Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:
"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”
For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.
"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest
The only thing that Disney seems certain about regarding any future Indiana Jones films is they don't plan on subbing in another actor as Indy.
“There are a lot of rumours,” the franchise's producer Frank Marshall says. “We haven’t even sat down to talk about Indy yet… at some point we’ll sit down. But there’s a bunch of people who could probably take the baton. … We’re not doing the Bond thing where we’re going to call somebody else Indiana Jones … we have to figure this out.”
Sorry, Chris Pratt. Mr. Ford, please put down the blaster and grab the bullwhip.
(Comic Book Resources) Read the rest
This Star Wars-themed Indiegogo campaign seems unlikely to receive the official imprimatur of Lucasfilm.
I'm obsessed with Ewoks, so I had to share this awesome illustration that Black Mudpuppy posted on Twitter. Read the rest
A week ago, we found out that Disney-Lucasfilm had chosen screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan -- who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi -- to write the final two installments of the new Star Wars trilogy. While it had seemed all but confirmed at the time, StarWars.com (which had confirmed Michael Arndt as the writer of Episode VII) never had an official announcement. Maybe because Kasdan and Kinberg weren't hired to write those sequels after all. Instead, they will be taking on different projects with Star Wars characters that would better be described as spinoffs than sequels. So, per last week's post: Never mind!
This is all part of Disney-Lucasfilm's big plans to create a whole Star Wars franchise of movies, similar to Marvel (also owned by Disney) and The Avengers, with new films every year (possibly) featuring different tales from different parts of the Star Wars universe. In the meantime, the other Episodes will still happen, most likely tying together the separate stories (à la Iron Man, Captain America, etc. and The Avengers) that it appears that Kasdan and Kinberg might be working on. That's all just a guess, but as a fan fiction connoisseur, I find this to be a super fun subject of speculation. Like how it might be entirely possible that Boba Fett gets his own movie.
Photo credit: Juan Fernandez
Lawrence Kasdan & Simon Kinberg Writing Star Wars Spin-Offs Instead? [Superhero Hype] Read the rest
That didn't take long: within one month, we got all of our screenwriters lined up for the new Disney-Lucasfilm Star Wars trilogy, and one of them is a pretty reliable man for the job. As we reported earlier, Michael Arndt will be taking Episode VII, and now it's being reported that Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg will take on Episodes VIII and IX, though it's unspecified who will take which script. If you recall, Kasdan wrote both Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and if I may make a wild prediction, I'm going to call the final episode for him. Let the veteran round out the new trilogy. Kinberg is also hardly a slouch, having written Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Sherlock Holmes, plus he's currently writing the sequel to X-Men: First Class, on which he was a producer. (In other words, experience in sci-fi/fantasy franchises.) Both Kasdan and Kinberg will also join Kathleen Kennedy as producers on both films.
All three of the new movies will be based on story notes from George Lucas, but will be written and directed by others. Probably the best thing for Star Wars that George Lucas could ever do at this point.
The Hollywood Reporter (and several other sites) seem to have this news all but confirmed. Disney-Lucasfilm have not offered a comment yet, except to say that they will make an official announcement on StarWars.com, where they confirmed Arndt's role. For the moment, that is still the most recent news item. Read the rest
In an update to yesterday's post about Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) writing the next installment of the Star Wars saga, Lucasfilm confirmed on StarWars.com that it's official: Arndt is writing the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII, slated for release in 2015. No news yet on a title, but the Oscar-winner has been meeting with George Lucas and new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy for story conferences. The wheels are in motion, ladies and gentlemen -- new Star Wars movies are totally happening. (via Deadline) Read the rest
Nothing is official yet, but Vulture is reporting that a possible candidate to write the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII is Michael Arndt, an Oscar winner for writing Little Miss Sunshine and a nominee for the emotionally-charged Toy Story 3. Arndt, according to Vulture, wrote a 40-50-page treatment for the next installment of George Lucas' classic franchise and Disney/Lucasfilm liked it a lot. Even better, the writer had been working on this before the merger last week, so they didn't have to vet a bunch of losers first!
But seriously -- Michael Arndt might be perfect for this. Read the rest
Last week's biggest entertainment news, Disney acquiring Lucasfilm for just over four billion dollars, was almost immediately followed by the news that Star Wars: Episode VII might now be in the works. While rumors fly on that, here's another one to add to the mix: possible returning cast members. No, not Hayden Christensen, as excited as I know everyone would be about that! Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford have all said that they're "open" to the idea for reprising their roles from the original trilogy, according to Entertainment Weekly. That's far from a confirmation of anything, but in an interview with a source close to Ford, who has remained decidedly unenthused about the entire franchise since Return of the Jedi, the 70-year-old actor might just be go for launch.
One factor in such a decision -- besides the gigantic paycheck and never having to work ever again -- is that George Lucas will soon be stepping aside and retiring from running Lucasfilm and will yield power to Kathleen Kennedy. That leaves a bit more creative freedom, and the right director might just be the right man or woman to woo Ford back into the cast. It's pretty exciting just knowing that Ford is "upbeat" about such a project, and it's certainly red meat for Star Wars fans who were let down by the most recent trilogy. But as it's been pointed out repeatedly, all that exists right now are rumors. Set your speculatrons to "stun." Hehe -- little Star Trek joke. Read the rest
Writer and comics creator Brian Michael Bendis (Twitter) is in Tokyo, and tweeted a series of infringment-spotting snapshots today. The Stormtrooper/Star Wars shirt he found and photographed, above, makes me weep with desire. Read the rest