Episode VII roundup: Kennedy in, McCallum out

Behind the scenes. IGN’s Lucy O’Brien has a nice profile of Kathleen Kennedy, “Star Wars’ new Emperor,” and her film-making resume.

Meanwhile, shuffling up into the spotlight is the news that Rick McCallum has retired from Lucasfilm. The big question seems to be where this leaves the live-action series, which McCallum has been the main ambassador for and which hasn’t been much mentioned since D-Day. Honestly, given what’s been said of it so far, it’s one project that I don’t really mind staying on the back burner for a while longer.

Outside looking in. Scott Myers looks at some of the recent information and surmises that Disney may be taking the Pixar approach to Star Wars story development.

Actors. The real question is who doesn’t want in on Star Wars, but thus far we’ve heard from Derek Jacobi, David Tennant, plus Thor’s Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston.

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.

Video: Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas on directors and getting started on Episode VII

StarWars.com has released the second video featuring Kathleen Kennedy and George Lucas talking about the new Star Wars films, Lucas’ role in them, and what they’re looking for in a director.

There’s some overlap with the first video in the beginning, Kennedy did mention “people she’s worked with in the past,” but didn’t bring up any names. “I think we have a unique opportunity to go after some incredibly talented people,” she says. “It’s not going to be people who don’t already have some affinity for Star Wars probably, it’s gonna be somebody who really appreciates what Star Wars meant to them and is excited to dive in and be a part of this. I think the thing that will be immediately apparent are the directors who walk into the room and say ‘I can’t wait to be a part of this.'”

“I think it’s going to be a pretty long list,” Kennedy concludes.

Report: George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy meeting with “well-known screenwriters” to pitch ideas for Episode VII

Today in Episode 7 reports, we have the Los Angeles Times’ Steven Zeitchik and John Horn saying that “several different screenwriters paid visits to Lucasfilm’s Northern California compound to pitch George Lucas and his co-chair Kathleen Kennedy their ideas for the new live-action installment.” Their source went on to say “they were well-known screenwriters with experience creating big-budget Hollywood films,” and the stories were not adapted from existing Star Wars books. (via)

Their source is anonymous, but this does dovetail neatly with something Kennedy said in the video released Tuesday: “We’re sitting down with a couple of writers and we’re starting to discuss ideas; We’re starting to talk about what those stories might be.” I feel comfortable putting this one in the ‘fairly plausible’ column.

A fifth Indiana Jones? Frank Marshall points to “not happening”

Interviews with producer Frank Marshall seem to indicate that Indiana Jones 5 seemes unlikely to happen. Marshall is likely to be pretty close in the loop on such things, as one of the producers on all four films in the Indiana Jones series and husband to Kathleen Kennedy, fellow Indy producer and recently named to be George Lucas’ successor at Lucasfilm.

Talking with Collider, Marshall responded that there’s no MacGuffin for a fifth film, and that Lucas, who is retiring from the reins at Lucasfilm, isn’t that interested in another flick for the archaeologist:

“Yeah, no he isn’t [hungry to do another Indiana Jones]. And he’s obviously passing the baton to my wife, so.”

Earlier in the week, Marshall told Crave that Lucas wasn’t working on the screenplay to an Indiana Jones film, claiming that a “really good story” is “hard to do”. With Lucas not at the helm of the franchise, does this mean that that Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was Indy’s last hurrah? Marshall seems to think so:

“I say, for me, [Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is] the last hurrah.”

Meanwhile, the Blu-ray release of Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (there’s a fitting title if Marshall’s talk proves correct) comes out September 18.

George Lucas is really retiring this time: Kathleen Kennedy named Lucasfilm co-chair

George Lucas has been talking about going off and making smaller movies for years now, but we’ve seen little concrete evidence to make up his statements. But earlier this week, he told Empire:

“I’m moving away from the company, I’m moving away from all my businesses, I’m finishing all my obligations and I’m going to retire to my garage with my saw and hammer and build hobby movies. I’ve always wanted to make movies that were more experimental in nature, and not have to worry about them showing in movie theatres.” Does he really mean it this time? Only time will tell.

But today, we have real some real evidence to back up his statements: Kathleen Kennedy, a producing partner of Steven Spielberg, will become co-chair of Lucasfilm. Lucas will remain as co-chair and CEO of the company.

The two worked together on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Kennedy said she would like to look into “the possibility of [Lucasfilm] making more movies.”