WookieeLeaks: Liam Neeson Ponders a Qui-Gon Jinn Spin-Off While ‘The Force Awakens’ Hires Three Genuine Badasses
ScreenCrush’s WookieLeaks is a weekly roundup of everything ‘Star Wars’! From ‘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, Liam Neeson contemplates a Qui-Gon Jinn spin-off, ‘The Force Awakens’ recruits three amazing martial artists, and a bunch of cool ‘Star Wars’ toys appear on the horizon.
Liam Neeson Wants a Qui-Gon Jinn Spin-Off For Some Reason
Liam Neeson has been making the rounds recently to promote ‘Taken 3,’ which means that he’s had to answer many questions that have nothing to do with ‘Taken 3’ but make for flashy headlines. He eventually found himself facing the inevitable ‘Star Wars’ questions because, you know, he played Qui-Gon Jinn once upon a time. When asked if he’d ever like to make a spin-off for his Jedi master character (despite the fact that he was dead and burned at the end of ‘Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace’) Neeson said what any actor who likes paychecks would say: sure, why not?
Yeah, I’d say so. Yeah, that would be terrific.
I certainly loved shooting the prequel [‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’] but that was many years ago now.
I don’t know [how he would return], unless you went back in time or he becomes a hologram or something. He’s a Jedi, anything could happen, it’s Star Wars world!
It’s a diplomatic answer. Why would an actor ever say no to work, even if it’s implausible/never, ever going to happen? However, it’s no secret that Neeson was fairly miserable on the set of ‘The Phantom Menace.’ Although he had eagerly sought out the part of Qui-Gon, he was apparently not prepared for George Lucas’s hands-off approach to directing actors, which frustrated him. But that was almost 15 years ago and times have changed. Neeson has acted in a ton of CGI-fueled blockbusters since then and could probably act his way through a spin-off without even breaking a sweat—
Wait. Why are we even talking about this like it’s going to happen? This will never happen.
However, Neeson did see the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer and like the rest of the planet, he has an opinion on Kylo Ren’s odd lightsaber:
I had a couple of worries about that lightsaber. I thought if it comes in [towards the body] and is close to you, it’s like having a jet of [burning] fluid hitting your clothes and your skin, but I’m sure they’ve thought that out.
Et tu, Liam? I thought Stephen Colbert explained this already...
‘The Force Awakens’ is Probably Going to Have Great Fight Scenes
Even if you don’t care for all of his decisions behind the camera, it’s hard to dispute J.J. Abrams’ eye for casting. Time and time again, he’s put actors in unexpected roles to great effect and made stars out of people juuust before they became huge things. He’s tapped in. He knows what’s cool before most of the world does. Which is why he put Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens.’
Action fans will know these three from ‘The Raid’ and ‘The Raid 2,’ the hyper-violent Indonesian martial arts series that pretty much broke the brains of international action fans over the past few years. These guys are incredible ... and incredibly dangerous. Seriously, these are the kinds of guys who could easily kill you with a single finger if you give them a reason to. These are the men responsible for some of the most intense and hard-hitting cinematic action of all time.
However, the fact that their casting is breaking so late into the film’s lifespan is an indication that they aren’t playing major characters. It’s more likely that they are utility stuntmen or even stand-ins for the lead actors, doing all of the dangerous fight scenes while John Boyega and Adam Driver step in for the close-ups. While it’s slightly disappointing that guys this talented probably won’t get to show their faces in a massive blockbuster that everyone in the world will see, this does indicate that ‘The Force Awakens’ is going to have genuinely unique and hard-hitting action sequences. You don’t hire guys this skilled if you’re making something generic.
Speaking of unexpected people popping up in ‘Star Wars’ movies, basketball player Brook Lopez is apparently campaigning for a role in the saga. Namely, the seven foot tall member of the Brooklyn Nets wants to play a Wookiee ... and he claims that it’s close to being a reality:
Lopez, a huge comic book and science fiction fan, told reporters on Dec. 22 that as soon as news broke that a new set of “Star Wars” movies would be made, he dreamed about getting a small part.
The 7-foot Lopez said he thought his height made him a natural to play a part as a Wookiee.
Ten days ago, Brook Lopez made an appeal to the producers of the new “Star Wars” movies to get him involved in the science fiction franchise as an extra. On Thursday, the Nets center said it appears he may be making progress toward getting his wish.
“My friend works on the set, so . . . I don’t want to jinx it, but pretty good so far,” Lopez said when asked if he’d heard from the movie’s producers.
If this is true, does this mean ‘The Force Awakens’ is going back for reshoots soon? Or does it imply that Lopez may pop up in a furry cameo during ‘Star Wars: Episode 8’? Or is this just all a load of BS from a guy who really doesn’t know what’s going on? Prrrobably the latter.
J.J. Abrams Cracks Open His Mystery Box (and Other Chatter)
The ever-mysterious J.J. Abrams actually spoke a little about ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ this past week, but don’t get too excited. Anyone who thinks that the tight-lipped director is going to spill anything of genuine interest is deluding themselves. This man is an island. An island full of secrets. He did, however, talk about the pressures of bringing such a huge movie to life:
It is, without question, an intense and terrifying prospect. The opportunity, I think, is greater than the fear, greater than the risk. I’m more excited about the work that everyone has done in the movie and this incredible cast.
It was an amazing experience making this movie. For everyone. There was a weird buzz in the air when we were making this movie. But we were all just aware how hard we had to work to make it something worthy of people’s time.
Actor Andy Serkis also had very little to say, but unlike Abrams, he’s been saying very little in public for a long time now. So when he opens his mouth to talk about ‘The Force Awakens’ and dodges every inquiry, it doesn’t come as a surprise at all:
“As if I can tell you! I can’t tell you anything.”
“It’s going to be brilliant. The director, JJ Abrams, is doing an amazing job.
“He is such a big fan of the original movies and it is a great script and a very, very good story. It’s amazing to be a part of it.”
Of everyone who spoke about the film this week, only Domhnall Gleeson was upfront about his situation. He’s just not allowed to talk about it. He’s not allowed to say anything interesting. And that’s that:
“I would say it’s the most secrecy I’ve had to work with, just because you have to sign so many things.
I don’t even talk about it – I’m not even afraid I’ll let anything slip anymore, I’m just aware that it’s actually boring, because I know the answer is I can’t talk about it.”
However, Gleeson does add that making the movie was great and that everyone involved loves the original movies and that the secrecy is just part of a larger marketing plan and so on and so forth:
“Once I got to set, the way JJ was working and the love, the genuine love for Star Wars that was everywhere on set – it made me want to protect those secrets. It wasn’t like I was contractually obliged to keep them.
I trust them with it – it’s not one of those moneymaking schemes, though I’m sure it will make money. The love for those movies, what those movies meant to them, to everybody on that film – you could really feel it.
I’m really proud of it– I hope it’s good! We’re in trouble if it’s not…”
Feel free to stare at that art and think really hard about the big changes. It’s similar to the original design, but just different enough. The red paint job signifies that it’s piloted by someone important but whom? Is it a specialty ship or do all TIE Fighters look like this now? Is this ship even in the final film or is it just art from early development? Questions, questions, questions.
The 14 People Who Want to See ‘Revenge of the Sith’ in 3D Will Have a Chance Now
Remember when ‘Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace’ was re-released in 3D and everyone essentially shrugged if off? Even if you did go see it, you probably didn’t get a chance to see the 3D version of ‘Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones,’ which was a far smaller and more limited engagement. Now, the handful of people who actually care to finish up the disastrous prequel trilogy in three dimensions will get their chance ... as long as they’re attending this year’s ‘Star Wars’ Celebration.
Running April 16-19, Celebration is the annual convention for die hard fans, offering panels and events and every other nerdy thing that your heart desires. This year will include screenings of all six films in the saga and yep, this includes the world premiere of ‘Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith’ in 3D. Now the terrible acting and pandering story choices will surround you in every dimension!
Of course, if you are attending, you should probably only attend the screenings of the original trilogy. Why waste valuable convention time on three movies that make you so angry?
Cool Stuff You Can Own Eventually
Now that Marvel Comics is once again in complete control of the ‘Star Wars’ license (sorry, Dark Horse), the company has announced two more “Legends” collections. These are the older stories that are no longer canon, but could become official if the new regime decides to pick and choose details from them in the new films, shows and comics. In other words, all of the old expanded universe comics and stories are fan-fiction until you hear otherwise.
However, these two fan-fiction collections seem cool enough for the obsessive completionists out there! These big, fat omnibuses will collect tales from opposite ends of the ‘Star Wars’ universe, starting with ‘Star Wars: The New Republic.’ Here’s the official description:
The New Republic Vol. 1 takes place immediately following Return of the Jedi. Ol’ Sheev is dead, and the Rebel Alliance have started to build the New Republic. The Emperor’s hand, Mara Jade, is on the quest for revenge, as the Galaxy’s criminal leaders fight to claim Jabba the Hutt’s kingdom as their own. In the mean time, a fake Boba Fett says he is the Mandaloran merc himself!
And then there’s ‘Star Wars: The Old Republic,’ which literally takes place thousands of years before that first collection:
The second collection jumps to the Jedi Order’s heyday with The Old Republic Vol. 1. It consists of stories of Jedi Knight Zayne Carrick, who faces murder charges after being framed for killing a plethora of Padawans. Zayne is trying to clear his name and travels all over the Galaxy to find the true unsub of this heinous crime.
Moving on from paper to plastic...
Hasbro released a list of ‘Star Wars’ toys that the company is soliciting for 2015 and the whole thing is fairly vague. There appear to be action figures and Nerf guns and plastic lightsabers, but anyone looking for actual ‘The Force Awakens’ details in this list is going to come away disappointed. There is not a single spoiler or new character name to be found! Although “new villain” is name-dropped at least once. Feel free to explore the list for yourself, nerds:
Star Wars 7 3.75 In Figure Assortment
Star Wars 7 3.75 In Armor Figure Assortment
Star Wars 7 Figure Two Pack Assortment
Star Wars 7 Figures Snow Desert
Star Wars 7 Hero Series Deluxe Figure Assortment
Star Wars 7 Hero Series Figure Assortment
Star Wars 7 Class I Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 Class I Deluxe Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 Class II Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 Class II Deluxe Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 Starfighter Vehicle
Star Wars 7 3.75 In Hero Vehicle
Star Wars 7 Hero Series Figure Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 The Black Series 6-Inch Starfighter
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Three Pack Assortment
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Deluxe Vehicle Assortment
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Blind Bags Assortment
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Battle Set
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Figure Multi Pack
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Vehicle Set
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Remote Control Vehicle
Star Wars 7 Micro Machine Villain Flagship
Star Wars 7 The Black Series Diecast Vehicle Single
Star Wars 7 The Black Series Diecast Vehicle Multi Pack
Star Wars 7 Remote Control Droid
Star Wars 7 Hero Mashers Basic Figures Assortment
Star Wars 7 Hero Mashers Deluxe Figures Assortment
Star Wars 7 Hero Mashers Multi Pack
Star Wars 7 Hero Mashers Battle Pack
Star Wars 7 Hero Mashers Attack Vehicle
Star Wars 7 Signature Lightsaber
Star Wars 7 Deluxe Villain Lightsaber
Star Wars 7 Electronic Lightsaber Assortment
Star Wars 7 Extendable Lightsaber Assortment
Star Wars 7 Villain Extendable Lightsaber
Star Wars 7 Foam Lightsaber Assortment
Star Wars 7 Force FX Lightsaber
Star Wars 7 Force FX Lightsaber Assortment
Star Wars 7 The Black Series Villain Helmet
Star Wars 7 Mask Assortment
Star Wars 7 Chewbacca Electronic Mask
Star Wars 7 Lead Villain Electronic Mask
Star Wars 7 Darth Vader Voice Change Mask
Nerf Star Wars 7 Villain Trooper Blaster 1
Nerf Star Wars 7 Villain Trooper Blaster 2
Nerf Star Wars 7 Alien Blaster
Nerf Star Wars 7 Ammo Refill
But if you want something a little more substantial, news of one toyline did leak, along with a few images of what it’s going to look like. Just don’t expect to see anything new. It seems that Hasbro is releasing six new toy sets representing the first six movies, with each set highlighting four characters from the film. Here is what the box art will look like:
And here are the figures who will be included in each set:
Now here’s the big question: could those leaked toy sculpts from a few weeks back represent a ‘The Force Awakens’ set that will accompany these? Hmm...