Tuesday, October 8, 2013

5 On 5 Roundtable: Episode VII

By: David Gremillion

We are pleased bring you another edition of "5 on 5" opinion piece, courtesy of our friends at Star Wars Geeks Of The World Unite! This week our five panelists give their answers to our five questions about the upcoming film Star Wars Episode VII!

Our panelists this week are:
Darryl Roberts - founder of the Star Wars Geeks Of The World Unite community.
Andy Peachey, Page Admin for the Jedi Unite page.
Dominic Jones - Head writer & Podcast host for The Star Wars Underworld
Robin Glader - Member of the Star Wars Geeks Share-for-share team.
David Bloss - Supervisory Admin for the Star Wars Geeks community.

(Unfortunately, David is feeling under the weather and had to keep his answers brief.)

1. Star Wars is known for their exotic environments. Which one planet would you like to see a major scene play out on?

Darryl: Given the fact that I'm basically an old school geek, this one is pretty much a no brainer for me. I've wanted to see Corellia for about as long as I've known that Han Solo was a Corellian! That would have been since, oh, say, 1977 or so...I'd just love to see the environment that produced one of the franchise's biggest badasses!

Andy: There are actually two planets I would love to see in the Sequel Trilogy, both very much connected to the Jedi & Sith respectively, the first being Illum, the secret planet of the lightsaber crystals and the second being the Sith homeworld Korriban. If I had to pick one I’d have to say Korriban, the history geek in me is so interested in the ancient civilization aspect of Star Wars, so to learn more about the origins of the Sith on the big screen and how that could potentially play into the ongoing story of the Skywalkers is very intriguing for me.

Dominic: I really would like to go back to Tatooine. It's supposedly the planet that's farthest from the bright centre of the universe and yet stuff keeps happening there. Why is that? Is there some kind of special connection between the Force and that planet? Same thing with Dagobah. What's in that cave? What makes it a domain of evil? I'm not saying I want answers to these questions, but a little bit of hinting or teasing what's there or what their history is would be pretty special.

Robin: Maybe an EU planet like Nal Hutta or its moon Nar Shadda. Or Illum, that's a pretty important planet from the EU that never appeared in the movies. And I'd love to see Nal Hutta or Nar Shadda since I'm really into the underworld of Star Wars. And both Illum and Nal Hutta has appeared in The Clone Wars so they're as canon as they can be without having an appearance in any of the six main movies.

David B: Kashyyk. 

2. True or False: The "Big Three" will play a significant role. 

Darryl: True. At least that's the direction I'm leaning, at least for Episode 7. Even if they aren't major players in the next two, Disney would be blowing a major opportunity if they don't utilize them. Great for continuity and a symbolic "passing of the torch" would be awesome.

Andy: False, I know some people will be wanting and expecting these stories to be the continuing adventures of Luke Skywalker. Had these movies been made in the 80’s I would have too, but the big three are going to have as much screen time as Obi Wan/Yoda did in the Star Wars Trilogy. I expect in the new films that the size of their roles will probably diminish the further into the sequels we go (episode 8 & 9 etc). 

Dominic: Both. (Tralse?) I believe Luke Skywalker will play a significant role, most likely in an Old Ben-esque role, passing down the torch to the next generation and possibly giving his life for them. As for Leia and Han, I don't expect them to have more than cameos. I worry that if they're around too much the next generation won't get their chance to stand on their own (both in the story and in terms of carrying their own movie). One of my issues with the EU is that anytime a next generation type (Jaina, Ben, etc.) were in an inescapable situation, there was Luke Skywalker with the cavalry in the form of Han and Leia riding in to save the day.

Robin: Decently true. Why? Well firstly because of all the news we have been getting of them getting in shape. Secondly it just doesn't make sense to leave them out. I mean I think a lot of casual fans would have much more interest if they heard that the original cast was reprising their roles and even though I don't think they will be the stars we need a proper farewell to our favorite characters if they all die in the first part of the trilogy I'm fine with that as long as they actually turn up. (Just make their deaths good! Or you'll wake up with a lightsaber to the throat J.J!) So yes, I'm not only saying bring back the big three, I'm saying bring back the big FOUR! Lando needs to be in ep. 7 and I think Billy Dee would be happy to return to the role.

David B: Mark Hamill certainly, but as for Carrie and Harrison, I can't say for sure.

3. How large of a role will George Lucas have in this "Future Trilogy"? 

Darryl: Hard to say. He'll obviously be involved in at least an advisory capacity; "True Fans" would revolt if he wasn't. My hope is that Disney will welcome his creative input, but nix some of his...um..."ill-advised" impulsive moments. Lucas's imagination with Abrams's integrity could make for a blockbuster combo!

Andy: More than we think I expect, a lot of people are saying GL is not really going to be contributing much these films, and fact is he wrote the story to episode 7, 8 and 9. Sure Michael Arndt is adapting that into a screenplay but these films are going to have plenty of GL influence particularly in the story & auditioning phases, probably less so involved when the films go into full production however.

Dominic: I think his role will be larger than some people expect. While he certainly won't be on set every day or slaving over an editing bay, I believe the people making the film want him to be involved. Surely he's read the various drafts of the script and given some notes, and you can bet that he'll be in there to watch most versions of the rough cut. And he should be involved as much as possible. Nobody knows this universe better than him (no matter what anybody says online) and I think JJ Abrams and Kathy Kennedy (her especially, being his long time personal friend) recognize that and will try to involve him as much as possible.

Robin: Not big at all I would believe. I really hope they study his original outline really closely though and try to stick to his vision as possible. Like his writing or not if there is someone who knows what really happened it's him. If he says Wicket fought a witch that's riding a horse Wicket fought a witch that's riding a horse. (Sorry the SWU crew if you lost a dozen fans with that. :P)

David B: If I've any say George will stay clear on this! 

4. Fact or Fiction: Episode VII will disregard the EU...entirely.

Darryl: Fiction. I almost wish they would, but I can see them incorporating some of the more interesting EU characters into new storylines. I VERY seriously doubt they'll be using any of the existing arcs in their entirety, but again, they may borrow some elements. Regardless of which way they go, a certain segment of fans will be pissed. C'est la vie!

Andy: FACT! Yoda once said “You must unlearn, what you have learned” Never has that phrase been truer in the case of the sequel trilogy. Throw out everything you know about the expanded universe. We are not going to see Mara Jade, Thrawn, Jacen & Jaina solo or a cloned emperor in these movies, nor will they be part of the official canon of these new films. These movies will begin an entirely new continuity with new characters and new situations. 

Dominic: Fact. Anybody who still believes these films will have ANYTHING to do with the EU is dreaming in technicolour! Look, the EU has been fun but there's 20 years of content, you can't expect a movie going audience to go back and read all of that. The EU has entertained thousands of fans for the past few decades, but Disney isn't worried about a few thousand fans, they're looking big picture at the MILLIONS if not BILLIONS of people who are going to see this movie. And they don't want them to walk away feeling confused about what happened because they didn't read some roleplaying book from 1992. But the fact these stories aren't canon anymore, doesn't mean we can't still enjoy them!

Robin: Fact...to a degree at least. I'm not sure about entirely. I think the continuity will be completely rebooted but I wouldn't be surprised if some elements or the EU showed up like characters, situations, planets, ships, species and so on. In fact I'd love that. Wouldn't it be cool if Thrawn was the main Imperial in the new trilogy? If the empire is still around it needs a leader so why not give him blue skin and call him Thrawn?

David B: Fiction-ish. I'm quite happy with the X-Wing series. However, including it may not be possible.

5. You're casting your dream actor/actress in a role. Who is it and what role?

Darryl: My pick...*sigh* It's a bad idea. Very bad. It kind of goes against how the series has been done in the past. "No big names in major roles" seems to be the consensus. (We'll ignore Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness for the moment.) I'll most likely be banished to the spice mines of Kessel for this, but I would be ECSTATIC to see Jack Nicholson as a high ranking Imperial Officer with a key part in Episode VII. I could argue that he, like Cushing and Christopher Lee is a veteran of the old Hammer horror films, but... Fire at will!

Andy: David Tennant, such an incredible actor, loved him as the Doctor in Doctor Who and he fits so well into Star Wars as evident by his Emmy Award winning performance as Huyang in The Clone Wars. I think he’d be great in a live action role.

Dominic: #Cumberwatch. Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favourite current actors and hopefully the rumors will turn out to be true. As for what role, I haven't the foggiest! I hope they don't typecast him as a villain (we've seen enough of that in Star Trek: Into Darkness and The Hobbit trilogy), so definitely a good guy. Perhaps a military type who has relations with the Jedi order, or as a Jedi, he could be the Samuel L. Jackson/Mace Windu of the trilogy (small role in the first one that expands over the next two films). Also if they wanted to cast current Doctor Who companion Jenna Coleman, I wouldn't complain. Surely she could fit into the “Late-teen female, independent, good sense of humour, fit” category from the casting call, right? Right?

Robin: I'd say Benerdict Cumberbatch as Thrawn but I realize that's too much like "KHAAAAAAAN!!!" to happen so...Well I really can't say, I'm not really good at fan casting I think Cumberbatch would make a great Thrawn but.... Yaeh I'm just gonna say Zac Efron as Luke's son and everyone will be happy......right? 

David B: Charlize Theron as Mara Jade.

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