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‘Star Wars’ lead roles casting and plot rumours: Episode VII to focus on Luke, Leia and Han

- January 13th, 2014

If you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan, this tidbit might have you flying out of your chair. According to The Hollywood Reporter, J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars film has been reworked to focus on the trilogy’s original stars – Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).

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THR reports that original scribe Michael Arndt departed the film over creative differences with the director. Arndt wanted the new film to focus more on the offspring of the trio, while Abrams wanted to give audiences another chance to experience the classic characters before a “fitting send-off.”

According to the trade, Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan have reworked the new characters into supporting roles that will emerge as the focal points in Episode VIII and IX. New characters have been added to the new script, while others have been dropped entirely.

THR also reports that Michael Fassbender, Girls star Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving are in contention for roles in Episode VII. Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons has also reportedly met with the director. Weaving, according to multiple sources, has had early talks for a part to play an Imperial commander.

This is in addition to Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Jack O’Connell, Alex Pettyfer, Saoirse Ronan and Sullivan Stapleton – all of whom have been linked at one point or another to the new film.

If the Weaving rumour is true it suggests that Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine were not fully vanquished at the end of Return of the Jedi. (Readers of the books can weigh in on the comments and let me know how the storyline was expanded after Episode VI).

Of course, nothing is confirmed until we hear it from Disney. But this is a fun way for Star Wars fans to start their week.

Star Wars: Episode VII opens Dec. 18, 2015.

Boba Fett spinoff on the way?

- January 8th, 2014

When Disney announced it was purchasing LucasFilm and was planning a new Star Wars trilogy, they also surprised everyone with news that they intended to make various spinoff films.

While no specific characters were confirmed, the popular assumption pointed to stories involving the bounty hunter Boba Fett, a young Han Solo or Jedi Master Yoda.

As you’ll remember, The Attack of the Clones prequel showed Fett as a young boy, who watched his father Jango Fett get decapitated by Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson). But the famous bounty hunter Boba Fett didn’t appear again until The Empire Strikes Back (the character showed up in The Clone Wars series and was digitally added to a revised version of A New Hope). His origins – at least in the official film canon – were never dealt with.

That now appears to be over with a solo Boba Fett film reportedly in the works.

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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 Empire, or between Empire and Jedi.

Of course, nothing is official until Disney confirms it. But I for one am intrigued with the idea of a stand-alone Fett adventure.

Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming this spring for release Dec. 18, 2015. Are you happy with the idea of a Fett spinoff? Sound off in the comments.

New ‘Star Wars’ to hold open auditions

- November 11th, 2013

So if you want to be in the new Star Wars, you’re never going to get a better chance than this.

Disney is holding an open call to cast two roles in the upcoming film – and you can submit your audition online. It is unknown whether the parts are lead or supporting roles.

Here are the official casting descriptions from the Cast It Talent website:

Seeking: Young woman to play 17-18 Years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multi-racial).
RACHEL — Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to maker her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by. Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.

Seeking: Young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be over 18.
THOMAS — Has grown up without a father’s influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn’t have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can’t take life too seriously.

The postings match an earlier call sheet that went out in Britain last week.

Filming on the new Star Wars, which is being rewritten by J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, begins early next year for a scheduled Dec. 18, 2015, release.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ gets official release date

- November 7th, 2013

It’s not quite the news everyone’s been waiting for – I think people want to hear casting deets – but Disney and LucasFilm have announced that Star Wars: Episode VII will be released Dec. 18, 2015.

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“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios, in an announcement on StarWars.com.

Casting for the film already is underway, with an open call casting sheet making the rounds online.

In a conference call to promote his new show Almost Human, Abrams announced that his decision to step in personally and replace original writer Michael Arndt (Toy Story) came down to that 2015 release date.

“It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with [Lawrence Kasdan] in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” he said in comments published by Deadline.

To accommodate the release date for Star Wars, Variety is reporting that Disney has moved George Clooney’s Tomorrowland from Dec. 12, 2014, to May 22, 2015.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ casting rumours and Jar-Jar Binks’ death?

- November 6th, 2013

When it comes to Star Wars news, it’s like throwing spaghetti at a wall: Not much, so far, is sticking.

It’s been a revolving door of casting rumours (the latest of which puts Chiwetel Ejiofor in the running), different release dates and storylines.

The only confirmed report: Original scribe Michael Arndt is out, and J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are in.

Which brings us to today’s latest plot twist. An open casting call sheet has leaked online that potentially gives away minor plot details. And a tweet from a Disney exec seems to point to a late 2015 release. THR had reported last week that Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy tried to delay Episode VII until 2016.

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The casting call sheet [via Jedi News] hints at two of the younger roles filmmakers are looking to cast.

The female part requires someone who is able to play a “17-18 year old” named Rachel (pretty sure that won’t be the character’s real name). She “was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family she was forced to make her way in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17, she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humour and guts to get by.”

The next character, Thomas, is also a teen, who has “grown up without a father’s influence, without the model of being a man. He doesn’t have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can’t take life too seriously.”

Could these be the offspring of someone from the original trilogy? More importantly, wouldn’t it be cool (story wise) if a main character from Episode IV-VI was killed right at the beginning of the new film?

A Disney exec from the Netherlands also may have inadvertently given away the upcoming film’s release date with this tweet [via Collider]. It has since been deleted.

@Barbieguitar: #StarWars,Saw today some awsome first features/plans of new StarWars 7 movie coming end 2015. #Disney studio role out.

He later clarified his post.

In more Star Wars news, a new deleted scene has surfaced from Phantom Menace showing the demise of one of the most hated characters in the Star Wars universe: Jar-Jar Binks.

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Jar-Jar is seen in a water craft with Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) as it dangles perilously over a waterfall. But while the latter escape, Jar-Jar plunges to his death.

Or does he?

It seems it was just some clever YouTube editing. The full clip below, shows Jar-Jar’s miraculous escape.

Check them both out and let us know which scene you prefer in the comments. Is a waterfall plunge a worthy end to a character so universally hated?