Friday, June 6, 2014

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Cast and Spinoff Updates

lupita nyong'o picture
gwendoline christie picture
Now that filming on "Star Wars: Episode VII" is underway, the Internet is buzzing with leaked photos from J.J. Abrams' set, much to the director's chagrin. I tend to stay away from leaked photos, because you never know when you'll get slapped with a takedown notice. Besides, it's more fun to wait and see the completed movie, or at least some artsy official images, rather than stare at grainy pictures of half-built sets. The big news of the week however deals with the new "Star Wars" spinoffs and some interesting cast additions to the sequel.

Let's start with the casting news. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave") and Gwendoline Christie ("Game of Thrones") have joined the cast of "Star Wars: Episode VII". There have been rumors of Nyong'o being in talks for a part in the film and now it's official. As for Christie, we will be seeing her in another big franchise movie in 2015, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2". For the official press release announcing the casting, as well as statements from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, read the full article.

Next, Lucasfilm and Disney have announced that "Godzilla" director Gareth Edwards and "Chronicle" director Josh Trank will helm future "Star Wars" spinoffs. It is unknown exactly what the stand-alone movies will be about, but rumors have been pointing towards Boba Fett, a young Han Solo and Yoda as protagonists for these additions to the franchise. The screenplays for the spinoffs will be handled by Lawrence Kasdan, Simon Kinberg and Gary Whitta. Josh Trank is also attached to direct the "Fantastic Four" reboot. For the official press release, read the full article.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow. The release date is December 18, 2015.

Here is the official press release regarding the casting of Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie:
"Lupita Nyong’o joins the recently announced cast of Star Wars: Episode VII. This year, her breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Gwendoline Christie, currently starring in the hit television series Game of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth, has also been cast in the production. She can next be seen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2.

“I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “It’s thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape.”

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the Saga Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Star Wars: Episode VII is being directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams returns as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015."

And here is the press release for the spinoffs:
"In addition to the episodes of a new Star Wars trilogy, Lucasfilm and Disney continue development of multiple stand-alone movies that will offer new stories beyond the core Saga. The newest director to come on board is Josh Trank.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Josh into the family,” says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. “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 states, “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.”

Trank captured imaginations worldwide with his critically lauded directorial debut Chronicle, a fresh and engaging take on the superhero genre. Trank is currently at work on The Fantastic Four for 20th Century Fox."