It ain’t your grandpa’s Jedi rebellion, but here’s the new trailer Disney and Lucasfilm put out today – on May the 4th, AKA Star Wars Day – for the upcoming CGI animated Star Wars Rebels series set to premiere this Fall. Story takes place between the events of Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope with Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman exec producing and Freddie Prinze, Jr., Taylor Gray, Steve Blum, Tiya Sircar, and Vanessa Marshall leading the voice cast:
J.J. Abrams has set his final Star Wars VII cast with a mix of up-and-comers, new faces, veteran thesps, returning favorites, and the Big Three – Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill. Take a look at the full line-up of Star Wars Jedis and Dark-siders, including Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Adam Driver (Girls), John Boyega (Attack the Block), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, About Time), Oscar-nominated Max von Sydow, and UK actress Daisy Ridley as well as franchise returnees Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker. Click on images to launch the slideshow below.
‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast Finalized: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson & Max Von Sydow
Rumor Mill Wild As ‘Star Wars’ Cast Revelation Gets Close
‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Cast Finalized: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson & Max Von Sydow
The cast of Star Wars: Episode VII is now official, announced by the team on StarWars.com, complete with a photo of a read-through. As Mike Fleming Jr reported yesterday, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and John Boyega are aboard, as are Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow and Daisy Ridley. They join returning franchise players Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker.
This pic has been supernova-hot ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm in October 2012 and announced its intention to reboot the franchise. That got the hard-core fans (there are legion) excited, but the question remains if the franchise can be restored to anywhere near the status it reached before George Lucas essentially cratered the second three movies in the series. Now the speculation will begin if this group has what it takes to make it happen, led by Abrams, who has the sci-fi cred and now has picked his soldiers to head into battle. He is directing, co-writing the script with Lawrence Kasdan and producing with Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk.
Disney has set a December 18, 2015 release date for the first pic in a planned trilogy.
Little is known about who will play what, though it’s thought Driver, a standout on HBO’s Girls, will play the main villain. Also notable: there is only one new female character on this list joining Fisher. The biggest reaction so far has been to Ridley — a Brit actress who has been in a handful of UK series including Mr Selfridge — both because she is fairly unknown and because she’s the only new face keeping this from becoming a total sausage party.
“We are so excited to finally share the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII,” Abrams said in the announcement today, which puts a cap on months of cast speculation – most of it BS. (The announcement also included a cast photo.) “It is both thrilling and surreal to watch the beloved original cast and these brilliant new performers come together to bring this world to life, once again. We start shooting in a couple of weeks, and everyone is doing their best to make the fans proud.”
Looks like JJ Abrams, who is so secretive he probably still won’t admit to having directed the first two Star Trek movies, is finally going to have to divulge his cast for the revamp of Star Wars. The force is with him, in that he’s got a big table read tomorrow with the cast in London, and so he’s finally going to be forced to fess up shortly. There have been more rumors on this one than any film in recent memory, and here’s the latest.
I’m hearing that Inside Llewyn Davis star Oscar Isaac is in line for a major role, as is Adam Driver and Attack the Block’s John Boyega, both of whom have been rumored. There is also a young girl, and that might be Maisie Richardson-Sellers, an Oxford-trained actress whose casting has been rumored in recent weeks. The new cast members will join returning Star Wars alums Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. The big surprise, I’m told, is that Ford has a gigantic role in the first of the next three films. Disney hasn’t been commenting on any of this, and today’s no different. Stay tuned.
Although Disney devoted a good chunk of its CinemaCon presentation today to talk of Star Wars and The Avengers and clips of upcoming movies including first looks at the live-action re-telling of Cinderella and Pixar’s Inside Out, theater owners left the near three-hour session really singing the praises of one of the lesser-known films on the slate: the May 16 release Million Dollar Arm. It stars Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, who received the convention’s Excellence In Acting award from studio Chairman Alan Horn just before a full screening of the movie, which Horn told the crowd has scored higher than any movie he has ever tested at Disney, or Warner Bros before that. “And that includes the first Harry Potter, which was so highly anticipated,” he said. Judging from the reaction in the Caesars Palace Colosseum theater and comments afterward, those test scores would seem to be justified. This is the kind of increasingly rare non-animated family film that should play across the board. “It’s comical, it’s emotional, it has great music” was what one exhibitor was heard saying as he walked out. That music, by the way, is from two-time Oscar winner A.R. Rahman, who scored Slumdog Millionaire.
Bob Iger said today during Disney’s annual shareholder meeting in Portland, OR that Star Wars Episode VII will begin principal photography in May in London, and the movie will pick up 30 years after the events in Return Of The Jedi. It’s finally a couple of concrete pieces of news from the studio about the pic, which JJ Abrams is directing and co-writing with Lawrence Kasdan. “It’s really in the process so there isn’t much I can share with you,” Iger said today, adding that there will be “familiar faces including a trio of young leads” but added that the only confirmed castmember remains R2-D2. That comes amid rampant cast speculation from all comers (the most solid rumor is probably Girls star Adam Driver as the main baddie). Iger told shareholders that the movie “really looks amazing.” The pic opens December 18, 2015.
UPDATE: Bob Iger Talks Up ‘Frozen’, ‘Star Wars’ & New ‘Incredibles’ And ‘Cars’ Movies As Shareholders Re-Elect Board
The Disney CEO made his observations as he kicked off his company’s annual shareholder meeting in Portland, Ore. Frozen has already generated more than $1B globally and, with its successful open in Japan, should pass Toy Story 3‘s sales of $1.06B. TS3 made $126.7M in Japan. The new film’s success has returned Disney’s animation studio to its “rightful place” as one of the world’s greatest, Bob Iger says. Pixar, meanwhile, will produce a third Cars movie and is developing a sequel to 2004′s The Incredibles, Iger also said, with confirmation coming via Disney/Pixar’s Facebook page that it is “currently working on two new films featuring your favorite characters from Incredibles and Cars.” Iger also crowed about the company’s market value of more than $143B, up from about $100B last year. “I’d call that a great year,” he says. Iger told investors that he can’t share much about Star Wars VII, but said that principal photography will begin in May in London. In his opening comments the CEO also said that the Shanghai Disney park will feature a Pirates Of the Caribbean-themed attraction called Treasure Cove.
Related: Disney: ‘Star Wars’ To Start Shooting In May, Pick Up 30 Years After End Of ‘Jedi’
No surprises on the business side: All of the board nominees, who were unopposed, were re-elected according to the preliminary returns. Former Starbucks CEO Orin Smith trailed the pack with support from holders owning 92% of the votes cast. Iger was favored by 99%. Some 80% supported an advisory resolution endorsing the company’s executive compensation. Just 24% supported a shareholder proposal that Disney opposed that would have barred accelerated vesting of executives’ equity awards if there’s a change in control.
After pretty much every name in Hollywood has been mentioned in connection with the new Star Wars movie being directed by JJ Abrams, we’re hearing that Girls star Adam Driver is actually, really truly in the mix to play the main villain in the franchise pic from Disney and Lucasfilm. Nothing is imminent, we’re told, which means the only casting that’s official so far remains R2-D2. The production has set up offices for Star Wars: Episode VII at the UK’s Pinewood studios ahead of its December 18, 2015 release date. Looks like our pals at Variety got to this one first.
In 2011, Iron Man (I and II) director Jon Favreau called the summer of 2011, “a bloodbath for Hollywood” because of the number big-budget special effects films, remakes and sequels. Pfft! Wait until you get a load of next year. The amount of big-budget sequel fare and remakes set for 2015 from the major studios is mind-boggling and add to that highly anticipated films such as Fifty Shades Of Grey and another Quentin Tarantino film in the same year and you have all the makings for the biggest movie going year in history. The year is even going to start out hitting the ground running with audience-familiar titles, but it’s the summer and holiday season of 2015 that will be packed like no other — which brings up serious questions about what will happen as some of the biggest franchises in history collide? Remember, these films need major market exposure on over 2,500-3,000 screens or more to open big and some of them hope to play for weeks. This is going to be a star-studded war. I guess it was inevitable when studios ride out the franchises as far as they do now … what are we on Mission: Impossible 5 and Fast & Furious 7 now? And we have another Star Wars on our hands.
The year 2015 will go down in the books as the World Cup of franchise players: Superman vs. Batman vs. The Avengers vs. Mad Max vs. Fast & Furious vs. Jurassic Park vs. Terminator vs. Fantastic Four 3D, Marvel’s Ant-Man vs. Assassins vs. Untitled Bourne Identity, and then James Bond vs. Star Wars vs. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 vs. Mission Impossible for top film of the year.
In kid fare, parents should be ready to be pulled to the theater time and time again (sacrificing much-needed sleep) with Cinderella, Monster Trucks, The Penguins Of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3, The Jungle Book, Alvin And The Chipmunks 4, Peanuts, The Smurfs 3, Tomorrowland, and SpongeBob 2.
Practically every genre in 2015 is looking at proven titles: The year will start with the typical early year horror film fare — again no stopping franchise names — Amityville from Dimension and Frankenstein starring Daniel Radcliffe both in January, and Friday the 13th and Poltergeist. That will be followed by Fifty Shades Of Grey, based on the mega-selling book by EL James, which bows in February before the floodgates open again on sequels and remakes.
The plethora of franchise titles will likely push the 2015 box office to record-breaking heights as this year’s holdovers from the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday fare — such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (which bows on November 21), Fox’s Night At The Museum 3 and Sony’s Annie and Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: There And Back Again (or should it be called The Hobbit: Here It Comes Again) will also add to the huge overall gross numbers of 2015.
UPDATE, 1:20 PM: He wasn’t just hanging around posing after all. Disney confirmed today that R2-D2 will be in Star Wars: Episode VII. A staple of every Star Wars pic, the little droid “will indeed be in the film”, the company said online Tuesday. This is the first character from the previous Star Wars films that we know for sure is returning for the J.J. Abrams-directed movie. Episode VII, the first of three new Star Wars movies, is set to hit the big screen in December 2015.
PREVIOUSLY, NOV. 14: First Disney finally announces a release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, now a week later we get the first photo of the production. Guess the filmmakers don’t have to worry about divulging any top-secret plot details via this so-so-natural shot that Bad Robot tweeted today with the caption, “Hi from the workshop!” Apparently this is the droid they’re looking for.
It’s going to be a happy Christmas two years from now for fans of a galaxy far far away away. The new J.J. Abrams-directed Star Wars movie will open on December 18, 2015, Disney announced today as it unveiled strong fourth-quarter earnings. “We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” Disney Studios chair Alan Horn said in a statement Thursday on StarWars.com. When Disney bought Lucasfilm in October 2012 for $4 billion, CEO Bob Iger said that three more Star Wars films would come out — with 2015 as the release date for the first new one. It’s a date Disney will now make by a hair. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and his bad Robot partner Bryan Burk producing. Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin will serve as EPs. The December 18, 2015 date is the same day that Warcraft, the first pic under Universal and Legendary’s new deal, and Sony’s Inferno are presently set to be released as well.
Abrams was named as director on the first new Star Wars pic since 2005′s Episode …
Changing the screenplay team on the new Star Wars movie was all about time, said JJ Abrams today. “It became clear that given the time frame and given the process and the way the thing was going that working with Larry in this way was going to get us where we need to be and when we needed to be,” said the Episode VII director Thursday. “Working with Larry Kasdan, especially on a Star Wars movie is kind of unbeatable,” Abrams told Deadline. The upcoming Disney project is set to be released in 2015. On October 24, it was announced that Abrams would take over the writing of the script for the upcoming new Star Wars pic with Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan. Oscar winner and Hunger Games: Catching Fire scribe Michael Arndt had been on board as writing the script based on treatments he had drafted. The new Star Wars movie is set to start filming early next year in the UK. The Stars Wars: Episode VII director was participating in a media conference call Thursday with his fellow Almost Human EP J.H. Wyman on the upcoming Fox series.
EXCLUSIVE: We know that Paramount and Skydance Productions lost JJ Abrams as the director of the third installment of Star Trek when Abrams took on Star Wars. I’m hearing the studio is sweet on Joe Cornish to direct the next film. Cornish made his feature directorial debut on Attack The Block, the saga of a group of British youths who stave off an alien invasion in their rough neighborhood.
Cornish followed by being one of the writers on The Adventures Of Tin Tin, and he and Edgar Wright wrote the script for Ant-Man, the Marvel Studios film that Wright is going to direct. Long story short, he’s gotten exposure to bigger scale projects than Attack The Block, in which he admirably depicted a full scale alien invasion on a relatively small budget. Doing a movie like this would certainly put his career on a warp speed path. He’s already working with Paramount on the novel adaptation Snow Crash which he’s prepping to present to the studio.
It’s early days on this, but stay tuned. Paramount is readying the movie to shoot in summer, 2014. Cornish is repped by CAA.
Miss Deadline’s best film stories this week? Catch up here:
Heard It Here First: Tom Hardy To Play Elton John In ‘Rocketman’
By Mike Fleming Jr. - As Deadline reported in June when FilmDistrict paid $10 million to acquire U.S. rights to the Elton John film Rocketman, Tom Hardy has been set to play Captain Fantastic himself in the Michael Gracey-directed biographical musical film.
Oscar-Buzzed ’12 Years A Slave’ In Top Ten, ‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa’ Opens #1 For $32M, All-Star ‘The Counselor’ Bombs With $8M
By Nikki Finke - The most interesting news of the weekend, at least to me, is that New Regency’s financed and produced Best Picture Oscar frontrunner 12 Years A Slave marketed and distributed by Fox Searchlight is only playing in 123 theaters (up from 19 last weekend) yet jumped into the Top Ten.
J.J. Abrams & Lawrence Kasdan Take Over As ‘Star Wars’ Scribes
By Dominic Patten - The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015.
BREAKING…The new Star Wars movie has a new screenwriting team. It was announced online today that Episode VII director J.J. Abrams and Empire Strikes Back co-writer Lawrence Kasdan will take over as scribes for the upcoming Disney project which is set to be released in 2015. The duo are taking over from Michael Arndt. The writer, who penned the screenplay for Hunger Games: Catching Fire and won an Oscar for writing Little Miss Sunshine, was named as the sole screenwriter on the pic early last November. Arndt was also said to be working on treatments for the other two planned new Star Wars films. “I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” states LucasFilm boss Kathleen Kennedy in a statement posted on Starwars.com Thursday. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: ‘Star Wars’ No. 1 Film Soundtrack Among Britons, Poll Finds; Gillian Anderson Set For ‘Streetcar’ At Young Vic
BBC Radio 3 Poll: ‘Star Wars’ Still A Force Among Soundtracks
A poll of BBC Radio 3 listeners has concluded that John Williams‘ Star Wars soundtrack is the all-time No. 1 among Britons. Williams’ 1977 score received almost 25% of votes on a list that spans 64 years of cinematic history. It’s still the highest-grossing orchestral film music recording of all time, and, of course brought him an Oscar. Behind Star Wars on the BBC poll is Ennio Morricone’s The Good, The Bad And The Ugly at No. 2 and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story at No. 3. The vote is part of the BBC’s Sound Of Cinema season that’s dedicated to exploring the composers, songs and film scores that form the soundtrack to the big screen. Rounding out the top five are Lawrence Of Arabia and Vertigo.
Gillian Anderson To Play Blanche Dubois In ‘Streetcar’ At Young Vic
Gillian Anderson will return to the London stage next year in the Young Vic’s adaptation of A Streetcar Named Desire. She’ll play Blanche DuBois in Tennessee Williams’ classic tragedy, the BBC reported. Benedict Andrews, whose take on Chekhov’s Three Sisters won the 2012 Critics’ Circle directing prize, will helm. Anderson’s London stage credits include A Doll’s House at the Donmar Warehouse in 2009 and What The Night Is For in 2012. Also this season, Juliet Stevenson will make her Young Vic debut as Winnie in Natalie Abrahami’s new production of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days.
Gilbert Taylor, whose vast cinematography credits included the first Star Wars for George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove and Richard Donner’s The Omen, died today in his native UK. He was 99. Taylor’s list of film DP credits are striking in their diversity: He lensed the Beatles pic A Hard Day’s Night, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy and worked several times with Roman Polanski on films including Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac and Macbeth. The BBC quoted Taylor’s wife that the DP “turned down a Bond picture” to work with Polanski “because he thought Roman was a very interesting guy”. Polanski returned the complement, saying in his 1984 biography Roman that he wanted Taylor for 1965′s Repulsion after seeing his past work: “As I saw it, the only person who could do justice to our black-and-white picture was Gil Taylor, whose photography on Dr. Strangelove had deeply impressed me. I also saw his wonderful work on A Hard Day’s Night; Richard Lester, the director, was mixing it at Twickenham Studios, where Repulsion was to be made. [Our executive producer, Michael] Klinger protested that Gil Taylor was one of the most expensive cameramen in the business, but I held out for Taylor and I got him.” Taylor earned BAFTA nominations for Repulsion (1965) and Cul-De-Sac (1966), and he won the American Cinematographers Society’s ASC International Achievement award in 2006. But he was best known for Lucas’ 1977 watershed sci-fi film Star Wars. From the ASC magazine in a 2006 interview:
Consumed by the details of the complicated production, “George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture,” says Taylor. “I took it upon myself to experiment with photographing the lightsabers and other things onstage before we moved on to our two weeks of location work in Tunisia.”
D23: Alan Horn Jeered For Keeping Mum On ‘Star Wars’, ‘Maleficent’s Angelina Jolie Makes Surprise Appearance, Marvel Teases ‘Avengers 2′
Anthony D’Alessandro contributes to Deadline’s D23 coverage.
Disney’s live action panel today at D23 started off with Alan Horn being heckled by disappointed Star Wars fans and pretty much turned into a clipfest afterwards. Only a surprise appearance by Maleficent star Angelina Jolie at the Anaheim event raised the temperature anywhere near Friday’s news filled Animation panel. The newest jewel in Disney’s crown, Star Wars was dealt with by the studio boss with a list of old announcements of approximate release dates, JJ Abrams being on board and spinoff films. “I really wish I could tell you more. It will come soon,” Horn told the crowd as a big “awww” and boos emanated from around the convention center from fans expecting a bone to be thrown their way today.
That was in sharp contrast to Jolie’s sudden walk-on later in the two-hour panel. Then it was cheers not jeers. “Since I was a little girl, I was drawn to her. But I was also terrified by her, but she had this elegance and grace,” said Jolie about playing in the upcoming backstory to the Sleeping Beauty character. “When I heard Disney was making the film, my brother encouraged me to take the role.” Jolie’s appearance in front of the audience of 7,500, came after Walt Disney live action production head Sean Bailey spoke about casting her for Maleficent. “You can pencil out a list of all the amazing actresses in the world and for us this list only had one name for the role, Angelina Jolie,” exclaimed Bailey over as sketches from the film played on the big screen. After Jolie’s brief turn on stage, Bailey showed the audience exclusive footage from Maleficent. In the clip, Jolie’s British-accented wicked Queen appeared amidst CGI fairies and green steam rising to curse the baby Sleeping Beauty. “Without a doubt, Maleficent will be a powerful movie experience when it comes to theaters next summer,” Bailey told the crowd. Maleficent is set to be release on July 2, 2014.
Disney brass thinks Star Wars is so important they went to Germany of all places this weekend for Star Wars Celebration, the global Star Wars fan convention that began in 1999 to celebrate the release of the first prequel. Today at the confab Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that composer John Williams will return for JJ Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII after scoring all six previous films. Joining Mouse House execs in Essen, Germany are franchise stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Ian McDiarmid, Anthony Daniels, Jeremy Bulloch, Warwick Davis, and Peter Mayhew, flown in for a Return of the Jedi reunion. Disney is set to unveil more for fans stateside at next month’s D23 Expo in Anaheim.