This animated version of Patton Oswalt's Star Wars filibuster speech is worth a look, if only for the tiny baby Padawans floating in an anti-gravity classroom. Depending on your mood, you may also want to become involved in the predictably crazy comments section ("So then why not Photon who has power over energy would be more powerful than Moonknight also how is Moonknight any more powerful than Hawkeye or Blackwidow?" "Wolverine has a daughter so who is the mother?" "Patton Oswalt thinks that MoonKnight and Hercules are top tier? Hawk Eye and Black Widow might be 2nd string heroes but fucking MoonKnight... really? He is D list, down there with FireStar and ShatterStar"); at least a handful of the viewers seem to genuinely want an Actual Movie based on Oswalt's improvised Parks and Rec monologue. Didn't we just get a real movie for free? I mean, moving mouths would be nice, but aren't you people ever satisfied?
Spare a thought today for the horribly marginalized gluten-free children who suffer in our midst. "There were tears in my daughter's eyes, and my son's fist was clenched," says one mother, who compared her children's celiac disease diagnosis to death. There is no question that dietary restrictions suck but you guuuuuys.
This is ForceWatch, your as-needed check-in with the upcoming Star Wars reboot, including but not limited to Star Wars Episode VII. Full disclosure: Disney owns Grantland, and the rest of the universe.
Ever since J.J. Abrams was given the keys to the future of the Disney/Lucasfilm cultural property know as Star Wars, every subsequent piece of news about the 2015-slated sequel has started to feel less like the details of the movie event of the decade and more like press releases for a 40th-anniversary Great Performances Reunion Revue/Telethon. Harrison Ford's onboard. Sweet. So are Carrie and Mark. Radical. John Williams was eyeing that villa in Majorca and finally thinking about calling it a (decades-spanning, unparalleled) career when Abrams called him up and was like "A blood oath's a blood oath, man." Far out. But do we have any new ideas, gentlemen?
A little more than four years ago, the J.J. Abrams–directed, franchise-rebooting Star Trek arrived in theaters to the breathless anticipation of a millions-strong fan community simultaneously filled with the hope they'd found themselves an energized, engaged custodian willing to respect Gene Roddenberry's sacrosanct vision, and the palpable fear that a big-timing Hollywood interloper was about to ruin everything they'd ever cared about, then escape through a wormhole made of money before they could exact their revenge for the appalling desecration. But Abrams said all the right things (except, you know, for letting it slip that he was always a Star Wars guy) and delivered blockbuster entertainment enjoyable by both the hard-core Trekker and the casual summer blow-’em-up-real-good moviegoer. The new, revitalized Star Trek opened to $75 million at the American box office and eventually finished its domestic run with a phaser-engorging $257 million. A franchise was reborn.
And so we fast-forward to stardate 05.16.2013 (note: not a valid stardate), four summers hence, and Abrams has returned to deliver the inevitable sequel, in fulfillment of the contractual prophecy etched into the wall of a Spock-sheltering ice cave by an advanced race of business-affairs aliens. Can Abrams once again pull off the massively profitable trick of satisfying both the core and summer audiences before tearing off his loosely affixed latex Vulcan ears, slipping into a Jedi robe, and taking stewardship of his childhood obsession? And, most important of all, should you support this latest Trek adventure with your ticket purchase? We're here to answer some questions and help you make the best-informed decision possible.
Luke and Leia are probably onboard. Han Solo might yet join them. Screenwriter Michael Arndt is hard at work on the script, and it's flowing seamlessly into his Mac. So what else does J.J. Abrams need to lock down on Star Wars: Episode VII before going any further? Why, a killer soundtrack of course. Good news, then. While plugging Star Trek Into Darkness at a press conference in Berlin, Abrams confirmed what we were all hoping and expecting: "Again, for Star Wars, it’s very early days, but I believe that, going forward, John Williams will be doing that film because he was there long before I was." Boom! Cue the strings.
Michael Arndt's first day of writing Star Wars: Episode VII features some serious real talk: revisiting Toy Story 3, getting food delivered with a side of therapy, and making the blub-blub lip noise. The only difference between the creative process of a genius and the creative process of an idiot is that a genius puts his cup of liquid on a side table instead of directly next to his laptop.
We've got summer blockbusters on the brain this week on the Hollywood Prospectus, and so we thought it'd be a good time to run back some of the summer movies we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts, the films that epitomize everything a summer movie should be. There will be explosions, there will be bus jumps, there will be fridge-nukes. But mostly, there will be our enduring love of summer escapism in its purest form. (Also, three-breasted hookers.)
Please stop what you are doing and watch, in slack-jawed amazement and delight, as Patton Oswalt filibusters a Pawnee City Council vote with his fevered ideas for Star Wars: Episode VII in this very extended outtake from tomorrow night's Parks and Recreation double bill. What follows is eight minutes of improvisational wizardry that ends only when Oswalt nearly dies of dry mouth, having heroically reached the extreme limits of nerd-endurance by liquefying the minds of Star Wars purists with the taboo-obliterating suggestion of a grand merger with the Marvel universe.
"It was a far less frightening, but an equally self-reflexive version of that scene in Being John Malkovich where Malkovich goes inside his own head."
Dan Silver: When asked, that's the way I describe my (all too brief) time spent at LucasFilm and ILM. Over the years, I've been extremely fortunate to have found myself in situations where the ivories on my geek piano are tickled under the guise of "professional responsibilities," but never have I been to a place like LucasFilm and ILM. This is the only place on the planet that can position a wall sized mural of early and little seen conceptual sketch of Yoda right outside a room where post production work was being done on Pacific Rim. (FYI, I saw as close to nothing as one could see, I just happened to be admiring the Yoda artwork when someone walked out of a room, and before the door closed I caught a glimpse of a screen. I only knew what I was seeing was Pacific Rim because an image of Charlie Hunnam in his Jaeger get-up was frozen on screen.)
In the Sundance heyday of the late ’90s, the ubiquity of Steve Buscemi was something that hip people — the sorts who knew his name and how to spell it, as opposed to the casual moviegoers who just felt a twitch of happy recognition at the appearance of that magnificently puffy gaze with its implication of a hangover (not merely enduring, but existential) — joked about over post-cinematheque maki rolls:
“Is it even possible to get an ‘art’ film green-lit without Steve Buscemi? It’s like there’s a secret law in the Hollywood Rule Book, the ‘Buscemi Proviso,’ which decrees that every script has to include a role for him. Dude is everywhere.”
“A theory, chum: Steve Buscemi is the physical embodiment of the green light. He's the human cigar that gets fired when the foreign financing drops into place.”
What was, and is, so annoying about such smug talk is that it trivializes the greatness of the most memorable, unconventionally charismatic, and intelligent character actor at work in film and television today. He's been funny (Reservoir Dogs) and he's been acerbic (Ghost World). In The Sopranos, as the trying-to-be-good Tony Blundetto, his portrayal of recidivism was as brilliant as it was upsetting. With his lead role as Atlantic City gangster Nucky Thompson (Boardwalk Empire), Buscemi has emerged as an antihero for the ages, noble and wicked and cool, and proved that he truly can play anything, even a star. And who else has appeared in so many Adam Sandler films (Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, et al.) and escaped unscathed? Steve Buscemi is the little black dress of cinema, appropriate for any occasion.
My gosh, the back-and-forth over who's going to be back for Star Wars: Episode VII. Earlier this week, Carrie Fisher told the Del Boca Vista Newsletter or wherever "yes" when asked whether she was going to be back for Episode VII. But yesterday, her representatives were sweeping the web, making sure everybody knew that Fisher was TOTALLY KIDDING and nothing was in stone yet.
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.”
And of course they're all coming back. I's might not yet be dotted, nor T's crossed, nor (and this is what I would bet is the actual point of swatting down rumors) official press events scheduled, but obviously they're all in. These movies are going to be the last significant paydays of Mark Hamill's and Carrie Fisher's careers, at least until Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn remake Postcards From the Edge, and while Harrison Ford is arguably flush enough (and grumpy enough) to say no, he won't. How significant the roles of Luke, Leia, and Han will be in the new trilogy IS a question, but the fact of Hamill, Fisher, and Ford's participation isn't worth all the sweat these publicists are putting into it.
Bottom line: George Lucas just said so. And if there's anything that a Star Wars fan should put his faith in at this point, it's the thoughts and ideas of George Lucas.
[*Disclosure: Disney owns Star Wars, Grantland, and pretty much everything else.]
Star Wars: Episode VII is definitely happening. Am I the only one who needs to keep repeating that to myself, as if to convince myself it's actually true and not some wild game of Hollywood Mad Libs where J.J. Abrams and Luke Skywalker and the screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine were randomly put together? Well, it is. It's happening. So much so that the stars of the original trilogy are now confirming their participation. Carrie Fisher confirmed to Palm Beach Illustrated (see what I mean about Mad Libs?) that she will indeed be reprising her role as Princess Leia, former intergalactic revolutionary, now presumably wifed-up to Han Solo.
How does the famously acerbic Fisher envision what Leia would be like today?
Elderly. She’s in an intergalactic old folks’ home [laughs]. I just think she would be just like she was before, only slower and less inclined to be up for the big battle.
So that puts Fisher and Mark Hamill both on track to return, meaning the only big names yet to officially confirm are Harrison Ford as Han Solo and Michael Carter as Bib Fortuna. (Hear me out! Bib survived the bloodbath on Jabba's party boat and secretly began devising an elaborate revenge scheme against the Jedi. I'm still working out how the Trade Federation fits into all this, so check back later )
A piece of unsolicited advice for any enterprising young pop culture reporters looking to break into the game: Between now and 2015, when the first new Star Wars movie is slated to drop, set yourself up in some sort of work/live RV type thing and follow Mark Hamill around wherever he may go. Let's just say Hamill, the ostensible star of the original trilogy, is not quite as in demand these days as some of his fellow Rebel Alliance'ers, and seems quite willing and quite able to share the minute details of his every sequel-related correspondence. A couple of years on the Hamill beat and a couple of big Star Wars scoops later, and who knows? That Paris Bureau gig might just be yours, kid.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that Hamill (by way of promoting the DVD release of a film called Sushi Girl, of course) talked with ETOnline this week and happened to share some juicy details. The big takeaway: The powers-that-be have reached out to see if he, along with the rest of the OG cast, would be interested in at least some sort of cameo role.
I love movies. More specifically, I LOVE Star Wars.
So when I found out I was going to get the opportunity to create some content for the Grantland Channel, I knew the first thing I wanted to do is go up to San Francisco and visit Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. Somehow, stupidly, they said yes.