Disney is testing droid characters for their parks


Well, file this under ‘delightful:’ Disney is testing interactive droid characters to roam their parks. Youtuber DAPs Magic (via io9) spotted ‘Jake’ at Disneyland’s Launch Bay, even interacting with exhibits.

Threepio, Artoo and BB-8 are givens for the parks, but the idea of new-to-us droids randomly roaming Star Wars Land? Bring it.

Push the Talking Trash Can (who has been known to sing the Imperial March) has long been a feature at Tomorrowland in several of the Disney parks.

Indiana Jones to return in 2019

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Disney has announced that Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford will be making a fifth Indiana Jones film for a July 19, 2019 release. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will again produce.

The last Indy film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, came out in 2008. Rumors of a fifth installment have been rumbling since Disney and Paramount announced in 2013 they’d come to deal on rights to the franchise following the former’s 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm.

The boss: New Kathleen Kennedy profile, and about that slave bikini…

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Vanity Fair has a new interview and profile of Kathleen Kennedy in the wake of The Force Awakens. The most interesting part, perhaps, comes from writer Tony Kushner (Angels in America:)

“She talked about the way in which the conventional approach to these things is that a script starts from an outline, and that’s what everybody focuses on before there’s a word of dialogue.” In Kushner’s recollection, Kennedy was urging the writers to turn their focus to the characters. She kept saying to them, “Who are these people? I don’t know who these people are.” Kushner felt that “she was expressing an impatience about character being secondary to story line, which violated something very essential for her.”

He went on: “We had an interesting conversation about how a lot of playwrights start with outlines because it gives you something to hold on to, but that you know the characters are likely to derail the outline once they start doing what they do.” He and Kennedy talked about how “there’s no telling what will happen once you have invented a person. They may be willing to do what the outline says to do, but they may have very different plans in mind.” The sense Kushner got was that Kennedy “was pushing people to be unafraid of being lost for a while. It was good to see her holding the banner of complexity in the middle of this huge enterprise of Star Wars.” The machines, in other words, have not won.

She also addresses Leia’s slave bikini:

Referring to a notorious scene in Return of the Jedi, I asked Kennedy if she would ever have put Princess Leia in a golden bikini—the famous “slave Leia” costume that is embedded in the collective unconscious of legions of men who were adolescents in the 80s. “With a chain around her neck?,” Kennedy asked, arching an eyebrow and laughing. “I don’t think that would happen.” She quickly added that she didn’t think George Lucas would put her in that bikini today.

Lucas’ wife, Mellody Hobson, on the other hand, says “George is not apologetic about that bikini.” I don’t doubt it.

The article notes that there isn’t a ban on the slave bikini – but I’ve always suspected the real story is that there’ll be less bikini, as opposed to a blanket ban, considering the source of the ‘banning’ brouhaha is a pinup artist.

In any case, you’re going to want to read the whole thing.

George Lucas on Star Wars old and new

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The Washington Post has a new profile of George Lucas, where he talks about Lucasfilm, the old movies, the new movie (he hasn’t seen it yet,) and his reasoning for Han shooting second:

“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’ ” Lucas asks. “Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”

There’s no doubt in my mind he’s said something like that many times, but even I can’t spare any more brainspace for these things. They are what they are, and sometimes being healthy about Star Wars means you just have to shrug.

On “the divorce” with Star Wars and Lucasfilm:

“There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” he says. “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. And to do that would never work, so I said ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ . . . I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.”

Later, he compares it to a grown child getting married, and admits “it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made.”

In any case, it’s a nice profile that doesn’t avoid the unavoidable, but does the job of catching us up with George.