Star Wars Bits: J.J. Abrams Checks 'Episode VII' Google Alerts; Saoirse Ronan Isn't Cast; Gary Kurtz Talks Open Auditions

Besides Thursday's really big Star Wars Episode VII news, there are some very interesting bits on that film, the casting call, J.J. Abrams and even a change to the original trilogy in today's Star Wars Bits. Read about the following after the jump:

  • J.J. Abrams discusses fan reactions on the Internet.
  • Saoirse Ronan confirms she didn't get the role in Star Wars Episode VII.
  • A single line, omitted from Return of the Jedi, changes the character of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • Producer Gary Kurtz and Darth Vader actor David Prowse discuss the Episode VII open casting call.
  • One of the original Jabba The Hutt puppeteers is now a librarian.
  • Watch Adam Savage build Han Solo's blaster.
  • J.J. Abrams was on the BBC Radio promoting his new novel, S, and was asked two things related to Star Wars. You can listen to the full interview here (Abrams comes on around 15:45)  but we've got the quotes below. First, he was asked about how he deals with the passionate fans online:

    It's certainly something, because of the passion and vocal nature of the fans of Star Trek and Star Wars, there's no way to ignore them. You'd never want to. They are the reason these films get made and I feel incredibly lucky to be involved in any of these stories. But I do think you also have to be careful that you don't start to take any of what you're reading, or hearing or being told is being written, too much to heart because it can, I think, actually get in the way of the focus you have to have on the work itself.

    He was then asked if he ever Googles himself or his films:

    I'll sometimes have a Google alert to see what is being said. But the truth is I usually don't read them. I see them there and think, 'Okay.' But for some reason – and I think it's probably just the masochist in me – I will, on occasion, go and look and see just how I've destroyed someone's childhood by creating or working on a version of, say Star Trek, and hiring actors who are not William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in those original roles. And I understand there's a purist approach to some of these projects where if it's not the original thing people knew and loved, it's an insult on some level. Or its sacrilege. And I understand that because I, myself, was such a huge fan of Star Wars growing up that I know that feeling of...sort of the band that you love. 'It's my band. Don't mess with my band. You can't replace the guitarist, what are you doing, that's not the same thing.' And so I get it.

    Thanks to JediNews for the heads up on that interivew.

    Why did Saoirse Ronan have no problem talking about auditioning for Abrams and Star Wars Episode VII? Because she didn't have the part. Speaking to The Playlist, the actress disappointingly said the following:

    I don't have Star Wars. I don't have the role. I just shouldn't have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did.

    The original Star Wars trilogy would have been very different if Luke Skywalker knew the truth about his family. Instead, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda lied to Luke about his lineage. However, one of the new deleted scenes discovered on an old laserdisc reveals a line that was removed, which changes Kenobi's thoughts on this entirely. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Yoda said the following in a deleted scene:

    Obi-Wan would have told you long ago, had I let him.

    So it was Yoda, not Obi-wan, who wanted to lie to Luke. Why? So that he would see Vader as an enemy and defeat him. Interesting stuff.

    Back to Episode VII, producer Gary Kurtz – who produced A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, spoke to The Guardian about the open casting call:

    I imagine the producers and casting directors for Episode VII will be holding open auditions for the same reasons we did. It's always difficult to see the actor in the part until they are there in front of you doing it. If they do anything like we did they will be looking first at their physical presence and then talking with them to get an idea of their personalities. They will be reducing it to possibly 10 people for each role. Sometimes they only have five. If they are rebooting the franchise they want these people in more than one film, so they will need people who have chemistry together.

    They are not going to be shooting it until next spring so they have got time to search through all these candidates. They don't have a script as far as I know, but they will have a good idea where they are going with the story.

    David Prowse, the man who played the physical Darth Vader, also spoke about the casting call by offering the following advice to anyone trying out for Star Wars Episode VII. Thanks to the BBC via JediNews, Prowse said be "very, very serious about the whole thing." And don't have an accent like he did. (His voice was of course, replaced by James Earl Jones.)

    The South Wales Evening Post (via Nerd Approved) has a sweet little story how puppeteer Toby Philpott went from controlling Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi, to doing computer training in a library.

    This is a few months old but, as a huge Han Solo fan, and an even bigger fan of his gun (no pun intended!), this video of Mythbuster Adam Savage creating Solo's blaster was just too cool. Thanks to Chogrin for the heads up.