WookieeLeaks: ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Put on Hold, a Visit to the Set and Carrie Fisher’s Daughter
ScreenCrush’s WookieLeaks 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, new rumors swirl around Harrison Ford's leg injury, a family member of an original cast member joins the cast, and Jek Porkins finally gets his due.
Anklegate Rages On -- Will The 'Episode 7' Release Date Change?
The strange saga surrounding Harrison Ford's leg injury (Anklegate? Leggate?) continued this past week as Disney and Lucasfilm confirmed that 'Star Wars: Episode 7' would be put on hold briefly in August while Harrison Ford recovered from his injury. Said the statement:
In August, the team will take a brief two-week hiatus while adjustments to the current production schedule are made as actor Harrison Ford recovers from a leg injury. Harrison is doing well and is looking forward to returning to the set soon. Shooting remains on track to wrap in the fall with the film scheduled for release on December 18, 2015.
Let's get the negative out of the way. According to some sources, 'Star Wars: Episode 7' director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm maestro Kathleen Kennedy approached Disney about delaying the films release date to May, 2016 in the wake of Ford's broken leg. Whether this is a direct result of the leg-breaking incident or just the production wanting more time remains unclear. In any case, the request was immediately shot down and not for creative reasons. Disney is hell-bent on making the 2015 release date because they have all kinds of merchandising deals lined up and could potentially lose a whole bunch of money if they have to the delay the film in any way. Although it's possible to see where Disney is coming from (they are a corporation out to make a profit), it's a disappointing reaction and proof that making a good movie is secondary to selling toys and bedsheets to the people at the top. Disappointing, yeah, but certainly not surprising.
But, let's shift into the good news! Harrison Ford has recently been seen hobbling around London on an "iWalk" peg-leg crutch, putting the rumors that the break was so bad that Ford would require six months of recovery to rest. Although that article's suggestion that Ford would be fully recovered in a month sounds woefully inaccurate, the original estimate of six-to-eight weeks for a full recovery seems accurate. In any case, additional rumors have begun swirling, suggesting that Ford's head could be CGI's onto his stunt double's body for certain scenes. That's a practical solution, albeit a disappointing one. After all, isn't a great deal of the fun supposed to be about watching the original cast members actually interact with the newbies?
Finally, Jedi News claims to have a report from an anonymous member of the film's crew, who says that everyone involved remains in high spirits despite all of the recent setbacks. Please remember that this could very well be a huge load of bull. For all we know, everything is going as wrong as it possibly good and Disney is doing an amazing job of keeping the chaos under wraps:
The production was effectively in shutdown last week with the majority of cast and crew on call, but not on set. The same applies to the coming week, or at least the first half of it.
All the decision makers and big guns were on set and working hard to re-plan the full production, from when talent would be needed to priorities in set build, costume and effects. All department heads attended and held a number of meetings in order to put into effect a plan B to work around Ford's time off.
The Star Wars crew seem in amazingly high and confident spirits and whilst there has been disruption there is no sense of panic whatsoever. In fact, I would go as far to say they seem supremely confident that they are working on and achieving great things and you would not think any setback had happened.
Casting and Characters and Rumors
Could 'Star Wars: Episode 7' feature flashbacks involving a young Princess Leia, who will be played by Carrie Fisher's daughter? That's the big rumor swirling around the internet the past couple of days and as of this moment, it remains unconfirmed. If true, this will be noteworthy for a few reasons. First, it will be the first time a 'Star Wars' movie has featured flashbacks in any capacity and it could pave the way for future adventures that take place during (or just before or just after) the events of the original trilogy. Second, it would bridge the past and the present in a really satisfying away, especially since Billie Lourd looks enough like her mother to pull it off. Well, physically. We have no idea if she can act (or even if a part like this would require much from her). But until something is officially announced, treat this like the rumor it is.
But let's talk about something that is 100% grounded in facts. We knew that character actor and motion capture specialist Andy Serkis would be playing a role in 'Star Wars: Episode 7,' but the actor recent shed a little more light on his involvement. In an interview with SciFi Now, he confirmed that he'll be playing a motion capture character and that his motion capture studio, The Imaginarium, will be assisting in all of the motion capture work in the new film. Here's the full quote:
The Imaginarium is now involved in all of the performance capture on the Star Wars projects and I’m playing a character in that. It’s extraordinary. I grew up with Star Wars and was a massive fan of the original films. I never imagined in a million years that I’d be engaging with this. It’s just come about so organically.
JJ Abrams and I met, and we just had this incredible kind of vibe between us. He said, ‘You’d fit really well in this universe,’ and I said, ‘I think I probably could.’ We’re working very closely, as I say, in two ways: the Imaginarium is providing all of the performance characters, and I myself am playing a character in it.
I’m thrilled, deeply excited. Sitting at that read-through the other day was just extraordinary. It was an amazing event; being with the original cast was just incredible. I just think the script is so wonderful, and both the old and the newbies in the cast are just so thrilled and excited to get together.
As excited as we are to see all of the promised practical effects in 'Star Wars: Episode 7,' the next best thing is motion capture work overseen by the guy who's helped pioneer the craft. This is only good news.
And speaking of casting news that's 100% confirmed, unknown actors Crystal Clark and Pip Andersen have joined the cast in (you guessed it) unknown roles. Since they weren't part of that now-famous script reading from awhile back, we guess that they're playing minor roles, but who knows? Maybe they'll have more to do in 'Episode 8.'
Finally, the film's IMDB page was briefly updated to include actors playing "pirates," "Stormtroopers" and "Flamethrower Stormtroopers." As always, it's important to remember that IMDB can be edited by anyone with an internet connection and that you should tread lightly before you believe anything. Still, agents and actors (particularly those with smaller roles) will often add themselves to cast lists like this to get their name out there. So yeah, there's a chance that 'Episode 7' will feature these particular actors playing pirates and Stormtroopers. (But maybe not.)
Kevin Smith Wants You to Know That He's Been to the 'Episode 7' Set
Sometime director and full-time nerd/stoner/internet personality Kevin Smith has been to the set of 'Star Wars: Episode 7' and he wants to make sure that you, yes you, know it. After all, what would Kevin Smith do with his time if he wasn't smoking pot, recording podcasts and reminding people that he's Kevin Smith and can do all of the cool stuff you wish you could do?
Snark aside (easier said than done), Smith's visit did reveal a few tiny tidbits about the production. But first, here's his sole Tweet on the matter. Follow that link if you want see a grown-ass man crying because he got to visit a movie set:
Despite that nondisclosure agreement, Smith couldn't keep his big mouth too shut. After all, how else could he let the rest of the world know that he has been to the 'Star Wars: Episode 7' and you haven't? Flickering Myth gathered all of relevant details that Smith recounted on one of his podcasts:
They had a sign at on the stage – I can’t even say which stage – which had the Imperial Starship logo and it said, ‘loose lips sink starships” ... This movie though… Dude, I cried four times. The seven year old in me came. [J.J] has f*cking captured it, man. He has nailed it.
Smith confirmed that involvement of lightsabers and blasters, because, you know, duh.
It's easy to mean and snarky about Smith, but he is a die hard fan of the 'Star Wars' series and that means his opinion should carry at least some weight, right? Right? Oh. Oh no. Right.
'Phineas and Ferb Star Wars' Reveals its First Trailer
Make sure your kids are sitting down before you hit play on the YouTube embed below. That's the trailer for the 'Phineas and Ferb Star Wars,' which transports the characters from the Disney Channel's popular animated series into the 'Star Wars' universe. This is the kind of thing that should bring out the cynicism in us, but we'll be honest: we're actually impressed by Disney's corporate synergy. Say what you will about them forcing J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy into a 2015 release date -- they know how to sell their brands and indoctrinate your children. It's impressive, really. Slightly evil, but impressive!
And while we're on the subject of 'Star Wars' TV, a piece of concept art popped up online and it may (or may not) depict the planet of Kessel, which will play a role on 'Star Wars Rebels.'
Yeah, this was a pretty slow week for 'Star Wars: Rebels' news. Fill the void with an episode or two of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' on Netflix.
Miscellaneous 'Star Wars' Bits and Bobs
Have you heard about the bizarre saga of Stormtrooper Sam? If not, this is your chance to catch up on the week's most eye-roll worthy news story of the week!
Anyway, 'Star Wars' fans who aren't spending all of their time terrorizing small towns with their Stormtrooper costumes will probably fill their day exploring the newly revamped StarWars.com, which is now officially linked with Disney.com. So yeah, the same login that lets you read up on the latest Disney news gets you into your haven for everything 'Star Wars.' What a weird world this is. And while we're talking about 'Star Wars' and Disney being attached at the hip, a new rumor suggests that Disney is pumping the breaks on their plans to add new 'Star Wars' themed attractions to their Hollywood Studios theme park in Orlando, Florida.
But don't worry. You may not be able to play at 'Star Wars' in a Disney park as soon as you'd hope, but you can now dress your XBox avatar as a character from the original trilogy. That is one shrimpy Darth Vader!
Forget about all of that new-fangled electronic gaming! Is there anything more pleasurable than a tiny plush Admiral Ackbar who says "It's a trap!" when you squeeze him?
If you're a more serious toy collector, this new Boba Fett figure may be more of your speed. Available exclusively at Walgreens (your destination for eclectic 'Star Wars merchandise!), this 6" toy depicts the feared bounty hunter as concept artists Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston originally designed him. Yep, Boba Fett was decked out entirely in white armor at one point.
Spoiler alert! John Boyega's mystery 'Star Wars: Episode 7' character will wear a Batman shirt.
The Most Important Character in the 'Star Wars' Saga Finally Gets His Due
Jek Tono Porkins, hero of the battle of the first Death Star, has finally been immortalized as a bust. Godspeed, Porkins. Never forget.