The site at Exposition Park in L.A. won out over a rival bid from San Francisco to house the massive museum.
George Lucas’ proposed Museum of Narrative Art will be located in Los Angeles, it has been confirmed, after a design put forward by the city won out over a rival concept from San Francisco.
The legendary filmmaker’s personal collection of fine art and movie paraphernalia, including items relating to the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, will be housed at a new museum at L.A.’s Exposition Park, it was announced on Tuesday (January 10th) after months of speculation.
Lucas' Museum of Narrative Art will be built in Los Angeles
Continue reading: George Lucas' Museum Of Narrative Art To Be Built In Los Angeles
Ford described his co-star as ‘one-of-a-kind.’
The 60-year-old actress was loved the world over for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise and just last year she had reprised the role in The Force Awakens.
Fisher as Princess Leia in The Force Awakens
Continue reading: Harrison Ford Leads 'Star Wars' Cast In Paying Tribute To Carrie Fisher
He may be 73, but Harrison Ford can still crack a whip.
Disney have announced that a fifth INDIANA JONES movie is on the way, with Harrison Ford back as the whip-wielding archaeologist. While rumours of a new Indiana Jones movie have been around for years, many had thought that a younger actor such as Chris Pratt would take over the role, but it seems 73-year-old Ford is ready for one more Indy adventure.
Harrison Ford is coming back as Indiana Jones.
But it’s not just Ford who will be back, Steven Spielberg will also once again be in the director’s chair. Announcing the news, Disney said: “Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019.”
Continue reading: Harrison Ford Will Return As Indiana Jones For Fifth Movie In 2019
The film and music icons will have their latest award reception broadcast live on Tuesday.
George Lucas might've have handed over the reins of 'Star Wars' to JJ Abrams, but his input into that world has certainly not been forgotten. Alongside songwriter Carole King, he was honored for the 38th Annual Kennedy Center Honors earlier this year, with the gala set to be aired next week.
George Lucas and Carole King among this year's honorees
Lucas remains modest about his work as a director, and has admitted his mixed feelings about relinquishing his beloved franchise. He's expressed relief that he no longer has to experience the sort of harsh criticism that he did with the Jar Jar Binks fiasco, but also that he felt like a divorced father going to his grown-up child's wedding ahead of the premiere.
Continue reading: George Lucas And Carole King's Kennedy Center Honors Gala Hits CBS
The original 'Star Wars' creator said that he had mixed feelings about the prospect of watching 'The Force Awakens'.
With just over a fortnight until The Force Awakens eventually hits cinemas, Star Wars creator George Lucas has spoken of his mixed feelings about seeing the new movie, comparing himself to a divorced father at his child’s wedding.
71 year old Lucas sold the franchise to Disney just over three years ago for $4 billion, and told The Washington Post in a new interview that he had no involvement whatsoever with the seventh instalment, billed as the first of three sequel stories to the much-loved originals.
Despite initial reports that Lucas was attached to the project as a consultant, he’s revealed that Disney “didn’t like” the stories he had outlined for the sequels and decided to go in a different direction.
The director hated having to do things a certain way.
As the arrival of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' draws ever nearer, fans have been voraciously consuming the last six movies with increasing excitement. Of course, it's a bit of a grieving process for true Star Warians, as we'll be saying goodbye to the franchise father George Lucas. Though he couldn't be happier to get away.
George Lucas hated criticism he got from 'Star Wars'
One would think it was difficult as a director to let go of such a beloved world, but Disney's takeover of 'Star Wars' has brought a sense of relief to Lucas, who can now enjoy his semi-retirement without being badgered about the future of the Jedi or even being criticised for his work. In fact, he's eager to get back into directing some niche films, without the pressure of trying to get international success.
Continue reading: Criticism Drove George Lucas Away From The 'Star Wars' Franchise
It doesn't tell us much, but here's your first taster of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.
It's finally here! The teaser trailer you've all been waiting for: 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens', and while it's not really giving anything away, it looks pretty intense. Vehicles have updated, the stormtroopers are looking shinier and R2D2 appears to have evolved.
Star Wars returns in December 2015
Since George Lucas announced his retirement from the franchise, there's been all sorts of speculation about what differences could be expected from an updated sequel: though it's difficult to tell from the less than one and a half minute trailer. Everyone seems to be in a rush (especially, in a comical fashion, R2D2) and there's some brand new faces, who all look a little nervous as a voiceover booms out: 'There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The dark side and the light.'
George Lucas believes major studios are still the biggest problem facing the movie business today.
George Lucas says he still believes studios are the biggest problem in the movie business today, claiming the major corporations are not capable of nurturing genuine talent.
George Lucas says Hollywood studios are still the main problem in the movie business
Speaking to CBC anchor Charlie Rose during an interview at Chicago Idea Week, the creator of Star Wars said: "You're selling creativity. Raw creativity from talented people. Now, the problem has always been the studios. Although the beginning of the studios, the entrepreneurs who ran the studios were sort of creative guys. They would just take books and turn them into movies and do things like that. Suddenly all these corporations were coming in. They didn't know anything about the movie business."
Continue reading: George Lucas Rips Into Hollywood Studios, "They Didn't Know Anything"
We thought we'd dedicate this week's round-up to the celebrities who may want to lay low for a while.
Lana Del Rollercoaster: Lana Del Rey has had a week she'll never forget. The pop star's new album, Ultraviolence, has been met with positivity by critics and has earned Del Rey her first Billboard 200 number one. However, the singer's album publicity has risked being blighted by certain comments Lana made in a recent interview in which she appears to glamorise the troubling trend of musicians dying young. Decide for yourself here. Kurt Cobain's daughter, Frances Bean, lashed out at Lana over her words. Find out what went down.
Gary Oldman Blunder: Silly, silly Gary Oldman. The actor has earned himself a reputation as one of Hollywood's thinkers but his thoughts on political correctness caused a stir this week. In a Playboy interview, the 56 year-old referenced Mel Gibson's infamous 2006 run-in with the police where he voiced an anti-Semitic view. In an attempt to play down Gibson's words, Oldman ended up sounding an awful lot more anti-Semitic than his fellow actor. Find out what was said. Oldman did release an apology, which can be read here.
The 'Star Wars' filmmaker is building his own museum in Chicago.
The city of Chicago has welcomed George Lucas' recently announced plans to build a museum at the lakefront museum campus. The Star Wars filmmaker reportedly has plans to exhibit his vast collection of artwork and movie memorabilia.
The interactive museum will be the first of its kind and will be built, funded and endowed by Lucas. The director had eyed up a plot in his hometown San Francisco but site proposals were rejected in February.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel moved fast to offer a new home to Lucas' project and soon became the front-runner to snag the museum. He felt that the unique development would be a major boost to the local economy with the creation of new jobs for Chicagoans.
Continue reading: Chicago Embraces George Lucas Memorabilia Museum Move
The young and talented director could add a little of his hit movie's mystique to the very un-subtle 'Star Wars' franchise.
Josh Trank has been revealed as one of the directors who will be taking on his own Star Wars standalone movie to complement the planned core trilogy. The filmmaker, who made his name with the gloomy sci-fi thriller, Chronicle, is the latest young director to be pinned to the franchise after Godzilla's Gareth Edwards was snapped up.
The 30 year-old movie-making whiz was aglow with excitement for his new opportunity, saying "The magic of the Star Wars Universe defined my entire childhood. The opportunity to expand on that experience for future generations is the most incredible dream of all time," in a release yesterday.
It seems like a shrewd move from LucasFilm and Disney to appoint two directors who until recently were very much at the fringes of big movie filmmaking. The hiring of the directors is decidedly a two-way transaction too: having a Star Wars movie on your C.V. at such a relatively early stage in your career is like being given a golden ticket to the top, whilst the films will almost certainly gain creative kudos with edgy, new talents at the helm.
Will Bradley Cooper take over from Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones?
Bradley Cooper heads a list of names to replace Harrison Ford in the Indiana Jones franchise, according to the Latino Review - which has had its fair share of accurate scoops recently, including, perhaps crucially, breaking the news that Cooper would voice Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Bradley Cooper Could Become Indiana Jones
According to the site, Disney - which bought LucasFilm for $4.05 billion - is ready to move on Harrison Ford for a younger, fresher lead actor. A fifth Indie movie has been rumored for a while now, though it was always assumed that Harrison Ford would be its star. Disney announced that it had secured the rights to the classic franchise back in December.
Continue reading: Disney To Recast 'Indiana Jones,' Bradley Cooper Is First Choice
Everyone resist the urge to make a Yoda joke.
The sixth and final season ofStar Wars: The Clone Warsis coming to Netflix. According to Reuters, thirteen episodes will be made available on the online streaming service on March 7, along with the five previous seasons, which originally aired on Cartoon Network. This is the first time any Star Wars content has made its way onto Netflix and the Emmy Award winning series is sure to generate great traffic for the website.
Also, kudos to whoever is running the Netflix Twitter account:
Spielberg is considered influential by almost half of the American population.
Steven Spielberg, who has won practically every filmmaking award in existence throughout his career, adds another honor to the list this week. Spielberg has been named as the most influential celebrity of 2014 in Forbes' annual list.
47% of Americans consider Spielberg influential.
The list was compiled for Forbes by E-Poll Market Research out of a database of 6,600 celebrities. The results factored in 46 different attributes, based on E-Poll’s data of Americans. Factors like celebrities’ likeability and level of public awareness were used as tie breakers.
Continue reading: Forbes Names Steven Spielberg As Most Influential Celebrity Of The Year
Star Trek meets Star Wars and now...Doctor Who? What is this world coming to?
Matt Smith is stepping down from his Doctor Who reign this Christmas (in case you hadn’t heard), which opens up a realm of other possibilities for the 31-year-old star. Rumor has it that among those is – now don’t get overly excited, Whovians – a part in the upcoming Star Wars Episode VII. Now that would be one geek crossover to rule them all obviously, however nothing has been confirmed at this point.
Wonder where Smith would fit in with 'Episode VII'?
According to a “fairly well-placed source” speaking for Bleeding Cool, Smith went in for a meeting with JJ Abrams and George Lucas. However, that’s where the information ends. The source didn’t know whether the meeting was an audition, a screen test or just a talk, but the possibility alone was enough to set tongues wagging across the deepest, darkest, nerdiest reaches of the internet.
The three actors were honoured on Saturday night by the Academy for their varied careers
Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin and Angela Lansbury were honoured on Saturday, 16 November, night at the Academy’s Governors Awards, in a night where emotions ran high and the awards circuit got off to a start. Jolie was perhaps the biggest celebrity name on the awards sheet, but it was Martin and Lansbury who stole the show with their heartfelt gratitude towards being honoured by the Academy for a career in front of the camera.
Angelina Jolie was honoured for her humanitarian work
Jolie received the first standing ovation of the night though, picking up the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her continued, dedicated service to aid work across the globe. Attending the event with her hubby Brad Pitt and their son Maddox, Jolie accepted the award from George Lucas after being toasted in a video presentation featuring clips from her in the movies and in refuge camps and care-giving scenarios found across the globe. Receiving thank you's from four stars of her upcoming Bosnian war film In the Land of Blood and Honey, Gena Rowlands then toasted the star before she took to the stage, asking, “How does she have the time to do all this? She acts and directs, she has a large family… and she has to keep that smile on Brad’s face.”
Lucasfilm gave what they say is definitely the release date for the Star Wars reboot earlier this week
A date has finally been set for the release of Disney's first Star Wars film and even though filming hasn't even begun yet, the date isn't that far away. On Thursday, 7 November, Lucasfilm announced that Star Wars: Episode VII will arrive in cinemas just before Christmas 2015, with the studio penciling 18 December into their diaries as the official release date.
How will the new Star Wars compare to the originals?
The first instalment of the Star Wars reboot "will not only anchor the popular holiday film-going season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture," said Disney chairman Alan Horn in a statement (via USA Today). With filming due to get under way at London's Pinewood Studios in spring next year, this gives director Jj Abrams and co. just over a year to make the first of the scheduled three films, which is about a third of the time George Lucas afforded his project between 1977 and 1983 and again in 1999 and 2005.
Continue reading: 'Star Wars: Episode VII' Scheduled To Hit Cinemas On 18 December, 2015
The Oscar-winning Arndt has unexpectedly stepped down from his duties on the Star Wars Episode 7.
There is already a great disturbance in The Force, as the Disney-handled Star Wars reboot, Star Wars Episode 7, already looks as though it might be in turmoil. The set back has occurred because original screenwriter Michael Arndt has unexpectedly been replaced by the films director Jj Abrams and Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
Kasdan (L) and Abrams (R) have been brought in to re-write the script
There has been no explanation as to why the Oscar-winning Arndt has been dropped from the project, with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy giving no indication on why the Toy Story 3 writer has been ousted in favor of Abrams and Kasdan. Major Hollywood pictures of this magnitude do often undergo re-writes after a first draft has been drawn up, so there might not be much cause for concern. But still, given the secrecy and seeming aimlessness of the movie's progression, you can forgive us for fearing for the worse.
Seems like the director has issued a casting call for a new Chewie.
Jj Abrams' new Star Wars movie, Episode VII, may include a wookiee if the rumours currently circulating the internet are true. The news that Abrams might be on the hunt for a new Chewbacca was sparked when casting website Spotlight posted that a man of gargantuan height was being sought by J. J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, Bryan Burk and Tommy Harper who are all known to be working on the new Star Wars chapter.
Peter Mayhew Was The First To Sport The Iconic Furry, Belted Suit.
The casting call reads "7 ft to 7.3 ft tall with a slim/thin build and upright posture. Not too worked out or too 'thick set' especially in the shoulders. Broad facial features would be a bonus," as reported by Den of Geek. The features listed seem to be rather similar to those of Peter Mayhew, the 69 year-old English actor, who played Chewie in four Star Wars films so has automatically sparked speculation regarding who the new actor will be.
The night celebrated female achievement, while highlighting the work that remains to be done.
The 2013 Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards were held in Beverly Hills this past Wednesday night and attracted a number of both female and male supporters of equality in the film industry. The Big C actress Laura Linney was on hand to accept the Lucy Award for excellence in film, as well as give a sort of “state of affairs” speech on gender equality.
"As an actress in film, it is very easy to become isolated just due to the ratio of gender inequality that exists," 49-year-old Linney said, via AceShowbiz. "Rarely do you have a scene with other women, very few women are on the crew, and what few female executives arrive tend to keep to themselves. You have fewer and fewer women to turn to for help or advice, and information is not easily shared."
She urged the members of the audience to stand against the problem of isolation by reaching out and mentoring other women: “Reach out to a younger actress, or junior executive, or crew person, or office worker or a student," she said. Take them to lunch, put in the time to talk and learn what they are encountering. Listen to their observations. Share with them your insight and your mistakes and share information so that our experiences are not wasted."
New schedules, failing productions and ticket prices off the charts. This is madness!
Steven Spielberg made dark and ominous predictions about the future of the film industry recently. The influential director sees ticket prices spiraling out of control, while a number of big-budget productions end up as box office flops – the picture isn’t pretty for consumers or producers. "You're gonna have to pay $25 for the next Iron Man, you're probably only going to have to pay $7 to see Lincoln," Spielberg painted a bleak picture during his talk at the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic arts this Wednesday, quoted by The Hollywood Reporter.
George Lucas echoed his predictions to some extent, suggesting that a change in the exhibition model might be on the way, wherein it would morph into a Broadway-like schedule. This would mean fewer movies on the bill at any given time, films staying in theatres for around a year and, worst of all, a dramatic increase in ticket prices. Lucas and Spielberg told USC students that they are learning about the industry at an extraordinary time of upheaval, where even proven talents find it difficult to get movies into theaters. Judging from recent events and the boom of web video, crowd-funded productions and online distribution, it isn’t difficult to see why the famed directors would think so.
"Some ideas from young filmmakers "are too fringe-y for the movies," Spielberg said. "That's the big danger, and there's eventually going to be an implosion — or a big meltdown. There's going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen megabudget movies are going to go crashing into the ground, and that's going to change the paradigm." Whether the film industry will adapt to the change – Spielberg and Lucas don’t seem to think it will – still remains to be seen.
Ray Harryhausen has receiving glowing tributes from the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron and George Lucas.
Ray Harryhausen, a visual effects guru often considered to have been the finest in the movie business, has died aged 92. Best known for his pioneering work on Star Wars, Jason and the Argonauts and Clash of the Titans, Harryhausen made his models by hand and shot them frame by frame to create some of the best-know sequences in cinema.
The technique was taken up by the likes of Nick Park, co-creator of the Wallace & Gromit movies who called Harryhausen "one of the true greats" this week. Star Wars creator George Lucas said that without him "there would likely have been no Star Wars." Shaun of the Dead director Edgar Wright said, "I loved every single frame of Ray Harryhausen's work.He was the man who made me believe in monsters."
Harryhausen's finest moment came when he animated seven skeletons who came to life in Jason and the Argonauts - a sequence that took three months to film, according to BBC News.
Continue reading: World's Greatest Effects Guru Ray Harryhausen Dies Aged 92
Excited, we all are, for new new movie from Disney
It has already been rumoured that Disney’s plans for future Star Wars releases may include spin-offs for individual characters and today, The Sun reported that Yoda could well be amongst those to get the special dedicated movie treatment. Disney bosses have reportedly confirmed that they will release a series of Star Wars movies, at a rate of one per year, starting in 2015.
It’s a tall order for Disney, who will be under pressure to please Star Wars fanatics (and, of course, to convert a new breed of movie lovers into Star Wars fanatics). The new trilogy will continue the story of the space saga and it is understood that some of the original stars, including Harrison Ford will be reprising their roles. In between those stories, however, will be two stand-alone movies, centred on characters from the Star Wars universe and it’s thought that Yoda could well be one of those very characters.
Continue reading: Could Yoda Land His Own 'Star Wars' Movie Spin-Off?
The Queen was on hand to collect her award from Sir Kenneth Branagh.
The Queen invited many of her closest friends and some of the world's biggest movie stars to Windsor Castle for a special celebration of the British film industry on Thursday night (April 4, 2013). Among the attendees were Sir Kenneth Branagh, current James Bond Daniel Craig and would-be-Bond Idris Elba. It was her majesty that scooped one of the evening's awards, for supporting British film over her 50-year reign.
Elsewhere, there was Tom Hooper, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, Eric Fellner, David Hare, Tessa Ross, Rebecca O'Brien and the esteemed Danny Boyle. The Queen beamed with delight after accepting the award from Branagh - given to her essentially because she was game for her Bond skit at the Olympics. "Not all of them are fully funded," Sir Kenneth joked about the Queen being sent scripts since the 007 sequence, "but with Your Majesty attached, they would be bound to get funding."
Other members of the royal family appeared at the event, including Duke of York, the Countess of Wessex, and Prince Michael of Kent, who told The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw that the industry needed critics to "pin-prick the egos."
LucasArts game studio is no more
Disney have decided to shut down the videogame branch of the Lucas empire, scrapping LucasArts – the studio responsible for some brilliant Star Wars Games, and some really awful ones.
Let’s start with a statement, shall we? Why not. “After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games,” say Disney. “As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles.” A “small team” will now take over things, as 150 jobs have been lost. This puts the highly anticipated Star Wars 1313 and First Assault games at serious risk. It will also put Disney firmly in the ‘oh man, what are you doing?’ camp, as Star Wars fans are getting increasingly worried with what’s happening to their beloved sci-fi franchise The company broke through with The Secret of Monkey Island – a point ‘n click adventure which is thought of warmly by nearly all gamers.
They also produced military simulators like Strike Fleet and Their Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain, combat games like X-Wing and Rebel Assault, before focusing on Star Wars games like Dark Forces, the Jedi Knight series – both of which were considered successful. It wasn’t until they started getting into the business of Kinect games that the critical responses started waning.
Continue reading: Another Video Game Studio Bites The Dust – This Time It’s LucasArts
Are the old Star Wars cast back for more?
Speculation was rife just hours after the announcement that more Star Wars films were coming, and now it’s confirmed, sort of. Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher (Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Lea – obviously) will reprise their timeless roles.
Will Ford and Lucas work together once more?
“We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation,” Lucas explained to Bloomberg, before he realised he may just have said a little too much. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that,” he said. “I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” He also added that, “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.” So where are we at then? Apparently the actors hadn’t signed contracts but were “in the stage where they want us to go in and meet with Michael Arndt, who is the writer, and Kathleen Kennedy, who is going to run Lucasfilm.” It sounds pretty nailed on, even if the fat cats aren’t willing to confirm it for legal reasons, but do we really want these ancient actors coming back to the big screen? It’s either going to be a triumphant return on an awful mistake, that’s for sure.
Stuart Freeborn, the world renowned make-up artist known for his contributions to the Star Wars movies, has died at the ripe old age of 98. Largely self-taught, Freeborn's six-decade career saw him create prosthetics for the likes of Peter Sellers and Alec Guinness though his most famous creation is Yoda, the diminutive Jedi master first seen in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back.
According to BBC News, Freeborn based Yoda's look on Albert Einstein, as well as some of his features. Star Wars creator George Lucas was quick to pay tribute to Freeborn, calling him a makeup legend. "He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His Star Wars creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations, but at their heart, they continue to be what Stuart created for the original films," the director said in a statement. As well as Yoda, Freeborn created numerous other enduring characters from the Star Wars universe, including Chewbacca and Jabba The Hut. "He was a Nutty Professor," said Freeborn's former colleague Nick Dudman, "He wanted to push boundaries and had the most inquiring mind I'd ever encountered."
Though Yoda is already one of the most famous and popular Star Wars characters, Disney may be ready to add a whole new dimension to Stuart Freeborn's creation. It was announced this week how the company are planning various stand-alone Star Wars spin-off movies, with Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News claiming Yoda: The Movie is first on the list.
Stuart Freeborn has died, at the age of 98, CNN report. The make-up artist helped to design Jabba The Hut as well as some of the other creatures in the iconic Mos Eisley Cantina scene from the first Star Wars movie. Freeborn and his team helped to create characters such as Walrus Man, Snaggletooth and Greedo.
George Lucas, the Star Wars creator, paid tribute to Freeborn, explaining that he was already a legend before he started work on the Star Wars movie. “He brought with him not only decades of experience, but boundless creative energy. His artistry and craftsmanship will live on forever in the characters he created. His 'Star Wars' creatures may be reinterpreted in new forms by new generations but at their heart they continue to be what Stuart created.” Stuart Freeborn and his team also created the teddy bear-like Ewoks which featured in Return of the Jedi.
Outside of the Star Wars franchise, Freeborn also did the makeup for Peter Sellers in Doctor Strangelove as well as working on Oliver Twist, The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Great Muppet Caper. He was often joined, in his work, by his wife Kay, who passed away last year and his son Graham, who died in 1996.
Disney bosses have confirmed that the upcoming Star Wars trilogy, Episodes VII, VII and IX, will not be the only films attached to the franchise to be released by the company, with individual spin-off charting the back story of some of the most famous characters in the film series also in the pipeline.
Disney's CEO Bob Iger told CNBC that the company has decided to make several other extra films based on the "great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga" and will be released over the same six year period as the new films too, with Episode VII slated for a 2015 release. Iger also revealed that Disney have decided on a writing team for these standalone films, with Larry Kasdan (who wrote the screenplay for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: The Last Stand and Sherlock Holmes) signed on to write a back story for some of the franchise's most revered characters.
Nothing has been confirmed in regards to who these spin-offs will centre on, but rumors that Yoda and Boba Fett are at the top of the list are circling forums and blogs at the moment. A JarJar Binks spin-off might also be on the cards too, but only if Disney want to alienate Star Wars fans even more.
Walt Disney chief executive Bob Iger has confirmed several stand-alone Star Wars movies that are not part of the new trilogy currently in the works. Screenwriters Larry Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are already in a dark room somewhere scribbling away, though Iger did not go into detail about the new project. "There has been speculation about some standalone films that have been in development, and I can confirm to you today that in fact we are working on a few stand-alone films," he told CNBC.
He did say the movies would be based on "great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga," and would be released during the six-year period of the new trilogy, which begins in 2015 with Star Wars: Episode VII. Disney confirmed last month that Star Trek director J.J. Abrams will direct the hugely anticipated seventh instalment of the saga. Though early Twitter speculation has focused on Darth Vader as the possible focus of the spin-off movies, Harry Knowles of Ain't It Cool News - known for his movie scoops - says otherwise. "Well, f*ck it...The first Stand Alone film is going to center upon YODA. At this stage specifics are sparse, but Kathleen Kennedy is putting together a STAR WARS slate... I'm wildly curious for more details on the YODA film - would this be a young or old YODA tale?" he wrote. Harry also spoke of a possible Jabba The Hut story that George Lucas has floated to "some of his buddies"
There's no official word from Disney, though Yoda would certainly be amongst the most likely of characters to helm a Star Wars spin-off movie, perhaps the most marketable too (think of all the Happy Meal toys.)
Continue reading: Yoda To Be Focus Of Confirmed Star Wars Spin-Off Movie?
Lego have come under fire from the Turkish Cultural Community of Austria, for alleged racism. The offending item, in Lego’s vast product range, is Jabba the Hut’s Palace, part of a Star Wars collection made by the toy company. In a statement, the community’s leaders claimed that the palace closely resembles the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul, the Jami al-Kabir mosque in Beirut and a minaret.
They claim that the palace toy set reinforces negative stereotypes about the Middle East. The statement, on their website was reported on by The Telegraph. In the statement, the Austrian community group threatened Lego with legal action, if it does not withdraw the toys. “The terrorist Jabba the Hutt likes to smoke a hookah and have his victims killed,” say the group. “It is clear that the ugly figure of Jabba and the whole scene smacks of racial prejudice and vulgar insinuations against Asians and Orientals as people with deceitful and criminal personalities.” Lego denied the link, their spokeswoman Katherine Strasse told The Telegraph “The Lego Star Wars product Jabba´s Palace does not reflect any actually existing buildings, people, or the mentioned mosque.”
As The Huffington Post point out, this isn’t the first time that Lego have been accused of racism. It has previously been pointed out, by The Wired, that the majority of non-white faces in the Lego range are actually scowling. And as for George Lucas’ Star Wars, this isn’t their first encounter with allegations of racism, either. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace was accused of racism for reinforcing Asian stereotypes amongst its villainous characters.
We moan about Star Wars gossip in some articles, but the truth is, we absolutely love it. The news that J.J Abrams will helm the seventh film simply replaces conjecture as to who it would be, and now we can focus on other things, like what it'll be about, and who'll be in it.
Well we can speculate on the story. Will see get a greater insight into Luke Skywalkers ascendance to master Jedi? We would certainly love to see that story.
Another strong possibility is a deeper development of Han Solo - the lovable rogue character made famous by Harrison Ford, who, ironically, never really took to Solo, and thought he should have died before the franchise was, seemingly, closed off.
With all of the recent news around Lucasfilm being bought by Disney, fans might be getting riled up, but it looks like George Lucas himself is living the sweet life.
Looks like everything is coming up roses for the director, as he recently got engaged to Dreamworks Animation chairwoman Mellody Hobson, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The pair have reportedly been together since 2006 and the engagement is coming as no surprise to anyone. This will be the 43-year-old Hobson’s first marriage and the second one for 68-year-old Lucas. The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the couple, as both of them are at the height of their success (well, money-wise anyway) at the moment.
Besides her position in Dreamworks, Hobson is also at the helm of investment management firm Ariel Investments Llc. and is chair of Ariel Mutual Funds. She is also a frequent finantial contributor to ABC’s Good Morning America. Meanwhile, Lucas has been enjoying his break (and financial status), after selling Lucasfilm and has been donating a large portion of the money to various charities. “As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy,” Lucas said in October.
Continue reading: George Lucas Engaged To DreamWorks Chairwoman Mellody Hobson
Amidst the bluster of George Lucas selling his much-beloved Star Wars empire to Disney, few bothered to mention that it would free up the sci-fi boffin to concentrate on other things. It has, though, and with all this free time on his hands it’s clear that the director has had a chance to re-focus some energy on his long-time partner Mellody Hobson – so much so that the pair are now engaged to be married. Congratulations!
The Hollywood Reporter confirmed the story, with a rep making the news official. It will be the second marriage for the former Star Wars mogul and the first for Hobson, though the pair have been together for some time. Hobson is currently chairman at DreamWorks Animation and also heads-up Chicago-based investment management firm Ariel Investments Llc., as well as acting as chairman for Ariel Mutual Funds – so whilst Lucas might’ve freed up time, it doesn’t look like she’s got much to spare of it herself.
Lucas earned himself a lot of goodwill last year when he donated the whopping $4.05 billion he received for Star Wars from Disney to an education foundation. “As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy,” Lucas said at the time.
The 'Star Wars' creator, 68, has been dating girlfriend Mellody, who is 25 years his junior, for seven years and are now finally planning to tie the knot. He took to Twitter to express his gratitude at the congratulating messages he has received from friends and fans alike. "Thank you for all of your kind messages regarding my engagement. I find them both touching and meaningful", he wrote.
Lucas, while being best known for his work on the seminal 'Star Wars' franchise, was also responsible for producing the 'Indiana Jones' movies which starred Harrison Ford as well as fantasy flicks 'Willow' starring Warwick Davies and 'Labyrinth' starring David Bowie. He has previously been married to movie editor Marcia Lou Griffin with whom he stayed with for 14 years before divorcing in 1983 two years after adopting their first daughter Amanda. Since then, he adopted two other children, Katie and Jett, as well as having a relationship with singer Linda Ronstadt. Mellody has never previously been married and has no children.
If anyone could have an out of this world wedding it's George Lucas. While that is a poor joke, it's also pretty true given that the man has absolutely bags of money, and so does his new fiancée, Mellody Hobson.
Lucas and Hobson have been together for many years but they have only just decided to get married, says the Hollywood Reporter. Lucas has been married once before but this it the first- and hopefully last- time that Hobson will walk down the aisle. She works with Dreamworks, but also heads up and investment business as well as a mutual funds firm, both under the name of 'Ariel'. It's thought to be the biggest black-American money management conglomerates in the US.
Lucas also sold his film production company LucasFilm late last year for an extraordinary $4.05b. However, he also gave all that money to an education foundation. At the time he said: "As I start a new chapter in my life, it is gratifying that I have the opportunity to devote more time and resources to philanthropy." Along with Hobson he'll be beginning an entirely new chapter once again. We wish them all the best and look forward to the wedding photos! If it's not Star Wars themed a lot of people will be very disappointed.
Disney films on Netflix are due to become the norm in 2016, as the pair have signed a deal which grants exclusive TV distribution rights to Netflix to stream Disney flicks, making them the first major studio to stream its movies to TV viewers instead of distributing them via other premium TV channels, Reuters reports.
The deal gives Netflix streaming rights to movies from Disney's live action and animation studios, including those from Pixar, Marvel, and, most pertinently, the recently acquired Lucasfilms. This basically means Netflix have bought a giant reason for people to pay their subscription fee, and although the Disney market is primarily a young one, getting Netflix for a household might replace buying all those Disney DVD's. It's sad, really. "An exclusive deal with Disney differentiates the Netflix content from Hulu Plus and Amazon Instant Video," said Anthony DiClemente, an analyst with Barclays Capital. "This deal brings to our subscribers some of the highest quality, most imaginative family films being made today," said Ted Sarandos, Netflix's chief content officer, in a statement. "It's a leap forward for Internet television." Analysts have been concerned that Netflix has paid large sums to studios in a bid to monopolise premium content.
Netflix subscribers will have to wait until 2016, after Disney's current deal with Liberty Media's pay-TV channel Starz expires, to watch their Disney content. In a statement, Starz said it now has an "opportunity to implement our plan to dramatically ramp up our investment in exclusive, premium-quality original series which will best meet the needs of our distributors and subscribers."
Hosted by the Academy, the Governors Awards gave plenty of Hollywood stars the chance to schmooze up to the organisers of the prestigious Oscar awards, in the hope that a strong social showing might lead to an eventual nomination when the big awards themselves come around in the new year. Does it ever work? Who can tell, but there were certainly a lot of the great and good out at the event on Saturday evening (December 1).
Continue reading: Pictures: Star Studded Governors Ball Sees Legends Honored
Steven Spielberg has publicly ruled himself out of directing the new Star Wars movie following Disney's $4.05 billion acquisition of LucasFilm. His close working relationship with George Lucas had left many fans hoping Spielberg would step in to reignite the franchise, though the Oscar winner says he has no interest in getting behind the camera.
After being asked about the possibility, the director told Access Hollywood, "No! No! It's not my genre. It's my best friend George's genre." The remarks are somewhat at-odds with Spielberg's previous stance on the subject and he once spoke of his desire to direct one of the Star Wars movies. He was quoted by The Guardian as saying in 2002, "I've asked [Lucas]. He won't let me do one.I wanted to do one 15 years ago, and he didn't want me to do it. I understand why - Star Wars is George's baby. It's his cottage industry and it's his fingerprints. He knows I've got Jurassic Park and Raiders. But George has Star Wars and I don't think he feels inclined to share any of it with me." It's possible that Spielberg was approached by either Lucas or Disney to discuss Episode 7, though for whatever reason has chosen not to get involved.
His comments come in the same week that Disney confirmed Michael Arndt as the screenwriter for the new movie. Arndt is best known for penning Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3. Michael Vaughn is rumored to be talks about directing.
Continue reading: Did Steven Spielberg Turn Down Offer To Direct Star Wars Episode 7?
You'd be forgiven for forgetting that a Star Wars Angry bird amalgamation had been announced months ago, with all the news surrounding Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, and the decision to make Star Wars Episode 7.
But today sees the latest release in the merchandising giant's repertoire; Angry Birds Star Wars can be purchased from the app store for $0.99 or £0.69p. A bargain, don't you think? Well the Guardian think so. They posed the question, "Can Angry Birds Star Wars sidestep the compromise and deliver the thrills?" before swiftly answering their own query with, "Yes it can. This is a treat for Star Wars fans and Angry Birds fans alike" Their 5-star review goes to to describe the gameplay as "a mix of all the previous Angry Birds games to date, including the basic bird-slinging action of the first three games in the series, and the gravity-ruled planetary action of Angry Birds Space."
This potentially dangerous partnership; the biggest sci-fi brand connecting with the most popular mobile game could have been considered risky, as neither party would want their contribution watered down, but, according to IGN (and they should know) it works. "Whether or not you're a Star Wars fan, Angry Birds Star Wars is a ton of fun," reads their more indepth, 8.8/10 review. "With its latest, Rovio has proven that Angry Birds can be more than a casual slingshotting time killer. Although it doesn't stray too far from its pick-up-and-play roots, at its best the game contains real challenge and surprisingly clever twists. Gamers will come for the Star Wars references, but they'll stay for the huge variety of perfectly-tuned stages. Bring on more Angry Birds collaborations!"
After Harrison Ford's fairly unsteady turn in Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, would sci-fi fans really want him back as Han Solo in Star Wars Episode 7? We only ask because an unnamed source told Entertainment Weekly's Geoff Boucher that Ford is "open to the idea of doing the movie and he's upbeat about it." Which translates to: he really, really wants to be in it.
There is one slight caveat to Ford's potential appearance: he wants his character to die. Han Solo was actually close to death in Star Wars: Episode VI - The Return of the Jedi, though George Lucas decided against it. "I thought he should have died in the last one, just to give it some bottom; some gravitas," Harrison Ford told Peter Travers in an interview with ABC in 2010. "George didn't think there was any future in dead Han toys." It's certainly surprising that Ford even wants to play Han Solo again - he's now 70-years-old - and previously spoke of his disinterest at the role. "I don't think there's a way to weave him back into the story," he said in the same interview. Earlier this week, Collider.com suggested Matthew Vaughn is in talks to direct Episode VIII and dropped out of the X-Men sequel in order to prioritize talks for the new Disney movie.
In an E! Online poll this week, users voted for Tom Hardy as their preferred actor to play Han Solo.
Continue reading: Harrison Ford Open To Star Wars Episode 7, (But Only If Han Solo Dies)
Remember when someone wrote a load more Star Wars books in 1991 set five years after the events of the original film trilogy? We don’t, but that’s probably because we’re Trekkers hypnotised by the wordsmithery of William Shatner and the shiny pate of Patrick Stewart. However, quite a few people do seem to remember the so-called Thrawn Trilogy, written by sci-fi writer Timothy Zahn, and with the news coming out that George Lucas has sold the Star Wars rights to Disney, fans are suggesting that it is these books that should be brought to life for the three further films that have been announced.
So what does Zahn himself think of it all? Well he certainly isn’t expecting his books to be adapted “The books were always just the books” he told Entertainment Weekly. Well that kills one that one then. Except, it turns out that he was once briefed by Lucas about the new films; here’s what he reckoned: “The original idea as I understood it— and Lucas changes his mind off and on, so it may not be what he’s thinking right now – but it was going to be three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him [in the prequels], and if there was another 7th, 8th, or 9th film, it would be Luke’s children. The Thrawn Trilogy really would have fit into the gap.” Hmm, hmm, yes indeed.
Zahn’s books focused on Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Hans Solo five years after the films, but he hopes these characters will step aside and allow new ones to make their mark. “I’d like to see the original characters in perhaps smaller roles, handing the mantle of adventure to the next generation. Luke would be like Obi-Wan, but not quite the same because he will have raised his children and Obi-Wan was more standing off, watching and protecting” he mused.
The big news this week is that George Lucas has finally admitted that yes, he did indeed plot out Star Wars episodes VII, VIII and VIX more than 30 years ago. And now that he has sold his Lucasfilm empire to Disney (for $4 billion), the sequel trilogy is finally being made. Episode VII is expected in 2015, and rumour has it that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill might be back in their original roles.
Meanwhile, the James Bond team was spotted in Rome this week, as Daniel Craig, Naomie Harris, director Sam Mendes and series producer Barbara Broccoli attended the Italian premiere of Skyfall, posing for the press at the elegant St Regis Grand Hotel. After last week's record-breaking opening weekend in Britain, the film opens around Europe, Asia and South America this weekend, then in North America on 9th November.
In New York just before Hurricane Sandy hit, a buff-looking Gerard Butler was out promoting his new film Chasing Mavericks, about surfers tackling monster waves. The paparazzi caught up with him in the streets between appearances on various TV shows. He slips through the crowd, but they catch up with him later.
Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker, was well aware of the intention to extend the Star Wars film franchise to Episode 7 and beyond, but was surprised at the acquisition of Lucasfilms by Disney for a whopping $4.05b.
Talking to Entertainment Weekly, Hamill explained: "Oh my gosh, what a shock that was! I had no idea that George was going to sell to Disney until I read it online like everybody else," but offered the caveat: "He did tell us last summer about wanting to go on and do [Episodes] VII, VIII, and IX, and that [newly appointed Lucasfilm president] Kathleen Kennedy would be doing them." Speculation is still rife as to what the upcoming Star Wars films will cover. Will it be Hans Solo? Will Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader become best friends? We wouldn't put it past those Disney guys. "It's one of those things: people either just don't care for it or are passionate about it," Hamill explained." I guess that defines what cult movies are all about. We'll see. I'm anxious to know what's going on, but the main story [yesterday] was the sale to Disney. I have mixed feelings about that, but they haven't done badly by Marvel and the Muppets and Pixar. It's one of those big decisions that at first seems unusual but then the more you look at it, the more it makes sense."
We're waiting for more info to come out regarding where the series will go, and who will be involved in steering the ship. One thing's for sure, and it may be the saving grace: George Lucas remains as creative consultant.
Continue reading: Mark Hamill Knew About Episode 7 But Was Surprised With Disney's Buy Out
Disney buying Lucasfilms for #4.05b, and manifestly the Star Wars franchise, is probably the biggest deal, not only in cinematic history, but in terms of global branding, ever.
With this, Disney continues their tradition of buying up already established properties and exploiting them further to maximise profit. It's a simple method, if you have the cash to pull it off: buy something already loved, and reap the rewards by expanding its content over time. But the percentage of people who care what the company do on business level pales in significant to those who watch on with trepidation, praying the creative decisions made by Disney over the coming years can match their financial prowess.
Retaining the services of George Lucas as consultant is one thing, but where can the franchise really go? The last three films made were a huge commercial success, but lacked the heart of the original, 70's and 80's efforts, which saw Luke, Han Solo and Darth Vader enter the conscious of the masses. Solo's character could be considered ripe for exploration; his rouge behaviour, and enigmatic background cry for a spin off, but even as I write those words, I fear for the integrity of the brand.
Continue reading: How Will Disney Capitalize On The Star Wars Brand?
The news of Disney's acquisition - the $4.05b purchase of Lucasfilms, and with it the rights to reignite the Star Wars movies, has had a multitude of reactions: terror, gloom and dread from sci-fi aficionados vs. enthusiasm, vigour and delight from people who look set to mature fiscally from the new arrangement. So what do Hollywood's 'creators' think?
Damon Lindleof, Peter Jackson, J.J. Abrams, Joss Whedon, and Jon Favreau are all giants of the sci-fi and fantasy genre, and, as genuine fans of the Star Wars franchise, could all yet have a say on what happens in the universe of Skywalker, Lightsabers and Darth Vader, as the creative forces set to steer Episode 7 in any particular direction are still unannounced. "The idea of another trilogy that further shrouds the Force in mystery as its secrets are lost to time - that's extremely compelling," Favreau said. "I want so bad for it to be good. Can you imagine?" he continued wistfully, deep in the depths of imagination. "Star Wars literally defined 'the magic of movies' to me as a child. No other film had more impact on my subconscious desire to become a filmmaker," explained George Nolfi - the mind behind The Adjustment Bureau, which wasn't very good.
Sin City and Machete director Robert Rodriguez seems equally enamoured with the news, according to E! Online: "What an amazing world and legacy George Lucas has created -- and it needs to continue in capable hands," the Texas-based filmmaker said. "I do think Disney is the best studio for the job and the fact that they brought in Kathleen Kennedy? I can't imagine a better scenario. And 2015 can't get here fast enough."
Continue reading: Star Wars Episode 7: Hollywood's Stars Have Their Say
The Dark Side? Star Wars fans are split as to the suitability of the franchise’s new home at Disney? What we do know is that there’s going to be plenty more Star Wars movies and it’s likely the creative minds behind recent hits The Avengers, Pirates of the Caribbean and WALL-E may well come up with something special.
Oh, Sandy: As Hurricane Sandy forced the cancellation of television shows and gigs across New York this week, there was one stoic New Yorker who wasn’t having any of it. Veteran host David Letterman went ahead with his late night talk show, welcoming guest Denzel Washington, though the pair chatted…alone.
Only Way is Up for Skyfall: Congratulations to Skyfall director Sam Mendes and Bond star Daniel Craig this week after news that the new movie took £20 million at the UK box office. It was the biggest opening yet for 007 and sets the movie up nicely for its US release next month.
Date of birth
14th May, 1944
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