Story by Jesse Kovac
Information about the upcoming “Star Wars” sequel, slated for release on Dec. 18, 2015, is slowly trickling its way to the general public from Lucasfilm, the long-time “Star Wars” production company now owned by Disney.
One of the first bits of information released was that J.J. Abrams, director of the 2009 and 2013 “Star Trek” reboots, will take the helm for another classic science fiction continuation.
Abrams has co-written the screenplay with Lawrence Kasdan, who retains undeniable “Star Wars” pedigree as a cowriter of two franchise installments from the original trilogy: 1980’s “The Empire Strikes Back” and 1983’s “Return of the Jedi.”
The currently untitled “Episode VII” is carrying the franchise into uncharted territory.
For the first time, creator and director of the first film, George Lucas, will not be directly involved in the project.
Lucas was responsible for the story, screenplay and direction of the original 1977 “Star Wars,” later retitled “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
While he passed the directing and writing torches to others for the rest of the original trilogy, Lucas became more involved when he revisited “Star Wars” with the prequel trilogy, including 1999’s “Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” 2002’s “Episode II: Attack of the Clones” and 2005’s “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”
This time, Lucas wrote and directed each film.
With George Lucas’ sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, he will no longer be directly involved with any upcoming “Star Wars” films.
Some may feel Disney has no place making new “Star Wars” films without Lucas’s involvement, like first-year secondary education and biology double major Ren Daemicke.
“They shouldn’t happen. “Star Wars” is George Lucas’ baby, and Disney should respect that. They can work with what’s already made, but they shouldn’t be making new movies,” Daemicke said.
Others on campus see things differently.
Senior secondary education major Matthew Andrews said, “As far as George Lucas’ lack of involvement in the new project, I don’t think that that should be a huge worry, but should instead be celebrated. Lucas told the story he wanted to tell, and he’s created a universe that leaves plenty of room for new and exciting stories to be told. Abrams can and will do that.”
When trying to gather information about the story for “Episode VII,” one must navigate a labyrinth of rumor, supposed information leaks and fan-generated speculation.
Lucasfilm recently dropped a significant hint about the nature of the story.
The existing “Expanded Universe” tales will not be considered canon.
For the uninitiated of “Star Wars” superfandom, the Expanded Universe is a term referring to the cavalcade of supplemental stories found in novels, comics and other mediums not directly produced by Lucasfilm.
What Lucasfilm’s announcement boils down to is that the story will be original.
It will not be an adaptation of third-party “Star Wars” stories centered on the events post “Return of the Jedi.”
There had been a great deal of speculation about the film’s cast until Tuesday of this week.
The Internet had been abuzz with rumors of the three original principles — Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher — spotted together in London.
These rumors turned to studio-confirmed fact when Abrams, along with Disney and Lucasfilm, released a long list of actors who will comprise the upcoming film’s cast.
Many original cast members will be returning beyond just the big three, including Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca).
Rounding out the cast is a wealth of established actors: Adam Driver, Andy Serkis (famous for portraying the voice and motion-capture likeness of Gollum from Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) and the legendary Max Von Sydow (who has been world-renowned for his acting prowess since the 1950s when he starred in several Ingmar Bergman classics).
The cast, much like the creative minds behind the story and direction, is an eye-catching mix of old and new.
The public is now privy to the key players in this drama, but knows little of the story or the direction in which it will take.
What is known, however, is more than enough for fans and others who wish to speculate on how the film will turn out.
“Having seen Abrams’s “Star Trek,” I’m confident that the style of “Star Wars” will be apparent, but I’m apprehensive about Abrams capturing the essence of the world,” said junior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major Matt Wright.
Some students on campus have never seen any of the other six films in the franchise, and its reputation alone is enough for them to look forward to the release of “Episode VII.”
“I’m just so excited for it because I’ve never seen the other films, and I’m excited for this one so that I can jump on the bandwagon,” said first-year Kaitlin Lacek.
Lacek hinted at something that others expressed about the new film: that it is “Star Wars” for a new generation.
Andrews thinks this is a good thing. “Every generation deserves their unique experience with “Star Wars” movies.”