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, see who’s up for a major role in the first spin-off, check out George Lucas’ reaction to the trailer for ‘The Force Awakens,’ and ponder the beauty of a Lando comic book series.

Gareth Edwards’ Standalone Film is Seeking a Leading Lady

Here’s where we stand with that as-yet-untitled ‘Star Wars’ spin-off that is coming in 2016:

- ‘Godzilla’ director Gareth Edwards will sit behind the camera.

- Screenwriter Gary Whitta has departed the project after completing his draft and Simon Kinberg may be taking over.

- The rumored plot follows a team of bounty hunters (yes, including Boba Fett) who steal the plans to the Death Star prior to the events of the original film.

Now, we can add another sort-of-fact to that list: the film must contain a juicy role for a talented young actress because the production is currently auditioning four extremely talented women for a top secret role.

First up is Tatiana Maslany, who may not be particularly well known to American audiences but has won a fan base through her work on the cult hit ‘Orphan Black’ (which also gives her the proper science fiction credentials to star in a movie like this). Then there’s newly-minted Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (‘The Theory of Everything’), who may have to back out of contention due to her commitment to Ron Howard’s ‘Inferno.’ And that brings us to the dynamic sisterly duo of Rooney Mara and Kate Mara, both of whom are also under consideration. If one of them gets the part, then you know the Mara clan are in for a few tense Thanksgivings.

All four contenders fit a certain type (slight-but-tough brunette), but more importantly, each one of them is a fine actress. This could be a break-out role for the lesser known (and probably cheaper) Maslany, but it’s just as easy to imagine Edwards and Lucasfilm wanting to anchor the film with a more familiar face like Rooney Mara, who so memorably played the title role in David Fincher’s ‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.’ In any case, we can probably assume that this film is going to feature a badass lady bounty hunter of some kind, which is a good thing, really. The existing ‘Star Wars’ bounty hunter line-up is a bit of a sausage fest.

Meanwhile, Making Star Wars elaborated on this casting scuttlebutt with additional details about the film, which you can peruse for yourself below:

  • Expect more on-location shooting than for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
  • Crew members are hearing their start dates now.
  • Many believe they are doing a lot of work on-location in Mexico for the first spin-off.
  • There have been some Star Wars: The Force Awakens re-shoots going down recently at Pinewood using some of those people.
  • Bounty hunters are important to the film.
  • Painters are expected to redress some set pieces from The Force Awakens and there are lots of cost cutting measures like that in place for the first spin-off film. Most of the reshoot materials are to be saved when possible for this reason.

Note the emphasis on location shooting. Could Gareth Edwards be trying to one-up J.J. Abrams in the practical effects department? That’s one competition we’d love to see. The full article also mentions that the film will aim for a “spaghetti western” atmosphere, which sounds just about perfect for a story of intergalactic crooks getting into trouble on a desert planet (i.e., Mexico).

In any case, this secretive new movie really has our attention. To be fair, it had our attention when it nabbed the ludicrously talented Edwards, but everything we’ve heard has us feeling really good about this one.

Poor George Lucas: Episode II - Wrath of the Disney

The last time someone asked if George Lucas if he had watched the trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ the billionaire maestro behind the entire saga shrugged the whole thing off and made it clear that he was in no rush to see other people play in the sandbox he sold for a couple billion dollars. But that hasn’t stopped people from tormenting the ever-aloof Lucas with more questions about the franchise he is no longer involved in! While promoting the new animated film ‘Strange Magic,’ Lucas copped to having finally watched the trailer and gave his opinion on the matter.

Drumroll, please:

Yeah, it was intriguing.

Never change, Mr. Lucas. Never change. Let your grumpiness become that of a thousand Harrison Fords!

Honestly, Lucas has every right to be grumpy about ‘Star Wars’ questions. He sold his company and his franchise. He stepped away to tinker with personal projects, enjoy time with his new wife, and raise his young daughter. He has nothing to do with the new movies and probably hears all about how happy fans are to see him no longer involved with the series he built from the ground up (and derailed with those prequels). But wait! There’s more!

Last week, we learned that Lucas had planned to make ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ himself before selling the series to Disney, only for the deal to move forward much faster than expected. This week, we learned that Lucas gave Disney an entire outline for the new film, only for the company to throw out all of his ideas and start from scratch. Here’s the quote:

The [ideas] that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn’t really want to do those. So they made up their own. So it’s not the ones that I originally wrote [on screen in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’]

Oof. To be fair, we really don’t want to see another Lucas-directed ‘Star Wars’ movie. What the saga needs is fresh blood, supplied by people who grew up with Lucas’s work. Still, it’s downright depressing to see the man’s ideas thrown out like yesterday’s garbage. The whole thing wouldn’t exist without him!

Poor George Lucas. Now he’ll have to cry himself to sleep on a mattress stuffed with one hundred bills.

Here’s Your ‘The Force Awakens’ Tidbits

This was a pretty slow week for new buzz on ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which should come as no surprise to anyone at this point. This movie is going to remain an enigma wrapped in a mystery until J.J. Abrams loosens his grip and that isn’t going to happen for at least a few more months. Since there’s no real news to chew on, we can bring you the next best thing: Mark Hamill talking about how he can’t talk about the movie!

Luke Skywalker himself was in attendance at a screening of ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ (in which he plays a minor role) and he found himself, of course, answering ‘Star Wars’ questions. Of course, the most he could say was absolutely nothing:

You know, the security on it is just crazy. I’m surprised I can even admit I’m in it! …I like being surprised. It’s a whole different era now. When we made the original films, you had the odd reporter hanging around the studio bribing people to give them stories. Now, I said to them, ‘Do I really have to wear this robe and this hood that covers my entire head to go from the trailer to the soundstage?’ They said, ‘Yeah, there’s drones.’ Seriously! There’s drones flying over the studio trying to get pictures of whatever they can get pictures of.

In a separate interview, Hamill did chat about what it was like to be back on board the Millennium Falcon. It’s nothing substantive, but at least it’s not another round of “I can’t say anything or Disney will murder my family”:

I can’t describe the feeling… the déjà vu of walking onto the Millennium Falcon, remembering all these details that they’ve gotten exactly right… It still seems surreal to me and hard to believe it’s actually happening.

Meanwhile, journalist Lizo Mzimba has been tearing through the resumes of every actor in England to dredge up news of mostly unknown actors playing small parts in ‘The Force Awakens.’ He struck gold again this week:

That name probably doesn’t ring a bell, but it’s fantastic so see the Empire going out of its way to diversify its ground forces! After all, your sex doesn’t really matter once you put on that white armor.

Oh, and ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death’ actress Leanne Best is apparently in the movie as well. However, an announcement this late most likely means that she’s playing a very minor part.

Everything Else

If you’re wondering when the next ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer will arrive, wonder no more! It will be attached to ‘Avengers 2’ this May and will feature first looks at the original trilogy actors.

Peter Mayhew, AKA, Chewbacca, was hospitalized this week after coming down with pneumonia. However, the man behind the mighty Wookiee is expected to make a full recovery.

A whole bunch of amazing ‘Star Wars’ video games are now available for cheap and legal download. Get on this. Seriously.

We really liked Marvel’s new ‘Star Wars’ comic series and we’re really interested to check out the upcoming Darth Vader and Princess Leia books, but nothing has us more intrigued than the additional illustrated adventures of Lando Calrissian. Hand drawn Billy Dee Williams is always better than no Billy Dee Williams.