Pictured, above: My approximate feelings on a Jabba the Hutt movie. Between this and Boba Fett, it’s like the rumors are endeavoring to make movies on saga major leaguers like Han and Obi-wan more palatable. But man, if this is what they’re really knocking around for future spin-offs, no wonder Rogue One got to be first at bat.
I guess all that fan foot-stomping may finally be paying off. The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) is in “early talks” to direct a standalone starring Obi-wan Kenobi. It’s in “the earliest of stages” and there’s no script yet, so I don’t expect we’ll hear anything official from Lucasfilm anytime soon. (EW’s Anthony Breznican also seems positive on it – though again, “very early.”)
It’s not known if Ewan McGregor will return, but he’s been open to the idea ever since the standalones actually became a thing.
A site I’ve never heard of before, Omega Underground, is claiming that Lucasfilm has take meetings with Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail about a potential standalone film. They go on to say said film is (of course) an Obi-wan one, and note that Esmail’s connections include Bryan Lourd, Carrie Fisher’s ex-husband and father to Billie. His resume isn’t very long, but Mr. Robot was fairly well-received, so it’s not entirely implausible.
I’m inclined to be particularly cynical about this one mainly due to the site coming into the Star Wars rumor game out of nowhere. And let’s face it. “Obi-wan spin-off” is an evergreen rumor that the fandom eats up with a spoon every time. Stay skeptical, friends.
There was nothing about any of the upcoming spin-of films at Celebration, but we did get this “behind the scenes” look at the Han Solo film with Warwick Dave and directors Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, who revealed a new alien.
Star Wars News Net has a new post up where they allege to know quite a bit of what Lucasfilm is planning for the next few spinoffs and scheduling of the saga films. The films themselves are, with a single exception, things that have already been heavily speculated on and wanted by some corners of fandom (Obi-wan, bounty hunters.) The “exception” seems to be a bit inspired by Lost Stars and “this is what fangirls want, right?”
The saga scheduling issue – which draws on another perpetual rumor – is somewhat plausible but fairly common sense.
In other words, there are a lot of parts here we’ve seen before, but I’m doubtful they all actually add up the way it’s presented. So naturally, I’m more skeptical than usual. It’s an interesting read, but I wouldn’t put too much faith in the overall.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody,” said the film’s directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. “His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”
Like the last few annoucements, StarWars.com declines to use any release date for the movie besides “2018.” It’s been heavily rumored and seems fairly likely that the film will move to a December release date, just like The Force Awakens, Rogue One and Episode VIII before it.
Later Wednesday, Harrelson commented on the role during a Facebook Live chat with Mashable, confirming the “mentor” portion of the original report. (via)
But overall, there’s not really that much to say right now about the future. Because even Lucasfilm isn’t sure yet:
“There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about,” Kennedy says. “But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will have had The Force Awakens released, now Rogue One, and we’ve finished shooting Episode VIII. We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore?”
It’s certainly an interesting question. I doubt we’ll be waiting 10 years for Episode X, but how long should they wait? Will the fanbase stand for an uninterrupted string of non-Episode films?
And which standalones? Perhaps the most interesting parts of this piece look back. First, it confirms the long-standing rumors that Josh Trank’s canceled standalone was about Boba Fett. (Ugh.) They even had a teaser reel ready to show us at Celebration Anaheim in spring 2015. A Fett film still might happen – Breznican calls it “backburnered” – but it’ll no doubt have to wait until the right director comes along. (And yes, the possibility of an Obi-Wan Kenobi film is mentioned. Again, Lucasfilm knows you want it.)
Secondly, Kennedy also mentions that the idea for the Han Solo standalone wasn’t one that George Lucas mentioned as a spinoff. We’ve previously heard otherwise, which makes me wonder if the original idea came from George in a different context, like the never-produced live-action series. (After all, Saw Gerrera made the jump from there to The Clone Wars to Rogue One – why not a major character like Han?)
In another article, this time at Variety, Kennedy talks about some of the Han film’s inspirations:
“This moves closer to a heist or Western type feel,” says Kennedy. “We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.”
She also talks about her desire to bring in more women to direct Star Wars films.
“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do “Star Wars,” they’re set up for success,” says Kennedy. “They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience.”
That said, the rumor does come from a tweet by The Hollywood Reporter’s Borys Kit, who claims to have heard it from “a couple of sources” – though not, apparently, enough for an actual story. Still, it would be bigger news if the film didn’t involve the Falcon.
Now, we’re all a little (a lot, truth be told) sick of people complaining about how this film is going to be “predictable” or “boring.” About how people would rather have an Obi-wan movie, or whatever. (No, you’re not the first person to say it. You’re not even the thousandth.) And this rumor isn’t going to help matters, I’m sure. But the film is in pre-production. It has two key roles cast – Han and Lando – with a third that probably isn’t far behind. (Not to mention Chewbacca is probably locked in, as we know Ehrenrich tested with either Peter Mayhew or Joonas Suotamo.)
Most importantly, It also has a pair of directors who are best known for taking “horrible” ideas and actually making great films out of them. If you somehow managed to miss Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s The LEGO Movie or 21 Jump Street remake, please give them a try. And remember Lawrence Kasdan? He co-wrote the thing. These are not a bunch of random dudes off the street making a fan film. They, and everyone else at Lucasfilm, have a clear concept of the character and the film – check out those Celebration Europe clips again.
What do we, the audience, have? Hints and rumors and speculation – not the most solid ground for judgement.
I’m not going to discount the possibility that the movie could still turn out so-so. Hell, I’m still a little wary about the whole spinoff concept myself.
Fact is, this movie is happening. You don’t have to like it, but that’s not going to change at this point. But it’s far, far too soon to write it off. Give Han Solo a chance, just like you’re going to give Rogue One a chance. Hopefully, they both manage to surprise us.
Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t expect Rogue One to do quite as well at the box office as The Force Awakens, but he says the audience interest they’ve seen has been just as high for the new film. (Did anyone expect that? You don’t get a $2B film every year.) “We love what we’ve seen,” he told investors of the Rogue One rough cut.
He also revealed that they have a writer for the third Star Wars standalone due in 2020, and he recently met with Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy to plot out beyond that as well.
We’ve known since the Disney purchase that Lucasfilm plans to take the saga films beyond 2019’s Episode IX, but it remains to be seen if they’ll keep to the current schedule to leave only a year between the current and next trilogy.