Cantina Talk: J.J. Abrams Admits Leia Shoulda Hugged Chewie
Before we go any further, it’s worth pointing out that one member of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast has skills we didn’t even know about (below). Oh, BB-8. Will you ever not be adorable? (No. The answer is “no,” if you’re wondering.)
Welcome back, nerf herders and gungans all, to the latest installment of Cantina Talk, where a veritable stew of Star Wars news and rumors is served up hot with a side of inflatable bread. I’m your host, Maz Kanata, and I’m here to ask you not to go into the basement unaccompanied no matter what you think you hear downstairs. Oh, and next time, bring a Wookiee or two; it’ll make you more welcome here. Actually, there’s a couple of Wookiee-related news bites ahead of us, so let’s just jump in, shall we?
Could People Already Be Thinking About Star Wars: Episode XII?
Source: The British newspaper The Sun, which automatically makes it somewhat suspect.
Probability of Accuracy: See that above comment about the suspect nature of the source. We’re not saying this is incorrect, but it certainly shouldn’t be considered gospel, either.
The Real Deal: If a report in The Sun can be believed, Lucasfilm is currently considering adding an additional five movies to the current slate of Star Wars projects, with spin-off projects for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Mace Windu being thrown around as possible additions to the existing list. “The success of The Force Awakens has given executives much to think about,” an anonymous source is quoted as saying, while none other than Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams apparently told the paper, “There are some really cool things being discussed. It is very exciting to see how it is being put together.”
It’s a genuinely odd story to put out there. Not because anyone actually thought that Disney would stop wanting Star Wars movies after Episode IX in 2019—indeed, all signs have pointed to Disney considering this an ongoing franchise, a la the Marvel movies—but the specificity of reporting that five additional movies are under consideration gives it a ring of verisimilitude. Five additional movies would equal a fourth trilogy of the main series with two standalones in between, after all. But isn’t it a little too early to be thinking about this? Forward planning is a wonderful thing and all, but still.
The Han Solo Movie Won’t Be a Solo Spotlight
Source: Disney CEO Bob Iger, on a conference call to investors
Probability of Accuracy: Unless someone’s been lying to the boss, probably spot-on.
The Real Deal: While the very notion of a “Young Han Solo” movie brings to mind the specter of the Young Indiana Jones TV movies of yore—never a good thing, let’s be honest—Disney CEO Bob Iger offered the first outright good news about the project (well, aside from the presence of The Force Awakens co-writer Lawrence Kasdan, of course): the movie will be “an origin story about Han Solo and Chewie.” Putting aside the obvious point that Han Solo and Chewbacca’s real origin is that their parents loved each other very much and then, nine months later (or however long Wookiee pregnancies last), they were born, who isn’t on board with the idea of getting to see the meet cute between a young rogue and his walking carpet future best friend? Now, all we need is for someone other than Miles Teller to get the job.
That Force Awakens Scene You Didn’t Love? J.J. Abrams Agrees with You
Source: Force Awakens director Abrams himself.
Probability of Accuracy: Well, it’s an opinion, so as accurate as an opinion can be?
The Real Deal: (Spoilers ahead.) Speaking of Chewbacca and Han Solo, were you one of the [insert very high number here, up to and including “everyone”] who didn’t like that Chewbacca didn’t get to hug Leia after Han’s death in The Force Awakens? /Film asked director J.J. Abrams about that storytelling choice, and learned that, yes, he might not have liked it that much, either.
“That was probably one of the mistakes I made in that,” he admitted. “My thinking at the time was that Chewbacca, despite the pain he was feeling, was focused on trying to save Finn and getting him taken care of. So I tried to have Chewbacca go off with him and focus on Rey, and then have Rey find Leia and Leia find Rey. The idea being that both of them being strong with the Force and never having met, would know about each other—that Leia would have been told about her beyond what we saw onscreen and Rey of course would have learned about Leia. And that reunion would be a meeting and a reunion all in one, and a sort of commiseration of their mutual loss.”
He continued, “Had Chewbacca not been where he was, you probably wouldn’t have thought of it. But because he was right there, passed by Leia, it felt almost like a slight, which was definitely not the intention.”
Come on, this means we get a Force Awakens: Special Edition just to fix this, right? Right…?
Has Star Wars Had a Gay Lead All Along?
Source: Masses of Internet speculation riffing on an interview with Mark Hamill
Probability of Accuracy: Don’t bet the hydrofarm on it.
The Real Deal: And we’re back to The Sun, who followed up on J.J. Abrams’ suggestion that Star Wars is ready for some gay characters by talking to Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill.
“In the old days you would get fan mail,” Hamill responded. “But now fans are writing and ask all these questions, ‘I’m bullied in school … I’m afraid to come out.’ They say to me, ‘Could Luke be gay?’ I’d say it is meant to be interpreted by the viewer. If you think Luke is gay, of course he is. You should not be ashamed of it. Judge Luke by his character, not by who he loves.”
All of which is kind of great—audience interpretations of an essentially sexually ambiguous-beyond-crushing-on-his-sister character go!—but somehow it got turned into Mark Hamill says Luke Skywalker is gay! in subsequent reports, which is very clearly not the case. While it would be great if Luke got revealed to be, well, anything other than straight, the not-too-subtle hints that maybe he’s Rey’s father in The Force Awakens would suggest otherwise. We could, however, find out that she is also a child of the Force like Anakin was, but this time Luke brought her to term inside his body. (Note: We would love it if this turned out to be the case. Rian Johnson, is there any chance we can make this canon? Have you shot that part of Episode VIII yet?)
Gettin’ Cheeky with It
Source: Everyone’s favorite scavenger sweetheart, Daisy Ridley
Probability of Accuracy: Who doesn’t believe Daisy Ridley?
The Real Deal: Good news for those who are feeling Star Wars withdrawal after The Force Awakens: Apparently, production on 2017’s Episode VIII isn’t going to be the mysterious, unknowable thing that it had been for the last installment. Talking to Entertainment Tonight, Ridley said that things are “a little bit freer” on the new movie, and that director Rian Johnson “actually wants to be a bit cheekier with the little tidbits of information that come out.” That would explain the surprise production announcement video, if nothing else, but what else can we expect in this new cheeky era? We can but hope for Twitter accounts from new characters revealing important information that everyone dismisses as fan fiction fakery until after the movie’s been released.
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