STAR WARS NEWS
"There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" It's a big year for Star Wars fans. Not only is Star Wars: The Force Awakens coming out this year, but there's also another Star Wars Celebration happening in Anaheim, California. These conventions for fans only happen every three years in the United States, but it will have been four years since the last one happened, and it couldn't be a better year. Fans have been wondering what will be happening at the big event with Episode VII on the way, and now director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy have been announced to appear.
"He was entirely alien, and hopefully people aren't aware of how he's being operated." This is an exciting year for Star Wars, with a brand new trilogy and the characters we all grew up with. One of everyone's favorite characters is Jabba the Hutt, and we all know he was an impressive puppet creation designed by Phil Tippett, but how exactly did he work? Well, Jabba required three puppeteers inside and three others operating various parts, from the smoke to his breathing. The man behind some fantastic "filmumentaries", Jamie Benning, has put together a new video called Slimy Piece of Worm-Ridden Filth - Life Inside Jabba the Hutt (love this title) and it's an excellent 20-min short doc on the operation of Jabba. Dive in.
When it comes to talking about Star Wars: The Force Awakens, director J.J. Abrams has done a pretty good job when it comes to avoiding major press events where he's asked a whole bunch of questions that he can't answer. However, Collider recently got a chance to catch up with Abrams as he attended the Visual Effects Society Awards to accept their Visionary Award, and the director was forthcoming about some things, though they're not particularly revelatory. Abrams confirmed there's only one sequence shot in IMAX, and he will executive produce Episode VIII and Episode IX. But what about that new lightsaber?
A couple weeks ago, a small collection of actresses were reported to be testing for a led role in the developing standalone Star Wars spin-off that's already slated for release on December 16th, 2016, one year after Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives. Now THR reports that Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2) is officially in talks for the role, though obviously specifics on her character are kept under tight wraps. All we know is she beat out Tatiana Maslany, Rooney Mara and Kate Mara for the role after they were all reading and testing for the role in LA.
Almost a couple years ago, back in the spring of 2013, before Star Wars: The Force Awakens even had a title and the film was still slated rumored for a summer release in 2015, Disney revealed at CinemaCon that they were planning on releasing a new Star Wars film each year, alternating between episodes in the new trilogy and standalone films in between them. Now here we are in 2015, and Star Wars: Episode VII isn't arriving until December 18th this year, followed next year by the first standalone film (which is starting to find a cast already) from director Gareth Edwards. Now we have further confirmation for future plans.
After rumors swirled that Simon Kinberg was going to step up for the next round of writing for the first standalone Star Wars spin-off that will be directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards, another writer has the job instead. Gary Whitta finished his job on the first draft of the script for the film rumored to be about the heist to obtain the plans to the first Death Star, and now THR reports About a Boy and Disney's new Cinderella screenwriter Chris Weitz will next step up to take a crack at the script. That seems like an odd hire for Star Wars, but Weitz did get an Oscar nomination for About a Boy, so it's not exactly bad news.
We've still got 11 months until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, but with the first Star Wars spin-off film slated to arrive one year after that, it's almost time for production to get into gear, and that means casting is getting underway as writer Gary Whitta departed the project after turning in a first draft. THR has word that Disney is in the process of testing females leads for the first standalone film set in the Star Wars universe that will be directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards. As of now, the names that have surfaced include Girl with the Dragon Tattoo star Rooney Mara, recent Oscar nominee Felicity Jones from The Theory of Everything and "Oprhan Black" star Tatiana Maslany.
If you're one of those fans who is glad that George Lucas isn't messing with Star Wars anymore, you can count your lucky stars that the creator of the galaxy far, far away changed his mind from what he originally had planned to continue the sci-fi saga. USA Today recently interviewed Lucas in an effort to build some excitement for Lucasfilm's animated release Strange Magic, and inevitably the conversation turned to Star Wars. Obviously, Lucas isn't involved with The Force Awakens, so they didn't talk about that, but Lucas did reveal that he originally wanted to direct Episode VII for a May 2015 release before he sold Lucasfilm.
Just before the weekend, we learned that Gary Whitta was stepping away from the first Star Wars spin-off film that will be directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards. Considering the statement given by Whitta when the news was announced, it sounds like his work is done, and it's just time for some new eyes to take a look at the project and do some polishing so the film can be ready to shoot later this year when Spectre is done shooting at Pinewood Studios across the pond. Now SlashFilm has learned (though couldn't confirm) that Star Wars: The Force Awakens consultant Simon Kinberg may be replacement writer.
"Once more, the Sith will rule the galaxy." You might remember a few years ago, back before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was even a reality, there was a plan to release the prequel trilogy, converted into 3D, into theaters over three consecutive years. However, The Phantom Menace was the only one that made it to the big screen, and plans to release the other two episodes were scrapped once Disney bought Lucasfilm and started putting together their own Star Wars plans. But if you're attending Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in April, you'll have a chance to see the whole prequel trilogy in 3D, and the rest of the saga too.
It sounds like Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to get a triple dose of Indonesian action, at least if a new rumor is to be believed. Twitch has word that Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman, three of the key players from The Raid 2, the unbelievable action film directed by Gareth Evans, will have roles in Episode VII. However, we have no indication of what characters they'll be playing yet. We're just hoping that since these three are so skilled with fighting and are just insanely fast, that they will be involved in some kind of action sequence. Can you imagine a lightsaber battle with these guys? Read on!
Even though the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a minute and a half long, there's just about as much blackness on screen as there is real footage in the trailer. Therefore, it makes it fairly easy to make a low budget, sweded version of the trailer. And that's exactly what Dumb Drum (via FlickeringMyth) has done, complete with some crafty cardboard artistry. There's some impressive moving cardboard elements used for the quick shot of the ball droid BB-8, not to mention the moneyshot of the Millennium Falcon flying through the desert. Just a fun video to keep the Star Wars hype alive. Watch!
News on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens front has slowed down considerably since the release of the teaser trailer last month, but the excitement level is still high. That's why we're pretty sure you'll want to check out a couple new glamor shots of the Millennium Falcon, even if they're just from a Fortune magazine photo shoot with Disney CEO Bob Iger. One of the shots features the life-size version of the ship on the sound stage in London while the other comes from a blueprint-esque piece of artwork from the cover of the latest issue. Oh, what I wouldn't give to be on set and sit in the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy.
Long before the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released, our first look at the sci-fi sequel came from vidoes release in conjunction with the Star Wars: Force for Change fundraiser that was created in coordination with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The end of the fundraiser culminated with a single fan being granted the dream of visiting the set and getting a walk-on role in the film. Well, now director J.J. Abrams has returned from the set of Episode VII to thank everyone who donated and helped raise millions of dollars. You just might see a familiar droid and Wookiee. Watch!