Wednesday, April 24, 2013


If you missed Part I of THE FORCE, click here to catch up.

On October 30, 2012, the Internet exploded.

That was the day that Disney announced it had purchased the rights to all things STAR WARS from George Lucas for something like 4 billion dollars. There had been rumors of that happening for a while, but everyone kind of chalked it up to just that—rumors. STAR WARS was Lucas' baby. There was no way he would ever part with it.

Then he did.

That same day, Disney announced that they had been secretly working on EPISODES 7, 8 and 9 as well as a few stand-alone movies set inside the STAR WARS universe. There were plans to release a new trilogy and go from there. Every movie site online turned into what FOX News, CNN and MSNBC resembles on an election night. They had "experts" weighing in, they threw out any and all rumors they could dig up, they were undercutting and backbiting everyone else to get "scoops" and publishing endless lists that might as well have been titled "10 Things You Need To Know About Some Movies That Aren't Coming Out For Like 3 Years That We Have No Actual Information About But This Site Makes Money Based On Web Traffic And STAR WARS Will Get Us Page Views."

It was really, really annoying. More so than the Internet usually is, because this was STAR WARS and the Internet loves STAR WARS. Almost as much as it loves cat gifs. Almost.

The speculation as to who would be in charge of the new trilogy began, and every single day there was a new name attached to the project. Eventually, it came out that Michael Arndt had been assigned the task of writing the project and had already handed in an 80-page outline. Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher had been approached about reprising their roles as Luke and Leia, and it was on.

Once there was a writer, a director couldn't be far behind. The announcement of Arndt, immediately scrapped one of the most widely speculated candidates—Brad Bird. Bird had been working with Damon Lindelof on a secret project for Disney that no one knew anything about. When the news of Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm broke, everyone just thought that was what it would turn out to be. Bird and Lindelof both denied it, and then Arndt was announced and things kind of died down around there.

The list didn't end with those two, though. Matthew Vaughn, director of LAYER CAKE and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, was another speculation. Word is that he was approached, but wanted to do his own story that included Chloe Moretz as a young, violent Jedi. Disney said no, he went away.

Jon Favreau, who had also been slowly developing a film for Disney was also high on the list, and the one everyone assumed was going to get it. Spielberg had already turned it down, and JJ Abrams had been right behind him with the denial. Favreau seemed the likely candidate. Zack Snyder, Rian Johnson, Darren Aronofsky, Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron were also names that were thrown out—but those are the names that get thrown out pretty much any time there's a franchise that people want to see succeed.

Another name on that list that was a little bit out of place, but well deserved was Ben Affleck. ARGO was doing well and once it started getting nominated and winning awards, his name got attached to more and more things. Hell, he was even approached by Warner Brothers to see if he'd direct the upcoming JUSTICE LEAGUE movie. Not only that, but they wanted him to pull double duty and play the new god damn Batman in it, too.

Think about that for a minute. Affleck, Chucky from GOOD WILL HUNTING, only a few years removed from shit like PAYCHECK, REINDEER GAMES, JERSEY GIRL and "Bennifer" was being courted to revive the STAR WARS franchise and get the long-suffering DC Comics super team off the ground.

Talk about a fucking comeback.

Anyway, none of those panned out and last month it turned out JJ Abrams had been full of shit when he was quoted in Entertainment Weekly saying that he didn't want the job and just wanted to be a fan in the theater. He'd gotten the job and STAR TREK fans went nuts. Half of them were grateful to be rid of him because he hid the Enterprise underwater in the new trailer and the other half were pissed that STAR WARS had beaten their beloved TREK once again.

It was official. JJ Abrams and Michael Arndt were hard at work on a new set of trilogies that pick up sometime after the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI and move on from there.

All the speculation on who would get the job was over and every movie blogger and movie writer was able to finally move on to other topics. No, that's not true. They all just moved on to trying to decipher the entire plot and every last beat of the story to ruin for the rest of you.

Tomorrow, in Part III, we'll look at the actual future of the STAR WARS universe, why I'm totally fine with JJ Abrams at the helm and how if you're already sick of STAR WARS, it's only going to get worse from here on out.

This turned out to be way longer than I originally planned. It's become my own version of the STAR WARS trilogy.

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