Welcome back to S7AR WARS, my weekly engagement with Star Wars Episode VII news, rumors and speculation and - slowly but surely - where I confront my overall problems with being a fan that would love to know everything and feel like he knows nothing.
On that latter half, because if I don’t put it at the top, I’m afraid I won’t come back around to it, I must admit I was puzzled that we were so starved for real dispatches from the Star Wars set this week. We spent the first half reporting that more Star Wars movies would be filmed at Pinewood (something we’ve known ever since the time was booked at the studio) and yesterday talking about a Harrison Ford ankle injury. That’s literally all we know about that ankle situation, outside of a rumbling that the injury was sustained on the Millennium Falcon. But, of course someone’s gonna say that: that’s the only thing they’ve officially released and they managed to get everyone to focus on the Millennium Falcon instead of noticing there was no real Episode VII news.
In the coming weeks when everyone starts noticing that the only thing Team Star Wars treats as breaking news are stories that broke months ago, the lag will be apparent and then the news-starved fans will get to decide if the tail is wagging the dog or not.
This is usually the point where I’d drop some realness to try and prove to you that I’m not part of the metaphorical “tail,” but - like I alluded to last week - I was expecting a bit more official word from Team Star Wars as they closed down the Abu Dhabi portion of filming and moved on to London. The most we got was a report from The National that says the sets will be preserved on Saadiyat Island. Which isn’t surprising as: 1) The Tatooine sets and props can be used for promotional pushes in the future (I hope the pig creature makes it to the premiere!) and 2) As the original A New Hope sets keep getting royally screwed by desert weather, it makes sense to move and preserve the new Tatooine for when it pops up in future Star Wars properties, be they proper trilogy episodes or spin-off movies.
Speaking of the spin-off movies, I guess I have some rumors floating around there. I saw Drew McWeeney from HitFix tweet that Gareth Edwards is NOT doing a Boba Fett stand alone film and there’s a nice piece by Sean O’Connell at Cinemablend about how Josh Trank’s Star Wars movie could very well be the Han Solo spin-off with a young Lando being played by Michael B. Jordan, currently shooting Fantastic Four. I can’t confirm or deny either of those, nor can I really narrow down just what these spin-off films can be. The idea that Boba Fett, Han Solo and Red Five are the spin-offs that we have coming mostly stem from a leaked Hasbro promotional schedule. Because Hasbro is doing the Star Wars toys, period, those non-trilogy installments could be anything. They’re probably movies, but we do not know that for sure yet.
Another thing we don’t know for sure - if you’re skimming for the “real news,” here we go - I’ve heard Neil Marshall has met with Lucasfilm. Neil Marshall, who directed last Sunday’s big battle Game of Thrones episode, the Constantine pilot and movies like The Descent and Doomsday.
This is a meeting, so they could also be wondering if he knows any cool tricks to get giants and mammoths on screen. Meetings can be a lot of things. They could be lining him up for a spin-off or for something else entirely, like show-running a TV series or shooting some sort of pilot for... I don't know, a video game network (got E3 on the brain! Battlefront!)?
I’m in favor of this. The man has shown he can do amazing things in a tight budget and that seems like something that should be rewarded.
Elsewhere in Star Wars rumorville, people have been asking me about two things (Domhnall Gleeson and Mara Jade) that are really one thing: The Skywalker Family line. Everyone’s pretty sure that this movie is going to have some serious Skywalker because Mark Hamill is awesome and the family is presumably the focus of the main three trilogies of the franchise. Granted, I think John Boyega is the hero that I hope is the Han Solo like everyman that we’ll use to set the rules of The Force in the new trilogy. The rest, though, I’d expect some family drama.
So, I highly suggest you jump on over to StarWars7News.com and read their excellent piece on Mara Jade’s possible existence in the new future of Star Wars now that the Expanded Universe has been deleted.
Mara Jade, for those of you who are movie-only canonizers and/or didn't click that link, is Luke Skywalker’s love interest. She’s from the Expanded Universe that could have possibly been based on George Lucas notes and that’s covered really well in the above linked piece.
Mara Jade, and all popular Expanded Universe characters, are still on the table as adaptation pieces. A red-haired character called Mara Jade can pop up, for sure, and will probably be used as a short hand between newbies and super-fans to foreshadow who the red-head is. Best case scenario, we see Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker and they’re already together and they’ve had a kid probably played by Domhnall Gleeson. Worst case scenario, this becomes a "Khan" thing where it's supposed to be a big deal that Mara Jade shows up but most people won't know why it's a big deal because most non-superfans won't know what they're looking at.
Do I actually know who Domhnall Gleeson is? No, I just want him to be Luke's son. Because:
A) he looks like a young Mark Hamill and
B) he’s a ginger! Like his maybe-mom!
The ultimate coolness of the Mara Jade speculation post, though, is at the end:
The first, and perhaps most telling piece of evidence is an article that Viral Hide posted back on April 11th, 2014 -- Karen Gillan cut her RED HAIR forGuardians of the Galaxy and this is what she had to say about it:
Was it just very liberating to shave your head, or did you have any moments of tears while they were doing it?
No, I was laughing hysterically. It really hit me when I woke up the next morning. That’s when I was like, “Oh, my god, where’s my hair?!” But also, everyone kept me in good spirit. Everyone was laughing and telling jokes. Marvel are the best company to work for, they really are. They treat you really well. They made my hair into the most incredible well-made wig and they gave it to the Star Wars people. It’s just so funny to think that my hair is made into a wig, next to all these Star Wars monster heads in a warehouse. I thought that was really funny.
I’d love that Marvel/Star Wars connection for sure. And of course red hair could be used for anything in Star Wars. But wait!
Of course, these rumors should be taken with a hearty dose of salt at this stage and we're all just trying to get the facts straight. With that in mind, the original report was that Mara Jade would be appearing in Rebels and then Episode VII, but lately we've been hearing that she will be introduced in Episode VII before Rebels. According to this source the actress who will be playing Mara Jade is supposed to be a BIG surprise and in fact has to cover up when coming and going from the sets so as NOT to be identified or recognized. Along this same theme the actress in question cannot and will not discuss being involved with Episode VII at all until its release in December 2015. Thus, it is very likely Disney will make no mention of her or Jade until they are absolutely forced to via a TMZ leak or something.
We’ve received a similar report of a disguised cast member hanging around key Team Star Wars locations. We can't really confirm it (nor, honestly, did I think I'd have to) and we don’t have the best idea who that disguised person is, but it tickled me to see this corroborated elsewhere with someone saying that this hidden character is Mara Jade. And it's always interesting when JJ Abrams is trying to hide someone.
I haven’t heard anything from any channels suggesting it’s NOT Mara Jade, but I’m also not saying it’s definitely Mara Jade. I’m saying I had a great time with a website doing some real thinking and speculating during a week where nothing new was coming at us. I hope that's what you're doing here now.
Outside the maybe-ness of Mara Jade, the other rumor that I can’t confirm or deny (not for lack of trying, folks!) is Simon Pegg’s involvement in Episode VII. IGN reports that Pegg was on the Abu Dhabi set. Pegg has previously said he wasn’t going to be in Star Wars, but Pegg says a lot of stuff about JJ Abrams and Disney projects and not all of it can be taken at face value. On the other hand, if you were a big Star Wars fan like Simon Pegg is and your friend JJ Abrams said you could come hang out on Tatooine, you’d go. You would. Anyone would. You may even be asked to be a background character.
I they’re done in Abu Dhabi and Pegg was on set for a day, I wouldn’t mind seeing him pop up, because that's not enough time on set to be a character we have to deal with. But, I’m also just as happy for him that he got to hang out on a resurrected Tatooine.
Because as a fan, I want more from Star Wars. I don’t know how fair that is day-to-day because I’m sure Team Star Wars is doing everything in their power to make the best possible movie…
...except their PR.
POST CREDITS SCENE!
In case you’ve been seeing the College Humor Simon Pegg/Nick Frost Star Wars sketch and HAVEN’T seen it yet, now’s your chance to fix that:
Note: This article was updated to correct Khan typos and inserting the word "report" in a sentence to make it, you know, sort-of-a-real-sentence.