4 Things You Need To Know About Star Wars: Episode VII
By Matt Patton
When the news broke earlier this month that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm for just over $4 billion, the now borderline-monopoly entertainment corporation also made another announcement: THERE WILL BE MORE STAR WARS FILMS. The Force was once again in balance. Nerds everywhere began to tingle and rejoice (I, personally, took it a step further and threw a three-night rager with Twi’lek prostitutes and a tauntaun rodeo). As the dust settled, information on the new films began to surface. In this post, I’ve summed up the most recent “need-to-know” info for all you curious folk out there.
#1: The new film will be released in 2015.
This bit of information is pretty concrete. 2015 was given as the release date in the same press release that contained the acquisition of Lucasfilm and the announcement of the new films. This tells me that Disney isn’t messing around…and they can’t afford to, either. With a SFX-heavy film this large, pre-production for release in two and a half years’ time would have to start relatively soon.
My prediction? I’m totally a betting man, so I’ll say that VII gets released in the month of May. Every Star Wars film ever has come out into theaters in that month. For reference, some other movies coming out in 2015: The Avengers 2, The Amazing Spider-man 2, Justice League, and the final Hunger Games film. That’s a pretty big summer movie spectrum, right there.
#2: Star Wars: Episode VII already has a writer.
Late last week, Disney confirmed a rumor that should make fans, old and new, very happy. Screenwriter Michael Arndt, in addition to having the distinction of possessing four consecutive consonants in his surname, was hired to write the new Star Wars film. Though his name may not ring you as “familiar”, he is surely a writer to keep on your radar. Arndt has only written two films: Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3. Little Miss Sunshine went on to win the Best Original Screenplay Oscar at the 79th Academy Awards, and Toy Story 3 was nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category four years later. This guy has six penned scripts coming out in the next two years though, so it looks like he’s decided to kick up the pace. Oh, and apparently he already has a 40-50 page treatment draft finished for Episode VII, so I guess he’s been hired and on board longer than Disney wants to let on.
#3: Obviously, it will take place in the future…
…clearly not our future, but the future relative to the Star Wars universe. Anyway, we don’t particularly know how long after Return of the Jedi this new trilogy is going to take place. It could be several years, several decades; several centuries…it’s anyone’s guess, really. There has been recent speculation that the stars of the original trilogy would reprise their roles as older versions of their characters for the “sequel trilogy”. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford all seem keen to the idea (who wouldn’t?), but seeing an old Han Solo up on the screen might just break my soul.
#4: Episode VII is narrowed down to “a couple of directorial candidates”.
This part here is a big deal. Now normally, in the Hollywood pre-production process, once a writer is hired it’s only a matter of time before a director is announced. In this aspect, we have to play the waiting game. According to one recent quote however, we may not have to wait very long. Early this week, producer Frank Marshall spoke with reporters about the directorial hiring process behind Episode VII. He said that the search has been narrowed down to “a couple of directorial candidates”. First of all, who exactly is Frank Marshall? Frank Marshall just happens to be the husband of Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm (i.e. the person hiring the director). Keep in mind that while Disney does own Lucasfilm, they are fully allowing Lucasfilm to make creative choices regarding the movies (much like Disney is doing with Marvel Studios). As far as what Marshall means by “a couple”…well, that’s anyone’s guess.
Also last week, some mysterious shortlist surfaced that contained the names of several prominent directors that were apparently being interviewed for the gig. Normally, speculation of this sort would just be cast off without a second thought, but this information apparently came from the same source that broke the news of the sequel trilogy in the first place. This led people to believe that the information was accurate. Of course, this has yet to be proven, but it’s always fun to speculate.
For the sake of good blogging, here is the rumored shortlist, along with the names of some films by each director:
Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium)
Alfonso Cuaron (Children of Men, Gravity)
Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class)
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Fountain)
Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Serenity)
Steven Spielberg (I sincerely hope you know what he’s directed)
But, hey, that’s just assuming this list is legit. Lucasfilm could end up going with someone out of left field. Either way, I look for someone to be hired before the end of the month.