With “Star Wars Episode VII” now officially underway – can you believe it’s actually happening? Me neither! Someone pinch my Wookie! – expect sorts of news and rumours, likely pertaining to things far, far away, arising from within the lair of the Hoth-like monster known as the .. internet.
Most interesting rumour of the past couple of days is in relation to Han Solo’s arc in the new film.
*SPOILER WARNING* Apparently – and quite a few sources say it so; makes sense too, considering it was Ford’s wish for “Return of the Jedi” all those years ago – everyone’s favourite Greedo-shooting smuggler mightn’t make it out of “Episode VII” alive. Talk is, Han will sacrifice himself or meet his death at the hands of a new villain, which in turn causes the three youngsters at the center of the new film to come together. And if it’s true, guess that means Episode VIII and Episode VI will be revenge-films, somewhat. Maybe they can call that final chapter in the new trilogy … ‘Revenge of the Jedi’? Heck, somewhere, in a vault, shitloads of posters are already ready-to-go with that title on it. Brush off the cobwebs and dust, and presto! Insta-free marketing campaign!
Harrison Ford has always had a love-hate (mostly hate, until recently) affair with “Star Wars” – he’s never quite understood the appeal of the films, and always likened his character Han Solo to a soggy bowl of Vita Bricks. Ford has called the character dull, interesting and stupid. I don’t think anyone is willing to agree with that – personally, I think Han is one of the most likeable and engaging characters in the saga – but that’s been Ford’s stance for years.
In the 2004 documentary “Empire of Dreams”, Ford said he thought Han Solo should’ve died at the end of “Empire Strikes Back”. “I thought Han Solo should die. I thought he ought to sacrifice himself for [Luke and Leia]. He’s got no mama. He’s got no papa. He’s got no future. He has no story responsibilities at this point. So let’s allow him to commit self-sacrifice.”
“Empire Strikes Back” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan was in agreement, saying “I also felt someone had to go. . . . It should happen very early in the last act so you begin to worry about everybody.”
Interestingly-enough, Kasdan is the co-writer of “Episode VII”. George Lucas, the man who put a stop to killing Han (he thought it would hurt toy sales) in the earlier movies, isn’t involved in the new flicks. Hmmm..
So, here Ford is, all these years later, reprising the role. So what gives? Well, it’s quite likely he’s surprised in the quality of the script, and JJ Abrams is a charming, smart guy – so Ford’s probably taken to him too, but the finer elements of his contract might indeed read “Ford will only be available for the first movie in the new trilogy. Find an appropriate way to send his character off.” His involvement might be limited. And with rumours that Ford wants to get a fifth “Indiana Jones” movie off-the-ground in the coming years, it’s likely the actor has made some sort of verbal agreement with Disney that if he reprises Han, he also gets to reprise Indy. Win. Ford wouldn’t even be considering an Indy reprise if he was committed to doing all three new “Star Wars” movies – he’d likely not have the time to get a Jones adventure done between ‘Wars’ installments, so what’s likely happening is he’ll be freed-up after “Episode VII” to shoot “Indiana Jones 5”. And it will likely shoot at the same time as the next two films in the “Star Wars” films.
This is all just Chinese whisper stuff at the moment, but it’s presumed by large majorities that Solo will indeed bite it in this coming trilogy. Adam Driver, previously reported to be playing a ‘Darth Vader’-like villain, is now rumoured to be playing Solo and Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) son. If that’s on the money, then young Solo clearly finds himself brainwashed by the dark side – a’la Anakin Skywalker – and it’s possible his father’s death (maybe the bad guys stage it so that it looks like Solo’s own people are responsible? Or maybe the kid is just fueled with so much anger, that he’s able to be manipulated easily) will be the nudge needed to make the switch to the new camp.
On top of that, a couple of sites are reporting that there’s still two major female roles to be cast in “Episode VII”. Latino Review say newcomers Katie Jarvis and Maisie Richardson-Sellers may have been cast in the parts. Both are apparently ripper actresses, and come from very thespy-like backgrounds, so it’s quite possible they’ve indeed got this all wrapped up – or are close to it.
Next, news wise, a German website apparently attended a Hasbro conference where future ‘’Star Wars’’ merchandising plans were revealed. It’s there, the site says, that a release schedule of all future “Star Wars”-related films was unveiled, which consequently reveals what the spin-off films will be about. On that list, the previously rumoured Han Solo and Bobba Fett origins movies, and also a third, ‘first we’ve heard of it’ project called “Red 5” – which would assumingly be a series or feature fixing on those flying the X-Wings (like Luke did in the original trilogy). It’s said to be the last film planned in the current crop of “Wars” movies, and is due 2020.
While the news could still be fake, the fact that two highly-reputable “Star Wars” fan sites were asked to take down the news suggests there might be something to it.
Here’s the calendar, anyway:
• 2014: Rebels
• 2015: Episode VII
• 2016: Boba Fett
• 2017: Episode VIII
• 2018: Solo
• 2019: Episode IX
• 2020: Red 5
The best news of all, as I said, is “Episode VII” currently unraveling itself before the cameras. Here’s the first official pic from the set, announcing that principal photography had kicked of :
— Star Wars (@starwars) May 16, 2014