Prequel concept artists Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig are working on the ‘exciting new future for Star Wars,’ StarWars.com announced earlier this week. It’s not clear if they’ll be working on Episode VII, standalone films, neither or both.
They’ll be attending Celebration Europe next month.
Chiang was design director for The Phantom Menace and concept design supervisor for Attack of the Clones. McCaig, who designed Darth Maul, was one of the principal designers throughout the prequels.
Chiang and McCaig are the first major behind-the-scenes Star Wars veterans to be announced as returning for future films, aside from screenwriter Laurence Kasdan (doing a spinoff) and George Lucas as creative consultant on Episode VII.
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.
Hero Compex has an interview with Simon Kinberg, the Mr. & Mrs. Smith writer who’s penning one of the first two Star Wars standalone films as well as acting as a consultant on Episode VII.
It’s still too early for him to drop any news bombs on us (and he eludes the obligatory EU question) but he does talk at length about how the characters are what drives the films – and we learn that his favorite character is Han Solo, who has been rumored to be a possible subject for one of the spin-offs.
ClevverMovies talked to Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy at CinemaCon (where she was named Pioneer of the Year) and got a few tidbits about Episode VII (J.J. Abrams is only signed for one) and spin-offs.
Lucasfilm is “determining what those spin-offs are going to be right now.” and she expects they’ll get some great talent” to helm them.
Big Shiny Robot, for the record, takes her evasiveness on IMAX and 3D as an indirect ‘yes.’
At CinemaCon in Las Vegas, /Film reports that Disney has said that they hopes to have a new Star Wars once every year, beginning with Episode VII.
Variety reports that they reiterated that the new Episodes will be released in 2015, 2017 and 2019, with standalones presumable aiming for ’16 and ’18.
This lines up with what we’ve all been assuming based on various comments during the acquisition, including CEO Bob Iger’s earlier statement confirming the standalone films. More worrying is the timeline: Standalones alternating with Episodes? I’m not so sure I like the idea of a new Episode every other year.
On the other hand, consider the audience: CinemaCon is a convention for theater owners, who’ll naturally want to hear about a regular slate of new Star Wars releases. The reality of film production may be another matter entirely… So we’ll see.
Cosmic Book News is at it again! Today they’ve set on another spin-off concept, one featuring Obi-Wan during his Tatooine exile with old buddy Darth Maul and a possible appearance by a young Luke Skywalker. (via)
A similar story was published in 2005 as the lead story of Star Wars: Visionaries. But as story concepts go, we’ve heard worse, and Ewan McGregor hasn’t been shy about his willingness to return. But, as always, it’s only a rumor.
SciFiNow talked to Ian McDiarmid on his Star Wars character. He talks about Palpatine’s spinoff potential and even calls the Darth Palgueis novel ‘fascinating.’
But the highlight is perhaps his own thoughts on the character, and the possibilities going forward:
“I thought Sith were just somehow born evil, that’s what they were. But I’ve… with reference to a few things that George has said, I realised that that’s not true. He might well have a tragic arc too, but I don’t know. And even if he does I’m not sure we’ll ever see it. But obviously, if we did and if it happened it would be something that would be completely fascinating to do and it would be like building a Shakespearean character.
“Also the great thing about these movies is that George doesn’t give much away in advance to anybody,” McDiarmid continues, “which is good because that’s what a good storyteller should do, you should really want to know what’s going to happen next or how it all started.”
“And that’s all there in George’s head, and he’s released it, I suppose, in one way or another over the last few years. And although, of course, Disney now owns the franchise, George is there very much as a creative consultant and I’m sure they’ll be very grateful for that. And those storylines will still continue to emerge from that sort of databank, that extraordinary databank which is his brain.
For all the squee over Plagueis, I never really felt that it revealed much about Palpatine’s own motivation: The character himself is still very much a mystery, and I can how exploring that could be more fruitful with all the EU’s restraints removed. But somehow, I doubt that spinoff is very high on the list…
Total Film has been asking celebrities about Episode VII, from the obvious (Ewan McGregor, Joss Whedon) to the totally random (Michelle Williams, Eli Roth, Mila Kunis, Mark Strong.)
Would you like to see any of these folks in the sequels or standalones?
What if? When asked about the Star Wars standalone films by Digital Spy Joss Whedon says he wouldn’t bring back the original trilogy characters like, as rumored, Han Solo and Boba Fett. Yeah, I’m with him on that: These standalone options we’ve thus heard are by far the weakest part of this whole new era for me.
Actors. Billy Dee Williams told attendees at Emerald City Comic Con that he hasn’t been approached for Episode VII, but that he’d be all for it. Meanwhile, Zoe Saldana wants in. “I want to be a sexy something, like a princess from another planet,” she told E! at the Oscars.
Expect this to continue. In perhaps an effort to keep Star Wars from overtaking the press cycle for Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J. Abrams said it’s “too early” to talk about Episode VII. Diplomatic, but are people going to stop asking? Probably not.
Nerdvana‘s ‘insider’ tells them that the new film will focus on a child and grandchild of Han and Leia’s – which may or may not give hope to those wedded to the novel continuty. On that note, the source claims “there are three new books we want Timothy Zahn to write.” Novelizations? Intriguing…
And here’s what they have to say about Abram’s contract:
JJ’s contract has a clause for all three movies and an additional three of Lucas/Disney choosing if everyone melds well on the first one. This is typical of these types of contracts; gives everyone an out if needed.
They also say that the Big Three have contracts already (right…) and that George Lucas himself has nixed the Yoda spin-off: He’s “a supporting character and will stay that way.” That last one I actually hope is true.