The Star Wars News Roundup – 11.8.13


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 Movie News Summary

Two big items hit this week. First up, announced a new release date for Episode VII:

With pre-production in full-swing, a confirmed release date of December 18, 2015, has been set for Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.

“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek) and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.

Shooting is scheduled to begin spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios.

For the record, I think Lucasfilm and Disney should take as much time as they need to get it right. If “Episode VII” is not done correctly, the value of the whole franchise is hurt tremendously. Rolling Stone posted a piece on the subject:

Star Wars is not The Hangover. It is not The Fast and The Furious. It’s not the movie equivalent of a McDonald’s hamburger, a cheap piece of cinematic entertainment that can be churned out with relative ease, all thanks to a trusty set of hero clichés and action-packed plot templates.

But considering the ambitious plan that Disney supposedly has for this exalted franchise, you might think some executives think it is. According to reports first published yesterday, Disney chief Robert Iger has hatched a plan to release the next three Star Wars movies – plus at least two spinoffs – over a six-year period, starting with Star Wars: Episode VII in 2015.

Check out the full article at the link.

J.J. Abrams also addressed the switch of screenwriters from Michael Arndt to Lawrence Kasdan and himself. Deadline reports:

“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” said the Episode VII director Thursday. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,” Abrams told Deadline.

“Working with Michael was a wonderful experience and I couldn’t be a bigger fan of his or adore him more, He’s a wonderful guy and was incredibly helpful in the process,” Abrams said of Arndt. The director also noted that while he and Kasdan have taken over the script for the first of the three new Star Wars films that Disney has planned over the next few years, “that doesn’t preclude working with Michael again in the future.” Abrams added, “he is one of the best writers around.”

The other big news for the week was the release of a casting call sheet from Disney. Posted at Jedi News UK, it was originally thought to be just for the UK, but now it seems the casting call will take place in the US as well. This was confirmed by Bleeding Cool and the BBC. Read the description below.:

TheForce.Net posted details of the US casting call thanks to Club Jade:

November 7, 2013
Ramada – Minneapolis Airport Mall
2300 E. American Blvd.
Bloomington, MN 55425
3pm – 8pm

November 10, 2013
Sheraton – St. Louis City Center Hotel
400 S. 14th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
12pm – 5pm

November 14, 2013
Park West Theatre
322 W. Armitage Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
3pm – 8pm

November 17, 2013
Somerset Inn
2601 W. Big Beaver Rd.
Troy, MI 48084
12pm – 5pm

November 22, 2013
Hilton – Austin
500 E. 4th St.
Austin, TX 78701
3pm – 8pm

November 24, 2013
Sheraton – Nashville Downtown
623 Union St.
Nashville, TN 37219
12pm – 5pm

Visit the links for more details. More information can be found at

Darth Vader actor David Prowse gave advice to any hopefuls auditioning for “Episode VII.” The BBC reports:

The actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films says hopefuls from Bristol auditioning for the new film should “disguise their accents”.

Dave Prowse starred in episodes four to six but his Bristolian accent was later dubbed over by James Earl Jones.

He told people going to Bristol for the open casting sessions for Star Wars: Episode VII to be “very, very serious about the whole thing”.

“You can’t go ‘oo-aar my dear here’s my lightsaber,” he said.

The Guardian also posted an article written by ANH and ESB producer Gary Kurtz about the casting call:

When we cast the original Star Wars film all three of the main leads were pretty much unknown.

Harrison Ford had done a couple of small TV parts, and had a role in American Graffiti, but that was about it.

We made a summary for an open casting call and that went out to every actor’s agent and actor’s school we knew.

For Luke Skywalker, I recall we wanted someone about 18 years old, a farmer type; not very wise in the world and somewhat naive. For Han Solo the idea was that they would be about 25 years old and kind of a cowboy type character, with a devil-may-care attitude similar to James Dean in those early films. Princess Leia was supposed to be 16, but the rules of working with young actors meant she had to be at least 18 in reality to work long days. The brief for her was that she would be kind of feisty and strong and independent, with an ironic sense of humour.

Visit the link above for much more.

The Times got one of the most recent J.J. Abrams interviews. However, the article is behind a paywall, so The Telegraph summarized the key points:

In an interview with the Times Magazine he praised a set of “golden rules” spelt out by Star Wars fans on the internet as anticipation for the films grow.

These include setting the films on a Western style frontier of the galaxy rather than in shiny big cities like the three most recent films, giving the films a gritty and dirtier aesthetic and recreating some of the danger and mystery of the originals.

Abrams said: “I would say that (the website conveys) a feeling that we share very much …

“I loved how Star Wars had that sense of a world far beyond the borders of what you can see and have been told – it’s one of the things it did so brilliantly.

“If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do. They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is.

“The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.”….

Abrams is eager not to criticise the more recent movies and suggests that he may need to tread a careful line not to alienate fans of the originals and the younger fans of the prequels.

He said: “A lot of kids who saw all the prequels when they were young really do identify with those movies as much as my generation identified with the originals.”

The article also sparked some more casting speculation when Chiwetel Ejiofor was spotted in the lobby of Abrams’ office. The Hollywood Reporter reports from the article:

Elsewhere in the Times of London interview, the unfounded Star Wars rumor of the week may have been launched. Times writer Rhys Blakely noticed that 12 Years a Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was “sitting in the lobby of J.J. Abrams’ office” before his interview.

Abrams declined to comment on that appearance to Blakely and merely noted: “[Ejiofor is] a very talented gentleman.”

That, of course, has sparked a lot of speculation. Flicks in the City caught up with the actor and asked him about Star Wars. Of course, he played coy:

Meanwhile Saoirse Ronan confirmed with Indiewire that she’s not in the running for Star wars anymore:

Of course, with “Brooklyn” now on her schedule, what does that mean for J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: Episode VII,” which she auditioned for, and is expected to be in front cameras next year? Sadly, it seems like she doesn’t have the gig. “I don’t have ‘Star Wars.’ I don’t have the role,” Ronan said, sounding kind of defeated. “I just shouldn’t have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did.” When we asked about the audition process, she said, “To pretend that you have a lightsaber in a scene is always very exciting. It would be great. But it’s something that everyone’s gone up for.”

Around The Web

Star Wars trailer: Derp edition – A new commercial for Star Wars, made from the recently revealed blooper reel.

George Lucas Interview: Harrison Ford – In an interview from the Lucasfilm archives, George Lucas talks about how he came to cast Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Star Wars. Lucas first worked with Ford in American Graffiti, and then brought the him in to read with actors auditioning for the role of Luke Skywalker. It soon became apparent that Ford himself was better than anyone who’d tried out for the part of Han Solo.

The Empire Strikes Back: Theatrical Trailer #2 – This theatrical trailer for The Empire Strikes Back features early looks at many sequences from the film. The trailer shows glimpses of Luke Skywalker’s duel with Darth Vader on Bespin (in which lighstaber effects had yet to be added, making both Luke and Vader’s weapons appear to have white blades), Han Solo shooting at Vader on Cloud City, and the Hoth battle (including AT-ATs and snowspeeders). The format of the trailer then shifts, showcasing each hero individually: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca, and various scenes in which they are featured. The trailer features no narration except for the end, and is driven primarily by John Williams’ end credits music as well as the “The Imperial March,” a classic Star Wars theme that would make its debut in The Empire Strikes Back. Tellingly, Boba Fett is nowhere to be seen in this trailer, but the official logo for The Empire Strikes Back does make its first on-screen appearance here.

Harrison Ford Pierces Jimmy Fallon’s Ear – Harrison Ford, who has long worn an earring, gives Jimmy his first piercing and puts on a matching accessory of his own.

Jeff Bennett – Star Wars on Kinkade – Star Wars invades the paintings of Thomas Kinkade.

Neatorama – Jabba the Hutt Now Works at a Library

Entertainment Weekly – Frank Darabont’s ‘Mob City’ gets poster from famed ‘Star Wars’ artist.

Video Games – The Empire goes 8-bit in Star Wars: Tiny Death Star.

Books and Comics


Geekologie – Getting Caught With Your Hand In The Thermal Exhaust Port: A Death Star Cookie Jar