Roundup: What is Peter Jackson doing with Episode VIII?

Tricksy Hobbit!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?

People. J.J. Abrams talks Star Wars and Star Trek with SFX, while Harrison Ford’s lips are sealed on Entertainment Tonight Oh the humanity. Or maybe he’s just tortured his publicist enough this week.

Back… To the future! Movies.com gathers some Lucas’ quotes on earlier plans for extending the saga.

The Kasdan/Kinberg rumors deepen! Producing Episodes VIII/IX, but writing something else?

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!

Media Awareness 101: What makes Episode VII/VIII/IX news confirmed?

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.

Obviously, an outlet reporting something from unnamed sources – as is the case with last night’s Kasdan/Kinberg stories from Deadline and THR – are not confirmed.

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.

Rumor: Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg approached to script, produce Episodes VIII or IX?

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.

Kasdan is a Lucasfilm veteran, responsible for the screenplays of Empire Strikes Back (sharing credit with Leigh Brackett,) Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

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.

Kasdan returning would be a boon – but remember, it’s only a rumor. Lucasfilm has only confirmed that Michael Arndt will be handling the screenplay for Episode VII. (via)