Planning The Future Of The Star Wars Universe; Andy Serkis Talks Supreme Leader Snoke

A couple great Star Wars articles were published online today by Empire Magazine and Wired Magazine, one about planning the future of the Star Wars universe and the other featuring comments from Andy Serkis about how his character Supreme Leader Snoke fits into Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Hit the jump to read everything we learned from these two new pieces, alongside our thoughts, insights and commentary.

Lets first take a look at the tidbits we learned from Wired Magazine's article titled "You Won't Live To See The Final Star Wars" which (aside from being a great headline) is about the planning of the future of the Star Wars universe of films, books, video games and more:

The First Question J.J. Abrams Asked

Kathleen Kennedy says that "The first question J.J. asked us when we all sat down was, what do we want to feel?" The answers Kennedy's brain trust gave to Abrams were: a sense of a beginning and a sense of urgency, but also humor. J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan also wanted to capture the feeling from the original trilogy, which Kasdan describes as "fun, it's delightful, it moves like a son of a bitch, and you don't question too much." This isn't the first time we've heard the word "delightful" used when referencing Force Awakens, as Abrams mentioned earlier this month that when developing the script he asked questions like "How do we make this movie delightful?":

That was really the only requirement [co-writer Lawrence Kasdan] and I imposed on each other: The movie needed to be delightful. It was not about explaining everything away, not about introducing a certain number of toys for a corporation, not about trying to appease anyone. This has only ever been about what gets us excited.

Rogue One 70mm

Rogue One Is a Period Piece

We are told that Star Wars: Rogue One has taken over seven soundstages of Pinewood Studios in London. We don't learn much about the spin-off except for this short excerpt:

Taking shelter against British weather beside a towering set I've been asked not to describe, [Gareth] Edwards—covered in black diesel soot and weighed down by gear—looks damn happy. "I feel I know this universe," he says. "It feels like going back home, the place you live in your fantasy life."

"In the case of Rogue One, we're essentially making a period piece," Lucas film Story Group head Kiri Hart says. "The benefit of making additional episodes that move forward on the timeline is that we are making new space for ourselves."

Star Wars: The Force Awakens: jj abrams and lawrence kasdan

Lawrence Kasdan Was Hired Before George Lucas Sold to Disney

Lawrence Kasdan was first approached to write another Star Wars movie during a 2012 meeting with George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy, before Disney bought Lucasfilm. But he wasn't being approached to help write Episode VII (which he ended up working on alongside Abrams). Instead, he was asked to choose from a "whole crop of ideas" that Lucas had come up with for future Star Wars spin-off movies. Thats right, the Han Solo origin stand-alone film idea came from George Lucas himself. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

"Pick," they tell him. Kasdan chooses something about Han Solo when he was a kid. "Because Han is my favorite character," Kasdan says. They cut the deal, but ask Kasdan for a little more. Could he stick around and, you know, consult a little bit on Episode VII? Could he help persuade Abrams to take the directing chair?

I'd be very interested to see that list of ideas George created for future possible standalone films. Maybe one day Rinzler will publish a book on the early Disney era of Star Wars and we'll get great archival pieces like that.

George Lucas JJ Abrams Kathleen Kennedy Star Wars

New Original Movies at Lucafilm? Oh, and Indiana Jones

Most interestingly, Kathleen Kennedy is asked if she would like to produce a new film at Lucasfilm, something outside of Star Wars completely, and this was her answer:

"I've talked about it with everybody at Disney. Alan [Horn, chair of Walt Disney Studios] is very supportive of it. But at the same time, he's right when he says we've got a lot on our plate," Kennedy says. She takes a breath. "And then I'll be working with them on Indiana Jones."

This pretty much confirms what we've suspected for some time: a fifth Indiana Jones will be happening once they get this new Star Wars train moving at full speed. But it's interesting to think about Kennedy and crew already thinking about possible new films and franchises to launch outside of the Indiana Jones and Star Wars brands. For some reason, with those two mega franchises on the plate it never occurred to me that Lucasfilm could be working on entirely new original films.

You can read the rest of the piece on Wired's website. Click on to the next page to read Andy Serkis' latest comments about his character Supreme Leader Snoke in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Andy Serkis Star Wars Character

Meanwhile, Empire Magazine has published, as part of their Star Wars: The Force Awakens coverage, an interview with actor Andy Serkis about his role as Supreme Leader Snoke. We haven't learned much about Snoke's role in the new film, but Serkis did talk for the first time last week. The actor revealed that his performance capture character is huge, describing him as being "enigmatic," having a "huge agenda" and sporting "a lot of damage" that makes him "strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful."

In the Empire piece, Serkis reveals that he acted alongside Domhnall Gleeson and Adam Driver in the new film, which isn't a big surprise as we've assumed that Supreme Leader Snoke was a big villainious character in this new story.

It was quite an unusual situation. ... My first day was basically standing on a 25-foot podium doing Lord Snoke without the faintest idea what he looked like... or in fact who he was! I was very high up, totally on my own, away from everybody else, but acting with them. ...  [W]e used sort of a 'Kongolizer' method of having sound come out of speakers to give a sense of scale and distance for the character. So it was very challenging and scary, in fact probably one of my most scary film experiences I've ever had."

Serkis also elaborated on Snoke's "damage" saying the character is "very scarred and disfigured." One has to wonder how Snoke became damaged. Was it by the Jedi? How have his physical scars translated into emotional scars? Again, you can read the whole piece on Empire Magazine.