Deadline reports that screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are in talks with Disney/LucasFilm to tackle Episode VIII and Episode IX. Kasdan is best known for writing Empire Strikes Back, Return of The Jedi and Radiers of The Lost Ark. Kinberg known for Sherlock Holmes along with X-Men Days of Future Past. It sounds like the studio is really aiming to put the two sequels into production very soon with this news. We already know that Michael Arndt (Oblivion, All You Need Is Kill) is currently working on Episode VII while a director has yet to be named.
UPDATE: HeatVision has word the deals are done and the pair of writers will also be producers.
According to a new EW (via GeekTyrant) interview with LucasFilm head Kathleen Kennedy they indeed plan on using the Marvel Studios/Avengers model for Star Wars. HeatVision had previously stated the studio was looking to Avengers as way to expand the franchise releasing offshoot films. Episode VII will be a continuation of the Skywalker/Solo stories and it will be completely original. Kennedy states Disney wants to release “two to three films” a year. These other films very well could focus on characters from the expanded universe.
I assume LucasFilm would move forward with Boba Fett and Obi Wan movies. The former had been developed by Captain America director Joe Johnston. The expanded universe of the games, novels and comics could be mined as well. Characters such as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller from Force Unleashed could make for an excellent film. Unleashed would have a solid reason to bring back Vader , Boba and Yoda. LucasFilm is currently working on the third installment in the game franchise. The Old Republic and Mandalorian Wars are prime for some adaptations as well. The comics are also rich in mythology and I’d be shocked if they didn’t eventually introduce Cade Skywalker. Fans upset that the Thrawn Trilogy wouldn’t be used in the new trilogy could see the villain show up in these spin-offs. 1313 might also factor into these films but it’s still unknown the direction that story will go.
Vulture reports that copies of this Star Wars Trilogy (Episodes VII, VIII and IX) treatment/outline from Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Oblivion, Catching Fire, Little Miss Sunshine) will be given to Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol) Steven Spielberg (Robopocalypse) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness) to read over. It’s the first time we’ve heard the three directors linked to the trilogy by the trades. Previously, it had been rumored that writer/direct Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, Stardust, Layer Cake, X-Men First Class) was a possible candidate to direct.
I’m not totally sold that Abrams or Spielberg would end up signing on but it’s interesting to hear them at least looking at the project. Bird is currently the fan favorite and could be in a better position to jump onboard. Considering Steven is about to shoot Robopcolypse while J.J. is still in post-production on Star Trek Into Darkess with Star Trek 3 already in development. Disney/LucasFilm will have to be moving quickly to be able to meet that Summer 2015 release date if they don’t have a complete script in place.
It’s been very exciting the last couple of days trying to play catch up with all the rumors, reports and speculation concerning the two new Star Wars trilogies. I’ve put together a rundown of a few I missed and added my thoughts as well. Granted these are mostly from anonymous sources not connected with the production, so don’t take the statements as the gospel. Either way, they are an interesting read and give some hope that these films won’t be the giant letdown the prequels ended being.
SKYWALKERS INVOLVED WITH BOTH TRILOGIES?: We won’t be just getting Episodes VII, VIII and IX. The plan is to move right into Episodes X, XI and XII after the end of the first new trilogy. A biographer who could be working on old information tells TheWrap that the new trilogy will involve Luke in his 30’s or 40’s. Not to mention the Skywalkers will be heavily involved with all six films (of course).
The next in the series, he said, involve Luke Skywalker in his 30s and 40s, but Lucas was unlikely to turn to Mark Hamill, who played Luke in the original but whose performance left the director dissatisfied. “They will need an older Luke Skywalker,” Pollock said.
MarketSaw‘s source claims that the original characters will be featured in the new trilogy along with the second trilogy having a female Skywalker as the protagonist. There is speculation that it’s possible these two ideas could be combined in the trilogy if the studio wants to introduce this new heroine earlier. We’ve heard confirmation that the books won’t be direct influence but nobody has mentioned the characters in them won’t end up being used. Oddly enough, this person claims Mark Hamill is returning. Already things are starting to conflict with other statements.
Recasting the characters is going to have to happen if the plan is spread out the first trilogy over 6-9 years. A female Skywalker could mean seeing Leia transform from Princess to Jedi Knight within the new installments. Along with Luke building a new Jedi temple and training a new crop of Jedi (including Leia?). Hopefully, by the end of the first trilogy seeing Luke’s transition into the darkside. In the book canon Luke only has one child Ben Skywalker, it’s possible they could create a new batch of Skywalkers to suit the films. While they don’t take the Skywalker name Leia and Han’s children are Skywalkers/Jedi. Jaina Solo being the more popular of the bunch not to mention that her twin brother Jacen ends up becoming Darth Caedus. The only other female character they could be talking about is fan favorite Mara Jade Skywalker (the wife of Luke). Her transition from darkside to light would be a great change of pace not to mention the added bonus of the character being able to go toe-to-toe with the boys.
SPIN-OFF FILMS POSSIBLE: HeatVision has heard from sources that Star Wars will be setup Avengers-style besides the planned trilogies we’ll see offshoot films focusing on individual characters. I’m sure this gives wiggle room for that Boba Fett film that Joe Johnston (Captain America, Rocketeer) was putting together. Perhaps, we could see new characters or established characters (including ones from the books/games) getting their own movies. Seeing a film set in the Star Wars universe every year rather than two to three which had been said of the trilogy. I’m sure fans of the Force Unleashed, Old Republic and the mysterious 1313 will be waiting to hear if the characters will be involved with any of these offshoots.
1952 REALLY EPISODE VII: AICN started putting together a theory that the huge Disney sci-fi film titled 1952 is really the new Star Wars trilogy. The secret project has Pixar guru Brad Bird (Incredibles, Ghost Protocol) attached to direct with Damon Lindelof (World War Z, Prometheus, Lost, Star Trek Into Darkness) working on the script. My thought, the title was hinting to Episodes VII, VIII and IX. For example if you play with the numbers of 1952 you get (5+2=”7″+1=”8″)”9″. However, FirstShowing has word from a source (distractor?) that the project is an original concept.
Brad Bird has been the gem of Pixar directing some of their better films and earning an Oscar for . He made the jump into live-action films directing Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol. He’s a director Disney can trust along with being able to balance character and action which is very important to Star Wars fans unhappy with the underwhelming prequels. The recent directors-list is filled with landmines and while some are interesting choices Bird seems a solid choice.
Lindelof has attached himself to two rather large science fiction franchises with Star Trek Into Darkness and Prometheus/Paradise (Alien franchise). Disney could have had Damon write an outline only for another writer to complete it. Disney is able to hire very creative people for their franchises as we’ve seen previously. They were recently able to wrangle David Fincher to remake 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Marvel/Disney hired Joss Whedon to make the Avengers which led Marvel handing over the creative keys for the entire film universe. Whedon will now have input on all the films until he exits Marvel. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine Disney looking to Damon to be their Whedon/Lucas for the new era of Star Wars.
It was reported today that Disney is making a whole new Star Wars trilogy. The first installment Star Wars: Episode VII is set to be released sometime in 2015. The studio has yet to name a director and it’s expected that person would need to sign-on for the trilogy. Some dream names have been Edgar Wright, Guillermo del Toro, Matthew Vaughn, David Fincher, Sam Mendes, Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg. How realistic are those choices? Not likely considering Disney would need a director to create an entire trilogy for them. They might be very unreachable because of the high demand and their other commitments to studio/original projects. However, I have a few ideas for who should be considered since Disney will be looking for a visionary to tackle a trilogy.
RIAN JOHNSON: Johnson’s Looper has been a whirlwind of slick science fiction. While the prostectics used to make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look like Bruce Willis were less than convincing, the rest of the low budget film was fantastic. He could really dig deep for character development which Lucas’ prequel trilogy was completely lacking. If we want a return to iconic anti-hero Star Wars characters like Solo or Lando, Rian would be the man to create them. He currently doesn’t have an official project lined up but I’m sure he has a few original ideas he’s mulling over. Disney would be smart to snatch him up before he’s offered other franchises.
DUNCAN JONES: I’m sure his name will be thrown around the Disney offices currently. Duncan had been wanted for The Wolverine and Man of Steel but ultimately turned down the projects. His name is buzzing around Twitter and film blogs as film geeks’ dream director. I can’t say I feel different but he’s been trying to get his film Mute off the ground which could be a sticking point to him signing on. For him to direct a franchise project means they’d have to pay for original films to be made.
NEILL BLOMKAMP: Neill was once lined-up to direct a adaptation of Halo until the whole thing fell apart. Since then he’s made two original science fiction films with District 9 and the upcoming Elysium starring Matt Damon. If anyone could create a new film universe for the Star Wars franchise it would be Neill. He would also bring back the worn/gritty look and dark tone of the original films. Blomkamp has worked inside the Hollywood machine previously and disliked it so I figure the only way to wrangle him is to give over creative control. Not sure how realistic that would be if Lucas is consulting on the films.
ALFONSO CUARON: While I consider him as the director to make the first good Harry Potter film. Alfonso is also known for some amazing science fiction with his film Children of Men. Which blew most away by it’s bleak concept and excellent look/pacing. His next film Gravity is expected to blow audiences away and is highly anticipated. He might be the closet thing Disney has to landing someone as skilled as Christopher Nolan.
PETE TRAVIS: I’ve been Pete’s biggest cheerleader lately, after the experience of seeing Dredd has really sunk-in. I think he has the ability to make a compelling science fiction action film (even with lackluster material to work from). Dredd seemed to be a film that was going to be a total disaster and turned out to be one of the most entertaining action films in a while for me. He’s more of a popcorn director compared to the other names but would be able to make the films on the scale of the originals without breaking the bank. Pete was able to shoot some rather interesting action sequences (which some on this list are still learning how to put together). While I doubt he’ll be considered I’ll be rooting for him none-the-less.
Deadline has word from Disney’s Bob Iger on their acquiring of LucasFilm and Star Wars. Iger states that they have an “extensive treatment” for Star Wars: Episode VII, meaning that they’re already moving forward with it’s development. It very well might have an early draft put together for potential directors. They’ve even mapped out a trilogy, plans for Star Wars: Episode VIII and Star Wars: Episode IX are in the works. We could see the two sequels possibly released in 2017 and 2019.
“Episode 7 will be released in 2015, the first under the Disney/Lucas banner,” he said, with Episode 8 and Episode 9 to follow. Disney plans to release a new Star Wars movie “every two to three years.”