Han Salo The Knights of Ren and other bits from EWs Star Wars coverage

EW dropped a load of Star Wars goodness this morning. Inside, there’s a lot of interesting tidbits (and an awesome photo gallery) about the film.

These series of articles gave some interesting insights.  Lets look at a few of them:

 

Han Solo

Although Kennedy couldn’t talk about details of the story, it’s clear it could involve a lot of figures we already know: Chewbacca, of course, Lando Calrissian, Jabba the Hutt, and even Greedo. (If there’s not an argument between the two about who shot something first, the movie is missing a trick.)

I’d like to see some new elements in this – perhaps the fools he used to deal with before he though he could get away crossing Jabba the Hutt.  A Greedo encounter would also be interesting (I think I ever mentioned that before).

 

Actually, he had the option to do any kind of Star Wars story he liked. Kasdan said he had turned Lucas down when approached about working on the prequels, yet it was a different sort of prequel that interested him this time.

In the midst of working on that story, Kasdan was drafted to work with Abrams on Episode VII, using a loose story outline by Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt. As his work on The Force Awakensbecame more demanding, young Han Solo was put on hold. That’s when Kasdan, like a benevolent Vader, lured his son to join him on that project.

Apparently Lawrence Kasdan is a WAY better negotiator than we knew.

X-Men producer and writer Simon Kinberg was developing that untitled movie, and Chronicle director Josh Trank was set to direct. When Trank ran into already-legendary trouble making the disastrousFantastic Four reboot, he ended up stepping down from the Star Wars job. Sources tell EW that we almost saw a teaser reel for that film at Star Wars Celebration in April, until Trank’s participation was put on hold at the last minute. (Lucasfilm won’t comment on that, or the subject of the movie, but we heard about its lead character on good authority a while back.)

“It’s still one of the stories that we absolutely want to tell,” she says. “There is a lot of innovative technology in and around what it is we’re doing with that story, so for a lot of reasons, we were comfortable postponing that. But we’re definitely still developing it.”

ANOTHER trailer at Celebration?  That would have been just too much.  It’s great that they didn’t back away from the project.  I’m also encouraged that they are making technological investments to push the story telling forward. That’s what I hope these Anthology Films will be used for.

 

Kylo Ren

Looking at Kylo Ren, staggering through the woods with this janky, homemade lightsaber, its easy to wonder: Is this an inverse of Luke? Is Ren perhaps not the hero but the villain who comes from no means, who rises from obscurity and yet still manages to cause tremendous upheaval?

No.  That was Anakin/Vader.  So this isn’t that.  Kylo Ren may be otherwise obscure, but apparently he has a determination for greatness that we really didn’t see in Luke or Anakin.  They really didn’t uncover their ambition until they met Obi-wan and Qui Gonn Jin.  So this (probably) not like Luke.  But it’s probably something very interesting still.

 

“The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask,” Abrams tells EW. “[Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”

This seems very consistent to the comments made by Adam Driver at Comic Con.  It’s no surprise that his character is inspired (creatively or literally) by Vader.   This dynamic, however, is one that was touched upon in the prequels – that Vader thought the Jedi were evil and manipulative (much due to the manipulations of Palpatine).

 

It turns out — Kylo Ren isn’t the character’s real name. Or, at least, not the name he was born with.   Remember how we eventually learned that “Darth” is not a first name, but a kind of title? It appears the surname “Ren” is something similar.  “He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren,”

Ok… Cool….  This begs a lot more questions about these Knights of Ren.

 

 

What sets him apart? “He’s full of emotion,” Kasdan says. “No matter how we express ourselves in the world, whether we hide it and act very calm or whether we’re very out there and demonstrative, everybody’s roiling with emotion.

This is something that I think has always been absent from the Dark Side characters.  They were all unique and powerful, but never emotional.  Anger, Fear, Aggression – those are all Dark side feelings and we rarely saw them.  One of the good things about the Prequels is that they did show Anakin’s emotion (anger usually) come out from time to time.  But it was time to time – the rest of the time he seemed rather non-plussed.  Vader was emotional during the attack on the Tantive IV in ANH, but after that he was very non-chalant.  “Apology Excepted Captain Needa”.  Smooth.  But not terribly emotional.  We even saw some emotion from Palpatine when he his Mace Windu with the force lightening “Unlimited.. Power!!”.  But… not much else.  So this element to Kylo Ren’s character I think would be well appreciated.

 

JJ Abrams

 

But those four words — Who is Luke Skywalker? — created a disturbance in the Force for Abrams. After all these years, we thought we knew him, but what if there was more to that Tatooine farmboy? Or… what if there was less? The answer could alter not just how audiences look at the original trilogy, but the arc of a planned universe that now tallies at least five more upcoming films.

Look, I don’t really want to think or feel differently about Luke Skywalker. And I’m not sure I actually would feel differently given what this quote implies.  Part of me thinks Luke still could have turned to the Dark Side eventually.  He could be living like a hermit.  He could have settled down and had some kids and forgot about all the Jedi stuff.  So I’m not sure I’d think or feel differently.

What we saw of Luke NOT killing Vader has a lot of troubling implications.  One of my speculations on the characters’ backgrounds are that Kylo Ren is Luke’s kid (or Leia’s for that matter) and turns evil early.  Would Luke be willing to kill his own son/nephew/family who apparently is on top of the First Order at a “young” age?  No.  So we do *know* about Luke.

This wrinkle, though does sounds…interesting.

 

 Was there anything from the original films they struggled to echo inThe Force Awakens? “I think we can’t explore in quite as much detail issues of compassion, the way [Lucas] did in terms of the values of the Jedi,” Kennedy says. “But we’re going to get there, let’s put it that way. In the arc of all three movies, that will increase.”

I actually don’t think Star Wars is a good general example of compassion.  Obi-wan Kenobi is really the only character that showed compassion.  In the prequels, everyone acted kind of shitty to each other.  Star Wars Rebels I think shows this theme very well.  So I really hope they do better in bringing this ethic back.

 

“No, I’m not going to directEpisode IX, as much as I am deeply envious of anyone who gets to work with this group of people on the future movies,” he says.

I’m actually good with this.  I don’t think he should as it would help avoid a fiasco like Star Trek Into Darkness.  It helps to reflect on how different the original trilogy films were to each other – visually and thematically.  They all *felt* very different.  I think that was in part due to having a different person in charge of making them (Lucas, Kershner, Marquand).  The Prequels lacked that diversity – all three movies felt and looked very similar.  And they weren’t as fun.

 

 

EW has a great edition with these articles.  You should real them yourself.

Han Solo film

Kylo Ren

JJ Abrams

Photo Gallery

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