It’s kind of a good news/bad news situation for the new Star Wars film, Episode VII. The bad news is that Michael Arndt is no longer writing the screenplay. However, his work has not been for nothing, as they are merely taking over from where he left off. It’s also likely that they’ll go back through everything he’s written, making changes whenever and wherever necessary. We probably won’t know until the film gets closer to release whether Arndt will be credited in any way.
The good news is that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are the writers that are taking over the screenwriting duties. J.J. Abrams is, of course, the creator of many of the best TV shows of the last decade. Lawrence Kasdan is a name that, if you know Star Wars history, you’ll recognize as the screenwriter for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s been a while since his words have been spoken in a Star Wars film, and kind of sad that he didn’t get to take a few passes on each of the Star Wars prequels. However, that is changing with the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. Kasdan is now at work on the new film, and I couldn’t be more excited about it than I am now.
About a year ago, Disney made the ultimate purchase. One that made my dreams of seeing more Star Wars films on the big screen possible. They bought Lucasfilm. It was this purchase that has actually completed a project that I am now convinced was the plan from the time they bought the Jim Henson Company back in 2004 for an undisclosed amount somewhere around $200 million. It was actually a much longer journey as Disney had originally purchased distribution rights to all of the Jim Henson Company productions way back in 1991. It took until September of 2008 before Disney finally rebranded the Muppets Holding Company as Muppet Studios, and placed it under new leadership.
With phase one complete, it was time to begin work on phase two: the acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. This was a massive purchase costing $4.24 billion. Disney needed to get control of Marvel Productions, and this was one way that they could do so. They didn’t want to have any red-tape, even though they very likely had all of the rights they needed thanks to the acquisition of the Muppets.
Lastly, they needed the final piece of the equation. They needed the footage that was used from both Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. And the best way to do that? Spend $4.06 billion on the purchase of Lucasfilm. That brought in both franchises.
With the total cost being about $8.5 billion, Disney is very close to being able to achieve their ultimate goal: the release of Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies on DVD and Blu-ray. I had been thinking about the overall purchases that Disney was making, and one day it dawned on me that all of these things were connected. And with a little bit of research, I found that I wasn’t the only one to think of this.
From what I can gather, the only thing left standing in their way is a simple licensing of some footage from Ghostbusters from Sony Pictures. Unless they plan on purchasing the rights to the Ghostbusters franchise (which I’d have no problem with, as they seem to just do everything right with the franchises they acquire). There are also bits from Star Trek: The Next Generation, which belong to Paramount, among a few other things. It seems to me that we’re as close as ever, and so is Disney.
That’s a pretty large investment so far, though, and I hope that the eventual release of this classic masterpiece of animation works out for them, and they make back the billions they’ve spent in gathering the exclusive rights to the series.
Most of us want to write a book, a feature film, tv show, or comic book some day. However, there are many rules for writing that can keep us from moving forward, or even picking up a pen and paper to start writing. Reading through the rules provided here has the opposite effect. Keeping these things in mind can inspire you to actually give it a shot. To take a chance and dive in to your story, and to get to know your characters.
Former Pixar storyboard artist Emma Coats provided a glimpse into her own creative process via twitter, and I’ve listed 25 rules for story construction. I’m also including examples of how these rules can be applied, or were applied, in various movies. At least where I think it can add some value.
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
I’ve been waiting for a fourth Jurassic Park for years. When it was announced that it was finally coming, and Colin Trevorrow would be directing, I was excited that it was in the works. And now we have not just a name, but also a release date.
Jurassic World suggests a number of things. For one thing, it could be a theme park, with a name similar to Walt Disney World. The title Jurassic Park probably didn’t fit the type of attraction that they were creating this time. Rather than a guided tour of giant enclosures, which proved to be a colossal failure, perhaps this time it’s a place that includes rides, performances and shows. However, the name could also refer to the reach that the dinosaurs have gained since the first film, and how far they may have begun to spread. Perhaps there has been an attempt to use the plant-eaters as beasts of burden in parts of the world. It’s entirely plausible that, by this time, the safer herbivores were cultivated from the island and introduced to the rest of the world to serve a purpose. It’ll be interesting to see if I got anywhere close with either of these ideas.
Jurassic World releases on June 12, 2015. Director Colin Trevorrow wrote the screenplay with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley are producing.
A rumor has surfaced in the past couple of days that has actor Benedict Cumberbatch potentially playing a role in the new Star Wars trilogy. As Cumberbatch recently played a major villain in Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness, the idea of him playing a primary villain in the new Star Wars trilogy has me more excited than ever for the next three films. The rumor is that he’ll play a Sith villain in all three of the films in the trilogy, making him the new trilogy’s Darth Vader of sorts. If this keeps up, the Sherlock actor will have played a pretty major villain in some of the largest movies in history. This casting, if it pans out, is absolutely a brilliant maneuver, and should happen.
Benedict Cumberbatch could add this role to a list that includes the dragon Smaug from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. The rumor is that he had to drop out of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak for this role. It hasn’t been announced yet, however, and could turn out to be as much of a rumor as anything. If this pans out… whoa… somehow they’re making moves on these films that are both shockingly cool and giving us a lot of hope that we’ll finally get a Star Wars film that brings the fandom back to where I have remained since I got in to the saga in the mid-90s. Please be true.