It seems Walt Disney Pictures is well on its way in its mission to monopolize Hollywood’s great film franchises. Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars when they bought out Lucasfilm last year, and they have made millions of dollars on the Marvel comic films, including Iron Man, Thor, and The Avengers. Disney also owns the rights to the Muppets series and recently made a new installment for that franchise with Jason Segel and Amy Adams. But now there is another franchise that has joined the Disney crowd, that of the 1980s Steven Spielberg classic Indiana Jones. Raiders of the Lost Ark was originally released by Paramount Pictures in 1981, and was also partly produced by Lucasfilm. Spielberg and George Lucas worked on all the original Indiana Jones films with Harrison Ford in the leading role, and now both film series (Star Wars and Indiana Jones) have been acquired by Disney for the rights to future sequels and distribution of old and new material. The production company is already in the process of filming the 7th Star Wars movie with Star Trek director J.J. Abrams, and now they could potentially make another Indiana Jones movie with Speilberg. Whether or not this will actually happen is still to be determined since Disney is pretty busy with a Star Wars and Avengers sequel in the works, but I wouldn’t count it out as not possible. I’ll keep my eye out for more news on this story.
Shortly after Disney acquired the rights to the Star Wars franchise, the search was out for a screenwriter that could bring the long-awaited sequel to the big screen. Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) was originally set to write the script, but now director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek) is working with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan to set the sequel in motion. Kasdan has worked with several Lucasfilm projects, including the screenplay for director Steven Spielberg’s original Indiana Jones flick Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). He also wrote the Whitney Houston classic The Bodyguard (1992) which co-starred Kevin Costner. Considering Disney and Lucasfilm have done a pretty good job keeping details on the movie on the DL, this is a big piece of long-awaited news. Having a veteran who worked on the original projects will definitely be an asset to Abrams and the new crew, we’ll see how the story pans out.
It has been 35 years since we were first overcome by that triumphant symphony we now all recognize at first note. Composer John Williams, who has worked on film scores for Jaws, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter and Jurassic Park, won the Academy Award for the original Star Wars score in 1978 and has returned ever since to work on all six feature films. Yes, even the horrific Ewan McGregor installations. Williams is now set to begin work on the newest installment to the Star Wars franchise. Episode 7 is currently under production by Walt Disney Pictures and is set to be directed by Star Trek director J.J. Abrams. The original cast of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher are also supposed to be returning to the franchise, which is currently looking at a 2015 release date. The original Star Wars film was written and directed by creator George Lucas, who has also written all of the sequels and directed the three latest films. Lucas received Oscar nominations for the original in 1978 for Best Director and Best Screenwriter, but chose not to return to the director’s chair for the second and third films (Episodes 5 and 6). J.J. Abrams is the third director to take on a Star Wars picture, following Lucas, Irvin Kershner, and Richard Marquand. While I have nothing but confidence that Williams will bring another faithful composition to the picture, let’s hope that Abrams brings a sense of realism back to this Star Wars sequel instead of just throwing actors in front of green screens and relying on computer technology.