Director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan send greetings from London.
StarWars.com has announced the official cast for Episode VII. Star Wars alumni Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker will be joined by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
And that second new female role? They may still be looking, says The Hollywood Reporter.
“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” Deadline reports Abrams said at an Almost Human conference call today. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable.”
He also called working with Micheal Arndt “a wonderful experience.”
Well, this isn’t the news we’ve been expecting… It looks like Episode VII has said goodbye to screenwriter Micheal Arndt. StarWars.com has announced that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are now penning the script for Episode VII.
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”
It’s unclear if any of Arndt’s script will be used, but I don’t think it looks likely… Whatever the case, I’m sure the rumors will be coming momentarily.
The announcement confirms a number of other production roles, including sound designer Ben Burtt and many others. (/Film has a nice rundown.) It also says “location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway” and states that “shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014″ for “an expected 2015 release.”
In today’s look inside J.W. Rinzler’s Making of Return of the Jedi
over at The Huffington Post, George Lucas talks about his plans for the prequels with Lawrence Kasdan, director Richard Marquand and producer Howard Kazanjian.
/Film has an exclusive look at Lawrence Kasdan’s original handwritten first draft of The Empire Strikes Back plus a page from the first printed draft.
We have also been given Lawrence’s original handwritten page for the Leia / Han “I love you” scene, which of course features different dialogue (Harrison Ford famously came up with the classic “I know” on set while they were shooting the scene.)
In another interview from his appearance at the Paley Center on Thursday, Lawrence Kasdan told Hero Complex that he wants his film to be something new:
“I’m trying to start fresh,” he said. “There are certain pleasures that we think the saga can bring to people that they’ve been missing, and we’re hoping to bring them that, and at the same time, have them feel that it’s all new.”
It’s implied (by Hero Complex) that means ignoring the existing Expanded Universe, but it’s worth noting that some fans are also hoping these spin-offs don’t rehash things that the EU has already covered extensively – like Han’s backstory.
He also credits George Lucas with bringing him onto the project, his favorite Star Wars film, and the focus of the original trilogy.
He wouldn’t answer when asked about who the films will feature, but Kasdan has plenty of praise for Michael Arndt and J.J. Abrams.
No news bombs were dropped, but it’s a nice interview with a bit of insight behind the curtain.
And just like that, it’s official: StarWars.com confirms that J.J. Abrams will be directing Episode VII. He’ll also be producing, with partner Bryan Burk and Bad Robot along for the ride.
“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
Also on board as consultants – half confirming another rumor – are Lawrence Kasdan (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg. As always, Lucasfilm head honcho Kathleen Kennedy is Episode VII’s executive producer, while George Lucas is a creative consultant.
The frenzy began Thursday when The Wrap reported that the Star Trek director had the job. Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly and pretty much every news outlet you can think of quickly followed suit. “J.J. Abrams and “Episode VII” were even trending on Twitter.
His resume as a film director also includes Super 8 and Mission: Impossible III. He was also the mastermind behind the TV shows Felicity and Alias. But it’s almost certainly his take on Star Trek – which owes no small debt to Star Wars – which has most informed the reaction.
Abrams won’t be leaving the Trek fold entirely – Paramount’s Rob Moore told Hero Complex yesterday that Abrams is still under contract to at least produce a third Star Trek film.)
And I do feel for Star Trek in this – I don’t think there’s any real (non-petty) reason one can’t work in both franchises, but Star Wars talk is almost certainly going to dominate at least some of the press for Star Trek Into Darkness now.
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!