Rejoice: ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ Will Feature More Practical Effects Work and a John Williams Score


Seeing as Star Wars fandom is a thing that goes back a good 36 years now, its community of enthusiasts have, over time, become an eclectic group who represent a multitude of different age groups, backgrounds, and opinions. Just go to any Star Wars message board around the Internet and you’ll see a steady and healthy stream of debate about a whole host of subjects, from classic arguments like why George Lucas had Luke kiss his sister in A New Hope, to more modern debates around which changes made to the Special Edition films were positive and which were negative, to immediate concerns about whether or not JJ Abrams is going to include any known characters from ancillary Star Wars novels in his upcoming Episode VII.

Two things that pretty much every Star Wars fan can agree on, though, are that a Star Wars movie just wouldn’t be a Star Wars movie without John Williams handling the music, and that Lucas—heady with the possibilities presented by new technologies—went way overboard with making everything in the Prequel Trilogy CG, to the point where he ended up making a series of live action movies that largely look like glossy, crappy cartoons. Well, some new announcements coming out of Star Wars Celebration Europe address both of these issues, and they’re the kind of announcements that will likely be seen as reason to celebrate for Star Wars fanatics.

First up, new Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy addressed a packed crowd at the event, and though it’s still too early in Episode VII development for her to really be able to reveal anything juicy about the film, she did make some interesting comments [via Yahoo! Movies UK]  about the approach she and Abrams have been taking when it comes to the film’s special effects.

According to Kennedy, “The conversation we’re having all the time now about Episode VII is how much CGI. We’re looking at what the early Star Wars films did; they used real locations with special effects. So [for Episode VII] we’re going to find some very cool locations, were going to end up using every single tool in the toolbox.” She went on to add, “I was amazed yesterday and looking at what the fans are doing. Using model makers, using real droids, taking advantage of the artwork that you can touch and feel, we want to do that in combination with CG effects.”

That should come as a huge relief to those of us who preferred the quirkiness and tactile nature of the puppets and models in A New Hope to that scene in Revenge of the Sith where computer animated oil was splashed around on a computer animated environment and then lit on computer animated fire. Yuck.

The other big story to come out of Celebration Europe is expected, but nice to have confirmed [via THR]. It turns out John Williams is definitely on board to compose his seventh Star Wars score for this seventh Star Wars movie, and he’s definitely not averse to revisiting any of his classic works where it may be appropriate. The composer said of his new job, “The story is still unknown to me, the new story. But I can’t imagine that there will not be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate, and make appropriate, the use of some of the earlier themes.”

And, heck, if you can’t get enough of hearing Williams talk about the work he’s done in this universe, here’s a whole little sit down interview he did on the subject of coming back again. It’s a good day to be a Star Wars fan.

Weaned on the genre films of the 80s. Reared by the independent movement of the 90s. Earned a BA for writing stuff in the 00s. Reviews current releases at

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