Separate from our month-long Star Wars Weekends special event (which begins May 17), this "Limited Time Magic" celebration features special Star Wars entertainment, characters, commemorative merchandise, a Star Wars dance party and a Star Wars-themed fireworks show to cap off the day.
You might even find yourself sitting next to Chewbacca aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue. Star Wars characters will make surprise appearances on the 3-D attraction to enjoy the wild journey through space alongside park guests.
A special edition of Jedi Training Academy also is planned that day, with parents invited to join their children (ages 4-12, sign-ups required on first-come basis) on-stage for the training and final showdown with the Empire.
When the sun goes down, galactic fun lights the night as Lobot (from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back) takes over as DJ for a dance party that will be highlighted by a special Star Wars fireworks show.
"May the Fourth Be With You" "Limited Time Magic" park activities and shows are included in regular admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Rebelscum also reports that there will be special pins sold there on May the 4th and "Revenge of the 5th."
LEGO also has a special sale planned as well as an exclusive figure of Hoth Han.
Rebelscum also reports that Hasbrotoyshop.com will be having a special sale on their Star Wars Angry Birds items.
TheForce.Net reports that Topps will be giving away a free promo card on Free Comic Book Day, which is Saturday, May 4th. Get details for finding it at the link.
But believe you me, the Empire is not sitting idly by while all this Jedi talk is going on. Here's an Imperial attach ad on "May the 4th"
RebelScum - Check out the iPhone cases for the Japan Pacific League Baseball