At the opening of Industrial Light & Magic’s new London studio, Kathleen Kennedy said that Lucasfilm is “within three weeks of finishing Episode VII.” I suspect she means the actual production period, but who knows. The London studio is working on Episode VII, The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Ant-Man.
“We have 10 years of work ahead,” said Industrial Light & Magic president and general manager Lynwen Brennan as the company takes over a former Pixar facility in Vancouver. As much as one-third of the work on Episode VII will be done there. In addition to the various new Star Wars films, they’ll also be working on Warcraft and Jurassic World.
Through yonder Lando breaks. Ali Arikan say Billy Dee Williams is indeed on board for Episode VII. (Detailing on his last report.) Meanwhile, Fans Share (via) says Williams has been “insinuating” that he’s doing work on Rebels as well. Though a lot of that seems awfully familiar, so it may just be regurgitated rumor-mongering.
Business. The Hollywood Reporter has some details of what’s going on with ILM in London as the company beefs up in preparation for more Star Wars and Marvel (among others) work. They’re also expanding in Vancouver.
The circle is now complete! Mythbusters, the Discovery Channel show that attempts to confirm or bust urban legends and Hollywood magic by recreating the circumstances and using science to explain, is leading off their 2014 season with a special devoted to Star Wars.
The January 4 episode (Discovery at 8pm ET/PT) features hosts and former ILM special-effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, along with team members Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and Kari Byron as they verify the plausibility of several epic Star Wars stunts. Joined by R2-D2, Chewbacca, members of the 501st Legion and actress Sophia Bush, the two build teams will take on some of the favorite scenes, hoping to find out answers to questions posed by Star Wars fans for years:
While we are eagerly awaiting news of how the bonus content for The Clone Wars will take shape, the show picked up nominations for the 41st Annie Awards, given out for the best in animation. Announced by ASIFA-Hollywood, nominations for The Clone Wars included two individual achievement categories: Keith Kellogg for Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production and Jason W.A. Tucker for Editorial in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production. The nominations were released today, and the award winners will be announced in February.
Our frequent interviewee Michael Price, writer of the LEGO Star Wars specials earned a nomination for Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production for his work on The Simpsons. Juried awards have already been announced, including the Winsor McCay Awards to Steven Spielberg and Phil Tippett.
ILM also continued its streak of Annie award nominations, with four nominations, three of them in a single category of Animated Effects in a Live Action Production (two different teams for Star Trek Into Darkness and one for Pacific Rim). Another Pacific Rim ILM team got a nomination for Character Animation in a Live Action Production.
Welcome to the real Star Wars day, the anniversaries of the release dates of Star Wars and Return of the Jedi. Star Wars is 36 today; ROTJ is 30.
StarWars.com has a lengthy interview with Industrial Light & Magic effects guru Dennis Muren about ROTJ.
Hollywood.com shows us five new pics from Making of Return of the Jedi.
Wired has 30 things you didn’t know about Return of the Jedi – but knowing our audience, you probably already know most of them.
Businessweek reminds us that ROTJ made more money than ESB.
Noted parody hut The Onion has a commentary by ‘George Lucas:’ The Events Depicted In ‘Star Wars’ Actually Happened To Me.
And Babble’s Pilar Clark has a tour of Skywalker Ranch and Lucasfilm and the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
Finally, beneath the cut, the Revenge of the Jedi trailer. Because I can.
The Wrap reports that Industrial Light & Magic may open a facility in the United Kingdom to “take advantage of foreign tax subsidies.” They’ve been scouting in East London, their source reports.
Lucasfilm rep Miles Perkins told them ILM has no plans to leave the Bay Area, but going overseas offers certain advantages:
Perkins likened any expansion in London to ILM’s announcement in 2012 that it was establishing a hub in Vancouver to work on specific projects. Like the U.K., certain Canadian cities such Vancouver offer more generous post-production tax credits and subsidies than California.
We’ve already heard rumblings that Episode VII may return the franchise to filming in Britain.
Corporate shenanigans. Jedi News spotted an interesting mention in a recent Variety story on Bob Iger and who might suceed him at Disney: “Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.” Well, business isn’t exactly our division, but I suppose it wouldn’t be out of the question.
Randomly… Star Wars will be the first movie to be dubbed in Dine, the official language of the Navajo, KJZZ reports.
Kotaku reported and GameInformer confirmed with Lucasfilm that the company is in the process of shutting down LucasArts. Kotaku says that 150 have been laid off and both Star Wars: First Assault and Star Wars 1313 have been canceled. Variety is reporting that the layoffs are spilling over to Industrial Light & Magic as well.
Here’s part of the official statement:
“After evaluating our position in the games market, we’ve decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company’s risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we’ve had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.”
This has expected for a while, and there was plenty of speculation that LucasArts was headed for the bin even before Disney was in the picture.
Ron Gilbert, creator and co-creater of several of the company’s most iconic games, says goodbye to Lucasfilm Games.