In a matter of hours, it’ll be a full year since the Lucasfilm sale to Disney was announced. We still don’t know that much about Episode VII – most of the confirmed information still fits on one page at StarWars.com – but we can be confident that they’re working on it, at least.
Will we get any news today? The rumor mill was pretty convinced at one point, but after last week’s announcement, who can say? We’ll keep an eye out.
In the meantime… With a year to digest, what are your thoughts? Are you (still?) excited for the future of Lucasfilm and Star Wars?
Jedi News has snagged an image from the European Brand Licensing Show that reveals a few things about Lucasfilm and Disney’s marketing plans going forward.
First off, in spring/summer 2014, there’s ‘Classic LEGO Games Mobile” release, which speaks for itself, and “Darth Vader Themed TV Specials.” With Rebels is named separately and no LEGO, what form could these take? This is, quite literally, the first we’ve heard.
In autumn/winter 2014, there’s mention of a “Digital Library Launch.” Given the context here, I don’t believe this is anything to do with the books – which are already available digitally anyway – but to the release of the films themselves in a digital format (Apple TV, perhaps?) And I really doubt they’ll come alone – this could be a venue for The Clone Wars, other cartoons (Ewoks, Droids, Clone Wars 2D) and various specials from over the years – From Star Wars to Jedi, maybe, or even the Holiday Special. And even if it’s only the movies themselves, a digital release is long overdue.
And finally, there’s a reiteration of spring/summer 2015 for Episode VII. Shocking.
UPDATE: And here’s the rumor part of the equation from Jedi Master SQL.
Gaming. Kotaku has a lengthy write-up/expose on the last days – and games – of LucasArts. There’s plenty on the evolution of the game that was announced as 1313, and what was going on behind-the-scenes after the Disney sale. Interesting stuff – even for a non-gamer.
Star Wars Reads. A number of locations have been added to the StarWars.com list of venues participating on October 5. Ashley Eckstein, Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Martha Wells, John Jackson Miller and many other EU luminaries will be attending events around the country. (Anyone else considering the Ann Arbor stop?)
Lists. John Williams’ theme for Star Wars tops a BBC poll of voter’s favorite soundtracks.
Release date hijinks. Bryan Young at Big Shiny Robot – with an assist from Variety – writes on why Episode VII probably isn’t getting pushed back to December. And Jeremy Conrad at Furious Fanboys points out that the shooting schedule for Episode VII actually mirrors the one from Star Trek Into Darkness.
And, for the record, there’s another possible date change rumor from Jedi News.
The blogside. Over at Fangirl, there’s a interesting piece on speculation and how having too much knowledge of the franchise puts fan bloggers in a precarious position. Personally, although I do and will continue to report rumors, I’ve been staying away from outright speculation – mostly because it just annoys me, honestly. I don’t mind spoilers, but as an EU and fanfic fan I’ve read more than enough half-baked versions of our favorite characters – and while I have no plans to go spoiler-free (none at all) I am willing to wait and judge on the finished product. Let’s not forget that it isn’t always the basic ingredients that make something succeed or fail – it’s the execution. And that we won’t see in full until the movie is in theaters.
Lucasfilm. Oh look, it’s the fairy musical again.
Actors. The Hollywood Reporter concern-trolls Harrison Ford. Harrison Ford does what he wants, damnit. And they also found a few Sith who’d be up for a return – Ray Park and David Prowse. Somehow I doubt a dude who can’t even get a Celebration invite is going to get a movie part, though.
Steve Sansweet reveals the Revenge of the Sith
title via t-shirt at SDCC ’04
For those of us who remember the prequel era, perhaps the most puzzling part of fan speculation about Episode VII reveals has been the assumption that a title would be offered this early in the process. Mike Ryan at The Huffington Post has a nice look at Star Wars title announcements – and wonder no more why none of us veterans* are expecting to see a full title before mid-2014.
* I use the term loosely. Look how shitty this post is. I didn’t even use the title. Bad baby blogger.
A few more pieces emerged yesterday about fan expectations in the wake of D23. Germain Lussier at Slashfilm points out in his (occasionally eye-roll worthy) piece on the backlash, part of the issue is that the landscape of movie announcements has changed drastically over the years. Most pointedly, Marvel is giving fans their titles, characters and other tidbits long before they begin filming. On the other hand, Scott Mendelson thinks that Marvel and others actually reveal far too much about their films before they’re out. And even Harrison Ford has spoken out on the trend, saying that if Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark came out today they “would be no fun at all.”
We’re in a holding period for Episode VII right now. We have some varied answers from folks at the top, but with the notoriously secretive J.J. Abrams at the helm we can probably safely predict they won’t be nearly as forthcoming as the Marvel folks. And maybe that’s a good thing. (Or are they just driving us on?) It’s a whole new landscape, and even Lucasfilm is still figuring it out. So again: patience.
According to the D23 schedule, Lucasfilm will be part of Disney’s live-action panel Saturday, August 10th. Here’s the description, straight from the site:
Let the Adventures Begin: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios
Go behind the scenes at The Walt Disney Studios with this revealing look at our upcoming roster of live-action adventures from Disney, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Fans will enjoy exclusive video clips, filmmaker discussions, and star appearances at this session hosted by Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn, Disney Live Action Production President Sean Bailey, and Marvel Studios President and Producer Kevin Feige. With Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Disney’s Maleficent, Saving Mr. Banks, Tomorrowland, and Muppets Most Wanted, coming down the pike, make sure to claim your spot for the total package—surprises included! Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.
The panel is 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PDT (1:30-3:30 p.m. EDT.)
Of course, it could be nothing but the usual ‘Whoo, yay, Episode VII, here’s a bunch of stuff franchise devotees already know’ spiel. We’ve gotten ourselves all hyped up and resultingly undersold enough lately to know not to count on anything new, no matter what the rumor mill says… Right? (via)
Yes, there are the legal documents and all that, but where does the Foodles name actually come from? Big Shiny Robot has a inkling: Foodles happens to be the name of a restaurant near the pre-Presidio ILM headquarters. Curiouser and curiouser…
Warwick Davis chats with Kathleen Kennedy backstage after her panel yesterday
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.”