The Movie Bit reports that J.J. Abrams, crew and at least one actor (who I won’t name for the particularly spoiler-wary) have arrived on Ireland’s Skellig Michael to begin three days of filming. They’re expected to be there through Wednesday. Getty Images has photos of the arrivals. Stalkertastic! (via)
→ No, Karen Gillan has not been cast in Episode VII. But last we heard of the wig made when she shaved her head for Guardians of the Galaxy, her Marvel brethren had gifted it to Star Wars. Now, it seems she’s using it herself, on her new TV show Selfie.
→ Speaking of possibly deluded fans, someone from the Jedi Council forums (!?!) claims that they nabbed pics of names on trailers at the Puzzlewood shoot. One of them is a female name. I trust this – like pretty much anything off those forums – about as far as I can throw my iMac, and those pics could come from any random office corridor, but hey. Whatever.
→ Oh, and J.J. Abrams is apparently moonlighting as a celebrity party DJ now. The article does have some pics of the recently vacated Puzzlewood shoot, though.
Today, Latino Review’s Da7e Gonzales claims that there’s indeed a struggle behind the scenes to push Episode VII back to May 2016, with JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy on one side and Disney’s Bob Iger on the other. (As we’ve heard before – but from LR, so.) Their bargaining tool? Harrison Ford’s leg, which I think has more press than rest of the cast combined at this point.
Of course we know Lucasfilm is still sticking to December 18, 2015 – but then, they would be. That is the release date – at the moment, anyway.
There are a thousand other considerations when a huge corporation like Disney is involved, but from the fan end, would any of us really object to May, if it comes to pass? I’d certainly prefer it, but the movie’s release date was never going to be my hill to die on.
In any case, this paragraph in particular makes the upmost sense to me:
The franchise and it’s spinoff films will likely be big no matter what, but the value of owning Star Wars is owning the bottomless well of potential money and that means plugging into nostalgia. Star Wars as a franchise can’t pull a Rise/Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and drastically change tones, Star Wars can’t reboot. Star Wars is continuous. Kathleen Kennedy cannot have an Episode VII that botches the handoff between Star Was and Star Is.
Star Wars may not really need to be ‘fixed’ after the prequels – I’m not even a big prequel fan and I think it’s silly to say the franchise was ‘broken’ by them – but there is a perception issue in the mainstream. The mainstream thought the prequels were bad. We can argue about whether that’s been softening until the cows come home, but the fact remains that the perception is there and it’s still plenty powerful. It still, to this day, colors how many people see Star Wars.
Kennedy needs to usher Star Wars into something that can last for Disney. She knows they can’t afford to stick the landing by releasing a rushed, subpar Episode VII with the future of the franchise hanging in the balance.
Episode VII will make Disney millions, maybe billons, not matter when it’s released or how good (or bad) it is. No matter what movie it opens against. But if Star Wars is going to last beyond a third trilogy, it’s going to need some careful cultivation. There are a whole lot of people to convince, and most of them aren’t those of us who follow every drip and drabble of news, or who know that just using the terms ‘bad’ and ‘prequels’ in the same sentence will lead to a tedious debate in certain company. Lucasfilm and Disney both need the mainstream, and they need to convince them that Star Wars is, and can be, ‘good’ again.
Of course, this story of an internal struggle and using an old man’s innocent leg as a bargaining chip is only a rumor, and none of this may pan out in any way; You know the drill. And even if it is true, plenty of great films have come from crazier turmoil than this. We simply won’t know until the movie actually comes out – whenever that ends up being.
Last week had parties, pictures, and a blonde Carrie Fisher, for some reason.
Here’s a new twist to the Billie Lourd ‘casting’ – The Sun (of course) via the Mirror is now apparently claiming that Carrie Fisher’s daughter be playing the young Princess Leia in flashback scenes, complete with buns.
While I don’t doubt that Lourd and any number of others (The Sun also names J.J. Abrams’ father and father-in-law) will cameo, let’s not forget that British tabloids are the worst.
LEGO brings us the minifigure cast of Episode VII… It is pretty cute, but slave Leia, really? Meanwhile, it appears that Omaze is adding a lunch with J.J. Abrams to A Force for Change. Enter by Friday for a chance to win that one.
And in the Harrison Ford doom and gloom department, not only do we have the Oscar Isaac rumor, but the San Jose Mercury News says that one of the options that was (supposedly) being discussed at Pinewood the other day could involve writing Ford out of the film entirely. Don’t hold your breath for that one…
J.J. Abrams, Harrison Ford and Oscar Issac out and about in London. It’s the Daily Mail, so only the pictures are really worth anything, but if you’re on cast watch…
We’ve already seen some evidence, but Lucasfilm and Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 announced today that they are indeed currently filming in the UAE. “We were very excited to start the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII in Abu Dhabi,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “It has been an incredible place to commence this journey.” J.J. Abrams “and cast” (we’re not sure who) flew to Abu Dhabi “in early May.” Hundreds of crew are working currently, and “key production staff” have been working with the locals since January.
The Hollywood Reporter’s sources say they’re recreating parts of Tatooine there, as one might expect from the clip, which bears a strong resemblance to the Mos Espa market in The Phantom Menace. Variety has a few more details on the financial arrangements.
Now on to important matters: What the hell is that thing on the right?