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 and Rumors
Multiple proton torpedoes were dropped on the thermal exhaust ports of fans this week. Wait… that sounds terrible. Anyway…
TMZ surprised everyone with 45 photos from the Abu Dhabi set. You can see them all at the link, but here are a few.
Not to be outdone, Lucasfilm announced more casting - the previously-rumored Lupita Nyong'o and "Game of Thrones'" Gwendoline Christie. Here's the press release:
Star Wars: Episode VII Adds Academy Award® Winner Lupita Nyong’o and Game of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie
Lupita Nyong’o joins the recently announced cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. This year, her breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Gwendoline Christie, currently starring in the hit television series Game of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth, has also been cast in the production. She can next be seen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2.
"I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape."
Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the Saga Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.
Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
Driver joins original cast members, including Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker in the forthcoming film.
He explained to Empire magazine: ''You grew up watching something and then suddenly you're in the midst of all those characters with them talking to each other! You want to make R2-D2 noises and lightsaber whooshes - but nobody actually did.''
What can you tell us about your time on set?
We went to the Abu Dhabi desert two weeks ago, and Lika and I were given the same special costumes and make-up to wear. Apparently they had spent four months preparing the sets. It was quite exciting. We were outdoors in the middle of the desert, and there were two main actors there for shooting – John Boyega and Daisy Ridley. But we didn’t have lines, just reaction shots. I can’t talk about the nature of the scene though!
Was J.J. Abrams there?
He was there, and he came to talk to Lika and I because he really liked what we were wearing. He asked us our names and said who he was – as if we hadn’t guessed!
Did anyone give you a script?
No. Even some of the assistant directors didn’t even know the script. They just told us what to do.
Did you watch the Star Wars movies as kids?
Of course! We loved it, although we weren’t crazy fans.
Orlando Sentinel - Mark Hamill speaks: On Disney, 'Star Wars VII,' spoilers and more
On preparing for "Star Wars VII": "I’ve altered my diet. I’ve started working out. There’s that. But on the film itself: I toured the departments, I’ve looked at wardrobe, and I saw the creature shop. I went around and met all the cast people, saw the technicians working on some new things."
On "Star Wars" spoilers: "This is a whole different world … The first one, no one cared. The second one there was a lot of interest, but it was before the Internet. … I tell people we’re not trying to annoy you or tease you or play some massive game. Basically what the goal is to keep the surprises for the movie instead of spoiling them on the Internet."
On reuniting: "I hadn’t seen Tony Daniels or Carrie [Fisher] or Harrison [Ford] or Peter Mayhew in ages. … I was wonderful to see them again, because I didn’t expect to. Again, this is all so unexpected. It’s like getting out that pair of pants you haven’t worn in five years and finding a 20-dollar bill in the pocket. Oh, this is nice."
Examiner - 'Star Wars 7' leaked footage of Daisy Ridley stunt and alien creature is a fake
Daily Finance - Disney's Empire Strikes on All Fronts to Promote 'Star Wars VII'
We also gather would-be Star Wars tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of the set now that the Abu Dhabi shoot has concluded may be in for a disappointment, however. Although nothing is confirmed, all our information suggests the set won’t be left in place like its Tunisian predecessor. When the original Tunisian Tatooine set was built in the seventies, taking it down wasn’t really seen as necessary as no one had any idea of the cultural icon Star Wars was set to become. With so much cultural and financial baggage involved with the launch of the new trilogy, however, we understand that Disney may prefer to keep their cards close to their chest by pulling the set down and putting it back up again if required in future. Modular construction has, after all, come a long way since the 1970s, so fan boys and girls may just have to wait for the anticipated December 2015 release to get their next glimpse.
Spinoff News and Rumors
There’s finally enough spinoff news to warrant its own section! Lucasfilm dropped a new bombshell this week as Josh Trank was announced as another new director. Here's the press release:
Josh Trank To Direct Stand-Alone Star Wars Film
In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney continue development of multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. The newest director to come on board is Josh Trank.
"We’re thrilled to welcome Josh into the family," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "He is such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation. That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars, and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX."
Trank states, "The magic of the Star Wars Universe defined my entire childhood. The opportunity to expand on that experience for future generations is the most incredible dream of all time."
Trank captured imaginations worldwide with his critically lauded directorial debut Chronicle, a fresh and engaging take on the superhero genre. Trank is currently at work on The Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox.