With production set to start this year, recent talk about J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan taking over the screenplay for Star Wars: Episode VII had some worried that the schedule was slipping. Now Abrams, attending the Television Critics Association press tour in support of his new show Believe, offered an update on the script’s status and addressed rumours that he’s talked to Breaking Bad actor Jesse Plemons for a role.
“We’re working really hard and we’ve got our script and we’re in deep prep,” Abrams told The Wrap. “Full steam ahead.” As for Plemons, he’s definitely been in for a meeting, though he’s one of many.
Abrams acknowledges that his secrecy invites lots of rumours, but seems unconcerned about the vast majority. “There’ve been so many of them. It’s amazing to see how many there are. But it’s sweet because it shows that there’s an interest in this movie that we all obviously know is there. But it is an incredible thing to see how many crazy things get thrown out that people often then write commentaries about. How happy they are, how disappointed they are about something that is completely false. It’s a lot of noise, frankly.”
One subject he was happy to address was whether he’d shoot the new Wars outing in IMAX. “In the right situation I would,” he said. “The problem with IMAX is it’s a very loud camera. It’s a very unreliable camera. Only so much film can be in the camera. You can’t really do intimate scenes with it. It’s slow. They break down often. Having said that, they’re working on digital versions of these and so there may be a version one day. But we’re going to be shooting this next movie on film.”
Given the ambitious plans of Abrams, Disney, Lucasfilm and Kathleen Kennedy for the future of the franchise, with its mixture of new trilogy and spin-off films, people have naturally been wondering about the likelihood of crossovers between the two strands. Now, at the opening of Disney/Lucasfilm’s new Singapore facility, Kennedy commented on the general plan going forward.
“George was so clear as to how that works,” she told The Straits Times (via the ToysrEvil blog). “The canon that he created was the Star Wars saga. Right now, Episode VII falls within that canon. The spin-off movies, or we may come up with some other way to call those films, they exist within that vast universe that he created. There is no attempt being made to carry characters from the standalone films in and out of the saga episodes. Consequently, from the creative standpoint, it’s a roadmap that George made pretty clear."
So from the sound of it, the three new saga entries will, as planned, continue the main story of Star Wars with Luke, Leia, Han and whoever else, while the spin-offs will focus on side narratives such as the much-mooted Boba Fett tale. The urge to blend them into one, big, synchronistic story must be strong (especially for the studio that also owns Marvel), but we’re hoping that Episode VII and the other two planned films can stand on their own strengths without needing to dip in and out of other stories.
While he’s generally overseeing the films, Abrams is much more focused on Episode VII for now. The film remains headed for its December 18, 2015 release slot.