Since damn near the very first moment that Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dropped just after Thanksgiving, there has been an endless back and forth among fans about that new, broadsword-style lightsaber lugged around by Kylo Ren. There have been all kinds of theories about how functional it would be with those small blades that come out at the hilt, and if it would really protect your hands or be a hindrance and liability in actual combat. Now I know nothing about swordplay aside from what I’ve seen in the movies, but luckily for all of us, there’s this dude on YouTube who put these this newfangled weapon through it’s paces to see if it’s practical or not.
There’s been so much focus lately on J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens that it’s easy to forget that there’s a ton of other stuff going on in that neck of the woods. As part of the massive Star Wars remodel, next up in the production line is the Gareth Edwards-directed spinoff movie. Late last week we learned that Gary Whitta, who had been handling all the writing duties, left to pursue other opportunities. Though he finished a draft, there’s still a great deal of work to be done, and now it looks like they may have found a replacement in the form of Simon Kinberg.
According to Slashfilm’s sources, Kinberg is stepping in to pick up where Whitta left off. This report is unconfirmed and unofficial at this point, but not only does this sound like a good idea, it sounds like an obvious choice. Whitta’s biggest jobs up to now have been After Earth and The Book of Eli, neither of which exactly light you on fire with their scripts. And Kinberg is already entrenched in the Lucasfilm family, running the show over at Star Wars Rebels. He’s also a consultant on The Force Awakens, and swooping in at the last moment to save films is kind of his jam in Hollywood. It’s even been reported that he was already working on one of the standalone films, though it was rumored to the Josh Trank-directed one (Kinberg also worked on Trank’s Fantastic Four). If this winds up being true, it won’t blow any minds, but maybe now he’s writing two spinoffs.
We know that most of the key players from the original Star Wars trilogy are all coming back in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Han, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3P0 all show up later this year when the first film in the post-Disney era of Lucasfilm drops on December 18. For all of the other characters we want to see, however, it looks like we’ll have to keep tuning into the animated Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD. And they added yet another classic cameo to the mix, Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.
According to the website Big Shiny Robot (we can certainly get behind that name), Williams and his smooth-talking, mustachioed space rogue show up on the next episode, entitled “Idiot’s Array.” The story revolves around Zeb, the big, tough, weird looking muscle of titular group of rebels, who gets into a game of Sabacc with a well known space gambler (guess who), and loses their astromech droid Chopper. Never get into such a contest with a dude who looks as overly confident as Lando, that’s just rule number one. From there, they crew of The Ghost gets into some hot water with a group of gangsters (Hutts maybe?) and adventures ensue. Here’s a screenshot of what a youthful Lando looks like.
With all of the moving parts and pieces in the massive expansion of the Star Wars universe, there are bound to be shifts and changes. Screenwriter Michael Arndt very publicly left Star Wars: The Force Awakens due to creative differences—J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan took over in the aftermath and performed substantial rewrites. And now there has been another writer departure as Gary Whitta has left the first standalone spinoff.
First reported by The Hollywood Reporter, this separation definitely appears to be more amicable than the previous split. Whitta was working on the first of the planned side movies with Godzilla director Gareth Edwards, and even completed a draft. With his leaving, however, they will likely bring in another new writer.
Everyone in Hollywood wants to be in a new Star Wars movie, even those who have been in one before, and even those whose character may be a wee bit dead. Despite the fact that the majority of fans pan the Episode I—The Phantom Menace (but not all, don’t worry, we’re well aware that there are supporters out there), there are some bright spots. One of these is Liam Neeson, who recently indicated that he’s not opposed to coming back for another go round in that far, far away galaxy.
Pumping his latest action sequel, Taken 3, which opens in theaters today, Yahoo UK sat down with the 62-year-old actor, who plays Qui-Gon Jinn, mentor to Ewan Macgregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. No matter what the topic, these days it’s damn near impossible to talk to anyone even tangentially involved with Star Wars and not ask them about it, and this interview is no exception.
The idea of making a new Star Wars movie must be daunting, especially the next chapter, The Force Awakens. This is the first film without franchise creator George Lucas involved and in charge, and it follows the prequels, which, rightly or wrongly (I know there are fans out there), inspire a great deal of hate, so there’s a lot to make up for. And this stress is only amplified when you’ve been a lifelong fan and you don’t want to fuck it up yourself and all the other Star Wars obsessives out there in the world. That’s the situation J.J. Abrams stepped into, and regardless of how you feel about him as a filmmaker (I’m well aware that there are those of you who fall on both sides), it took some stones to accept that job. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t nerve wracking as hell.
Abrams showed up on the red carpet at the National Board of Review, and took a moment to speak to MTV. Notoriously tightlipped as he is about his films, he didn’t actually say anything about The Force Awakens, not that anyone expected him to, but he did talk about the intense pressure. He said: