To the surprise of no one, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and director Rian Johnson will be on a Celebration Orlando panel on Friday, April 14. The Last Jedi panel is expected debut the film’s first trailer, or at the very least a behind-the-scenes feature, as the con is expected to launch the movie’s first wave of publicity. Expect some other “special guests” to appear as well.
For the past few Celebrations, the first big movie panel has featured the upcoming release, while a second on Sunday focuses on the other upcoming films.
The new Star Wars Show also features more Rogue One behind-the-scenes and a visit to Sideshow.
UPDATE: Johnson took the occasion to post a new behind-the-scenes shot on Tumblr:
“When you have a balance of men and women, there are all sorts of things that enter into the discussion,” [Kathleen Kennedy] says, calling the Rey-Jyn doubleheader a “coincidence” that the studio (and parent Disney) embraced. “Because women are always in story meetings, [no one has] to go, ‘Hey, what would a woman think?’ ” says creative executive Rayne Roberts. “The reason Rey is strong and technically capable and compassionate and driven is that the women who were in that room, including Kathy, reflect those qualities.”
There’s still work to be done – the lack of women directing is mentioned – but there are worse places to start than at the top. Still, the article is pretty short – wouldn’t it be nice to see a deeper dive on this topic?
But overall, there’s not really that much to say right now about the future. Because even Lucasfilm isn’t sure yet:
“There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about,” Kennedy says. “But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will have had The Force Awakens released, now Rogue One, and we’ve finished shooting Episode VIII. We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore?”
It’s certainly an interesting question. I doubt we’ll be waiting 10 years for Episode X, but how long should they wait? Will the fanbase stand for an uninterrupted string of non-Episode films?
And which standalones? Perhaps the most interesting parts of this piece look back. First, it confirms the long-standing rumors that Josh Trank’s canceled standalone was about Boba Fett. (Ugh.) They even had a teaser reel ready to show us at Celebration Anaheim in spring 2015. A Fett film still might happen – Breznican calls it “backburnered” – but it’ll no doubt have to wait until the right director comes along. (And yes, the possibility of an Obi-Wan Kenobi film is mentioned. Again, Lucasfilm knows you want it.)
Secondly, Kennedy also mentions that the idea for the Han Solo standalone wasn’t one that George Lucas mentioned as a spinoff. We’ve previously heard otherwise, which makes me wonder if the original idea came from George in a different context, like the never-produced live-action series. (After all, Saw Gerrera made the jump from there to The Clone Wars to Rogue One – why not a major character like Han?)
In another article, this time at Variety, Kennedy talks about some of the Han film’s inspirations:
“This moves closer to a heist or Western type feel,” says Kennedy. “We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.”
She also talks about her desire to bring in more women to direct Star Wars films.
“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do “Star Wars,” they’re set up for success,” says Kennedy. “They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t expect Rogue One to do quite as well at the box office as The Force Awakens, but he says the audience interest they’ve seen has been just as high for the new film. (Did anyone expect that? You don’t get a $2B film every year.) “We love what we’ve seen,” he told investors of the Rogue One rough cut.
He also revealed that they have a writer for the third Star Wars standalone due in 2020, and he recently met with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy to plot out beyond that as well.
We’ve known since the Disney purchase that Lucasfilm plans to take the saga films beyond 2019’s Episode IX, but it remains to be seen if they’ll keep to the current schedule to leave only a year between the current and next trilogy.
The first surprise at the Rogue One panel was Gwendoline Christie hosting. The second was the poster, and the third is the behind the scenes clip we see above.
John Knoll revealed that he first came up with the idea of a the story when he first heard rumblings of the live-action series, during the filming of Revenge of the Sith. He put it away when he learned more about George’s concept for the series, and pulled it out again when the spinoffs were announced. Check out the original concept art of the team.
Edwards also confirmed that the beach planet is named Scarif, and later cast revealed another planet, Jedha. Apparently people make Force-based pilgrimages there – Edwards compared it to Mecca. This appears to be the market planet, and where we meet Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen,) Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed.) Edwards had more to say on Jedha in a post-panel interview – it’s certainly an intriguing addition to the galaxy.
Star Wars directors Rian Johnson, Chris Miller and Phil Lord will join Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart and Pablo Hidalgo for the Celebration Europe’s Future Filmmaker Discussion, followed by the con’s Closing Ceremony.
Johnson’s Episode VIII is expected to wrap very soon, while Miller and Lord’s Han Solo standalone will be next up. Is it here that we’ll get the official title for VIII? Will Alden Ehrenreich be confirmed as the young Han Solo? Both, maybe? StarWars.com promises “some surprises” and ending “the weekend on a high note.”
The news was first revealed on today’s new The Star Wars Show:
Their Rogue One issue should be on sale (and in mailboxes) today, but Entertainment Weekly still has more to reveal. This morning, it’s all about Rebel leader Mon Mothma, whose role here will be bigger than her first appearance in Return of the Jedi.
“We actually see quite a bit of her,” Kathleen Kennedy says. “The Rebel alliance is in disarray. Pretty panicked. Up against it. And she is trying the best she can to provide the leadership, in amongst a wide variety of Rebel soldiers that have very differing opinions as to what to do.”