The Star Wars News Roundup – 5.23.14


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 and Spinoff News and Rumors

J.J. Abrams dropped a great bombshell on fans. Not only did they start a program to raise money for UNICEF, but they revealed the first look at an alien from the film as well as the chance for fans to win a role in the movie.

I think this is a fantastic idea and I always wished that they had done something like this during the prequels. So far, Disney and J.J. Abrams are making me happy with the decisions they have been making. Get more info and donate at

Then yesterday another bombshell was dropped – the writer and director of the new “Star Wars” standalone film:

Gareth Edwards and Gary Whitta Onboard for Star Wars Stand-Alone Film

In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney have begun development on multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. Gareth Edwards will direct the first stand-alone film, with a screenplay by Gary Whitta. The film is due out December 16, 2016.

Gareth Edwards blazed into the filmmaking forefront with his acclaimed work on Monsters, a film he wrote, directed and served on as cinematographer and visual effects artist. The skill and vision readily apparent in Monsters earned him the high-profile spot directing this year’s smash hit Godzilla.

“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life – join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited & honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,’ said Edwards.

Gary Whitta’s screenwriting credits include 2010’s The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. He is also well known as a journalist and editor in the video game industry, as well as part of the BAFTA award-winning team on Telltale Games’ adaptation of The Walking Dead.

Whitta states, “From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me, so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”

You can find the official release at StarWars.Com.

Screen Crush – Read J.J. Abrams’ Heartfelt Note to the ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ Cast and Crew as Filming Begins

BBC News – The BBC spoke to Oscar Isaac about his casting:

Recently seen in Inside Llewyn Davis, the actor said his family were “very excited” by his latest role.

“My uncle and my cousin have galleries of the Star Wars toys they’ve collected,” he told Kirsty Lang.

“So once I told them I had been cast, he nearly fainted, my uncle. He got sweaty and pale. He was very excited.

“The idea that I could be a toy for him is the craziest thing.”

Little is known about Isaac’s role in Star Wars: Episode VII, and the actor admitted he was under strict orders not to reveal details.

However he spoke about being cast in the movie by director JJ Abrams, saying he had been called to a meeting in Paris earlier this year.

“I’m a huge Star Wars fan but at the same time I’m defensively pessimistic, so I assumed that maybe it was a different project,” he said.

Once Abrams confirmed the meeting was about Star Wars, Isaac said he “tried to play it cool – but, I mean, it was clear I was just so excited he wanted me to be a part of the whole thing.”

The actor also confessed he used to dress up as characters from the outer space blockbuster franchise as a child.

“Not as a Jedi Knight,” he stressed, “but I dressed up as a gonk droid a couple of times.

“I liked the tertiary characters or the ones you don’t necessarily look at. I was a huge Boba Fett fan.”

Latino Review added a bit of casting news:

First up – Katie Jarvis – an actress from Essex, Mia from Fishtank. If you’ve seen Fishtank, you probably think this is a cool choice. She’s a capable actress but doesn’t have a specific type of role that’s been assigned to her persona.

Second – Maisie Richardson-Sellers – we can confirm reports that Maise Richardson-Sellers has been around the Star Wars production. It’s looking like rumors from last month that the Oxford-graduate will be taking a female role might turn out to be accurate.

Orlando Sentinel – Mark Hamill’s role in new ‘Star Wars’ movie began with lunch in Orlando – Actor will take part in Disney’s Star Wars Weekends

For two years, Mark Hamill kept a secret he learned in Orlando.

“Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas had invited Hamill and Carrie Fisher to lunch and asked them to reprise their roles of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in a planned “Star Wars Episode VII.”

Hamill was shocked, the 62-year-old actor recalled this week.

“The idea that he would say, ‘We want to do VII, VIII, IX’ was the farthest thing from my mind.”

Now, with “Star Wars” fever surging following the film’s casting announcement, Hamill will make his first trip to Star Wars Weekends, an annual fan event that kicked off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park Friday. Hamill will come to Central Florida for the fourth weekend of the event, June 6-8.

Hamill and Fisher were in Florida in 2012 for another fan event, Celebration VI, when they lunched with Lucas. Fisher was onboard immediately for the film, Hamill said, but he had reservations.

“I’m sort of settled in my ways,” he said. “I’m a character actor in animation, and I don’t really do a lot of on-camera anymore. And I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m a man of simple pleasures.”

But then he had an “aha!” moment.

“I started thinking: Business decision aside, what would happen if I declined? I would be the most reviled person on the planet.”

Visit the link for more!

BBC – Harrison Ford spoke briefly about “Episode VII”:

Ford’s involvement in the franchise coincides with his return to the resurgent Star Wars series, which began shooting in the UK this week.

“I’m just delighted to be involved,” he said of JJ Abrams’ as yet untitled sequel. “We have a great script and a wonderful cast.

“JJ is a director at the top of his game and I’m looking forward to it,” the actor continued.

The 71-year-old would not be drawn, however, on whether his Han Solo character would return in future Star Wars movies, feigning deafness when pressed by this British reporter.

Daily Mail – New Star Wars hit by wookiee row: Argument over who supplies extras spills into the High Court

It is a story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away where Jedi knights battle an evil empire.

But before even a phaser has been blasted or a lightsabre drawn in the highly anticipated new Star Wars movie, the first battle is expected to take place at the High Court over who will supply the hundreds of stormtroopers and wookies.

And at the centre of the legal fight is 32-year-old Eleanor McLaughlin who is accused of trying to steal a lucrative contract to provide extras for the forthcoming seventh instalment of the sci-fi saga.

British agency Mad Dog Casting is suing her for up to £250,000 after claiming it had entered ‘mature’ negotiations to supply extras for crowd scenes that involve aliens and other creatures last year.

However, it argues McLaughlin, a former employee, quit the firm to set up her own casting agency and also started competing for the £1million contract.

Fears have now been raised that the legal fight could delay the shooting of some of the big crowd scenes for Star Wars: Episode VII.

Jedi News then provided some clarification via Twitter:

“Episode VII” director J.J. Abrams talks to Walt Disney World crowd

Harrison Ford poursuivi par “Star Wars” – 19/05

Schmoesknow – Poster Maestro DREW STRUZAN Returning to STAR WARS EPISODE VII?!?!

We here at Schmoes Know have learned from a close source to Drew himself that none other than JJ Abrams has contacted him to come OUT OF RETIREMENT to do the poster art for Star Wars Episode VII. Not only will this tie in the fan base and magic of the original trilogy, but it will connect the new saga to the original feelings we all have based in part from the wonderful posters we all know and love.

And Drew has agreed to return!

Visit the link for more!

Variety – Why ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Decided to Shoot in Abu Dhabi (EXCLUSIVE)

“There’s a wide number of reasons why ‘Star Wars’ chose to shoot in Abu Dhabi. Obviously, straight off the bat, you’ve got to get the creative right,” said Baker, who was previously exec VP of Pinewood USA. “We have a great selection of locations that appeal to those guys. Then, there is everything else that falls into place: production infrastructure, crew, equipment suppliers, and obviously a big one in the rebate.”

The 30% production rebate, which was launched two years ago, has proved popular with international producers. twofour54 and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission in the past 12 months have attracted several international productions, including Sony’s paranormal thriller “Deliver Us from Evil,” Universal Pictures’ “Fast & Furious 7″ and Bollywood movie “Bang Bang” from Fox Star Studios.


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Books and Comics


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Weekend: Feb. 21, 2019, Feb. 24, 2019

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