TheForce.net brings us a leaked photo of action figures for The Force Awakens. The picture originates in a Chinese forum and features four trailer characters (Rey and Finn are in different costumes, Kylo Ren head-on, BB-8 looking pretty much the same) and an old pal from the original trilogy. These could be fakes, I suppose, but who knows? (Picture, more thoughts in the comments.)
Spoilerphobes beware: Indie Revolver has taken this opportunity to show us concept art of Ren’s helmet.
Last night’s The Empire Strikes Back live-read had a few final casting surprises – but the big one is surely Mark Hamill as Obi-wan and the Emperor (and Boba Fett, apparently.) UPDATE: Buzzfeed has more pictures, and /Film has a lengthy recap.
Hamill wasn’t the only surprise last night – the final episode of The Colbert Report featured a lot of guest stars – including brief appearances by George Lucas and J.J. Abrams.
→ The meat of the Entertainment Weekly preview piece seems to be this analysis that showed up today, plus sidebar on John Boyega that showed up on Tumblr. Neither really tells us anything we don’t already know, but the illustration by Martin Ansin is nice.
→ Matt Martin accidentally started a meme. I’m just glad that I’m not the one gathering the tweets, but here’s mine. I Sharpied!
→ Oscar Isaac got his uncle in Star Wars, and he jokes about wearing a Gonk costume to Comic-Con next year.
→ Now Wired is looking at how fast the TIEs in the trailer are. Math geeks, it’s okay. We don’t need to know.
→ Rumor corner: Making Star Wars on concept art of a new alien sidekick.
→ What did I forget yesterday? The Disney XD trailer featurette is now online. It’s… Not for us.
From Omaze, we have Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, a lot of crew members and even a few cast members thanking fans for contributing to A Force For Change.
Natalie Portman: “No director wanted to work with me,” after The Phantom Menace. In a piece featuring remembrances of late director Mike Nichols, Portman talks about how he vouched for her.
→ Andy Serkis dispels a couple of The Force Awakens rumors in a chat with Entertainment Weekly: He’s not playing more than one character, and he’s “not leading a band of gymnasts or acrobats.”
Episode VII is (naturally) featured in the next issue of the magazine, which looks ahead to 2015 and is teasing some additional stuff in addition to Serkis. EW stuff we’ve seen online but not in print includes Mark Hamill and the cards. Or maybe we’ll see some other stuff in the next few days. (Cross your fingers.)
→ If you’re still stuck on the broadsaber, Popular Science got some real swordsman to weigh in.
→ Rumor corner: Making Star Wars describes a new kind of fighter.
Director Jason Reitman is staging a live-read of The Empire Strikes Back tomorrow night in Los Angeles. The line-up includes Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul as Luke Skywalker, J.K. Simmons as Darth Vader, Stephen Merchant as C-3PO, Dennis Haysbert as Lando Calrissian and Kevin Pollak as Yoda.
But who’ll be playing Han and Leia? Hoping for some surprises…
Maisie Richardson-Sellers was one of the first actresses whose name we heard connected with Episode VII, and although she was never confirmed by Lucasfilm, she’s now at least allowed to admit she’s in the movie. She tells Refinery29 that Star Wars was her first screen acting job:
It is really strange, but it’s also fantastic. I’d always done theater, and his was my first screen experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to introduce me to the world of screen acting.
On Star Wars in general:
I grew up watching them and I’ve always been fascinated about how they use the epic nature of the story — but also make it really personal. It has tender relationships, and it’s funny and quirky. I feel it’s really well-rounded and that’s why it’s so popular; it’s so accessible for so many generations and backgrounds. Even though it’s such a surreal story, it feels very true. All the relationships are very true. It breaks down the age old story of good versus evil in a very accessible manner.
On keeping secrets:
I had to sign many, many contracts. It’s very, very secret. But, everyone who’s working on it loves and respects the franchise so much, they all want to keep it a secret. We wanted to hold it tight, so it wasn’t hard for anyone. It wasn’t a forced thing; it’s our little child which we’re going to present to the world in a year.
She’s also appeared on CW’s The Originals.
We have a new character name for The Force Awakens this morning – one Captain Phasma. Stitch Kingdom dug the name out of some trademark registrations.
But whose role does the name belong to? Speculation quickly pinpointed Gwendoline Christie, no doubt due to the name’s feminine sound and previous rumors, but it’s probably a last name, which means it could be anyone. Remember how there were also rumors that Christie’s character was originally male?
We got two new Mark Hamill interviews today, as he continues to promote Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas, and it’s not like The Force Awakens just isn’t going to not come up. With the Chicago Sun-Times, he talks about secrecy measures of the internet age:
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been on a movie set where if you go from your trailer to a soundstage, you have to put on an enormous robe with a hood that hangs down over your head. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘What’s this all about.’ They told me, ‘Oh, it’s because of the drones,’ flying overhead, taking photographs of people walking to the soundstage.
“Really, it’s come to that? In the old days, the studio was like a sanctuary. You were protected from the outside world. You could relax. Not anymore!”
He told Entertainment Weekly that he and the other old-timers knew in advance they weren’t going to be featured in the teaser.
And of course, lots about the beard.