Original ‘Star Wars’ Cast Will Probably Be in the New ‘Star Wars’

Awww, the Star Wars gang is getting back together! While Carrie Fisher shared the news this week that she’ll be in the newest Star Wars film (I think we’re on, like, episode eighteen or something?) directed by J.J. Abrams, a lot of people (myself included) thought, "Uh, huh. OK, sure." But now an interview with George Lucas makes it sound like the casting is a given.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek (via Vulture), Lucas shared probably too much information:

Asked whether members of the original Star Wars cast will appear in Episode VII and if he called them before the deal closed to keep them informed, Lucas says, “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison—or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.’ ” He pauses. “Maybe I’m not supposed to say that. I think they want to announce that with some big whoop-de-do, but we were negotiating with them.” Then he adds: “I won’t say whether the negotiations were successful or not.”

You know what, George? Why don’t you keep that mouth buttoned and get back to us when everything’s settled. And I mean everything. Billy Dee Williams or bust!

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J.J. Abrams Reportedly Helming ‘Star Wars’ Sequel, Flood of Lens Flare Jokes Ensues

So, here’s what happened: Disney bought Lucasfilm, George Lucas became the company’s largest shareholder, semi-retired and rode his Tauntaun off into the sunset, three new Star Wars movies were announced which led to a glut of "Disney Princess Leia" jokes and now Star Wars Episode VII: Return of the Star Wars apparently has a director, and that director is apparently Lost creator and master of AfterEffects, J.J. Abrams. Fans have either responded with some curious goatee-stroking or a Vaderesque "NOOOOOOOO!"

If this is indeed super-duper confirmed, which it may not be for a while and the movie isn’t coming out until 2015 anyway calm down we have some other things to get through first, then it will only mean we are closer to a science fiction fandom singularity. Think about it. Abrams would now have hands in Alias, Fringe, Lost, Star Trek and Star Wars, as well as Revolution. One man, centering all these fandoms, like a bespectacled sun around which Comic-Con attendees orbit. And can someone be involved in both Star Trek and Star Wars? Are there rules about that?

Also, Michael Arndt, who wrote the screenplays for Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, is penning the thing, so uh, maybe some good-natured quirk with somewhat dark undertones and sentimentality to go with your space battles and Cantina shootouts? He and Abrams might make an interesting pair. 

The Internet, as it often does, had an absolute field day with the news, with Twitter fluttering with suggestions about directors that people like who could or should direct a Star Wars movie. Our own Tyler Coates had a few ideas ("Shit, give one of them to Julie Delpy!"), while other suggestions included a Steven Soderbergh-helmed "Ocean’s Eleven in space," a Coen Brothers Star Wars sequel and Sofía Coppola directing an adaptation where "The Millennium Falcon just flies in circles for hours on end." For what it’s worth, all these jokes are still funnier than all-capsing about MOAR LENS FLARE  in response to the Abrams story. There’s gotta be more, y’all. 

That said, here’s some YouTube short from Boy Genius Comedy that really drives the J.J. Abrams Really Loves Using Lens Flares things home. Like flogging a dead horse, with a lens flare highlighting the scene. 

Lance Armstrong’s Lies To Hit The Big Screen

The Lance Armstrong doping scandal has "Lifetime Original Movie" written all over it. But Lost producer J.J. Abrams doesn’t think so: he has secured the movie rights to a book about Armstrong’s fall from grace.

New York Times sports journalist Julie Macur’s book Cycle Of Lies: The Fall Of Lance Armstrong won’t be published until June 2013. But Paramount Pictures and J.J. Abrams’ Bad Robot have already secured the film rights to the book. No one else has been attached to the biopic yet, Huffington Post reports

Armstrong has been stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and a bronze medal he won in 2000 Olympics. This week, Oprah Winfrey aired the first part of a two-part  interview in which Armstrong admitted to using performancing enhancing drugs and also to "blood doping," or blood transfusions.

Speculation is now circulating that he lied to Oprah, downplaying how frequently he had used the drugs. NO ONE LIES TO OPRAH AND GETS AWAY WITH IT, LANCE.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

British Dude With Funny Name In New ‘Star Trek’ Movie

I think most people who know me might be surprised that I’m pretty stoked for the new Star Trek movie. I loved the last one unexpectedly! I have a general distrust of anything science fiction or, as some might say, "fun," but I pretty much kicked back and took it all in. I have to also give J.J. Abrams credit for making it all about time travel, because five minutes in I was like, "Welp, I won’t understand what the hell is going on anyway, might as well just relax and let this thing do what it needs to do." Also: Zachary Quinto’s eyebrows. Can’t resist ’em. Anyway, Benedict Cumberbatch is the villain in Star Trek Into Darkness, and he even narrates the first teaser trailer, which you can take a look at after the jump.

How much do you think Benny would charge to record my voicemail greeting, by the way? That’s really the biggest burning question I have after seeing this trailer.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

J.J. Abrams Starts a ‘Revolution’ at NBC

Abrams’ Law states that J.J. Abrams must be working on a high-concept sci-fi project at all times, even it’s been a little while since the fanboy auteur really wowed anyone with any of his original ideas. That said, NBC has just picked up a new pilot from the Star Trek director called Revolution, which is in development for a fall premiere. Though details are sparse, the show will follow "a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.” We’ve been overdue for a Lana del Rey documentary, it’s true. (dies a thousand tiny deaths)

As EW.com points out, there’s a more satisfying description in an earlier synopses: “In this epic adventure thriller, a family struggles to reunite in a post-apocalyptic American landscape: a world of empty cities, local militias and heroic freedom fighters, where every single piece of technology — computers, planes, cars, phones, even lights — has mysteriously blacked out … forever.” Sounds like an ideal world in which we don’t have to read another Lana del Rey think piece, then. (dies a trillion more deaths, each more intricate and embarrassing than the previous one.) Stay tuned for more details/"jokes" as they come about. 

Does ‘Super 8”s Box Office Numbers Bode Well for Original Film?

In summers filled with sequels, prequels, squeakuels, and shriekuels, all original big-budget fare gets placed under a microscope. This year, that honor fell to J.J. Abrams’ mysterious Spielberg throwback Super 8. Both Hollywood pundits and execs watched the movie closely, because, the theory went, its box-office performance would either embolden more greenlights for original fare in a marketplace increasingly dependent on built-in audience awareness — or snuff them out. So what does it mean for the future of blockbuster movies that dare to do something different that Super 8 grossed a rather ambiguous $38 million on its first weekend?

By most accounts, Super 8 did better than expected, but that’s only after it wasn’t expected to do very well in the first place. By today’s inflated summer standards, $38 million is a fairly weak toll (X-Men: First Class was considered by many to be a disappointment after grossing $56 million over its first weekend), but strong word-of-mouth and positive reviews, both of which Super 8 has, could lend it some staying power. With a relatively small production budget of a reported $50 million, Abrams and company won’t need (and won’t get) massive returns to make their film even a modest hit. Also, the film has yet to open in most foreign markets, so its totals this weekend shouldn’t be scrutinized too heavily.

Last summer, Christopher Nolan’s Inception set the mark for wildly successful original ideas. But whereas that movie boasted A-list stars on top of the Nolan brand, Super 8‘s marketing relied almost solely on the name-recognition of its director (not high in many parts of America) and that of it’s producer, Steven Spielberg.

But the film’s lack of star power wasn’t to blame for slow tracking numbers leading up to its release. Instead, it was the intentionally secretive marketing—an Abrams trademark—that some say backfired. The studio was so worried about the movie’s pre-release numbers that they went on a last-second marketing blitz — including a spoiler-y reveal of the film’s monster — in order to foment interest among a demographic of young boys who maybe weren’t clued-in to the Super 8‘s sci-fi elements.

Back in March, I attended a special presentation of Super 8 footage at the Lincoln Center, where an enthusiastic Brad Grey, head of Paramount Pictures, spoke glowingly of Abrams, the studio’s prodigal son. Abrams then got on stage and introduced about 25 minutes of footage to an enraptured audience of entertainment journalists, who the filmmakers hoped would help spread the early word. Grey and Abrams were obviously thrilled with the film (even though it wasn’t quite finished yet), but they knew then that its success would rely on writers stoking the fire, since the marketing materials alone—the posters and trailers—probably wouldn’t be enough.

Today, after the dust has settled, and Super 8 won a weekend that featured no other major releases, Paramount isn’t likely rethinking its decision to let Abrams make his movie, but they must be rethinking how to market such fare. Next summer, the closest thing to an original blockbuster is the Tim Burton-Johnny Depp vampire tale Dark Shadows, which is based on an obscure soap opera that ran on ABC in the late sixties. As for Abrams, his next movie looks like it’s going to be the sequel to his very profitable Star Trek of a few years back, a movie that will, for all intents and purposes, sell itself.

‘Lost’ is Ruining the Internet (For Me)

I’m going to take responsibility for my actions, but I’m also going to bitch. First, a concession: Not watching Lost from the beginning was the biggest mistake of my television watching career (just ahead of not being born soon enough to understand Twin Peaks during its original run). I could have at least paced myself, starting to plow through the DVDs during the 4th season or so, and been ready in plenty of time for last night’s final season premiere. Instead, I waited until Friday night to watch my first episode of Lost. I’ve seen 12 more in the days since, meaning I am 90 episodes — about 4,050 hours — behind. And it’s ruining my internet life.

I scroll through Twitter and Facebook with eyes on high alert, setting off a mental alarm every time I see the names Jack, Kate, Sawyer etc., which are easier to spot than words like “smoke monster,” “LAX” or “island.” Tumblr is worse, because there are photos. On each social network, it happens about every third post or so, for the last 48 hours. It’s making me hate the show and loathe its fans, mostly because I want to be one. But as it is, my time-wasting mechanisms have been compromised and I feel ostracized socially. I know it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks and it is my fault, but I have my reasons. Chief among them: J.J. Abrams betrayed me.

I admit: I’ve seen every episode of Alias. Stupid, right? I followed the adventures of Sydney Bristow for five years of my life, loyally, though I stopped enjoying it sometime near the end of season 3. The original SD-6 arc is classic, underrated television; Arvin Sloane began as a brutal and complex villain; and even The Covenant was kind of cool. But somewhere between the Mueller device, Prophet Five and goddamn Rambaldi, the show became an enigmatic mess. Frankly, it sucked. How many signals can you really triangulate, y’know? It was clear that Abrams never really had a plan and was too lost in his own mythologizing to care a whiff about continuity or years of character development. By the end, it was sub-par sci-fi. And so I vowed never again. Fool me once, fool me twice, shame and all of that. I wouldn’t start Lost until I knew it was not only ending, but still watchable. Today, people are equally enamored, if more frustrated, than they were in 2004, so I gave in. The buzz was like The Others’ whispering, and I cracked. But now, I dodge hashtags and Spoiler Alerts like early season Sawyer dodged responsibility. Even Lost-themed jokes are potentially season-ruining.

I should shut up, I know. I brought this upon myself and can just as easily start watching now, in season 6, and fill in the gaps later, when this storm blows over. I’d have more fun in the midst of the groupthink and speculation, plus I’d be able to read the internet again. It’s futile really: I think I already know Charlie’s dead; there’s something about time travel; and I remember the commercials from when a few people actually made it home. (I think they go back to the island?) But I just want to do this right. I spent so many years being mad at J.J. for scrambling Sydney into an unrecognizable waste of programming space, and only now do I realize it was destructive. He had bigger things on his mind and I should have just stopped watching. Lost seems like a life-defining work and I even thought Cloverfield was great.

You know how after a bad break up, there’s a lot of time spent being bitter, but eventually you just forget the bad and all memories of the relationship are suddenly like that choreographed dance or the karaoke scene in (500) Days of Summer? The first 13 episodes of Lost have brought me there. And so I’m going to give the social networking a little break, close the blinds, hunker down and catch up like a champ. I’ll see you all for the series finale.

J.J. Abrams Debuts ‘Star Trek’ Footage in NYC

Last night, after hundreds of cell phones were slipped into envelopes and people made their way into an AMC theater in Manhattan, a star was born. It was there that director J.J. Abrams debuted four exclusive scenes of his upcoming Star Trek reboot, and it was there, in those four scenes, that Chris Pine — filling in for William Shatner as a young Captain Kirk — showed that this is his film, and it’ll be his franchise. Sorry George Lucas, but you cast the wrong dude in your Star Wars prequels.

From the moment we meet Kirk in 23rd century Iowa as a bar-brawling, responsibility-flipping rebel, to the final scene where he’s taken control of the Enterprise and his destiny, and is free-falling 5,000 feet in the air to land on a small platform (you have to see it), Pine plays Kirk with a cocksure cynicism reminiscent of Indiana Jones in his heyday. He’s funny, likable, and still manages to seem badass while his face is getting bashed to a pulp. A natural leader. When Lucas sees this film, he should jab a lightsaber through his ear, because not only is this how Anakin Skywalker should have been written, but it’s probably who should have played him, too.

JJ Abrams to Adapt Apartment

J.J. Abrams, creator of “Lost”, birth mother of “Felicity”, is producing a new film adaptation of a Fifth Avenue apartment. The man knows no bounds. The film will be based on an article from the NY Times about the upper 5th Ave apartment, which was designed to feature Rube Goldberg-esque contraptions and mazes. The apartment, conceived by architectural wunderkind Eric Clough (“the sort of person who has a brainstorm on a daily basis”), features riddles and puzzles that are all part of a larger story meant to be solved by its inhabitants. He even got Jonathan Safran Foer to contribute to the apartment’s story. It’s all very Lemony Snickety, if you ask us. The last film Abrams produced was about a giant beast destroying Manhattan. Here he tackles an even bigger New York City nightmare: real estate.