Kathleen Kennedy on STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

During the Star Wars Celebration this weekend in Essen, Germany, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy appeared on a panel with Warwick Davis where they discussed Star Wars: Episode VII. StarWars.com was in attendance, and here are a few fun points of interest from their live blog. 

“[Shepherding Star Wars] is a daunting proposition and I can’t do this without every single one of you out there…It means a great deal to us and I see it means a great deal to you, and that’s something that we want to protect.”
“Much like many of you, looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feeling in what the early films did in combination with real locations and special effects — that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. We’re going to find some really cool locations for Ep VII. We’re going to use ever tool in the toolbox for this movie.”
“It’s using artwork that you can touch and feel in combination with CG effects.”
Davis asks about selecting J.J. Abrams. “I’ve actually known J.J. Abrams since he was about 15,” Kennedy says. She was working for Spielberg, and someone called her office, saying he found some Super 8 films of Spielberg’s — the films he made as a kid. These were the films. Simultaneously, Kennedy read an article about high school students who won a video award, and she thought to hire them to restore the Super 8 tapes. The students were Abrams and Matt Reeves.
In selecting a director, she and Lucas had a shortlist of directors, and Abrams was at the top. “He has a sense of aspiration in what he does. His films tend to be hopeful. They’re fun and exciting…I think he’s going to do an amazing job.”
On respecting the old and creating something new. “There’s been an amazing education process that has gone on with this.” Kennedy says they had many meetings with Lucas where he talked about where his ideas come from and how deep they go. “This is a huge responsiblity and we’re all taking that really seriously.”
“I think the key was that George kept saying over and over again that not only are they aspirational, but they’re fun. He wanted to make sure that we maintained a sense of humor.  

“We know that if we don’t have great stories and great characters, then effects mean nothing.” 
Typical day? Kennedy spends part of her time at Lucasfilm, then the rest of the week with Abrams and the writing team at Bad Robot. They do a lot of Skyping and sit in long, lengthy story meetings. “Great stuff is coming out of those discussions.” At the Presidio office of Lucasfilm, she is in Lucas’ old office. Lucas is still at Skywalker Ranch.

I'm sure you've heard rumors about Abrams' possibly leaving this film project, but it really doesn't sound like that's true at all. It sounds like everything is running very smoothly, and I couldn't be more excited to see how this next Star Wars film turns out and how Disney and Lucasfilm end up playing around with the rest of the Star Wars universe. 


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