Star Wars 7: major character to be killed in violent twist
Warning: possible spoilers as new leak claims that a popular character will be killed in The Force Awakens
A reputable fan site has published sensational new claims about the plot of the forthcoming Star Wars trilogy of films, suggesting that one of the main characters will be killed in the very first episode, The Force Awakens.
Given how swiftly and unceremoniously Obi Wan Kenobi met his maker in A New Hope, Star Wars watchers believe it is not impossible that the new film's scriptwriters could introduce such a bitter twist.
Warning: possible spoilers ahead.
MakingStarWars.net says that a "most trusted" extra on set of the new film has leaked that Harrison Ford's character Han Solo will be killed off by the villain Kylo Wren (thought to be played by Adam Driver) in the new film.
The event will take place in "the ramparts of The Evil Castle", the site says. Other characters in the scene include Finn, Rey, Chewbacca and the droid BB-8.
After Solo's death, Chewbacca lets out 'a barrage of angry roars and laser blasts". The lead characters are then forced to flee the scene.
The leak comes hot on the heels of new details which paint a new picture of returning character Luke Skywalker.
Played by Mark Hamill, The hero of the original trilogy of films will return in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens as a "wizened but crazed" old man.
According to fan page MakingStarWars.net, leaked emails reveal possible new plot details of the upcoming film. The site is quick to clarify that the emails may not be legitimate and notes that some of the details they contain do not align with the current leading theories about the plot of the new film.
Still, the blog suggests that some of the information about Luke may be accurate. In the emails it is revealed that at the start of the film Luke has retreated into self-imposed exile, and has been protecting the tomb of an old Sith lord. "Luke, it is revealed, has been experiencing severe mental torture whilst protecting this tomb from ghosts of the past, present and future and he is very unstable as we meet him, " one email says.
The first time we see him, "Luke is wizened but crazed, his eyes twitch and are bloodshot, his robe is tattered, ripped and his beard is scraggy and his hair grey and long," the source adds.
So far, the details have not been independently confirmed, but fans can look forward to more tangible information about the film in April, when Abrams and Kennedy will appear at the Star Wars celebration event and "will kick off the show in a big way" according to the official Star Wars website.
This could mean the unveiling of the first full-length trailer, International Business Times suggests.
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back
JJ Abrams want to move release to summer 2015
Unconfirmed reports from Movie Pilot and Ikwiz suggest that director JJ Abrams wants to bring forward the release of the hotly anticipated forthcoming Star Wars film, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, to this summer.
The rumour comes from an industry event – the Visual Effects Society Awards 2015 – where Abrams is said to have told attendees he was frustrated with the slow drip of leaks from the set.
According to Movie Pilot, Abrams is worried that the leaked images and plot details will "ruin" the film before it gets to fans. Ikwiz says: "Disney is reportedly taking Abrams's request very seriously, and is looking at a possible summer release."
The film has been scheduled for release in December this year – with the next two instalments in the series following in 2017 and 2019, according to Disney boss Bob Iger.
Releasing The Force Awakens in the summer would be "an extremely brave move" says Movie Pilot, as it would put the latest Star Wars up against box office heavyweights including Avengers 2: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man and the long-awaited Jurassic World.
Star Wars Episode 7: Disney confirms future sequels' dates
Good news for Star Wars fans: episodes eight and nine of the long-running series have been greenlit and should be on the big screen in 2017 and 2019, respectively. The confirmation comes from no lesser source than Disney CEO Bog Iger.
Iger has held ultimate responsibility for the future of the galaxy - or at least for that of the long-ago, far-away galaxy in which Star Wars is set - since Disney bought the rights to George Lucas's creation in 2012.
Now, he has told Disney shareholders in an annual report that the next film in the sequence to be released - Episode VII in December this year - "will be worth the wait", says fan site Star Wars Underworld.
Iger wrote: "As one of the few people allowed to visit the set during filming, and one of the fewer who's seen most of the footage, I can assure the millions of Star Wars fans who have spent the last decade hoping for a new movie this one will be worth the wait."
It might not be too surprising that the studio head thinks one of his forthcoming films is likely to be good, but less subjective are Iger's comments on the release dates for the next chapters planned to come after The Force Awakens, as JJ Abram's hotly-awaited seventh episode is subtitled.
Disney announced last summer that the plan was to release a Star Wars film every year for the next five years: episodes seven to nine, plus two "standalone" films which will not be part of the 'official' sequence but will feature some of the same characters.
Now, Iger confirms that this year's release is "only the beginning of a new era of exceptional Star Wars storytelling", adding: "Next year we'll release our first standalone movie based on these characters, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017, and we'll finish this trilogy with Episode IX in 2019."
Intense secrecy surrounds the development of the series - and very little is known about the eighth and ninth films. Rian Johnson, best known for Looper, is to direct the next film and IMDB.com affords him a writing credit as well.
Disney is said to have abandoned all Lucas's ideas for Episode VII - though that remains to be confirmed - so it may well be that his original plans for Episode VIII and IX have also been scrapped.
That might be a shame: Lucas's biographer told an interviewer in 2012 that the director had written outlines for 12 films in total and episodes seven to nine were the "most exciting".
Star Wars 7: What will happen after The Force Awakens?
Leaked details from a forthcoming Star Wars video game appear to suggest that the first spin-off film to follow Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens may follow the adventures of a young Han Solo.
According to StarWars7news.com, staff from Visceral Games – the developer working on the forthcoming game – have indicated that the title will be a third-person shooter starring Han Solo and may tie in with the next Star Wars movie.
StarWars7news.com's source says that "Visceral's game is about Han Solo… He also said that the programmers are all working on the informed 'guesstimation' that it is either a prequel game to the first spin-off film or may be an actual tie-in game."
The information does not precisely chime with some of the blog's other sources – many of whom believe that the first spin-off movie will star the popular bounty hunter from the original Star Wars trilogy, Boba Fett.
Also, Electronic Arts – Visceral Games's parent company – has said that it is officially "not looking to make Star Wars movie tie-ins".
EA chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen said that the company's games will coincide with cinematic releases, but may not mimic them precisely. "We'll try to align those with the marketing power Disney has so it will get aligned with timings around the movies, but it won't necessarily be aligned with the movie," Jorgensen said.
Consequently, it is possible that the new game project could be an "extensive prequel" to the rumoured Han Solo movie, which is "likely [to] be the second spin-off", StarWars7news.com suggests.
Given the lead time for building complex video games, this is not impossible. Many of the world's most successful video games, including Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, have taken at least three years to build – and the second spin-off movie is due to be released in three years.
Star Wars 7: Bookmaker tips film to be highest grossing of 2015
Bookmaker William Hill has predicted that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the highest grossing movie of 2015, outmuscling the forthcoming instalments of both the Avengers and James Bond franchises.
In its rundown of the biggest films of the year the bookmaker makes the forthcoming Disney film, directed by JJ Abrams, a huge odds-on favourite to be the most successful of the year. The other contenders are Avengers: Age of Ultron which will be the 4/1 outsider ahead of Jurassic World at 8/1 with Spectre, the new 007 film coming in fourth with odds of 9/1.
William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly told Crunchsports.com: "After a slow year for blockbusters in 2014, it looks as though 2015 could be the best ever year for movies."
Last year, Credit Suisse's Michael Senn predicted that the film would take $1.2bn at the box office, StarWars7News.com reports. This week, Cowan & Co. projected the exact same figure. But FBR Capital Markets goes further and says the film would likely take in $700m domestically and another $1bn overseas.
Some analysts say that the hotly anticipated film may even outperform those expectations, and could go on to be the highest grossing film of all time. To do so it would have to top James Cameron's Avatar, which made $2.8bn when it was released in 2009.
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens toys 'revealed' by fansite
A Star Wars fansite has published a list of new Hasbro toys from the forthcoming Star Wars 7 film, including new lightsabers, remote controlled droids, blasters and figurines.
Toymaker Hasbro has been tight-lipped about the products it is working on, but Star Wars news site RebelScum.com claims to have found a list of toys the company is planning to produce in time for the release of the hotly-anticipated film.
It includes an assortment of 3.75-inch figures, vehicles, top-of-the-line 'Black Series' figures aimed at collectors, Micro Machines, a remote control droid, a new Force FX lightsaber, and Nerf weapons including a new blaster.
Alongside the list of toys, RebelScum.com also released a questionable "leaked picture" (above) which purports to show five characters from the new film including Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren.
It is notable that the image features four characters who appear in the trailer that was released late last year, and a sketch of returning character Chewbacca that looks suspiciously similar to a six-inch Black Series figurine that was released by Hasbro several years ago.
In a press release, Hasbro said it would not unveil any Star Wars toys at this year's New York Toy Fair, which is scheduled to take place on Saturday 14 February, although there will be some Star Wars products.
The release notes that "Hasbro will be exhibiting a variety of fun and exciting Star Wars products from across its portfolio of brands, including Star Wars action figures, Star Wars Galactic Heroes and more, [but] there will be no toys based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Star Wars Episode VII) shown at Toy Fair this year".