Star Wars An Immersive Week In STAR WARS written by Sean Gerber August 21, 2015 The summer box office is fading away, except for STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, and the feeling at last weekend’s D23 EXPO was a resounding, “It’s time for Star Wars.” While there was plenty of excitement for the offerings of Disney proper and Marvel Studios, all minds were caught in a current carrying them off to that galaxy far, far away. There’s a reason Lucasfilm got to close Disney’s live-action presentation, as Star Wars has quickly reclaimed its place at the pinnacle of pop culture. (Disney/Image Group LA)OSCAR ISAAC, JOHN BOYEGA, LUPITA NYONG’O, DAISY RIDLEY, J.J. ABRAMS, HARRISON FORD STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS was, as expected, was light on news and no new footage was offered, but the crowd that refused to sit down from their standing ovation for Harrison Ford didn’t seem to mind. Han Solo was welcomed home while newcomers Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron) were all greeted almost as warmly. It might have been old hat for people who’ve already seen the stars and director J.J. Abrams at Star Wars Celebration or San Diego Comic-Con, but no, of course it wasn’t. This is Star Wars and this kind of thing never gets old. News from the main trilogy came by way of a confirmation from Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn that Colin Trevorrow (JURASSIC WORLD) will direct STAR WARS: EPISODE IX. Trevorrow will begin work at Lucasfilm later this year, joining artists and his fellow Star Wars directors. Said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy via press release, “Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED. The power of that film paired with the enormous success of JURASSIC WORLD speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.” (Disney/Image Group LA)ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios) Trevorrow was not named as a writer for STAR WARS: EPISODE IX at D23 EXPO or in the accompanying press release, but both of his new trilogy directorial counterparts, J.J. Abrams and EPISODE VIII’s Rian Johnson, have co-written or written the scripts for their films. Trevorrow might have help, but he’ll most likely be doing some screenwriting. Regardless, Trevorrow’s perspective on his place in the continuation of the STAR WARS saga is as endearing as you’ll ever see. In the press release, Trevorrow said, “This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had—a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.” If that doesn’t win you over, nothing will. The most detailed movie news was for ROGUE ONE. The Gareth Edwards-directed standalone film had its full cast revealed to commemorate the start of production. The picture below shows you the crew tasked with stealing (and maybe some of them guarding) the plans to the Death Star in advance of STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE. (Disney/Image Group LA)ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios) The cast includes Oscar-nominated Felicity Jones (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING), Diego Luna (MILK), Ben Mendelsohn (THE DARK KNIGHT RISES), Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND), Mads Mikkelsen (HANNIBAL), Alan Tudyk (SERENITY) as as performance-capture character, and Riz Ahmed (NIGHTCRAWLER). The first official image from ROGUE ONE shows some of our heroes and provides a strong feel for the visual tone of the film. Star Wars: Rogue OneL to R: Actors Riz Ahmed, Diego Luna, Felicity Jones, Jiang Wen and Donnie YenPhoto Credit: Jonathan Olley©Lucasfilm 2016 ROGUE ONE looks like something STAR WARS films have not previously had at the forefront- grunt work. This is about a crew of grinders dressed to get the job done, not necessarily look flashy while doing it. This is the Rebel Alliance that was bold enough to take on The Empire without a lightsaber or a profound understanding (maybe even belief in) the ways of The Force. ROGUE ONE looks polished enough to feel big and cinematic and just messy enough to show how heroes come from anywhere in the galaxy. In addition to the cast photo, there’s been a little bit of rebranding for ROGUE ONE and its fellow standalone films. Gone is the phrase STAR WARS ANTHOLOGY and in its place is A STAR WARS STORY. It’s all semantics and reasonable minds won’t really care all that much, but A STAR WARS STORY sounds better and is much more to the point of what these standalone films are. It flows nicely and it keeps the main title front and center, as you can see in the new ROGUE ONE logo below. ROGUE ONE will be in theaters December 16, 2016 and you can read more details in the official press release at the conclusion of this article. Only at a Disney convention could a cast announcement and first official photo from an actual movie not be the biggest and best Star Wars news of the day. The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger took the stage at the end of the live-action presentation to reveal the biggest dream come true for Star Wars fans since they first found out new movies were on the way. Iger told the eager D23 EXPO crowd, “We’re bringing Star Wars to life in a big way, and I mean really big. We’re creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single-themed land expansion ever.” The crowd was already cheering as he continued, “Now, we knew it needed to be big. We knew it needed to be great and we knew it needed to be every bit as thrilling as the films are going to be.” Iger then went on to describe the experience park goers will soon enjoy, “So we’re going to transport guests to a whole new planet. The land will be real andy authentic and every encounter will bring more of the Star Wars story to life than ever before. This new 14-acre land will be occupied by many inhabitants- humanoids, aliens, and droids, all the diversity you might expect to find at a remote port, one of the last stops before wild space. Every store and restaurant will be operated by local inhabitants, making each experience deeply immersive. Nothing in the land, nothing will be out of character or stray from mythology.” But what about the rides? Iger described those as well, saying, “The land will have two fantastic, signature attractions including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission. And, the epic Star Wars adventure that puts you right in the middle of a climactic battle between The First Order and The Resistance. Now with these experiences, our guests will truly become part of their favorite Star Wars stories. It will be the first time our guests can immerse themselves in the real, physical world that is Star Wars.” Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks “And one more thing,” Iger teased, “We’re not just building one of these. We’re building two. One, Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando [Florida] and the other, right here in Anaheim [California] at Disneyland.” And with that, the crowd was back on its feet applauding the promise of the Disney theme park experience they’ve dreamed of, regardless of which coast they’re closest to. There could not have been a better end to Disney’s live-action presentation, particularly Lucasfilm’s portion of it. Star Wars is all about imagination and possibility. Those attending the D23 EXPO and those at home were left with the promise of both as a new era in Star Wars inches its way from anticipation to full-scale, multi-faceted immersion. A picture is worth a thousand words and the Lucasfilm slate shown below and the Star Wars-themed lands in Disney Parks are worth an infinite number of possibilities. (Disney/Image Group LA)ALAN HORN (Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios) As we close the book on this week in Star Wars, we are already preparing for another newsworthy week in the next frame on the calendar. Empire has released two foldout covers for next week’s issue with one featuring the dark side of STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS and the other featuring the light. Hold on tight, this train isn’t slowing down any time between now and December 18. “ROGUE ONE”—THE DARING MISSION HAS BEGUN Resistance Fighters Unite to Steal Plans for Death Star SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (August 15, 2015)—Lucasfilm announced today that their first film in the new standalone Star Wars stories series, “Rogue One,” has begun principal photography. Gareth Edwards (“Godzilla,” “Monsters”) is directing “Rogue One,” which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release. The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award® for her leading role in “The Theory of Everything”; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar®-winning “Milk” and the critically acclaimed “Killing Them Softly”; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy® for his leading role in “Bloodline” and co-starring in the upcoming “Mississippi Grind”; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in “Ip Man” and “Blade II”; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning “Let the Bullets Fly” and “Devils on the Doorstep”; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and winner of an Academy Award® for his leading role in 2006’s “The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in “The Hunt” and was the memorable villain from 2006’s “Casino Royale”; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in “Rogue One,” stars in the soon-to-be-released “Con Man” series and “Trumbo,” which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in “Nightcrawler” and starred in the BAFTA-winning film “Four Lions.” “‘Rogue One” takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’” Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who shares a long history with the Star Wars movies, dating back to the mid-1990s, originated the idea for the movie. Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Cinderella”), John Knoll, Simon Emanuel (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Fast & Furious 6”) and Jason McGatlin (“Tintin,” “War of the Worlds”) are executive producers. Kiri Hart and John Swartz (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) are co-producers. To create the lived-in, realistic feel of “Rogue One,” Edwards chose Greig Fraser (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Foxcatcher”) to be his director of photography and Neil Corbould (“Black Hawk Down,” “Gladiator,” “Saving Private Ryan”) to be his special effects supervisor. Star Wars and Lucasfilm veteran Doug Chiang (“Star Wars: Episodes I-II,” “Forrest Gump”) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director for the “Harry Potter” series, “Edge of Tomorrow”) will be the production designers. Additional crew members will include stunt coordinator Rob Inch (“World War Z,” Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”), creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (“Prometheus”) and co-costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor for the “Harry Potter” series, “Saving Private Ryan”) and Glyn Dillon (costume concept artist for “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” “Jupiter Ascending”). An Immersive Week In STAR WARS was last modified: February 20th, 2016 by Sean Gerber Related D23 EXPODisneyLucasfilmRogue OneStar Wars LandStar Wars: The Force Awakens 2 comments 0 Facebook Twitter Google + Pinterest Sean Gerber Sean Gerber is the founder and editor-in-chief of Modern Myth Media. When he's not writing here, you can catch him as the host of Popular Opinion Podcast, Batman News, and Marvel News! previous post Marvel Masters Conflict Management In CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR next post Review: HANNIBAL Season 3, Episode 11 “…and the Beast from the Sea” You may also like Be A Force For Change & Get... July 21, 2014 Popular Opinion Podcast: STAR WARS: THE FORCE... January 18, 2016 STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Character Names... December 11, 2014 The Force For Change Is Strong With... August 11, 2014 Watch The STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS... October 19, 2015 Woody Harrelson confirmed for young Han Solo... January 11, 2017 STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Cast Announced! April 29, 2014 Zack Snyder is NOT Working on a... January 14, 2013 Popular Opinion Podcast- STAR WARS: THE FORCE... October 19, 2015 See Deleted Scenes From STAR WARS: THE... March 24, 2016 Adrian Edmondson Awesome news man . So excited for what is to come . Now I have to get a second job just so I can afford to go to the movies the next few years , so much goodness from these genres coming our way . Thanks for sharing this , made my day . stock Guess I have to put DisneyWorld back on the Bucket List.