WookieeLeaks: The Very Busy Future of the ‘Star Wars’ Universe
ScreenCrush’s WookieeLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything Star Wars! From Star Wars: Episode 7, to the upcoming spinoffs and the TV shows, if it pertains to that long ago, far away galaxy, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, Star Wars Celebration books two very special guests, Star Wars: Rogue One looks to cast a very interesting actor, and Simon Pegg gets you even more excited for The Force Awakens.
Josh Trank and Gareth Edwards Are Going to Star Wars Celebration
The schedule for this year’s Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim, California has been revealed and if you’re going, it looks like you’ll have to try really hard to not have a good time. Sure, there are the big, huge, can’t-afford-to-miss-it panels like the simulcast with J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy (AKA, the premiere of the next Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer), but almost every even on the schedule is at least somewhat interesting. From solo panels featuring actors like Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Billy Dee Williams and Ian McDiarmid to presentations based on John Williams’ music and Ralph McQuarrie’s iconic concept art, the whole schedule sounds illuminating and fun.
According to StarWars.com, Trank and Edwards will be part of a special conversation panel scheduled for April 19. Here’s how it’s described:
Kathleen Kennedy, Kiri Hart and Pablo Hidalgo will be joined by directors Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank, who will share their experiences as the newest members of the Lucasfilm creative family. Learn how the teams came together and are collaborating to conceive and create the upcoming stand-alone films in the galaxy far, far away.
Edwards being there isn’t that surprising since he’s been the known director of the first official Star Wars standalone film for quite some time. Star Wars: Rogue One probably won’t have much of a presence at this year’s Celebration (it hasn’t even begun filming yet!), but Edwards is a passionate guy who will surely have plenty to talk about.
The real interesting news here is Trank’s attendance. It’s no secret that he’s been quietly working on the second Star Wars standalone film, but details have been scarce. We still don’t know what he’s cooking up (could it be that young Han Solo movie?), but his presence at Celebration is the closest thing we have to official confirmation of his involvement. Like everyone knowing that Rian Johnson was helming Star Wars: Episode 8 for a year before it was actually announced, we now know for sure that Trank is still on board. We’ll just have to wait another year for the actual press release.
The Future of the Star Wars Universe Looks ... Busy
When Disney bought Star Wars and Lucasfilm, they weren’t shy about their intentions. They were going to release a movie a year, rotating between entries in new trilogies and standalone adventures. They were going to wipe away the expanded universe and rebuild it from the ground up. They were going to take a massively popular but scattered brand and transform it into a machine. The next decade is going to see more Star Wars than the previous 40.
And yeah, it means the actors get worked to the bone. According to a new article at The Hollywood Reporter, signing up to appear in the new Star Wars movies is much like getting roped into the Marvel movies. Disney will own you for the foreseeable future:
“When you sign up for this, you're signing your life away, and you're keeping yourself from any other franchises out there," says an agent whose client is one of the stars of Episode VII. "They will not let you be in another franchise. They're going to be cranking out a new movie every year. These actors never get to read the script before signing on. They don't even know which [subsequent] one they are in. And then they become known for that role, and it's hard to see them in a Fault in Our Stars kind of movie." Also, the pay is meager. Sources say the newcomers can only command $65,000 to $125,000 for Episode VII, with sequel options exponentially greater. Still, agents will keep pursuing. Paradigm's Sarah Fargo, whose client, Domhnall Gleeson, was cast in Episode VII, sees only upside: "It secures all involved a place in film history and guarantees a huge global audience, enhancing an actor's marketability.”
Imagine a contract that forces you to do damage control when you say you’re excited to star in the next movie you’re contractually obligated to appear in. Choose your words more carefully, Oscar Isaac.
The latest actor to potentially sign on the dotted line and lend his mortal soul to Disney is Ben Mendelsohn, who is rumored to be joining the cast of Star Wars: Rogue One. He may not be a household name, but if you go to the movies a few times a year, you’ve sen him. Typically a supporting player, he’s popped in a wide range of projects, from Animal Kingdom and Killing Them Softly to The Dark Knight Rises and Exodus: Gods and Kings. Curious Star Wars fans can check him out for themselves on Bloodline, the latest original series from Netflix. We still don’t have official confirmation about the plot of Rogue One, but Mendelsohn looks born to play a grizzled space pirate. The fact that his name is even in the conversation is evidence of Gareth Edwards’ good taste in actors.
Speaking of Star Wars: Rogue One, the film may feature a direct tie to the new expanded universe. According to a report over at Cinelinx, Lucasfilm is keen to bring the character of Moff Delian Mors to the screen, preferably in one of the standalone movies. But who is this Moff Delian Mors, who is being introduced in the upcoming novel Lords of the Sith? She’s only the first canonical LGBT character in the Star Wars universe. Which is kind of a big deal. After all, Star Trek has constantly missed the ball when it comes to gay characters despite having many opportunities. Could this be an area where Star Wars actually breaks down a social barrier before Trek? That would be a first.
When it comes to Rogue One, don’t expect to hear any official confirmation on anything for at least a few months. Disney has brokered a deal with Paramount to not promote the film until after the release of Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Because both movies have “Rogue” in the title. And because the studios think we are all very stupid and will confuse our Mission: Impossible and Star Wars movies.
Oh, and just in case the movies, the comics, the books, and the animated Star Wars Rebels weren’t enough, Disney is already plotting a live action television series. Is there such thing as too much Star Wars?
This Week’s The Force Awakens Chatter
J.J. Abrams has been making the press rounds as of late, promoting a little indie film he produced called Infinitely Polar Bear. Of course, this meant that he was ambushed with his fair share of Star Wars questions. But let’s be honest: is it really an ambush if you saw it coming from a parsec away?
In one noteworthy interview, Abrams directly confronted all of the spoilers being spread across the internet (sorry about that, J.J.). In past interviews, he’s made it clear that he has come to terms with so many of The Force Awakens‘ mysteries being leaked and that diplomatic stance continues here. He just wants us to enjoy the movie:
“Ahh yes,” says Abrams, suddenly remembering the existence of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens. “If I hung up right now, would you be offended?”
There’s a pregnant pause before he adds: “Just kidding.”
“Ahh, well, I need you to see it and let me know what you think,” he replies. “We’re still cutting it, but I could not be more excited.”
“The level of scrutiny is pretty much unprecedented for me,” he admits. “My dream is that, despite so many rumours — many of which are true, many of which are untrue — when people see the movie, they see something that hasn’t been completely ruined for them by having read spoilers they might not have wanted to read.”
Abrams is always so understated when he talks about making a freakin’ Star Wars movie. He plays his cards close to the vest. It’s that whole Mystery Box mentality. If he gives into his enthusiasm, he may tip his hand.
But Simon Pegg? Simon Pegg is allowed to freak out. Pegg hasn’t been shy about sharing stories from when he visited the set (and supposedly filmed a small cameo role) and he unleashed another wave of infectious excitement in a new interview with Collider. Yes, they were supposed to be talking about Pegg’s work on the upcoming Star Trek 3, but you know how these things go:
I’m immensely excited, having been lucky enough to visit the set. I’ve never been on a film set where everyone has been so invested in the material because they are emotionally and intrinsically linked to it, as people who work in an industry that was informed by the original films. Suddenly, they’re back in those environments, seeing those sets again and seeing J.J. work with real physical things, and models and puppets and masks. Also, the new technology will, of course, be involved in it. The original films were always about the cutting edge. They weren’t retro movies. They were very forward-thrusting, technological masterpieces, and as such, there will be that stuff. It’s going to be extraordinary. I’m so excited for people to see it. It’s going to be everything that we wanted 16 years ago and didn’t get.
But wait! There’s more! And it somehow gets more charming:
I took my daughter to the set, and she met BB-8, the droid you see in the trailer. She sat with him for ages, and just talked to him. The guys were operating it, just off camera, and she was there. I said, “Come on, we’ve gotta go,” and she said, “I just want to spend some more time with him and have another hug.” It’s just a ball with a thing on it, but it’s a testament to that character, how much he’s going to impact on audiences because he’s so full of life. And that goes across, for everything. Also, to see the old staples again is going to blow people’s minds.
If there were any lingering doubts about BB-8 being the Next Big Thing for every single kid in the world, put them aside right now. Everyone is going to want their own BB-8. Stupid cute droids and their stupid cuteness.
Due to scheduling issues, John Williams will score The Force Awakens in Los Angeles instead of London. The London Symphony Orchestra tweeted about the situation:
You’ve probably already watched it, but Star Wars: TIE Fighter is one of the more impressive fan films we have ever seen.