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Star Wars Roundup: Gareth Edwards, Puppets Replacing CGI, and Spin-offs!

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When the seventh episode of the epic saga that is Star Wars was first announced fans had their misgivings.

Social media exploded with speculation and doctored images featuring the worst possible casting and far too many Jar Jar references, but the news trickling out of camp Star Wars is anything but bad.

J.J. Abrams Heartfelt Message

Fans of the Star Wars saga were nervous when Star Trek director J.J Abrams was tapped to take his place in Star Wars history. His loyalties were questioned, but his recent choices have shown that he is, like so many of us, a true fan. Not only is this man the luckiest fanboy of them all, but he is well aware of the job he has ahead of him and of how incredibly exciting it is for all of us that we will see our heroes back on the big screen. In a recent open letter to his cast, many of whom are returning cast members from the original trilogy, he expresses his own excitement and shows he certainly knows what is expected of him

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J.J Abrams letter to cast and crew (Image:Moviefone)

If you cant make out Abrams writing, the letter reads:

Dearest Cast and Crew, What an honor it is, to work beside all of you, on Star Wars Ep VII. I can’t thank you enough, for all your work past and future. Let’s take good care of not just ourselves, but each other. Amazing, but true:The world awaits this film. Let’s give ‘em something GREAT. XO JJ

Perhaps with this fans can rest assured that their love is in the hands of a man who is just as excited as they are.

Puppets & a Chance to Be In Episode VII!!!

One of the reasons many fans felt that the more recent episodes of the Star Wars Saga (Episodes I, II, and III) lacked heart was the use of CGI for everything from planet-scapes to characters themselves. While the original trilogy used puppets and models – due to technology and budget constraints according to George Lucas – they gave the original trilogy a solid, real feeling that was somehow lost with the overuse of the amazing new technology that exists today. J.J. Abrams seems to understand that a balance of new and old is the best way to recapture the magic of those original films, not to mention his understanding of the fans love of the universe. In this video we get a sneak peek at some sets, and puppets who are part of the new film, plus Abrams gives fans the chance of the century.

Not only will fans have a chance to be a part of the film, but they can be a part of something so much bigger. With his new found power, Abrams and his team are using their voice to bring balance to the force by giving you a chance to help by supporting UNICEF Innovation Labs and Programs. New parent company Disney donated $1 million to get the project off the ground. Obi Wan would be proud. Visit the Omaze page to donate and enter to win your chance to be in Episode VII, and to be a force for change.

Star Wars Spin-offs Gets Director, and Spoiled by Hasbro?

In February of this year Disney’s Bob Iger announced that Star Wars fans won’t just be getting an Episode VII, but individual characters will star in their own one-off movies released as early as 2016.

Among the spin-offs announced will be the as of yet unnamed Boba Fett film that will likely follow Boba’s journey from child clone to badass bounty hunter, which will be penned by legends Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg. On the tail of his monster Godzilla release it has been announced that Gareth Edwards will take the director seat for the spin-off, which is set to release December 16, 2016, almost exactly a year after Episode VII is slated to hit theaters. Edwards has had enormous success with Godzilla, seeing the biggest international opening of the year. Edwards is also set to direct a sequel to Godzilla, though it will have to wait until his schedule frees up.

In other spin-off news fans can expect not only the Boba Fett story, but also Star Wars: Rebels, an animated series for Disney XD. 2018 will mark the release of a Solo spin-off, perhaps detailing how Han ended up owing Jabba or maybe how he came to own the Falcon. Of course, Disney plans to release a movie a year from 2015 to at least 2020, so what other spin-offs can we hope for? Well, Hasbro may have spilled the beans on another unannounced movie.

At a recent event, the toy company released their toy line schedule for the next  6 years which included a surprise title for 2020:

2014: Rebels (The Disney XD animated series)
2015: Episode VII
2016: Boba Fett (with Jet pack, we hope)
2017: Episode VIII
2018: Solo
2019: Episode IX
2020: Red Five

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Star Wars Black Series (Image:Jason DeCrow/Invision for Hasbro)

Fans will recognize that last title as the Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing call sign from the battle of Yavin, during which the first Death Star was destroyed. Will this unannounced film follow a young Luke as a rebel pilot between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back? That seems to be the most logical guess, though some have pointed out that Anikan also flew under that same call sign as a young pilot. Would Disney make the same mistake Lucas did and force another young Anikan movie on us?

What Might Have Been…

A bit of Star Wars trivia even die hards might not know, Return of the Jedi director Richard Marquand was not George Lucas’ first choice. Way back in the olden days of 1980, Lucas offered the job to David Lynch, at the time known for his work on Elephant Man. The darker, surreal style of the Twin Peaks creator may well have changed the face of the movie, best known for the fierce furry warriors of the forest moon of Endor. Check out this mock-up video of what a David Lynch Jedi might have looked like.

Tune in next week for what’s new in the Star Wars Universe as Geek keeps you up to date on all things Star Wars.

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