J.J. Abrams Talks ‘Star Wars: Episode 7′ Tone; Has Chiwetel Ejiofor Been Cast?

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jj abrams star wars 7 writer J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode 7 Tone; Has Chiwetel Ejiofor Been Cast?

After the shock wore off from last year’s news that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm and were committed to releasing new Star Wars movies every year, the conversation turned to the new creative forces driving the franchise. Despite a flurry of rumors, the facts remain: J.J. Abrams is directing Star Wars: Episode VII, targeted for a 2015 release (either in Spring/Summer or late 2015, depending on the rumor).

Much of the early talk focused on the story, which is to be a direct sequel to Return of the Jedi. Toy Story 3 scribe Michael Arndt was working on a script based on material developed by creator George Lucas, but Arndt has since stepped aside, allowing The Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to step in to co-write with Abrams.

These reports of behind-the-scenes shake-ups cast doubt on whether or not development was really far enough along to make a 2015 release viable, and a big recent story appeared to confirm this. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy had asked Disney CEO Bob Iger to push the release date of Episode VII back to 2016, which Iger flatly refused to do. This came just a few days after the rumor that in order to secure Harrison Ford’s return as Han Solo, Disney and Lucasfilm green-lit a fifth Indiana Jones movie.

All of which has diverted attention from the director himself, who is said to be “in sync with Iger’s desire” for a 2015 release. With that in mind, it seems fitting that we have some new thoughts from Abrams on his approach to the new film’s tone and universe, not to mention a new casting tease.

Not too long ago, a video titled “4 Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again” went viral (you can watch it above) – it was a fan-made effort directed squarely at Abrams, outlining the commonly-held wishes of the fan community on how to approach the new trilogy. When asked by The Times (courtesy of CBM) about his approach to the film’s tone, Abrams referenced the video:

“I would say that [the video conveys] a feeling that we share very much.”

Abrams’ love for the original Star Wars trilogy is well-documented by now, with that enthusiasm helping to justify Disney and Lucasfilm’s decision to bring him aboard. Abrams went on to describe what he loved about the original films, perhaps providing a clue to what his story could be including:

“I loved how ‘Star Wars’ had that sense of a world far beyond the borders of what you can see and have been told. It’s one of the things it did so brilliantly. If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do. They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is. The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.”

While the prequels tracked the rise of the evil Sith Lord Darth Sidious (formerly known as Senator Palpatine), and his manipulative – and ultimately successful – efforts to transform the Republic into the oppressive Galactic Empire, what about the aftermath of the Rebellion’s destruction of the second Death Star at the end of Episode VI? The expanded universe of the extensive Star Wars novels delved into the fate of the Empire – has Abrams dropped a big hint about one of the possible plotlines of Episode VII?

star wars episode 7 release date1 J.J. Abrams Talks Star Wars: Episode 7 Tone; Has Chiwetel Ejiofor Been Cast?

Abrams also addressed the wide generational gap between the audiences who first embraced the original Star Wars films, starting in 1977 and those who entered this universe through the prequels, starting with The Phantom Menace in 1999. The Star Wars fanbase stretches across several age groups, all of whom expect Episode VII to somehow bridge this gap. Abrams knows this, saying:

“A lot of kids who saw all the prequels when they were young really do identify with those movies as much as my generation identified with the originals.”

Were these new details from Abrams timed to divert attention away from the perceived development problems? Possibly, but given the amount of advance time needed to prep such a story, it could be a coincidence.


NEXT PAGE: Has ‘Twelve Years a Slave’ star Chiwetel Ejiofer been cast?

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  1. That would be fantastic. I mean Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan, and Chiwetel Ejiofor? That would be one hell of a start for a cast.

  2. Yes but this guy as…who?

  3. Some kind of operative?

  4. I agree with most of the points made in the video. Except the thing about “star wars happens away from civilisation”… Shure, the original trilogy happened away from civilisation, but for a reason. All the heroes were hiding from the empire. On Tatooine, Hoth, Dagobah etc. In the prequels, and in the upcoming sequels, it makes sense to put the story in the epicenters of the galaxy.

  5. In a follow up blog post the fella behind the four rules explains the on the frontier thing in terms very similar to how Abrams describes the appeal of the original film. It comes down to a feeling of possibility, basically. The guy admits that you don’t need to go to the frontier to get that necessarily, but makes the point that for a certain sort of Star Wars fan (me and just about all my friends, for example) that kind of vibe is of central importance. I for one am looking for a story that expresses that, and thankfully it looks like Abrams is too.

    Which brings me to my point. In reference to this article, I took almost the opposite away from Abram’s quote about a world existing beyond the borders of the film. In my view that’s 100℅ not a hint about the return of the Empire, but about the need to do something new with the franchise.

    Taken with Abram’s praise for the “rules” and their overall emphasis on keeping Star Wars mysterious (he describes them elsewhere in the Times’ piece as “right on” if not exhaustive) and *his* general prediction for mystery, I think think this sentence is key: “The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.”

    To me that really, really does not say get ready for much, much more of what you’ve seen before.

  6. It’s great if they want to take the story to places so far unexplored, both figuratively (in terms of plot) and literally (in terms of new planets and world mechanics).

    The only “rule” I don’t really agree with would be the one about “cuteness”. This coming from people who put Ewoks in the video not too long before that statement. The original trilogy was just as much for kids as the prequel trilogy was; there’s no wrong with “cute” or “child-friendly” if it’s done right, the point being that the prequel trilogy did it way worse than the original one.
    That’s not to say that the original trilogy did it right. But certainly less awkwardly.

    • Also Han stepping on jabba’s tale was not meant as cute, it was meant a way for him to insult jabba without actually saying anything to him directly (yes I know the actual technical reason it was done, but I guess I am in the minority in thinking that it works, its something that Han would do, along with shooting first)

  7. He’s a brilliant actor, the best thing in Firefly and amazing in Kinky Boots.. Great casting choice if its true.

  8. I bet he’ll be a stir with 2 blue lightsabers!

    • * sith

  9. Lando Jr.?

    • also thought that but seeing as there are rumours of a han solo origin story it could be that he is lando anyways if its true its great casting for any role excellent emotional actor I was hoping for him being the first black doctor!

  10. You know on top of being in this movie with the original actors, Benedict Cumberbatch, Saoirse Ronan, and Chiwetel Ejiofor

    they should bring in:

    Jennifer Lawrence – Jedi or sith
    Scarlett Johansson – Jedi
    Jeff Bridges – Thrackan Sal Solo, Han’s cousin
    Robert Downey Jr. – either Jedi or senate (major role) or general
    Emma Stone – Sith
    John Goodman – Bartender
    Tom Hiddleston – Jedi Master
    Chris Hemsworth – soldier
    Tom Hardy – Sith

    • If Disney/Lucasfilm hired that many ‘names’ they’d go broke. Have the originals come back with a cast of unknowns or up-and-comers like they did with ANH.

    • LOL Jeff Bridges. Awesome!
      “You’re messing with my Jedi thing man!”

      A maryjane toking version of what a Jedi master can be. We haven’t seen that before.

  11. I dont mind to actually see novice actors for a major role in star wars…
    I prefer that, on top of well-known A list actors.

  12. I agree about keeping mystery in there. The thing with explaining the Force really ruined it for me.

  13. Enough with the rumors and cast somebody J.J. and I pray Benedict Cumberbatch, Chitiwel Ejiofor or Saoirse Ronan get cast. I also want Alex Pettyfier to be cast as well.

    Benedict Cumberbatch- New Sith killer on the rise (like Galen from the Old republic games)

    Chitiwel Ejiofor- Lando’s son

    Alex Pettyfier and Saoirse Ronan- Jacen Solo and Jaina Solo

    • Galen was not part of the Old Republic, he was part of the timeline between episode 3 and 4. The Old Republic was thousands of years before the movie (Revan, Nihilus, Bastilla, Vitiate ect).

  14. i hope they don’t use any of the expanded univers…you will never hear the end of it from hardcore fans

  15. It’s kinda inevitable

  16. thats what im scared of…i thought Lucas had stuff already written that nobody saw and only gave go greenlights to authors with original stroies