With the announcement last month of a new Star Wars trilogy beginning with Episode VII in 2015, the minds of fans started racing faster than the Millennium Falcon making the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs. Next to nothing is known about the new movies, but that hasn’t stopped everyone who once owned a Boba Fett lunchbox from wildly speculating about what we could see on our next big-screen journey to that Galaxy Far, Far Away. The most popular questions: Will Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford return? If so, how large will their roles be? And will this new movie give Han Solo the heroic death Ford hoped for but was denied in Return of the Jedi? Star Wars fans, it’s time we take a collective breath. Decades worth of rumors that have swirled around George Lucas’ space opera should tell us that idle speculation usually gets you nowhere. A friend of mine was absolutely convinced after having seen The Empire Strikes Back as a kid that Boba Fett is in fact Luke Skywalker’s father, not Darth Vader. How else could Fett’s shot at Luke on Cloud City have missed its mark at such close range unless Fett deliberately missed. And why did he deliberately miss? Because Luke’s really his son!
Many of these theories say more about us than they do about the films. So before you totally OD on Episode VII speculation, take a look at some of the craziest rumors that have been attached to the Star Wars franchise over the past few decades, and decide for yourself how profitable such theorizing really is.
1. Darth Vader, the Robot—In the immediate aftermath of Star Wars’ 1977 release, chatter focused on what Darth Vader is, as much as who he is. Some fans thought that Vader was actually a robot, citing how he’s completely concealed in armor and how his heavy-footed gait has a metallic clank. Of course, why they thought that a robot would need to breathe is a bit of a headscratcher. And they obviously thought Obi-Wan Kenobi was a liar when he said that Darth Vader was a pupil of his, unless they really think he’d train, rather than just program, a droid. Scratch that, Obi-Wan Kenobi is a liar.
2. Mick Jagger Would Compose The Empire Strikes Back’s Score—This doozy came from an October 1979 issue of Starlog, a now semi-legendary sci-fi zine that’s long since bitten the dust. (And unfortunately is not archived online.) Apparently, a rumor started that John Williams, author of Star Wars’ soaring fanfare of a score, would be replaced with the Rolling Stones lead singer. “Play With Fire” could have made for a killer flashback, though, during which we see Darth Vader’s lava-induced injuries.
3. Han Solo Was Marked for Death—Everyone seemed to think that the spice smuggler was going to bite it, possibly in The Empire Strikes Back. A bunch of different theories spelled out exactly how he would die, though the craziest has to be one in which Han would fight a lightsaber duel—despite not being known to wield a lightsaber—against Darth Vader! Somehow in the course of the duel their respective life-force energies would fuse and they’d become one being, meaning that Luke Skywalker, in trying to defeat Vader, would also have to kill his best friend!
Even Darth Vader performer David Prowse suggested to Starlog in June 1979 that Han would die in a battle with the then-new villain Boba Fett. The surprisingly loose-lipped former wrestler also said that there would be twelve Star Wars movies, and that he would appear as Vader in the prequel installments Episodes II and III. The latter point didn’t happen, obviously, but Prowse wasn’t all wrong. This is something that could only have been kept quiet in the pre-Internet Era, but Prowse actually spoiled the secret of Luke Skywalker’s paternity to a fanzine in April 1978, the quotes from which were published later that summer in The San Francisco Examiner. Yes, he said that Darth Vader is Luke’s father a full two years before The Empire Strikes Back was released, and I quote: “In the film, Alec Guinness goes to great lengths to explain to poor Luke how his father had been killed by Darth Vader. Luke’s father was killed by Darth Vader, right? And how Darth Vader turned to evil, etc., etc. His father was good and all this sort of thing. In the next film, there is going to be a confrontation between Luke and Darth Vader and they then discover that Darth Vader never killed his father, that Darth Vader IS his father. So son can’t kill father, and father can’t kill son—so Darth Vader lives until the next sequel.”
4. Empire or Jedi Would Feature Time Travel—This seems like the musings of some overzealous Star Trek fans for what they’d like to see in Star Wars, but a theory reported by Starlog’s February 1980 issue suggested that the Millennium Falcon would pass through a time warp, sending Luke, Han, and Chewbacca into the era of the Clone Wars. During that time they’d up fighting alongside Luke’s father and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Just think for a moment how awesome a Han Solo/General Grievous showdown would be. Or not.
5. Leonardo DiCaprio as Anakin Skywalker—In 1999, the world’s most beloved movie franchise was about to get relaunched with the prequels. So why shouldn’t Lucasfilm tap the world’s biggest heartthrob, Leonardo DiCaprio, coming right off Titanic mania, as the adolescent Anakin Skywalker for Episode II? Fans everywhere thought he was the most likely choice, but the rumor that George Lucas was considering him for the role wasn't substantiated at the time beyond reports that the actor had visited Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA for a private screening of The Phantom Menace. However, this rumor turned out to be true. In 2010, while promoting Inception, DiCaprio finally went on the record to Shortlist about how he was approached for the role. "I did have a meeting with George Lucas about [Anakin Skywalker in the Star Wars prequels] as well, yes." he said. “Just didn't feel ready to take that dive. At that point." Other actors reportedly considered at the time were James Van Der Beek, Joshua Jackson, Eric Christian Olsen, Erik von Detten, Ryan Phillippe, and Chris Klein. What could have been!
6. The Prequels Would Show a More Primitive Star Wars Galaxy—Leading up to the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999, many fans thought that the prequels would show a less technologically sophisticated Galaxy Far, Far Away. After all, Episode I was set 33 years before the events of the original Star Wars. So the technology on display should appear regressive, right? Wrong! The underlying technological premise of Star Wars is that there isn’t much further a civilization can evolve once faster-than-light space travel has been invented. Therefore most of the Star Wars galaxy has had the level of tech you see in the original trilogy for thousands of years. That hasn’t stopped fans from griping about it, though.
7. The Obi-Wan/Anakin/Padmé Love Triangle—Also known as “The Theory in Which Obi-Wan is an Even Bigger Liar than Anyone Thought and is Actually Luke’s Father.” For years fans had speculated that the aged Jedi Master was more than just a father figure to Luke. But when the prequels were ramping up in earnest, it seemed like the new films might lend credence to the theory. For one, Natalie Portman’s Padmé Amidala was a mature adolescent in The Phantom Menace, while Jake Lloyd’s Anakin Skywalker was just a snotty ten-year-old who says stuff like “Are you an angel?” and “I’m a person!” Why wouldn’t Naboo’s Queen prefer Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan instead? Actually, this is a theory that is slightly acknowledged in Revenge of the Sith, when Hayden Christensen’s Anakin, brimming with accusatory rage, does seem to suggest when he says to his wife “You’re with him!” that Padmé may be having an affair with his old Master. But sorry, fans. Until Maury Povich says otherwise, Anakin is definitely the father.
So you see that rumormongering is usually not that fruitful an activity. Not that we’re discouraging your theories about the new trilogy! Just understand that they are likely to be proven totally wrong, and not just from a certain point of view.
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: Lucasfilm]
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A jury in Marin County, California has ruled June Gilman Veronese was a victim of discrimination in 2008.
The 39 year old claimed she lost her job for being pregnant and, on Wednesday (30Jun10), the jury agreed after three days of deliberation.
Veronese was awarded $113,830 (£75,890) in damages.
Lucasfilm attorney Janine Simerly tells the Marin Independent Journal newspaper the company plans to appeal the ruling.
The plaintiff is delighted with her court victory, but admits, "the litigation over the past year and a half was the most abusive process I've ever been through in my life."
Veronese's attorney and mother-and-law, San Francisco discrimination lawyer Angela Alioto, called the decision a major victory for women's rights: "People don't think pregnant women have the right to work, and this sends a huge message."
Sharon Stone’s custody battle for her 8-year-old son Roan just took a turn towards the weird.
According to E! Online, Stone's attorney has lashed out at media reports saying one of the star's more out-of-the-box parenting techniques included wanting to have Roan’s feet injected with Botox so that they would no longer smell.
"This week it was reported in connection with Sharon Stone's custody dispute that she wanted to have her 8-year-old son undergo Botox treatment at this time for his feet," Stone’s attorney Marty Singer said. "Sharon Stone never made this statement. It is a complete fabrication."
This interesting little tidbit was released via San Francisco County Superior Court Judge Anne-Christine Massullo, who made the statement citing a previous legal filing made by Stone’s ex-husband Phil Bronstein. This was all part of the judge's tentative ruling denying Stone's request to modify her and Bronstein's current custody arrangement for Roan.
Ultimately, the judge ruled for Roan to stay at Bronstein's home base in Marin County, Calif., rather than live with Stone in L.A., since it would be too disruptive for him during the school year. Instead, the boy will continue to be allowed to visit mom on weekends.
And the judge just had to bring up the Botox thing.
MORE NEWS: Rosie O’Donnell Takes Her Show on the Road…
Set during the Spanish Civil War of the 1940s—a favorite area of exploration for writer-director Guillermo del Toro—the story follows dreamy 11-year-old Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) as she’s uprooted and relocated to a remote military outpost when her sickly mother (Ariadna Gil) marries the wantonly cruel camp commander Captain Vidal (Sergei Lopez). With the compassionate but secretive housekeeper Mercedes (Maribel Verdu) as the closest thing to a friend she has in the oppressive environment Ofelia escapes into a richly textured fantasy world. She follows a dragonfly she believes is a fairy into a landscaped but neglected garden maze she recasts as the lair of the goatish godling Pan (Doug Jones). He tells her she’s the last heir to a magical otherworldly kingdom and charges her with several tasks to help her reclaim her birthright. As her personal world grows more and more grim—the impending birth of her half-brother threatens her mother’s health her step-father grows colder and colder in his bid to crush the resistance and Mercedes’ hidden agenda places her in jeopardy as well—Ofelia soon finds herself tangling with hideous monsters both imagined and all too real often having difficulty distinguishing which is the more dangerous. The astonishingly real performance of the amazing young Spanish actress Baquero as Ofelia anchors the film firmly in both its real world and fantasy environments as only the convincing imagination of a child could. Lopez is an equally compelling discovery as the callous Vidal pitiless vicious and malevolent while still remaining believably human throughout. He’s unblinking in his depiction of a thoroughly vile and cruel man but avoids any aspect of cartoonish evil. And Verdu (Y Tu Mama Tambien) as Mercedes is a wonder as well with her remarkably expressive face unlimited by the film’s Spanish language barriers. Kudos too to Doug Jones a whisper-thin actor who specializes in “creature” roles (he’s played Abe Sapien in del Toro’s Hellboy and will be the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four sequel) who somehow magically delivers fully-formed performances as both the faun Pan and the freakish Pale Man through layers and layers of latex. Pan's Labyrinth is unquestionably Guillermo del Toro’s finest film work to date as pure an artistic vision as is likely to be committed to celluloid. He wisely worked outside the Hollywood system in his native Spain to bring his dark tale to life. The story exists in that shadowy netherworld between childhood and adulthood innocence and awareness of the world’s more sinister nature and its characters and themes are explored in ways that no mainstream film would ever allow. On the surface the trappings are Tim Burton-esque but the dark corners Pan's Labyrinth peers into are grim and gloomy indeed; del Toro is never afraid to delve into the murkiest of directions that to audiences used to more conventional movies are heart-wrenching even gut-churning but ultimately emotionally honest and in unexpected ways as immensely satisfying as they are haunting. The film is the announcement of the complete arrival of a major filmmaker and we can only hope that the qualities del Toro brings to this work do not get lost in the maze of Hollywood for future films.
Star Wars movie mogul George Lucas has opened new headquarters for his
LucasFilm empire in San Francisco, California.
As well as LucasFilm, the director and producer will bring special effects
firm Industrial Light & Magic and video games company LucasArts from their
original Marin County, California abode to the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
At the opening on June 25, Lucas admitted he wouldn't be spending
much time in his companies' new home because he was working on the long-awaited
Indiana Jones sequel.
He explains, "I'm going to concentrate on making movies. In terms of being a
corporate executive, I'm pretty much tired."
Article Copyright World Entertainment News Network All Rights Reserved.
Go ahead and throw logic out the window on this one folks. A mysterious Tibetan monk with no name (Chow Yun-Fat) has spent a lifetime protecting an ancient document known as the Scroll of the Ultimate--a parchment that will yield unlimited power to anyone who reads it. After running around the globe for 60 years the Monk knows it's time to hang up his robes and find a new guardian but spotting a successor isn't easy in the hustle bustle of the 21st century where Tibetan traditions and rituals are almost non-existent. Maybe the next protector should be the crafty rebellious pickpocket Kar (Seann William Scott) who learned martial arts from watching kung-fu movies; after all Kar helps the Monk escape from the scroll's most avid pursuer Strucker (Karel Roden) a sadistic old Nazi who wants to use the its power to rid the planet of inferior races. Or maybe the Monk's successor is the elusive but beautiful bad girl Jade (James King) whose skills are numerous and who seems to pop up to help Kar whenever he gets in a jam. Whomever the Monk eventually chooses they must first unite to battle the ultimate enemy--and keep the scroll safe.
If it weren't for Yun-Fat Bulletproof Monk would be pretty hopeless. The charismatic actor finds a nice balance no matter what he does and in this case he resists the obvious temptation to play the Monk as a fish out of water in the big city. Since he's long been one of Chinese cinema's most well-known action heroes he's definitely in his element in Monk standing on top of a car with guns blazing and the Zen master persona he discovered in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon serves him well here too. The script requires him to spout off fortune-cookie mumbo jumbo but he manages to do it without sounding ridiculous. The petite King actually holds her own as the brawny-yet-brainy tough chick but the wisecracking Scott is completely out of his element for the first time in his career. He handles the little comedic tidbits well but in no way is it possible to believe that the "Dude" who couldn't find his car and the jackass who drank someone else's bodily fluids in American Pie can be a martial arts hero who saves the planet. It just isn't going to happen.
Bulletproof Monk relies on the ghosts of movies past including Crouching Tiger and the 1986 Eddie Murphy stinker The Golden Child for its plot which results in a film that's chock full of cliches especially the evil Nazi who has spent 60 years chasing after the scroll using his tow-headed granddaughter whose cover is an organization for human rights to do the dirty work. A few bright moments with Yun-Fat coupled with director Paul Hunter's good use of fast-paced martial arts action make the rest of this unimaginative movie somewhat palatable--even novices Williams and King look good doing the moves--but all in all Bulletproof Monk is shooting blanks.