We’ve previously heard that Episode VIII director Rian Johnson would also script and perhaps direct the third installment as well, but this far out it’s hard to say in any case.
When I heard that J.J. Abrams was at the VES awards last night, I wasn’t expecting much more than the standard boilerplate quotes. But he spoke to Collider on the red carpet, discussing the broadsaber (and the “many contradictory emails” he’s received about it,) IMAX, CGI, and more. Watch the video, or head over to Collider for the most pertinent quotes.
The basics, though: They’re still putting together the first cut of the film, he’ll be executive producing VIII and IX, there will still be “an enormous amount of CG effects,” (duh) and the broadsaber “was not done without a lot of conversation and it’s fun to see people have the conversation that we had, but in reverse.” None of these are huge revelations (we’ve known that only one scene is in IMAX for months,) but considering how little we’ve had out of Abrams overall, this is a bonanza.
Deadline was the first to report that Disney and Lucasfilm have tapped Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to take over from J.J. Abrams on the next two Episodes. The Wrap countered, saying that while Johnson will write and direct Episode VIII, he only write a treatment for IX.
We don’t consider any news fully confirmed until Lucasfilm weighs in, but four trade reports in such quick succession is a fairly good sign that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Johnson isn’t verified on twitter, but you may consider his last tweet telling.
In addition to Looper, Johnson’s directing credits include Brick, The Brothers Bloom and several episodes of Breaking Bad. Vulture has nice little overview, if you don’t mind some major Breaking Bad spoilers, and there’s also THR on why he’s a good choice for the job. Another must-read is Drew McWeeny’s take on the bigger picture.
Our big news out of Kathleen Kennedy’s Celebration Europe panel: John Williams has officially signed on to score Episode VII!
The Hollywood Reporter says their source tells them that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg – while hired – “will be writing separate projects” that may not necessarily be Episode VIII and Episode IX – though they still may be signed on as producers for them.
“Their scripts could turn into official ‘Episodes’ in the main Skywalker storyline, or they could form the basis for spinoffs focusing on side characters,” THR writes.
And, nope – none of this is in any way confirmed yet!
Short answer: It’s on StarWars.com.
Long answer: It’s on StarWars.com, and is reported by media outlets as such. The outlet will either source/link StarWars.com or have quotes from Lucasfilm people using their actual names.
For a recent example of an outlet actually breaking news with Lucasfilm’s blessing, let’s look at IGN’s original report of David Tennant in The Clone Wars. It has extensive quotes from Dave Filoni and a video clip – which was exclusive to them when the story broke. (StarWars.com later posted it as a preview of the episode.) So far, Lucasfilm hasn’t been doing this with Episode VII news – the Arndt item simply appeared on the site – perhaps because they know that everyone is going to write about it anyway. The Tennant news simply isn’t as big, and getting it onto a mainstream outlet gives it an extra boost that will reach casual fans (and people like Doctor Who fans) who aren’t regularly watching The Clone Wars. This is also probably why Del Rey gave Entertainment Weekly that Scoundrels exclusive EU fandom spent a day agonizing over back in March.
Other outlets writing about those stories does not confirm them, either. Words like ‘reports’ and ‘reportedly’ are basically just a journalistic way of saying ‘rumors.’ It might give them a little more weight – I tend to use the word ‘report’ if I think something is just a tad more plausible than things like, say, Vader rising from the dead. But in essence? They mean exactly the same thing: It’s not official yet, just things people or the media are saying. That doesn’t make them fact, no matter how many people run the story.
Because nothing is confirmed until Lucasfilm says it is. Lucasfilm and, now, Disney. Not Major Entertainment News Outlet #47 reporting off Major Entertainment News Outlet #86. And trust me, we are watching.
Deadline is reporting today that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have been approached by Disney to script Episode VIII and Episode IX.
The Hollywood Reporter has their own report, saying Kasdan and Kinberg will work as a pair on one of the films – and join Kathleen Kennedy as producers.
UPDATE: THR says Wednesday that the deal is done, but StarWars.com is staying mum.
Kinberg has some franchise experience as well – the 2009 Sherlock Holmes – though I’m not sure X-Men: The Last Stand and Jumper speak in his favor.
StarWars.com has released the second video featuring Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas talking about the new Star Wars films, Lucas’ role in them, and what they’re looking for in a director.
There’s some overlap with the first video in the beginning, Kennedy did mention “people she’s worked with in the past,” but didn’t bring up any names. “I think we have a unique opportunity to go after some incredibly talented people,” she says. “It’s not going to be people who don’t already have some affinity for Star Wars probably, it’s gonna be somebody who really appreciates what Star Wars meant to them and is excited to dive in and be a part of this. I think the thing that will be immediately apparent are the directors who walk into the room and say ‘I can’t wait to be a part of this.'”
“I think it’s going to be a pretty long list,” Kennedy concludes.
Tomorrow it’ll be a full week since the biggest Star Wars news since the mid-90’s dropped: Not only Disney buying Lucasfilm, but that they’d be making a new trilogy – the sequel trilogy and perhaps beyond.
And amid all the rumors and fan hopes? There’s not really all that much info that’s actually solid. So in order to help stem at least a little confusion, I’ve created a page to keep track of what we actually know about Episodes VII-IX so far. It’ll be updated as we get further information.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Mark Hamill reveals that he and Carrie Fisher were told about the plans for Star Wars VII, VIII, and IX last summer. (At Celebration, perhaps?)
So when he said, “We decided we’re going to do Episodes VII, VIII, and IX,” I was just gobsmacked. “What? Are you nuts?!” [Laughs] I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material.
Well, you can’t say they haven’t had practice keeping secrets!
Carrie’s reaction to the news breaking has so far been contained to, um, her dog. Harrison Ford is, I expect, looking into trips to Antarctica.