What Do We Know About Star Wars: Episode VII?

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Plenty has happened on the Star Wars: Episode VII front since Lucasfilm was bought by Disney back in October last year. It was then that we learned that Academy Award winner Michael Arndt had signed on as the screenwriter for the movie, which is set for release in 2015. For those unfamiliar with his work, Arndt wrote (and took home big awards for) Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3.

To make sure that all you eager Star Wars fans (myself included) are fully aware of everything that’s going on, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the film’s latest developments. If you haven’t been paying too much attention lately, there’s been plenty of action in the past year or so.

Just this past Sept. 26, the Guardian reported that Peter Mayhew, who portrayed Chewbacca in the original trilogy, wants to reprise his role in the new film. He might be getting on a bit at 69 but he did fill that role as recently as 2005 for Revenge of the Sith. It’s not clear if this means he’ll be Han Solo’s right-hand Wookiee again, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed for nostalgia’s sake.

While we wait to hear about Mayhew’s involvement, legendary composer John Williams will indeed return to create the music for the seventh Star Wars film after having worked on all six of George Lucas’ movies. Williams said in an interview earlier this year that he hadn’t seen the script or heard anything about it yet, so it’s difficult for him to prepare for this new instalment. He added that he’s sure the new movie will have nods to its predecessors and therefore “would necessitate, and make appropriate, the use of some of the earlier themes.”

Meanwhile Lucas has stepped down as director of the upcoming episode, and the reins are now in the hands of J.J. Abrams. Lucas’ involvement instead is as the creative consultant for the movie, alongside producer Lawrence Kasdan.

JJ Abrams Star Wars

Image by Screen Crush

Abrams has brought along some of his crew from his Star Trek films, including a costume designer and a pair of film editors. He also has Dan Mindel, who shot the two Star Trek movies, back on board, and plans to shoot Episode VII using the same type of film (35mm) that was used for Episodes IV, V and VI to retain that vintage look.

Speaking of predecessors, we can expect to see the original trio—Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Luke Skywalker—return to the screen portrayed by the original actors. Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill have all signed on for the film and its sequels (Episodes VIII and IX). Well, that’s what Lucas said to Business Week at least, though nothing is set in carbonite.

Most recently, however, Sky News reported that Saoirse Ronan has auditioned for the film – although for which role, we can only speculate. With plenty of names being thrown around including Benedict Cumberbatch, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Simon Pegg this doesn’t tell us much, and even Ronan herself admits that although she has auditioned, “so has everyone.”

Only time will tell, so watch this space.

As we inch closer toward the projected 2015 release of Episode VII, there’s no better time than now to catch up on the previous six instalments. All of them are out now and, hopefully, making their way to streaming services like Picture Box, which offers on-demand viewing on tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, and other devices.

Featured post written by Michael Phillips, a writer living on the East Coast who enjoys all things movies, music, and video games. Oh, and coffee. Lots of coffee.

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