Gets weirder all the time.
Some time back I said I would keep track of developments involving the new arc of "Star Wars" films which are in the pipeline. I've felt you straining at the bit for news. But sigh no more, pumpkins, sigh nor more; Lucasfilms has been deceivers ever; one foot in sea and one on shore, to one thing constant never.
It was not my intention to offer a report until I had something truly concrete. But there have been recent events that I feel deserve some commentary (note I didn't say "clarification". I'm literate, not omniscient).
Most of us by now have probably heard that the Big Three in regards to "Star Wars" casting . . . Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher . . . are supposedly weaving in and out of George Lucas' orbit in regards to being signed up for future films. It's really difficult to say one way or another. Putting it in greater context: I can get you better odds on whether or not North Korea will nuke us than I could on finding long-term accuracy from a Hollywood publicist.
I can't really quash or confirm any rumors (Uncle Mikey's mama didn't raise no idiots). But to those of you who're discussing the situation over brandies I would like to impress the following points:
1. If your familiarity with "Star Wars" only goes as far as the six films (plus perhaps episodes of "Clone Wars") then you should know that, over the years, an extensive storyline has been constructed which describes not only the distant past of the "Star Wars" universe, but the far future as well. This means that there's plenty of room for the older adventures of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Anne Droid----I mean, Princess Leia. Some of the stories even make some form of sense.
2. Of course there's no guarantee that Lucas won't wake up tomorrow and flush the whole effort down the toilet and decide that the Jedi Order was founded by poodle dogs. You say "certainly George Lucas" would never risk ruining the franchise. I answer "go back and re-watch "The Phantom Menace"."
3. A rule of thumb which has seldom failed me is: Hold onto doubt until the lights go down and the movie starts.
4. Remember: they got Sigourney Weaver to do more "Alien" films. They also got Sean Connery to play James Bond again. Closer to home, they managed to talk Harrison Ford into "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". As Peter O'Toole told Omar Sharif: "Nothing is written".
5. I can appreciate Hamill finding a good reason to reprise the role of Luke. I can also accept the notion of Ford coming back as Han Solo (let he who is without sin . . .).
However . . .
6. Carrie Fisher is the joker in the deck. Earlier in the week she said "Yes" to once again playing Leia. Then she recanted (or, rather, her publicist did) saying it was all a joke. Now George Lucas has come out and said that Fisher has definitely signed.
And why is your Uncle Mikey concerned?
7. In December of 2010 I watched the HBO presentation of Fisher's brilliant one-woman show "Wishful Drinking". For those of you who haven't experienced this program I would suggest finding it and giving it a very good look. In it Fisher cleverly outlines not only the problems of being a celebrity child, but describes how her life had been since "Star Wars". Compared to her Tippi Hedren's relationship with Hitchcock was a game of Candy Land. In relation to the "Star Wars" situation, my impression was that Fisher would rather chew barbed wire than stick those cinnamon buns back on her head.
But of course . . .
8. People do change (see #4 above).
And. . . .
9. I can be fallible (yes, I know. Falling from grace but I want to be honest with you people).
10. Hold onto the fact (yes, it's really an opinion. But I contend it's more reliable than anything you'll get from Lucasfilms) that (A) everything's still very much in play, and (B) it is not the job of publicists to tell the truth but, rather, to keep their client(s) in the public eye. If between now and the premier of the next "Star Wars" film we hear that Harrison Ford is the illegitimate son of the Duke of Windsor . . . and Mark Hamill can lay claim to the throne of Atlantis . . . then that'd probably be par for the course. If you feel this is demeaning George Lucas and his organization in your eyes then I apologize. I also remind you that Deception has been a Lucasfilm tool as much as Industrial Light & Magic. Go back to the history of "Return of the Jedi" and look up "Blue Harvest". Lucas has to constantly walk a tightrope between pleasing the fans and making sure advance notice concerning the films doesn't fall into the wrong hands. That sort of effort would turn anyone to the dark side.
So in summation I want to quote Benjamin Franklin: "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see".
(I also want to quote the tagline from Mankiewicz's "Sleuth": "Think of the perfect crime, then go one step further".)
The chances are good that we'll be played like fish far more often than we'll be given accurate data. The key? For right now I'd keep my eyes on Fisher. As she goes so might the project.