Entertainment Weekly dropped their last 3 Fall Movie Preview stories today. First up, the reveal of Simon Pegg’s role… Sort of. It’s not so much who he’s playing (“he won’t be recognizable,” J.J. Abrams says) but what he was doing behind the scenes.
“He was a sounding board,” Abrams says. “He would drop by the set because he wanted to, and when he could, he would help… We could talk about things, and he was a perfect combination of incredibly smart screenwriter, fan of the series, critical fan of the series, and friend of mine – but not just blindly supportive. He was an honest, critical friend. And he wasn’t so close to it that he became immune to things. He would come in with fresh eyes and very smart ideas. He’s one of a handful of people along the way that has been really priceless.”
→ EW asks who the film’s “Ralph McQuarrie” is. Abrams points not only to the actual Ralph McQuarrie and his work for the original trilogy, but production designer Rick Carter.
→ Abrams adresses the fandom, keeping secrets, Ben Burtt, Andy Serkis and fear. He confirms that some of the things they’ve already put out are red herrings.
Despite a hefty amount of fan grumbling over the focus on ‘practical effects’ coming out of The Force Awakens publicity machine, I doubt anyone actually believes that the film isn’t going to have any CGI. (And, let’s face it, us hardcore fans aren’t the audience that they’re going for by saying that in the first place.) But if you’re wondering, and don’t mind spoilers, Making Star Wars has some (supposed) details about the completely CGI shots that are in the film, and where practical effects are are used.
→ Also on MSW, a few Rogue One details, and how they relate (or not) to The Force Awakens, via a bit of creative recycling.
→ We have a name, or maybe just a designation, for Miltos Yerolemou’s character. This, naturally, leads to some details of a certain sequence at MSW.
→ The Force Awakens toy packaging has been spotted in the wild… On a Rebels-themed item, naturally.
→ Look who’s talking: Simon Pegg and (sort of) Jessica Henwick.
In today’s very spoiler-heavy report, Making Star Wars discusses the villains, what happens to them, and more evidence of a connection to some of the heroes. They also have some fan-made storyboards based on a previous report, and ‘the village people.’ Jason also has a few words on spoiler etiquette.
→ The Hollywood Reporter had an article last week about how Star Wars actors rarely become huge stars. Their point about “keeping yourself from any other franchises out there” seems to ignore that Oscar Isaac is going to play a pivotal role in the next X-Men movie, though, so take it as you will.
→ Simon Pegg talks about his Episode VII set visit with Collider, telling a sweet story about his daughter and BB-8.
Disney CFO Jay Rasulo said today that the Star Wars franchise will be “mirroring” Marvel by broadening the appeal to women and families. Gotta wonder: Has anyone told merchandising that yet?
In other things floating around…
→ Adam Driver tells the Wall Street Journal that Episode VII is “very human” and “not taking a back seat” to the spectacle.
→ How Simon Pegg’s daughter became the girl who “saved Star Wars.”
→ Daisy Ridley is one of Empire’s 20 stars of the future.
→ The Irish Coast Guard have set up a two-mile exclusion zone around Skellig Michael, which means only the authorized are getting in. Too bad, so sad, no more set paparazzi.
Meanwhile, the international culture and heritage agency Unesco has asked for a report on the film shooting at the island, which could disrupt the breeding season of rare birds on the island.
→ Harrison Ford spotted walking sans cane in Santa Monica yesterday. You can’t tell him what he can’t do, internet.
→ Karen Gillan is talking about her wig again. This time, we learn that we’ve seen the wig already! At Comic-Con. In 2013. So… It has retractable bangs? I’m so confused.
→ Is Simon Pegg insinuating that he’s in Episode VII… But his face isn’t? Read it how you will. (Maybe he donated a wig?) My call: Protocol droid.
A few Episode VII tidbits floating around lately: Oscar Isaac said recently that he starts shooting at the end of May, while Andy Serkis has praised the cast and script:
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful cast, really beautiful director, great atmosphere… Star Wars was my childhood, so it’s fantastic,” he said.
The 50-year-old also said security around the script is “very tight”.
He added: “You can’t wander off with it.”
He also called Daisy Ridley “an amazing choice.” (via)
Meanwhile, at Elsetree, a familiar name has apparently stolen Simon Pegg’s parking space.
And it’s the first trailer for the Ender’s Game adaption, which really wants you know that a bunch of these actors have been up for/won Oscars. (Ford was nominated for Witness in 1985, which I can’t blame anyone for forgetting) Book fans may want to check out io9’s spoiler-full screencap study of the trailers.
Below the cut, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost go pubbing, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock get lost in space, and… Alien folksingers, because why not?
Like these movies won’t be hits? As the Star Trek Into Darkness junket clips stagger out into the world, Abrams implies to MTV that the Star Wars spinoffs will depend on Episode VII going the distance.
Also from MTV: Damon Lindelof on Abrams and Star Wars, and they even asked Leonardo DiCaprio if he’d like to do future Star Wars. (He famously turned down Attack of the Clones back in the day.)
On that note… Simon Pegg talks about Abrams and Star Wars with Totalfilm – though he clarifies that he has no inside info from Abrams. And yes, they’re still asking random movie folks about Episode VII.
Interview. And finally, for someone who will almost certainly actually be in Episode VII, here’s more from Mark Hamill.
Marketsaw‘s spy is backing up the claims that Episode VII will focus on the Skywalker spawn, and also the film’s tone:
The focus is on the original trilogy in regards of reverence and tone. Remember I told you before that the tone was important, well I believe they are really taking that seriously. From everything I know, they’re focusing on that directly. Remember everything has the ability to change drastically, as Star Wars right now apart from the twin trilogies is a huge blank canvas. However, the trilogies ongoing narrative will continue to focus on that particular branch, whereas the stand alone movies, will fill and expand the voids in between in multiple timelines, and have potential to then be franchised themselves in regards to the worlds they open up.
The ‘news’ here, however, is the claim that Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Children of Men) may be a very important name in the hat for future Star Wars directing jobs, and to “expect” Simon Pegg in “some capacity.” Dengar?
UPDATE: Pegg tweets:
Oh, and they mention Plagueis as a possible spinoff, because of course.