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This week's cover: 'Star Wars,' the once and future franchise

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George Lucas shocked the entertainment world with the announcement of a $4.05 billion deal that would give Lucasfilm –including Luke Skywalker’s home galaxy– to the Walt Disney Company. The news flash represented far more than the latest checkbook chapter in this Disney empire-building era (Pixar, Marvel and the Muppets are already part of the corporate universe) or a colossal moment in the philanthropic world (Lucas will donate most of the money to charity); the Star Wars saga will strike back in 2015 with the opening installment of a new live-action trilogy as the new team–with Jurassic Park and Lincoln producer Kathleen Kennedy Lucasfilm’s president– tries to make magic for Disney shareholders.

Where will the plot go? What characters and actors might be feeling the Force? Who will direct? We offer an inside report on the future of the franchise — as well our own Yoda-like advice about the best path to Jedi glory and the slippery route that could send the Skywalkers tumbling into a conceptual trash compactor. Plus, A-List filmmakers weigh in on the big announcement (and one of them has a bad feeling about this).


For news and analysis on the future Star Wars movies, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands November 16th.

Read more:
Mark Hamill weighs in on the future of ‘Star Wars’ — EXCLUSIVE
Who should direct new ‘Star Wars’ movie? Christopher Nolan? Joss Whedon?
‘Star Wars’ reaction: Abrams, Favreau, Nolfi, and Rodriguez weigh in — EXCLUSIVE

R2-D2-inspired engagement ring is gorgeous in any galaxy -- VIDEO

Image Credit: Geekologie.com

Finally, an engagement ring has been designed that will put Jennifer Aniston’s rock on the back burner.

New Jersey tattoo artist Joe Pagani created an R2-D2-inspired ring for his Star Wars-crazed girlfriend. He commissioned jewelry designer Paul Michael Bieker to create the sapphire and diamond ring and proposed to Emily on Halloween. The force was definitely with Joe: She said yes! READ FULL STORY

Carrie Fisher says 'I like the idea of being Mrs. Solo' on 'The Talk' -- VIDEO

When Carrie Fisher popped up on CBS’ daytime coffee klatch The Talk on Tuesday, co-host Aisha Tyler could not help but ask about her feelings about the revival of Star Wars — and taking on the role that has defined her life one more time.

“I like to think of it as ‘old Leia,’ like, sway-backed old Leia the horse,” Fisher quipped. “I like the idea of being Mrs. Solo, and we’ve just fought and fought and I killed him.”

Check out their full interview below, along with how Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds made clear her recent hospitalization wasn’t going to slow her down:  READ FULL STORY

Making the perfect trilogy: What do you want to see in the new 'Star Wars' movies?

Image credit: Lucasfilm

The debates began about three nanoseconds after the announcement was made that there would be a third trilogy of Star Wars films hitting screens beginning in 2015. What should the new films be like? Who should direct? When should they take place? Which characters should be included? And should those characters — like Han, Luke, and Leia — be played by the original actors or recast? Should the new films incorporate some of the more popular people from the expanded universe of Star Wars books and video games, like, say, Grand Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade? READ FULL STORY

How should Han Solo die in the new 'Star Wars'?

Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Sources close to the just announced Star Wars sequel told EW’s Geoff Boucher that Harrison Ford would be open to the idea of possibly returning to the film franchise as Corellian smuggler-turned-Rebel Alliance hero Han Solo. But we also know that Ford had lobbied during production of the original trilogy for his character to be killed. One might theorize, then, that for Ford to agree to come back, he may insist Solo bite the dust. (Insert despondent Wookiee howl here.) READ FULL STORY

What 'Star Wars: Episode VII' could learn from 'Star Trek,' 'Mission: Impossible,' and... 'Blues Brothers 2000'?

If all goes as planned, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill will reunite on the silver screen in 2015 for Star Wars: Episode VII, a movie set in the hours, days, years, decades or eons after Darth Vader’s torchlight funeral near the piney stomping grounds of the Ewoks. But when they reach the set next year, the actors will be 30 years removed from Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. A new generation of heroes and villains will clearly be needed to move the franchise on to Episode VIII and beyond, but how to accomplish that?

We’ve zeroed in on 10 movies that found themselves dealing with a similar generational predicament, and how their respective approaches could inform the future of the Star Wars saga.
READ FULL STORY

Matthew Vaughn to direct new 'Star Wars'? Five things we could expect

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Now that you’ve gotten over your initial excitement after hearing about the new Star Wars movie coming in 2015, it’s time to settle in for an exciting year of online rumormongering, as every piece of Star Wars-related gossip overheard on the streets of Los Angeles gains volume via the great Internet echo chamber. Collider got things off to a running start yesterday with a surprising claim: Matthew Vaughn, director of X-Men: First Class, is currently in talks to helm Star Wars: Episode VII. As far as rumors go, this one vibes with semi-possibility. Vaughn just departed the next X-Men prequel-sequel after over a year of development; maybe he knew the Star Wars deal was on the horizon. And although Vaughn has directed a couple successful movies, at this point, he’s a geek-friendly journeyman: Leading a storied franchise into a new generation could turn him into a directing megastar. (See also: Whedon, Abrams, Nolan.) READ FULL STORY

'Angry Birds: Star Wars' is coming, so get excited/angry -- VIDEO

In what surely amounts to the most important piece of Star Wars-related news you’ll read this news cycle, Rovio will release a Jedi-powered iteration of its ferocious fowl franchise, Angry Birds Star Wars, this Thursday — thereby completing the plan George Lucas wrote down on a cocktail napkin in 1975, which clearly read: “Three trilogies and a game about Finnish birds with upset eyebrows.”

The final trailer for ABSW promises a raft of new skills for the lovable birds, including the ability to shoot lasers, the ability to make fun sound effects, and the ability to reduce everything you once loved about the Star Wars trilogy into a few in-jokes. Watch the trailer, and May the Birds Be With You, which is something people say, apparently. READ FULL STORY

Which minor 'Star Wars' character will break out on the big screen? -- THEORIES

Image Credit: Johansson: Francois Duhamel; Star Wars: Lucasfilm. Designed by Jef Castro

The Star Wars universe has been in a state of rapid expansion ever since Luke Skywalker walked into the Mos Eisley Cantina and found himself surrounded by a few dozen aliens, each with their own elaborate anatomy and signature drink. The first Star Wars movie is, in hindsight, a relatively minimalist affair when it comes to settings: one desert planet, one space station, and one gas giant-orbiting moon. But the scenes in Mos Eisley served as an ace bit of galaxy-building. Since then, Star Wars has evolved across every cultural medium for four decades; after acquiring Lucasfilm yesterday, Disney CEO Robert Iger noted that the universe has “more than seventeen thousand characters inhabiting several thousand planets and spanning twenty thousand years.” READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars Universe Dream Park': The map you're looking for, this is -- PHOTOS

“I’ve always looked at George Lucas as a modern-day Walt Disney,” says Tom Hodges, a freelance artist who’s worked for Lucasfilm on various projects over the years, including The Clone Wars web comic for starwars.com. Two years ago, with Star Wars Celebration V set for Orlando, Hodges took the logical step of creating a Star Wars Universe Dream Park Park Map based off an old 1966 Disneyland Map. It was purely hypothetical; who wouldn’t want to visit Mos Eisley Station or tackle the Death Star Trench Run ride?

The map was a huge hit with attendees of the Celebration, and Hodges’ accompanying attraction posters quickly became collectibles. “We handed out 250 of each and that was nuts,” Hodges says. “There was a line around the block for them.”

And then came Tuesday’s huge announcement that Disney was taking over the Star Wars business. Along with a new trilogy, it seems like only a matter of time before the galaxy far, far away gets it own amusement park. “I always thought this was something that should’ve been done a long time ago,” Hodges says. “But I found out when I was doing the map that Disney had a contract with Lucasfilm that they could not put a Star Wars theme park in a country that has a Disney park. But now that Disney owns LucasFilm, the sky is the limit.”

Click on the above image for a more detailed map of this happiest place on Earth and click below for four amazing attraction posters. I’m kind of partial to grabbing lunch at Jabba’s Palace Grill. I hear their Tatooine Frog dish is delicious.

    READ MORE: EW’s full coverage of the Disney-Lucasfilm deal

READ FULL STORY

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