Mar 25, 2013

JJ Abrams was never a Trek fan and has a hunger for Star Wars

star wars girl cosplay rebel fighter

As he will be for the rest of his life, Epidode VII director JJ Abrams was asked during a publicity interview for Star Trek Into Darkness about his upcoming movie:

“I don’t know because we’re just getting started. … Even though I was never a Star Trek fan, I felt like there was a version of it that would make me excited, that I would think ‘that’s cool, that feels right, I actually would want to see that’.

… With Star Wars … I feel like I can identify a hunger for what I would want to see again and that is an incredibly exciting place to begin a project. The movies, the worlds could not be more different but that feeling that there’s something amazing here is the thing that they share.

My knee-jerk reaction was that I’m in the middle of working on the Star Trek movie and I can’t even consider it. But then time went by and I got further along working on the movie and getting to a place where I had done most of the heavy lifting. So when I met with Kathy Kennedy we just started discussing it and I was able to actually engage in the conversation. …

I will say that Steven [Spielberg] was very encouraging of Star Wars. It’s funny because I talked to him about it and it turned out he knew all about what was going on.”

Two things to take from this:

1. Given how tight Steven Spielberg and Lucas Film’s Kathleen Kennedy are sooo tight, it would be safe to assume given Spielberg produced JJ’s wonderful Super 8 movie that she hit him up about JJ’s skills and attitude to making movies.

2. If JJ wasn’t a Star Trek fan and he made the awesome movies, imagine how much heart and soul he will put into Episode VIII given he is unabashedly a huge Star Wars fan?!

Punch it, JJ, punch it.

Mar 11, 2013

Clone Wars cancelled, Detours 'delayed'

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Here's an official release on the future of the Clone Wars television show:

"As we enter into an exciting new era focused on the next Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm has decided to pursue a new direction in animated programming. We are exploring a whole new Star Wars series set in a time period previously untouched in Star Wars films or television programming. You can expect more details in the months to come.

As part of this shift, we have also made some key decisions affecting Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Detours.

After five highly successful and critically acclaimed seasons of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, we feel the time has come to wind down the series. While the studio is no longer producing new episodes for Cartoon Network, we're continuing production on new Clone Wars story arcs that promise to be some of the most thrilling adventures ever seen. Stay tuned for more information on where fans can soon find this bonus content. In the video below, Supervising Director Dave Filoni offers a peek of what is to come in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

At Star Wars Celebration VI last year, George Lucas gave fans a glimpse at the animated comedy series Star Wars Detours from Seth Green, Matthew Senreich, and Todd Grimes. Detours was conceived and produced before we decided to move forward with the new Star Wars trilogy, and in the wake of that decision, Lucasfilm has reconsidered whether launching an animated comedy prior to the launch of Episode VII makes sense. As a result, we've decided to postpone the release of Detours until a later date."

Basically this all  means that resources used to produce these two shows are being diverted into production for the new trilogy. There is however some hope for fans who are probably very disappointed by this decision  - there will be some 'bonus content' that covers the infamous Order 66 that the Emperor made. 

Here's a video that explains the changes and gives a sneak peek at Order 66 being implemented. 

Mar 10, 2013

Star Trek feature's Han Solo's "Punch It" line

This guy will probably get punched in Star Trek. Not by Chewie though. That would be stupid. 

Want proof that JJ Abrams loves Star Wars? Check out the new Star Trek trailer where Captain Kirk orders "punch it" to get the Enterprise out of whatever jeopardy she's found herself in:

Star Wars fans will of course recognise "Punch it, Chewie" as a line from the original Star Wars movie.

Given JJ put that in the movie, clearly as a nod to fandom everywhere, I'm taking it as a sign JJ is a  suitable pair of hands to direct the new Star Wars movie.

Will the Emperor be in the new Star Wars movies?

This is not a nice old man. 
I'm not an extreme Star Wars Fan fanboy, my knowledge of the universe is basically that of the movies – but I think I read once in the extended universe that that Palpatine was re-born because he was so strong with the Force.

So, it’s with some wonder that I wonder if he’ll be seen in the new Star Wars movies in some shape or form.

Anyways, here’s a nice piece of thinking from Emperor actor, Ian McDairmid on the way the prequel trilogy is perceived by younger fans as opposed to those exacting fan boys that George Lucas grew to tire of.

“Is it fascinating for you that Star Wars feels like it’s a constant living thing in that people are constantly rediscovering and discovering it?

Yes, well events like Celebration sort of keep it alive but the thing is that it’s completely alive anyway. They just enable people to come together and to celebrate what they all like about it. But it is interesting the way it has continued to be popular with really young kids.

I mean George always said when we were doing the prequels, he said “Well, as with the previous films, the target audience…” that’s probably not an expression that he would use, but that’s what he meant, “…is 8-year olds. In other words, “These are the people that I’m aiming this film at. Anybody else, I hope will have a good time, but these are the people.” So I thought that then, the sophisticated 8-year-olds who are around today, would then think that Star Wars is a little old fashioned, because it’s been going for a while, even though it’s always been re-inventing itself. Not a bit of it.

And I’m usually approached by mums and dads of 4-year olds now who’ve been watching the movies, who are completely fascinated by them. And they won’t leave their television screens until they’ve seen the whole lot. So it continues to grip, and it continues to grip kids. And even though, we all know with the prequels some of the adults who’d seen the early films were a bit disappointed, that’s not true of succeeding generations, which sort of means that these films are really going to go on forever, and that’s extraordinary, I think, and great.”

Want more? Check out these awesome quotes from the Sith Lord himself in the movies.

Mar 7, 2013

Lucas had started work on the new trilogy before the Lucasfilm sale to Disney

Star Wars creator George Lucas appears to be one canny business man (as if his coup in retaining the merchandising rights to the Star Wars IP wasn’t enough of one). As he went about preparing Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise for its sale to Disney last year, he had treatments developed for the new trilogy, thus increasing the potential value of the company he was aiming to sell.

According to Businessweek's Lucas apparent even begin formal discussions with stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher about returning to the series that made them famous. He also apparently had arranged for for the treatments by bringing in screenwriter Michael Arndt and consultant and Star Wars scribe Lawrence Kasdan before even agreeing to show the Disney company the rough outlines for the new trilogy.

In terms of casting (i.e. Luke, Leia and Han) Lucas was quoted as saying:

"We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ '

'Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.'

So that pretty much confirms there’s an absolute intention to have the three characters in the first film at least (but these days contracts for franchises extended to multiple films) – with Carrie Fisher saying she’s up for it and Mark Hamill practically begging to be in it, the only real thing to worry about is if grumpy old Harrison Ford will sign up.

Mar 5, 2013

Star Wars 'spin off' films confirmed in addition to new trilogy

The Star Wars cinematic galaxy is about to experience a Big Bang. Lucasfilm is officially announcing new spinoff films that will expand the mythos and depths of the Star Wars universe in previously unexplored ways.

One of the standalone films will be written by Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and co-writer of Return of the Jedi while the other will be penned by Simon Kinberg, writer of Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

The movies will be separate from the upcoming Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, on which Kasdan and Kinberg are also consulting, and are expected to be released sometime after Episode VII. Each standalone film will focus on a specific character, and two spinoff films are currently confirmed.

In a call to investors, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, revealed that while the original focus was on the highly-anticipated sequel trilogy, the idea of spinoff films was bandied about early and the additional films are now becoming a reality. "We are in development of a few standalone films," he said, "that are not part of the Star Wars saga...there are now creative entities working on developing scripts for what would be those standalone films."

Mar 3, 2013

All JJ has to do is change one word on his director's chair....


All JJ has to do is change one word on his director's chair....


After a bevy of emails and phone calls, the formalities have been wrapped up, and at long last everyone can exhale and properly share the word with an excited Internet. Yes, J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

"It's very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie," said Kennedy. "J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture."

George Lucas went on to say "I've consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He's an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn't be in better hands."

"To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor," J.J. Abrams said. "I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid."

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.

Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year's Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm's preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.