STAR WARS Silly Season Part 2: We May Have More Writers!

Featured Critic; Toronto, Canada (@filmfest_ca)
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STAR WARS Silly Season Part 2: We May Have More Writers!
Since last we posted about all things Jedi related, the rumour mills have been churning at full force. While we're usually ones to take things with giant grains of salt around here about such rumblings in the Force, there's a couple stories that hit in the last couple days that seem to pass the smell test.

First, spilled the beans yesterday that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg are being "courted" (a Knightly term if there ever was one) to scribe Episodes XIII and IX. Kasdan's certainly a famous name for any fan of Lucasfilm, having written the minor Arthouse trifles The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Kinberg's less of a household name, but he did write the first Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes and both Mr. and Mrs. Smith and This Means War, two films that, based on their trailer,  seemed to be pretty much the same movie. He also wrote Jumper, thus giving work to a post-Sith Hayden Christensen, and co-wrote the third and (forthcoming) fifth X-Men films.

In terms of cast, it's looking more and more likely that Ford, Hamill and Fisher will make a return, if brief, in the new film. It's, of course, way too early to see how their roles would play out, but the fact that Ford's not slamming the door shut on the possibility is frankly the closest to it being true than I'd ever expect.

On the directing front, there's been loads of reactions from big name directors, from Steven Spielberg to Brad Bird, all making it clear in their own way that they're not going to be involved, but wishing luck to whoever takes on the challenge. There's talk of Guillermo Del Toro, but I believe that guy's already scheduled to make 30 other films between now and 2020, so that's probably out. Matthew Vaughn's still a name that's sticking from many (keeping it within the X-Men family, as it were, given his own involvement with that series). Joe Johnston would be an interesting choice, not because he's ever made a good film (unfortunately he hasn't, although I don't hate Jurassic Park III), but he's the highest profile ex-ILMer save David Fincher, and having the man that designed the X-Wing fighter put in charge in moving the characteristics of the "used universe" of the Holy Trilogy forward would be kind of fascinating
For that matter, Frank Oz could be an interesting choice, having worked with both Lucas and Kennedy on several productions, but I'm not sure it'd be something he'd take up.

Speaking of inside the LFL family, I bet Ben Burtt would be all over taking the reins, but I'm not sure that his IMAX "making of" counts well enough towards helming a beast the size of this production.

My gut is still on someone young-ish with a clear vision, comfortable with modern film techniques, yet unafraid to put his own stamp on the film. Genndy Tartakovsky would make an interesting choice from a visual standpoint, but I'm not sure how he'd be dealing with on-set live actors. Plus, he's got an Popeye in the making, so no doubt already precluded from consideration.

Finally, to bring it right 'round, there's Kasdan. He's signed on as writer, maybe co-producer, and maybe, who knows, he'll helm one or several of the films. He knows the source material, of course, and it would be kind of interesting for him to actually direct Harrison Ford in a film, being the guy whose words solidified him as a movie star and all.

For now, we continue to play a guessing game, but it's nice to see it all moving so quickly, and they certainly seem to be assembling quite a team in order to make these new films a reality.

Update November 28:
It's been nearly a week, but there's yet to be official confirmation about Kasdan/Kinberg, unlike the 24 hour turnaround between rumour and fact when Arndt was pegged as the scribe of the first Episode.

THR is now reporting that:

"while Kasdan and Kinberg indeed have been hired to work on the Star Wars franchise, they will be writing separate projects (hence the reason why they also would receive producer credits), not necessarily Episode VIII and Episode IX."
When they first announced the three "post-quels" (as I'm steadfastly calling them), there was talk of a whole, erm, "galaxy" of other films, much in the way that there are dedicated Thor, Iron Man or Hulk films, and then an assembly Avengers flick to tie things together. Whether or not this means that the new films will be even more littered with tangential characters strictly to mine for spin-offs is of course unclear, but at the least it does pave the way for dedicated Boba Fett or Darth Maul-themed standalone films.

The fact is, Disney is looking to have new Star Wars films "every two to three years", a fact that I still can't seem to get my head around.

More as it develops...

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PeterKapowNovember 22, 2012 1:44 PM

I recall reading that Lucas wasn't that happy with Tartakovsk's Clone Wars shorts (especially because he did his own thing with certain characters like Grevious), so even though the decision isn't really in his court anymore, I'd be surprised if he would be chosen.

Jason GorberNovember 22, 2012 10:40 PM

I hadn't heard it spelled out that way, but, yeah, I'd see him as a very long shot.

I'd still love a Rian Johnson or Duncan Jones, or even a Neill Blomkamp or Gareth Edwards given a shot, but I'm not sure that it's going to go in that direction. Anthony Hemmingway's still I think the long shot, but there's a lot of goodwill from GL towards him, but as you point out, it's not really his call.

How 'bought a Sam Mendes, or Kenneth Branagh? As long as it's not M. Knight, I think it'll be OK - hell, part of me would actually like to see a Michael Bay STAR WARS movie.

Finally, Ron Howard also has a major connection with GL, but he'll be finishing up his forthcoming F1 movie, so I'd bet he's out as well.

PeterKapowNovember 22, 2012 11:46 PM

Shawn Levy.