While it seems all an almost forgone conclusion that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford will be involved in Star Wars: Episode VII, the only thing that seems to have confirmed was that talks with the actors were ongoing; which is to be expected, really, as all three could command (rightfully) large paychecks no matter how big or small their roles will actually be. Now Carrie Fisher has more or less said she’ll be back as Princess Leia. In an interview with the Palm Beach Illustrated, when asked if she was coming back, she said “Yes.” This confirmation is really the first concrete casting news to come out about the new trilogy, set to debut in 2015 from Disney and director J.J. Abrams. Though, of course, there is no confirmation from the House of Mouse.
Meanwhile, citing a clogged schedule, Sam Mendes has confirmed he will not return to helm James Bond 24. In a statement released by the director, he says “It has been a very difficult decision not to accept Michael and Barbara’s very generous offer to direct the next Bond movie. Directing Skyfall was one of the best experiences of my professional life, but I have theatre and other commitments, including productions of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and King Lear, that need my complete focus over the next year and beyond. I feel very honoured to have been part of the Bond family, and very much hope I have a chance to work with them again sometime in the future.” Now the work begins on finding a director who can build on what Mendes did in Skyfall, the most successful Bond picture in the fifty year history of the franchise –and the only film to score an Oscar. While no official release date has been set, it had been the desire of producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson to return the franchise to its two-year cycle, meaning the twenty-fourth film would bow in November of 2014. John Logan is writing the script for the next adventure, so expect a director announcement in the coming months as its still assumed the film will begin production towards the end of 2013.
While there is no casting information or plot points, production on the big Doctor Who 50th Anniversary story will begin on March 18, weeks ahead of the original April production start. No word has been given as to why, though it could be due to any number of issues, including availability of Matt Smith –who will be in Detroit to film a movie- or any number of actors who may or may not have a window of opportunity to film in April. While speculation continues to buzz on if any previous Doctors or companions will be involved with the episode, most of the former Doctors have been telling the press that they know nothing or don’t believe any of them will be involved in it (which, logically, does not make much sense). But both showrunner Steven Moffat and the BBC are press shy and seem intent on putting out enough obfuscation to keep blogs happily speculating. After all, no news still keeps Doctor Who in the news, and it costs the BBC almost nothing.