Star Wars 7: new trailer to premiere at Star Wars Celebration

Director JJ Abrams expected to unveil an extended trailer for The Force Awakens at Star Wars fan event in two weeks

LAST UPDATED AT 14:55 ON Thu 12 Mar 2015

A new trailer for the forthcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, will be unveiled at a huge fan convention in California next month, before being rolled out in cinemas alongside the Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Age of Ultron.

This year's Star Wars Celebration, which begins on 16 April, is expected to feature the trailer in its opening ceremony. The new Avengers film comes out in the UK on 23 April, eight days before its US premiere.

Lucasfilm and Disney are expected to upload the trailer online shortly after it first airs to prevent bootleg copies from reaching YouTube ahead of an officially sanctioned version, StarWars7News reports.

Star Wars Celebration is a fan event that began in 1999 to coincide with the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. JJ Abrams, the director of The Force Awakens, is expected to appear at this year's event alongside Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca, and Ian McDiarmid, who played the evil Emperor Palpatine.

Rumours have been circulating that Harrison Ford, who plays Han Solo in The Force Awakens, may also appear at the conference, after he was discharged from hospital on Monday following a light plane crash at the beginning of March.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released on 18 December.

Star Wars 7: will The Force Awakens get its own prequels?

March 12

After devising the plot line of his epic six-film space series, George Lucas took the unusual step of beginning the story from the middle, filming Episode IV first. The film, Star Wars: A New Hope went on to become a huge success and spawned two further sequels as well as three "prequels".

Now, it appears that the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, will follow a similar narrative arc. Disney Publishing has announced that no fewer than 20 new Star Wars stories will be released to chronicle the events that take place between Return of the Jedi and JJ Abrams' forthcoming new film. This leaves room for further live-action or animated prequels, either as full cinematic releases or as cartoons or other TV projects.

The first book in the series will be released on 4 September and will be called Star Wars: Aftermath. It will pick up the story immediately after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi.

A synopsis for the book which appeared on Barnes and Noble's website this week suggests that after Darth Vader and the Emperor are despatched, there may yet be further disturbances in the Force.

It reads: "Journey to The Force Awakens: The second Death Star is destroyed. The Emperor and his powerful enforcer, Darth Vader, are rumoured to be dead. The Galactic Empire is in chaos. Across the galaxy, some systems celebrate, while in others Imperial factions tighten their grip. Optimism and fear reign side by side.

"And while the Rebel Alliance engages the fractured forces of the Empire, a lone Rebel scout uncovers a secret Imperial meeting..."

Alongside Aftermath will be a Marvel comic series called Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens which will tell a story from C-3PO's perspective, and a kids' book called Star Wars: Ships of the Galaxy by Studio Fun International, MakingStarWars.net reports.

According to Andrew Sugerman of Disney, the stories have been shrouded in secrecy and their production has "required one clandestine society of authors to form a bond with another hush-hush society of screenwriters." 

Amid the wealth of new Star Wars material there is just one publishing phenomenon that Star Wars fans shouldn't expect, Entertainment Weekly suggests: erotica. "In other words, no Yoda-themed 50 Shades of Green."

Star Wars 7: Princess Leia to become 'Queen Leia' in new film

06 March

​​Much has been written about returning characters Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in the hugely anticipated forthcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens, but yesterday new details appeared to emerge about Carrie Fisher's character, Princess Leia, who in the new film is rumoured to have become a queen.

Warning: possible spoilers ahead

According to a collection of leaks and rumours assembled from various sources by well-regarded Star Wars fan site MakingStarWars.net, Princess Leia is "described as a Queen on the main cast list".

According to Star Wars mythos, royalty exists both democratically and hereditarily on different planets. Princess Leia's biological mother, Amidala, was elected Queen of Naboo, but Leia is said to have become Princess of Alderaan after being adopted by Bail Organa and Queen Breha of Alderaan. It is unclear whether she becomes Queen in The Force Awakens by election or succession.

MakingStarWars.net also suggests the possibility of either estrangement or separation from Han Solo. According to the site "the sequence in which Han Solo and Princess meet for the first time in the film is described as 'awkward.'"

According to StarWars7News.com, Leia "seems to be in a leadership role" in the new film and is actively involved in a plot to destroy a secret weapon known as "The Catapult". The weapon may be a successor to the Death Star – the planet-destroying weapon built by the evil Empire, led by Darth Vader and the Emperor, in the original trilogy of films.

Some other details about Leia's role according to MakingStarWars.net include:

  • In the middle of the film she says she has a secret "up her sleeve," called The Sledgehammer
  • The bickering love-hate relationship between Leia and Han continues.
  • Just before he leaves for the final mission, the last thing Han says to Leia is "I'll hurry back."
Harrison Ford injured in plane crash

Harrison Ford, the actor who plays Han Solo in the long-running space epic, was rushed to hospital after crashing a small plane into a golf course near Los Angeles yesterday.

The 72-year-old was reported to have suffered "moderate" injuries in the accident. The plane crash is the second time Ford has been hurt in the past 12 months. He also broke his ankle last year during filming for The Force Awakens when a hydraulic door on the set of the Millennium Falcon fell and hit him. After the accident, the actor was airlifted to hospital and missed two weeks of filming.

Cinema news site Screen Crush notes that as well as reprising his role in the new series of Star Wars films, Ford has also recently signed on for the "long-gestating" Blade Runner sequel. "At 72 years old… his enduring dedication to these franchises is even more remarkable".

It is not yet known whether Ford's accident will have an impact on filming for the next Star Wars film, but given Episode VIII still has no set production date, it is unlikely to cause any disruption.

Star Wars 7: major character to be killed in violent twist

20 February

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

10 February

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

02 February

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?

27 January

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. 

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they want to concentrate less on the celeb actors and more on the script judging by the last few attempts. And perhaps Benedict Cumberbatch could sit this one out too, since he seems to be in everything nowadays.