'Star Wars' News: J.J. Teases Falcon; New Director for 2nd Standalone
By David Weiner
Now that production is well underway on Star Wars: Episode VII, photos are beginning to leak from the sets and soundstages like water from that infamous dike. Just yesterday, shots of what is clearly the Millennium Falcon under construction were unofficially revealed. Today, director J.J. Abrams' @bad_robot Twitter handle responded with a tongue-in-cheek tease:
Yes, in addition to a plea to stop leaking photos, the note from J.J. says to stop "making ridiculous claims that the Millennium Falcon is in the movie." Of course, any keen-eyed Star Wars fan worth their salt will laugh, because the note is sitting on what looks to be the famous chess board on the Falcon introduced in the first Star Wars movie back in 1977. Let the Wookiee win!
In other Star Wars news, it was announced today that Chronicle director Josh Trank has been tapped to direct the second-announced Star Wars stand-alone film.
"We're thrilled to welcome Josh into the family," Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. "He is such an incredible talent and has a great imagination and sense of innovation. That makes him perfectly suited to Star Wars, and for this new slate of movies that reach beyond the core characters and storylines of Episodes I through IX."
Trank, who is currently directing The Fantastic Four reboot for 20th Century Fox, enthuses, "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."
Still no announcements yet about who or what the stand-alone films will be about. Many have speculated that Boba Fett, Yoda, or even a young Han Solo will be the subject of the films that arrive in between main trilogy installments. A leaked toy memo that may actually be legit has made the rounds on the Internet giving the only clues, listing three tie-in names: Boba Fett, Solo, and Red Five.
Before his official announcement that he would return to the Star Wars saga, Mark Hamill shared his opinion of the stand-alone films to ETonline, saying, "That's really smart. Then you're more like James Bond pictures, where they come out and it's not an investment of a three-movie arc. … It's so rich, that [Star Wars] universe, in terms of quirkiness and oddball [nature]. We would talk about that [on the original film's set]. We'd go like, 'That little band that's playing in the Cantina, what's their story?! I mean, are they a traveling band? Are they the house band? Who's their manager?' They didn't have names when we first were talking about them. Now they're called, like, Sy Snootles – they come up with names down the road when they have to name toys."
In February, Walt Disney Pictures Chairman and CEO Bob Iger confirmed the stand-alone films and told CNBC, "Larry Kasdan (who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi) and Simon Kinberg (who wrote Sherlock Holmes and X-Men: Days of Future Past) are both working on films derived from great Star Wars characters that are not part of the overall saga. So we still plan to make Episodes VII, VIII and IX roughly over a six-year period of time, starting in 2015. But there are going to be a few other films released in that period of time, too."
Many have speculated that Disney plans to emulate the Marvel's Avengers approach by setting up "the big show" with other films starring independent characters with storylines that weave together. The first Star Wars stand-alone film, directed by Godzilla helmer Gareth Edwards, is due out December 16, 2016.