Brad Bird is not directing Episode VII

There have been a lot of names thrown into the ring by fans and media to direct Episode VII, and right at the top of most of the lists was Brad Bird. Alas, this evening he said he’s not doing Star Wars. (Or, if you want to slice hairs since clearly he wouldn’t be doing A New Hope, he did out and out say it’s not Episode VII.)

Bird’s directing credits include The Incredibles and Ratatouille for Pixar, as well as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol. His next film is 1952, which is not, as earlier rumored, a code-name for Episode VII.

This puts us at three for three denials in the top rumored directors: Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams have also denied.

Carrie Fisher in Episode VII? Just kidding, rep says

TheForce.Net has a report from a reader who claims that at a book signing, Carrie Fisher said she is indeed going to be in Episode VII.

..The interview she did started with the question ‘Are you really going to be in a new star wars movie?’ and Carrie answered quietly ‘Yes….I thought it was already common knowledge.’

…Or was she joking? E’s Leslie Gornstein contacted Fisher’s rep, who had this to say:

“She hasn’t confirmed anything,” a rep told me this morning. “Everything you’ve seen has been tongue-in-cheek.”

Of course, there’s still a pretty good chance that Fisher – along with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams, who was victimized by TMZ today – may indeed show up in the films, as cameos or otherwise. Certainly it’s going to be one of the first questions Lucasfilm, Disney and the actors themselves will continue to be pestered with until they confirm one way or another.

As always, remember, nothing is confirmed until we hear it authorized from Disney or Lucasfilm themselves… Particularly when it’s hearsay!

Report: Kennedy tells Lucasfilm employees they plan to make “two or three films a year”

The Star Wars issue of Entertainment Weekly isn’t out yet, but apparently Kotaku got an early peek at it – and they’re reporting that Kathleen Kennedy says that Lucasfilm wants to make “two or three films a year.”

The full quote appears in the comments, from Luke Plunkett:

Lucasfilm’s co-chairman and soon-to-be president, Kathleen Kennedy, has told employees she wants the company to produce two or three films a year (it’s averaged fewer than four per decade), and first up is Star Wars: Episode VII for 2015, which will pick up sometime after Darth Vader gave his life to overthrow (figuratively and literally) the Emperor and save Luke in 1983’s Episode VI— Return of the Jedi. Yes, the plan is to return to the characters in the first trilogy (1977–83). Whether the original actors will have significant roles or merely be on hand to pass the baton to a new generation of actors—something Lucasfilm tried with mixed success with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Disney with TRON: Legacy—is unclear.

Two or three? Well, we can probably assume we’ll get three in 2014 – the 3-D re-releases of the original trilogy. But somehow, I doubt that’s what she’s talking about… Disney seems mostly focused on Star Wars, but that’s… A lot of Star Wars. (Market saturation much?) If they are all Star Wars, anyway.

… Or this could all be a misquote of the original thing we heard about one movie every 2 to 3 years. Personally, that’s what I’m hoping for.

Roundup: Entertainment Weekly gives Star Wars the cover

Media. The cover of this week’s new issue of Entertainment Weekly is – surprise! – devoted to Star Wars. This means that anyone who hasn’t already heard about Episode VII will see it at the grocery story and pester us about it! Hooray!

Screenwriting. Curious about Michael Arndt? Scott Myers at Go into the Story has devoted a series of posts to his comments on screenwriting. (via)

Directors. We already figured this from his comments last week, but J.J. Abrams has out and out denied that he’s up for Episode VII. Please save all your lens flare jokes for Star Trek into Darkness.

Your moment of bwah. With the new (last?!?) Twilight movie encroaching, of course someone asked Robert Pattinson if he’d like to be in Star Wars. His answer? “Oh, absolutely. In a heartbeat.” Love or hate him, consider yourself warned. (via)

Speculation: Could Brenda Chapman be involved in Episode VII?

Lucasfilm hired Brenda Chapman – who was the writer and original director for Brave at Pixar- in August. Reports were that she was consulting on a ‘mystery project’ for Lucasfilm Animation…. But in the wake of the Disney sale and sequel trilogy announcements? Bleeding Cool notes some of her recent tweets – including a link to a Time story on Episode VII. Could she be involved with the new films somehow? ” We will just have to wait and see what happens,” she tweeted to one such inquiry.

Of course, it’s worth noting that all of Chapman’s credits are in animation – she directed Dreamwork’s The Prince of Egypt – and Episode VII already has a writer. But ‘consultant’ does cover a lot of ground, and the timing is pretty curious…

And yes, this is pure, unbridled speculation – even Bleeding Cool admits she might really be working on that fairy musical we’ve barely heard about, or something else entirely. Still, an interesting prospect.

Who could direct Episode VII? No word yet, but lots of possible candidates

Now that we have a writer for Episode VII, our next likely announcement will be the director – and there are lots of possible candidates floating around. So let’s thank Empire for creating a handy chart of who’s ruled themselves out, who’s dancing around the possibility, and a whole lot of wild cards. (via)

Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas talked about some of what they’re looking for in a director in a video released last week.

Meanwhile, Indiana Jones producer Frank Marshall, Kennedy’s husband, says that they’ve narrowed it down to “a couple of candidates.”

Crazy-ass Episode VII rumor du jour: Darth Vader returns, and Obi-Wan killed your father

‘Industry insiders’ tell Express.co.uk that Darth Vader will be returning in Episode VII.

“He’s an integral part of the franchise. Replacing him is virtually impossible,” explains a film mole.

“The plan is for him to return and play a significant role in the new films.”

Lest we forget, Darth Vader died – as Anakin Skywalker – in Episode VI, Return of the Jedi. And I’m sure this can be fanwanked to hell and back – flashback? Zombie? Reincarnation? – but for now, let’s just remember that sometimes a rumor is just a rumor.

Roundup: J.J. Abrams and Jon Favreau excited for Episode VII – Quentin Tarantino, not so much

Directors. Hollywood Life talks to Star Trek’s J.J. Abrams and Iron Man’s Jon Favreau about Episode VII. “I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer,” Abrams said.

“I am just giddy, first and foremost as a fan, to see what happens with it. I think there is a lot of question marks of how they are going to do it, and who they are going to do it with, and what the story is going to be about; but to say that I am not excited about it is definitely an understatement. We’ll see,” Favreau said. (Lest we forget, Favreau voiced a character on The Clone Wars back in 2010.)

On the other side of the spectrum, Quentin Tarantino said the other day that he couldn’t care less about Star Wars and isn’t interested in the job. But then, did anyone actually expect he would be?

History. Huffpo’s Mike Ryan takes a look at the Making of books and interviews to document Harrison Ford’s history with Han Solo, and all the comments he’s made about the character over the years.

Release date. ComicBook.com’s Scott Johnson and his sources theorize that Disney could make Episode VII the first Star Wars movie not come out in May, since Avengers 2 is currently slated for May 1, 2015. I am beyond skeptical.

Hasbro and Disney. MSN Money takes a detailed look at the rumor that Disney is in talks to buy the toymaker, while CNBC analyst David Faber said that Hasbro is denying it.

On a lark… Entertainment Weekly takes inspiration from other franchises.