The Wrap reports that the Paramount/CBS scuffle over Star Trek merchandising rights prevented J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot from doing quite as much as they would have liked to with the franchise off-screen – and that struggle could have had a part in him signing on with Lucasfilm. His Star Wars contract may allow Abrams a hand in the Star Wars “television properties, theme park rides and spin-off films” that will emerge in the new era his Episode VII is spearheading.
As successful as “Star Trek” has been, few franchises match the profitability and cultural prominence of George Lucas’ space opera, which would be difficult for any director to pass up.
“Disney has always been oriented to multi-platform revenue stream situations,” Seth Willenson, a film library valuations expert, told TheWrap.
Moreover, Willenson notes that Abrams, who has a deal that is believed to include creative and profit participation in “Star Wars” inspired merchandise and spin-offs, will have more control in shaping the legacy of the Skywalker clan than he would have had with developing side projects for the “Star Trek” crew.
Granted, while Lucasfilm, and thus Disney, does own most of Star Wars free and clear, the franchise isn’t totally free of hurtles. 20th Century Fox has distribution rights to the first Star Wars“in perpetuity,” while the other 5 will revert to LFL in 2020. This could complicate things like box sets in the future, but for Abrams, that’s not going to be an immediate issue, or stop him from exploring multi-platform options.
Meanwhile, it’s Bryan Burk’s turn to talk about Episode VII and secrecy with /Film.
Or, the grass is green, but if you’re keeping track, here are the pertinent remarks from the Disney earnings call earlier this week, via Yahoo.
“In addition to the Star Wars feature films that we’ve already talked about, we’re also working on opportunities for television and our parks,” Iger said. “It’s still very early in the process. We’ll announce details as these developments evolve.”
Start your theories, people who care that Lucasfilm registered a bunch of domain names! Fusible was first to notice.
The domains include starwarsrebels.com, starwarsalliance.com, order67.net, wookieehunters.com, starwarswolfpack.com, and wolfpackadventures.net. (Wolfpack, if anyone is wondering, is a clone trooper squad that gained a good bit of traction among Clone Wars fans.)
An extraordinary amount of comment seems to focus on gunganfrontier2.com, gunganfrontier3.com and gunganfrontier4.com, which could mean sequels to a 1999 learning game or just someone at LFL being a hilarious troll.
In any case, the tendency with these domain things is to assume they’re video games, so consider the speculation floor open.
There was plenty to behold for the 30th anniversary screening of Return of the Jedi at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood as part of Entertainment Weekly’s first CapeTown Film Festival. Held on Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, the set of four screenings of the no-longer-final installment of the Star Wars saga brought out fans and celebs alike. With Jedi being my favorite Star Wars film, I was stoked to see it again on the big screen – twice! While we’ve already covered the news of Mark Hamill’s appearance after the evening screenings, there’s plenty more to share, including a visit from The Clone Wars cast and more! (Also check out my full photo album on Flickr!)
Nothing really new revealed, but it seems that their position to end the show is solid. The letter had no real mention of the ‘bonus content’ but does mention that it is more than just Dave Filoni working on the new series: “many members of his Clone Wars team” is also in the letter.
Still, nice to know that my letter was received and that they are willing to engage fans on a one-on-one basis. Here’s the full text of the body of the letter (or just click on the image to read the main text): Continue reading →
The Wrap reports that Industrial Light & Magic may open a facility in the United Kingdom to “take advantage of foreign tax subsidies.” They’ve been scouting in East London, their source reports.
Lucasfilm rep Miles Perkins told them ILM has no plans to leave the Bay Area, but going overseas offers certain advantages:
Perkins likened any expansion in London to ILM’s announcement in 2012 that it was establishing a hub in Vancouver to work on specific projects. Like the U.K., certain Canadian cities such Vancouver offer more generous post-production tax credits and subsidies than California.
We’ve already heard rumblings that Episode VII may return the franchise to filming in Britain.
Corporate shenanigans.Jedi News spotted an interesting mention in a recent Variety story on Bob Iger and who might suceed him at Disney: “Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.” Well, business isn’t exactly our division, but I suppose it wouldn’t be out of the question.
In other news, Kennedy and ILM have signed a “co-operation deal” with Chinese VFX company Base FX, both Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have reported. Hrm.
Another name in the hat?Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek: The Next Generation) wouldn’t mind jumping ship to Episode VII, Big Shiny Robot learned in a recent interview.
Randomly… Star Wars will be the first movie to be dubbed in Dine, the official language of the Navajo, KJZZ reports.
Deadline says that two dozen employees were laid off at Lucasfilm this week. We already heard there were layoffs, but this is the first word we’ve had on numbers. They say the cuts came in “financing, licensing and distribution.”
In an email to employees earlier this month, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said all significant organization changes at company would be completed by the end of April.
So hopefully this is the last we’ll hear of layoffs for the time being – unless Lucasfilm chooses to confirm the number.
UPDATE: A commenter on the Deadline piece going by ‘Ex-Lucas Employee’ says:
It wasn’t just 20. There were 300+ cuts three weeks ago and another 120-150 at Lucasfilm this week. It sounds like less because some of the 120+ this week are being required to work until as late as November if they want to receive severance.
So the number of people laid off this week may actually be significantly higher. I don’t know if we’ll ever get much official conformation on this, though.
RebelForce Radio is reporting that there have been layoffs at Lucasfilm today. People in “licensing, marketing, and publishing” have been hit. No numbers yet, but here’s a bit of independent verification:
Hatchet day at #Lucasfilm and #LucasLicensing. Bad news: I got laid off. Good news: I got laid off!Look out, world, here I come!