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Unknown Maisie Richardson-Sellers rumoured for ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’

- April 10th, 2014

With news that much of the new Star Wars cast has been set, we’ve been left to speculate on several key roles that have yet to be announced. But according to The Hollywood Reporter, unknown actor Maisie Richardson-Sellers may have landed one of the coveted leading parts.

As THR writes, “One of the roles yet to be filled is that of a young black or mixed-race woman who may be a descendent of Jedi Knight Ben Kenobi.” The character crosses paths with Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia and their children 30 years after the events in Return of the Jedi. Original trilogy stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are likely to reprise their roles, as is Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca (although as one reader in this blog astutely pointed out, the Wookiee died 18 years after Episode VI – in the books that is).

Director J.J. Abrams isn’t averse to casting unknowns as we’ve seen in his Star Trek reboot (Chris Pine was unheard of when he took over the iconic role of Captain Kirk) and Super 8.

On Wednesday, THR reported that Abrams and Disney are recreating Tatooine for Episode VII. And last week, Disney chairman Alan Horn announced that filming is already underway.

Other actors rumoured for lead parts include John Boyega (Attack the Block), Ed Speleers (Eragon), Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad), and theatre actors Matthew James Thomas and Ray Fisher. Girls’ Adam Driver is expected to play the villain.

What do you think of Abrams using unknowns for the new movie? Is it a good idea, or should he look for more bankable stars? Sound off in the comments.

Star Wars: Episode VII hits theatres Dec. 18, 2015.

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Maisie Richardson-Sellers

 

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’: Peter Mayhew confirmed to return as Chewbacca

- April 7th, 2014

Wookiee fans, get ready to do a happy dance.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, sources have confirmed that Peter Mayhew is set to reprise his role as Chewbacca in Disney’s upcoming sequel.

Last week, Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn revealed that the film has already started shooting and that a trio of new leads for Episode VII will be announced soon. In an announcement on starwars.com last month, it was confirmed that the new film takes place about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi.

Mayhew played the legendary Wookiee and Han Solo’s sidekick in the original Star Wars trilogy as well as 2005′s Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Mayhew, who is prolific on Twitter, didn’t confirm the news, but did post a photo of himself with his Wookiee costume. He also cancelled an upcoming appearance at May’s Comicpalooza in Texas “due to filming,” THR reports.

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Original stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are said to be reprising their roles. Girls’ Adam Driver has also been rumoured to play the villain in the new film.

In addition to Chewbacca, R2-D2 is slated to return for the new Star Wars.

Star Wars: Episode VII, which will be directed by J.J. Abrams, hits theatres Dec. 18, 2015.

What do you think of this latest news? Are you happy Chewie is back? Sound off in the comments.

‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ set 30 years after ‘Return of the Jedi’

- March 18th, 2014

Disney has officially announced that Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in May at London’s Pinewood Studios.

In an official statement on StarWars.com, the company also confirmed that the storyline will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and will “star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces.”

The only confirmed cast member is R2-D2, but Girls star Adam Driver is rumoured to be playing the villain. Others that have been linked to lead roles include Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gary Oldman, Zac Efron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Saoirse Ronan, Chloë Moretz, Michael B. Jordan and Hugo Weaving.

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

This will be the first Star Wars film to start shooting in the month of May. Lucasfilm has documented the first day of principal photography for every instalment of the Star Wars saga:

March 22, 1976 — The first day of principal photography in Tozeur, Tunisia, for Star Wars. A crew of 130 ventures into the desert in 42 trucks and cars, including eight army trucks full of equipment. The first shot was completed at 9:35 a.m.

March 5, 1979 — The first day of principal photography in Finse, Norway, for The Empire Strikes Back. The crew endures the subzero temperatures, frostbite, heavy winds, and avalanches to pull off the first shot within 65 minutes of setup.

January 11, 1982 — The first day of principal photography at EMI Elstree Studios outside of London for Return of the Jedi. Although inside a studio, the set must weather a sandstorm in a scene that would ultimately be cut from the film.

June 26, 1997 — The first day of principal photography at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England, for The Phantom Menace. Ending a long absence from the director’s chair, George Lucas shoots a sequence in a bluescreen-lined set with actors Ian McDiarmid and Ray Park.

June 26, 2000 — The first day of principal photography for Attack of the Clones at Fox Studios Australia. In their new home Down Under, the production crew once again photographs actor Ian McDiarmid three years to the day after Episode I started shooting.

June 30, 2003 — The first day of principal photography for Revenge of the Sith at Fox Studios Australia. The first scenes shot feature Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively, along with R2-D2.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be released December 18, 2015.

‘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.

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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.