Movie News

The Star Wars News Roundup - 8.2.13

Source: Scott Chitwood
August 2, 2013

Summer vacation is now over and we're back at full Force! And boy is there a lot to catch up on. Just a reminder, the purpose of this roundup is to put the highlights of all things Star Wars from the last week in one location. If you read this each week, you should be able to converse fluently with any Star Wars fan on everything from the latest Star Wars: Episode VII developments to the latest toys. And maybe you'll even share with them something that they might have missed.

Let's get to it!

Episode VII News Summary

As expected, Celebration Europe last week featured a couple of new "Episode VII" items, but maybe not quite as many as we may have hoped for. But it was a case of quality over quantity as Kathleen Kennedy revealed that John Williams officially signed on to score "Episode VII" (but no mention of additional films?). StarWars.com gave the news:

John Williams, the legendary composer who crafted the iconic, sweeping music of all six films in the Star Wars saga, is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy announced today at Star Wars Celebration Europe. Williams' grand orchestral compositions for Star Wars are among the most beloved and recognizable in movie history, from the classic "Main Title" theme introduced in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope to the ominous "Imperial March" from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back to the stirring "Duel of the Fates" from the prequel trilogy.

Williams, whose career spans over six decades, has won five Academy Awards and has scored some of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of all time, including Jaws, the Indiana Jones series, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, Lincoln, and countless others.

The composer joins a growing list of all-star creators including director J.J. Abrams, screenwriter Michael Arndt, and consultants Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg, who are shaping Star Wars: Episode VII, currently set for a 2015 release.

Watch StarWars.com's new interview with Williams below, in which he discusses composing the music for Star Wars: Episode VII, working with Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams, and why he's excited about returning to a galaxy far, far away.


Here is the video that was played with the announcement.



Kathleen Kennedy also appeared at Celebration Europe where she was interviewed by Warwick Davis. Here are a few highlights from the presentation from StarWars.com:

10:55: "Much like many of you, looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feeling in what the early films did in combination with real locations and special effects — that's something we're looking very seriously at. We're going to find some really cool locations for Ep VII. We're going to use ever tool in the toolbox for this movie."

10:56: "It's using artwork that you can touch and feel in combination with CG effects." – Kathleen Kennedy

10:58: Davis asks about selecting J.J. Abrams. "I've actually known J.J. Abrams since he was about 15," Kennedy says. She was working for Spielberg, and someone called her office, saying he found some Super 8 films of Spielberg's — the films he made as a kid. These were the films. Simultaneously, Kennedy read an article about high school students who won a video award, and she thought to hire them to restore the Super 8 tapes. The students were Abrams and Matt Reeves.

In selecting a director, she and Lucas had a shortlist of directors, and Abrams was at the top. "He has a sense of aspiration in what he does. His films tend to be hopeful. They're fun and exciting…I think he's going to do an amazing job."

11:10: Typical day? Kennedy spends part of her time at Lucasfilm, then the rest of the week with Abrams and the writing team at Bad Robot. They do a lot of Skyping and sit in long, lengthy story meetings. "Great stuff is coming out of those discussions." At the Presidio office of Lucasfilm, she is in Lucas' old office. Lucas is still at Skywalker Ranch.


An additional follow-up video can be seen below:



Mark Hamill was also on hand for the convention. StarWars.Com posted highlights from his presentation:

On Episode VII. Hamill says he doesn't know much, but that they're making great choices with the creators, and that Disney has done a great job with Marvel and Pixar. But he has his own ideas for the cast. "I have this fantasy that the whole cast will be nothing but people that make me laugh: Brian Regan, Andy Kindler, Sarah Silverman…"

"I'm cautiously optimistic about the new trilogy. Disney knows what they're doing. Kathleen Kennedy's resume speaks for themselves…most important to me is Michael Arndt…he's very gifted for writing ensemble pieces. He writes character, and heart, and warmth…I thought if they did VII, VII, and XI, it was not going to be about us. We had a beginning, a middle, and an end…It would about the next generation." Hamill then does an "Old Luke" version of "But I want to go to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters."


Now on to the rumors! First up, Latino Review had some rumors about who was being considered for the cast of the new film. Besides the revelation that Leonardo DiCaprio had brief talks about a role (as was also rumored for "Episode II"), they had the following rumor:

A little while ago I was told that two names have been thrown around a lot, and that another star went in last week.

The two stars are none other than…

RYAN GOSLING and ZAC EFRON


It will be interesting to see if they go with relative unknowns for recognizable actors like Gosling or Efron. Meanwhile, actors continie to be quizzed at press junkets if they'd like a role in Star Wars. Add Chloe Grace Moretz to the list of hopefuls as is reported by MTV:

"I mean, obviously there's interest. It's 'Star Wars.' I'd kill to be a part of that franchise, but I don't know," she said. "J.J., I'll give you my phone number. You can text me."

If there's a shred of truth to that "leaked casting list," it's not hard to find a place for Moretz. One role did call for a girl in her "late teens, tough, smart and physically fit," which actually sounds pretty close to Hit Girl.


Finally, Jedi News UK has a couple of interesting bits of info:

In a move similar to the Prequels (JAK Productions) and Return of the Jedi (Blue Harvest Productions) the film is in pre-production under a pseudonym: Foodles Productions Ltd, a company registered on 26th March 2013 to the Disney headquarters in London.

Further to this we understand that the film has been in pre-production at Pinewood Studios for three and a half months in advance of an August 2013 shooting date. We hear they have block booked the studios for 10 years and that construction of offices and facilities on-site is underway. Also storage space is being located in the local area.



"Foodles" also happens to be the name of a Disney themed snack, so we'll see if that really is the cover name for the film. As you may remember, the cover name for "Return of the Jedi" was "Blue Harvest."



Star Wars Television


It wasn't all "Episode VII" news at Celebration Europe. Dave Filoni revealed more production art and a logo from "Star Wars Rebels". StarWars.com reports:

Star Wars Rebels Executive Producer Dave Filoni pulled back the curtain on Lucasfilm's highly anticipated animated series for Star Wars Celebration Europe attendees today, discussing the huge influence of original Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie on the look and feel of the show, and revealing the series' unique logo and select designs.

Filoni talked at length about the use of McQuarrie art as a springboard for the series, showcasing many works from the original trilogy, including landscapes and characters, and detailing how they inform the visual identity of Star Wars Rebels.



For Star Wars Rebels, fans were given their first look at the Ghost, which will be the main character's ship and play a big part in the series, as well as a computer rendering of a very McQuarrie-esque Stormtrooper, the interior of a Star Destroyer, and more. The show's logo, a minimalist yet powerful design, is notable for its orange and black color scheme, which recalls the flight suit colors of Rebel pilots in the original Star Wars trilogy.

While unable to attend in person, Executive Producers Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman shared their excitement for the series in a video message recorded specifically for Celebration attendees.

The series is set between the events of Episode III and IV -- an era spanning almost two decades never-before explored on-screen. It 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.



Star Wars Rebels will be produced by Lucasfilm Animation, featuring many of the key talents that made Star Wars: The Clone Wars. It is scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on Disney Channel, and will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.


Dave Filoni was interviewed by Warwick Davis as you can see in the following video:



StarWars.com announced the release of Season 5 of "The Clone Wars" on DVD and Blu-ray:


SWCE 2013: Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Five and Seasons 1-5 Box Sets Coming This FallJuly 26, 2013

Just announced at Star Wars Celebration Europe: the Star Wars: The Clone Wars box sets you're looking for.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Complete Season Five, the final season of the hit series, will release on October 15, 2013, on Blu-ray (2-disc, $59.97 MSRP) and DVD (3-disc, $49.98 MSRP). The collection delivers all 20 episodes, two as director's cuts never seen on TV, and supplements them with a host of behind the scenes bonus materials, cast and crew interviews, and deleted and alternate scenes, revealing the magic behind the making of the cutting-edge series.

In its Emmy-winning fifth season, the gripping Star Wars story moves closer to the grim events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and several major players face their destinies as the galaxy plunges into darkness. Planets are rocked by revolution, ancient Jedi secrets are explored, and Ahsoka Tano -- the spirited Padawan so central to the series -- faces a major crisis that will change her forever.

For those wanting to relive every moment of the epic series from the beginning comes the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Seasons 1-5 Collector's Edition, also releasing on October 15, 2013, on Blu-ray (14-disc, $149.99 MSRP) and DVD (19-disc, $119.98 MSRP). All previous complete season sets have been collected here for the first time. With unique packaging, the Collector's Edition also includes a brand new 54-page Art of The Clone Wars booklet that showcases concept art from across all five seasons, with many pieces never before published.

Check out a special trailer for these new releases below!






Around The Web

Below are more videos from Celebration Europe:

Mark Hamill & Carrie Fisher - Star Wars Celebration Europe | press conference 2013



Carrie Fisher & Warwick Davis reunite to do the Leia/Ewok ambush



Star Wars Celebration Europe - Words with Warwick: Carrie Fisher



Star Wars Celebration Europe - Words with Warwick: Anthony Daniels



Star Wars Celebration Europe - Words with Warwick: Ian McDiarmid



Words with Warwick: Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig



Stitch Kingdom discovered that Lucasfilm registered a few interesting doman names. What they're for remains a mystery:

Yesterday, both Lucasfilm and Disney registered a series of domain names, clearly pointing to a couple of large projects we can possibly expect to learn more about in the coming months, if not much sooner.

‘Star Wars Attack Squadrons' (or some variation thereof) is one of the two. Domains registered by Lucasfilm include: attacksquadron.org, attacksquadron.us, attacksquadrons.org, attacksquadrons.us, attacksquads.org, attacksquads.us, starwarsattacksquadrons.org, starwarsattacksquadrons.us, starwarssquad.org, starwarssquad.us, starwarssquadrons.org, starwarssquadrons.us, starwarssquads.org, starwarssquads.us, swattacksquadron.org, swattacksquadron.us, swattacksquadrons.org and swattacksquadrons.us.



Tested.com - Check out a feature on how Mythbuster Adam Savage created his Admiral Ackbar costume:

For this year's Comic-Con, Adam walked the show floor as the inimitable Admiral Ackbar. To craft his perfect Ackbar mask, Adam teamed up with makeup master Frank Ippolito to bring the regal Mon Calamarian to life. It wasn't easy, but here's how Adam's Ackbar was made.

The Atlantic - It turns out that the Mos Espa set from "The Phantom Menace" is slowly being covered by a migrating sand dune:

Just northwest of Tozeur, Tunisia, lays a barren stretch of desert that's home to great swaths of sand and not much else. As the wind whips its way through that sand, it gives rise to large, crescent-shaped structures known as barchans. Barchans are something like movable mountains: they tend to migrate in the same direction as the desert winds, going, literally, where the wind takes them. Which has made them something of an enigma to scientists: How do you measure the movement of sand upon sand upon sand? How do you know how far the barchans are traveling when it's so hard to tell where the mounds end and the ground begins?

Enter George Lucas. Because the land just northwest of Tozeur, Tunisia, it turns out, is also home to the set that served as the backdrop for Mos Espa, the early home of the young Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. And the site, according to a collective of scientists who have researched the matter, "now lies between the arms of a large 'pudgy' barchan dune."


Star Wars Parkour - Jedi Free Running - When Kathleen Kennedy said they were going to use more practical effects in Star Wars, this probably isn't what she was meaning:



USA Today - Film hopefuls feel the sonic force at Skywalker Sound

Geek Mom - Take a Peek at Disney XD's My Family Recipe Rocks – Star Wars

Forbes - How Star Wars Influenced The Look Of The Jaguar F-Type, And Other Design Insights

You mentioned in your presentation that the headlights on the F-Type were styled after the Tie Fighter from Star Wars. I take it you're a fan of that anthology?

Yeah, I think that the fact of the matter is you're always trying to look for influences beyond the car industry just to give you a different edge. And if you walk around the design studio at Jaguar, pretty much every designer has an aircraft spotter's book, a few science fiction annals, normally Star Wars, because Industrial Light and Magic just came up with some brilliant looking designs. Whether it's a Light Saber or an X-Wing Fighter or the Death Star, they tend to be great pieces of industrial design, so you just look at it for influences because sometimes it can just be inspirational when you're having a bit of a writer's-block day and you're like, ‘Well, how would George Lucas' team do it?' So it's a genuine fact that we do refer to that, but also we're into anything that moves: planes, trains, automobiles. It's an old cliche, but it's true. We look at all of that stuff.




Video Games

Den of Geek - EA's Star Wars Battlefront coming in 2015... Maybe

During a stockholder meeting, it was stated that Star Wars Battlefront will "likely" be released in 2015 to coincide with the new Star Wars movie. CFO Blake Jorgensen revealed this, saying Battlefront will "most likely come out around the same time that the Star Wars movies start to come out, probably in the summer of '15."



Yahoo UK - 20 cancelled Star Wars video games revealed

When Disney shut down LucasArts in April it was inevitable that a few unannounced projects would go down with the sinking ship.

An image from a 2008 book about the company however reveals 20 projects that never saw the light of day, including 'Star Wars: Episode VII - Shadows of the Sith'.

The image consisting of logos for the unreleased games also includes titles such as 'Star Wars: Vader', 'Star Wars: Rebel Scum' and a sequel to the cult classic 'Jedi Knight' series subtitled 'Brink of Darkness'.


Visit the link above for much more.



Collecting News

Variety reports on a new deal between Hasbro and Disney:

Hasbro will guarantee an additional $80 million in royalty payments to Walt Disney Co. to extend Marvel licensing pact for two years, to 2020, and also will pay Mouse House up to $225 million extra for Star Wars merch rights.

Companies said contract extension aligns terms for Marvel and Lucasfilm agreements, following Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm last year. Hasbro's rights to Star Wars franchise also extend to 2020.

...

Hasbro's additional Marvel payments are contingent on additional Marvel theatrical releases. The $225 million extra for Star Wars takes into consideration Disney's next three installments planned for the space-opera powerhouse, with $75 million payable on signing. "Star Wars: Episode VII," helmed by J.J. Abrams, currently skedded for summer 2015 release.


Visit the link above for much more.


Reed Pop Supply - Want to pick up some Celebration Europe Exclusives like the Star Wars Rebels t-shirt? Click the link!



Star Wars Events

StarWars.com announced the next Star Wars Celebration:

At the end of Star Wars Celebration Europe's closing ceremonies this weekend, Lucasfilm officially announced the details of its next official convention: Star Wars Celebration VII will be held in Anaheim, California, from April 16-19, 2015. Timed with the release of Star Wars: Episode VII, this promises to be a Star Wars Celebration like no other.


TheForce.net also reports that future Celebrations will be referred to by the year, not the roman numeral. So the next one will be "Star Wars Celebration 2015." Got it?





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