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J.J. Abrams Talks About Keeping Star Wars Secrets As A Chiwetel Ejiofor Casting Rumor Surfaces

J.J. Abrams is known for trying to stay quiet about his film projects but when you’re working on something like Star Trek or Star Wars it’s nigh impossible to keep secrets secret. Doesn’t mean he won’t keep trying. 

Abrams recently spoke with the Times of London about his wish for secrecy surrounding Star Wars: Episode VII.

If you watch the first movie, you don’t actually know exactly what the Empire is trying to do. They’re going to rule by fear – but you don’t know what their end game is. You don’t know what Leia is princess of. You don’t yet understand who Jabba the Hutt is, even though there is a reference to him. You don’t know that Vader is Luke’s father, Leia is his sister – but the possibility is all there. The beauty of that movie was that it was an unfamiliar world, and yet you wanted to see it expand and to see where it went.

Abrams certainly has a point but 35 years later, a good amount of the Star Wars universe has been explored. It’s not an unfamiliar world anymore. Unless the script for the new trilogy brings in something entirely new, I’m not sure the need to stay mum is as relevant in 2013.

But on that note, a new casting rumor has emerged thanks to that same interview. While in Abrams office, the journalist spotted actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, in the past rumored for the starring role in Doctor Who. And, living in the world we do, he posed that the actor might be there for a Star Wars job interview.

Abrams obviously told the reporter he couldn’t discuss casting but just yesterday, Flicks and the City asked Ejiofor if Abrams came knocking for one of the Star Wars films, what would his reaction be? “Well we’ll see if it happens, you know. I’m not going to tell you,” he answered.

(via Blastr, /Film)

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  • Calum Syers

    While I’m aware that Ejiofor is deservedly getting attention for “12 Years a Slave”, lets not forget his good work as The Operative in “Serenity”; especially his climactic fight scene with Mal, which is still one of the most realistic fight scenes in a Hollywood movie. They really batter the crap out of each other.

  • Adrian

    Considering how Mal’s character was inspired by Han Solo, it would be a real kick to see Ejiofor playing a smuggler protégé to Han.

  • Fortyseven

    After JJ’s crap with getting everyone involved to outright lie about Khan not being in “Into Darkness” — something most people guessed correctly early on — it might be time for him to retire that Mystery Box of his and just focus on making a GOOD MOVIE, instead of trying to build up some mystery around the production. I can’t really think of anything he’s been involved with that the secrecy angle ever actually paid off on… it’s not a BAD idea to build up suspense around something like this, mind you, I just don’t think he can pull it off as well as he believes he can. (See also: Steven Moffat.)

  • Anonymous

    And herein lies the problem with a director who has become known for his over reliance on secrets and mystery. Had this been any other director we’d have taken this at face value as wanting to keep the mystery of a new Star Wars film.

    Understandably however we’re left with a somewhat cynical notion that he’s hiding things just for the sake of the spectacle of hiding things.

    To his credit, I get where he’s coming from. There’s a lot of lapsed Star Wars fans who are still a bit jaded over the prequels and are going to be looking for reasons to hate this new series, and if I were in his shoes I don’t know that I’ve have had the cojones to accept the project. Even if I did I’d probably want to keep as much of it under wraps as possible too if for no other reason than to avoid speculation and subsequent nerd rage before the finished product is made public.

    On the flip side, Pantozzi makes a very good point that this isn’t an unfamiliar setting.
    And it’s not a re-imagining or reboot or…alternative vision…or whatever.
    It’s a direct sequel to the most well known future fantasy series ever. It would do him a world of good to at least establish a few of the familiar aspects of the story.

  • blu girl

    Dear universe, please let this be true. And please let him also be Black Panther when (if) it gets made. Those two things. That’s all I want.

  • J Ritchey

    Familiar setting or not, it’s decades after what would have to be paradigm shifting events since the last hard canon exploration; and who knows how or even if EU factors in. If the new status quo in universe doesn’t hold copious secrets worth trying to keep, do we even want to see it? One of the biggest complaints about Into Darkness was that it stayed too familiar with the villain “reveal.”

  • Anonymous

    I think the thing is, you’re correct about a good chunk of the universe being explored, but how much of that was in the prequels and how much of that is EU stuff? Because the EU stuff already has a much smaller audience than the mainstream movie-going public, and haven’t they said they’re not going to follow the books anyway?

    The existing fans might be jaded and eye-rolly about it but there’s probably a good chunk of people who wouldn’t know what to expect walking in.

  • Anonymous

    The Khan twist (aside from all the commentary about problematic issues aside) was also wholly unnecessary. Aside from letting Abrams get his jollies while giggling about how he trolled the fanboys, you could have substituted Khan for any generic new villain and the plot could’ve still been pulled off.

  • sooverit


  • DarthLocke4

    Although I agree it could work with any villain, the point of using Khan was to pay homage, but also empirical to point out what may or may not remain the same in the new time line…It also ends in a place where Khan could feasibly return, even if he’s not a central villain, as I think the KLINGON aspect from the first two films/comics is what is going to build into the central of the third film. This second film was like a bridge of the three and I think it put the first movie’s main characters where they need to be to transition along with introducing characters that may be needed for the final payoff, but the questions presented and asked about ethics and right and wrong have not yet been answered, they’ve been put into another mystery box…

  • Lowprices

    It continues to astonish me that anyone could be excited about a new Star Wars film, given all the crap that’s been turned out in the franchise’s name. Still, I’ve not seen a film yet in which Ejiofor gives a bad performance, his being cast could only be a good thing.

  • Melynda

    I’m kind of “meh” about this new Star Wars business but I will not lie. I’d be all in for Ejiofor. I’ve never seen him in anything where he wasn’t awesome.

  • Anonymous

    He and Moffat should get together on a project. It would consist entirely of viral teaser trailers and trolling interviews, with the movie delayed until 2067.

  • Angry And Yellow

    He definitely has the look and the acting chops to play Lando but it wouldn’t really work with him playing Lando and Harrison Ford still playing Han. Unless Lando was frozen in carbonite for the last 30+ years, that would be a helluva age gap to overlook. Gotta remember that this is a continuation of a story and not a reboot like we’ve become so accustomed to. It’d be great to see him as a new character. A Jedi Master in Luke’s new order? An imperial agent, similar to the operative in Serenity? A new Sith Lord? So many more interesting possibilities for an actor of his caliber.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Many bothans will die to bring us those spoilers!

    That aside, I have to agree that trying to keep this a secret is a pointless venture. Even if they don’t intend to follow the extended universe, it does not change that the EU was based so heavily on Lucas’s story notes, his universe notes, logical conclusions based on events on the films and so much else that for him to come up with ideas and concepts for the universe that have not been worked out by the forty years of writers and talents (all of which had to okay things with Lucas before they could even include elements into the extended universe, meaning that they had to be careful not to stray to far from the ‘star wars’ concept) and the fact that Abrahms is such a die hard Star Wars fan that he would try to stay as loyal and true to the Star Wars core concept as possible…

    It will either be a based on events in the EU (though it could be inspired like star trek into darkness was ‘inspired’ by wrath of khan) or he will try to do something original in which case people who actually pay attention to the EU will go to the internets and point out all of the concepts that happen to bear heavy similarities to whatever he pulls off. (Because honestly, its bound to happen)

    As someone who actually keeps up with the extended universe, I think he should keep whats there and work with it. Its genuinely good outlines for stories, the only problem is alot of errors with delivery and the sort of ironing needed of a universe where the writers needed to get the okay from Lucas on everything. It would just need some savvy hollywood talent like Abrahms to give it some polish and work it so it would be good film and VOILA, movie gold.

    And heck, given the rise of ‘based on book’ films in recent years from harry potter to the hobbit, it would not really bother moviee goers who have gotten so used to it that they will either have not read the book and go see the movie or go read the book and STILL go see the movie. Because if peter jackson can work out an extended storyline for the hobbit that lasts three movies, then Abrahms should be ablee to make something better than the prequels using the extended universe material.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Moffat and Abrhams would be an awesome team up. XD