Sometimes a filmmakers only makes one movie and then retires
There’s no odder buzz than that around Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Some Star Wars fans, less than thrilled with the flatulence-related shenanigans of the prequels, fear further destruction of the franchise they’ve held dear for decades. But others, who grew up on Episodes I-III or who know the franchises’ characters through an XBox controller, might be more ready to embrace the re-reboot. And then there are those who just don’t want to miss how Star Trek director J.J. Abrams is going to shoulder what is perhaps the toughest challenge in the history of cinema.
Abrams–who, if he pulls this off, will stand as a sci-fi colossus for the ages by straddling the two biggest fictional universes on this planet–has charmed many of the old guard holdouts with his playful online leaks, one of which included a closeup of a familiar chessboard. The most recent, a tweet via his production company, Bad Robot, announced an Episode VII trailer released on November 28, 2014… in a theater maybe or maybe not anywhere near you.
What might we see? Judging from leaks both official and unofficial, here’s a teaser of the teaser:
The Chest and Head of Harrison Ford
The most exciting (and, depending on who you talk to, the most worrying) aspect of Episode VII is the presence of the stars of the original trilogy. Mark Hammil, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford are all back as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo.
But despite his apparent indestructibility as Indiana Jones and ninety million other non-archeologist action heroes, it turns out that Harrison Ford actually can break. A hydraulic door slammed shut on him during filming, shattering his leg and stopping filming for two weeks. Ford’s son, Ben, suggested that his father might be filmed from the waist up for a time.
That’s fine. You don’t need either leg to shoot first.
The Millennium Falcon
If it can show up in The Lego Movie, why can’t Han Solo’s interstellar whip make a reappearance in Episode VII? Indeed, as part of a social media slap fight with Zack Snyder, director of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Abrams confirmed that he’s built a full-scale set, which seems to be a lot of trouble just to troll a friend.
It’s been known for some time that shooting took place in Abu Dhabi, leading to speculation that at least some of Episode VII’s action will take place on the desert planet of Tatooine, which has popped up in each franchise installment except The Empire Strikes Back. (For an out of the way, two-suns kind of place, it sure gets a lot of action.)
This would not sit well with Anakin Skywalker, who famously used a diatribe against sand as a pickup line in Episode II.
Luke Skywalker Without a Wedding Ring (Maybe) But With a Contractually Obligated Beard
One of the most startling developments in the Star Wars book-and-game universe, which expands well beyond the movies, is the storyline that Luke Skywalker, after helping to mop up his father’s universe-ending mess which was caused by marrying and having children despite the fact that Jedi are forbidden to do so… married and had children.
Well, George Lucas is probably putting a stop to all that. The Expanded Universe is now suspended as a sort of trademarked form of fan fiction to make way for new storylines. And while he’s sold the franchise to Disney, Lucas is still on board as a consultant— a consultant who has mentioned he wants no part of a married Luke, a cloned Emperor, or any of this newfangled “New Republic” tomfoolery.
The beard, though, we can confirm.
You cannot experience any part of Star Wars minus the magic pen and baton of John Williams without everything getting uspeakably weird, as this scoreless version of the close of Star Wars (A New Hope) confirms.
But fret not. Williams is back in action for Episode VII at the age of 82.
Scale Models Over CGI
Director Kevin Smith somehow made his way onto the set of Episode VII, after which he confirmed that he walked through an actual flesh-and-paint world rather than a wall of green screens. There’s a reason why the original trilogy was so tactile and the prequels struck many as an officially licensed cartoon show: CGI was slapped on nearly every frame, from a computerized Yoda to the corridors of the Jedi Temple.
The aforementioned Millennium Falcon set–which, yes, utilized special effects in the original trilogy–is a sign that Abrams is kicking it old school. But probably not this old school:
Davis most famously portrayed Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, as well as a couple of roles in Episode I, and lookit, he’s confirmed that he’ll be back in Episode VII. It’s set to take place some thirty years after Jedi, but we don’t know if we’ll see a midlife-crisis Wicket or a different character entirely.