untitled - CopyA not-so long time ago in a blogosphere not that far away …

It’s been eight months since the Dork Side was turned upside down with a new hope (pun very much intended, as are the next few I’m going to litter this post with, like X-Wing blasts pecking on the Death Star’s surface).

Thanks to Disney’s October 30, 2012 purchase of Lucasfilm, and subsequent promise of more Star Wars films, we learned that the return of the Jedi is only a few parsecs away.

However, not a day goes by that we don’t hear a new rumor about the upcoming Star Wars film or films. So before we fall light years behind, I thought it’s best we update you all on what’s been confirmed (by the only source that matters, StarWars.com), what’s been rumored, and whether we should treat these rumors like Han treated his tauntaun.

So put the blue milk aside my younglings, it’s time to visit that galaxy far, far away!

J.J. Abrams confirmed as director of Episode VII

With my sole allegiance to the Dork Side, I have yet to see any of the two Star Trek films Abrams has directed. I hear they are well-made and that he’s kept to the Star Trek universe. I loved Lost (the show he co-created, though he only directed the pilot), enjoyed Super 8 and never saw Mission: Impossible III (Tom Cruise? Aren’t you a little short to be an action star?).

Abrams is supposedly a fanboy, which means he’ll likely stick to the Star Wars storyline, like a Mynock to the Falcon’s windshield. That’s important for the many geeks (I prefer dorks) that have invested a lot of time and energy in treating this galaxy far, far away as a second home.

Michael Arndt confirmed as screenwriter for Episode VII

I seconded Han’s Death Star ending ”Ya-hoo!” when I heard Arndt was named as screenwriter. He wrote and won an Oscar for Little Miss Sunshine. He wrote and was nominated for an Oscar for Toy Story 3, one of my “Top 10 Movies that Make Me Cry No Matter How Often I Watch it” (OK tough guys, you follow Woody, Buzz and the gang thru three movies and not tear up when they all hold hands as they stare at their impending doom. I dare you!)

He’s also written Oblivion (see Tom Cruise reference above) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

What will he do with the future of Star Wars? If it’s what he did with Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, it’s adding a ton of character to a ton of characters,  something we haven’t seen in the Star Wars galaxy since the days of the Dagobah system.

The Clone Wars Cancelled; Star Wars Detours Postponed; Star Wars Rebels Premiering

One of the biggest news for Star Wars fans was the cancellation of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the Emmy Award-winning Cartoon Network animated series that, for five seasons, had given us insight into the Clone War years between Episodes II and Episodes III. Though the series ends, Lucasfilm says that they are still continuing production on new story arcs. I’m assuming we’ll see the end of the series on some limited edition DVD we’ll all have to buy, just so we can know the fate of Ahsoka Tano.

As Yoda might say, “Always taking our money, Lucasfilm is.”

One show that never got off the ground was an animated comedy series, Star Wars Detours, created by Seth Green, Matthew Senreich (two of the minds behind Robot Chicken: Star Wars) and Todd Grimes and voiced by Seth MacFarlane, Breckin Meyer, Donald Faison and more. I was a little bummed that this was put on the back burner, though we’ll probably see it in a – you guessed it – limited edition DVD.

Meanwhile Star Wars Rebels, a CGI animated series taking place between Episodes III and IV will be premiering in the fall of 2014 on – big surprise here – the Disney Channel!

Star Wars toys inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame!

Where is this located and … duh!

Editor’s Note: The National Toy Hall of Fame is located in Rochester, New York, but if you’re looking for a great selection of vintage toys, check out BobaKhan toys in Everett, WA. My one-stop shop for Star Wars figures!

As a segway into our rumor mill, we’ll start with one confirmation and the possible rumors involved in it.

Two Character Spinoff Films Confirmed

Not since Vader spun off into space, have Star Wars fans been anxiously awaiting the fate of another spinoff. See what I did there?

Well, wait no more!

As they have done with The Avengers, Disney is planning spinoff films for some of the most popular Star Wars characters. Two movies have already been confirmed, with release dates after Episode VII’s release in 2015, and likely in between the releases of Episode VIII and IX.

Lawrence Kasdan, screenwriter of what I (and many) think is the best written film of the series, The Empire Strikes Back, and Simon Kinberg, writer of Sherlock Holmes and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, have been confirmed to be the scribes for these two films.

Now to the rumor part of this, though no characters have been announced for the films the main focus has been on a background story for both Han Solo and Boba Fett.

There are plenty of books that tell the story of Han Solo, including the recently released Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn, and learning about his relationship with Chewie, and how he won the Millennium Falcon from buddy Lando Calrissian would make for a fun flick.

I’m not too excited to have someone else attempt to play Solo, but it might work.

A ton of speculation (read: guesses) has been going into who would make the perfect young Solo.

My wife would love Friday Night Light‘s Taylor Kitsch to step in, but he’s too hunky, as are the Hemsworth brothers. Zac Efron? He’s no scruffy-looking nerf-hurder.

The two that I’ve ran across that I actually like are On the Road‘s Garrett Hedlund and Shia LaBeouf.

I know, I know LaBeouf played Harrison Ford’s son once before, but he could pull off the fun and cocky attitude of Mr. Solo, as he did in Transformers.

Though his total screen time was maybe 10 minutes and he muttered just four lines, Boba Fett has a cult following like no other Star Wars character. I think it was because his toy was so cool.

Casting for Boba Fett doesn’t need to be as important, at least I hope not. I don’t want to see a bunch of scenes of a washboard abbed, out of costume, Boba Fett. I’m predicting a British actor, or Welsh actor Luke Evans (though he’s signed onto the next two Hobbit movies). Needless to say, a film about Boba would be a hit.

Casting Breakdowns Released. Who Could They Be?

Before I go on, I have to say I’m holding out a ton of hope that these new movies will be based on the Expanded Universe stories many have written, and gotten the ultimate OK from George Lucas to write, about the future (and past) of Star Wars.

Too many of us fans have gotten to know characters like Han and Leia’s children, Jaina, Jacen and Anakin, through these books. Most fans would be as mad as a Rancor without food, if the new regime created their own characters.

Plus there are stories in the books that sound like perfect material for upcoming films.

One that intrigues me is the Legacy of the Force series, based primarily on the story of the three children – especially twins Jaina and Jacen, and the latter’s turn to the Dark Side. A buddy of mine, who read this series, went more in-depth with the story details and the whole thing gave me goosebumps thinking about the possibility of this being turned into a film trilogy.

To further perk this interest was the release of the casting breakdowns obtained by Bleeding Cool and later confirmed by TheForce.net.

Currently in pre-production in the Pinewood Studios in the U.K. (where prior Star Wars films were made), they are looking for the following:

Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humor, fit.

Young twenty-something male, witty and smart, fit but not traditionally good-looking.

A late twenty-something male, fit, handsome and confident.

Seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanor. Also doesn’t need to be particularly fit.

A second young female, also late teens, tough, smart and fit.

Forty something male, fit, military type.

Thirty-something male, intellectual. Apparently doesn’t need to be fit.

What does it mean?

If you’re chubby you need not apply.

A late-teen female, independent, good sense of humor, fit that could easily be Jaina Solo, our hero of the new trilogy.

And can we stop the Jennifer Lawrence rumors? Just because she did The Hunger Games doesn’t mean she’s the only female action star out there. Give me Adrianne Palicki.

And I’ve heard about Robert Pattison and Kristen Stewart being interested. That’s just Bantha fodder!

Meanwhile, the “seventy-something male, with strong opinions and tough demeanor” … really do actors need to apply or can we just write in Harrison Ford as Han Solo for this role? C’mon, it’s as easy as shooting womp rats back home!

Yes, Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have all been in talks to reprise their roles as (hopefully the older) Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia, respectively. With reports saying that both Hamill and Fisher have been asked to start losing weight. No joke.

Hey, Alec Guiness was 62-years-old when he wielded a lightsaber in A New Hope. Would it be cool if the trio returned? Absolutely, as long as Hamill doesn’t have to do backflips with Yoda on his back.

Which reminds me of this fun cartoon I ran across called “Retire of the Jedi”.retire the jedi

Star Wars Land Becoming a Reality?

If you read my post post-Disney/Lucasfilm merger, you know that I wished upon a Death Star that Disney and Star Wars would fulfill a lifelong dream of mine and create a Star Wars theme park.

Unlike the dream of having my wife dress in a Slave Leia costume, this one looks like it will become a reality.

The first rumor was spicing up an already existing area and adding a Mos Eisley Cantina restaurant.

But now rumors are saying it’ll be a $200 million project and, according to the Orlando Business Journal, will “dwarf any other Disney-related expansion in its recent history.” Looks like in a few years we’ll be jumping in the family truckster and making that cross-country trip to Disney World. Oh, wrong reference, but stay tuned for PopBlerd’s top Road Trip movies of all-time.

In the meantime check out my favorite fan-made trailer and fan-made poster – thus far. And May the Force Be With You!

Best Fan-Made Trailer:

This one gave me chills the first time I viewed it. A well-sliced together trailer featuring clips from the video games The Force: Unleashed 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Best Fan-Made Poster:

Episode VII Teaser

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