Star Wars Episode 7 News

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The New Star Wars Series and Movies Will be Focused on Characters and Humanity Rather Than Effects and Technology.

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Another article from USA Today with plenty of new details about the upcoming animated TV series Star Wars: Rebels - "a show about the rebellion's early days when the leader Kanan and his ragtag group aboard The Ghost are fighting Imperial Star Destroyers"...


From USA Today:

Rebels is the first original Star Wars on-screen content released since Disney's $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm in October 2012. It also begins a new era for the franchise with upcoming video games, Marvel Comics titles and Star Wars: Episode VII, director J.J. Abrams' kickoff of a new movie trilogy (due in December 2015).

Rebels acts as a bridge between the prior two sets of movies: The show is set in the period between the events of the last Star Wars movie prequel, 2005's Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, and the introduction to George Lucas' universe in 1977's Star Wars, the fourth "episode" (now subtitled A New Hope) that kicked off the original trilogy.

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That first movie opened with Darth Vader on a mission to crush the fledgling Rebel Alliance. Rebels will show why the Empire comes after them as hard as they do while having the good guys employ guerrilla tactics vs. shady arms dealers, war lords, intergalactic Mafioso and an army of Imperial Stormtroopers.

"In the original movie, you see a bunch of guys in orange jumpsuits running around and not know who they are," says Freddie Prinze Jr., who voices Kanan. "This is the start of it: the sacrifices that those orange jumpsuits made and the families those orange jumpsuits lost and the hatred that you would have for somebody who would literally kill your wife and child because they wanted your property."

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(Art not from Star Wars: Rebels)

The Empire has taken hold of places such as the frontier planet Lothal in order to recruit folks as soldiers or build vehicles of destruction. And Vader has tasked the Imperial Inquisitor to search every corner of the galaxy and make sure the Jedi are gone for good.

 The Inquisitor's a physically imposing threat, says Rebels executive producer Simon Kinberg, "but what's really terrifying is his ability to read people, understand their fears, prey on those fears and almost twist their perceptions so that they don't totally have control over themselves any more."

Kanan's crew is a capable bunch, though, down to their resident astromech droid C1-10P, nicknamed Chopper. Instead of a sweet, loving, innocent droid like the fan-favorite R2-D2, Chopper's "a grumpy, grouchy, more adolescent-behaving robot," says Kinberg.

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"He's cantankerous because he acts like a grumpy old man most of the time," adds Prinze, who's given the translation of Chopper's bleeps and the bloops so he can respond to the character honestly in the recording studio.

"We know specifically what he's saying about us, and if he's saying it under his breath or directly in our face. He's very outspoken, I'll leave it at that."

While he worked mainly in the prequel era as supervising director of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni says a lot of the new show leans toward the quick-witted dialogue of characters in the original trilogy as well as the design aesthetic of the older films.

Creating a canon with Rebels is an exciting yet daunting opportunity for Kinberg, who's also a consultant on the Episode VII film.

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What he's experienced so far in the new Star Wars approach is a focus on character and humanity rather than effects and technology.

 "The tone will shift from story to story, and from movie to show to game, but what's consistent is a reverence and love for the underlying material and a real passion for expanding the world," Kinberg says.

"For an audience who maybe didn't grow up with it the way we grew up with it, (we're) trying to give them the same experience that we had when we saw Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back for the time in movie theaters: Blow their mind and immerse them in a way that they become lifetime Star Wars fans."

36 comments:

  1. I mean call me crazy but hasn't Star was always been about characters and humanity at some level rather than just the tech and effects? Not saying tech and effects didn't come into play at all, but you know what I mean.

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    1. Yes it has. This prequel backlashing spin is really ridiculous.

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    2. As a prequel and clone war fan I feel insulted by many statements in the article. The whole time the article was saying "you poor prequel fans don't know how awesome Star Wars used to be,.." Assuming we've never seen the OT.

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    3. I don't think the prequel fans understand the experience we had when the OT came out. It was mind-blowing for its time, the effects, the drama and everything had no competition in sci/fi. Now a days all movies look good, so you guys are kind of spoiled (inn a good way) But there was nothing like it back then. And thinking how far the technology have reached , I don't think its possible to top anything anymore, exempt if you top the story. The story is the key.

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    4. Kerot, I think that's presicely why Abrams is going for a more original approach when filming EpVII. His goal is to allow Star Wars to be astounding again, something we don't see in the movies anymore. It'll be new and exciting for the younger fans and familiar, but still inticing for the life-long fans. Gemious, in my opinion and exactly what Star Wars needs right now; not more typical animated series that just aren't original.

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    5. I grew up on the OT, but enjoyed the prequels. I craved the Expanded Universe works, then enjoyed the Prequels, just to a lesser degree. It's like apples and oranges, both are good. but different. I just ignored Jar-Jar just like I ignore people IRL that annoy me. Star Wars OT is about the underdog, the Robin Hood, with every fiber of it's being. The Prequels are about the corruption and self-undoing, the Jedi's orthodoxy kills them, the Republic's apathy subjugates them... The clone wars hits in-between the two, an I'm sure Rebels will too.

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    6. dopeyjoe, Its been a while since anyone sat down and got astonished watching a movie. Seeing something new, and fresh is a dish not often served. But if J.J pulls that of, I take my hat and eat it out of pure joy.
      I just have to buy a hat first.

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    7. Kerot, when I first saw the prequels in the theaters (too young to have seen OT), my mind was also blown away. The effects and the drama were fantastic to see for the first time, and even the technology presented in those movies was lightyears ahead of its time. Just think how much time and effort went into the creation of Yoda!
      I wholeheartedly agree that the story is crucial. A movie can be quite terrible without it. However, I also think that it's still possible to continue to one-up the technology. Looking back at Revenge of the Sith, it will be 10 years between major films once VII is released. This movie will look leaps and bounds ahead of the previous films. BUT all these films will still stay classic.

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  2. I think he means human rebels vs homan stormtroopers, rather than droids vs clones...

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  3. I think they're trying to nicely state that they will get back to telling stories about people with special effects as the backdrop rather than the other way around (as some might argue was what was wrong with the PT).

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  4. Once upon a time, George Lucas said in all earnestness, "A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing."

    Then he got caught up in the trap of producing special effects for their own sake in the PT while he often made up the story more or less as he went along.

    I think the idea here is that the new production team will be focusing on characters and their stories first and foremost, with the screenplay taking precedence over flashy effects.

    I'm sure the effects will knock our socks off, but hopefully they'll also be accompanied by a script that doesn't read like a term paper that was hastily written the night before it was due.

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  5. There is this theory that you can only have either special effects with a bad story, or bad special effects and a good story. The original trilogy proved that both effects and story and character can work together to make good films. Modern films are getting very trashy and putting way too much emphasis on the fireworks and explosions. I'm glad they are realising what they did with the old trilogy, using the films to firstly tell a good story with great characters, whilst using effects as a tool to tell some of that great story.

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  6. "what's really terrifying is his ability to read people, understand their fears, prey on those fears and almost twist their perceptions so that they don't totally have control over themselves any more."
    That sounds a lot more serious than childish to me. It seems that they have a solid idea for this show, but are falling very short when designing the characters and their positions in the story. I hope the plot makes up for it...

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    1. Yeah that description sounds good. I can just tell that the voice will be boring and predictable the same way that he looks pretty average. Compare it to Vader, his looks, his voice, are all so iconic. Even Vaders breathing is great. If you've got a characters breathing to be good, you've struck gold. You can tell they haven't been particularly thorough whilst designing this character, other than simply giving him an angry face and a red lightsaber.

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    2. For a cowboy, this Kanan fellow looks very clean-cut and handsome... I can't this clean, smooth, almost claymation animation they've forced upon us with these TV series. It's almost like they're toying with fans saying, "hey, here's some interesting content associating with a story we know you all enjoy, but you'll have to watch it portrayed by Bob the Builder with a lightsaber." Maybe that's a little overexaggerated, but you get my point.

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    3. What does covering one arm and shoulder with armor do to protect him in battle anyway?

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    4. It'd make sense if he was toting a shield in the other hand, but somehow I don't get the idea that that's gonna be part of the character design.

      But then, SW has had a bit of a "cool factor over functionality" problem for awhile now. It wasn't always that way. Back in the day you could often see a functional reason for why a vehicle or a costume looked the way it did.

      For example, the original X-Wing fighters had that cool split-wing thing going on, but then when you looked a little more closely at it the concept actually made some functional sense because it moved the lasers outward and created a broader radius of fire.

      Then we got the PT equivalent of the X-Wing in ROTS, and it just had the split-wing thing happening because it looked cool. Didn't affect the fire radius at all, it just did that X thing for the sake of doing that X thing.

      It's a small detail, but it's also a pretty good example to me of how different the SW design teams have become from what Lucas started out with. Flash over function has really become the priority, and IMHO it's rather unfortunate.

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    5. Functionality is key, in my opinion. Otherwise, we're left wondering why a character such as this "cowboy Jedi" would bother going to all of that trouble putting on a shoulder pad, forearm guard and armored glove every day if it served no purpose at all?

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    6. And indeed we are left wondering exactly that.

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  7. its absurd that anyone would ever have to say we want the story to be more important than the effects (paraphrased). It would be like saying I want the contents of my book to be more important than the cover we give it. Of course! why would anyone want it otherwise?

    Something I think the OT had going for it that set it apart was: original, mystical & mysterious, poetic/beautiful/artistic, exciting, and alien/foriegn.

    the PT has some of that occasionally. but it wasn't the same.

    I liked that in the OT they took historical and mythological references hundreds and hundreds of times and imbued them throughout the story in subtle ways. Han solo may have been a space pirate but they didnt give him a damn peg-leg. I don't feel like I need tail lights on speeders that look like '50s cars or pod racer anouncers that sound like disc jockeys.

    Be subtle. Be bold and original. I feel like the characters of rebels are already predictable and that the story sort of writes itself which is like saying with what they've set up I feel like I already know whats going to happen and how it will happen.

    Seems like a story that doesnt need telling.

    Hope I'm wrong. thanks for letting me vent.

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    1. I agree. I just hope they redeem that with the ST.

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    2. I agree too. Here's the thing about the OT. Special effects as we know them today were still in their infancy, especially when they made SW and Empire. They HAD to make up for that with a solid, well-presented story and characters

      Why was Jaws such a great movie? Because we didn't see the shark until the third act. They COULDN'T show the shark until the third act, because the model was barely passable. Had Spielberg had CGI or even five or ten years more in practical effects development, he'd have shown the shark right off the bat, and the story itself would have been less for it.

      The effects limitations of the classic, first wave era of summer blockbuster movies was a big part of what made them such great movies - because it forced the filmmakers to tell more compelling stories. Now with CGI being such an easy solution to all things visual, there's a lot more tendency for filmmakers to focus on how cool a scene looks than on how compellingly it plays out storywise.

      If Abrams and Kennedy and company are consciously trying to revert back to the old-school approach (out of deliberate choice rather than the actual old-school necessity) then I think we could end up seeing some really good movies. And if a bit of this carries over to side projects like Rebels, so much the better.

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    3. Agreed. If I were making a film like star wars I would definitely limit myself to how many shots of visual effects i would use. So the visual effects would be used sparingly but great when they are used, and more focus is shifted on the actual plot. Visual effects just are not stunning anymore, we've seen it all. It's only stunning if it's built up and part of the film.

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  8. Always fighting against robots, and with detached from the galaxy clones, was the biggest weakness of the Prequels and Clone Wars stuff. Fighting is hard because you are creating orphans and widows. The empire is evil because it subverts normal people into murderers; every storm-trooper you kill is advancing the cause of evil, recruiting another from normal life to replace him. The separatists are evil... because they kill either clones trained from birth without families, or Jedi trained from birth without families, at the cost of droids?

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    1. That was something I always found to be pretty underwhelming about the prequels too. Having the primary enemy use droids as both footsoldiers and pilots was, in my opinion, a weak story choice for exactly the reasons you mention. It's simply not as dramatic to have our heroes beset on all sides by armed hardware (anyone else remember "Hardware Wars", by the way?) because there is no sentient choice being made there to fight. The stormtroopers may have been a dime a dozen and terrible marksmen to boot, but there was still always a person in there who was choosing (under whatever duress that choice was extracted from them by the Empire) to fight the Rebels.

      The battle droids in the PT, by comparison, were just so much metal and circuitry. There was nothing in there that was making a conscious decision to go after the Jedi and the Republic. They were just scrap to be mowed down by the Jedi.

      And in fact, this is exactly what Lucas conceived them to be. Despite there never having been the slightest bit of concern or public outcry (to my knowledge, anyway) about the dozen or so skiff guards that Luke sliced up in ROTJ, Lucas suddenly decided that it would be unacceptable for the prequel Jedi to cut down actual living soldiers, so the Jedi would almost exclusively fight droids. IMHO, a completely unnecessary solution to a rather odd concern.

      And then on top of that for the battle droids to be chipmunk-talking comic relief instead of a suitably threatening adversary was, in my opinion, a tremendously inappropriate story choice. It was bad enough that the Jedi would not be going up against other sentient beings, but then to not even make the enemy droids the least bit threatening for the sake of making them "funny"... well, it was things like that that always made me REALLY wish that Lucas had had somebody like Gary Kurtz onhand to challenge him about such decisions.

      There is nothing at stake, no sentient cost, to mowing down phalanxes of droids. And there's little drama in pitting the Jedi against enemies who are utterly non-threatening, and moreover designed as comic relief.

      Here's hoping we're finally past that nonsense.

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    2. Another problem with the PT is that the Separatists were the good guys. What sort of asshole democracy declares war on people who have different political ideas from them... Oh wait...

      But I highly doubt that's what Lucas intended for, because he had characters constantly telling us they're bad instead showing why and I don't know if he's capable of making a commentary on that level.

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  9. ya I think I agree. It was kind of weird that Obiwan and others seemed cool with cloned children being basically enslaved and bread for war....

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  10. Darn, I really expected them to say the opposite. Talk is cheap.

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  11. I would like to be frozen in carbonite, only to be thawed out when the ep7 teaser trailer is available for me to watch over and over. Then I would like to be re-frozen and thawed out to be able to watch over and over all subsequent ep7 trailers. Then re-frozen and thawed out for the release of the ep7 film for me to watch over and over. After watching it 1,138 times, I would like to be re-frozen and have the above process repeated for all subsequent Star Wars films. On a side note: I would also watch the available episodes of Star Wars Rebels and season 6 of Clone Wars during the periods that I am thawed out. Now, off I go to find a carbon freezing facility...

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    1. I would like to be frozen in a movie thaeatre seat and then wait for 22 months and then be thawed 3 seconds before the movie starts.

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    2. Three seconds is cutting it awfully close there, compadre! Hibernation sickness is a bitch.

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  12. Boo! Characters, humanity, and storytelling are bad news.

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    1. Yeah, we want side-characters, Duros and story-experiencing!

      Does anyone know the proper word to describe that which is Duros? Durosanity sounds more like an off brand "Death Stick"

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