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J.J. Abrams Still Hasn’t Contacted George Lucas About Episode VII

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LucasWhen it comes to the pre-production stages of Star Wars: Episode VII, one might think that director J.J. Abrams would have a wall of televisions surrounding him with all six Star Wars movies playing at the same time, while George Lucas is on speakerphone, spouting out random bits of story insight and advice. But this is not the case. Well, we don’t know how many TVs Abrams is surrounded by, but Lucas hasn’t been much of a presence just yet.

After winning the Outstanding Special Class Animation Daytime Emmy for Clone Wars — complete with Carrie Fisher referencing taking acid — Lucas told Access Hollywood that he thinks Abrams taking the Star Wars torch is great, because he doesn’t have to worry about those guys anymore. However, he also revealed that he hasn’t spoken with Abrams yet. “He’s been busy with Star Trek, and I’m sure that he will let me know when he’s got some questions. So, you know, that’s all going well. Kathy tells me it’s working out great.” That would be Kathy Kennedy, the most recent head of Lucasfilm. Since Abrams is pretty much done with Star Trek Into Darkness, he only has Episode VII to worry about. (At least from a directing standpoint, since Bad Robot has about 7,000 other film and TV projects in development.)

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George Lucas’ 1981 Plan For The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

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Return of the Jedi will celebrate its 30th anniversary of its release on May 25. To celebrate, The Huffington Post’s Mike Ryan wrote a pretty engaging article on the upcoming book The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Author J.W. Rinzler details how the third installment in the Star Wars trilogy’s title went from Revenge of the Jedi to Return of the Jedi, and George Lucas’ rough ideas of how Anakin Skywalker became the Sith Lord Darth Vader.

This gives insights into George Lucas‘ vision of what would become the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but from the vantage point of the early 1980s, while Return of the Jedi was still in production. Although there are some conflicting details, it’s surprisingly accurate to what audiences eventually saw in the produced Star Wars prequels, beginning with The Phantom Menace in 1999.

At the time, Lucas described the Force as something that anyone could learn to use, as if it were a martial art or yoga. He also said that Yoda was not a real Jedi, but rather a teacher of the Jedi Arts, ergo Jedi Master. As such, Lucas said audiences would never see Yoda fight, a decision he obviously reversed for Attack of the Clones in 2002. There is also no mention of midi-chlorians.

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Steven Spielberg’s Best Work Was A Deal With George Lucas

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lucasThe largest bet I ever made was for a poker game that I eventually forfeited in order to not continue to play poker for more hours on end. Even so, I wouldn’t have profited millions of dollars from the victory. That is just one of many ways I am nothing like Steven Spielberg.

George Lucas, fresh off of the delightful throwback dramedy American Graffiti, went into the wildly imaginative Star Wars with confidence, but spent some of his time doubting his creation. He visited his old buddy Steven Spielberg while he was directing Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and then the greatest bet in the world came into being. Sayeth Spielberg:

George came back from Star Wars a nervous wreck. He didn’t feel Star Wars came up to the vision he initially had. He felt he had just made this little kids’ movie. He came to Mobile, Alabama where I was shooting Close Encounters on this humongous set and hung out with me for a couple of days. He said, ‘Oh my God, your movie is going to be so much more successful than Star Wars. This is gonna be the biggest hit of all time.’ He said, ‘You want to trade some points? I’ll give you two and a half per cent of Star Wars if you give me two and a half per cent of Close Encounters.’ I said, ‘Sure, I’ll gamble with that, great.’

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George Lucas’ Original Star Wars Screenplay Gets Dark Horse Comics Adaptation

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A page from the upcoming Dark Horse Star Wars adaptation

Popular science fiction has loads of unmade projects in its history, but few have the Holy Grail status of George Lucas’ original version of Star Wars, which has long been archived away and seemingly lost to non-Lucas eyes, at least until a future successor needed to make a quick buck. Luckily it never came to that, and we have an upcoming project on par with J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII in terms of fan-riffic anticipation.

Comics giant Dark Horse has acquired the rights to George Lucas’ 1974 rough draft screenplay, entitled The Star Wars! Writer and LucasBooks executive editor J.W. Rinzler was one of the driving forces behind securing the script, and he’ll be working with artist Mike Mayhew to bring Lucas’ words to their illustrated life. Rinzler talks about the experience in the press release:

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George Lucas Says Ford, Fisher, And Hamill Were In Talks To Return Even Before Disney Deal

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Trio

These Star Wars stories are starting to give me whiplash. Only yesterday Carrie Fisher was retracting her earlier comment that she would definitely be returning for Episode VII, claiming it was “a joke” and that nothing was official yet. Here we are less than 24 hours later and now George Lucas himself says that the big three — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill — are more or less signed for the new Star Wars film.

Speaking to Business Week, Lucas reveals that he called the three actors before the Disney/Lucasfilm deal was even finalized. Lucas says:

We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.

That’s not quite an official Disney press release, but it’s pretty clear confirmation that Ford, Fisher, and Hamill’s return has been planned from the get-go. That’s not a surprise at all, but it is nice to get a clear, direct answer to the question. The return of the big three has been more or less inevitable, barring some unforeseen circumstance.

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Seven Directors Who Should Helm Star Trek 3 If J.J. Abrams Doesn’t

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With the jaw-dropping news that J.J. Abrams would soon be holding the reigns of not one, but both of the biggest science fiction franchises of all time, most of the discussion has centered around what an Abrams-directed Star Wars film will look like. But what about Star Trek 3?

Realistically, if Abrams decides to only produce Trek 3, but not direct it, it’s likely that the gig will go to one of his collaborators: Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, or Roberto Orci. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the least interesting possible outcome. Like it or not, Abrams has set the status quo for Trek, at least for the immediate future. While another reboot can’t be considered impossible, a more likely scenario — and potentially a very good one — would be to bring in another strong creative vision who could build on Abrams’ foundation, shore up his weaknesses, and evolve Trek to the next level, whatever that may be. With that in mind, we’ve chosen seven directors we think could make Trek 3 amazing.

Engage…

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