Star Wars news and rumours are coming thick and fast. So quick, in fact, we’re struggling to digest it as quick as a Sarlacc Pit would!
Anyway, as of Saturday evening we have a few titbits to divulge. The first thing involves a chat between the folks at IGN and writers Lawrence Kasdan (above right) and Simon Kinberg. The second concerns reports that Fringe’s John Noble will be a villain in Episode VII while the third story reveals Frank Oz’s thoughts on the possible return of Yoda.
So, first off, a transcript of that IGN interview….
IGN: You’ve been able to find a balance in your work, between the more heartfelt, personal stuff like dramedies and big genre pieces like Raiders of the Lost Ark, two Star Wars movies and now the new Star Wars movies. Was that by design?
Lawrence Kasdan: I liked all those kinds of movies. I was very fortunate. I was able to come in and sell two originals. They were sort of people stories. Then I got hired to do Raiders, and that put me in another world. As soon as I had written Raiders and Empire, I was able to direct, and I did Body Heat and The Big Chill. I was really fortunate. One world opened up another and that world opened up another.
IGN: Speaking of these worlds, can you tell us, how surprised were you when they said, “Hey, we’re doing more Star Wars, and we’d like you to come back and become involved in this?”
Kasdan: I was pleased that there would be new ones, that there was a chance to capture some of the spirit of the original trilogy that I’d worked on. I thought there’s an audience out there — my grandchildren, lots of original Star Wars people — and there always will be. It’s only good that we try to do some more great ones.
IGN: How long ago did you know that you were going to be working on this? Was this kind of a sudden development?
Kasdan: No, this started last fall. It actually first started with conversation I had with (Kathleen Kennedy) and George [Lucas].
Kasdan: They’re going to be fun. J.J. (Abrams)’s a great director for the first sequel. Perfect. We’re very happy to have him. The writers I’ve been working with — Michael Arndt, who’s going to write the sequel, and Simon Kinberg, who has, like me, been sort of consulting — they’re great. I’ve never really collaborated a lot, and I’ve never been a room with a bunch of writers thinking, “Well, what should this thing be?” It’s fun. It’s really fun. And J.J.’s a writer. Yeah, lovely guy. I’d met him but didn’t know him. But now I’m totally enamored by him. He’s really funny and so enthusiastic.
IGN: This must have a special, personal significance for you, too. A whole new generation of filmgoers now are going to know your name, and this is going to be another group of fans. Was that something at all that had entered your mind while you’re working on the new Star Wars?
Kasdan: It’s always great when you get to do what you love and people get to see it. If they know your name, that’s fine, and if they don’t, that’s fine. It’s really just a privilege to do this work.
When then asked if his Star Wars standalone movie would utilize existing characters, Kasdan simply flashed a Cheshire cat smile and said nothing.
Later that evening we were able to have a chat with Kasdan’s Star Wars colleague and fellow screenwriter Simon Kinberg.
IGN: Lawrence Kasdan’s filmography is astounding. Can you talk a bit about what his work has meant to you?
Simon Kinberg: Raiders and The Empire Strikes Back were the two reasons I wanted to get into movies when I was a kid. I didn’t know that you could write movies, I didn’t know what the process was of making movies. I just knew I wanted to make movies like that. Then I found out he wrote Jedi, The Big Chill and ten other classic movies. He’s been an idol of mine from when I was a kid, through high school, through film school. I studied Raiders and Empire more than any other movies. I’ve watched each of them probably one hundred-plus times. He’s a lovely guy, and I’ve gotten to know him a bit. He’s as good a guy as he is a writer, which doesn’t happen all the time with your idols.
Kinberg: It’s an amazingly surreal thing, to imagine Larry as a colleague, because he has been my idol my whole life. It’s like, if you grew up wanting to play basketball, and suddenly you’re on the team with Michael Jordan. Larry’s mind for screenwriting is sharper than anybody’s I’ve met. He’s the guy that wrote Raiders and Jedi and Body Heat and The Big Chill and Silverado — he just has an innate understanding of storytelling, an essential understanding, unlike anything I’ve seen. … It’s so very surreal for me to spend time with Larry and for Larry to know my name. Every time he says my name, I’m a little surprised and it feels like a thrill. So yeah, I’ve asked him questions, and he is great at telling stories about the process of making those movies that were the classics of our time and the bedrocks for us growing up.
IGN: For another generation coming up, they’re going to look at your filmography as probably being the screenwriter whose name they first noticed. What sort of responsibility do you feel towards the material and the fans now as essentially the safekeeper of these properties they love?
Kinberg: I honestly try to approach all of these movies — whether it’s a title like X-Men or Sherlock Holmes or Star Wars — as a fan. I try to block out the anxiety I feel if I worry too much about the responsibility, and I just try to focus on the fun of it and the reasons why I grew up reading X-Men comics and watching Star Wars movies and reading Sherlock Holmes stories, that first time I read or watched any of those things and why they were so magical to me. I try to honor that and return to that as I would a fan. That’s the way I feel. When I wake up in the morning and I’m working on an X-Men movie, it’s insane for me every day because I’m so excited to get to work.
IGN: I know you’re not going to spill any beans about Star Wars, but what do you think of this geyser of rumors that have come out about these standalone movies? Do you find it surprising that stuff is sort of getting out there now?
Kinberg: I understand the interest in the movies, because I would be interested and I am interested as a pure fan. I’ve never seen a level of attention for a movie that isn’t in theaters yet as I have for Star Wars movies, and I understand why, because they are arguably the greatest stories and the biggest cultural benchmark of our time. They’re, for our generation, the movies that made many of us want to get into movies in the first place. So there is a level of passion and emotion connected to Star Wars that may be greater than other franchises. I try to not worry about speculation about the movies. I just think it’s great that there’s excitement about the movies. I’ve worked on movies where you have to generate excitement. This is one where the excitement is built in.
Kinberg: I got lucky. I met with Kathleen Kennedy, and it started from there.
IGN: Is there anything you can say in terms of working with established Star Wars characters, or are you coming from a whole new plot and characters for your standalone movie?
Kinberg: This is what I would say: as a fan, I wouldn’t want to know too much. I know that’s impossible because it’s not the ’70s or ’80s anymore, but part of what was so exciting about A New Hope for me was I was entering into a universe I didn’t know. Even in Empire, I was surprised by a twist I never would have seen coming. But it’s different nowadays. I understand the excitement, and I’m happy that people are interested, obviously. But I’d rather people have something left to discover when they go in.
Our next story concerns the rumour that Fringe favourite John Noble is to play a villain in Episode VII. Supposedly, a couple of Australian DJs were the ones to first reveal this news. However, according to Moviehole, it’s all false. Here’s their response…
“Another day, another flippin’ keyboard Khan, armed with some BS-doused torpedoes, passing the spare time he has on on his hands (and assumingly, they’ve more spare time than a pager salesman, if they’ve the time to go to such trouble) to fire away a biggin’.
“Yesterday a rumour hit the w’s that “Fringe” star John Noble was circling an unspecified ‘villain’ role in the new “Star Wars” movie that J.J Abrams is currently sweating on. According to the report, the source was FOX FM’s brilliant brekky duo Matt & Jo, with Jo reportedly the one with the big scoop.
“Cool news, right? Noble would probably fit in well up there on Naboo.
“Thing is, it’s bullshit. They never said it.
“I can confirm to you that this is as false as whatever hides under Pammy Anderson’s togs. This was not discussed on Fox FM, and neither Matt or Jo know anything about it. It was, in other words, simply the creation of a bored fanboy who masterfully tricked a few into running it.
“At this stage, I really doubt ‘anyone’ – besides maybe some storyboard artists and computer wizards – are being approached about getting involved in J.J Abrams’ “Star Wars Episode VII”. The casting will be a ways off, I’d think.
“Star Wars : Episode VII”, starring Tony Danza as Admiral Thrawn, is due in theaters 2015.”
So there you have it. John Noble WON’T be in the next Star Wars film.
Now, onto an old favourite.
Frank Oz has been asked about his thoughts on a possible return of Yoda to the big screen. His thoughts? Well, he seems to be well up for it.
“He’s in my heart,” Oz said. “I know Yoda very deeply.”
“The future of Yoda is likely in CGI, as he was rendered in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.
“I think it depends on the story, but I think at this point you can’t go back to the puppet. The reason George [Lucas] did the CGI, which I supported, was that he wanted to tell a story that would have been hampered by the physical limitations of the puppet.”
So there you are everyone. All the latest Wars news and I’m sure within the next 24 hours we’ll get even more new rumours. But, let’s be honest, we wouldn’t have it any other way!!!