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‘Godzilla’ filmmaker to direct ‘Star Wars’ spinoff

- May 23rd, 2014

Turns out directing a fire-breathing monster was good practice for what’s coming next for Gareth Edwards. The man who injected new life into the moribund monster franchise currently stomping out the competition at the box office (at least until X-Men opens this weekend) has been tapped to direct the first stand-alone Star Wars spinoff.

The news, which was announced on StarWars.com Thursday, did not specify the subject matter of the new film but it has been speculated that new spinoffs would focus on the bounty hunter Boba Fett, Yoda or a young Han Solo.

The film will be written by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth).

“Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life — join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm,” Edwards said in a statement.

Whitta, who has also written a video game adaptation of The Walking Dead, added: “From the moment I first saw the original movie as a wide-eyed kid, Star Wars has been the single most profound inspiration to my imagination and to my career as a writer. It is deeply special to me,so to be given the opportunity to contribute to its ongoing legacy, especially in collaboration with a film-maker as talented as Gareth, is literally a dream come true. I’m still pinching myself.”

Prior to directing Godzilla, Edwards’ only directing credit was the indie sci-fi horror Monsters. In a 2010 interview with my colleague Jim Slotek to promote that film Edwards said: “If you’d have asked me when I was 12, I’d have thought I’d have made a film by 22, straight out of university. But that was really naive.”

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Godzilla director Gareth Edwards is seen in Toronto, May 15, 2014. (Dave Thomas, QMI Agency)

Last week, when he was in Toronto to promote Godzilla, another colleague Bruce Kirkland asked Edwards about delaying the big reveal. “I’d be more nervous about throwing it in early,” the British filmmaker said. “Because then you’ve spent one of your best cards in your hand. You’re trying to win the game and you’ve got to play it at just the right time.”

Sounds like the Force is strong with this one.

Edwards’ stand-alone Star Wars film will hit theatres Dec. 16, 2016.

‘At least three’ Star Wars spinoff movies on the way

- May 7th, 2014

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and announced plans for Star Wars: Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, the company also said it was also plotting additional spinoffs, TV shows and books and comics. And we now have some clarity on the number of spinoffs in the works.

While speaking during a shareholders’ call Tuesday, CEO Bob Iger revealed that there will be “at least three” Star Wars spinoffs. The news was first reported by Variety’s Marc Graser [via Collider]

We’ve known for some time that Disney was eyeing a young Han Solo film (set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope) and a possible Boba Fett film. In January 2013, Vulture reported that Zack Snyder was planning to helm a non-trilogy Star Wars film based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (he quashed the rumour). A standalone Yoda film has also been talked about.

In a recent AMC Movie Talk, director Jon Schnepp (Metalocalypse) confirmed that Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan is writing the solo Fett movie. “One of them is Boba Fett,” Schnepp said discussing the Star Wars spinoff movies. “It is. I know. I know for a fact. I will never reveal my source, but it is the one written by Lawrence Kasdan.”

Last year, EW speculated that a solo Fett film would take place either between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, or between Empire and Return of the Jedi.

So what do you think? If there are three spinoffs, which characters do you want to see in them?

Star Wars rumour: Millennium Falcon built for Episode VII

- November 29th, 2013

Another week, another Star Wars rumour.

We still don’t have any firm casting news for Episode VII other than R2-D2′s appearance, but according to Yahoo! Movies the Millennium Falcon has been built for the upcoming Star Wars sequel.

“A full-scale 1:1 Millennium Falcon has been built as well as the interiors of the ship for filming,” a source told the website. “The Falcon is done – inside and out. The sets were built off-site, ready to move when Lucasfilm/Bad Robot were ready to move into Pinewood.”

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Disney and LucasFilm have yet to confirm any news surrounding the film – other than its Dec. 18, 2015, release date – so nothing is official until you hear it from them. But if the Millennium Falcon does return, I think it’s safe to assume that Harrison Ford’s Han Solo will appear in the new film.

During an appearance on David Letterman, Samuel L. Jackson revealed that Mark Hamill, who was tipped to reprise his role as Luke Skywalker, and Ewan McGregor, who was rumoured to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi, had not been contacted about appearing in Episode VII.

But if Yahoo! Movies’ report turns out to be true, we can probably assume that the Millennium Falcon will play a big role in the upcoming trilogy.

What do you think? Is this a good sign for Episode VII? Sound off in the comments below.

‘Star Wars’ rumour: Harrison Ford to play Han Solo in multiple ‘Star Wars’ films?

- October 28th, 2013

So, take this with a huge grain of salt.

Jedi News is reporting that a deal is in place for Harrison Ford to reprise his role as Han Solo in Star Wars: Episode VII. That part I can believe. But apparently his deal to play the smuggler was in place before Disney bought LucasFilm last fall.

According to Jedi News, Ford has also agreed to play the character in at least two of the three upcoming Star Wars sequels.

Ford wanted to see the synopsis for his character’s development over more than just Episode 7. He saw this in August and is happy with the story arc.

Another tidbit of news that could raise a few eyebrows is the fact that Ford may have wanted a commitment on a fifth Indiana Jones movie. As you’ll remember, Ford made headlines a few weeks back when he said he’d play the swashbuckling archeologist again in a “New York minute.”

On this, Jedi News says that an outline will be completed by the end of the 2014 calendar year, and if everyone’s happy (presumably Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Ford), then filming will take place in 2015 for a 2016 release.

I’m a little skeptical of this one, since Indiana Jones is produced by Paramount Pictures and Disney would have no sway on that property.

Ford has been teasing fans for months that he will be appearing in the new Star Wars, and on an appearance on the The Tonight Show last week, he didn’t deny that he will be playing Han Solo again amidst host Jay Leno’s constant grilling.

He had a similar reaction earlier in the month during a segment on the U.K.’s Graham Norton Show.

Star Wars: Episode VII had a shakeup last week with screenwriter Michael Arndt (Toy Story) exiting the project and being replaced by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.

In a statement on StarWars.com, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wrote: “I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script.”

The new film begins shooting early next year, and will be released in 2015.

In the meantime, what do you think of Harrison Ford (possibly) playing Han Solo in more than one of the upcoming Star Wars sequels? And, what about this Indy news? Will Ford be too old for the character by the time 2016 rolls around? Vote in our poll and sound off in the comments.

You can also check out this vintage blooper from Star Wars in which Ford “eats” his microphone after flubbing his lines.

It’s funny stuff, I promise.

LucasFilm denies J.J. Abrams quitting ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

- July 23rd, 2013
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J.J. Abrams is seen at the premiere of Star Trek Into Darkness in this May 2012 file photo. Brian To/WENN.com

 

After rumours surfaced over the weekend that J.J. Abrams was exiting Star Wars: Episode VII, LucasFilm has issued a statement saying the director is still committed to the film.

“There is no truth to the rumour (that he has quit),” reports IGN. “J.J. is having a great time working on the script and is looking forward to going into production next year.”

If Star Wars isn’t your thing, and you’re more of a Trekkie, we’re getting word that Star Trek 3 will be written by Ashley Edward Miller and Zack Stentz (Fringe, X-Men: First Class). Apparently, Paramount wants the third instalment ready for the 50th anniversary of Trek in 2016.

Abrams has previously said that he’s open to doing both Star Wars and Star Trek, but that timeline, and Star Wars’ 2015 release date, makes that proposition seem unlikely.

Last week, Abrams’ production company Bad Robot tweeted a photo of what many speculated was Michael Arndt’s screenplay for Episode VII.

During an interview with MTV at Comic-Con last weekend, Harrison Ford, who is expected to return as Han Solo, called Abrams a “great storyteller.”

“He’s developed an enormous filmmaking skill. I think it’s a daunting project, and he’s the kind of guy that can take on huge challenges and deliver.”