Tag Archives: Star Wars

“Star Wars” – Attack of the production line?

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Honestly, you go away for a couple of days – a work trip, not exactly exciting – and things get all confusing for any self-respecting member of the “Star Wars” generation.  It’s as though you’ve been out of the game for a while and people get delusions of grandeur or something…

The sci-fi franchise’s new overlords, the Walt Disney Company, this week unleashed dark, Sithian portents of wholly predictable corporate malevolence by announcing that films seven, eight and nine in the new trilogy will open two years apart in 2015, 2017 and 2019 , with spin-off movies featuring “Star Wars” characters filling in the gaps between new instalments of the main saga (“Salacious Crumb – Lust for Glory” – make it so).

So, the House of Mouse is borrowing a note or two from the thus-far successful Marvel Studios play book and pitching their comic book movie business against the biggest name in cinematic sci-fi in a playground battle to win all of the marbles in the yard.  Greedy, much?

I confess to be alarmed by the proposed timeline – is two years between movies really a realistic schedule which would allow for quality to be maintained?  It doesn’t seem as though director J.J. Abrams could realistically turn around movies on this scale in that production line fashion – could any director keep to that kind of workload and deliver something which didn’t feel like a product tooled to meet a release date line in the sand?

Is the plan, then, to alternate directors on each Episode? Curiouser and curiouser…

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The Young Han Solo Chronicles?

"I once caught a Wamprat THIS BIG!"

“I once caught a Wamprat THIS BIG!”

Today’s piping-hot “Star Wars” rumour?  Lucasfilm are developing a young Han Solo movie.  And a Boba Fett flick.  Zoinks!

But, as ever with these things, Entertainment Weekly’s story on the matter is quick to assert that these additional “Star Wars” movies – which are being made in addition to the J.J. Abrams‘ spearheaded “Episode VII” – are in an embryonic state and that nothing is set in carbonite, yet.

That proviso noted, would you want to be the actor tasked with embodying Harrison Ford‘s devil-may-care intergalactic bounder as a younger man and living up to the burden of attention that accepting such a role might bring?  I’m pretty sure I would run a couple thousand parsecs from it and I suspect that you would too.

Early casting around on the internet has the likes of Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper being proposed for the role on various sites, and as good as they are, they’re not exactly in the right age range for the part.  Physically, at least, Garrett Hedlund has some of the quality of a young Ford – but I’ve not seen in anything which suggests that he has the comedic lightness of touch to embody the Corellian scoundrel fully.

As I said – wouldn’t want to be that actor…

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Yoda movie in works at Disney?

A stand-alone Yoda film?  I’ll believe it when I see it on Deadline.com

Hold onto your Gungans – Lucasfilm and Disney want to make a Yoda movie per dear old Harry Knowles and Ain’t It Cool News.

You can’t argue with the logic.  Having carefully laid the ground work for, and then convincingly established a catalogue of films based around Marvel’s superhero stable, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Disney might find their newly-acquired “Star Wars” universe a suitable vehicle for further exploration.  Particularly as this particular sci-fi cast of characters and settings is as popular as ever with a younger generation of fans, who don’t have the hang-ups of oldsters like me about new-fangled “Clone Wars” spin-offs and patchy prequel trilogies.

AICN’s story alludes to Lucasfilm chairperson Kathleen Kennedy putting together a slate of movies set in the “Star Wars” universe and planning a first instalment set around the adventures of the diminutive Jedi Master, which strikes me as an interesting choice.  No Boba Fett?  No young Han Solo cutting a swathe through the galactic underworld, Danny Ocean style?  Still, if this initial salvo (should it come to pass) takes off, there’s no reason that we can’t see a whole panoply of “Star Wars” experiences duking it out in cinemas with Marvel movies for years to come.

But seriously, an IG-88 movie.  Make it happen, Ms Kennedy.

 

 

 

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J.J. Abrams is “Episode VII” Chosen One

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J.J. Abrams, pictured shortly before pwning f00lz and dropping the mic, like the proverbial boss that he is…

At last, our global geek nightmare is over (or possibly just beginning, if you’re a Troll).

After a few weeks of denials, stonewalling and outright, behind-the-scenes deal making, the truth appears to be finally out there – J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars Episode VII“.  Let me be amongst the first to say ‘Phew!’ and be glad that a director has finally agreed to make what is 2015’s most eagerly anticipated summer blockbuster.

Whilst this would appear to signal a farewell to his work on Paramount’s “Star Trek” franchise – a decision that many vocal Trekkers will doubtless be happy about – I’m convinced that Abrams is the right person for this job.  It’s no secret that I loved his “Star Trek” reboot as, no matter what the aforementioned Trek fans might say to the contrary, his 2009 film essentially saved the venerable sci-fi series from the doldrums.

Yak on forums and social media about lens flare and sexed-up “Trek” all that you want – post 2009, the Gene Roddenberry creation is now a film series that has serious money pumped into it and has attracted a younger generation of viewers to a property which needed new eyeballs if it was going to continue.  Prior to the “Trek” reboot, you had nostalgia, the con circuit and as sorry as it might sound, a steady diet of nothing new to look forward to.

Whilst the “Wars” universe is nowhere near as moribund as “Trek” arguably was, thanks to the success of the prequel trilogy and the “Clone Wars” universe in attracting younger fans into the fold, it too presents equally daunting challenges to a film maker.  If fans of Kirk and Spock are vocal on the internet, they are but dilettantes in comparison to the foaming-mouthed, nerf-herding fanboy rage of Star Wars fans reacting to changes in their favoured fictional sandbox.

It’s a brave director who takes on this job, but I hope that the guy who made “Trek”, “Mission: Impossible 3” and the excellent “Super 8” is up to the challenge of facing down naysayers by doing what he’s great at – making a fun blockbuster which succeeds purely as entertainment first and then as a contribution to the wider “Star Wars” universe second.

Truth be told, I have every faith in him – and there’s not a lot of directors working in this scale of genre film-making of whom I would speak so glowingly.   The action will be spectacular, he works well with emotion and relationships (the previous architect of this film series? Not so much…) as does “Episode VII” writer Michael Arndt and he’ll doubtless bring Michael Giacchino aboard to bring a different musical note to the series, which will be nice.

The big question is, of course, this – who is Greg Grunberg going to play?

 

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Master of Puppets

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Well, this is certainly news that I didn’t want to read today – Gerry Anderson, tv Sci-Fi pioneer and beloved icon of British nerds, has passed away at the age of 83.

I’m not sure how much Anderson’s career resonates with American readers, but to British nerds of a certain age Anderson’s marionette-powered sci-fi action adventures were a regular and welcome injection of derring-do and thrilling storytelling on kids’ tv before the era of on-demand tv and internet made finding such gems somewhat easier.

Captain Scarlet

If I throw out some titles – “Thunderbirds”, “Captain Scarlet“, “Stingray“, “Space: 1999“, “UFO“, my personal favourite “Terrahawks” – you might get an idea of what I’m talking about.  Yep, mostly marionette-driven, mostly irony-free adventures which seemed like they came from a different time even when I was watching them as a kid.  But they were arguably key in getting me into the kind of sci-fi adventures that I grew to love – this was a time when you couldn’t see Star Wars whenever you wanted (VHS wasn’t yet remotely affordable), and any TV show which took you into space, under the sea or into uncertain alien territory was like delicious catnip to a youthful Fluffrick.

I suspect that most younger readers might have only encountered “Thunderbirds” through the enjoyable but not entirely successful live action Jonathan Frakes film from 2004, which at least managed to keep the best things about the show – the epic-in-scale, perilous rescue missions, largely eschewing violence as a solution to problems, even going so far as to find actors to play the Tracy brothers who were somehow less convincing than their marionette counterparts – and boasted one genius performance from Sophia Myles as Lady Penelope.

Anderson died peacefully at noon today – he had been suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease since 2010.  And his brand of energetic, breathless storytelling will be deeply missed.

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A Fistful of Princesses?

 

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This shall not stand!

The Gameological Society – go there, read upon their assessment of games, become informed – have summed up one of the year’s defining news stories with a sweet flash game which allows you to make your own “Star Wars” Episode 7 film.

Despite the nerd-o-riffic dream team of Jane Espenson writing, Joss Whedon directing and Nathan Fillion starring, the above screen grab indicates precisely how successful that particularly geeky brains trust would be in rendering a new adventure set in a galaxy far, far away.

Tis a fix, I tells you – a fix!

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Metallic Faith Malarkey

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When I’m not learning how to write my name in Elvish, I’m being utterly perplexed by my fellow citizens.

In data extrapolated from the 2011 UK census results, it would appear that 6,242 of Britons declared  Heavy Metal as their religion (for the record, that’s more respondents than self-identified as a Scientologist, Druid or Shaman).

To which one can only remark “Huh?”

I love a bit of Maiden as much as the next middle-aged, dog-walking vegetarian but can’t quite get behind the notion of aligning my musical genre of choice with organised faith – the goals of one seem quite at odds with the professed beliefs of the other, surely?

Obviously this result should probably be taken in the spirit of the kind of lightly subversive, nose-thumbing surrealism that I suspect it to be (note the high ranking of ‘Jedi Knight‘ as a faith of choice in the UK census, even after the quality of the “Star Wars” prequels should have killed aligning oneself to Uncle George’s franchise outright).

So, if I’m reading all of this correctly, the proper conclusion to draw from this census is that agencies of social control (which we normally oppose with all-consuming fervour) are a very bad idea until they provide you with the opportunity to make a snarky response to a survey.

Swell.

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