The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.
April 29, 2014 10:18 AM   Subscribe

"The Star Wars team is thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII."

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

(Via io9.) Star Wars previously.
posted by jbickers (412 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
JOHN BOYEGA!!!

!!!!

oh but it's jj abrams so why even bother
posted by elizardbits at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2014 [27 favorites]


squee!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:24 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, for my two daughters who have asked me every single day since we finished watching Episode 3 if 7 is out yet:

squee!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:25 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


...and down goes starwars.com.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:26 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Max von Sydow is still alive?
posted by entropicamericana at 10:26 AM on April 29, 2014 [23 favorites]


No Billy Dee?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


I'm way more excited about Oscar Isaac and John Boyega than I am about Fisher, Ford, and Hamill.
posted by echocollate at 10:27 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


i want to be excited like ewoks taking down an AT-ST

but

Jar Jar Binks

the betrayal still cuts so deep

so very, very deep
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join

Oh gosh, oh, let's see, hmm, hmm...which one of these folks will play the villain?
posted by phunniemee at 10:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [31 favorites]


My five year old daughter last night: "Daddy? How do you know who Darth Vader is???"
Me: "Sweetie, it's time we had a talk. A long time ago, in a decade far far away..."
posted by Big_B at 10:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


No Billy Dee?

Apparently he doesn't work every time.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [58 favorites]


Kenny Baker turns 80 in August. I sure hope they put an oxygen mask in that tomato can.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


JJ Abrams.

I feel a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

I fear something terrible has happened.

We must be cautious.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


I'm confused. Who's playing Captain Kirk this time?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [38 favorites]


Max von Sydow is still alive?

85! I guess he's this trilogy's Christopher Lee in the "he's been in every other film ever so why not this one"? His casting is sort of intriguing in that you would assume he's going to be playing an old character so maybe someone from the past?

The expectation for this film is so weird and murky. I mean, yay for actual filmmakers, but they picked a director who really seems to have trouble connecting with his audience.


Oh gosh, oh, let's see, hmm, hmm...which one of these folks will play the villain?

There have been some rumors about it being Adam Driver, which is just... odd.
posted by selfnoise at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


JJ's Star Trek movies have been nearly unwatchable. So much hand-held shaky cam. And the lens flares. My god, the lens flares.

Everyone knows that Episodes I II and III were a disaster (as well as the 2nd half of VI).

Will I go see this though? Yeah, probably.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Adam Driver? Way to get Girls into Star Wars.
posted by hanoixan at 10:31 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I like the cast choices for the most part, but then again I loved Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor too.
posted by mcstayinskool at 10:31 AM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Do we know who's playing Jar Jar yet?
posted by indubitable at 10:32 AM on April 29, 2014


It's you. You're Jar Jar.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:32 AM on April 29, 2014 [109 favorites]


Max von Sydow is exciting. Serkis will be fine in whatever motion capture suit they stick him in. Dunno about these other folks.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:32 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


The cast list is fantastic, but then again so was the casting of the prequels.

Remember how excited you were that Samuel L Jackson was in Star Wars?
posted by thecjm at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [48 favorites]


A million server threads have cried out in terror, and are now silent.
posted by jquinby at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2014


If you think about it, we're all Jar Jar, really.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [27 favorites]


His casting is sort of intriguing in that you would assume he's going to be playing an old character so maybe someone from the past?

Mua ha ha ha ha!
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Jar Jar is Sparticus.
posted by aught at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Interesting little "Llewyn Davis" reunion there with Oscar Isaacs and Adam Driver.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


mcstayinskool: "Everyone knows that Episodes I II and III were a disaster (as well as the 2nd half of VI)."

That's a *little* strong on ROTJ. It's definitely the weakest original film, due both to bloat and the misguided Ewok storyline. But I think the Vader/Luke/Emperor sequence is pretty well done.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


oh but it's jj abrams so why even bother

I am cautiously optimistic, because: from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan [of episodes V & VI] and Abrams ...

...and notably not Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, or Damon Lindelof, who have done a lot of writing with & for Abrams -- on the Star Trek reboot, among other projects.
posted by cjelli at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Lens flares there will be.
posted by lagomorphius at 10:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [10 favorites]




Jar Jar is Death, and plays a game of chess for Max von Sydow's soul.
posted by Cash4Lead at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Interesting little "Llewyn Davis" reunion there with Oscar Isaacs and Adam Driver.

Plot for Episode VII is the search for a cat's scrotum.
posted by COBRA! at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have almost nothing but antipathy towards Star Wars at this point, but will probably still see it.

Here are IMDBs for the actors to help put names to faces:
Daisy Ridley,
John Boyega,
Adam Driver,
Oscar Isaac,
Andy Serkis,
Domhnall Gleeson,
Max von Sydow

Plus the original cast, but you know what they look like.
posted by codacorolla at 10:36 AM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


John Boyega - Daisy Ridley - Adam Driver - Oscar Isaac - Domhnall Gleeson

Apparently being in Inside Llewyn Davis was a good career choice if you want to be in the next Star Wars film.

The table read cast photo is fascinating, and I'm sure will lead to much speculation about the relative weight of various roles. Driver is sharing a sofa with Hamill, for example. Does that mean something? Does Ridley sitting in between Ford and Fisher mean that she's the long-discussed child? Why is R2 sneaking up on Abrams like that? So many questions....
posted by anastasiav at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Remember how excited you were that Samuel L Jackson was in Star Wars?

No.
posted by echocollate at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I tweeted my feelings about this, but I'll add them here too:

Always remember: Hype leads to excessive expectations; excessive expectations lead to fan rage; fan rage leads to suffering.
posted by immlass at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2014 [50 favorites]


Well, with Serkis you're going to get a decent creature, and von Sydow will bring to the new batch what Cushing and Guinness did to the first. You'd have to bring in the whole Royal Shakespeare Company to assuage my doubts about Abrams, but I feel encouraged by this particular bit of news.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Damnit. Typed too slow...
posted by anastasiav at 10:37 AM on April 29, 2014


Abrams has actually apologized for all of those lens flares:
I know I get a lot of grief for that. But I'll tell you, there are times when I'm working on a shot, I think, 'Oh this would be really cool… with a lens flare.' But I know it's too much, and I apologize. I'm so aware of it now. I was showing my wife an early cut of Star Trek Into Darkness and there was this one scene where she was literally like, "I just can't see what's going on. I don't understand what that is." I was like, "Yeah, I went too nuts on this."

This is how stupid it was — I actually had to use ILM [Industrial Light & Magic] to remove lens flare in a couple of shots, which is, I know, moronic. But I think admitting you're an addict is the first step towards recovery.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2014 [51 favorites]


It's gotten to the point where I honestly don't know how to feel anymore. The part of my brain that gives a shit about Star Wars is burned out, exhausted. All I can muster w/r/t Star Wars is a kind of bemused "huh."

I guess I hope it's good, because it would be nice to feel something besides "Huh," again. My worry is that the leveraging of the original cast, if handled poorly, might actually tip my numbed Star Wars-cortex or lobe or Lucas' Area or whatever into full dark side, and instead of being "whatever" I'll be actively angry. And I hate being angry about narratives over which I have no control.
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2014 [18 favorites]


My five year old daughter last night: "Daddy? How do you know who Darth Vader is???"
Me: "Sweetie, it's time we had a talk. A long time ago, in a decade far far away..."


Star Wars Talk to Your Kids PSA
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Yeah, the absence of Lindelof is very welcome, and hopefully will continue through the "script fixes" phases of development.

The sequel trilogy was always going to kill the EU. I grew up reading the books - I still know more about the Yuuzhan Vong than I do about many things I am paid to learn - and I've goten more amusement out of laughing at the poor fools who were caught by surprise on this than I ever did from, say, Kevin J. Anderson.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:38 AM on April 29, 2014


yeah but midichlorians
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jar Jarticus?
posted by nevercalm at 10:39 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I don't know. I've seen three of the four movies Abrams has directed (the one I haven't seen, Mission Impossible 3, was apparently well-received by critics and whatnot). Of those three, I liked one (Star Trek) very much, I thought one of them (Super 8) was pretty good but not incredible, and I absolutely fucking hated Star Trek Into Darkness. As terrible as that last one was, three out of four ain't a bad track record, especially given that even Star Trek Into Darkness had fun moments compared to the Star Wars prequels.

I'd be lying if I said I were planning on seeing the next Star Wars movie, but maybe it'll be good and maybe it'll generally be pleasing to people who like Star Wars. It'll never manage to accomplish what the first trilogy did, because it can't go back in time and make you a kid again and let you see it through the eyes of a kid, but maybe it'll be pretty good. I hope it is. I think its chances are decent.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Adam Driver

Yes, but how does Hannah feel about this?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:42 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


As long as Hayden Christensen is as far away as is humanly possible while still remaining on the same planet (and I will settle for the bottom of an ocean, with or without submarine), I'm happy.
posted by nevercalm at 10:42 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


anastasiav: " Driver is sharing a sofa with Hamill, for example."

Hamill appears to be sharing a sofa with Serkis, and talking to Anthony Daniels.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:42 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jar Jarticus?

Meesa Jarticus! No MEESA Jarticus!

posted by 2bucksplus at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2014 [19 favorites]


Hamill appears to be sharing a sofa with Serkis, and talking to Anthony Daniels.

Then who is sitting next to Abrams, looking down?
posted by anastasiav at 10:43 AM on April 29, 2014


I'm hoping that it isn't super fucking serious and grim like Abram's Star Treks are, but also not a goofy toy commercial like the prequels. The original series holds up in part because it's able to strike the balance between a plot with real stakes and good characters versus the swashbuckling goofy fantasy that it's inspired by.
posted by codacorolla at 10:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Says it's Kasdan.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2014


I guess John Boyega will be having…


… Imperial Dreams.
posted by Kabanos at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Max von Sydow

Obi Wan, I presume.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:46 AM on April 29, 2014


Related: The new movies will completely invalidate the post-ROTJ Expanded Universe

...as if millions of nerds said "um actually" and were suddenly silenced.
posted by griphus at 10:47 AM on April 29, 2014 [55 favorites]



Then who is sitting next to Abrams, looking down?


That's Lawrence Kasdan!
posted by thecjm at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


They should just go ahead and make Lens Flare the next Jedi power.

"There they are! Blast them!"
fleeing Jedi turns and waves arm dramatically
"I can't see! Where are they?"
*Shot of heroes slow walking towards camera as background fades to blue*
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:48 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


One person of colour, and only two women? In a group of 13? Please tell me the future is not all white males.

As a white male, this depresses me no end.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:50 AM on April 29, 2014 [37 favorites]


Max von Sydow is still alive?

I will never not hear this sort of question in Brian Blessed's voice.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:50 AM on April 29, 2014 [40 favorites]


Sidebar, but if you haven't seen Attack the Block, the movie that made a name for Star Wars VII's John Boyega, you should do that right away, because it's flipping awesome, like young John Carpenter awesome.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [25 favorites]


As long as Hayden Christensen is as far away as is humanly possible while still remaining on the same planet (and I will settle for the bottom of an ocean, with or without submarine), I'm happy.

But what is the environment like on the planet where Hayden Christensen is? For instance: is there rough, coarse sand everywhere, or is everything smooth?
posted by doctornecessiter at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


Many women on Twitter point out that it's still only two women, and given how Abrams wasn't exactly the best at handling ST women characters, hopes are not high.

Of course, original Star Wars only had one. But Attack of the Clones animated series had many awesome ones. Guess Abrams didn't watch those.

My kid will want to see this, but I don't know if I'll go with him. I'm getting tired of seeing Team of Male Characters with One Woman, Who Will Probably Be the Hero's Love Interest and Need Rescuing. What are her chances of getting the skimpiest outfit on the team? Pretty fucking high. (I guess Fisher has aged out of that threat, but how big a role will she get to play?)
posted by emjaybee at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Good news! It's not set in the future!
posted by vibrotronica at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


This announcement is like a splinter in my mind's eye.
posted by GuyZero at 10:51 AM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


I will never not hear this sort of question in Brian Blessed's voice.

Meesa liken dat.


Also, hay guyz, lens flare! herf derf
posted by entropicamericana at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2014


Please tell me the future is not all white males.

Dude, it's "long ago in a galaxy far, far away", remember?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


This announcement is like a splinter in my mind's eye.

I'm hoping that Kasdan's writing will make it an acceptable heir to Empire.
posted by cjelli at 10:52 AM on April 29, 2014


I can't believe Simon Pegg's not in it.
posted by dng at 10:53 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


One person of colour, and only two women? In a group of 13? Please tell me the future is not all white males

SIGH.

Why can't Daisy Ridley be the hero of this story? If there's only one woman in the younger cast, can't she be the hero?

Please?
posted by suelac at 10:54 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm hoping that Kasdan's writing will make it an acceptable heir to Empire.


I'm often a proponent of going back to the talents that made a thing great in the first place. And it's nice when Hollywood doesn't automatically rule out its older talents just for the crime of getting old.

That said, Kasdan's last four produced screenplays are: Dreamcatcher, Mumford, Wyatt Earp, and The Bodyguard. (shudder)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:56 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, Carrie Fisher is probably going to be the president of the galaxy in this one, so there's that.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:56 AM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Hoping for an extended sequence of Future Brewmeister Smith looking at a big board.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:56 AM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


I like this comment via Twitter: "Guardians of the Galaxy has more women in its cast, and it stars a talking raccoon and a tree."
posted by Kitteh at 10:56 AM on April 29, 2014 [99 favorites]


Well, look at the bright side, at least Abrams likes Star Wars, so maybe he'll do a good job. Trouble is when it comes to Star Wars don't know what a good job is since the only thing I don't loathe about it is the original McQuarrie art. (I probably don't belong in this thread because I'm in the Freddy Mercury camp. No, not that kind of camp.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2014


Carrie Fisher is probably doomed to appear for 2 seconds as a hologram.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:57 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit: "Hoping for an extended sequence of Future Brewmeister Smith looking at a big board."

I could crush your head...like a nut...but I won't. Because I need you.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Related: The new movies will completely invalidate the post-ROTJ Expanded Universe

Which were never more than marketing tie-ins to start with. Was there really any question that Kasdan was going to build on his earlier work rather than a share credit with with that shared-universe literary mess?

But I'm generally anti-canon in that I don't feel that continuity much less thematic unity among independent interpretations by independent creative teams are necessarily good things.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:59 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Honestly if this movie is just Carrie Fisher reading from her autobiography while laser battles happen out-of-focus in the background I'm sold.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2014 [46 favorites]


I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Please let Max von Sydow be playing half-ghost, half-mortal Obi-Wan, more powerful than you can possibly imagine.
posted by The World Famous at 11:01 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hoping for an extended sequence of Future Brewmeister Smith looking at a big board.


The power of the Force stopped you, you hosers!



Ow, my left nut.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Honestly if this movie is just Carrie Fisher reading from her autobiography while laser battles happen out-of-focus in the background I'm sold.

Would the movie be subtitled Postcards from the Wedge?
posted by zombieflanders at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2014 [38 favorites]


I feel like this thread title really deserves a pun...
posted by Theta States at 11:04 AM on April 29, 2014


How strange and cool will it be if Andy Serkis isn't playing a motion-captured CGI character?
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2014 [16 favorites]


Andy Serkis is playing a CG version of George Lucas whom the orginal cast kicks on the ground for about fifteen minutes.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2014 [52 favorites]


Althought the faults of the prequels cannot be laid at the actors feet (well, most of the actors), I'm encouraged that they're going for a lot of young up-and-comers rather than established stars like Jackson, Neeson, McGregor and Portman.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:05 AM on April 29, 2014


Is the movie really going to open worldwide on the same day? Is there precedent for such a thing? I can't remember another blockbuster that didn't have staggered international premieres.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 11:07 AM on April 29, 2014


One way to interpret that statement is that December 18 is when it will be available worldwide, not necessarily when it will first open.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2014


JJ Abrams still at the helm. Oh jebus and hellfire. On the other hand, given the travesty that was the Star Wars prequels (and the fucking Ewoks in VI), he's still a better choice than Lucas. Lawrence Kasdan is writing this? So apparently Abrams has chosen to work with someone that can actually write a semi-coherent plot for a change? (kiss my fat white ass Orci, Kurtzman, and Lindelof - I'll never get the time I wasted on ST:ID back).
posted by Ber at 11:09 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


J.J. Abrams should sneak in lens flares as a self-referential Easter Egg- maybe the Sun Crusher's explosive payload causes a supernova that looks like one giant lens flare?
posted by Apocryphon at 11:10 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Look, Star Wars is a Trinity.

The first Star Wars movie was Star Wars. The second Star Wars movie was The Empire Strikes Back. The third Star Wars movie was Return of the Jedi.

There is no other Star Wars.

All else is merchandising.
posted by Reverend John at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2014 [27 favorites]


I'm encouraged that they're going for a lot of young up-and-comers rather than established stars like Jackson, Neeson, McGregor and Portman

That being said, watching McGregor channel Guinness in the first half hour of I was a thing of beauty. It is the reason that, when my son wants to watch the film, I both let him and don't leave the room immediately.
posted by anastasiav at 11:11 AM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


Hmmm, lots of unnecessary lens flare and even more unnecessary Jar Jar... gonna go ahead and give this one a pass, too.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2014


There should be a subplot involving gravitational lensing, and there's an accident involving a solar flare, so a ship gets destroyed by a lens flare. Y'know, self referential humor. Also, maybe in the background of a scene, a jar that you keep smaller jars in. A jar jar, as it were.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


*sighs* I- I don't know what to think. I love Star Wars. I mean, I love love it. I have a 20-year-old Star Wars tattoo. But the prequels were painful. And I'm not all that fond of JJ Abrams's take on Star Trek. And really, Princess Leia and one other new woman? Seriously?

But there are things that make me hopeful. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the best of the original trilogy. Aside from the original cast, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow, I don't recognize any of the new actors, meaning I have no preconceived notions about them. No big name stunt casting (as of yet).

I just... I don't want it to be bad, you guys!
posted by lovecrafty at 11:13 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Honestly if this movie is just Carrie Fisher reading from her autobiography while laser battles happen out-of-focus in the background I'm sold.
He explained. 'You go into space and you become weightless. Then your body expands but your bra doesn't, so you get strangled by your own underwear.'
Pew! Pew!
posted by pracowity at 11:14 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


How strange and cool will it be if Andy Serkis isn't playing a motion-captured CGI character?



He's actually playing an accountant named Brill Merkoo, and he has a 10-minute dialogue with Leia about the finer points of creating a blended tax code for the post-imperial galactic republic.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:15 AM on April 29, 2014 [36 favorites]


On the other hand, given the travesty that was the Star Wars prequels (and the fucking Ewoks in VI), he's still a better choice than Lucas.

Just about anyone is better than Lucas. It's history that the first cut Episode IV was unwatchable among Lucas's circle. Brilliant post-production work by Marcia Lucas, Ben Burtt, and John Williams managed to get a watchable cut out of his mess, and he did not write or direct either of the two movies that followed.

Ok, Michael Bay and Uwe Boll probably wouldn't be better, but that's not saying much.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:15 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once. I for one am patiently waiting for Terrence Malick's re-imagining of the Battle of Endor in the style of the Thin Red Line.
posted by Kabanos at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


I honest expect it will just be Oscar Isaacs wandering around with a guitar and a pet cat trying to find a gig after getting beat up in a fight at the Chalmun's Cantina. At one point he will sing "Please Mr. Skywalker (Uh oh!) I don't wanna go (please don't shoot me into outer space)."

And that would be good.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:16 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


'Lawrence Kasdan wrote the best of the original trilogy'

...and Leigh Brackett remember.....
posted by Mintyblonde at 11:17 AM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


Gosh, the internet is full of cinematographers judging by the amount of lens flare jokes I've seen today.
posted by Think_Long at 11:17 AM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


I get the feeling that if I went from forum to forum today on this topic, It would be like Wendy at the Overlook Hotel turning pages over in Jack's manuscript:

"Lens Flare Lens Flare Lens Flare.
Lens Flare Lens Flare Lens Flare.
Lens Flare Lens Flare Lens Flare Lens Flare Lens.
Flare"
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:17 AM on April 29, 2014 [25 favorites]


With Abrams Star Trek, my sense is the movies are big slick numbers that do huge business and get really good reviews, and it's only on the margins that comes (entirely accurate) nattering that it's actually wildly out of step with the spirit of the franchise, or the plots are nonsensical or whatever. I'm expecting about the same from these. It'll scan as a big success in popular terms while leaving deep currents of dissatisfaction in it's wake.

It's history that the first cut Episode IV was unwatchable among Lucas's circle. Brilliant post-production work by Marcia Lucas, Ben Burtt, and John Williams managed to get a watchable cut out of his mess


This article basically brought me over to thinking that Marcia Lucas was basically the true author of Star Wars.
posted by anazgnos at 11:18 AM on April 29, 2014 [25 favorites]


He's actually playing an accountant named Brill Merkoo, and he has a 10-minute dialogue with Leia about the finer points of creating a blended tax code for the post-imperial galactic republic.

But how will this new taxation affect trade routes?? So many questions already! This is the stuff of great drama.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:18 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Gosh, the internet is full of cinematographers judging by the amount of lens flare jokes I've seen today.

They really like their CRTs and obviously fake Okudagrams.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:18 AM on April 29, 2014


The Abrams Star Trek are fantastic films. As someone on MeFi said awhile ago, they're like fanfic of Star Trek films. "OMG Spock and Uhura.. they kiss!". Hilarious and fun. OK so the plotting is a bit messy. I love the visual look though, even the lens flares.

I can't wait to see him pull Star Wars apart. Maybe he'll put together something better than the crap Lucas turned out.
posted by Nelson at 11:19 AM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Is the movie really going to open worldwide on the same day? Is there precedent for such a thing? I can't remember another blockbuster that didn't have staggered international premieres.

I don't think they have a choice. Trying to stagger the releases would just be begging for piracy. Their only weapon is a simultaneous release, at least in the Anglophone countries.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2014


I for one am patiently waiting for Terrence Malick's re-imagining of the Battle of Endor in the style of the Thin Red Line.



"Where is it that we were together? Who were you that I lived with? The brother. The friend. Darkness, light. Strife and love. Are they the workings of one mind? The features of the same face? Oh, my soul. Let me be in you now. Look out through my eyes. Look out at the things you made. All things shining. Yub nub."
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:21 AM on April 29, 2014 [43 favorites]


It'll scan as a big success in popular terms while leaving deep currents of dissatisfaction in it's wake.

The kinds of people who will complain about the films not adhering to the spirit of the original movies don't really matter because they're going to see the movies no matter what, and will probably buy the DVDs, video game and tie-in toys anyway.
posted by empath at 11:23 AM on April 29, 2014


Just one voice in the wilderness here but I liked both of the new Star Trek movies.
posted by djeo at 11:23 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


indubitable: "Do we know who's playing Jar Jar yet?"

Jar Jar Abrams
posted by chavenet at 11:26 AM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Where's Jar Jar? Well, it's no coincidence the director calls himself "JJ."

Of course, they are correct in their cynical calculation that I'm likely to go see it anyway.
posted by tyllwin at 11:27 AM on April 29, 2014


Will Adam Driver's character be a raging asshole whose ability to experience affection is utterly inexplicable?

'cause he's good at that, is what I'm getting at here.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:27 AM on April 29, 2014


If they give John Boyega a reprise of the "kill all them things" line I will just about pee my pants right there in the cinema I tell you what

And yes, if you are a fan of scifi, horror or action films and you have not seen Attack The Block, you need to fix that immediately.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:28 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Star Wars Episode VII: Breakin' 2: Electric JarJaraloo.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Just one voice in the wilderness here but I liked both of the new Star Trek movies.

I loved the first one, meh the second one, and I'm happy JJ will be in charge this time around instead of George. Call it a new hope.
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 11:29 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Will Adam Driver's character be a raging asshole whose ability to experience affection is utterly inexplicable?

They already have that in R2D2.
posted by Think_Long at 11:30 AM on April 29, 2014 [14 favorites]


They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once.

Wes Anderson heading up a Han/Lando "how they met" buddy-comedy/casino heist film.

Peter Jackson reboots the Christmas Special, now a trilogy with more wookies and an actual plot.

The Coen brothers: a Cantina-centric Tatooine story about the people who never made it off-world; the moisture farmers barely eking a living; the smugglers down on their luck.

Really though: I hope they seize the opportunity of deconstructing the EU to open up the room to a variety of stories and styles, rather than just jettisoning it in favor of a new canon EU.
posted by cjelli at 11:32 AM on April 29, 2014 [13 favorites]


OTOH, Carrie Fisher! Harrison Ford! Mark Hamill!; OTO, 20 bucks to sit in a shouty theatre and watch JJ Abrams direct JJ Binks, oh christ; OTOOH, maybe I'm still just enough of a sucker to think ... maybe ...

Anyway, FAMOUS MONSTER gets it exactly right. It'll never manage to accomplish what the first trilogy did, because it can't go back in time and make you a kid again and let you see it through the eyes of a kid ... is the only thing I've ever really learned from Star Wars.
But I know that I'll be comin' back someday;
I'll be playin' this part 'till I'm old and gray ...
posted by octobersurprise at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


JOHN BOYEGA!!!

I share this excitement and also add to the suggestion you watch Attack the Block if you like science fiction. I adore that movie. It is very well done on a number of fronts.

I'm really happy for John too, because he deserved to get a great role after that, but I hadn't yet seen him in a lot of things. So happy for him.
posted by cashman at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hey, none of that other stuff matters to me. Because, Han Solo.
posted by valkane at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2014


JJ Abrams.

I feel a great disturbance, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

I fear something terrible has happened.

We must be cautious.


I have a bad feeling about this.
posted by Foosnark at 11:33 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Mintyblonde: "'Lawrence Kasdan wrote the best of the original trilogy'

...and Leigh Brackett remember.....
"

Brackett wrote an early draft but then died and Kasdan wrote the final version that got filmed. (Previously)
posted by octothorpe at 11:34 AM on April 29, 2014


They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once.

Quentin Tarantino's blaxploitation homage about how Lando muscled out his competitors to seize control of the gas mining business galaxy-wide.
posted by gompa at 11:35 AM on April 29, 2014 [18 favorites]


Glad (hamburger) to see Abrams is continuing the long-standing Star Wars tradition of awarding exactly zeer-fucking-oh prominent roles to black women.

Just this morning, one of my friends sent me a link to a story describing how Lupita Nyong'o had "been in talks" for a leading role in the next Star Wars flick.

How stupid of me, after reading that story, to let hope that 2015 would be the year my daughter and I could watch a major sci-fi/fantasy property and see a character who looked like her, her paternal grandmother, her aunt, and her female paternal cousins playing a major role in the story, saving the galaxy with style and humor, bloom in my heart. Certainly can't take her to the YA section of the bookstore to find that.

I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but I have to say that this announcement brings me absolutely no joy.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:36 AM on April 29, 2014 [43 favorites]


'cause he's good at that, is what I'm getting at here.
Gentleman Caller is excited about Adam Driver being in the film...based solely on his appearance in Inside Llewyn Davis.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:38 AM on April 29, 2014


George_Spiggott: "Well, look at the bright side, at least Abrams likes Star Wars, so maybe he'll do a good job. "

Ha! Hahahahaha! Good one! Hahaha! Oh, wait. Were you serious?!
posted by zarq at 11:38 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


This is kinda like when they made the Flash Gordon movie in the 70s about Flash Gordon of the 30s.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2014


John Boyega is the guy from Attack the Block? YES!
posted by Big_B at 11:39 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


jeff-o-matic: "This is kinda like when they made the Flash Gordon movie in the 70s about Flash Gordon of the 30s."

Yeah, but still.
posted by zarq at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


The new cast looks great but I'm bummed that there aren't any asians in the Star Wars franchise. I mean, the original was loosely based on The Hidden Fortress so the least you could do is throw us a bone or something.
posted by cazoo at 11:40 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


NO STAR JUSTICE, NO STAR PEACE
posted by The Whelk at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Plus the original cast, but you know what they look like.

At any rate, we know what they used to look like.
posted by Flexagon at 11:44 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'd be maybe excited if they just transferred the entire cast of "Attack the Block" over -- but whatevs. I'm contractually obligated to dislike Star Wars AND Abrams, so I'm down to hoping Boyega makes a ton of money off this joint.
posted by allthinky at 11:48 AM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'd be maybe excited if they just transferred the entire cast of "Attack the Block" over

Allow it.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:52 AM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


"I for one am patiently waiting for Terrence Malick's re-imagining of the Battle of Endor in the style of the Thin Red Line."



I guess that it didn't come out very much in Internet Newspaper articles but "To The Wonder" (a movie I made with Good Will Hunting!!) was supposed to be "What would happen if Shakespeare In Love was in Star Wars??"

Actually I read a little bit and I guess most people didn't even see "To The Wonder" which I should point out is a MOVIE that I MADE using a camera and my scissors. I got to go to France! Everyone in France was very nice to me in the sarcastic French way (VERY continental!)) but "To The Wonder" is supposed to be about "Star Wars".

Did you see "To The Wonder"? It stars Jack Ryan on a farm JUST LIKE LUKE SKYWALKER in Texas where I grew up so it's basically Tatooine. Jack Ryan falls in love with Means Girls Girl but mostly he likes that French lady who I can't remember her name. (SHE IS FRENCH) And also Javier Bardem is there although he was supposed to be Yoda. Did you know computers are expensive? I had NO IDEA so I am writing this on a typewriter.

Anyway at one point Mean GIrls Girl is supposed to say "Use the force Will Shakespeare" LOL but my lawyer told me I couldn't get the rights. I guess it should have been another Dinosaur movie haha (inside joke)

But the most important thing I want to say today is that Heidegger oh christ the subtle ululations of a dusky wheat field in a november breeze
posted by "Doctor" Terence Malick at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


This really needs to be written by Timothy Zahn.
posted by Avenger at 11:54 AM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


If there's no Bill Murray, I'm not going to watch it.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:58 AM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


This really needs to be written by Timothy Zahn.

I thought the same thing, too. But I just started rereading the Thrawn books, and while the plotting is still a lot of fun, the prose and dialogue is only serviceable, and occasionally drops enormous clunkers. In any case it isn't crackling the way I remember it being when I first read them as a teenager, more's the pity.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


There should be a subplot involving gravitational lensing

Given how much LosTech type stuff there is in that setting, I don't think anyone living would know what gravitational lensing is.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:00 PM on April 29, 2014


Bill Murray would help.

Am amused that on my mobile, the entire "no women again!" comment section was beautifully framed by a giant ad of a sexy batgirl in a tanktop for NSFWCamp! or something. Commercial sexism takes no prisoners, it would seem.
posted by umberto at 12:02 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]




On the other hand, I can quite easily see JJ Abrams getting behind gravitational lens flare.
posted by schmod at 12:03 PM on April 29, 2014


The secret that you won't find it until opening night: it's a musical.
posted by blue_beetle at 12:06 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


We're having a star wars! Ta Dan Dah Dah Dan! A galaxy wide Star Wars! Hot cha cha!
posted by The Whelk at 12:07 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


I was less overwhelmed by graduate school than I am by Star Wars lore but I suppose I should just be grateful it isn't as complicated as comic books.
posted by srboisvert at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2014


Luke be a Jedi toniiiiiiight!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


I thought the new Star Trek movies passable popcorn flicks, on par with the bafflegab linking fight scenes of some of the recent Marvel movies. But as a lifelong Trekkie, low expectations just come with the territory for a franchise that's been more fanservice and cheese than brilliance.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:10 PM on April 29, 2014


Actually I read a little bit and I guess most people didn't even see "To The Wonder" which I should point out is a MOVIE that I MADE using a camera and my scissors. I got to go to France! Everyone in France was very nice to me in the sarcastic French way (VERY continental!)) but "To The Wonder" is supposed to be about "Star Wars".

I think the problem is that everyone knows that film under its French name, Gigli.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The secret that you won't find it until opening night: it's a musical.

Surely the opening number would go, "Oh Star Wars, If they should bar wars, Please let these Star Wars...... Stay."
posted by AlonzoMosleyFBI at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


The new cast looks great but I'm bummed that there aren't any asians in the Star Wars franchise.
After the prequels, I fully expect that Asians will be represented by a race of mawkish aliens speaking in retrograde accents straight out of some 1930s Yellow Peril fever dream.

Because, fuck you, George Lucas. Your franchise of Mad Men era cro-magnon White culture dressed up in CGI fanciness has been dead to me for over a decade. You've stopped speaking to my imagination and don't deserve my support.
posted by bl1nk at 12:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I want people to consider how much Harrison Ford looked like a wax statue in Crystal Skull... six years ago. Aging doesn't go backwards, folks.

I want Mark Hamill back in the costume of his greatest role... Cockknocker.

I want at least one Jedi to be run over and flattened by a passing spacetruck in the middle of a fight scene. A gorilla is fine too.

Also, I want Carrie Fisher back in the Slave Leia costume. No CGI. No trick photography. Just a million fanboy fantasy cliches crying out in terror and being suddenly silenced.
posted by delfin at 12:14 PM on April 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


Because, fuck you, George Lucas. Your franchise of Mad Men era cro-magnon White culture dressed up in CGI fanciness has been dead to me for over a decade. You've stopped speaking to my imagination and don't deserve my support.

Not that I disagree with you, but I'm not sure ol' George really deserves the blame for this one. He cashed out. Dude took your support to the bank and doesn't need it anymore. The casting issues should all fall on the current executive white dude.
posted by Think_Long at 12:17 PM on April 29, 2014


Huh. Didn't take long to kill "StarWars.com" dead. I wonder how long before their servers recover.
posted by koeselitz at 12:21 PM on April 29, 2014


They will come back more powerful than you can imagine.
posted by curious nu at 12:23 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


It was dead an hour before this post, for me at least.
posted by thelonius at 12:26 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Has Max von Sydow always been 85?
posted by mazola at 12:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


I am not familiar with this series of films. Can someone point me to a discussion of these "Star Wars" movies somewhere on the internets so that I can catch up?
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


"When you're a Jet-di / You're a Jet-di for life."
posted by wenestvedt at 12:28 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


How about a brand new Jospeh Campbell reimagining, Hollywood?
posted by angrycat at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2014


GUYS GUYS GUYS.

When you ask, "Is So-and-so still alive?" or say "I didn't realize So-and-so was still alive," SO-AND-SO DIES.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Eventually.
posted by mazola at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I didn't realize the Kardashians were still alive.
posted by delfin at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


Can someone point me to a discussion of these "Star Wars" movies somewhere on the internets so that I can catch up?

Find some spot on the Internet that isn't about Star Wars, then look anywhere else.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


I killed both Lucille Ball and Mickey Rooney that way. Don't kill Max von Sydow before he gets a chance to make the damn movie!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Underpants Monster: “When you ask, ‘Is So-and-so still alive?’ or say ‘I didn't realize So-and-so was still alive,’ SO-AND-SO DIES.”

Counterpoint.
posted by koeselitz at 12:31 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is Bohner still alive?

...

posted by RolandOfEld at 12:33 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


that link better be to ISABEVIGODADEAD.COM
posted by elizardbits at 12:33 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]




(Can't open link) What about James Earl?
posted by Melismata at 12:34 PM on April 29, 2014


Anyway, if the media-entertainment complex really wanted to service my fan, they'd give me a new Back To The Future movie. GUYS! IT'S ALMOST 2015! THIS IS YOUR BEST CHANCE!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:34 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I stopped caring about Star Wars after Firmus Piett died!
posted by mazola at 12:34 PM on April 29, 2014


The Quotable Piett.
posted by mazola at 12:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I'm just hoping Mark Hamill will reprise his greatest role... the voice of The Joker.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:38 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Star Wars the Musical?
posted by a person of few words at 12:39 PM on April 29, 2014




As long as there's a new character with a lightsaber for a penis, I'm sold.

Or vice versa!
posted by mazola at 12:43 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


I don't see what's so terrible about JJ Abrams directing this. Star Wars isn't nearly as weighed down by speculative pseudo-science like Star Trek, so he can't screw that up--it's not really as rigid in that way. It's plot-driven, action-packed, and the characters are simple. Star Wars often has problems when it's held up to scrutiny, but it doesn't matter because it's just an entertaining action/fantasy in space. Abrams is almost perfect for that.

Because, fuck you, George Lucas. Your franchise of Mad Men era cro-magnon White culture dressed up in CGI fanciness has been dead to me for over a decade. You've stopped speaking to my imagination and don't deserve my support.

Lucas isn't actually involved anymore and I would be very surprised if things got worse than the way Lucas handled things. But it is highly doubtful Star Wars will ever speak to your imagination the way it did when you were a kid anyway.
posted by Hoopo at 12:45 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think they're rehearsing another Jedi Council scene -- I hope the whole movie's like that!
posted by mazola at 12:45 PM on April 29, 2014


"They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once."

George RR Martin on the internecine slaughter of Sith and Jedi lords.
posted by klangklangston at 12:46 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


As long as there's a new character with a lightsaber for a penis, I'm sold.

You mean something like this?
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:47 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I'm skeptical.
posted by George Lucas at 12:49 PM on April 29, 2014 [45 favorites]


Coincidentally, Max von Sydow was also in David Lynch's Dune, which probably only got made because of the success of Star Wars, which in turn nicked a lot of its more interesting concepts from Frank Herbert's original Dune. It's the circle of liiiiiife!

(We won't even get into the lasting influence of Alejandro Jodorowsky's unmade Dune film from the 1970s, now the subject of a feature documentary.)
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I feel the George Lucas sockpuppet is the most perfectly deployed joke account. Never too much, just enough.
posted by Chrysostom at 12:53 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


To bad the George Lucas director never picked up on that.
posted by Think_Long at 12:55 PM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


Hey, Kenneth Colley (Admiral Piett, like you didn't know) also played Jesus in Life of Brian!
posted by Chrysostom at 12:57 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


It really doesn't seem likely to me that these films will be watchable at all. Abrams should never be given control over something with continuity. He'll just shit all over it. He fucked up his own boat with Lost and then, somehow, got the keys to Trek. We sort of gave him a pass on the plot of the first one largely, I guess, because of nostalgia, but holy HELL was the second one a return to "logic? what's that?" plotting.

Expecting anything different from his take on Star Wars seems like self-delusion.
posted by uberchet at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Well, today I learned that Max Van Sydow is in fact not the name of the guy who played that lunatic terrorist dude in Die Hard.
posted by something something at 1:03 PM on April 29, 2014


Max von Sydow is still alive?

I came here to post exactly this. I could've sworn he died shortly after Strange Brew of old age. He's seriously only 85? Whaaat?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:03 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


To be slightly fair (?!) regarding the lack of POC in the cast: Oscar Isaac was born Oscar Isaac Hernandez "in Guatemala, to a Guatemalan mother, Maria, and a Cuban father, Oscar Gonzalo Hernández-Cano, a pulmonologist."

But between Isaac's Anglicized stage name, his history of being cast as white/"ethnic-European-Jewish-Italian" dudes, and Lucas/Abrams' general race suckiness, I suspect Isaac's character will NOT hail from a planet of proud space Latinos after all.

Meanwhile, all the Asians have wormtunneled through spacetime to the same dimension to which the Firefly Asians fled, and Lando Calrissian is missing because he's busy holding the last Planet of Brown People together under the onslaught of a depopulation plague. Luckily for him, the PoBP is also one of the last Planets of Women as well. Godspeed, Lando!
posted by nicebookrack at 1:04 PM on April 29, 2014 [9 favorites]


To be fair, Abrams didn't really have any involvement with Lost beyond directing the pilot and initial development of the bare-bones concept. Any problems you have with Lost's overall arc should be directed to Mssrs. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

But yeah, Abrams' Star Trek is a real pissah.
posted by Strange Interlude at 1:06 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


But between Isaac's Anglicized stage name, his history of being cast as white dudes, and Lucas/Abrams' general race suckiness, I suspect Isaac's character will NOT hail from a planet of proud space Latinos after all.



I don't know- he could be from Alderaan.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2014


Max von Sydow was also in David Lynch's Dune, which probably only got made because of the success of Star Wars...

David Lynch turned down directing Jedi. As the story goes, he turned it down in order to direct Dune, but that part is less clear.
posted by griphus at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2014


Sys Rq: " I could've sworn he died shortly after Strange Brew yt of old age."

Obviously impossible, he was in Dune the next year. Plus in Hannah and Her Sisters two years after that.

Quite a colorful career he's had.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:08 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


A friend of mine got to meet Von Sydow and asked him what it was like to do Strange Brew. Von Sydow just started laughing and said, "I'd forgotten about that one."
posted by COBRA! at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [19 favorites]


"Strange Brew" really was an odd career choice.

For anyone, really.
posted by mazola at 1:11 PM on April 29, 2014


Wow, MVS would make the greatest AV Club Random Roles ever.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


From 1956-2015, Max von Sydow has four years in which he doesn't have an acting credit: 1959, 1964, 1988 and 2003.
posted by griphus at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2014 [22 favorites]


"Well, look at the bright side, at least Abrams likes Star Wars, so maybe he'll do a good job. "

Ha! Hahahahaha! Good one! Hahaha! Oh, wait. Were you serious?!


I saw Abrams talk about it in his interview on "The Daily Show" a while back and he talked about he was never really into Star Trek but he has wanted to make the next Star Wars movie since he was a kid or something.

The fact that they are shooting the movie on 35mm film, using more practical effects over CGI, and involving Kasdan speak of a certain reverence for the original trilogy that gives me hope that this will be good.
posted by VTX at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


cjelli: I am cautiously optimistic, because: from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan [of episodes V & VI] and Abrams ...

...and notably not Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, or Damon Lindelof, who have done a lot of writing with & for Abrams -- on the Star Trek reboot, among other projects.
This is a very good point. And while it's true that Kasdan has had both hits and misses in his career, I'd still rather see his latest take on Star Wars than Orci, Kurtzman's and Lindelof's. One really good science fiction movie > several muddled and bad ones. (And he wrote Silverado - so there's that in his favor as well.)

Anyway, I'm glad this is coming out nearly two years from now. There's lots of time for me to get excited, then disillusioned and bitter. Then forget about it, then remember and get excited again.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2014


For anyone, really

I dunno, for Hosehead it was probably the best role he ever got
posted by Hoopo at 1:15 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


One of the strange things about being born a week before Christmas is that these huge movies always come out on my birthday (of course, I don't know how much of a present it is, considering that I seem to be the one person of my generation who saw at least the first prequel first and had no idea why people were so passionate about these movies). One of my most bizarre and surreal memories involves a sneaky friend of mine informing the theatre manager of my birthday when we went to see one of the Lord of the Rings movies on the first day in high school, and being sung "Happy Birthday" by an entire theatre of people dressed as orcs and elves. It's what I imagine drugs must be like.

The good thing is I'll never have to worry about being sung to by a theatre of people dressed as Jar Jar, not because I probably won't see this on opening (though I won't) but because nobody would willingly dress as Jar Jar.
posted by ilana at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Wut no Nicolas Cage?
posted by Monkeymoo at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2014


I dunno, for Hosehead it was probably the best role he ever got

But he could always fall back on cutting pirates.
posted by COBRA! at 1:16 PM on April 29, 2014


Strange Brew, to me, is the equivalent of Stripes. Fantastic first half, followed by a second half that has no idea what to do with itself.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Max von Sydow is still alive?

Earlier this year, I saw The Exorcist for the first time. The movie came out in 1973, and von Sydow has a major role, and it's not until maybe midway through that I realize "wait, this is a 45 year old von Sydow in old man makeup. Holy moly, they nailed it!"

Here he is in The Exorcist (1973) when he was about 44. Dick Smith did the makeup, and you can see the process here.
posted by zippy at 1:25 PM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


In an Abrams twist, Serkis will be playing the live-action heavy and von Sydow will be playing a mocap Ewok.
posted by brundlefly at 1:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


...and being sung "Happy Birthday" by an entire theatre of people dressed as orcs and elves. It's what I imagine drugs must be like.

That is pretty much the definition of awesome.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:31 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh man oh boy oh wow oh man *plotz*
posted by steef at 1:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]



I knew this was happening and didn't pay much attention to it but now that it's been announced
I'm actually feeling some excitement. Though I refuse to get really excited because I got so burned last time.

I don't care if he is all old. Han Solo! I'm iffy on Leia because I've always had a bit of a love hate relationship with her. Love her as a person but she married Han Solo! which I couldn't really be upset about because she's awesome but it really made imagining me with Han Solo! hard because I'd have to get rid of her somehow and that just sucked.

Please make this good.

Oh a blurg on the lack of females. Boo, hiss. I'll live with it because Han Solo! but always be disappointed with what it could be. Take note for the next one please and thank you.
posted by Jalliah at 1:38 PM on April 29, 2014


Abrams should never be given control over something with continuity.

Oh come on. The prime directive of Trekkies had been, until recently, "ignore every odd-numbered movie." The TV series generally played fast and loose with continuity as well. This is a good idea because about 1/3rd of the episodes were just plain dumb, and the retcons often made a better story. DS9 Trill and Ferengi are so much better than TNG. On the other hand, the Klingon mutation virus was one of those retcons that really should have been better left unexplained.

To damn Abrams with faint praise, the reboots were somewhat watchable, which puts them above clunkers directed by Roddenberry, Shatner, and Frakes (Insurrection, notable primarily for Data's boob joke.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


They really have to hurry production if they want to make their Life Day 2015 release date.
posted by dr_dank at 1:40 PM on April 29, 2014




oh i get it, it's because he used lens flare before
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:48 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


The fact that they are shooting the movie on 35mm film, using more practical effects over CGI

This alone is such good news. I think the re-releases of Star Wars suffered badly from George Lucas' desire to make all those great costumes and practical effects computer animated. There was no need to make Jabba move around more. He was great the way he was.
posted by Hoopo at 1:51 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


"DS9 Trill and Ferengi are so much better than TNG."

Someone needs to have a stern talk with your crack dealer.
posted by klangklangston at 2:00 PM on April 29, 2014


Oh, whups, nevermind. I thought you were saying that DS9 in general was better, not just the Ferengi, which is right. Bit of corn in a turd, but hey.
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2014


Someone needs to have a stern talk with my crack dealer, apparently.
posted by klangklangston at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


I will take all of you to the crackshed
posted by thelonius at 2:03 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


It just now occurred to me that if the Star Wars expanded universe has been unilaterally and completely rendered non-canon, that would also mean that the New Republic itself has been rendered non-canon. (Right?) It also means that there's literally zero canon sources on what occurred after Return Of The Jedi. (Right?)

Which means that, technically speaking, Episode VII could simply begin with declaring that the Rebel Alliance didn't in fact succeed, that a new threat reared its head immediately after Return Of The Jedi (be it from the Empire or otherwise), and that the entire galaxy has for the last 30-40 years been perhaps in even worse shape than it was during the original trilogy. (Right?)

I know there almost certainly won't be some deeply dystopian landscape across the new trilogy, but one can hope.
posted by (The Rt Hon.) MP at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Episode VII begins with the revelation that the Endor Holocaust really did happen.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


I know there almost certainly won't be some deeply dystopian landscape across the new trilogy, but one can hope.

Okay, hear me out: After the fall of the republic, the universe is divided into thirteen discrete zones, we'll call them "districts", all controlled by a central entity. In order to maintain control of these "districts", each will randomly select two young-but-not-too-young-because-they're-sexy youths to compete in some sort of game, but to the death! And each of the factions will have some sort of personality trait or something and some of them will be nice and some will be angry? or I don't even know what that series was about.
posted by Think_Long at 2:13 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Defeating the Empire couldn't have been as simple as just killing the Emperor. Whatever one thinks of the prequels, one of the most interesting developments in them is how the Republic gave away its freedom to Palpatine. The people wanted freedom from fear more than freedom itself, so that's what he provided for them. It was only later that he went nuts, started building Death Stars and it all fell apart. There would be a lot of people and aliens who still believed in the Empire, and they wouldn't just surrender. Some of them might even be holding out thirty years later.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:14 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


There's nothing more disgusting than a Ewok Holocaust denier.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Let me guess: Daisy Ridley got cast so there is someone to take off her clothes so the male lead can letch over her.

Well, I wasn't expecting anything out of Abrams to be anything but shitty, so nothing to be disappointed about.
posted by tavella at 2:18 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Dumb question - people are speaking as if Jar Jar is definitively a character, but none of the press I'm seeing indicates this is the fact. So - is someone an insider or are people just making speculative jokes that I"m too naive to get?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Heck, the Empire holdouts are still a thing even in the EU (there's a hardcore bastion, the New Galactic Empire or something, that actually signed a peace treaty with Leia's government and remains an independent space-country). So they could definitely still be around in an Episode VII with waaaaaay less going on in those 30 intervening years.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:19 PM on April 29, 2014


EC - I think people are just making the standard jar jar jokes we've been making for the past 15 (holy shit) years. It does not seem likely that Jar Jar would come back save for a brief cameo, but what do I know?
posted by Think_Long at 2:22 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


Defeating the Empire couldn't have been as simple as just killing the Emperor. Whatever one thinks of the prequels, one of the most interesting developments in them is how the Republic gave away its freedom to Palpatine. The people wanted freedom from fear more than freedom itself, so that's what he provided for them. It was only later that he went nuts, started building Death Stars and it all fell apart. There would be a lot of people and aliens who still believed in the Empire, and they wouldn't just surrender. Some of them might even be holding out thirty years later.



This also raises the question of communication in the Empire. Given the presence of near-instantaneous interplanetary transmission, one must also assume that such communications can be manipulated in any number of ways. With this in mind, how would one even know whether or not any particular piece of communication was legitimate? Pretty much the only way to do this would be to pass critical information face-to-face, or possibly in the form of a hologram carried by a trusted courier (perhaps a droid who also happens to be a central figure in the rebellion).

How, then, would you communicate the fact of the Emperor's death to the galaxy in any credible way? Certainly, there would be the reality of the destruction of the Death Star and a significant portion of the Imperial fleet, but that might only be limited to the immediate sectors around Endor. Eventually, the senate might reform and demand that the Emperor present himself, but given its abolition, would such a demand be something to which the Emperor would be expected to submit? Would a significant portion of the Empire even recognize the authority of the senate? Would the remains of the navy and planetary forces do so? Would a Dönitz emerge from the general staff? Am I overthinking this?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:28 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Would a Dönitz emerge from the general staff?

I have always thought Piett survived and became the Dönitz.

In fact, I've always considered Star Wars to be about the happenstance rise of Piett from obscurity to become the most powerful man in the galaxy. But that's another story.
posted by mazola at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


vibrotronica: "There's nothing more disgusting than a Ewok Holocaust denier."

All the Endor Holocaust theorizers hang their analyses on what would naturally happen to Endor after the destruction of the second Death Star.

They conveniently overlook the fact that Luke Skywalker, the greatest Jedi ever, returned to the surface of Endor ahead of any debris that might have come down on the moon. As has been previously remarked, the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force.
posted by Reverend John at 2:35 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Let me guess: Daisy Ridley got cast so there is someone to take off her clothes so the male lead can letch over her.

Why would that happen?
posted by Hoopo at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2014


Given the presence of near-instantaneous interplanetary transmission, one must also assume that such communications can be manipulated in any number of ways

Why? If I'm going to invent a hyperspace drive, can't I just also stipulate that I have secure, hyperspace radio transmissions?
posted by thelonius at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2014


But that doesn't make sense!
posted by mazola at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once.

You're wishing that Star Wars was in the public domain. In fact, you've illustrated why it should by now be in the public domain. Past a certain point, the right to tell the stories that are our common heritage should not be private property.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:42 PM on April 29, 2014 [12 favorites]


Hoopo: Because it's Abrams, who thinks the only role for women characters in Star Trek is the Girlfriends. i don't expect any better out of him for Star Wars, especially considering the casting.
posted by tavella at 2:42 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Jar Jar is Death, and plays a game of chess for Max von Sydow's soul.

I am become Jar Jar, the destroyer of prequels.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


All the Endor Holocaust theorizers hang their analyses on what would naturally happen to Endor after the destruction of the second Death Star.

They conveniently overlook the fact that Luke Skywalker, the greatest Jedi ever returned to the surface of Endor ahead of any debris that might have come down on the moon. As has been previously remarked, the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of The Force.


Don't go there, man. Don't even go there.

In my fantasy Episode VII, Chancellor Leia Organa Solo is introduced via a scene in the Galactic Senate listening to an Ewok senator denouncing her government's inattention to the Ewok refugee crisis.
posted by vibrotronica at 2:45 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Can't wait to watch Harrison Ford mumble and shake his way through this one!
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


klangklangston: Someone needs to have a stern talk with your crack dealer.

I think the two series are about equal watching them in parallel. Both have good moments separated by streaks of mediocrity. But it's surprising to me how much of TNG I just forgot because it wasn't worth remembering.

MP: It just now occurred to me that if the Star Wars expanded universe has been unilaterally and completely rendered non-canon, that would also mean that the New Republic itself has been rendered non-canon.

According to Wikipedia anything not personally touched by George (and therefore, given a "G" tag) has never been on the same level of "canon" as the six movies (apparently the final releases of those movies) or the TV series.

Which is as it should be, since movies are movies and comics are comics and novels are novels. Why there's any doubt that the sequel trilogy should be a separate body of work is beyond my comprehension.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:47 PM on April 29, 2014


Wait, this one is real?
posted by maryr at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


EPISODE VII:
AN ABIDING CYNICISM

posted by bleep-blop at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2014 [24 favorites]


To appease the EU fans, the movie will include a fifteen minute section of Threepio singing The Virtues of King Han Solo.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:50 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


They should just hand out the Star Wars keys to a dozen directors simultaneously, so that we can get a whole pile of prequels/sequels/side-quels all at once. I for one am patiently waiting for Terrence Malick's re-imagining of the Battle of Endor in the style of the Thin Red Line.

Sort of like my idea for a franchise of Evil Dead remakes. Every few years pick a new (preferably up and coming) writer and director, tell them the basic requirements (cabin, book, possession) and otherwise let them do what they want.
posted by brundlefly at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Past a certain point, the right to tell the stories that are our common heritage should not be private property.

Tell that to Superman and the Cat in the Hat.

At the present rate of copyright extension, Star Wars won't enter the public domain until 2072.

And if you think Disney will wait around until then to start another round of lobbying, I have a Bridge to Terabithia to sell you.
posted by Doktor Zed at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


it's surprising to me how much of TNG I just forgot because it wasn't worth remembering.

I've been re-watching it on and off for the last year, and you are not kidding. That and X-Files. I still see some episodes that stand up as quite good and enough of the mediocre ones that I'll give the benefit of the doubt to. But when they are bad, they are bad in that uniquely 90s way, like Smashmouth.
posted by Hoopo at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just one voice in the wilderness here but I liked both of the new Star Trek movies.

Yea, did these people actually watch any of the old movies? Other than wrath of khan, some of them are actually worse than any of the star wars prequels. The first new movie was brilliant in my opinion, and the second one was ok, maybe even above average.

Everyone who was all saddlesore about these new movies was comparing them to the best, in their memories, of the tv shows. It's as if people retcon the bad movies out of existence or something. 1 was hilariously cheesy and mediocre, 2 was great, 3 was OK, 4 is star wars holiday special bad and regularly made fun of by nerds, 5 and 6 are completely forgetable, 7 is at best OK with some really assy wince inducing moments in it, and 8 was basically the last gap of any decency out of the original run of movies because 9 is mediocre at best and 10 is pretty much universally disliked and seen as a cash in.

Real noble heritage to be shitting on there, if you just look at the other movies. I would argue that the first new movie is in the top 3 best movies ever made out of the source material honestly.
posted by emptythought at 2:59 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


The Atlantic: The New Star Wars Cast Has Only 1 Woman Who Isn't Princess Leia:

Last year at Wired, Laura Hudson wrote that "there’s no reason new Star Wars movies can’t aspire to achieve what the Extended Universe already has: a world where the other half of the human race is not only visible to movie-goers of all genders and ages, but equally capable of astonishing and inspiring feats of heroism." With just two women in featured roles, that outcome seems a lot less likely now.

The Wired link goes to this Feb 2013 article, Leia Is Not Enough: Star Wars and the Woman Problem in Hollywood:

Science fiction in particular has always offered a vision of the world not myopically limited by the world as it exists, but liberated by the power of imagination. Perhaps more than any genre of storytelling, it has no excuse to exclude women for so-called practical reasons — especially when it has every reason to imagine a world where they are just as heroic, exceptional, and well-represented as men...

Close your eyes, for a moment, and imagine a version of the Star Wars universe full of rich female characters who play diverse roles ranging from Jedi warriors to military leaders to bounty hunters. Here’s the exciting news: It already exists. It’s called the Star Wars Extended Universe...

posted by mediareport at 2:59 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


Metafilter: some really assy wince inducing moments in it.

Now there's a played out sequel for you!
posted by jeremias at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't Wince Mo-Ment an existing character?
posted by mazola at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


In my fantasy Episode VII, Chancellor Leia Organa Solo is introduced via a scene in the Galactic Senate listening to an Ewok senator denouncing her government's inattention to the Ewok refugee crisis.


Can't stop thinking about this now. It would be the perfect way to show that Star Wars the Franchise was moving beyond Lucas, while still respecting the earlier movies. All that stuff actually happened, including things that we'd rather forget, so the new movies can address it with clear eyes while moving forward.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Let me guess: Daisy Ridley got cast so there is someone to take off her clothes so the male lead can letch over her.

Star Wars is pretty chaste. There was Leia's outfit in a scene where she strangles her abuser and then Natalie Portman's midriff. If you're upset by the casting, fine, but there really is nothing to assume exploitation right off the bat.
posted by spaltavian at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wince Mo-ment is the rebel pilot married to Krikel Stark in the television series.
posted by cmfletcher at 3:16 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


emptythought: “Yea, did these people actually watch any of the old movies? Other than wrath of khan, some of them are actually worse than any of the star wars prequels. The first new movie was brilliant in my opinion, and the second one was ok, maybe even above average.”

The two new ones have been certifiable dreck, as bad as all the TNG crossover movies that came before. "OH LET'S REBOOT WITH AN ALTERNATE TIMELINE!" is the dumbest idea anybody's come up with in a long, long time, and the dialogue and characterization were both horrific, particularly for the first of the two new ones.

When people like Star Trek: TOS, it's because they like the good characterization. No matter what else there was, both the series and the movies had that, even at their worst. The characters were excellently drawn, much more maturely than they ever were with the cookie-cutter childish Star Wars characters (whom I love, of course.) The three-way interplay at the heart of the series is vital and interesting and perennially intriguing in its permutations. Very few television shows have managed that, and even if most of the movies were coasting on that, it was compelling at the start.

The new movies jettisoned anything like proper, careful, balanced characterization in favor of the kind of "oh look, flyboys in outer space, it's the 50s again!" misunderstanding of Star Trek that birthed "Enterprise." That is why they are terrible.

But of course, if people want interesting political thought and incredibly well-drawn characterization, they only need to be willing to put up with subpar special effects. It's worth it for a show that is a mature re-imagining of both Star Trek and Star Wars in a morally and psychologically compelling framework. *goes back to watching Blake's 7*
posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]




Apparently he doesn't work every time.

Er, yeah, I shoulda just stopped after this one.

But I'm glad everyone had a backup supply of Jar Jar/lens flare jokes to utilize for this situation...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2014


Can only hope that Daisy Ridley is the hero. Naturally apprehensive, but fire at will, Disney.
posted by rockyrelay at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2014


vibrotronica: "Don't go there, man. Don't even go there.

In my fantasy Episode VII, Chancellor Leia Organa Solo is introduced via a scene in the Galactic Senate listening to an Ewok elf-lord denouncing her government's inattention to the Ewok refugee crisis.
"

Bah, I am quite of the opinion that the much-maligned Ewoks were probably either unwittingly influenced by The Force to place them in their pivotal role in bringing down the Emperor, or more likely had proto-Jedi members among them. They appear to be technologically backward at first blush, and that allows them to be overlooked as a threat by the Imperial forces, but their buildings and battle structures all show deep forethought, significant planning, and a lot more technological sophistication than you might expect.

Do you think they cut down all those logs and placed them on a high bank above a critical forest path for the Imperial walkers between the time that the Rebel commandos landed and the attack on the shield generator began? Or discovered flight, designed, and built their gliders? Or the one who hijacked a forest speeder just got lucky in figuring out how to fire it up and take off? They were planning to attack the Imperial base in the near future with or without the Rebel forces.

The Ewoks were not nearly the backwards fuzzy teddybears that they appeared to be. Nor were they likely without the aid of The Force for their protection against the consequences of the destruction of the second Death Star, even without Luke's help, which he surely gave.
posted by Reverend John at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2014 [7 favorites]


It'll never manage to accomplish what the first trilogy did, because it can't go back in time and make you a kid again and let you see it through the eyes of a kid ...

Are you saying we're too old for this shit?

Anyways, here's my hope: that we have a moment, in Han and Leia's house, where Carrie comes out wearing the bikini from Jabba's palace so that she and Han can play "escape from Jabba" one more time.

What I fear: there's a lot of reasons to dislike JJ Abrams take on Star Trek. I didn't mind the first one, but Into Darkness - while there are lots of valid criticisms to be made - enraged me because the entire emotional payoff of the film depended on the audience having seen Wrath of Khan. The Kirk/Spock moments and the "death" scene rely on it; he did the reboot and then has to make the emotional beats depend on prior knowledge. The characters are shorthand versions of themselves as a result. I was so mad that I made my wife sit through the last half hour of Wrath after we saw Into Darkness because (a) I needed to cleanse my own brain and (b) I wanted her to see what a poor derivative had been created. If you are rebooting, reboot for fucks sake - give me new things to relate to.

So my fear is that we get a film that somehow is told with the same lack of emotional resonance; the same dependence on the audience filling in the blanks of his shorthand.

That said - I will see it. Because the thought of being able to take my children (who will be 6 and 9 when this comes out) to see Star Wars in the theatre is...well, it's a moment I want to have in my life.
posted by nubs at 3:24 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I'm cheerfully sanguine about this, especially if the part about practical effects is true. (Does that mean, like, actual sets populated by human beings?) I thought the Star Trek reboots were fun enough for what they were. And even if it kind of sucks, I have a hard time imagining it could suck as badly as any of the prequels.*

*<hansolo>I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit.</hansolo>
posted by usonian at 3:26 PM on April 29, 2014


Even if she is the lead (and *really* the lead, not co-lead), it doesn't fix it for me. I'm tired of movies where I'm supposed to be fine because there is *a* female character allowed in the boys club. I want movies where there's a female lead *and* she has all sorts of interactions with other women, because there are female characters all over the place in important roles.

And there's no excuse this time. It isn't Star Trek where they can claim they were just replicating the same cast. It's not the MCU, where they can claim they are just going with the biggest existing characters. They had a chance to build a brand new set of characters, they could do *anything*, and they gave the big middle finger and made it the boys and their mascot again. So fuck them.
posted by tavella at 3:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [15 favorites]


The Ewoks were not nearly the backwards fuzzy teddybears that they appeared to be. Nor were they likely without the aid of The Force for their protection against the consequences of the destruction of the second Death Star, even without Luke's help, which he surely gave.

Oh man I've always felt shame for my love of Ewoks. They're awesome. Reminds me of David Brin's Uplife novels and the chimpanzee characters. I love RotJ.
posted by kittensofthenight at 3:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Do you think they cut down all those logs and placed them on a high bank above a critical forest path for the Imperial walkers between the time that the Rebel commandos landed and the attack on the shield generator began? Or discovered flight, designed, and built their gliders? Or the one who hijacked a forest speeder just got lucky in figuring out how to fire it up and take off?

No, I think a wizard did it.
posted by Hoopo at 3:45 PM on April 29, 2014


Does that mean, like, actual sets populated by human beings?

Yes

"We're looking at what the early Star Wars films did; they used real locations with special effects. So we're going to find some very cool locations, we're going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox."
posted by VTX at 3:47 PM on April 29, 2014


"So we're going to find some very cool locations, we're going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox."

First stop, Bechdel's Planet...
posted by sneebler at 3:48 PM on April 29, 2014 [10 favorites]


Bah, I am quite of the opinion that the much-maligned Ewoks were probably either unwittingly influenced by The Force to place them in their pivotal role in bringing down the Emperor, or more likely had proto-Jedi members among them. They appear to be technologically backward at first blush, and that allows them to be overlooked as a threat by the Imperial forces, but their buildings and battle structures all show deep forethought, significant planning, and a lot more technological sophistication than you might expect.
While I have no doubt the Ewoks were already planning an attack on the Imperials before contact with Rebel forces, it doesn't necessarily follow that they were acting at the behest of The Force. This seems to imply a great deal of agency to something that is just an energy field binding the galaxy together. People use The Force. When they are used by it, they become tools themselves and fall to the Dark Side.

No, the Ewoks weren't consciously acting on the side of good. They were simply following their savage natures, honed by uncounted eons of bloody tribal warfare on Endor's moon. They already had weapons and the concept of cannibalism, which suggests much. When the spectral form of the Second Death Star began to assemble itself in their skies, they may have taken its dim glow as a sign from terrible ursine jungle gods and prepared for battle against their new neighbors.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:52 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


People use The Force. When they are used by it, they become tools themselves and fall to the Dark Side.

Well, no:
BEN
Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force
flowing through him.

LUKE
You mean it controls your actions?

BEN
Partially. But it also obeys your
commands.
posted by The Tensor at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can let it control your actions, like Luke finally learned to do when he relaxed and made the shot that destroyed the first Death Star. But that's a conscious decision, like turning on an automatic pilot, that can be revoked at any time.

By contrast, when Anakin Skywalker killed the Tusken Raiders he was being used by the Force, because it took his desire for revenge and carried it to an extreme that Anakin might not have consciously desired.
posted by Kevin Street at 4:01 PM on April 29, 2014


Going way out on a limb here and predicting that the new movie will fail the Bechdel Test.
posted by newdaddy at 4:06 PM on April 29, 2014


Ok maybe that's not SO far out on a limb.
posted by newdaddy at 4:07 PM on April 29, 2014


One person of colour, and only two women? In a group of 13? Please tell me the future is not all white males.


The original trilogy had one black dude in it, the other person of color turned white when they took the helmet off. The second trilogy had SL Jackson (that I know of) anyone else? I frankly turned it out so couldn't tell you, but suffice to say I was not surprised when looking at the cast. And yeah, like nearly every other non "chick flick" there is a surprising few number of women in the universe.
posted by edgeways at 4:10 PM on April 29, 2014


it's Abrams, who thinks the only role for women characters in Star Trek is the Girlfriends

Star Wars would be a difficult knife-edge for anyone to bring into the modern era. The ass-kicking princess was ahead of its day, but at the same time, Star Wars is the modern paragon of the Rescue-The-Princess motif - I don't even mean her actual rescue from the cell in the death star (wherein she quickly took over), but the 1930's stuff; those grappling hook hold-her-tight-and-rope-swing-her-to-safety scenes are heady stuff for kid's ideas of how heroism ties into romance and earning affection.

For me, it's kind of not even Star Wars without that swashbuckling stuff set to a backdrop of childish romantic tension, but there is so much bathwater that comes with that baby, stuff that we're trying to get away from... I don't envy whoever has to figure out how to get those validation-and-heroism feelings while not also scoring against the society we're moving towards.
posted by anonymisc at 4:10 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Going way out on a limb here and predicting that the new movie will fail the Bechdel Test.

Do the females have to be human to pass the test? What about a female Ewok and a Lady Droid?
posted by Gary at 4:10 PM on April 29, 2014


but there really is nothing to assume exploitation right off the bat.

O RLY?
posted by localroger at 4:15 PM on April 29, 2014


No LANDO??? WTF?
posted by Renoroc at 4:19 PM on April 29, 2014


Isn't Billy Dee in not super great physical shape?
posted by Chrysostom at 4:21 PM on April 29, 2014


It seems like everyone is going to be so very tired of these movies by the time they actually come out.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:24 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Ewoks were not nearly the backwards fuzzy teddybears that they appeared to be.


Yes, and they probably ate about half the Imperial ground forces.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:25 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Isn't Billy Dee in not super great physical shape?

Yoda wasn't either, but he still got to be in EMPIRE.
posted by Renoroc at 4:26 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


One person of colour, and only two women? In a group of 13? Please tell me the future is not all white males.

It's not the future, it's a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
posted by Renoroc at 4:29 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


I liked the lens flares in Star Trek. I don't expect to see them in Star Wars though, it wouldn't fit. I wouldn't mind he finds some other cool gag to use, as long as it works for Star Wars the way the flares worked for Trek. even if tons of people hate it. Maybe he'll pass the whole thing through the Instagram Amaro filter? Yeah, people would hate that.
posted by brenton at 4:30 PM on April 29, 2014


Give me, O give me, a Lady Droid who rejects solid constructs of gender applied to an artificial lifeform; who challenges the identification of self & sentience & Force lifeforce in that blur between artificial/life; who lives a swashbuckling romance of humor and brashness outside the heteronormative narrative line, in a flirtatious give-and-take of swashbuckle & swoon & snark.

Does it pass the Bechdel test? Let me find out.
posted by nicebookrack at 4:34 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Star Wars would be a difficult knife-edge for anyone to bring into the modern era. The ass-kicking princess was ahead of its day, but at the same time, Star Wars is the modern paragon of the Rescue-The-Princess motif - I don't even mean her actual rescue from the cell in the death star (wherein she quickly took over), but the 1930's stuff; those grappling hook hold-her-tight-and-rope-swing-her-to-safety scenes are heady stuff for kid's ideas of how heroism ties into romance and earning affection.

I think that's less true once you get into Empire, which is a gothic thriller with all the trappings including the secret and tragic family relationship. As much as family relationships (of different flavors) are central to Star Wars, there doesn't seem to be more than one female relative involved at any point in time.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:35 PM on April 29, 2014


Star Wars is definitely missing a Gothic deranged long-lost-relative madwoman locked in an attic, who in solid Leia fashion turns out to be a mad scientist who ends the War by using Force-powered perpetual motion machines to create cold fusion. And then she beheads the villains with her lightsaber scythes, cackling like Miss Havisham!
posted by nicebookrack at 4:43 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Kevin Street: "... it doesn't necessarily follow that they were acting at the behest of The Force. This seems to imply a great deal of agency to something that is just an energy field binding the galaxy together. People use The Force. When they are used by it, they become tools themselves and fall to the Dark Side.

No, the Ewoks weren't consciously acting on the side of good. They were simply following their savage natures, honed by uncounted eons of bloody tribal warfare on Endor's moon. They already had weapons and the concept of cannibalism, which suggests much. ...
"

How the force influences those who are not consciously aware of how to interact with it or even of its existence is not clearly defined in any legitimate sources (and did I mention that there are only three Star Wars movies?) There may have been individuals who turned to the Dark Side, even were "seduced" by the Dark Side. Yoda tells Luke that "anger, fear, and aggression" are the source of the Dark Side. We don't have any reason to think, though, that the Light side of The Force never influences good-willed people. In fact I'd say that since The Force permeates the Universe and all living things, it would be unlikely to *not* have some influence even on those who aren't aware of it.

However, my personal opinion, as I said, is that some Ewoks probably were proto-Jedi, and on the Light side of The Force. Also, I don't recall any evidence of Ewok savagery. They seemed to have a fairly peaceful and organized society. Sure, they were apparently hunters, and yes, they were apparently thinking of cooking up Luke and company, but I didn't see them getting ready to eat other Ewoks. Unless cannibalism means eating any sentient creatures (which, hey, might be a good definition in Star Wars, but the Ewoks might not see it that way), they weren't cannibals.

At any rate, whether through the influence of The Force or not, the Ewoks were allies to the Rebellion, and I'm sure that Luke wouldn't have allowed the destruction of the Death Star to destroy Endor given the Ewoks' help and the fact that he returned to the surface of Endor while escaping the explosion.
posted by Reverend John at 4:52 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I liked the lens flares in Star Trek. I don't expect to see them in Star Wars though, it wouldn't fit. I wouldn't mind he finds some other cool gag to use, as long as it works for Star Wars the way the flares worked for Trek. even if tons of people hate it. Maybe he'll pass the whole thing through the Instagram Amaro filter? Yeah, people would hate that.

It's Star Wars, so he can go nuts on wipes.
posted by jason_steakums at 4:59 PM on April 29, 2014 [20 favorites]


I was just joking about Ewoks being savage, as a reaction to years of cute Ewok merchandising. But it's still a valid interpretation!

Wicket idly scraped a flint across his spear tip, while he studied the strangers through the trees. The small, hairless ones would barely make a single meal, but the large, furred one might feed his children for a week...
posted by Kevin Street at 5:00 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Would a Dönitz emerge from the general staff?

Mmm, Dönitz
posted by zippy at 5:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


The way you can tell Abrams is a Star Wars fan is that in both of his Star Trek films they beat the giant unbeatable enemy ship by getting inside and blowing it up from within. In Star Trek, Spock flies down the throat of the giant Romulan ship in his futuristic Warp Whirligig™, it goes boom and the red matter eats them. In Star Trek:ID, torpedoes snuck inside the Überprise detonated by Spock. So Abrams is at 100% Star Wars resolution rate so far and he hasn't even filmed any of them yet. By contrast in order to maintain SW correctness he only has to do it in two of the three films.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


I would have liked more women, but if we get Chancellor Leia Organa Solo - and the only other woman in the film is her daughter and they talk Imperial Senate matters... I'm going to be okay with that.
posted by crossoverman at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2014


Max von Sydow was great in Three Days of the Condor.

Having Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will work about as well as bring back Harrison Ford and Karen Allen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Unless they're in cameos I think there's more downside than upside.

Mmm, Dönitz
Sacrilicious!

posted by kirkaracha at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Seriously, the Clone Wars animated series had great, numerous, and powerful women all over it. And swashes were buckled like crazy. Not a whit of action or adventure was diminished because some of the heroes had lady parts. There were also excellent female villains, and some who were neither heroic nor villainous. Just as though women were people and not stereotypes! It gave me so much hope for the future movies, because the template had already been created.

Princess Leia with her sassy mouth and blaster skills was soo important to me as a kid. But one woman per cast is not enough.

It's possible that lots of secondary and background characters will end up being women, in which case, those are the ones that will be fan-ficc'd and Tumblr'd like crazy, because women, especially young women, crave representation so much more than Hollywood seems to understand. What does Disney think drives all the gender-swapping and Disney Princess reinterpretations? The burning desire of millions of girls to have someone who looks like them in the stories on the screen.
posted by emjaybee at 5:30 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


Close your eyes, for a moment, and imagine a version of the Star Wars universe full of rich female characters who play diverse roles ranging from Jedi warriors to military leaders to bounty hunters. Here’s the exciting news: It already exists. It’s called the Star Wars Extended Universe...

Don't forget The Clone Wars, which has no shortage of female jedi and villains.

It is considered canon. Given that it ran for six seasons, there's far more of it than there is movie run-time. In other words, the vast majority of the Star Wars canon is the story of Ahsoka Tano's hero's journey.

The show spends a lot of time with clone soldiers who are desperately trying to find individual identities for themselves. As a result of their lack of genetic diversity, most of the characters in the show are Hispanic men.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [3 favorites]


most of the characters in the show are Hispanic men.

I'm sure that would come as a surprise to Temuera Morrison, who played Jango Fett, the source of the clone trooper DNA, and the clone troopers in the films. He is of Maori, Scottish, and Irish descent.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:45 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is nothing Abrams can do to really surprise us because of the limitations imposed by the story and expectations of the fans. It will be mediocre.
posted by gen at 5:52 PM on April 29, 2014


most of the characters in the show are Hispanic men.

I'm sure that would come as a surprise to Temuera Morrison


Maybe not. I've heard that he was "Indian" (Native American) in Once Were Warriors (oh dear...)
posted by anonymisc at 5:58 PM on April 29, 2014


It's a ship! Full of weed! And it's Han's!
posted by Dr. Zira at 6:20 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


There is nothing Abrams can do to really surprise us because of the limitations imposed by the story and expectations of the fans. It will be mediocre.

Look, no film can live up to the expectations of middle-aged people who grew up loving these films. But I'm not sure what "limitations imposed by the story" is supposed to mean. What story?
posted by crossoverman at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2014


Episode VII will have Jar Jar? That's all I need to know, thanks.

Though if Abrams is going to fuck with Star Wars canon the way he did with Star Trek, I might go just to see an actual riot in the theatre.
posted by dry white toast at 6:42 PM on April 29, 2014


I would have liked more women, but if we get Chancellor Leia Organa Solo - and the only other woman in the film is her daughter and they talk Imperial Senate matters... I'm going to be okay with that.

Hey, it would pass the Bechdel Test.
posted by dry white toast at 6:44 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


The thing is, I was never a Star Wars superfan, even though I saw it young in the theater and many times on TV after that, was surrounded by the toys, etc. etc. It was just A Big Thing, you couldn't have escaped it if you tried in the 70s-80s. It didn't blow my young mind, but it was enjoyable and I was a sucker for the Darth redemption arc in RotJ, as I was for any redemption arc at that age.

My disappointment at the sequels wasn't because my expectations were too high, it was because all the fun, snark and cleverness that made the paper-thin plot of the originals work had been sucked out and replaced with glowering and Senate debates and midichlorians and CGI sight gags better reserved for a Three Stooges short.

So (sexism aside), if the writing team is able to inject fun and snark and actual cleverness into this one, I will in fact be surprised and even a little encouraged. Maybe the entire series can get a redemption arc. It would be nice, just because it's still so huge that you can't get away from it, even if you try.
posted by emjaybee at 6:45 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


You know what, in the last few years there have been so many SF films that were better than the stupid prequels and cost less. It's not that the new SW can't be the SW films we watched as kids; it's that the prequels were mediocre.
posted by ersatz at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2014


One person of colour, and only two women? In a group of 13? Please tell me the future is not all white males.

The original trilogy had one black dude in it, the other person of color turned white when they took the helmet off. The second trilogy had SL Jackson (that I know of) anyone else? I frankly turned it out so couldn't tell you, but suffice to say I was not surprised when looking at the cast. And yeah, like nearly every other non "chick flick" there is a surprising few number of women in the universe.
If, in this day and age, Disney and Marvel can make a movie about Captain America, the poster child for the virtues of being old fashioned, and seed that film with multiple roles for people of color and women, then what's this poor, sad, irrelevant franchise's excuse?
posted by bl1nk at 6:48 PM on April 29, 2014 [5 favorites]


THE NEW REPUBLIC FACED MANY 
CHALLENGES. CHIEF AMONG THESE 
WAS IMPLEMENTING SENATE 
PRESIDENT LEIA ORGANA'S 
PROPOSAL FOR UNIVERSAL HEALTH 
CARE. THE PRESIDENT'S ENEMIES
SOUGHT TO BLOCK THE DEBATE
WITH A DECADE-LONG FILIBUSTER
THAT WOULD FORCE THE PRESIDENT
TO MAKE STRATEGIC COMPROMISES 
...
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:20 PM on April 29, 2014 [11 favorites]


Begin with standard title sequence and John Williams fanfare followed by a scroll to be written. I would like to mention that Brian de Palma wrote the original opening scroll for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope. I think it would be a nice nod, uh, to the franchise if were to write this opening scroll. Then pan down from the twin suns of Tattoine, uh, we are now close on the mouth of the Sarlacc pit. After a beat, the gloved, Mandalorian armor gauntlet of Boba Fett grabs onto the sand outside the Sarlacc pit and the feared bounty hunter pulls himself from the maw of the sand beast.

And we, and we realize that he survived his fall during the battle at Jabba’s, uh, palace ship. Then do a hard cut to a repurposed Imperial Destroyer which has now been taken over by the rebels. Commander Luke Skywalker, now a full Jedi knight, training new padawans is using, ironically, uh, his father Anakin’s red lightsaber which will be a symbolic visual for his battle with how to both bring the new Jedi order while still acknowledging his father’s fall from grace.

As he is training the padawans, we pan outside of the control window to a nearby asteroid where we see, and please allow me to finish this because this is going to seem like a bit of a jump, we see Thanos who was the villain tease at the end of the first Avengers movie. Now Thanos, as you know owns the Infinity Gauntlet which has the Time Gem, the Mind Gem, the Power Gem, the Space Gem, and the Reality Gem. If he holds the Reality Gem, that means he can jump from different realities. This will be our link to the Marvel Universe from the Star Wars Universe. Uh, we then cut to Earth. Uh, Tony Stark, uh realizes…
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:38 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I would like to mention that Brian de Palma wrote the original opening scroll for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope.

As a matter of having been there in 1977 pedantry I have to correct this. There was no film made in 1977 either with "episode 4" or "a new hope" in its title. It was just Star Wars. The episode thing was added, like the anachronistic CGI "enhancements," years later.
posted by localroger at 7:51 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


I don't think Oscar's name has anything to do with wanting to seem "white". Isaac is his real middle name, and there are a number of other famous Oscar Hernandezes. As a Hispanic person who does not have a Spanish last name, I wish we could quit acting like Hispanic people are trying to be less Hispanic if their names as given aren't Spanish. I don't want a planet of Space Latinos, I want it to be just an ordinary and given thing that space is full of planets of people who come in multiple colors. I am kind of sick of it only counting as Hispanic representation if it isn't people with Spanish names who speak Spanish, because a) the Spanish were white Europeans invaders in the first place and that's complicated all by itself, and b) increasing numbers of Hispanic people in the US and elsewhere are not necessarily Spanish-named or Spanish-speaking. I'm not against that kind of representation, too, but this is not what I consider to be a problem.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'm cautiously optimistic but trying not to get too invested. I didn't let myself get too invested in the Star Treks and I actually kind of liked them--they weren't my favorite movies ever but they were by far not the worst movies I've ever seen. So I'm kind of hoping for the same, here.
posted by Sequence at 7:54 PM on April 29, 2014


then what's this poor, sad, irrelevant franchise's excuse

That everyone is free to make their own movie, with any characters they want.
posted by sideshow at 7:54 PM on April 29, 2014


Cookiebastard: "I would like to mention that Brian de Palma wrote the original opening scroll for Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope."

localroger: "As a matter of having been there in 1977 pedantry I have to correct this. There was no film made in 1977 either with 'episode 4' or 'a new hope' in its title. It was just Star Wars. The episode thing was added, like the anachronistic CGI 'enhancements,' years later."

This is only sort of true. The "EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE" bit was in the original crawl as Lucas and de Palma wrote it. The studio made them take it out because they thought it was confusing, but they added it back within a few years, so if you saw Star Wars in a theater or on video any time after 1981 it said "EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE." Also, the original version of Empire Strikes Back, as it was shown in theaters, said "EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" at the top of the crawl.

So it's clear that the episode structure, and the "EPISODE IV" label on the first movie, we not grafted onto the films later. They were there to begin with, and they were not added twenty years later with the CGI updates.

As Wikipedia says:
The opening crawl in the finished Episode IV is very different from Lucas' original intention. The original text, used in the rough cut he showed to friends and studio executives in February 1977, appears in the Marvel Comics adaptation of the film. When originally released in 1977, the first film was simply titled Star Wars, as 20th Century Fox forbade Lucas to use a subtitle because it could be confusing, since there had been no other Star Wars movies prior to 1977. In addition, it was not certain if the film would be followed with a sequel. When The Empire Strikes Back was released in 1980, the subtitle "Episode V THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK" appeared as the first two lines of the opening crawl. To match its sequel's crawl, the subtitle "Episode IV A NEW HOPE" was added for the 1981 re-release of the original Star Wars film, where it continued to appear throughout the film's home video releases.
posted by koeselitz at 8:17 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


"Put that droid back where it came from, or so help me!"
posted by Kabanos at 8:21 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


It might be worth remembering how J. J. Abrams treated women in his two Star Trek directorial outings:

The Woman Problem in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek:

JJ Abrams and his writing staff have a problem… a pretty glaring woman problem. They have yet to put a woman on screen who gets to be her own character, instead of just an appendage to a male character. Oh, if you haven’t seen the movies…

Star Trek (2009) has only one woman in the main cast – Zoe Saldana as Lt. Uhura. Despite the anemic female population of the film, it does manage to pass the Bechdel test. For the uninitiated, the Bechdel test is a set of three criteria that measures the presence of women in media. To pass the test, the medium must have (a) two or more [named] women who (b) talk to each other (c) about something other than a man. Star Trek squeaks by on the grace of a 90 second conversation between Uhura and her roommate, Gaila, about a strange Klingon transmission the former heard in the Long Range Sensor Lab. What’s that? You forgot that conversation? That’s not too surprising – not only is it really short, but as she’s talking, Uhura strips down to her bra and knickers. Gaila is already down to her skivvies, since she and Kirk were just about to bang. And in a classic case of male-gaze camera work, the camera pans up Uhura’s body as she’s undressing, giving us the view Kirk has from under Gaila’s bed. This brief conversation ends up being critical a mere 20 minutes later, and the movie tries really hard to keep you from noticing it…until it leads to Kirk’s lightbulb moment.

Later in the movie, it’s revealed that Spock and Uhura are romantically involved, which is unique to the reboot. Sadly, from the moment we first see them kissing in an elevator, Uhura ceases to say or do much of anything useful or substantive. She’s “Spock’s Girlfriend” now...

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) doesn’t do much better on this score. It doesn’t even pass the Bechdel test. Uhura and new-comer Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) don’t speak together once. However, Marcus does get to join the Gratuitous Underwear Scene Club, in what must be one of the most forced opportunities to see a pretty girl half-naked in a movie ever. Uhura, despite a kickass scene negotiating with Klingons, spends a great deal of the movie complaining that her Vulcan boyfriend isn’t emotionally expressive enough. Dr. Marcus’ big scenes involve being clumsily hit on by McCoy and being useful by being an important man’s daughter. I haven’t yet had the chance to rewatch Into Darkness, so I don’t have more specific examples, but trust me, it’s not doing it’s female cast many favors.


And there's this as well: Uniforms and Gender in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek:

....Trekkie Has The Phone Box has an excellent post detailing the problems with women’s uniforms in JJ Abrams’ reboot of the Star Trek franchise. Unlike men’s uniforms, those worn by most women in Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness do not identify the wearers’ rank. Of course, this is problematic in paramilitary Starfleet, but it’s also emblematic of the Abrams’ reboot’s view of women as a whole: the rebooted series does not invest female characters with command responsibility in the same manner as male characters, despite their position in the chain of command, so rank insignias are unnecessary. As the piece concludes, in the franchise “women aren’t scripted as officers in the same way that their colleagues who are men are.”

The stuff about miniskirts then and now is important, too. Bottom line is that Abrams acts as if he has a sexist 8-year-old's understanding of feminism in modern filmmaking, and appears to have shown zero commitment to using his position as one of the most popular filmmakers of his day to make even the slightest effort in the direction of treating women as equals in characterization and plot. Do we even need to talk about his other two directorial efforts, Mission Impossible III (which I only partly saw but would bet is a Standard Hollywood 8:1 male:female cockfest) and Super 8, which I remember having exactly one female character who spends most of the movie unconscious and in need of rescue. Correct me if I'm wrong on those.

J. J. Abrams and The Walt "WE'RE SO FUCKING PROGRESSIVE ON WOMEN'S ISSUES JUST LOOK AT FROZEN" Disney Company should be completely ashamed to be announcing this cast.
posted by mediareport at 8:22 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


Also, here's damage control from J. J. Abrams in The Hollywood Reporter, claiming there's another major role to be filled by - lo and behold - a woman:

Several sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that director J.J. Abrams has another substantial role to fill — and it's a female part. No further details are known. That might be good news for a vocal segment of Star Wars fans that have bemoaned the lack female roles in the six previous films as well as the just-announced new cast...

Earlier this year, THR revealed that the production was seeking a mixed-raced female in her 20s. The director did meet with 12 Years a Slave actress Lupita Nyong'o just before the Oscars, although it is not known for what part. And at one point, speculation centered on unknown British actress Maisie Richardson-Sellers. It is unclear if that young female part still exists or if it has been removed due to rewrites.


We can only hope the outcry against the ridiculous male-dominated casting announced today forces some actual thought to occur inside the brains of the sexist idiots who apparently didn't notice the problem until the reaction from folks online alerted them to what they should have been thinking about all along.

If true, the announcement of another "substantial" female role would make it a 6:2 male:female ratio among new cast members, and an 11:3 male:female ratio overall.

Sorry, but that's still fucking disgusting.
posted by mediareport at 8:36 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Lando Calrissian is not Black, the clones are not Hispanic or Maori, etc...
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 8:37 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Moses from Attack the Block? Oh yeah, I'm there.
posted by Catblack at 8:43 PM on April 29, 2014


I realize that there is a strong impulse among SF Fandom to retroactively build up headcanon explanations for real world authorial foibles (the spaceships in the Ep. IV - VI look so grungy because of a decline of civilization, the prequel spaceships are shiny because this is predecline!). But please take a moment and think before you follow this impulse to explain away some structural racism or sexism in a film made on Earth as some kind of twisted form of authorial intent.

Or if the choices are: to either choose the side of greater equality in the society that you actually live in or script out a fictional reason to justify sexism or racism, which one would you choose?
posted by bl1nk at 8:50 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hey, it would pass the Bechdel Test.

That's not an accomplishment. It's not even praiseworthy. It's like not showing up visibly drunk for a job interview; you avoided overtly disgracing yourself but that doesn't mean you did well.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 8:54 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


I was just scanning the interwebs for speculation on alternate directors for Star Wars, and came upon this transcript of Kershner directing Han's carbon-freeze scene, where Ford suggests the "I know" retort, none of the blocking has been figured out yet, and everyone is confused about Boba Fett.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:59 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


Speaking of headcanons about why things are the way they are in Star Wars (that we shouldn't accept), I actually kind of like Max Gladstone's theory about why there are so few women in Star Wars. Especially the, er, stinger.
posted by immlass at 9:04 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


That's not an accomplishment. It's not even praiseworthy. It's like not showing up visibly drunk for a job interview; you avoided overtly disgracing yourself but that doesn't mean you did well.

Right. And I'm hoping against new hope that Daisy Ridley is playing Leia and Han's daughter and she's the lead character of this upcoming trilogy.

It would be an accomplishment - even a dubious one - if a Star Wars film were to pass the Bechdel test. I pray that it passes with flying colours.
posted by crossoverman at 9:19 PM on April 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Apparently this is not all of the core cast, so it's not a full table read, and there are some other roles left to announce/finalise, including one major young female lead (possibly Lupita Nyong'o, or some unknown younger lady from the UK).

And I'm hoping against new hope that Daisy Ridley is playing Leia and Han's daughter and she's the lead character of this upcoming trilogy.

I think there's a good chance the holy trinity will carry the bulk of the first half of the first movie, and then pass on to the newer generation for the next two films.

I miss Asokah. And even though I really haven't gotten into the EU, I was kinda hoping to see a Mara Jade character. And Asaj Ventress..... and the new Rebels cartoon doesn't look that great to me (but who would have fallen in love with Clone Wars early on?). Seems to have a green female lead, too, so.

In conclusion: my isn't Dave Filioni directing this? Where the hell are Lando and C3PO?
And what will Brian Blessed's voice over role be? (Or Gabriel Woolf's? Or James Earl Jones, because you know that's going to happen in some way or other).

I am cautiously excited. Again.
posted by Mezentian at 9:25 PM on April 29, 2014


I find your lack of female characters disturbing.
posted by MsVader at 9:51 PM on April 29, 2014 [6 favorites]


You can console yourself with some of Willrow Hood's delicious ice cream.
posted by Mezentian at 9:59 PM on April 29, 2014


It's like the goddamned Council of Nicaea on the Internet tonight, minus any theological control of the narrative and characters. But it goes a long way toward explaining why my kids know all about Wookiees and the Force and constantly need help with the basics of the old religions.

I wonder if this what it was like when the old pantheistic Roman religions from the city, country and foreign lands all faded and this new, monolithic Christianity took hold with its central power over the mythology.

Anyway, I'll be there with my kids on opening day. And I'm counting on Disney to keep any particular flavor-of-the-decade director from putting too personal an imprint on something with the very long-term value of Star Wars.
posted by kenlayne at 10:08 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


In December of next year I'm going to sit in a darkened theater and when "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...." comes up on the screen the hair on the back of my neck will stand up. For the briefest of moments I will be seven years old again. I'm sorry it's not that way for everyone.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:31 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


In about a month I'm going to be sitting in a theater watching a hundred meter tall lizard. I will be seven years old again. Different strokes and all that.
posted by happyroach at 10:39 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


*sigh* I wish I could be excited about this. But I feel meh about the actors, am pissed at the lack of women, and really don't look forward to reading the Internet bitching about how ugly and fat Carrie Fisher has gotten come the movie release. (I LOVE YOU, CARRIE.) And that's even before JJ throws in any Jar-Jar-ish characters to really bring up my nerd rage.

Feh. I'm not feeling good about this. I'll see how things look closer to the release date, but my hopes are living in the sarlacc pit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:50 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


Back in the day, before we had seen the Special Editions, we saw a trailer for the Special Editions stitched to something (Star Trek: First Contact maybe, opening session, first night.

There were are, a theatre after the house lights went down.... the curtain squeaked open and the screen was filled with empty black and a small TV screen... with X-Wings.

As one we sat, enraptured by seeing Star Wars on the big screen for the first time in decades, on the big screen (and some, I assume, for the first time).

As it ended someone said loudly "Well, that was better than sex", and there was mass applause, because it was so awesome.

14 years later I saw a poster for Star Wars: A New Hope 3D and shrugged, but today I am as excited as I was in the 1970s and in the 1990s.
posted by Mezentian at 10:56 PM on April 29, 2014


I'll see how things look closer to the release date, but my hopes are living in the sarlacc pit vagina dentata.

FTFY.
posted by crossoverman at 10:58 PM on April 29, 2014


It's just not going to feel like Star Wars without the 20th Century Fox fanfare, is it?
posted by Mezentian at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2014 [8 favorites]


crossoverman, are you telling me there's a fourth female character in this series that we missed all along?!?!

Am really amused by that "Star Wars is a wretched hive for realz" theory link, incidentally.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:01 PM on April 29, 2014


crossoverman, are you telling me there's a fourth female character in this series that we missed all along?!?!

What I'm saying is, Boba Fett really likes to go down.
posted by crossoverman at 11:11 PM on April 29, 2014 [2 favorites]


All those who have Fett's Vette in your heads, raise you hand.
*raises hand*
posted by Mezentian at 11:14 PM on April 29, 2014 [4 favorites]


The Abrams Star Trek are fantastic films. As someone on MeFi said awhile ago, they're like fanfic of Star Trek films. "OMG Spock and Uhura.. they kiss!". Hilarious and fun. OK so the plotting is a bit messy. I love the visual look though, even the lens flares.

I can't wait to see him pull Star Wars apart. Maybe he'll put together something better than the crap Lucas turned out.


Yikes! There's days I hate this watered down future we're living in.
posted by fairmettle at 2:55 AM on April 30, 2014


Where the hell are Lando and C3PO?

No Lando, apparently, but C3PO (Daniels) is on board. Much to Han Solo's displeasure, I imagine.
posted by thomas j wise at 3:24 AM on April 30, 2014


The way I see it, if its good, then we get a decent Star Wars film. If its bad, we get a two hour Red Letter Media takedown review. Win-win.
posted by deathpanels at 5:06 AM on April 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


fool me once, shame on - shame on you. Fool me - you can't get fooled again. - George Lucas
posted by blue_beetle at 5:15 AM on April 30, 2014


The Ewoks were not nearly the backwards fuzzy teddybears that they appeared to be.

Of course not, given that they were originally supposed to be Wookies.
posted by KingEdRa at 6:00 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


And that's even before JJ throws in any Jar-Jar-ish characters to really bring up my nerd rage.

I don't see any reason to assume that will happen. Jar Jar was a Lucas abomination, and he's out of the picture.

Most of the nerd outrage about the JJTrek movies is that they were too actiony and swashbuckling… which will work for Star Wars.

Most of the stuff that was shit about the prequels was Lucas having no one to tell him "hey that sucks".

So I'm a bit optimistic, despite my prequel PTSD. My son will be turning 4 just a few days before the movie opens, so it'll be something cool to share with him.
posted by Fleebnork at 7:10 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm just amazed that Abrams hasn't already started his pre-emptive "If you don't like my Star Wars movie or have any doubts whatsoever about its inevitable perfection, no matter what reason you give for your qualms, it's really because you're just a stupid, hidebound stick-in-the-mud living in the past - and in your mother's basement - and nobody cares about your opinion anyway because the only possible reason for not loving it is your own personal hang-ups, Grandpa," publicity fan smear campaign the way he did for Star Trek. It worked pretty well, so I'm assuming it's due out any day now.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:16 AM on April 30, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm still impressed they were able to get all the original core cast back, especially the cantankerous Mr. Ford.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 7:16 AM on April 30, 2014


-The Underpants Monster: “When you ask, ‘Is So-and-so still alive?’ or say ‘I didn't realize So-and-so was still alive,’ SO-AND-SO DIES.”

--Counterpoint.


True... Maybe it's just me. What a crappy superpower!
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:21 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm still impressed they were able to get all the original core cast back, especially the cantankerous Mr. Ford.

Did you see Ender's Game? Or Indy 4?
He's at the "will act in anything for enough cash, for as few days as possible" stage.
And, boy howdy, the Star Destroyer-sized truck o' cash (and points) will probably put his great-great-grandchildren through college.
posted by Mezentian at 7:41 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wes Anderson heading up a Han/Lando "how they met" buddy-comedy/casino heist film.

Noted without comment.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:55 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Most of the nerd outrage about the JJTrek movies is that they were too actiony and swashbuckling… which will work for Star Wars.

I hated the Trek movies because the were soulless golems of committee film-making, because I don't buy the "Trek is smart" vibe, never have, but I saw the films and they were worse than The Final Frontier.
Actually, STiD may have been worse since it was a lazy rehash.

JJ is good at the flash, not so much the bang.

But with Kasdan in hand... well.... eh. It's two hours of my time (and I will spend more than that typing about it onh the internets between then and now).
posted by Mezentian at 8:00 AM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


worse than The Final Frontier.

Worse than what? I've never heard of that. Nope.
posted by Fleebnork at 8:12 AM on April 30, 2014


UhuraFanDance.gif
posted by Mezentian at 8:14 AM on April 30, 2014


I can't wait to see him pull Star Wars apart. Maybe he'll put together something better than the crap Lucas turned out.

I used to believe that nothing could be as crap as what Lucas turned out from Return of the Jedi onward, but then the new Doctor Who happened, and Sherlock, and both are just as horrible. But, like Nickelback, wildly popular.

Even though I still find it hard to believe possible, I would hazard a guess that it is quite possible this film will be awful. But a straight up adventure yarn in the tradition of the Clone Wars animated series (both of them) would be better than anything from Return of the Jedi onward.
posted by juiceCake at 8:31 AM on April 30, 2014


This seems as good a place as any to link to an excerpt of Sir Alec's letters, in which he discusses Star Wars:

Can’t say I’m enjoying the film. … new rubbish dialogue reaches me every other day on wadges of pink paper—and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable. I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week. … I must off to studio and work with a dwarf (very sweet—and he has to wash in a bidet) and your fellow countrymen Mark Hamill and Tennyson (that can’t be right) Ford. Ellison (?—No!)—well, a rangy, languid young man who is probably intelligent and amusing. But Oh, God, God, they make me feel ninety—and treat me as if I was 106.—Oh, Harrison Ford—ever heard of him?
posted by Rangeboy at 8:40 AM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


Rangeboy: "I just think, thankfully, of the lovely bread, which will help me keep going until next April even if Yahoo collapses in a week. … "

Sir Alec Guiness invested in Yahoo during the filming of Star Wars?!? Talk about your farsighted investment strategies. That crazy old wizard must have been using The Force for stock tips.
posted by Reverend John at 8:56 AM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


Sir Alec Guiness invested in Yahoo during the filming of Star Wars?!?

Not to ruin a joke or anything, but he's referencing a play:
Alec Guinness, other works - (1976) Stage: Appeared (as "Jonathan Swift") in "Yahoo", Queen's Theatre, London
posted by cjelli at 9:01 AM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


I just love the idea of Obi Wan Kenobi referring to money as "bread". Maybe there's something to that blaxploitation spin-off idea afterall.
posted by Nelson at 9:19 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think stuff like this is one of the reasons why I turn to novels, short stories, and comics for my SF&F fix. Cinema and TV seem to get too much pressure to homogenize rather than explore the implications of what they're saying. I'm seeing more stuff on video release, and spending my cash instead on the renaissance of queer-friendly, feminist, and non-eurocentric science SF&F happening right now.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:26 AM on April 30, 2014


Most of The Final Frontier was worse than rubbish, but I do love that fan dance.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:20 AM on April 30, 2014


My youngest daughter is still going nuts over the movie "Frozen," and I am watching Disney fall all over itself trying to crank out more merchandise and themepark opportunities to make money off of its popularity.

So when I heard this announcement, I immediately started wondering to myself about how much thought Disney is going to put into the marketing. Oh, the toys and such will be rubbish, I am sure, but the real planning will go into the "how much and when" questions that thy blew so badly with "Frozen."

And that's kind of sad to me.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:51 AM on April 30, 2014


I really like how everyone is shitting on how terrible of a dongfest and how regressive this film that doesn't even have a trailer yet will be.

This is an extremely tumblry place for MeFi to go. Rip me apart for using that phrase all you want, but seriously... this is some manufactured excuse to hate stuff.

Is the ratio of white dudes to everyone else in the announced cast kind of disconcerting? Yea. Does that mean the movie by default will be a piece of shit dongfest that we should all be righteously angry about and pooping on? Well, there isn't even a damn movie yet.

The stuff about miniskirts then and now is important, too. Bottom line is that Abrams acts as if he has a sexist 8-year-old's understanding of feminism in modern filmmaking, and appears to have shown zero commitment to using his position as one of the most popular filmmakers of his day to make even the slightest effort in the direction of treating women as equals in characterization and plot. Do we even need to talk about his other two directorial efforts, Mission Impossible III (which I only partly saw but would bet is a Standard Hollywood 8:1 male:female cockfest) and Super 8, which I remember having exactly one female character who spends most of the movie unconscious and in need of rescue. Correct me if I'm wrong on those.

And, you know, something i was thinking about after i wrote my post above about his films being middle of the pack at worst among some pretty goddamn crappy star trek films.

In doing the stuff he did, mentioned in the articles you linked, he missed the goddamn soul of star trek. His future, by definition of breaking the Roddenberry Box not only in letter but in spirit is not really the star trek universe. It's a reboot not just in that it breaks canon, but that it like breaks the fucking soul of what star trek was even supposed to be. Mainly, in that it was a future in which everyone had a truly equal opportunity to do anything they wanted.

His universe has no Kathryn Janeway, or Tasha Yar, or B'Elanna Torres, or T'Pol(which is sort of where it started to come off the rails a bit. Ugh, the whole "You have to fuck me or i'm going to die!" subplot).

I still think it's a good film, but i wouldn't argue with someone who said it's not really a star trek film in spirit even if it is in letter. It's like, some avengers type of ragtag gang of heroes explosion-ladden movie with star trek stuff added in mad-libs style, like a video game mod or something.

It's not like star wars had some really idealistic progressive soul, like star trek at least aspired to at times(and succeeded at in others, especially with bringing up some serious ass questions we might face soon like this brilliant shit which is some of the best television ever written).

So yea, that took it into a place i hadn't even thought about much. It's superficially a good movie i've enjoyed, even on a second or third viewing, but is it really star trek in spirit?

I mean this new star wars movie could come out and everybody could be mostly slapping eachother on the back and saying oh it's cool because they added more minorities and women... but will it do the same goddamn shit?
posted by emptythought at 11:10 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


When somebody asked me how Star Trek 2009 was, I said, "It was a good action movie. It's not Star Trek."
posted by Chrysostom at 11:29 AM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


"It was a good action movie. It's not Star Trek."

Repetition does drive the point home, I guess.
posted by The World Famous at 12:18 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


Is the ratio of white dudes to everyone else in the announced cast kind of disconcerting? Yea. Does that mean the movie by default will be a piece of shit dongfest that we should all be righteously angry about and pooping on? Well, there isn't even a damn movie yet.

Well, "dongfest" is the very well-documented default for Hollywood films.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:40 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


In doing the stuff he did, mentioned in the articles you linked, he missed the goddamn soul of star trek. His future, by definition of breaking the Roddenberry Box not only in letter but in spirit is not really the star trek universe. It's a reboot not just in that it breaks canon, but that it like breaks the fucking soul of what star trek was even supposed to be. Mainly, in that it was a future in which everyone had a truly equal opportunity to do anything they wanted.


You're right, but I think there's an even more profound point than this to be made. The most fundamental aspect of Gene Roddenberry's shows is that they're about exploration, about going out into the unknown, taking on and beating any dangers that may be out there. It's an expression of confidence about human nature, or manifest destiny maybe. The Federation spreads through the stars like the United States spread through North America. The movies lost sight of that (after the deeply flawed first one) because they were produced by Harve Bennett. He did great work continuing the character arcs started in the original series, but I think the movie franchise lost something when it gave up on the idea of exploration as the primary driver of the story.

The Abrams movies don't even try, because they're not interested in exploration at all. The feeling I get from them is a post 9/11 sense that horrible monsters are out there in the dark, and sometimes the monsters come here to hurt and kill us, and only the brave heroes Kirk and Spock (and the rest) can save us. It isn't about humanity kicking ass, it's just these guys. If they weren't around we'd all be dead.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:52 PM on April 30, 2014 [7 favorites]


Imaginary conversation with J. J. Abrams:

Me: Why did you completely change the character of Uhura? She's not even remotely similar.
Abrams: What do you mean? I cast a black actress, didn't I?
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:54 PM on April 30, 2014 [3 favorites]


The Abrams movies don't even try, because they're not interested in exploration at all.

This speaks to why I didn't like the new Warp Drive effect: it's more like a subway ride than a journey, a blind trip to a fixed destination and you don't see anything comprehensible out the window until you arrive.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:04 PM on April 30, 2014


The most fundamental aspect of Gene Roddenberry's shows is that they're about exploration, about going out into the unknown, taking on and beating any dangers that may be out there. It's an expression of confidence about human nature, or manifest destiny maybe. The Federation spreads through the stars like the United States spread through North America.

Because nothing says "the final frontier" like paternalistic neocolonialism, exploitation, and genocide.

I've enjoyed the two neo-Trek movies in large part because of, not despite, its more paranoid, dystopian air. And in the fantasy-Trek in my head, they'd close out the Trek trilogy in a postcolonial war with the Klingon / Romulan rebels fighting to stop the militant Federation before its spreading Evil Empire screws up more of the universe.
posted by nicebookrack at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2014


and appears to have shown zero commitment to using his position as one of the most popular filmmakers of his day to make even the slightest effort in the direction of treating women as equals in characterization and plot

It's weird because he was behind TV shows like Alias and Fringe and Felicity which all had well-developed female characters in lead roles, driving the plot. I wonder what the deal is with that changing for the big screen.
posted by Hoopo at 3:14 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder what the deal is with that changing for the big screen.

The first number I could find with googling was that Alias cost around $5 million per episode, putting a whole 22-episode season of Alias at $40 million cheaper than the 2009 Star Trek, and that's just production budget. I guarantee you that waaayyyy more money was spent marketing that first Star Trek movie than Alias ever got. The more recent Abrams Star Trek movie was even more expensive than that, if I recall (closer to $200 million).

All that to say that movies are massively more expensive than TV. Consequently, TV can take more risks, even if they're only really "risks" in the mind of asshole studio execs.

Let me be clear that I do think the money thing is more of a fig leaf to cover entrenched sexism in the industry than not. This recent look at the issue is pretty damning in that regard.

But in any case, Abrams when tasked with making a $150-200 million big budget Hollywood movie has twice now with Star Trek .... done exactly that for better or worse (tilting more towards the worse direction imo). I don't see any reason why he'd do any better here, though I do agree with the people that've said that Star Wars as a general milieu seems to suit the things he does well better than Star Trek ever could've..
posted by sparkletone at 3:46 PM on April 30, 2014


It's weird because he was behind TV shows like Alias and Fringe and Felicity which all had well-developed female characters in lead roles, driving the plot

I don't know how hands-on Abrams is once one of "his" TV shows is in production and running for years at a time. His name might be on the pilot, but I don't think he necessarily invests in them as much as he does the films he's directing.
posted by crossoverman at 3:52 PM on April 30, 2014


It's an expression of confidence about human nature, or manifest destiny maybe. The Federation spreads through the stars like the United States spread through North America.

Because nothing says "the final frontier" like paternalistic neocolonialism, exploitation, and genocide.


The original concept of Star Trek is "wagon train in space", so I think there's something in this though. And the franchise, at times, has been self-aware enough to note it: "inalienable human rights." And there are episodes with a definite paternalism - the Enterprise visits a planet to see if it's ready to join the Federation, for example. Or every episode where they deal with a scientist with an experiment run amok or a technologically equivalent society, but somehow the Federation is better on certain moral or ethical grounds.

Star Trek comes from a time when we thought increasing technological progress would also mean increasing social progress; we now know that isn't the case. And it's been a long time since I bought the idealistic vision the Star Trek universe tries to give us - I love the humanistic ideal espoused, but I think there's too many deep complex issues that the Trek universe just kinda sweeps under the rug to maintain that image (e.g. - If Data is a person, and holodeck characters can be considered people, at what level is the ship's computer - the computer that runs the holodeck?) but I also think it's somewhat sad to see the franchise become another somewhat cynical, dark, "future imperfect" series that's more about the action sequences than anything else. What the franchise should be about is exploration both physical - "strange new worlds, new life, new civilizations" and in ideals - what do the new things we've discovered teach us about ourselves and how we do things, and how to be better beings in general. Upthread, someone mentions that the films lost their way when they were no longer about exploration, though the character arcs and development served II, III, and IV well - I would argue they were still about exploration; an exploration of character and values and what it means to live them. (II, III and IV that is - I'm not going to try to defend any other film).

I'm a fan of both the grimdark fantasy and dystopian science fiction, but I think there do need to be examples of the heroic, the ideal - because while I think both genres are at their strongest when they hold a mirror up to ourselves as we are, I also think that there's a place for them to show us an image of how we could be better.
posted by nubs at 3:56 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't know how hands-on Abrams is once one of "his" TV shows is in production and running for years at a time. His name might be on the pilot, but I don't think he necessarily invests in them as much as he does the films he's directing.

Even still, just the concept and pilot alone set the groundwork in these cases for a show with a female lead. I never watched Felicity, but Fringe was quite clear early on that Olivia was going to be the the lead and Joshua Jackson was like the Scully to her Mulder. Alias I barely remember but the whole thing would have been conceptualized around a female lead as well.
posted by Hoopo at 4:10 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


The thing about Star Trek that it saddened me to see Abrams miss the mark on was that it was about brave, resourceful beings going out into space and using their own brains and hands to forge their own futures; not acting out some long-foretold prophecy because only they could fulfill their destinies just by being the right person in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing like in some fairy tale.

I guess that should make me think he'll do better with Star Wars, because that's more what that story is all about. But if he can get the essence of one pre-existing franchise so terribly wrong, he can do it again.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:54 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


They're all superhero movies now.
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:19 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


Come on, though. Kirk has always been a superhero.
posted by The World Famous at 6:30 PM on April 30, 2014


And his kryptonite was alien women.
posted by crossoverman at 7:42 PM on April 30, 2014


Kirk has always been a superhero.

No, he wasn't. He was a hero, but not a superhero. He had weaknesses and flaws, including both his temper and his little black book problem. He was a mortal man who made mistakes and sometimes those mistakes were very, very bad, killing the people who trusted him as their leader. Kirk wasn't born great and he didn't get greatness by being bitten by a spider or irradiated with gamma rays; he had to earn it by going where no man had gone before and doing the best he could do under the circumstances.

Much as I enjoyed ST:2009 Abrams totally did not get that. Even the reboot premise supposed that Kirk's greatness was somehow genetic and would come out even if he had none of the formative experiences that had made him who he was in TOS. It was fun, but that was pretty much exactly the opposite of how the character Gene Roddenberry created had come to be.
posted by localroger at 7:49 PM on April 30, 2014 [6 favorites]


No, you see in the reboot he was born in the middle of a massive space battle with futuristic explody Romulo-Mining-Weapons and the warp core was hit and leaked antidilithium atomo-particle radiation beams, the result of which is that he was newborn with supercaptain powers. Keep up.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:02 PM on April 30, 2014


or maybe since he was born mere moments after Captain Robau was killed that area of space was full of spiritous captain juice which his infant body soaked up like bread soaks up wine
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:07 PM on April 30, 2014 [1 favorite]


He had weaknesses and flaws, including both his temper and his little black book problem. He was a mortal man who made mistakes and sometimes those mistakes were very, very bad, killing the people who trusted him as their leader. Kirk wasn't born great and he didn't get greatness by being bitten by a spider or irradiated with gamma rays; he had to earn it by going where no man had gone before and doing the best he could do under the circumstances.

You just described both Batman and Iron Man.
posted by The World Famous at 8:10 PM on April 30, 2014 [2 favorites]


You guys seem to be blaming Abrams for the story that Orci and Kurtzman wrote.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:24 AM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


You just described both Batman and Iron Man.

Batman has a little black book problem? Tony Stark OTOH, OK.

Another big difference is that even though Kirk wants to be a lone wolf, he has to be a team player. He did not use his Dad's money to buy the parts to build a starship in his man cave. He needs Starfleet for that, and he has to fit into the Starfleet organization well enough so that they can trust him with one of the most powerful and expensive machines ever created by humans.

And yes, you see this tension in the comics too; Batman has to work with the cops, and Stark with S.H.I.E.L.D. and his military customers. But the potential cost to Kirk for coloring outside the lines is much higher. Wayne and Stark can always tell the authorities to fuck themselves and do their own thing. There's nobody who can take their superpower toys away. If Kirk does that he risks never commanding a starship again, and he knows it.
posted by localroger at 5:24 AM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


"I'M BATMAN!" *woman dies from shock* "UHHHH..... ALFRED!! NEXT WOMAN! I'M BATMAN!" *woman dies of shock* "UHHH..... ALFRED!!"
posted by Jacen at 6:27 AM on May 1, 2014


You guys seem to be blaming Abrams for the story that Orci and Kurtzman wrote.

That is a fair point, and deserves some elaboration on my part.

Orci and Kurtzman did write the screenplay, but given the close creative working relationship, similar sensibilities, and collaborative effort all three men have shared on past projects, it seems natural to me to assume that Abrams’s thoughts and ideas about the themes of the movie had some impact on the final product.

Also, this may be just me, but I thought that in a project of this scale, it was just kind of assumed that when one mentioned the creative leader of the venture, one was also generally including his or her inner circle by default unless otherwise specified. Kind of like, we know Washington didn’t cross the Delaware all by himself. It’s a kind of shorthand, but you're right that it can be really unclear, especially in this kind of discussion. I can only speak for myself, but when I’ve referred to “Abrams” here, it’s been short for “Abrams and the people he had influence over.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:41 AM on May 1, 2014


Because, in the end, right or wrong, he's the guy who stamps his name on it as his seal of approval.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:43 AM on May 1, 2014


Also, one gets the very strong impression from ST:ID that Abrams and his screenwriting team started out with the action set pieces they wanted to include, then molded the script around them. It felt very much driven by those action set pieces more than any coherent story.
posted by localroger at 11:47 AM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


I just really hope the new Star Wars' plot doesn't include the current trend of raising all stakes to total destruction of the universe like everything seems to these days. It's bad enough that 2/3 of existing Star Wars movies are "blow up the big bad thing and save the world" movies.

But at least Kasdan has shown he's capable of writing a story that's not about "baddies gonna destroy the world and we have to blow them up." I would watch the hell out of a sci fi adaptation of Silverado, for example.
posted by The World Famous at 12:48 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


All that to say that movies are massively more expensive than TV. Consequently, TV can take more risks, even if they're only really "risks" in the mind of asshole studio execs.

It's worth noting that the studio exec poised to have the most influence over Abrams's Star Wars is a woman: Kathleen Kennedy is now the president of Lucasfilm and the primary producer of the film.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:23 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still think that the only sensible response to any new SW movie announcement is a high-pitched childlike "yippee!".
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:18 PM on May 1, 2014 [3 favorites]


The big, climactic reveal is that Jar Jar Binks got his name the same way as Arthur "Two Sheds" Jackson.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:32 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that the studio exec poised to have the most influence over Abrams's Star Wars is a woman. Kathleen Kennedy is now the president of Lucasfilm and the primary producer of the film.

If it's worth noting she's there, then it's worth noting she seems to have a) not realized there was a gender parity problem worth addressing early on in the movie's production, b) realized it was a problem but had no power to force Abrams to address it, or c) not really cared that much about the issue.

Someone should interview her and ask her directly whether she had any reservations about announcing a 6:1 male:female cast for the new movie. I'd love to hear her perspective, not least because I know nothing about how much she's bought into the obvious past Lucasfilm mindset that Star Wars movies must feature absolutely only one woman in a major role in each film, while men are allowed a half-dozen major roles. That pattern has been crystal clear at Lucasfilm. Recently placing a woman at the top of the company does not appear to have made much of a difference so far.
posted by mediareport at 6:06 PM on May 1, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes, placing women at the top of the Hollywood power structure hasn't really changed the disparity in roles between men and women. The notion that women will see films about men but not vice versa is perpetuated and nobody wants to risk the bottom line - so women in charge of studios don't change much, if anything.
posted by crossoverman at 6:10 PM on May 1, 2014


From Bizjournals: 'Star Wars' won't star more women under Kathleen Kennedy's leadership:

In Kathleen Kennedy's 'Star Wars,' battles still to be waged by the guys

...Daisy Ridley [has] been cast in a few television roles, but is largely unknown. She'll join Fisher as the only woman with a major role in the space opera. This is after Kathleen Kennedy was put in charge of the franchise after taking over for George Lucas. If women are hoping female execs will increase roles for women, we may be waiting a while.

...Having only one featured woman who is a side character isn't new to the franchise. Fisher was the only major female role in the original series and Natalie Portman was the only woman of interest in the much maligned prequels. Some have applauded some episodes of the Star Wars book series for elevating female characters. But the message Abrams is sending is clear, it's business as usual in the filmed Star Wars universe.

posted by mediareport at 6:17 PM on May 1, 2014


Here's a prescient but now also poignant piece at Bitchflicks from November 2012, worth a read for two reasons. First, for its take on Kathleen Kennedy as not progressive at all on women's representation in Hollywood:

Enormously successful female film producer Kathleen Kennedy is now president of Lucasfilm and “brand manager” of Star Wars after the sale to Disney. A woman is now in charge of Star Wars. I don’t know about you, but I’m hearing a chorus of angels sing.

And then an abrupt record scratch, because it’s a naïve fantasy to suppose that having a woman executive produce the new Star Wars films will meaningfully shift the gender balance of the larger creative team. A quick overview of Kennedy’s credits on IMDb confirm that she’s mostly helped bring male voices to the screen, and a very discouraging (although unsourced and hopefully entirely dubious!) quotation in her personal trivia section has a very “binders full of women” tone:
But what I always find interesting is when you take the areas of writing, producing and directing. I don’t think there’s a great deal of discrimination — although I’m completely perplexed and confused as to why there aren’t more women. For instance, if we’re looking for new, young directors, which is something we do all the time, we certainly never go look at films because they’re directed by a man or a woman. We look at films because they are winning awards, they’re good, and it has nothing to do with gender. And women certainly have equal opportunity to get into a university like UCLA or USC, to get into the film department, to take the same courses to allow them to make films, to deal with a whole gamut of subject matter, and yet I don’t know what happens. There’s something that happens in the process of getting there that seems to turn many women away. – Kathleen Kennedy [Oh, bugger, here's the source.]
Second, it's worth reading for the now-sadly-outdated hope that Disney's experience with female audiences just might work to increase the number of significant women's roles from the awful (and in 2014 unforgivable) ratios we'd seen before:

The next Star Wars films could bring us more than one—seriously, I swear it is possible—dynamic female character. We might even see a woman as the central figure in the next trilogy. Those oh-so-valuable boys will still be bought and payed for by the Star Wars name and universe. In this brave new world where a “Disney Princess” is a diplomat who carries a blaster, the new Star Wars films might finally break us of gender-segregating our children’s entertainment.

Oh well. It was a nice "naïve fantasy" while it lasted.
posted by mediareport at 6:37 PM on May 1, 2014


I'm not sure why anyone would think Kathleen Kennedy would bring a more progressive touch to this stuff. As a producer, especially on this franchise, certainly she has a lot of power... But my understanding is that among the biggest thing producers do is act as an interface between The Money and the actual creative team. The money people here are still all the same ones, and given how high stakes a property as expensive as Star Wars was for Disney... Fuck yes they're going to do their normal conservative bullshit.
posted by sparkletone at 7:14 PM on May 1, 2014


Fuck yes they're going to do their normal conservative bullshit.

God it's just so depressing to me that the existence of women is a liberal/conservative issue.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:45 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


and Natalie Portman was the only woman of interest in the much maligned prequels

Jeez, way to disrespect Anakin's Mom, Bizjournal.
posted by misha at 8:00 PM on May 1, 2014


Fuck yes they're going to do their normal conservative bullshit.

Yeah the argument is often/always that men help men get up; that the boys club perpetuates the boys club. It's depressing that women in power also perpetuate the boys club.

If women aren't helping women - and giving the same bullshit excuse of "we don't judge by gender, we judge by awards" and yet the problems persist, then there's reason enough to ask the question, "Why?"

Kennedy also talks about women having equal opportunity to get into UCLA or USC - which is absolutely the case. And I believe the numbers of women and men studying in film courses are close to parity. But then what happens? The real world. The boys club.
posted by crossoverman at 8:02 PM on May 1, 2014 [2 favorites]


Do they even have a script yet? Any reason the plot line might necessitate such a gender imbalanced cast? Like they're making a Star Wars version of Reservoir Dogs, maybe?

Seriously, yeah, I can't see any reason why there shouldn't be more diversity all around in the cast. I'd definitely like to see more women, especially women of color, represented onscreen. And I think it is pretty obvious that there is room for more women in the Star Wars universe.

Trying to be as charitable as I possibly can, I suppose it s possible some actresses were approached but were just not interested in working with Lucasfilms. But I doubt it.

Hopefully, all the bad media they are getting will at least motivate them to rethink their strategy and consider bringing in more women--to write for, well as to act in--the film.
posted by misha at 8:21 PM on May 1, 2014


The Jedi order has always been the patriarchy.

At least there are female Jedis. The Sith are such a sausage fest.
posted by crossoverman at 11:25 PM on May 1, 2014


If they give John Boyega a reprise of the "kill all them things" line I will just about pee my pants right there in the cinema I tell you what

Allow it.
posted by yonega at 3:27 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


At least there are female Jedis. The Sith are such a sausage fest.

Except for Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters of Dathomir.
posted by VTX at 7:10 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


Except for Asajj Ventress and the Nightsisters of Dathomir.

I love Clone Wars, but if there are two new women and one of them is the villain, I am DISAPPOINT, Star Wars, even more than I am with your casting decisions. Even if you do manage to pass the Bechdel test by the skin of your teeth.
posted by immlass at 7:59 AM on May 2, 2014


"Do they even have a script yet? Any reason the plot line might necessitate such a gender imbalanced cast? Like they're making a Star Wars version of Reservoir Dogs, maybe?"

SCENE ONE: IN A SMALL CANTINA ON TATOOINE WE OPEN ON LUKE AND HAN WITH TWO YOUNG MEN, ALL RUBBING THEIR DICKS TOGETHER.
posted by klangklangston at 8:09 AM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


If the dicks make lightsaber noises, I will watch this movie.
posted by Think_Long at 8:11 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: The dicks make lightsaber noises.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:12 AM on May 2, 2014 [2 favorites]


Might be a good time to go back to the game that made me like Star Wars again: Knights of the Old Republic.

It's got everything: mystery, betrayal, sarcastic killer droids, a diverse cast, crazy old dudes living in solitude, an annoying whiny dude who won't shut up, fish people, Wookiees, and both a Light Side and a Dark Side ending.

Heck, they could film an adapted script as two movies and release them Clue-style. Which ending will you get--redemption or corruption?
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:12 AM on May 2, 2014


And KOTOR is on sale on steam this week.

(Of course, Bioware had to ruin it in TOR, but ...)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:27 AM on May 2, 2014






At least there are female Jedis. The Sith are such a sausage fest.

Not on Deviantart and the other fan art sites I frequent. There it's all hot Sithettes in skintight leather, welding an average of 2.8 lightsabers each.

In that vein, as long as we're talking about women, Disney and Star Wars...are you SURE you want more women in the franchise?
posted by happyroach at 9:29 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


So, uh, anybody watch the trailer for that new TV series, yet?
posted by Sokka shot first at 10:43 AM on May 4, 2014


Yep, that trailer played before the Star Wars marathon at the local cinema yesterday. I was completely underwhelmed.
posted by crossoverman at 3:20 PM on May 4, 2014




A scoop from Ain't It Cool?! We are partying like it's 1999 and Episode 1, aren't we?
posted by Nelson at 8:05 AM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]


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