Taika Waititi to direct new Star Wars movie

Taika Waititi has been named as the director of a new Star Wars movie.Executives announced that the New Zealand-born filmmaker would be heading to a galaxy far, far away on Monday, with Waititi to co-write the next instalment in the iconic sci-fi franc…

Taika Waititi has been named as the director of a new Star Wars movie.

Executives announced that the New Zealand-born filmmaker would be heading to a galaxy far, far away on Monday, with Waititi to co-write the next instalment in the iconic sci-fi franchise with Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

It’s the first official feature film to be confirmed by Disney and Lucasfilm after Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss walked away from their deal to direct a Star Wars trilogy last October.

It was first reported back in January that the 44-year-old, who directed the season finale of the Disney+ Star Wars spin-off series The Mandalorian, had been tapped to helm one of the three as-yet-untitled movies, but Waititi was previously coy when he was quizzed about the speculation.

“I think people see me hanging out with people, especially with Star Wars, and think I’m having some big discussions about it. I would f**king love to… If it was right. I would want to do any kind of movie if it made sense, and if it felt not like career suicide,” he told Variety.

However, Waititi took to Instagram on Monday to confess he’d been lying all along.

“Guess it wasn’t a rumour after all. Psyyyych! #maythe4thbewithyou,” he wrote, alongside a report confirming his involvement in the much-loved saga.

And celebrities including James Gunn, Rebel Wilson, and Kate Beckinsale were quick to offer their congratulations to the Thor: Ragnarok moviemaker, with Michael B. Jordan jokingly commenting: “Yea yea look at me I’m a big successful talented man from New Zealand and I can’t stop making great movies I (me) love to watch!! Haha boo hoo I’m so happy for you (seriously).”

While Charlize Theron humorously added: “Whatever.”

Disney and Lucasfilm also confirmed that an untitled Star Wars TV series is in the works at their new streaming service Disney+, with Netflix’s Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland involved.

The three untitled Star Wars movies are due to be released in 2022, 2024, and 2026.

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Taika Waititi in talks to direct new Star Wars movie – report

Taika Waititi has reportedly been approached by Lucasfilm bosses to direct a new Star Wars movie.The filmmaker is in negotiations to join the as-yet-untitled project after he wraps production on Thor: Love and Thunder for Marvel Studios, according to e…

Taika Waititi has reportedly been approached by Lucasfilm bosses to direct a new Star Wars movie.

The filmmaker is in negotiations to join the as-yet-untitled project after he wraps production on Thor: Love and Thunder for Marvel Studios, according to editors at The Hollywood Reporter.

Waititi is no stranger to the sci-fi franchise, as he directed the last episode of The Mandalorian for Disney+, which was well-received by audiences.

The New Zealander also voiced the bounty hunter IG-11 on the show, which starred Pedro Pascal as the titular character, and saw the debut of the viral sensation, Baby Yoda.

Back in October, Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss abandoned their planned Star Wars trilogy in favour of developing projects at Netflix, leaving the future of the iconic sci-fi saga in doubt.

Negotiations are in the early stages, and it’s not yet known if the Star Wars movie will be for the big screen, or for Disney’s newly launched streaming service.

Waititi, 44, recently landed six Academy Award nominations for his critically-acclaimed World War II satire Jojo Rabbit, including Best Picture, and has just finished production on sports comedy Next Goal Wins, starring Michael Fassbender.

He is also attached to direct Warner Bros.’ live-action adaptation of Akira, a Japanese cyberpunk manga comic book series, and is currently preparing to start filming on the fourth movie in the hugely successful Thor franchise.

Chris Hemsworth will be reprising his role as the Norse god for the Marvel blockbuster, alongside Tessa Thompson, Natalie Portman, and rumoured newcomer Christian Bale, who may be playing a villain.

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Kathleen Kennedy to receive BAFTA Fellowship

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards. The American film producer has been chosen by executives at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in recognition…

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy will be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards.

The American film producer has been chosen by executives at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in recognition of her outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, and she will receive the honour at the annual BAFTA ceremony in London on 2 February 2020.

“British filmmaking has always played a significant role in both my life and career,” she said in a statement. “The recent Star Wars movies – all shot on sound stages and locations across the U.K. – are just the latest opportunities that I’ve had the privilege to work with British crews and filmmakers… I am deeply honoured to receive the Fellowship from BAFTA, and am incredibly thankful to have worked with so many talented members of our extended family in the British filmmaking community.”

Amanda Berry, chief executive of BAFTA, said she was “delighted” to be recognising Kennedy’s career.

“She is a trailblazer who has opened the door for many people to join the industry, and the number of iconic cinematic moments she has helped bring to the big screen has enriched the industry and enthralled the cinema-loving public,” she added.

Kennedy follows in the footsteps of previous Fellowship honorees including Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Stanley Kubrick, Martin Scorsese, Helen Mirren, Mel Brooks, and Ridley Scott, among others.

The 66-year-old, who was made president of Lucasfilm after it was acquired by Disney in 2012, has overseen production of the current Star Wars trilogy and its spin-offs.

Kennedy co-founded Amblin Entertainment with Steven Spielberg and her now-husband, producer Frank Marshall, in 1981 and got her first producer credit on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in 1982. Since then, she’s helped produce films such as the Back to the Future trilogy, the original Jurassic Park trilogy, the Indiana Jones franchise, Men in Black, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List, and The Goonies.

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J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy consulted George Lucas before writing The Rise of Skywalker

J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy consulted George Lucas before writing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.Disney boss Bob Iger recently revealed in his memoir that the Lucasfilm founder and Star Wars creator felt let down about the storyline for the firs…

J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy consulted George Lucas before writing Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Disney boss Bob Iger recently revealed in his memoir that the Lucasfilm founder and Star Wars creator felt let down about the storyline for the first movie in the trilogy, 2015’s The Force Awakens.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, revealed she and director Abrams held a “long meeting” with Lucas to finalise what would happen in the conclusion of the trilogy.

“We sat down with George for a long meeting before we ever put pen to paper on this final episode, so we had the benefit of his thoughts. We took a lot of notes,” Kennedy said.

She noted that they were keen to honour the Star Wars creator – who began the saga back in 1977 with A New Hope – and wanted to make sure that there were plans in place to possibly extend the epic story with more trilogies in the future.

“For something that’s been here for 40 years entertaining audiences, and something that George initially set out to do with a kind of three act saga with these three trilogies, I think we felt that we should honour and respect that,” Kennedy explained.

“And we’re taking the time to really look at where this is going from the standpoint of a saga, not just looking at what the next three movies might be. We’re really looking at what is the next decade of storytelling so that we can actually build the mythology.”

It was also recently confirmed by filmmaker Abrams, who helmed The Force Awakens in 2015, that The Rise of Skywalker would have a running time of two hours and 21 minutes. It is set to be released in cinemas from 18 December.

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David Benioff and D.B. Weiss ‘regretfully’ walk away from Star Wars deal

Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have walked away from their deal to launch the next Star Wars film trilogy.Back in May, it was announced that the pair had signed on to write the next three movies in the franchise, due to launch…

Game of Thrones co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have walked away from their deal to launch the next Star Wars film trilogy.

Back in May, it was announced that the pair had signed on to write the next three movies in the franchise, due to launch in 2022. However, on Monday, Benioff and Weiss announced that they’ve had to pull out of the deal because they don’t have enough time – after signing a $200 million (£164 million) deal with Netflix.

“We love Star Wars,” they told Deadline in a statement. “When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything.

“There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects. So, we are regretfully stepping away.”

Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in her own statement: “David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers. We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on Star Wars.”

Benioff and Weiss, who adapted George R. R. Martin’s famous fantasy novels for the small screen, wrapped on the eighth and final series of Game of Thrones last year, with the six-episode season earning them 32 Primetime Emmy Award nominations.

The pair began taking meetings to strike an overall deal after completing their final season of Game of Thrones. Netflix bosses reportedly outbid executives at Amazon and Disney to land their deal with the showrunners, who will join Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and American Horror Story’s Ryan Murphy at the streaming channel.

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Kevin Feige developing Star Wars movie

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is developing a new Star Wars movie. The producer, who has been the president of Marvel Studios since 2007, will be teaming up with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to develop a film that will explore “a new era of S…

Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is developing a new Star Wars movie.

The producer, who has been the president of Marvel Studios since 2007, will be teaming up with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to develop a film that will explore “a new era of Star Wars storytelling”.

“We are excited about the projects Kathy and the Lucasfilm team are working on, not only in terms of Star Wars but also Indiana Jones and reaching into other parts of the company including Children of Blood and Bone with Emma Watts and Fox,” Walt Disney Studios co-chairman Alan Horn told The Hollywood Reporter. “With the close of the Skywalker Saga, Kathy is pursuing a new era in Star Wars storytelling, and knowing what a die-hard fan Kevin is, it made sense for these two extraordinary producers to work on a Star Wars film together.”

Sources tell the publication that Feige, who is passionate about the franchise, discussed making a foray into the Star Wars universe with Kennedy, Horn and Disney co-chairman Alan Bergman in the late summer.

While some have speculated that Feige is being lined up for a bigger role within Lucasfilm, an insider told The Hollywood Reporter that Kennedy will remain in charge and the news simply reflects his passion for Star Wars.

Another source also shared that the producer has a “major actor” in mind to play a specific role and has already reached out to them.

The Skywalker trilogy seemingly concludes in December with The Rise of Skywalker, but there are already plans in place to continue telling Star Wars stories, with The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson and Games of Thrones showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff also working on feature films set in that universe.

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George Lucas ‘felt betrayed’ by new Star Wars trilogy

Star Wars creator George Lucas felt “upset” and “betrayed” over the new trilogy, according to Disney boss Bob Iger. In his memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger revealed that he was compe…

Star Wars creator George Lucas felt “upset” and “betrayed” over the new trilogy, according to Disney boss Bob Iger.

In his memoir, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Iger revealed that he was compelled to buy Lucas’s outlines for three new movies as part of Disney’s acquisition of the movie mogul’s Lucasfilm company in 2012, but made it clear that they weren’t “contractually obligated to adhere to the plot lines he’d laid out”.

Despite this warning, Lucas felt let down when he met with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens writers J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt to discuss the first film in the new trilogy, The Force Awakens.

“George immediately got upset as they began to describe the plot and it dawned on him that we weren’t using one of the stories he submitted during the negotiations,” Iger wrote. “George knew we weren’t contractually bound to anything, but he thought that our buying the story treatments was a tacit promise that we’d follow them, and he was disappointed that his story was being discarded. I’d been so careful since our first conversation not to mislead him in any way, and I didn’t think I had now, but I could have handled it better.

“George felt betrayed, and while this whole process would never have been easy for him, we’d gotten off to an unnecessarily rocky start.”

Matters got worse when the Star Wars creator watched a final cut of the movie ahead of its 2015 release and “didn’t hide his disappointment” that the film presented viewers with “nothing new”.

“We’d intentionally created a world that was visually and tonally connected to the earlier films, to not stray too far from what people loved and expected,” the 68-year-old explained. “And George was criticising us for the very thing we were trying to do.”

Iger is set to leave his position as chief executive and chairman at Disney when his contract expires in 2021.

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Kevin Smith teases big budget project

Kevin Smith has teased fans that he is working on a “massive” new project.The actor and director is known for his work on ’90s comedies such as Clerks, Mallrats and Dogma, with his most recent feature film being 2016’s Yoga Hosers. While Kevin has been…

Kevin Smith has teased fans that he is working on a “massive” new project.

The actor and director is known for his work on ’90s comedies such as Clerks, Mallrats and Dogma, with his most recent feature film being 2016’s Yoga Hosers.

While Kevin has been laying low since suffering a major heart attack in February, he indicated that he is feeling much better on Sunday (29Jul18) by sharing in a social media post that he is gearing up to tackle his next big project.

“Just finished a huge writing gig that I haven’t talked about publicly yet,” he wrote on his Instagram page. “It’s the most massive IP (intellectual property) I’ve ever been allowed to play with and if the powers that be decide to move forward with the project, it would be the biggest budgeted anything I’ve ever done. Wish me luck…”

Kevin concluded the post with two hashtags, that of his own name and “#writing”. He did not add any further details about the potential gig but did divulge that he hopes to unveil more details soon.

“Fingers crossed that I get to talk about this one day soon. Or better yet, fingers crossed, we all get to watch it next year,” the 47-year-old noted.

Though Kevin has helmed recent episodes of TV shows The Flash and Supergirl, he recently shot down rumours speculating that he was looking to partner with Marvel Studios or Lucasfilm on a movie.

“Waiting on @ThatKevinSmith to confirm or deny these @MarvelStudios or @starwars also keeping my fingers crossed,” a fan wrote on Twitter in late June, to which the filmmaker responded: “Easy to deny. The only @starwars or @MarvelStudios movies I’m involved with are the ones I pay to see in theaters. Promise.”

In the five months since his life-threatening heart attack, Kevin has lost more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) and has transformed his diet and lifestyle. Speaking to E! News while at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this month, he explained that he had consulted with a nutritionist and decided to adopt a vegan diet.

“I said, ‘You know what? I ate any way I wanted for like the last 47 years. For one year I am going to try life as a vegan.’ It’s been okay, I don’t miss much,” he said of the plant-based eating regime.

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James Mangold to direct Star Wars movie about Boba Fett – report

James Mangold has reportedly been tapped to write and direct a movie centred on Star Wars character Boba Fett.While Lucasfilm and Disney executives are yet to officially confirm the news, The Hollywood Reporter claimed on Thursday (24May18) that the fi…

James Mangold has reportedly been tapped to write and direct a movie centred on Star Wars character Boba Fett.

While Lucasfilm and Disney executives are yet to officially confirm the news, The Hollywood Reporter claimed on Thursday (24May18) that the filmmaker will team up with his Logan colleague Simon Kinberg to pen the story of the feared bounty hunter, while Kinberg is also rumoured to be producing the project.

The latest chapter of the Star Wars anthology, Solo: A Star Wars Story, is now showing in cinemas, but the planned Boba Fett tale will be the first in the franchise to stray away from the main Star Wars storyline and focus solely on one figure.

Lucasfilm and Disney producers are also working to develop movies about several other major players in the Star Wars universe, including the infamous Obi-Wan Kenobi, with Billy Elliot director Stephen Daldry attached to direct.

Boba Fett made his movie debut in The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, and also played a part in Return of the Jedi as well as prequel Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones.

Though the character hasn’t had significant screen time, he has grown to cult status amongst film fans.

Talk of a feature dedicated to Boba Fett was first reported by Entertainment Weekly in 2013, who revealed that Fantastic Four director Josh Trank would be leading proceedings, but in 2016, Disney bosses announced that the contract with Trank had been terminated as a result of his allegedly erratic behaviour on the set of the superhero film.

Mangold received a Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award nomination for his work on Logan, and also directed acclaimed movies including 1999’s Girl, Interrupted and 2005’s Walk the Line.

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