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Today brings word that Star Wars: Episode VII may have found its screenwriter.
Vulture claims that Oscar winner Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine) "has written a 40- to 50-page treatment for the film and is likely to be at least one of the writers when the Disney/Lucasfilm project begins shooting in 2014." They say Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo are indeed in it.
Furthermore, Vulture hears "Arndt's 40-something page treatment will soon be crossing the desks of top directors, including Brad Bird, Steven Spielberg (Lucasfilm’s co-chair, Kathleen Kennedy's former producing partner), and J.J. Abrams. Whether they’d be interested is unknown (Star Wars is a lot of baggage for an established director), but Disney wants to make sure they’ve at least tried the biggest names."
The Hollywood Reporter confirms Vulture's scoop, adding, "Months before Lucasfilm was sold to Disney and plans for new Star Wars movies were announced, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt was hired to write a 40-50 page treatment for Episode VII. ... [Arndt ] has completed a treatment for the new movie and is likely to pen a draft of screenplay."
Arndt also co-wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is currently in production.
Update: Deadline now reports that Arndt has actually written a treatment for the next three Star Wars films.
More: "Arndt was brought on board by LucasFilms [sic] months ago, to put ideas to take the franchise forward together, a source with knowledge of the situation says. ... The result was the 'pretty extensive and detailed treatment for what would be the next three movies, the trilogy,' that Disney CEO Bob Iger referred to when the company’s acquisition of LucasFilms was announced on October 30."
In these cannons, the majority of fans knew most of the cannon and still continued in the new continuity and they picked up new fans.
Small point: it's 'canon'. A cannon is something you fire people out of. Canon is someing people get worked up about on the Internet :-)
The vast majority of fans for Star Wars are not familiar with the EU, so the number lost will be less
I question whether you can legitimately call yourself a 'Star Wars fan' if you are not at least passingly familiar with the EU (which doesn't mean reading the books, but at least playing some of the games or maybe watching a bit of THE CLONE WARS), as so much great stuff from the mythos is in there (arguably more than in the movies). Someone who's seen and liked some of the movies but nothing more than that is a casual watcher, at best.
It's the casual watchers who will mostly make up the box office receipts, of course, but I question the strategy of alienating your core fanbase, the people who will spend thousands individually and billions collectively on games, comics and novels as well the movies themselves, to pursue the floating viewer.
The old book series are not going to become top sellers again.
They just re-released the THRAWN TRILOGY in a 20th anniversary edition. It's sold extremely well.
They are going to invest in the next line of books that will be top sellers. If they have to blow away the existing cannon to do it, I bet they will still make money on it.
But we will know going into the process that the next line of books based on the Episode 7-9 canon will not be valid in any way, shape or form. In that sense, there is no reason to buy them even if they are good, as they meaningless filler. The new books will still sell, but they will not sell millions and millions of copies like the THRAWN TRILOGY did when it was first released and marketed heavily as the official continuation of Episodes 4-6.
Old fans may think hard about picking up old books. But gronards aren't the target audience. In fact, there is lots of evidence that shedding them can help buisnesses appeal to greater audiences. They tend to be highly critical even with their praise, which turns off people.
This will continue to be the case. The central fanbase will remain and continue to have their say about the new films regardless of if they follow the EU or not.
New fans will flock to the series in droves. They will be able to launch new book lines and other products in the new continuity.
They will, and they will sell okay. They will not sell a significant percentage of what the previous material sold because people will know that they are meaningless, and that there will be regular new STAR WARS movies coming out from now until the end of time (from the sound of it), so the value of investing in books and comics is greatly lessened.
As for Star Trek, that's an even closer parallel, if you go back to when Next Generation started, or even the earlier movies. The franchise had been kept alive by books and comics and even a cartoon, but none of those were considered canon for the movies or the new series.
Correct, but they said this up front at the time, so everyone knew what the score was. The EU novels were, however, said to be the official and canonical continuation of the story from the films, stamped with George Lucas's seal of approval, so they had a lot a more weight to them than the STAR TREK novels of the 1970s that everyone knew were non-canon.
The latest Star Trek movie was a complete rewrite that invalidates the entire orriginal series. They get away with it a little with time travel, but they took a huge hit from it. In the end though, the franchise got a spike in popularity.
The new STAR TREK movie does not 'invalidate' the original series, but instead creates a splinter continuity which exists alongside the existing one. The STAR TREK ONLINE game and additional comics and novels continue to exist in the 'old' continuity, and Paramount is apparently open to considering projects set in that continuity (they apparently listened to a Jonathan Frakes proposal for a one-off TV movie reuniting the cast for the 25th anniversary but ultimately chose not to pursue it). Paramount are also spending something over $50 million to remaster all of ST:TNG for Blu-Ray, showing they still see value in that continuity.
They would be doing it because it gives them significantly more freedom in the story they want to tell and where it goes, and because trying to use the EU would make it very hard to not result in massive ammounts of exposition on what happened. They would rather cater to their larger audience of people who would be lost by following the EU than their smaller audience of devoted fans.
Their smaller audience who has made them a staggeringly large amount of money over the years, it has to be pointed out.
As for the exposition thing, it is not necessary. Do you have the characters sitting down and talking in great length about the Yuuzhan Vong invasion, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Jacen Solo for two hours? No, no more than you had Obi-Wan and Anakin discussing everything that happened in the CLONE WARS cartoon series for hours on end between Episodes II and III. Mention what needs to be mentioned, otherwise press on with a new story.
That said, I have no expectation that this will happen. However, you certainly could keep the EU and make a new film with a new storyline if you really wanted to without getting bogged down in continuity: Luke, Han and Leia are about 8 years older than Hamill, Ford and Fisher in the 'latest' part of the EU to feature them, so you could simply spin on another few years with an all-new story and only mention stuff that absolutely needed to be mentioned.
Where that would leave SW: Legacy is the only thing I dread about that possibility. It changed some elements of the setting in a pretty radical way and they would probably not want to go there, unless they adopt that setting wholesale. And it doesn't look that way so far. Since Legacy is the best thing to happen to Star Wars since, well, IMO the original trilogy, it would be a huge shame if it became infinities material.
Agreed, but as good as LEGACY is, it's also a bit on the depressing side (showing that 120 years after Luke and co., the same stuff is still going on). The best thing about it is that, like the KotOR era, it is self-contained and can be moved into another optional timeline or continuity quite easily.
Actually the real lesson from Wertheards numbers is design around the toys. That's where the real money is.
That's what was really staggering about that information. The toys have made 50% more money than the films themselves (in all formats). Or almost as much as the films+EU combined.
However, that will likely not be the case going forwards. Remember that's the total toy sales going back to 1977-78, which was absolutely huge business. Having previously worked in toy retail for many years, the toy sales of the prequel trilogy and subsequently have not been anywhere near what was made in the 1980s (and expectations that the prequel toy sales would be comparable drove one former company I worked for out of business because they over-invested in STAR WARS merchandise in 1999).
I'm hoping this is the approach they will take. Bringing in a major Hollywood writer and expecting them to read 100 novels (or even a lengthy Wookipedia article) before writing his script is unrealistic (though that's exactly what Chris Avellone did before writing KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC II, but such a work ethic can't be expected from everyone). But hopefully they will not completely disregard everything that came before.
Do they need to destroy canon to make a good movie? Yes, they do. JJ Abrams did when he made the new Star Trek. It was a great movie, because he didn't give a f^&* about canon. He set out just to make a great movie, and that's all. He didn't have to rewrite his scripts based on Star Trek tech discussions. That actually happened in ST:TNG.
JJ Abrams did very much give a toss about canon. That's why they brought in the existing Spock and worked out a complex explanation for the creation of the splinter-timeline which took the entire movie to discuss. It's also why the movie has been better-received by the fans than if he'd simply rebooted with no explanation at all.
As for the tech discussions, they didn't always work on STTNG but they came from good intentions: to make the tech and science at least somewhat convincing. The new STAR TREK movie did suffer a bit from not making one iota of logical sense and the use of magical red matter technology that had zero reasoning behind it (unlike old TREK, which always had reasoning even it it was guff).
This is the part I don't get. Shouldn't it matter more if the books are good or bad than if they're canon? What does it mean to be "meaningless filler"? If you enjoyed reading it, isn't that the point?
Is a poorly written novel that scrupulously adheres to canon better than a brilliant one that conflicts?
Your argument is based on the assertion that if they are books in a new continuity they are meaningless filler and thus wont sell well. I dispute this assertion, but since there is no way to prove this either way until it happens, we will just have to wait and see.
Second, you are assuming that the audience that has made them so much money over the years has been consistent. I dispute this assertion as well. Toys are not marketted to the same people they were 30 years ago - they are marketted at the same age groups. Very few 40 year olds are buying toy lightsabers and Han Solo action figures unless its for their kids, but they were the ones to buy them when they first came out. The franchise has managed to stay new and interesting to children for a long time, and that is why it has made the money it has. The quality of the EU has some to do with that, but I suspect it is less than you think. And the EU that targets them will mostly remain unchanged, as the post Episode VI content is targetted at highschoolers.
Most of the EU wouldn't even be touched. Anything from the Old Republic era or the newer Clone Wars stuff would all stay canon since it is already easily history, which is basically all the video games and tv shows (and those aren't consistent with themselves already). They can even keep much of the fluff contained in the books, as there is no real reason to invent new planets or alien races. The plots of books continuing the story after Episode VI though are all in the cutting room and who knows what will stay on the floor when they leave.
Unless I am totally mistaken, as far as written material goes, the post-ROTJ stuff still outnumbers the pre-ANH materials. And no wonder, they had close to two more decades to add to it. So just negating it would be a very big loss to canon.
And, thejeff, as I said multiple times by now, you can make a great trilogy without destroying the current continuity. So please stop trying to make it as if using the post-ROTJ continuity would automatically produce a worse movie than not doing it. The quality of those new movies will be decided by how well the stories are written.
Frankly, I think it won't be difficult for the writers of the new movies to make films that fit nicely into the existing film, tv and EU canon. Many of the stories out there take place over the course of days or week. How much time passed in Return of the Jedi from when they rescue Han until the end of the film? Not much. If you use the various sub-eras as guide posts (X-Wing novels, shortly after Jedi, Thrawn Trilogy, 5 years later, Dark Empire, 6 years later, etc.) you can easily fit a short timeframe story that doesn't invalidate the EU - provided you don't kill off characters that should exist later on.
Given the time that has passed for the actors of the original films, I think the best bet is to shoot for 35-40 years after Return of the Jedi which is after the Vong invasion but way before the events of the Legacy comics. Shouldn't be too hard. Of course, if you recast the original characters and just have the original actors in cameos as other characters (see Anthony Daniels in Ep III in the bar), you could select an earlier time window.
I think as long as they work to make a great story, provide nods to the existing films and don't completely nuke the EU timeline by say killing Han or Leia before they have kids then I think most people won't worry if the bartender alien at a casino on Coruscant doesn't match one of the obscure EU sources. It was that alien's day off, move along.
Right, so if you set it 35-40 years after RotJ and don't ignore EU, you have to deal with what happened in the Vong invasion so that everyone who is not familiar with it knows how the world changed. Having to go into detail on backstory usually reduces the appeal of the movie by impeeding the flow.
If you dwell on it I suppose. The Vong invasion is part of the history of the Legacy era and there are Vong characters etc. but you can figure out from the comics what they're about without an excess of "boxed text". I think if the stories are isolated enough they can either not mention it at all or along the lines of "Robbie the Ithorian has been here on Tatooine ever since the Vong destroyed his homeworld 10 years ago."
As long as they don't want to do something like use the kids. Han and Leia's or Luke's. Then you start to run into continuity problems.Sure you could cram something in there, but they all already have pretty fleshed out life stories. Some of them pretty complex.
There are certainly untold tales of the Star Wars Universe you could tell, but these are the movies. These are the centerpiece. They should tell the big stories. The prequels covered the rise of the Empire and the corruption of Darth Vader. The originals covered the end of the Empire and his redemption. The final trilogy should be equal in scope and it should deal with the Skywalker family. What are you going to do on that scale that you can fit neatly into existing continuity?
I am actually pretty sure that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher won't be in the new movies. Contrary to Harrison Ford, they haven't aged so well. Unless they put those two into special training programs in the run-up to the movie. :D
The current draft of the script includes Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and yes Han Solo. So yes so far they will have a part in the ongoing saga which makes complete sense to me as it is a continuing storyline of the original saga.
Yeah, but they look like regular folks in their 60's, not movie characters who are supposed to be former action heroes.
Maybe I am being too cynical here, though. They both deserve some recognition and I'd love for them to be in the movie again. I just don't see Hollywood types wanting them there.
No source is given other than "industry insiders". I wouldn't rely too much on this.
Vader's return from the dead would be the final nail for me.
SW is practically dead to me anyway, but that would definitely bury it for all time as far as I'm concerned.
I expect they will just not reference the vast majority of EU stuff, they want a new fresh start, getting tangled up in canon most movie goers neither know nor care about would be pointless. The problem with setting a new SW movie in the future is who are the villains?
It's actually really hard coming up with new bad guys for SW. Look at the Prequels, they failed utterly imo.
The Empire was just such a fantastic baddy, it's ships looked great, it's troops looked great, it's vehicles looked great, it had Vader and the Emperor. It was the complete package. Coming up with something similarly iconic and memorable, well that's a tall order. On the other hand just bringing the Empire back ruins the end of RotJ.
I am curious to see what they come up with...
If they do bring Vader back, I wonder if they'll borrow a page from Zahn's books where the Emporer maintained a secret cloning facility. It could also tie in with the Force Unleashed plots where Vader was trying to clone a jedi.
Smash the two together and you could have Vader with a secret cloning facility where he was trying to clone himself. I'd be ok with this kind of approach, simply because it'd be a different Vader. It wouldn't invalidate all that transpired between Luke and his dad in TESB and RotJ while at the same time still being Vader.
Time will tell, I suppose. I'll be seeing it regardless =P
Dal Selpher wrote:
Even if he was cloned he wouldn't be cool armor/heavy breathing Vader probably because they'd have to give the clone a lava bath. That said, a clone of Anakin looking Vader is doable. Zahn's books had clone Luke. The Dark Empire comics had cloned Palpatine. It wouldn't be a stretch to do Anakin.
Also, was Anakin's conception ever fully explained outside of Shmi's "I don't know what happened" and/or Qui Gon's "he may have been conceived by the midichlorians" explanation? Isn't it possible Anakin might have a "half brother" out there of sorts, equally strong in the Force?
Tom Qadim wrote:
I have a bad feeling about this...
really though, I think that disney has more sense than that. They are awere, I think, that millions of fans the world over are holding their breath, waiting for something to get upset about. Bringing Vader back is stuipd, and it's just the kind of thing that can turn many people away from the franchise.
However... there was a big group of ghosts standing there at the end of movie 6... I guess Vader may be included at movies 7 and beyond as a ghost and it wound't be terrible... Further exploring what is up with those dead Jedi spirits could actualy be nice...
Palpatine has a conversation with Anakin at an opera (or whatever that was) where he implies his Sith mentor knew how to use the Dark Side of the Force to create life. I took it as an explanation of Anakin's origins, though it wasn't clear if it was Palpatine's mentor or Palpatine himself who did the deed. (Or why they would use the Force to knock-up a random slave girl on a backwater planet anyway.)
This could work.
In some ways it would work better because Anikin Skywalker would need to rebuild the "dark jedi" faction (train discipe (or disiples), recruit minions, etc) under the noses of the new republic - easier to do when you don't have a highly distictive appearance.
Another variation that would work well, would be to get Zahn to re-write his Dark Force Rising series as screenplays.
There is no point in continuing the original story with 7,8 and 9 without any of the original characters in it. They might as well start fresh with a new story outside of 7,8, and 9. Since they are continuing the story I do think there will be appearances from original characters in it, otherwise what's the point in continuing the original saga. They could just start something new, something else in the Star Wars universe that has nothing to do with the Skywalker family or the Rebel Alliance.
I completely disagree.
A new story with new characters would still be set in a world(galaxy) that was shaped by the events of the previous 6 episodes. The setting itself almost becomes a character at this point. You'd still see remnants of the Empire, technology shaped by advances since previous appearances(speeders might look different, etc) etc. For all we know, the Empire could come back stronger than ever in this story. They might even sneak in a Skywalker descendant.
If anything, I think Lucas's reliance on shoe-horning in characters from 4-6 into the prequel trilogy kinda killed a lot of it. Instead of giving us a fresh perspective on the galaxy before the Dark Times, we get this cobbled cluster**** that somehow makes everyone related to everyone else in the entire galaxy. It was annoying as hell. It's nice to see a familiar face and all, but having a little kid Anakin build C3-PO? Go home George, yer drunk.
I would have been perfectly happy if the only characters that returned for the prequels were Anakin/Vader, Obi Wan, and Palpatine/Sidious. Everything else was a blatant attempt to draw on nostalgia.
Josh M. wrote:
I remember hearing, long before the prequel movies came out, that R2-D2 and C3PO were intended to be the only characters to appear in all of the movies. So I don't think Lucas put them in there on a whim when he finally got around to making the prequels.
That said, I agree that having Anakin build C3PO was ridiculous.
I'm on the fence about Yoda. On the one hand, it would be kind of weird for him to not show up, especially after Obi-Wan saying he trained Anakin against Yoda's wishes. On the other it ruins the surprise in Empire that this little troll trying to steal Luke's food is the Jedi Master he's seeking.
Prequels ruin surprises. That's what they do.If you look at it that way, the prequels ruin the entire reveal of Vader as Luke's father.
Josh M. wrote:
Well I've heard there will be characters from the old movies in it, still early to tell tho. About Anakin building C3P0, let's not forget it's a fantasy movie and it's not earth. It takes place in a different universe, a different time. Anakin was a gifted prodigy with signs of the force lets not forget. Oh and every Star Wars movie made from now on is an attempt on nostalgia.
I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that the Expanded Universe novels left the ultimate fates of Luke, Leia, and Han open. I have no idea what is in the script for episode 7, but it should not be too difficult to come up with a story that incorporates the continuity of the novels but stands apart from them enough that only minimal references to the intervening events are necessary for the movie to make sense.
The closest situation I am aware of to the current one for Star Wars occurred with Doctor Who -- after the failed TV movie pilit, BBC came out with a number of novels and radio dramas that continued the story of the 8th and later Doctors. Much (but not all) of that material became non-canon when the new TV series was launched.
True. Which is why we're watching the movies in Machete Order (4,5,2,3,6) once my son is old enough. :)
Which incidentally also fixes the Yoda issue, as well.
Personally, I really like this order but feel that the pod race should also be shown.
Vader atoned and returned to the Light Side of the Force. The only "slap in the face" was how they replaced the original actor with Hayden Christensen in the Force-spirit form.
But really, according to the lore, Vader did some bad, bad things. For him to atone just by rescuing his son in a fight, kind of downplays the thousands(millions?) of lives he destroyed under the Emperor's command.
True. Which is why we're watching the movies in Machete Order (4,5,2,3,6) once my son is old enough. :)
I just read up on this... you, sir, get my sincere gratitude. <filed for future reference when my little girl is old enough>
Your posts over the last few months have been nothing short of awesome.
Happy to be of service. And I appreciate the compliment.
David knott 242 wrote:
I agree with regard to STAR WARS, but the DOCTOR WHO situation is somewhat different. After the original DOCTOR WHO went on hiatus in 1989, the BBC authorised original novels to be written under the banner title THE NEW ADVENTURES. These began in 1991. When the TV movie came out (in 1996) and there was a switch from the 7th to 8th Doctors, the books took that into account and continued up until the new series was launched in 2005, when they ended.
THE NEW ADVENTURES' canon status is somewhat complex. On the one hand, many of the TV scriptwriters started off writing books for them and didn't want to declare that earlier work non-canon: Russell T. Davies, Mark Gatiss, Gareth Roberts and Paul Cornell all penned books in the line (Cornell writing arguably the very best). In several cases, the TV show has referenced book-originated stories and materials (including the Chelonians, Roberts's much-loved Evil Space Turtles). Davies even recovered from a major continuity issue, namely there being a earlier 'Time War' during the books, by saying in one of the episodes that the Dalek/Time Lord one was the 'last of the Great Time Wars', acknowledging that the earlier conflict did happen. Davies also drew upon some of the novel lore for the 'new' TV show backstory, like Romana being the President of the High Council when the Time War broke out.
However, the TV show also rendered at least one of the books, HUMAN NATURE, non-canon when they adapted it directly to the screen. Some of the other elements in the books also seem to have been disregarded by the TV show, most notably the explanation for the Doctor's origins in the novel LUNGBARROW which will almost certainly not match the current 'Doctor Who?' storyline playing out in the current series.
The final word on the DOCTOR WHO novels is that they happened until the TV show says they didn't. And given the amount of time travel, alterations to the timeline and parallel universes in DOCTOR WHO, it may indeed be possible for everything to be canon (even the 1960s movies featuring Peter Cushing as a human guy called 'Dr. Who') whilst simultaneously being totally contradictary :-)
Josh M. wrote:
Yes and no.
On the face of it, it's ridiculous and in a way still self-serving.
On the other hand, the Force is not an accounting ledger. It's about peace and inner tranquility. In that one act, Vader destroyed the symbol and leadership behind every evil act he had committed. His life's work had been to support the Emperor and help rule the galaxy in fear. He wasn't just standing up for his son, he was inspired by his son's resolve. He wasn't just saving his son, the galaxy or the rebel alliance, he was freeing himself from bondage to the dark side. That is what mattered to his spirit and relationship to the Force.
Vader was consumed by the dark side of the force. He was manipulated by the Emperor and was following military Imperial orders when he destroyed the Jedi. When Luke turned Anakin back to the good side, he salvaged Anakin's soul and saved it. Luke knew there was still good inside of him, and Luke's force powers served him well.
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