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Star Wars Episode VII News Accumulator - Adam Driver is the villain!

26th February

Variety via Bleeding Cool are reporting that Adam Driver (Girls) has been cast in the role of the film's main villain. Driver was previously expected to play Lex Luthor Zack Snyder's Batman vs Superman so it'll be interesting to see whether he can commit to both blockbusters.

23rd January 2014

Talking to TV Guide Carrie Fisher has near-enough confirmed her return to the Star Wars universe alongside Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford. Commenting that she'd like to see the return of her cinnamon swirl hair do, she went on to suggest that they were due to start shooting scenes in April.

We've also had rumours via Latino Review that Pixar were going to get a chance to flex their muscles with their own Star Wars film. Current thoughts are that this might be one or more of the standalone stories currently scheduled for the downtime between the main saga installments. Definitely an exciting prospect (although we'd REALLY still prefer Pixar to have a go at adapting Grim Fandango as a film instead!)

13th January 2014

The release date is confirmed as being 18th December 2015.

More casting rumours are leaking out over the last few weeks - the most recent is the possible casting of Jesse Plemons in a role as an un-named Skywalker (possibly Luke's son). We've also heard that Michael Fassbender and Hugo Weaving have had talks with J J Abrams.

The other rumour, via THR is that Lawrence Kasdan's rewritten script shifts the focus of the film to the Luke, Leia and Han - previously, it's understood that they were to play roles on the sidelines, but moving back to focus directly on them would be an interesting decision following the departure of Michael Arndt. Word is that George Lucas is still somewhat hands on but had disagreed with the binning of Michael Arndt's script; he now allegedly supports the decision.

Starburst also have a rumour that Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter - aged in her 20s - will have a role in the film.

18th April 2013

Disney have now confirmed a Summer 2015 for Star Wars: Episode VII, but they've also gone on to confirm that Episode VII and IX will be released in 2017 and 2019.

In addition they've confirmed the scheduling of two Star Wars spin-offs for 2016 and 2018 giving us five solid years of Star Wars-led Summers!

20th March 2013

Harrison Ford again teases us in an interview on the red carpet while promoting his new film, Jackie Robinson baseball biopic 42. The Han Solo actor was asked whether the original cast members would reunite and he responded "I think it's almost true. I'm looking forward to it … it's not in the bag yet, but I think it's happening."

So, this adds further weight to the ongoing, but as yet unofficial, reports that Luke, Han and Leia will reunite for Episode VII at the very least.

6th March 2013

Carrie Fisher has confirmed in a discussion with Palm Beach Illustrated that she IS to return to the next Star Wars installment reprising her role as Princess Leia!

15th February 2013

Big Star Wars news to round off the week - it's being reported by Latino Review that Harrison Ford has agreed to reprise his role as Han Solo in JJ Abrams Star Wars Episode VII.

Ford has previously been dismissive of his role in the original trilogy, clashing with George Lucas over the script and apparently requesting his character be written out during the filming of The Empire Strikes Back so any appearance in the new Trilogy would signal a clear change in his attitude to the franchise.

We're expecting official confirmation from Disney and Lucasfilm soon.

26th January 2013

It's now been confirmed by Disney that Star Trek director, J J Abrams, is to direct the next Star Wars installment. Star Wars: Episode VII really appears to be getting off to an amazing start with Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) writing and now the Abrams directing; both have a proven and amazing blockbuster record.

After a bevy of emails and phone calls, the formalities have been wrapped up, and at long last everyone can exhale and properly share the word with an excited Internet. Yes, J.J. Abrams will direct Star Wars: Episode VII, the first of a new series of Star Wars films to come from Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams will be directing and Academy Award-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

“It’s very exciting to have J.J. aboard leading the charge as we set off to make a new Star Wars movie,” said Kennedy. “J.J. is the perfect director to helm this. Beyond having such great instincts as a filmmaker, he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise. He understands the essence of the Star Wars experience, and will bring that talent to create an unforgettable motion picture.”
George Lucas went on to say “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”
J.J., his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, and Bad Robot are on board to produce along with Kathleen Kennedy under the Disney/Lucasfilm banner.

Also consulting on the project are Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. Kasdan has a long history with Lucasfilm, as screenwriter on The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Return of the Jedi. Kinberg was writer on Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Abrams and his production company Bad Robot have a proven track record of blockbuster movies that feature complex action, heartfelt drama, iconic heroes and fantastic production values with such credits as Star Trek, Super 8, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol, and this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Abrams has worked with Lucasfilm’s preeminent postproduction facilities, Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, on all of the feature films he has directed, beginning with Mission: Impossible III. He also created or co-created such acclaimed television series as Felicity, Alias, Lost and Fringe.

Past Star Wars veterans, dating back to the classic trilogy, offered words of praise from their direct experience with Abrams:
Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren, ASC, whose credits include the original Star Wars trilogy as well as landmark films such as E.T. and Jurassic Park, also worked with Abrams on Super 8. “He puts everything he has into his work,” said Muren. “He totally immerses himself. He’s got such a visual eye, which is so important to the Star Wars films. It seems that a lot of the same things that were in George when he made the first Star Wars films are also in J.J. I think he’s going to fit into the other movies perfectly, with the energy that J.J. has. We’re kick-starting Star Wars again with dynamite. It will knock people out, including the people who get to work on it. I think it’s a great choice.”

Ben Burtt, responsible for such iconic Star Wars sounds as Darth Vader’s breathing, R2-D2′s beeps and the classic lightsaber, has worked with Abrams as sound designer and sound editor on Star Trek and Super 8. “J.J represents the next generation of filmmakers from those that were making Star Wars when I started,” said Ben Burtt. “When he was a teen, he was a fan of Star Wars, and a great deal of his love for movies came out of his reaction of that first Star Wars film. You feel that he’s already invested so many years in it, and he’s going to propel it forward in a new way. In other words, you’re having a fan who has grown up and developed tremendous directorial skills finding himself at the steering wheel to take the franchise into the next stage. I feel like I’m there watching history turn over from one era to another.”

Matthew Wood, who served as supervising sound editor on Super 8, similarly grew up as a Star Wars fan before working on the films through the prequels. “Working with him, it was so obvious to me that J.J. and I have the same nostalgic love of that era. Now we have someone from that generation who is going to be at the helm of the Star Wars franchise that I’ve known and worked on, so it’s a great circle. Just seeing what he did with Super 8 and capturing those moments, and knowing what was so special about that era, it’s going to speak to a new generation of audience as well.”

30th October 2012

Tonight it has been announced that Disney is to acquire Lucasfilm - and in the process the house of the mouse have also revealed that one of their first projects will be to launch a NEW Star Wars trilogy starting with Episode VII - setting the new tale after the events of Return of the Jedi. We can expect the first film in 2015 with subsequent installments appearing every other year.

Check out the video below featuring George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy discussing the future of Star Wars at the cinema...

Continuing its strategy of delivering exceptional creative content to audiences around the world, The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Lucasfilm Ltd. in a stock and cash transaction. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas.

Under the terms of the agreement and based on the closing price of Disney stock on October 26, 2012, the transaction value is $4.05 billion, with Disney paying approximately half of the consideration in cash and issuing approximately 40 million shares at closing. The final consideration will be subject to customary post-closing balance sheet adjustments.

"Lucasfilm reflects the extraordinary passion, vision, and storytelling of its founder, George Lucas," said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company. "This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including Star Wars, one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney's unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses, and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value."

"For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next," said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. "It's now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I've always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney's reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products."

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of Lucasfilm, a leader in entertainment, innovation and technology, including its massively popular and "evergreen" Star Wars franchise and its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and audio post production. Disney will also acquire the substantial portfolio of cutting-edge entertainment technologies that have kept audiences enthralled for many years. Lucasfilm, headquartered in San Francisco, operates under the names Lucasfilm Ltd., LucasArts, Industrial Light & Magic, and Skywalker Sound, and the present intent is for Lucasfilm employees to remain in their current locations.

Kathleen Kennedy, current Co-Chairman of Lucasfilm, will become President of Lucasfilm, reporting to Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn. Additionally she will serve as the brand manager for Star Wars, working directly with Disney's global lines of business to build, further integrate, and maximize the value of this global franchise. Ms. Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

The acquisition combines two highly compatible family entertainment brands, and strengthens the long-standing beneficial relationship between them that already includes successful integration of Star Wars content into Disney theme parks in Anaheim, Orlando, Paris and Tokyo.

Driven by a tremendously talented creative team, Lucasfilm's legendary Star Wars franchise has flourished for more than 35 years, and offers a virtually limitless universe of characters and stories to drive continued feature film releases and franchise growth over the long term. Star Wars resonates with consumers around the world and creates extensive opportunities for Disney to deliver the content across its diverse portfolio of businesses including movies, television, consumer products, games and theme parks. Star Wars feature films have earned a total of $4.4 billion in global box to date, and continued global demand has made Star Wars one of the world's top product brands, and Lucasfilm a leading product licensor in the United States in 2011. The franchise provides a sustainable source of high quality, branded content with global appeal and is well suited for new business models including digital platforms, putting the acquisition in strong alignment with Disney's strategic priorities for continued long-term growth.

The Lucasfilm acquisition follows Disney's very successful acquisitions of Pixar and Marvel, which demonstrated the company's unique ability to fully develop and expand the financial potential of high quality creative content with compelling characters and storytelling through the application of innovative technology and multiplatform distribution on a truly global basis to create maximum value. Adding Lucasfilm to Disney's portfolio of world class brands significantly enhances the company's ability to serve consumers with a broad variety of the world's highest-quality content and to create additional long-term value for our shareholders.

The Boards of Directors of Disney and Lucasfilm have approved the transaction, which is subject to clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, certain non-United States merger control regulations, and other customary closing conditions. The agreement has been approved by the sole shareholder of Lucasfilm.


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