We’ve begun our long in-depth search through the waves of both legitimate and falsified information coming in surrounding Star Wars Episode VII, the first in a series of three films born of Disney’s recent acquisition of Lucasfilm. What we’re seeing here extremely early on in the game is very few solid details and an overflow of rumors the likes of which we’ve only come to see from the release of an iPhone – imagine that. At the outset, we’ve got this: Michael Arndt is attached as writer and George Lucas will indeed be involved.
As confirmed by StarWars.com and therefor Lucasfilm itself, film writer Michael Arndt will be writing the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII. Both Kennedy and Lucas have “begun story conferences” with Arndt, and from what we’ve heard from these heads of Lucasfilm, they’ve got some “blank spots” to fill.
Lucas: I just said that I would back her [Kathleen Kennedy] up and I would be there if – you know, especially with the script, in making sure the script, sort of… there’s a lot of blank spots in the story treatment that hopefully we can fill.
Kennedy: This is not like a series of books like Harry Potter where you’ve already got a template of what the stories might be. These are original stories and original ideas that come out of a world that, essentially, is inside George’s head. The beauty of the collaboration that can continue is that as we work our way through these scripts, if we stop and we say “hmmm, I wonder if this character can do that,” or “does this make sense within the rules of Star Wars.” He’s the keeper of the flame when it comes to that.
Lucas: It’s the same as the first three films. That’s all my job is, is to be the keeper of the flame.
After this one singular confirmation, everyone and their mother has been tipped as on or off of the project here well before they’d actually be called up to join in on the party. The two most important people up for the job thus far have been Steven Spielberg and Conan O’Brien, neither of whom have actually been asked or intend to audition for such a role. Conan has begun a collection of audition tapes – not his own – that parody what it might be like if prominent directors keep with their own genre and move into the Star Wars universe. One example is Wes Anderson, as seen here:
Meanwhile Access Hollywood has point-blank asked Steven Spielberg if he’d be up for directing a Star Wars movie.
“Would you direct one of the Star Wars movies?” – AH
“No. No because it’s not my genre. It’s my best friend George’s genre.” – Spielberg
Then there’s the inevitable questions asked of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford about the next films. If you take a peek at what Fisher says, you’ll get a terrible lump in your stomach because the only word comes from celebrity tabloids invading her privacy while she’s walking her dog – shame on them – to the point where her answers really don’t confirm anything. So we’ll be waiting on that one, even though TheForce.net did re-report it.
UPDATE: Leslie Gornstein of E! Online has been contacted by a representative of Carrie Fisher who notes: “She hasn’t confirmed anything. Everything you’ve seen has been tongue-in-cheek.” Extremely likely considering miss Fisher’s sense of humor. And the fact that the other “confirmation” she made at a book signing where a fan asked if she’ll be in Star Wars 7, saying “Yes… I thought it was already common knowledge!”
Harrison Ford, on the other hand, has been reported by Entertainment Weekly as being open to the idea of joining the films – or just the first one – and is “upbeat” about it, too.
“Harrison is open to the idea of doing the movie and he’s upbeat about it, all three of them are.” – EW Source
The writer Geoff Boucher reports this information as coming from a “highly placed source” and we’re inclined to believe it as legitimate. On the other hand, he recalls being a moderator for a 30th anniversary screening of The Empire Strikes Back (in the year 2010) where Ford spoke shortly of the franchise’s “ascension in popular culture”:
“I don’t know that I understood it very well. I’m not sure I understand it yet…I was very happy to be involved. I was pleased to be a part of an ensemble.” – Harrison Ford
Boucher also spoke with Mark Hamill about the possibility of Han, Luke, and Leia returning to the series. Hamill noted that Lucas actually “summoned” he and Fisher to a lunch in August (2012) and they “learned about the idea” back then. Whether or not this means that they considered the idea of coming back to the films in-person is not entirely clear. Hamill was frank about the perspective of the fans, on the other hand:
“I can see both sides of it. Because in a way, there was a beginning, a middle, and an end and we all lived happily ever after and that’s the way it should be — and it’s great that people have fond memories, if they do have fond memories. But on the other hand, there’s this ravenous desire on the part of the true believers to have more and more and more material.” – Mark Hamill
Stay tuned to SlashGear as we continue to keep our nose to the grindstone and eyes on the Star Wars universe for more information about the 2015 launch of Star Wars: Episode VII as it appears. At the same time, please feel free to continue to send us all the information you’ve got on the subject, be it a secret tip or an official news blast you’ve seen from your favorite odd source!
[Images via World Famous Design Junkies]