The announcement back in October that Disney was acquiring LucasFilm for a paltry sum of $4 billion dollars was completely drowned out by a collective ‘geek-gasim’ heard around the world following their second surprise of the day. A new hope had sprung to life within us all when the studio dropped the bomb that they plan to continue on with the original “Star Wars” trilogy, starting with Episode VII in 2015. When I first heard that someone other than Lucas would have control of the reins over the project, I have to admit I thought it was some sort of sick twisted early Halloween ‘trick.’ Possibly perpetrated by a group like “Anonymous,” or those Chinese cyber hackers who keep messing with the D.O.J. When reality finally did set in, I (like many of you I’m sure) began to feel equal amounts of excitement and apprehension. I think we’re all still a little scarred and gun shy from the prequel atrocities, am I right? Does meeeza have to explainzza? (Yeah, that’s right. I went there.)
As an avid reader of comics, and Darkhorse’s “Star Wars” titles in particular, my biggest issue with the acquisition and the subsequent revamping of the extended universe is encapsulated in the dilemma of the following question: Does this mean that all the hard work of many gifted graphic artists and writers, who contributed to what was once considered cannon, now null and void? I’m going to have to table that discussion for the time being, definitely a soapbox for another day.
Since the announcement, the internet rumor mill has been working harder than a ‘man-scaping’ wookie, and conjecture is the current name of the game. And speaking of names, the exclusivity for a director shuffled through anyone who has ever had any interest in sci-fi what-so-ever, or has looked through the correct end of a camera. Every movie site was batting around names like; Jon Favreau, to Guillermo del Toro, Christopher Nolan, David Yates, to Zack Snyder, Brad Bird, Mathew Vaughn, Joss Whedon, to the obvious candidate of Lucas’ bestest frenemy Steven Spielberg… you get the idea. Of course we now know that the resuscitator of the “Star Trek” franchise himself, J.J. Abrams (Hey J.J., why no call back for the sequel? I’m so not feeling the love.), is set to direct a script written by Oscar winner Michael Arndt (“Toy Story 3″/”Little Miss Sunshine”). That’s just the beginning though, with casting and major plot points still up in the air – crazy kooks like Super Shadow are going to continue to litter the web with inaccurate or out-and-out false information leading up to the very first trailer of the film and beyond. So let’s see if we can sift through the endless barrage of “bantha poo-doo” speculation, and separate the Sith Myths from the Force Facts.
- The original cast will be returning. - FORCE FACT
Some, if not all, of the original cast will at the very least be making an appearance in the new trilogy. It has been reported that Hamill, Fisher, and Ford are “upbeat to return.” Lucas apparently met with Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher before October to inform them of the plan to continue on with the series. According to Hamill it was left up to Fisher and himself whether they wanted to be a part of the new trilogy or not. Hamill recently stated to “Entertainment Tonight,”
“They’re talking to us. George wanted to know whether we’d be interested. He did say that if we didn’t want to do it, they wouldn’t cast another actor in our parts – they would write us out. … I can tell you right away that we haven’t signed any contracts. We’re in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy who is going to run LucasFilm. Both have had meetings set that were postponed — on their end, not mine. They’re more busy than I am.”
Rumors recently had Harrison Ford officially signing on for the film. Although a contract has been confirmed to be in the works, it will be some time before the negotiations between Ford and the studio are complete.
Even John Williams has expressed interest in returning;
“Now we’re hearing of a new set of movies coming in 2015, 2016… so I need to make sure I’m still ready to go in a few years for what I hope would be continued work with George.”
However, having interest certainly doesn’t equate to Williams working on the project (if that were the only stipulation, the ranks of the Jedi in this movie would reach in to the thousands). Since Williams’ score is such an iconic part of the “Star Wars” experience, it’s highly likely that he’ll be included in some way, but it’s not a guarantee. Especially since Abrams has his own composers he’s known to work with.
- The return of Lando Calrissian. - SITH MYTH
Rumors have it that Lando is indeed a part of Michael Ardnt’s current draft. Unfortunately they’re just that, rumors. I think we can all agree that “Star Wars” just isn’t the same without the smoothest hawker of malt liquor the galaxy has ever known at least making a cameo.
At this point since no plot details of Arndt’s script have been released this one is sheer speculation. However, Ford did state in an interview in 2010,
“I thought he should have died in the last one, just to give it some bottom; some gravitas. George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”
Given his previous insistence that the character come to some tragic end, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s a leverage point in his current negotiations. To be completely honest I’m not so sure Han dying is such a bad idea. After the latest geriatric “Indiana Jones” movie, do we really want to see an old, bloated, Han Solo who can barely squeeze into that black vest anymore, hobbling away from the the worst Stormtrooper marksmen in the whole galaxy? Jabba the Solo. I’m just sayin’, think about it.
- The return of Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson. - SITH MYTH
Both actors have each separately expressed interest in returning to “a galaxy far, far away.”
McGregor: “I’d be up for it. If they need me to be Obi Wan Kenobi, I’d be happy to do it. Who knows what the story would be? How could I be Obi Wan Kenobi? Oh, I’m in the force? With Liam? We’re in there together? I’m up for it anyway. I will don the cloak again.”
Jackson: “I’m not surprised but totally geeked by the idea of there being more Star Wars. It’s like, okay, Obi-Wan was dead when episode four started, so maybe everyone thinks I’m dead and we’ll find out what happened to Mace Windu. I can come back as one-armed or a one-handed Jedi that’s still around that didn’t actually die.”
As cool as a one-armed lightsaber wielding Mace sounds, it’s just wishful thinking at this point.
This one is both true and false. Lawrence Kasdan (“Empire”) and Simon Kinberg (“Sherlock Holmes”) are indeed attached to write, but instead are both writing separate projects that are not necessarily Episode VIII and Episode IX.
- The plot revolves around the “Heir to the Empire” books. - SITH MYTH
Much to the heartbreak of the many fans (myself included) of Timothy Zahn’s series – both LucasFilm and Disney have stated that Episode VII will be an entirely new story, and not directly based on any of the various novels, graphic novels, or other materials that take place post RotJ.
- The plot revolves around their children. - SITH MYTH (sort of)
In the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe Leia and Han have three children. Twins Jaina and Jacen, with younger brother Anakin. Luke and Mara also have a son, Ben. Disney stated that the story won’t be “directly” related to current post RotJ cannon. Combined with Arndt admitting that his story will include much older versions of the original cast, many have hypothesized that Episode VII will have Luke passing the torch (or lightsaber as the case may be) to a younger generation for the remainder of the planned movies.
- There will be a female lead. - SITH MYTH
Mara Jade? Nope. This one seems to go hand in hand with the previous rumor based on the plot revolving around Luke, Leia, and Han’s children. With the success of “The Hunger Games,” I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney hopped onto the ‘strong young female lead’ bandwagon.
Disney CEO Bob Iger did indeed confirm that three “Star Wars” stand-alone movies are currently in the works.
“There has been speculation about some stand-alone films that have been in development, and I can confirm to you today that in fact we are working on a few stand-alone films.”
The three films will center on a Han Solo origin story, Bobba Fett’s time between “Empire” and RotJ, and a Yoda spin-off project.
Rumor has spread over the past few days that the self-proclaimed “Nerd Do Well,” (and friend of J.J. Abrams) Simon Pegg has signed on to the project. Pegg was quick to dismiss the rumor when he tweeted the following:
“No idea where this silly rumour about me attached to the new ‘Star Wars’ film came from but I can confirm that it’s absolute Bantha poodoo.”
Time will tell, we’ll just have to wait and see if that tweet should have included a “#yet.”
That’s all I’ve got for now, so check back regularly for more “Star Wars” fact or fiction. Me personally, I’m looking forward to hearing that Jack Black has just been cast as a Tusken Raider who knows kung-fu. Oooo, that’s a good one to leak out…
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