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CELEBRATION EUROPE II: Rancors, practical effects and the return of John Williams

July 31st, 2013 by bash Comments


While many news items have appeared over the past few days concerning Episode VII from Celebration Europe II, FTN has decided to bring you a pretty definitive update on all that we heard from the event in Essen, Germany.

Many of these stories have already been highlighted by us and other news outlets, however there are a few that haven’t – and we’re pretty sure you’ll be stoked by one in particular.

First of all, let’s look at the news a lot of you will have heard about.

While confirmation of the return of John Williams for Episodes VII, VIII and IX wasn’t the big news we were expecting it was welcome nonetheless.

Here’s the confirmation from Kathleen Kennedy on the main Celebration stage: “I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family last Friday, and he has committed to working on Episode VII. And that is Mr John Williams,” she said.

“Every time I hear John’s music, it just gives me the chills. It’s so important to the saga.”

Speaking in a pre-recorded interview immediately afterwards, Williams said: “I’m happy to be a continuing part of the Star Wars saga and the joy in the journey of discovery that awaits us all.

“Of course I haven’t seen the script, the new story is still unknown to me, but I can’t imagine that there won’t be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate and make appropriate the use of earlier themes.”

Another part of Kennedy’s interview by Warwick Davis highlighted the importance of practical effects alongside CGI on the new films. This, ofcourse, is what many fans felt was missing from the prequels and it received a round of applause from everyone in Essen.

Here is what the Lucasfilm president said: “The conversation we’re having all the time now about Episode VII is how much CGI. We’re looking at what the early Star Wars films did; they used real locations with special effects. So we’re going to find some very cool locations, we’re going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox.”

So, what about Mark Hamill? We’ve heard him talk about his possible role in the sequels but it seems he has been gagged of late. As such, we didn’t expect much from the actor.

However, indeed he did reveal a few things which really sounded like further confirmation he’ll be in the next three films.

Here is what he said: “I don’t really know much about it. I know like you know, they’re making really some smart choices. Disney have done so well with the Marvel franchise, the Muppets, Pixar….. they were asking all these actors if they wanted to be in Episode VII.

“But one person that surprised me was Steve Carell. He said ‘I’d love to be in it’. I thought ‘wow’ how cool would it be to go to work everyday with people who make me laugh.”

He later added, after referencing the ‘right choices’ that were made by George Lucas when the original film was made: “I’m obviously optimistic about the new trilogy because we start out with Disney knowing what they’re doing, Kathleen Kennedy’s resume speaks for itself, JJ Abrams is a cutting edge, brilliant writer/director as they come, and then most important to me is Michael Arndt. Oh my god, he wrote Little Miss Sunshine, he wrote Toy Story 3, he’s very good writing for ensemble pieces and he writes humour and warmth and heart and character and supposedly he’s a huge Star Wars fan so that can’t be bad.”

He continued: “It never occurred to me that they would do them [the sequels]. I mean I doubt… I imagine it will be about the next generation and we’ll have age appropriate roles along the lines of Alec Guinness….”

If that last line isn’t confirmation then I don’t know what is!

Last, but certainly not the least comes news from a panel involving Episode VII artist Iain McCaig.

When asked by a young fan does he enjoy drawing Rancors, he replied: “Wow, have you been reading my mind. I’ve been drawing a lot of rancors recently. Oh, perhaps I shouldn’t have said that [then an embarassing smile].”

Loads of rancors in Episode VII. Now that would be cool!!!

So there you have it. While there may have been other mentions of Episode VII we were not privy to those simply because there were so many events/panels to attend. We did see Carrie Fisher’s talk with Warwick Davis but she didn’t give anything away unfortunately.

However, if any of you guys attended Celebration Europe and heard something that we didn’t please let us know.

Let us know your thoughts below, @NerdFollowing on Twitter or on Facebook

Hi all. I'm Bash and love anything and everything to do with Star Wars. Although I've watched hundreds of movies, read dozens of books and played numerous computer games from other genres and franchises since, nothing has come close to seeing George Lucas' epic for the very first time. I hope you all like the site and come back often.