Holonet Blast #27

Boy howdy, there was a ton of news last week. That’s what I get for going on vacation!

As reported in last week’s Holonet Blast, Colin Trevorrow is off Episode IX. Last Tuesday saw the announcement of Episode IX’s new writer AND director, none other than The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams. He will be writing the script along with Chris Terrio. Abrams is obviously experienced in directing well-received and hugely blockbuster Star Wars films, so there’s no doubt he’ll do a great job on Episode IX. While a woman or POC director (or a WOC director, there’s a novel thought) is definitely something that is needed in Star Wars, a safe choice like Abrams to finish out the trilogy is probably warranted here.

Not only did Episode IX get a new director, but it got a new release date, as well: December 20, 2019. Cue the cheers for Star Wars in December! Now, if only the Untitled Han Solo Film could get moved to December, as well.

In The Last Jedi news, CBR is reporting that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a cameo. This makes sense, as he previous worked with director Rian Johnson on Looper and Brick. Apparently he’s voicing an alien.

On Wednesday, the Star Wars Show announced the cover for the upcoming anthology Canto Bight, and the official site revealed some info about the four novellas: Saladin Ahmed’s “Rules of the Game;” Rae Carson’s “Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing;” Mira Grant’s “The Wine in Dreams;” and John Jackson Miller’s “The Ride.”

In other book “news,” The Last Jedi novelization will be released on March 6, 2018. This differs from the novelizations for The Force Awakens and Rogue One, in which ebooks were released on the same day as the film and the hardcovers a few weeks later. Pablo Hidalgo noted on Twitter that this is not a delay, as no previous release date was announced and this was the date initially agreed upon by all parties. If you follow Jason Fry on Twitter, he’s currently hard at work writing the novelization, which I am stoked for, no matter when it comes out.

Luke and Leia will star in a comic one-shot arriving December 27: Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait #1. The comic, written by Ben Blacker and Ben Acker and art by Mike Mayhew, will depict the Luke and Leia searching for a new rebel base during the Galactic Civil War. Crait, of course, is a new planet in The Last Jedi, and was also featured in the recently released Leia: Princess of Alderaan by Claudia Gray.

And in our last bit of literature news, the audiobook narrators for From a Certain Point of View were announced: Jonathan Davis, Ashley Eckstein, Janina Gavankar, Jon Hamm, Neil Patrick Harris, January LaVoy, Saskia Maarleveld, Carol Monda, Daniel José Older, and Marc Thompson.

Not only that, but the anthology’s authors have been revealing the titles and subjects of their short stories on Twitter. Check the hashtag #FromACertainPOV on Twitter to see the nifty social cards. I also created a Google doc with all the stories announced so far.

Phew, that was a long post! Let’s see what news Star Wars has for us next week, shall we? Enjoy!

Abrams Back on IX, Quick Hit Thoughts

Hoo boy, I go on vacation and Colin Trevorrow gets dumped from IX and JJ Abrams gets brought back to finish things out (after it sounds like Rian Johnson turned down the offer). We’ll have a podcast to discuss this more in depth soon, but some quick hit thoughts before I go steal some gear to record a show.

  • In hindsight, our pie-in-the-sky hopes of an Ava DuVernay/Michelle Mclaren/Patty Jenkins lead IX may have been a lot more pie-in-the-sky than we thought. To be clear, getting a woman to direct IX was definitely my hope and first choice, but that likely was done in by…
  • The timing of Colin Trevorrow’s dumping likely created some additional requirements for a new director. First, it appears that the script was in need of major work, so someone familiar with working with the Story Group was a must. Second, they would need to be able to integrate into Lucasfilm’s very unique collaborative filmmaking approach, and integrate fast. With production on IX needing to begin rather soon, it probably means Lucasfilm ideally needed someone who has done this before. That leaves a small (at this point) stable of directors in Abrams, Johnson (declined), Gareth Edwards (reshoot drama, for whatever that means), and Ron Howard (still working on the Han Solo film). Bringing a new face on board likely was not in the cards this late into the game.
  • Chris Terino, of Batman v Superman infamy, is co-writing with Abrams. Which… yeah. Let’s all hope that working with someone not named Zack Snyder results in something markedly better.
  • Speaking of writing, one wonders just how troubled the original Trevorrow script was. This will be the third and fourth person to have a go at this.
  • I’m going to ask everyone that’s re-litigating the merits of The Force Awakens to watch this Movies with Mikey review, which perhaps was the only one that adequately contextualized the long odds it had in succeeding the way it did. I’m sorry it didn’t do anything new for you, personally, white men. I’ve got a piece coming next week to discuss the Well Actuallying of The Force Awakens.
  • Put a woman on the next standalone Star Wars film. Full-stop.

Getting a woman to direct IX I think would have been the ideal outcome, and frankly, a woman probably should have been on IX from the beginning. But given everything above, I get why Lucasfilm decided to bring Abrams back to close things out. Stay tuned for an emergency podcast discussing the last week of wild Star Wars news.

What Celebration Taught Us About The Force Awakens

the force awakens panel

Photo from the OC Register

This post contains officially released information about The Force Awakens. If you want no spoilers whatsover, click away now. 

This past weekend at Celebration Anaheim, J.J. Abrams opened his mystery box ever so slightly and gave us a literal teaser of what we have to look forward to in The Force Awakens. Other than a few Force for Change videos, an 88-second teaser released in November, and eight trading cards, there’s been little officially announced information about the probable most anticipated movie of all time. Leading up to Celebration, everyone was speculating about what — if anything — Abrams would reveal and whether or not it would live up to the hype.

He didn’t reveal a lot.

But it was enough.

And it completely exceeded my expectations.

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A Trekkie on why J.J. Abrams Is Good for Star Wars

220px-J.J._Abrams_by_David_ShankboneNow that the official confirmation has come down from on high, Bria and I have made an executive decision: Brian and Nanci are never allowed to go on vacation again. We are simply not equipped to deal with breaking news.

That said, this analysis probably would have been my responsibility anyway. Being one of the resident Trekkies on staff, I’m in the position to pick apart how J.J. Abrams performs when given an existing sci-fi franchise, and personally, I feel rather optimistic about this turn of events.

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J.J. Abrams Is Directing Episode VII

JJ AbramsAfter a day of speculation, we finally have official confirmation that J.J. Abrams will be directing Star Wars: Episode VII.

From the official press release:

After a bevy of emails and phone calls, the formalities have been wrapped up, and at long last everyone can exhale and properly share the word with an excited Internet. Yes, J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”

George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller.” He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney | Lucasfilm banner.”

 

 

Updated: JJ Abrams Rumored to be Directing Episode VII

It’s time for another round of Episode VII director rumors.  The Wrap is reporting that JJ Abrams has been tapped to direct Episode VII despite saying last year that he would not be.  The source for this information has not been named although the source does say that Ben Affleck was in the running for the job/

The Hollywood Reporter is also saying that Abrams will be at the directing helm of the new film as is Variety.

As a reminder, nothing is confirmed UNTIL we hear it from the Official Star Wars website announces and therefore confirms the news.

Update 6pm EST: George Lucas’s son just tweeted saying that “J. J. Abrams will do wonders!”

Update 6:21pm EST: Entertainment Weekly and Yahoo also reporting this as are numerous other websites.  There is still no source for the news and EW cites the original Wrap article in their piece.

Update 8:51pm EST: Rolling Stone has also picked up the story but has also cited the Wrap article.  Still nothing from Lucasfilm.