Episode VII isn’t coming out for a few years yet, but 2013 promises lots of non-cinematic Star Wars releases, including a new comic book series, a novel by Timothy Zahn, and an expansion to The Old Republic. After the jump:

  • George Lucas once had plans for four Star Wars trilogies
  • Kathleen Kennedy teases an Episode VII update coming in January
  • Ewan McGregor wants to return, maybe as a hologram
  • Samuel L. Jackson is also willing to return as a ghost
  • Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman talk Star Wars: Legacy
  • Timothy Zahn discusses his novel Scoundrels and Episode VII
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic is getting an expansion

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This morning Megan Fox, Ed Helms, and Jessica Alba announced the nominations for the 2013 Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the organization behind the event, is famous for nominating films and performances simply based on their star factor — if there’s an actor that members of the HFPA want to hang out with, they’re sure to get a nomination.

But the HFPA is great at putting on a show, and so the Golden Globes generate a lot of attention every year. And, as the NY Times points out, with the Globes nominations coming just days before Oscar nomination voting starts, there’s a possibility that nominations here could affect Oscar voting. The Best Picture nomination set includes what is already becoming a standard set of awards favorites, such as Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty, but there are also nominations for Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, and Django Unchained. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen picked up a few nominations, actually, which was one of  the big surprises.

The Golden Globes will air on January 13, 2013, hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. The full nomination list is below. Read More »

Star Wars fans looking for some actual news, and even a few laughs, will find lots to like in this edition of Star Wars Bits. After the jump read (and watch) the following:

  • The real George Lucas explains his role as consultant on Star Wars Episode VII.
  • A fake George Lucas drops some funny hits about the film on YouTube.
  • The fourth installment of the Kathleen Kennedy/George Lucas interview has been released, discussing the timeless nature of Star Wars.
  • Ewan McGregor tells the behind the scenes story of the birth of Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia during Revenge of the Sith.
  • StarWars.com officially announces the departure of producer Rick McCallum, and mentions his upcoming plans.
  • Why was a Star Wars video game that was 99% complete cancelled? (Not Star Wars 1313, don’t worry.)

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Did the President’s fiscal policy help make the new trilogy a reality? Also after the jump:

  • Listen to Kyle Newman‘s Han Solo-centric radio drama
  • Who wants Tommy Wiseau to direct the new trilogy?
  • Ewan McGregor is totally willing to return as Obi-Wan
  • George Lucas is giving the Bay Area another Yoda statue
  • Rancho Obi-Wan’s Steve Sansweet shows off his collection

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Five years after making his feature debut with the Guillermo del Toro-produced ghost story The Orphanage, filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona is back with The Impossible, which deals with an entirely different kind of fear. Instead of tangling with things that go bump in the night, the family at the center of the new film are facing the less fanciful terrors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star as a couple on winter vacation in Thailand with their three sons when tragedy hits. Torn apart in the chaos, the family struggles to reunite as they help and are helped by strangers along the way. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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After a decade of false starts on the big screen, an adaptation Jonathan Franzen‘s The Corrections looked to finally be making some headway on the small screen. HBO began developing it as a series with producer Scott Rudin last fall, and quickly signed director Noah Baumbach as well as a high-profile cast including Ewan McGregor, Rhys Ifans, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Dianne Wiest. The novel, which won the National Book Award in 2001, centers around an elderly couple and three adult children as they gather for “one last Christmas” near the turn of the millennium.

But alas, it seems this incarnation of the project isn’t going anywhere, either. After viewing the pilot, the premium cable has chosen to pass on the series. While HBO apparently liked the episode and the performances, it was concerned about the long-term sustainability of the premise. The book’s plot jumps back and forth through time, filling in the characters’ backstories, and HBO worried that it would be difficult for viewers to follow. The decision was not related to this week’s straight-to-series order of True Detective; with Luck off its plate, HBO would have had the resources to do both. [Deadline]

After the jump, the West Wing gang prove they’ve still got their walk-and-talk skills.

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A couple years ago Juan Antonio Bayona got a lot of attention for his debut feature, the Guillermo del Toro-produced supernatural thriller The Orphanage. Now Bayona returns with a film called The Impossible. And while it isn’t a horror film, exactly — not in the way that The Orphanage was — it certainly deals with horror in a specific way.

The Impossible is based in part upon the Indian Ocean tsunami that ravaged Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia in 2004. It stars Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts as a couple vacationing in the country when the tsunami hits the Thai coastline. The results are, as we know from history, devastating.

We’ve got a new trailer for the film, which you can see below. Read More »

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor has earned a pristine reputation by jumping between Hollywood blockbusters and small indies, all helmed by some of the best directors around. One month he’s in Trainspotting, Perfect Sense or Beginners, then he’ll do Baz Luhrman’s Moulin Rouge, Tim Burton’s Big Fish or George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels.

His latest film, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, fits into the former category. Directed by Lasse Hallström (The Cider House Rules) and written by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) it’s the fictional story of how a publicity stunt aimed to paint foreign relations in a good light turns into a transformative journey for two people (played by McGregor and Emily Blunt) who are tasked with trying to introduce the geographically specific sport of salmon fishing into the unforgiving heat of Yemen.

I recently spoke to McGregor about his reaction to the film’s lengthy and specific title, what distinguishes Hallström from some of the other directors he’s worked with, how it felt to be publicly praised by Beginners co-star Christopher Plummer at the Oscars, and his thoughts on the recently moved Jack the Giant Killer. I also snuck in a Star Wars question for good measure.

Read the interview after the jump.

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