A rep for Rian Johnson has told the Los Angeles Times that he is directing Episode VIII and penning a treatment for IX. Johnson’s producing partner Ram Bergman is also coming abroad. Looks like all we’re missing is something official from the Lucasfilm/Disney camp…
Deadline was the first to report that Disney and Lucasfilm have tapped Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to take over from J.J. Abrams on the next two Episodes. The Wrap countered, saying that while Johnson will write and direct Episode VIII, he only write a treatment for IX.
We don’t consider any news fully confirmed until Lucasfilm weighs in, but four trade reports in such quick succession is a fairly good sign that where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Johnson isn’t verified on twitter, but you may consider his last tweet telling.
In addition to Looper, Johnson’s directing credits include Brick, The Brothers Bloom and several episodes of Breaking Bad. Vulture has nice little overview, if you don’t mind some major Breaking Bad spoilers, and there’s also THR on why he’s a good choice for the job. Another must-read is Drew McWeeny’s take on the bigger picture.
Latino Review is at it again, this time with “details” of the Fett spinoff film and a few words on the earlier rumors. Namely, they conflict with The Hollywood Reporter and say the Abrams/Arndt split had to do with focusing on Skywalker kid(s) over Solo(s) and that Mark Hamill may “end up shooting 6 months on the movie,” which seems excessive.
As for that controversial Obi-Wan’s daughter thing, “it’s absolutely not true,” though “the Kenobi family will come into play.” They have no details, but throw out possibilities like a “niece or nephew” and “Force Ghost.” Maybe Lady Kenobi from The Phantom Menace rumor days will finally show up, why not?
They also say that Jesse Plemons is basically locked, but don’t expect Lucasfilm to name his part publicly when they announce him. His character will be “the main protagonist of Episode VIII,” and yes, I see you there waiting to comment “Ben Skywalker!” ::eyeroll::
And of course no rumor dump is complete without a Boba Fett spinoff rumor. Yawn. Here’s what they say about Fett:
To counter-act the prequels, the Boba Fett spin-off movie planned for 2018 has an interesting twist pitched by Episode VII writer Lawrence Kasdan: the spin-off will start with a complete stranger killing Boba Fett and taking his armor, starting a Man-With-No-Name bounty hunter tale. So: someone kills the Boba Fett from the prequels and takes his armor and name. One this is for certain is that Kasdan didn’t like the prequel and wants no Bobba Fett Clone in the spin-off film.
There are shades there of some of the post-AOTC retcons, but we have every right to be skeptical. (Making Star Wars isn’t buying it at all.)
Latino Review also believes that Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) is at the top of the director’s list, because duh. Three sources told them that, presumably after Googling “Joe Johnston Boba Fett.”
Whatever, man. As usual, I remain skeptical and urge you to do the same.
Our big news out of Kathleen Kennedy’s Celebration Europe panel: John Williams has officially signed on to score Episode VII!
April Fools! Here’s one we missed: First Showing spotted what appears to be an Episode VIII script or treatment that appears very briefly in Peter Jackson’s latest Hobbit behind-the-scenes video, which was released on Monday. Of course, there are also appear to be scripts that say The Silmarillion, which I don’t believe anyone even has the film rights for, so take it as you will. I’m sure you can guess how I’m leaning. Well played, hobbitses.
Box office. The Motley Fool predicts that Episode VII will make a lot of money. Not just a a lot of money (because duh) but that it will go where only James Cameron has gone before: To make $2 billion worldwide. Well, if anyone can, it would be Star Wars… Right?
Back… To the future! Movies.com gathers some Lucas’ quotes on earlier plans for extending the saga.
The Hollywood Reporter says their source tells them that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg – while hired – “will be writing separate projects” that may not necessarily be Episode VIII and Episode IX – though they still may be signed on as producers for them.
“Their scripts could turn into official ‘Episodes’ in the main Skywalker storyline, or they could form the basis for spinoffs focusing on side characters,” THR writes.
And, nope – none of this is in any way confirmed yet!
Short answer: It’s on StarWars.com.
Long answer: It’s on StarWars.com, and is reported by media outlets as such. The outlet will either source/link StarWars.com or have quotes from Lucasfilm people using their actual names.
For a recent example of an outlet actually breaking news with Lucasfilm’s blessing, let’s look at IGN’s original report of David Tennant in The Clone Wars. It has extensive quotes from Dave Filoni and a video clip – which was exclusive to them when the story broke. (StarWars.com later posted it as a preview of the episode.) So far, Lucasfilm hasn’t been doing this with Episode VII news – the Arndt item simply appeared on the site – perhaps because they know that everyone is going to write about it anyway. The Tennant news simply isn’t as big, and getting it onto a mainstream outlet gives it an extra boost that will reach casual fans (and people like Doctor Who fans) who aren’t regularly watching The Clone Wars. This is also probably why Del Rey gave Entertainment Weekly that Scoundrels exclusive EU fandom spent a day agonizing over back in March.
Other outlets writing about those stories does not confirm them, either. Words like ‘reports’ and ‘reportedly’ are basically just a journalistic way of saying ‘rumors.’ It might give them a little more weight – I tend to use the word ‘report’ if I think something is just a tad more plausible than things like, say, Vader rising from the dead. But in essence? They mean exactly the same thing: It’s not official yet, just things people or the media are saying. That doesn’t make them fact, no matter how many people run the story.
Because nothing is confirmed until Lucasfilm says it is. Lucasfilm and, now, Disney. Not Major Entertainment News Outlet #47 reporting off Major Entertainment News Outlet #86. And trust me, we are watching.
Deadline is reporting today that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg have been approached by Disney to script Episode VIII and Episode IX.
The Hollywood Reporter has their own report, saying Kasdan and Kinberg will work as a pair on one of the films – and join Kathleen Kennedy as producers.
UPDATE: THR says Wednesday that the deal is done, but StarWars.com is staying mum.
Kinberg has some franchise experience as well – the 2009 Sherlock Holmes – though I’m not sure X-Men: The Last Stand and Jumper speak in his favor.
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.
Tomorrow it’ll be a full week since the biggest Star Wars news since the mid-90’s dropped: Not only Disney buying Lucasfilm, but that they’d be making a new trilogy – the sequel trilogy and perhaps beyond.
And amid all the rumors and fan hopes? There’s not really all that much info that’s actually solid. So in order to help stem at least a little confusion, I’ve created a page to keep track of what we actually know about Episodes VII-IX so far. It’ll be updated as we get further information.