News! Since the last time the Holonet checked in, some exciting things have happened in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Here’s a rundown:
Adjust your spell-checkers accordingly, Mitth’raw’nuruodo is back in canon!
In a stunning, yet not-altogether-surprising reveal, last week we learned via exclusive excerpt that Grand Admiral Thrawn’s full name is officially part of the current canon. For those of you who need all the Thrawn you can get, the excerpt is here and don’t forget to tune into to Tosche Station’s Thrawncast for an in-depth (and occasionally ridiculous) look at the Grand Admiral’s advent in Legends.
Talking about Yoda, he is not…
…but the legendary puppeteer and the human behind our favorite little green man from outer space is one of the featured subjects of the documentary film “Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched” which premiered this week at the SXSW film festival. Although the documentary focuses on the Muppet Show exclusively, the insights in to the life of a puppeteer and into Frank Oz himself are second-to-none. Keep an eye out for the film when it comes to theatres or streaming. Continue reading →
We actually got some Episode VII news out of the Disney shareholders earning call today! Not a lot, but right now I’m willing to grasp at any and all scraps of news I can get my tiny fingers on.
Bob Iger confirmed that Episode VII will begin approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi (or 34 ABY for us Expanded Universe folk), and will star some familiar faces along with a trio of new leads. However, the only confirmed cast member is still R2-D2. Le sigh.
Still! Some news is better than no news! I think. Hopefully, with filming starting in May, we’ll get some more substantial news–like casting!–pretty soon.
Over at Variety yesterday, senior writer Marc Graser took a look at Disney CEO Bob Iger’s handling of the massive layoffs that have hit the company over the last few weeks. Among the details was one particular throwaway line of note:
Many expect theme park and resorts chief Thomas Staggs to land the CEO role, although there are rumblings that Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy also may now be in the running.
Bob Iger is set to retire in about two years at what could be the peak of Disney in the 21st century. The studio is set to unveil a new Pirates of the Caribbean film, the Finding Nemo sequel, as well as two Marvel films in Ant Man and one of 2015’s most anticipated blockbusters The Avengers 2. Whoever steps in may be inheriting an extremely high bar to clear, and perhaps that’s the reason Variety is speculating that Kennedy is in the running.
Kathleen Kennedy is a highly by the film community and George Lucas in particular. That’s something that recently jaded and cynical Star Wars fans can take heart in. If Kennedy takes over at Disney, it means that Lucasfilm’s parent company would be overseen by someone the Maker sought out.
But fans won’t know whether the old cast will make an appearance in the new movies. “George Lucas was quoted as saying they would, but we haven’t made an official announcement yet,” Iger said.
The takeaway from Iger in the video in the CNBC link is that there have been discussions with the actors, but everything is going to hinge on Michael Arndt’s script. Until that script is finished, no one will know for sure what the extent of the OT actors involvement with the new films will be.
So here’s what we know now. First and foremost, Star Wars spinoff movies are in the works and that is indeed why Kinberg and Kasdan were brought into the fold. Furthermore, these films are not going to center around characters involved in The Saga.
Episode VII is still slated for 2015 and hasn’t been officially pushed back a year or moved up as the AP erroneously reported a few weeks back. Iger also mentioned “concurrent” releases, which may mean that there will be films released between major episodes.
There are some other details in the interview with CNBC that may interest you, but the confirmation above was the big bit of news.
One of the standalone films will be written by Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and co-writer ofReturn of the Jedi while the other will be penned by Simon Kinberg, writer of Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The movies will be separate from the upcoming Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, on which Kasdan and Kinberg are also consulting, and are expected to be released sometime after Episode VII. Each standalone film will focus on a specific character, and two spinoff films are currently confirmed.
In a call to investors, Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, revealed while the original focus was on the highly-anticipated sequel trilogy, the idea of spinoff films was bandied about early and the additional films are now becoming a reality. “We are in development of a few standalone films,” he said, “that are not part of the Star Wars saga…there are now creative entities working on developing scripts for what would be those standalone films.”