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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

This Week's Cover: Our annual holiday movie preview -- 'Les Mis', 'Zero Dark Thirty', 'Lincoln', and more

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A group of singing revolutionaries, a terrorist takedown expert, a bi-polar romantic, and Abraham Lincoln walk into a movie theater … That’s the line-up heading to the multiplex this holiday season, and in this week’s Entertainment Weekly we go behind-the-scenes of the musical rebellion Les Miserables (out Dec. 14), the Osama bin Laden search-and-destroy mission Zero Dark Thirty (coming in December), Bradley Cooper’s unhinged love story Silver Linings Playbook (Nov. 21), and talk to Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner about his screenplay adaptation for Lincoln (Nov. 8). And with award season in full swing, we also forecast the Oscar hopes for these films, as well a many others striving toward that golden Hollywood god.

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This week's cover: Bond is back -- Daniel Craig on the new 007 film, 'Skyfall'

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James Bond is back with a double-O bang in Skyfall. The first 007 installment in four years, Skyfall (out Nov. 9) is a different kind of Bond film. It reaches back to the past, nodding to classic bits of Bond lore like Monty Norman’s original Bond theme and the Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger, and looks to the future, as 007 and Judi Dench’s M grapple with being dinosaurs in a world that’s speeding past them. There’s also a new director (Oscar-winner Sam Mendes), a new Q (Ben Whishaw), a pair of new Bond girls (Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe), and a new villain who’s so flamboyantly nasty that he immediately vaults to the top tier of Bond baddies (Javier Bardem). In other words, it’s the ideal film to cap Bond’s first 50 years — and make fans bullish about the next 50.

In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, we sit down with Bond himself, Daniel Craig, to discuss the role that’s changed his life for better and worse. He tells us about his reluctance to take on the role back in 2005 when he was first asked to replace Pierce Brosnan, how he roped Mendes into directing the film (here’s a hint, it included booze and Hugh Jackman), and what it was like working with a costar even more famous than he is — Queen Elizabeth II — during his now-famous skydiving skit for this summer’s Olympics opening ceremony. “My first reaction was, ‘How many people will be watching? A billion and a half?! I guess I’m doing this.’ She was great, a really good sport. When they brought it to me, they’d already told her that I’d be doing it. I didn’t have much of a choice. It was literally a Luca Brasi situation from The Godfather — an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

Craig, who recently signed on for two more Bond films, also talks about the future of the franchise and where he’d like to see it go. “Everybody always moans, ‘Where’s Bond gone? Where’s all the jokes?’ Well, give us time! I always had a master plan in the back of my head that with the third movie — if I ever got there — it would be time to take the gloves off and bring the gags back in.”

Read more about Skyfall in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands October 26th. And remember, it’s for your eyes only.

Related:
Is Javier Bardem playing the first gay Bond villain in ‘Skyfall’? Bardem and director Sam Mendes weigh in
New ‘Skyfall’ trailer glows with Adele’s theme — VIDEO
‘Skyfall’ action clip: James Bond catches his train in style

This week's cover: 'Once Upon a Time' plans a wild ride

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In this week’s Entertainment Weekly, we take Once Upon a Time showrunners Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz to Disneyland as we get the scoop on the ABC hit’s second season and beyond. While checking out Walt’s traditional versions of Once‘s iconic characters like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, the writer-producers reveal how their gleefully revisionist fairy tale series will become the ultimate TV mashup of wildly different people and locations from various fictional sources — not unlike the park itself. Fairy tales were just the beginning.

“It’s like when you were young and had Star Wars figures and you mixed them with G.I. Joe,” Kitsis says. “Cobra and Darth Vader might not have known each other, but they do in my backyard. We’ve taken the principle of being 12-year-old boys and we’ve brought it to primetime.”

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This Week's Cover: The casts of 'Arrested Development', 'Clueless' and more get back together in the Reunions Issue!

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Are you ready for your yearly dose of pop-culture nostalgia? Entertainment Weekly‘s third annual Reunions Issue brings together ten of your favorite TV and movie casts, from The Larry Sanders Show to Breaking Away. To top it off, fans of Arrested Development, Melrose Place, and Clueless can celebrate their pop-culture favorites with special collector’s edition covers, which are available to buy individually. Here’s a sampling of what to expect:

Clueless: The high school satire may have evolved into a coming-of-age classic, but not every cast-member was immediately smitten with their character. Alicia Silverstone recounts her first impression of Cher: “I thought, ‘Who is this girl?’ I had nothing in common with her at all. I thought she was a materialistic, annoying little bitch.” She and co-star Donald Faison also admit that they didn’t immediately get most of the now-famous slang in the film. Says Faison: “I had no idea what the hell I was saying. What the f— is a ‘Monet’? What’s ‘going postal’ mean? And when they explained to me what it meant, I thought, ‘That’s really messed up!’”
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This Week's Cover: Tina Fey on her career in comedy and saying goodbye to '30 Rock'

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After seven seasons, 10 Emmys, and countless catchphrases — Blerg! I want to go to there! High-fiving a million angels!30 Rock will wrap up its illustrious and delightfully bizarre run early next year. To help us cope with the loss, we sat down with Rock‘s creator and star, Tina Fey, for a wide-ranging EW Interview. (Click here to buy the issue.) We arrived on set just in time to witness a scene from the third episode of the final season (which premieres October 4 at 8 p.m. on NBC), in which Fey’s Liz Lemon is appalled to learn a shocking secret about Tracy Jordan (Tracy Morgan). Explains Fey, “I discover that Tracy Jordan has tweeted, “I agree @theRealStephenHawking. Women are just not funny — never have been, never will be. #plotpoint.” (We won’t ruin the outcome for you, but suffice it to say that the resolution involves Lemon dressed in a lab coat and declaring, “Don’t thank me — thank Roe v. Wade!”) READ FULL STORY

This week's cover: Inside the phenomenon that's 'The Big Bang Theory'

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Nearly 14 billion years ago, a massive explosion in outer space resulted in the formation of the universe. Much more recently, another significant blowup occurred at 8 p.m. Thursdays on CBS.

The Big Bang Theory became a TV phenomenon.

Buoyed by strong viewership (16 million) and an omnipresent run in syndication (where it’s the most popular show on TBS and the No. 1 program among all reruns in adults 18-49 and 25-54),  the 2011-12 season marked TBBT’s most successful to date. Not only did it rank as the comedy’s most-watched year, the CBS series also saw its 18-49 audience jump an astonishing 23 percent from the previous season. With five nominations under its belt going into Emmy weekend — including its second consecutive one for best comedy — is another big bang in store for the four Cal Tech brainiacs and the waitress who loves them?
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This Week's Cover: 'Homeland' tops our Fall TV Preview

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No matter whom you plan on voting for this November, there’s one thing we can all agree on about President Obama: He has excellent taste in TV. The POTUS told People Magazine in December that Homeland — Showtime’s terrorist thriller starring Claire Danes and Damian Lewis, who grace the cover of EW’s Fall TV Preview this week — is one of two can’t-miss dramas on the White House DVR list (the other being HBO’s Boardwalk Empire). “We tend to be stunned over and over again by the response of the show,” says executive producer Alex Gansa. “Then all of a sudden the President of the United States says he’s stealing time away from Michelle and the kids to watch Homeland. It was just unbelievable.” Adds Showtime President David Nevins, “That was when we had gone to another level.”

This week’s cover of EW (click here to buy the issue) goes behind the scenes of Homeland‘s much-anticipated second season (premiering Sept. 30 at 10pm), which will continue the dysfunctional cat-and-mouse-game between bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison (Danes) and soldier/terrorist Nicholas Brody (Lewis). The pressure is on for Showtime’s hit series to deliver another round of episodes worthy of its Emmy-nominated first season, which ended with a gripping cliffhanger (“Issa!”) and so many questions: Will Carrie’s memory return? How long can Brody fly under the radar? Can Carrie ever rejoin the CIA? “I think the reaction [to season 1] still feels outsized, and of course to me it only loads up the fear of the second season,” admits executive producer Howard Gordon. He jokes, “We say, ‘Take a deep breath and lower your expectations.’”

Also in the Fall TV Preview: EW TV critic Ken Tucker picks this season’s five best new shows (any guesses?), plus we’ve got the scoop on 104 returning and new shows, including: READ FULL STORY

This Week's Cover: An exclusive tour inside 'American Horror Story: Asylum'

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How does American Horror Story top a first season that included a ghost in a rubber fetish suit, a Frankenstein-like monster baby dressed in a Christening gown, and Dylan McDermott’s bare buttocks?  It heads to a loony bin run by nuns! Well, and it also introduces [SPOILER ALERT] aliens, Nazis, and a serial killer named Bloody Face who wears a mask made out of his victims skin along with black nightie and opera length gloves. Oh, and, just for good measure, the lead singer of Maroon 5 shows up. “It is absolutely terrifying. Very gruesome,” says frontman Adam Levine of American Horror Story: Asylum (in case you don’t believe him, check out these photos). “And what’s great about the fact that it’s on FX is that you can go too far. You can do really unorthodox, crazy things that people are going to talk about.” Adds co-creator Ryan Murphy, “I don’t think people tune in to the show because they want My Dinner With Andre. I think they want to be scared. I’m just writing what I would like to see. I’m scared of aliens and I’m scared of Nazis and I’m scared of nuns. So it’s the perfect stew of horror and fear.”

This week, Entertainment Weekly takes you EXCLUSIVELY behind the highly secretive, super wild new installment of AHS, appropriately subtitled Asylum. “We are going Ryan Murphy-style all the way to the crazy house,” says star Sarah Paulson. While some of last year’s cast are returning (Paulson, Jessica Lange, Evan Peters, Zachary Quinto, Lily Rabe), they will be playing entirely new roles in an entirely new storyline set within an asylum for the criminally insane called Briarcliff Manor. “Every year of the show is a different miniseries, and there will be several chapters,” explains co-creator Ryan Murphy. “You need as your leading man or leading lady an institution to haunt.” Adds co-creator Brad Falchuk, “To me, last year was a family drama. This is our version of a workplace drama.”

This particular workplace is run by a wickedly stern nun named Sister Jude (Lange) who is surrounded by a cast of characters ranging from a possible former Nazi, Dr. Arden (James Cromwell), to nymphomaniac patient Shelley (Chloe Sevigny). But Sister Jude is also quite a troubled woman with a dark past that will resurface. “If I were playing a straitlaced nun, start to finish, I can’t say that would interest me too much,” says Lange. “What’s great are the extremes. To go from where she was and where she’s getting to, that’s what’s going to be interesting.” Meet the rest of the characters/cast of American Horror Story: Asylum here.

For more on American Horror Story: Asylum, stay tuned to EW.com and pick up this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly for our exclusive set visit along with behind-the-scenes photos and details from the cast and creators.

This Week's Cover: An exclusive sneak peek at season 3 of 'The Walking Dead'

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If the sound you heard during the two first seasons of The Walking Dead was the persistent moaning of a hungry herd of flesh-eating ghouls, season 3 will bring an entirely new sound: the sound of two worlds colliding. That’s because Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Co. will face a brand new threat when the AMC drama returns on Oct. 14 — and that threat is very much human. While Rick and the gang are busy clearing out a prison in the hopes of transforming it into a protective fortress, not so far away is the town of Woodbury, Ga., and it’s self-appointed leader, the Governor (David Morrissey).

Think these two communities can peacefully coexist in a post-apocalyptic world where safe havens and supplies are scarce? Think again.
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