Lucasfilm

yoda 2

Rumors regarding new Star Wars films have been coming in nonstop ever since the news of Disney acquiring Lucasfilm broke, and after this little piece of news, we shouldn’t expect a change anytime soon. A few weeks ago we got word of a Seven Samurai remake set in George Lucas‘s galaxy directed by Zack Snyder – who was quick to deny the story — which caused further rumblings of more solo Star Wars movies on the way. Now we can add onto that rumour pile, as Ain’t It Cool is reporting the first standalone Star Wars pic will focus on none other than Yoda. No big shocker there, although a Han Solo movie would’ve been more expected. I’m sure we’ll see that one day, along with a Bobba Fett movie or a Jabba the Hut gangster pic, the latter of which George Lucas apparently has a story for. I’m sure his idea is brilliant, of course…

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Disney and Lucasfilm

Though it’s definitely the biggest and most immediate piece of news, there’s more going on with Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm than just the release of Episode 7. For starters…

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Timothy Zahn

Old school Star Wars fanatics had a long wait between George Lucas’ original trilogy and the launch of his prequel trilogy in 1999. So, to get their Star Wars fix, many turned to the expanded universe of Star Wars-themed comic books, novels, toys, video games, and what have you. At this point there’s a wealth of Star Wars stories and Star Wars characters who have never actually appeared in one of George Lucas’ Star Wars films; stories and characters that have legions of fans in their own right. The materials that get most often referenced by Star Wars geeks trying to educate newbies about the expanded universe are probably Timothy Zahn’s “Thrawn Trilogy” of novels, which take place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi, are already widely embraced by Star Wars fans, and have generally been thought of as the logical starting point if anyone were going to make Star Wars: Episode VII and beyond.

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Star Wars

You know the story. At this point it’s basically the new shot heard ‘round the world: Disney has bought Lucasfilm for $4 billion, George Lucas is retiring from the Star Wars game, and three more Star Wars films are planned for production starting in 2015. Lucas and the new Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, have stated that they have archives of story treatments for more books, TV shows, and films… but with Lucas stepping back from the property, who are they going to get to direct these next three episodes in the ongoing Star Wars adventure? Let’s take a look at some candidates, whether they be likely, unlikely, or long shots.

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Disney Buys LucasFilm

Huge breaking news on the West Coast this afternoon from the Disney. Not 3-years removed from buying Marvel and shaking up the world of superhero movies, Disney has apparently purchased LucasFilm for the same amount, a cool $4 billion in cash and stock. CNBC is reporting the news via Twitter: BREAKING: Disney buys Lucasfilm for $4B in cash & stock — CNBC (@CNBC) October 30, 2012

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Pixar Character Logo

If there’s any outfit that celebrates the team sport aspect of filmmaking, it’s Pixar. What began as the Graphics Group at LucasFilm has evolved into its own behemoth of wonder and magic. Not just pioneers of technology, they’ve sought to invent in order to put stories out into the world – using computer animation for the ancient purpose of spinning tales and crafting characters. Led by Ed Catmull, the production house (which was bought by Disney in 2006) boasts luminaries like John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and many more. There newest film, Brave, is in theaters this week, so here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from RenderMan and company.

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In 1985, the Graphics Group in LucasFilm‘s Computer Division was on the chopping block. As Robert Sutton relates, George Lucas wasn’t confident that computer animated films had much of a future, and as a result, department heads Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith (two pioneers of extreme importance) were being pressured to fire some of their workers. Instead, they offered up their own names to be culled, which saved the entire division. At least for that moment. It’s unclear what fate might have fallen on the Graphics Group had the Computer Division not been purchased in 1986 by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs for a tidy $5m. Of course, we know this department by another name: Pixar. Jobs put his money down on a company he believed in, and the result stands currently as 26 Academy Awards, an absurd amount of box office money, a legion of fans worldwide and nearly complete animation dominance in the movie world. In 2006, Disney bought Pixar at an evaluated worth of $7.4b, making Jobs the largest Disney shareholder. He is stepping down as Apple’s CEO today, and even though it’s hard to say what kind of effect that might have on the film world, Jobs’s legacy already extends far beyond Pixar and beyond The Mouse.

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Star Wars is beginning to get lonely at the top of the “franchises that need to come to Blu-ray” list. With the release of The Lord of the Rings trilogy this month, it leaves George Lucas’ six-film anthology set in a galaxy far, far away as the one big geek property yet to be transferred into high definition.

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Whatever the reason, it looks like George Lucas is taking over on Red Tails while Anthony Hemingway heads back to television.

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Film School Rejects went to Lucasfilm and LucasArts recently, and you can bet we brought our camera. Check out the good in our massive gallery.

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