J.J. Abrams has always been know to be the kind of filmmaker that keeps details close to the vest, but now that he’s directing a film as unbelievably huge as ‘Star Wars Episode VII‘, there are millions of fans who need to know at least something. Luckily, over the past several months, especially last week with San Diego Comic Con and Star Wars Celebration Europe going on, we’ve been getting small details of information on how the new LucasFilm team is going about the movie’s pre-production stages.
And the news has been received overwhelmingly positive by fans so far.
For starters, it was recently rumored that two big name actors were confusingly thrown into the mix to play new characters in the film saga: Zac Efron was mentioned to be considered for the role of Han Solo’s son, while Ryan Gosling was supposedly asked to play the son of Luke Skywalker. Granted, rumors like this occur all of the time, but the fan base reaction wasn’t exactly positive, as it seemed to be a mention of huge actors for the sake of having them. No word from Efron’s side, but Pretty-Boy Gosling has outright denied this.
It’d be lovely to see Simon Pegg (recently working with Abrams on the ‘Star Trek’ movies) and his bestest pal Nick Frost to fit into those rolls, but all joking aside, these two have stated they’d rather keep their lifelong fandom of ‘Star Wars’ where it is: simply as fans.
Pegg said, specifically, “I don’t want to be in ‘Star Wars’, I think it would spoil it. When I saw ‘Star Wars’ when I was a kid, I saw a bunch of people I’d never seen before with some lofty, very respectable older actors in senior roles. I would hope J.J. doesn’t stunt-cast the film. It would be great to get some new peeps in it, it would be amazing.”
On the other hand, young actress, Chloe Moretz (mostly known for playing Hit Girl in Kick Ass), said “I’d kill to be a part of that franchise.” Kids these days. “I mean, obviously there’s interest. It’s ‘Star Wars’.” I suppose she has a point.
More specifically about where the film is ACTUALLY headed, Lucasfilm’s new president, Kathleen Kennedy, did a brief interview backstage of Celebration Europe, starting off with possibly the best insight anyone could have about something like ‘Star Wars’, “The fans are important, and they are everything to ‘Star Wars’, and this is a celebration where you get to see… how important this is to them, and you get a sense of the generations that it’s followed.”
Detailing how she spends almost every day at Bad Robot with Abrams and the writers working on the story, she notes “The story and characters are all we’re talking about right now. We have an amazing team at ILM, who can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing. I do think making huge popular culture – and I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of a lot it – is really hard to do and get right. And if you don’t spend the time you need on developing characters, and finding stories, complicated stories, the audience gets tired because they think they’re seeing the same thing again and again.”
Certainly she is speaking to, not only the issues we’ve seen in formulaic writing in the blockbuster films of the most recently couple of years, but also the response that people felt disconnected from Lucas’ prequel films of the series, and a lot of those issues in Episodes I, II and III come from an unfortunate focus on visual effects over everything else. She acknowledges this detail as well, when discussing that, for ‘Episode VII’, they want to use real locations and practical effects.
“It’s a conversation we’re having all the time in the development of ‘Episode VII.’ Looking at all the ‘Star Wars’ movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects – that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. So we’re going to find some very cool locations that we’re going to use in support of ‘Episode VII.’ And I think we’re probably going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox to create the look of these movies… It’s using model makers; it’s using real droids; it’s taking advantage of artwork that you actually can touch and feel. And we want to do that in combination with CG effects. We figure that’s what will make it real.”
If anything, this focus on good scripting, good characters and tangible effects are making fans comfortable with the fact that the whole team involved with this new film want to focus on making ‘Episode VII’ the right way, not only in trying to recreate the magic of the original trilogy, but also to make it better.
But, it gets better. The film also has it’s composer for the score… about whom Kennedy said, “His music just gives me the chills. It’s so important for the saga, and we’re really excited he’s a part of it.”
In case you were expecting anything else, John Williams, the mastermind behind all the ‘Star Wars’ music that came before will return for this new film, and took the time to do a quick interview for StarWars.com.
It seems that even in the pre production stages, fans of ‘Star Wars’ are being given plenty of small details to whet their appetite until the films release, due in July of 2015. The film is supposedly going to begin filming in early 2014.