Nov. 5th, 2012

lazypadawan: (Default)
With last Tuesday’s shocking announcement of a new Star Wars film set for release in three years—it might actually be more like 2 and a half years if it’s out in May 2015—comes the inevitable consequence of a Star Wars chapter in pre-production: rampant rumors and speculation.

Already there are all kinds of rumors, some that seem within the realm of believability and others that seem to be really out there. One howler is that the film will be shot in Ohio. Ohio??!! The logic of that rumor is that parts of “The Avengers” were shot there. Except “The Avengers” used urban settings on the cheap because it takes place in our world in our time. Star Wars doesn’t. Does anyone seriously believe they’ll just find cantina extras at a Wal-Mart in Dayton? Puh-leeze. Other rumors claim a screenwriter and director have already been picked, or claim that the film takes place 50 years after ROTJ and the protagonist is female. Those could feasibly have some truth or be right on the money. Or they could be b.s.. We just don’t know.

The thing is at this point, hardly anybody knows and the few that do either don’t have complete information or they are not going to say a word. Once shooting starts, there will be a lot more information, most of which will be false or inaccurate, some of which will turn out to be true.

Anyone who was into Star Wars during the mid-late ‘90s know exactly what to expect in the coming years. There will be a LOT of lies and ridiculous whoppers that will make you laugh hysterically years from now. With the prequels we all knew what it was going to be about and at least a handful of characters who absolutely had to be there. There were still silly rumors, especially early in the production process. Pulling out my old zine Blue Harvest, I can see that there rumors of a Mrs. Obi-Wan character, either to be played by then red-hot Kate Winslet or some Mexican soap opera actress. There was no such character. Also, who can forget the parade of Jedi supposedly being cast for AOTC that happened to fit a bunch of racial/ethnic stereotypes? Or that Bono was going to play a poet? I once talked to a guy in 1997 who claimed he started a rumor on the internet—I don’t know which one—just for jollies. Stuff is made up wholesale or they will run with someone’s speculation as a fact. Even closer to release there were crazy stories. For example, in early 1999 I was hearing that a then-underage Queen Amidala was going to do some sort of seductive dance in TPM. Sometime in 2001-2002 there was a rumor (I hadn’t heard it until later since I was going spoiler-free) that Anakin turns to the dark side right in the middle of the Geonosis battle and starts killing his homies. Both were preposterous and false. How about the rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio was a shoo-in for a grown-up Anakin?

Then of course were the Chicken McNuggets that were true. Around summer-fall 1996 I started to hear casting rumors and that was with limited internet access and relatively few Star Wars fan sites online. One guy I knew at the time sent me an AOL IM one fine day in October 1996 with the cryptic question, “So, what do you think of Natalie Portman?” I answered back, “Who the hell’s Natalie Portman?” (Shortly thereafter, I searched my memory banks and recalled she was the kid Timothy Hutton was in love with in “Beautiful Girls.”) And his reply was, “She’s going to be Luke and Leia’s mother.” I don’t know how this guy knew that, but he was right. Late 1996 was the first time I heard about Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan. “Uh, ‘Trainspotting Dude?’” was my reaction. Then not too long after that, I read that he was Denis Lawson’s nephew and realized, “Ah HA!” I’m not saying that’s the only reason Ewan got the part, but it certainly didn’t hurt! Of course, that story turned out to be true. In 2000, I’d heard that Ryan Phillipe was on the short list to be Anakin and it was true. I heard Hayden Christensen was chosen for the role about two weeks before the official announcement. The story about N*Sync shooting a scene as extras for AOTC seemed completely ridiculous since there was a similar rumor about Savage Garden, but later the group members verified it was true and the scene was cut due to fanboy bitching. (Way to set a precedent, Lucasfilm.) During the summer of 2003, I’d heard the makeup for post-duel Vaderkin was so graphic, it was probably going to push ROTS into a PG-13 rating. Yup, it turned out to be true though there are other reasons why it got the PG-13 label.

Going back further, I recall the nutty rumors floating around the playground and in the pages of Starlog magazine. (Read my 10/25 post). There’s a fan published book called “Collect All 21” about growing up during the 1977-1983 era and the bizarre stories the author had heard, like the sequel to Star Wars was already playing at some theater in Kansas City back in like 1978! When information was limited, people’s imaginations ran wild though few fans were all of that interested in having the whole movie spoiled beforehand. The only spoiler-holics around had to wait until the novelization came out weeks before the film’s release.

So with a trilogy that’s wide open on everything, the rumors are really going to be nuts. To sift your way through the nonsense, you just need to use your common sense. Distinguish between speculation, which is just “guessing” or “theorizing”, and what’s purporting to be fact. I’ve noticed that very few sources, whether they are professional or fan sources, distinguish very well between them. And remember nothing’s official until it’s announced through Lucasfilm or Disney.

December 2012

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