Latino Review is furthering the rumor from earlier this week about Ian McDiarmid’s return. They say the Emperor won’t be resurrected (sorry, Dark Empire fans) but will be appearing as a Force Ghost. And he had taken a new apprentice – who will presumably be film’s primary antagonist - before he was killed in Return of the Jedi.
What else do they say? ” Not one thing they have in the script is from a book,” (or a comic?) so count out the usual suspects… If you believe this, anyway.
There are a couple other rumors floating around today as well. One, from Episode 7 News echoes something we heard in May, that Abrams may have his hands in far more than just the actual movie. This one calls him “the creative core” of everything surrounding the new films. The other, from The Daily Superhero, says that the secrecy mandates “pretty much sounds to me like armed guards are near certain important people who are working on this movie, 24/7.”
The armed guard thing sounds like something we’ll be looking back and laughing at in 2015, but hey. Sure. Why not.
UPDATE: Lucasfilm has denied the report. “There is no truth to the rumor,” a company spokesman told TheForce.Net. “JJ is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.” Our original post is below.
Badass Digest is reporting that J.J. Abrams may be dropping out of Episode VII. They write:
…Why is it that I keep hearing tons of rumors that JJ Abrams is on the verge of dropping out of Star Wars? This has been something I’ve heard for a while now, and from multiple insiders. I know that he didn’t want to shoot the movie in England and was overruled, but that happened a while ago. This weekend at Comic Con I continued to hear these whispers. No director for Trek 3 has been found yet – might Abrams end up coming back after all, leaving Star Wars to someone else?
Big Shiny Robot is doubtful and so am I… After all, wouldn’t arrangements to film in England have already been in the works when he was signing on? Wouldn’t it have been a topic of discussion before he signed on the dotted line?
This could be nothing more than runaway fanboy paranoia at work, and it would be a big, public hit for Bad Robot, whether last week’s red scripts are Star Wars or not. But I do agree we should wait and see what comes out of Celebration Europe.
Harrison Ford may not be talking about Han Solo, wink wink, but he did have a few things to say about J.J. Abrams to MTV
Meanwhile, Vulture recaps some questions that got through to Ford at the Ender’s Game panel.
At the Daytime Emmys the other day, George Lucas told Access Hollywood that he hasn’t spoken to J.J. Abrams about Episode VII yet.
I have not spoken to J.J. He’s been busy with Star Trek, and I’m sure that he’ll let me know when he’s got some questions. So, you know, that’s all going well. Kathy tells me it’s working out great.
He does seem mostly relieved about it, but I’m sure there will be some sort of discussion as production ramps up. (via)
Episode VII. There have been a few reports that J.J. Abrams told a French newspaper that Episode VII would feature a central love story, mostly based on a write-up from Contact Music. But I’ve found what I believe to be the original article from Metro News and – per the translated version – there’s nothing above there being a love story in the film, though he does indeed speak highly of Michael Arndt. While it’s certainly not out of the question that there’ll be a major love story in the new trilogy, I don’t think that’s something you can safely quote Abrams on yet – unless there’s a longer version of this interview out there somewhere.
Podcasts. Composer Kevin Kiner talked to the folks at Full of Sith last week, and he told them that they’re working on about ten episodes of The Clone Wars for the bonus material. Meanwhile, this week Mike and Bryan chat with Corey Dee Williams (yes, Billy’s son) about working on Return of the Jedi.
Also… Heartwarming story of how a Jedi Master saved the day for an autistic boy at Disney World | Pixar vet Gary Rydstrom is directing an animated features at Lucasfilm | George Lucas plays Cassandra for the current entertainment landscape
At a recent event, George Lucas told Access Hollywood that J.J. Abrams “understands” Star Wars and “how it works.” And if not… Kathleen Kennedy will “keep it straight.” He also addressed his own role in this as being more or less on call, and the inevitable critics:
“No matter how you do it, it’s a complicated cultural icon. Therefore you’re always going to be in trouble no matter what you do,” he said. “So, the best thing you can do is just plow forward and try to do the best story you can.”
At a Producer’s Guild event Saturday, J.J. Abrams said that things will start moving on the Episode VII production “at the end of the year,” Variety reports. Producer Bryan Burke said much the same – though a little more tentatively – in May.
Overall Star Wars talk continues to be vague, but Abrams said:
“It is so massive and so important to people,” he said. “I think the key to moving forward on something like this is honoring but not revering what came before.”
Variety said that quote was related to the novels; The Hollywood Reporter says it was about the existing movies. Unless video comes out from this, I give up guessing if it refers to any specifics.
He also said he’s not a fan of going overseas to shoot, but apparently the U.K. thing was in the works before he was on board.
Abrams also talked about his affection for the medium of film – covered in more detail by The Hollywood Reporter – which opens up some questions. Did committing to Episode VII mean committing to shooting digitally?
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.
More interviews with J.J. Abrams as we near the release of Star Trek Into Darkness. Collider presents an interview from Brazilian site Omelete who ask Abrams about Han shooting first, the prequels and his favorite Star Wars film.
And from the Associated Press, Abrams points out the ridiculousness of all the Episode VII questions he’s been getting:
“What the approach is going to be remains to be discussed, because it’s in process,” he said. “So it’s a weird thing to be talking about. If I’m charging down the court dribbling the ball, it’s hard to comment on the layup that’s about to take place.
“I feel like the ball is just getting passed to me now, to complete the annoying metaphor.”
Meanwhile, there’s a nice interview with Abrams’ sometime collaborator Damon Lindelof from The Hollywood Reporter, where he talks about getting into writing, Lost, George Lucas, Star Wars and more.
J.J. Abrams stopped by The Daily Show to chat Star Trek and Star Wars with master geek (and future Jedi?) Jon Stewart. The extended version of the interview begins above, with part 2 below the cut