I normally resist reporting on rumors, but these two are too juicy to pass up. One of them is still up in the air. The other appears to have been squashed:
Star Wars to Get a New (Old) Hope
The original reporting (via That Hashtag Show):
While I stress the following is only rumor, it does fit in with a lot of what has been said regarding episode 9. The latest rumor is that the master himself, George Lucas, is being brought in to help work on the episode 9 script. Disney, after the low Solo box office and split opinions on The Last Jedi is reportedly consulting with Lucas on story ideas and plot points to help finish the saga’s 9th movie. George worked Closely with Dave Filoni in creating the Clone Wars scripts, ideas and characters, but ever since the buyout, Lucas, as far as we know has been on the outside looking in regarding the films.
The obvious joke: Get ready for more trade treaties and galactic federations:
The inconvenient truth about George Lucas is that he’s never been as adept at writing or directing as his peers and that’s only worsened over time. He’s more suited to a producer/brand manager role. As per Flickering Myth, Disney already tried to include Lucas on the new trilogy and ended up throwing most of his ideas out and starting from scratch. So, why is now any different?
Oh, yeah. I’d almost forgotten Solo happened. I went to see it and everything. Remember almost nothing about it. Capes. I remember capes. Lando’s sweet, sweet capes.
Not a good look, Kathleen Kennedy, when you’re already rumored to be on the way out and then you get into a he said/she said spat with Carrie Fisher’s brother.
The time has come for some brand control and who better to do that than the man who created Star Wars in the first place. So, George, whatcha got?
“[My sequel trilogy] was going to get into the microbiotic world. But there’s this world of creatures that operate differently than we do. I call them the Whills. And the Whills are the one who actually control the universe. They feed off the Force …. Of course, a lot of the fans would have hated it, just like they did Phantom Menace and everything, but at least the whole story from beginning to end would be told.” – From AMC’s James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction book
[Tumbleweed drifts by on the wind]
[That awkward moment where one dude in the crowd coughs while everyone sits in stunned silence]
[Someone tries to start a slow cap that doesn’t takeoff at all]
You get the idea. Where Lucas would have ultimately taken things would…well, it would have been different.
But we’ve actually already seen far more of Lucas’ fingerprints in the new trilogy than we previously realized. Prior to selling to Disney, Lucas created an outline for a new trilogy which Toy Story 3’s Michael Arndt turned into script treatments. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (for Force Awakens) and Rian Johnson (for Last Jedi) didn’t throw out nearly as many of those ideas we’d been led to believe. The basic plots of both films and new characters within are loosely adapted from what Lucas and Arndt came up with (e.g., Luke becoming the new Obi-Wan/Yoda figure, Han dying, the new villain turning out to be Han and Leia’s son, Lucas and Arndt’s version of Rey was called Kira).
However, there are still significant differences between those outlines and what’s actually in Force Awakens and Last Jedi, which led Mark Hamill to tell Metro, “What I wish is that [Disney] had been more accepting of [Lucas’] guidance and advice. Because he had an outline for ‘7,’ ‘8,’ and ‘9’. And it is vastly different to what they have done.”
Seems like Hamill might finally get his wish. In the wake of Last Jedi and Solo, Disney might indeed be turning to Lucas for guidance and advice. In a way, it’s fitting. If this is to be the end of the Skywalker saga, their true father should be there to help send them off. Let’s just hope he doesn’t lead any Episode IX story meetings with, “So, I have this idea about a thing called The Whills.”
Verdict: Feels true and wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing.
Bury Your X-Men, So Sayeth Disney
The original reporting (via MovieWeb, summarizing a claim made by a well-known user in the SuperheroHype forum):
Fox is now considering just scrapping The New Mutants and Dark Phoenix altogether, and the Fox-Disney merger isn’t helping much. Apparently, Disney is starting to become more active in the decisions at FOX and are just as displeased with the two X-Men as the rest of the Fox executives. It would seem that if Fox doesn’t cut their losses on Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants, then Disney will do it for them when they take over. Disney will want to integrate the X-Men franchise into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it would be difficult to do that successfully if Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants were absolute bombs.
After repeated delays, reshoots, behind the scenes turmoil and general displeasure with the finished products, both films have the taint of troubled productions, but that’s not always an arbiter of quality. Good movies can and quite often do emerge from such chaos. Other times, we get Fant4stic Four and the hilarious saga of Kate Mara’s reshoot wig:
So, you know, real mixed bag.
Fox ended up losing nearly $100 million on Fantastic F4our. So glad to see they’ve learned from that experience and trusted/supporter a filmmaker’s original vision or at least put in more due diligence to hire the right director in the first place.
Wait. Isn’t the problem here that the studio and directors of New Mutants (Josh Boone) and Dark Phoenix (Simon Kinberg) aren’t seeing eye-to-eye?
Oh, yeah. Sorry. They’ve clearly learned nothing.
Well, not completely nothing. Fantastic Four was an embarrassing debacle for all involved, largely because the public was allowed to see it and the ensuing horrendous box office added to the misery and dragged down stock value. What if, fearing a repeat, this time they just sit on the movies and bury them in a vault far, far away?
Um. They’re still losing millions in that scenario, though. Studios bury movies all the time, but not blockbusters, especially not superhero movies with recognizable cast members and budgets likely well north of $100m.
Yeah, but Disney did just spend over $70 billion to buy Fox and agreed to absorb nearly $14 billion worth of Fox’s long-term debt. After that, what’s another couple of $100 million to them?
That’s still a LOT of money, even to them.
Hold on. You’re right. This is preposterous. No studio is ever going to bury a blockbuster. Reshoot it, re-edit it, sell it off to Netflix (like WB selling Mowgli), do whatever you have to, but a film of that scale has to be salvaged, not abandoned.
This rumor’s total bullshit, isn’t it?
ComicBook.com, you want to take this one?
“IMAX released their quarterly earnings report which also provides investors with a forecast of what they can expect in the coming year, and in that they released their upcoming slate for 2019. While it should come as no surprise that X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants are both included with their respected release dates, it’s only notable given all of the speculation and rumors that have swirled around those films in recent days.”
Verdict: Very, very Skeptical. I can more buy Disney pulling one or both of the next two X-Men movies from a theatrical release and saving them for a streaming exclusive than I can burying them completely.
Until we hear otherwise, Dark Phoenix is due February 19th, 2019, and New Mutants is due later that year on August 2nd.