‘Star Wars’ Obi-Wan Kenobi Film in the Works

Stephen Daldry is Star Wars’ newest hope.

The Oscar-nominated director behind Billy Elliot and The Hours is in early talks to direct a Star Wars stand-alone movie centering on Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Sources say talks are at the earliest of stages and that the project has no script. If a deal makes, Daldry would oversee the development and writing with Lucasfilm brass.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi stand-alone is one of several projects being developed by Lucasfilm and Disney that fall outside the trilogies telling the saga of the Skywalker family. A Han Solo movie is now in the final stages of shooting under new director Ron Howard, and Lucasfilm is also considering movies centering on Yoda and bounty hunter Boba Fett, among other characters.

In the original Star Wars trilogy, Kenobi is a desert-dwelling and war-weary hermit who later proves to be a wise and powerful warrior, brandishing a lightsaber. He is briefly a mentor to a young Luke before being cut down by Darth Vader, his former pupil. Alec Guinness’ portrayal of Kenobi garnered him an Oscar nomination.

The character played a central role in the George Lucas-directed prequels, which recount the origin of Vader and his betrayal of Kenobi and the Jedis. McGregor, who played the younger Kenobi in the prequels, has said he would be open to playing the character again. Sources stress, however, that since there is no script, no actor is attached.

Daldry hails from the theater world and made his feature debut with Billy Elliot, which netted him his first directing Oscar nomination. He followed that up with searing dramas The Hours and The Reader, which also netted him directing nominations.

He most recently directed episodes of Netflix’s period drama The Crown, which garnered him an Emmy nomination.

From The Hollywood Reporter

Netflix Discussing Keeping Disney’s Marvel, ‘Star Wars’ Films

Netflix Inc is in “active discussions” with Walt Disney Co about keeping Marvel and “Star Wars” films after 2019, when new Disney and Pixar movies will stop appearing on the streaming service, a senior executive said late on Thursday.

Disney announced on Tuesday that it was pulling new Disney and Pixar films from Netflix, starting with new releases in 2019. It will start putting the movies on a new Disney-branded online service that year.

Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger told analysts the company had not yet decided where it would distribute superhero films from Marvel Studios and movies from “Star Wars” producer Lucasfilm, which the company owns, at that time.

Netflix is still in discussions with Disney about retaining rights to stream Marvel and Lucasfilm releases after 2019, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Reuters.

A Disney spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Iger said on Tuesday that the Marvel and Lucasfilm movies could go to Netflix or another streaming service after 2019, or Disney might retain the rights for itself.

Sarandos said he expected Disney’s service to be “complementary” to Netflix, which carries other family-friendly programing such as animated movies from “Despicable Me” creator Illumination Entertainment and “Shrek” producer Dreamworks Animation.

Disney’s plan to stream its content directly to consumers is “a natural evolution” for traditional media companies that Netflix expected, Sarandos said in an interview at an event to celebrate Emmy nominations for his company’s drama, “The Crown.”

“That’s why we got into the originals business five years ago, anticipating it may be not as easy a conversation with studios and networks” to license their content, he added.

Disney’s break from Netflix applies only to its film deal in the United States, where the streaming service runs new Disney movies shortly after they leave theaters.

Star Wars: Secrets of The Empire Hyper-Reality Experience Coming Disney Springs and Disneyland’s Downtown Disney

Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB, and THE VOID today announced a new hyper-reality experience called Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, which promises to plunge fans into the Star Wars universe. Created by ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division, in collaboration with THE VOID, it will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will allow fans to move freely in an untethered, social, and multi-sensory experience, including interaction with friends, fans, and Star Wars characters.

“At THE VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at THE VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of THE VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.

“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLAB. “Through our collaboration with THE VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”

From StarWars.com

Disney Plans Unveils for Star Wars-Inspired Themed Resort at Walt Disney World at D23 Expo

After a busy exciting week at Disneyland and the D23 Expo I’m finally back.  Over the next few days I will be publishing summaries of most of the major announcements and made during D23 Expo.

The first will be the announcement of a Star Wars-inspired themed resort at Walt Disney World.”

Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, confirmed that a Star Wars-inspired resort will debut as part of the new Disney 360 vacation concept.

According to Chapek, this revolutionary new vacation experience will be a living adventure that allows guests to immerse themselves in an entirely new form of Disney storytelling.

“It’s unlike anything that exists today.” Bob said. “From the second you arrive, you will become a part of a Star Wars story! You’ll immediately become a citizen of the galaxy and experience all that entails, including dressing up in the proper attire. Once you leave Earth, you will discover a starship alive with characters, stories, and adventures that unfold all around you. It is 100% immersive, and the story will touch every single minute of your day, and it will culminate in a unique journey for every person who visits.”

Stay tuned for updates as Disney announces them.

Funko Revels D23 Expo Exclusives

Funko will be formally attending Disney’s D23 Expo for the first time this year, and of course they’re coming armed with plenty of great exclusives.

Today, Funko revealed their D23 Expo exclusives, which include two fantastically cute Star Wars Dorbz sets.

Cantina Dorbz 3-pack (Greedo, Walrus Man & Snaggletooth)

Hoth Han Solo with TaunTaun Dorbz Ride

Gamora & Drax Dorbz 2-pack

Rocket & Peter Quill Dorbz 2-pack

Red She-Hulk Rock Candy

Funko will also have a booth to show off their collectible subscription service “Disney Treasures.” Past boxes will be available for sale at the booth as well as new subscriptions.

Disney Announces Release Dates for Star Wars: Episode IX and Next Indiana Jones Movies

The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm announced today two major upcoming release dates.

Star Wars: Episode IX is now set for release on May 24, 2019. Directed by Colin Trevorrow, the film will close out the third Star Wars trilogy.

In addition, the fifth chapter of the Indiana Jones series is now confirmed for a July 10, 2020 release. Both Steven Spielberg, director of every Indiana Jonesfilm, and star Harrison Ford will return.

From StarWars.com

Disney Parks Imagineers and Lucasfilm Share Details of Their Collaboration on Star Wars-Themed Lands

At a panel discussion today at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando entitled Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making, creative minds from Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Imagineering discussed their unique partnership and shared additional details about the new galactic lands being created at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts. Everyone in the room got to experience the excitement and commitment this team is bringing to this project.

Here’s a look at a video shared at today’s event which gives some insight into this incredible collaboration.

Star Wars Land Video

The team shared exciting new details about the story behind this mysterious destination somewhere on the Outer Rim — lying on the edge of the Unknown Regions. The remote village was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but the prominence of the outpost has been bypassed with the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer less attention, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe-haven for others intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order.

Star Wars-Themed Lands at Disney Parks

Unusual characters from across the galaxy have landed here, preferring the “no questions asked” environment as well as easy access to exotic supplies and an abundant supply of ready rogues looking to join a crew for their next adventure.

As Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced last month, Star Wars-themed lands are scheduled to open in 2019. There will be more exciting updates to share as work progresses on each of these lands.

Disney Debuts ‘Star Wars’ Charity Push Ahead of 40th Anniversary Celebration

Disney is kicking off the Star Wars franchise’s 40th birthday party with a new fundraising campaign aimed at raising money for UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation.

Star Wars: Force for Change, a charitable initiative from Disney’s Lucasfilm and online fundraising platform Omaze, launched a new campaign on Tuesday that will allow fans of the sci-fi film saga to donate money to those global children’s charities for a shot at winning one of three Star Wars-themed experiences.

Called “Past, Present, and Future,” the fundraising campaign features potential prizes like the opportunity to appear in Disney’s upcoming standalone Han Solo movie or a one-night stay at Skywalker Ranch, the secluded workplace of Lucasfilm founder George Lucas. Another winner will get tickets to the global premiere of the next installment of the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi. One grand prize winner will be able to experience all three of those prizes, which will be handed out to randomly-selected donors on a weekly basis until the campaign ends on May 11.

To announce the new campaign, Omaze released a video featuring Star Wars actors Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley encouraging fans to donate for a crack at the prizes:

Ultimate Star Wars Experience Announcement

The campaign kicks off as Disney gets ready for the Star Wars Celebration fan convention that begins on Thursday in Orlando. Star Wars fans will gather at the event to see various actors from the films (Mark Hamill, Billy Dee Williams, Hayden Christensen) and attend fan-focused events and panels while celebrating four decades of a franchise that debuted in May 1977 with Star Wars: A New Hope. The convention is also expected to reveal the first movie trailer for The Last Jedi, which hits theaters in December.

The combination of the Star Wars 40th anniversary and excitement over The Last Jedi likely means the months leading up to December’s premiere will feature a prolonged marketing push from Disney. The latest Star Wars film is easily one of the most-anticipated movies of 2017 and it is a strong bet to help Disney smash more box office records this year. In 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens soared to a new domestic box office record with $936 million in North America, on its way to more than $2 billion in global ticket sales.

The Last Jedi will be the second installment in the trilogy of new Star Wars films coming from Disney, which bought Lucasfilm in 2012. A third film is planned for 2019 and Disney is also releasing a handful of spin-offs, like last year’s Rogue One.

From Fortune

Next Star Wars Celebration to be in 2019

Recently Star Wars Celebration announced that there will not be an event in 2018, but will return in 2019.

The official statement states:

While we might be in the thick of getting ready for Star Wars Celebration Orlando, it’s never too early to start thinking about when the next Celebration will be. 

Celebration is the official, definitive Star Wars event, with entertainment, interactive experiences and exclusives that can only be found at this Lucasfilm production. They are the ultimate community fan gathering as well, and friends will want to start planning to be together again to commemorate everyone’s favorite saga. The next official Celebration is slated for a location and date soon-to-be announced, in 2019.

Stay tuned to www.starwarscelebration.com for the latest news on Celebration Orlando programming, and for news on the next Celebration!

There is speculation that the reason that they are skipping 2018 is financial. With new Star Wars movies premiering every year, plus new seasons of Star Wars Rebels every fall, Celebration is getting bigger and better. “Bigger and better” generally indicates “more expensive.” It also means a need for more time and manpower to make the event a success. Because of the increased pace of movies and television shows being released, a year may no longer be long enough for Lucasfilm and ReedPOP – the company that plans and coordinates each Star Wars Celebration – to pull a convention together.

With no Celebration in 2018, it’s unknown where fans will get big Star Wars announcements like new movies and trailers. The D23 Expo doesn’t appear to be an option since following the Expo in July of 2017 the next D23 Expo won’t be until 2019. San Diego Comic Con may be the likely option.  Star Wars had a large presence there until Lucasfilm started relying more on Celebrations and D23 to break news. With neither Star Wars Celebration nor D23 happening in 2018, San Diego Comic Con may see a return of big Star Wars panels.

If this year’s Celebration follows the precedent, Lucasfilm will announce Celebration 2019’s location at the end of the event in April.

Disney Cruise Line To Offer Exciting New Experiences on the Disney Fantasy

Disney Cruise Line just announced that exciting new experiences designed for every member of the family are coming to the Disney Fantasy in May. From exploring the universes of Star Wars and Marvel, to shopping at unique new onboard venues, here’s a look at what’s to come after the Disney Fantasy undergoes dry dock this spring.

Imaginative New Spaces for Kids

In Disney’s Oceaneer Club, the new Star Wars: Command Post takes kids on a journey where they will train with heroes of the Star War saga and help with missions against the First Order. Here you will interact with holographic models at a one of-a-kind Star Wars holotable that projects 3-D images of the Millennium Falcon, Death Star and other famous Star Wars ships, meet members of the Resistance and learn to channel the Force.

In addition, at the all-new Marvel Super Hero Academy, kids will learn from real-life Super Heroes the heroic values of enlightenment, worthiness and loyalty. In this innovative space you can learn the ways of the mystic arts with Doctor Strange, who is making first-ever appearances onboard a Disney Cruise Line ship. Children will also interact with and open portals to different locales around the Marvel Universe, and immerse themselves in an exclusive gaming experience.

Tasty Treats to Delight the Entire Family

Families can enjoy the new Sweet on You ice cream shop, themed after the iconic Mickey Mousecartoon shorts, and designed with charming art details. Sweet on You will feature hand-crafted gelato and ice-cream, specialty sundaes, homemade chocolates, truffles and a large selection of candy for purchase, all just steps away from the family pool.

Luxury Shopping for Adults

For the first time, Disney Cruise Line will welcome the world’s premier jewelry and iconic American luxury brand, Tiffany & Co., with an exclusive store aboard the Disney Fantasy. Here you can indulge in timeless collections of jewelry and luxury accessories, including the effortlessly elegant Tiffany T collection and other glamorous pieces featuring renowned Tiffany & Co. diamonds.

The new enhancements debut on Disney Fantasy sailings starting May 17, 2017 from Port Canaveral.