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‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ title revealed

- November 6th, 2014

Disney has announced that filming has wrapped on J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. They’ve also revealed the film’s full title – Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

force awakens

The film was shot at Pinewood Studios in London and Abu Dhabi. Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow joined the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Warwick Davis, Kenny Baker, Lupita Nyong’o and Gwendoline Christie in the new film.

On the eve of filming, Abrams released a statement saying, “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again.”

The Force Awakens opens Dec. 18, 2015

It didn’t take long for people on Twitter to make fun of the title with #rejectedstarwarstitles becoming a trending hashtag on Thursday.

Here were some of our favourites.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ starts shooting this May

- February 11th, 2014

So it’s not nothing, but it’s still not much. Sources have told HitFix that director J.J. Abrams will begin filming Star Wars: Episode VII in May. Shooting will continue until September with the finished product hitting screens Dec. 18, 2015.

According to the report, most principal casting on the film is complete, so I suppose we can count on hearing about Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford’s reprisal of their iconic characters any day now.

Earlier this week, Gary Oldman revealed that he is one of the actors who has had discussions about the new film. “They’ve called,” Oldman told Sky Movies. “I’ll believe it when I’m on the plane home. The deal isn’t done, but yeah, they’ve inquired. I mean Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter, Batman and Star Wars… bloody hell!”

Zac Efron also confirmed he’s had talks telling MTV last week, “Yeah, I just went and met with them (Disney executives). So I don’t know. It would be cool. I love the Star Wars movies I love them, but who knows?”

In addition to Oldman and Efron, Saoirse Ronan (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Kick Ass’ Chloë Moretz and Fruitvale Station’s Michael B. Jordan have been linked to the new film. As well, Abrams has confirmed talks with Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Girls star Adam Driver and Hugo Weaving are also rumoured to be involved.

According to a report on THR last month, Abrams’ upcoming sequel has been reworked to focus on the trilogy’s original stars – Luke Skywalker (Hamill), Han Solo (Ford) and Princess Leia (Fisher), with newer characters taking a back seat until Episode VIII and IX.

I’m still not sure how I feel about that, but if there’s one person I trust to reset this franchise and make it palpable again, it’s J.J. Abrams.

star warsz

J.J. Abrams blacks out windows to keep ‘Star Wars’ secrets

- January 28th, 2014

It seems director J.J. Abrams will go to great lengths to keep the script for his upcoming Star Wars sequel a secret. And that includes blackening out the windows at his production office while he is deep into pre-production on the film.

A phone interview with the Daily Telegraph was interrupted when Abrams revealed the tidbit. “Are you kidding me? My god. My office… I’m working on the Star Wars script today and the people in my office have covered up all my windows with black paper. I guess they wanted to make sure no one could see what I was doing… It seems rather extreme.”

Abrams is no stranger to secrets, having kept the villain in last summer’s Star Trek Into Darkness (mostly) under wraps until the film’s opening. But the thirst for information surrounding the new Star Wars has led to tremendous amounts of speculation on the Internet. The latest scuttlebutt has it that the original trilogy stars – Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford – will be central characters in the Episode VII, with newer characters being given smaller parts that will be expanded in VIII and IX.

The director did admit “there’ll be some sort of compromise” between his desire to keep things a secret and the Star Wars community’s desire to know what’s going on.

Still, he added, “there’s a purity in not knowing every little thing” about the new film. “We’re living in a moment of instant information and a sense of entitlement to that information,” he said. “I think it’s nice to remember that there’s nothing wrong with a sense of anticipation.”

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J.J. Abrams. Reuters File.

During a Reddit Ask Me Anything last week, Hamill said he too wants the new film to be a surprise. “I’m good at keeping secrets. Especially when the goal it to maximize the enjoyment of the audience. That’s why I’m worried about episode 7, they’re going after casting sheets!” he wrote. “Im [sic] trying to keep the surprises for the movie, not for the internet. I hate spoilers.”

When Hamill was directly asked about his involvement, he replied: “The only character I know for sure is returning is my friend R2-D2. He hasn’t stopped beeping about it.”

So what do you think? Do you want to know everything about the new Star Wars film before it hits theatres next year? Or would you prefer to go in not knowing a thing? Sound off in the comments.

‘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).

Luke-Skywalker-Princess-L-009

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.

Samuel L. Jackson: Mark Hamill, Ewan McGregor not contacted about ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

- November 19th, 2013

Is it possible that Star Wars: Episode VII might actually happen without Mark Hamill returning?

Up until now, it’s been a foregone conclusion that Hamill, along with Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), will be back as Luke Skywalker in director J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars sequel.

But during a recent appearance on David Letterman, Samuel L. Jackson (who played Jedi master Mace Windu in George Lucas’ prequel trilogy) let slip that Hamill hasn’t heard about the new film. Ewan McGregor, who was rumoured to return as Obi-Wan Kenobi, also hasn’t been contacted.

And Jackson is itching to return as Windu in Episode VII.

mace windu

“I asked Mark if he’d heard from J.J. Abrams and he said, ‘No,’ and then all of a sudden, Ewan was there (in London) and I spoke to him on the phone, asked him if he was there doing Star Wars. He said, ‘No, they haven’t called me.’”

Jackson was filming Matthew Vaughn’s The Secret Service in London with Hamill, so you’d have to think that Star Wars would be a hot topic of discussion (though, if he had news to share, I doubt he’d do it on Letterman, without Disney and Abrams’ approval).

Jackson continued by making a joke: “I was thinking, maybe all three of us could just get together and go over to the Star Wars set and just stand around and see if maybe they could use some old Jedi! And then I heard on television they were auditioning people for Star Wars and I said, ‘Well, maybe we should just go through the auditions and see if we can get a job!’”

Open casting calls for the new film are going on right now – you can submit an audition online – and I would expect an official announcement soon.

And while I don’t think Jackson would reveal Star Wars details on a talk show, I do find it curious that we haven’t had any firm announcement on the return of castmembers from the original.

Abrams is no stranger to ruffling feathers when it comes to retooling beloved sci-fi favourites. While he used Leonard Nimoy’s Spock in 2009′s Star Trek and this year’s Into Darkness, he left William Shatner’s Captain Kirk out of the reboots.

Would you have a problem if Luke, Han and Leia were written out of Episode VII? Sound off in the comments.