If you hopped by the site to hear my usual weekly rants and speculation on superhero movie news, that has SWITCHED with this column and will be dropping on Friday. Make sure to stop by, there’s a ton of DC/Warner Bros movies on the horizon.
BUT, it’s S7AR WARS time again, mostly because I wanted to catch-up with a rumor making the rounds this week before we hit Friday proper.
Make sure to check out the previous 6 installments of excellent news recapping, because I’m not going to stop to explain what Star Wars Rebels is or who Ralph McQuarrie was (Ok, maybe just those two: new animated TV show, original concept artist).
It’s been interesting to see other outlets pop up with their own sources and this week, MakingStarWars.net seems to have a well-placed one, granted their story ended up being mixed with some speculation presented as fact so...let’s break it down!
Here’s the main skinny that required me sidelining my beloved superheroes until Friday:
Here’s the gist: The bad guys in Star Wars: Episode VII are being called “Jedi Hunters” by people working on and around the film. These are scary individuals, dressed in black, some helmeted, that hunt Jedi for the Empire.
Further explanations: When I first heard about the “Jedi Hunters,” I thought it sounded neat. Then I heard it again and again. So I started to really take it seriously in the last few days. Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire. It occurred to me these sound exactly like the Inquisitor in Star Wars Rebels. The original person to bring up “Jedi Hunters” had no idea what Star Wars Rebels was all about. I filled this person in and they said it sounded exactly like what they’re filming for Star Wars: Episode VII.
It should be noted that none of the sources heard the term “Inquisitor.” They just heard “Jedi Hunters” as they were reffered to on and around the sets in various departments. These hunters use lightsabers. So it kind of becomes a game of semantics, perhaps. But lets make it clear, no single source ever said “Inquisitor.” They all said the premise of the Inquisitor from Star Wars Rebels sounds identical to what is in the film itself. One said they had the impression the Jedi were fighting this group for a very long time.
A third source is adamant that David Oyelowo is voicing one of the three villains in the film. That lines up with what Jedi News heard a while back. Maybe it is old information, I have no idea. I have often asked myself if Jedi News’ rumor is being talked about on set by some chance. Is there the possibility of a feedback loop so to speak? Perhaps, but either way, we’re hearing Oyelowo is involved.
Another source says Lupita Nyong’o, Adam Driver, and David Oyelowo are making up the cast of villains in the film and they’re “Jedi Hunters.” They also said Lupita might wear “yellow contact lenses” in the film as she was seen trying them out and walking around with them some time ago to try them out.
The villains are said to be characterized by black and chrome with troopers in similar black and chrome uniforms. They’re very imperial, but very new. My sense is these guys are like General Grievous’ Magna Guards from Revenge of the Sith (my analogy not from a source).
The bad guys have a goal: The resurrection of the Sith and it “sounds like it happens in the next film” meaning Episode VIII and “I guess they kill him (said resurrected Sith) in IX.”
OK, then, that’s a lot to chew on.
First off, I’m not sure who is calling any of these people “Jedi Hunters,” I have never heard that before. The term more often used in Latino Review correspondence has been “mercenaries,” but mostly as a way to talk about them as a group of villains who are vaguely aligned for the same purpose, being controlled by a master or a source of income.
Yes, Lupita Nyong’o and Adam Driver are in our villain cluster and there’s something vaguely Sith about the way they operate. Remember the column where I said there was a female villain who may or may not be a Sith? That’s because, like Making Star Wars mentions elsewhere in the piece, this isn’t from a source that’s read the script.
We’re still, reporting wise, in a strange electron cloud where the overall story of Star Wars Episode VII is largely still in the Mystery Box. Below, I’ll speculate a bit on what it looks like it’s shaping up to be, but unlike other films that get the scoop-focus, we haven't had the plot explained to us in a satisfactory way.
As we continue to digest the paragraphs above: David Oyelowo has not been on set and is NOT playing a CG character.
The above “Inquisitor Connection,” TheForce.net actually went the extra mile to do a dialogue comparison and:
As I was checking out the story, I went back to the Star Wars Rebels minute-long trailer and listened to the brief clip of Imperial Agent Kallus contacting the Inquisitor. In the clip, Kallus says (0:53-0:56), "Inquisitor, I have encountered a rebel cell," and the Inquisitor replies (0:56-0:58), "You did well to call."
I compared both of these lines to various clips of David Oyelowo speaking, and I'm now convinced that, contrary to most reports about Oyelowo's Star Wars involvement, he is in fact playing Kallus, not the Inquisitor.
No Jedi Hunters, though there will be black-clad villains with lightsabers.
No Inquisitor or CG character played by David Oyelowo.
BUT - design wise - there’s a lot about this report that’s spot on. Specifically, I was thrilled to hear about the black and chrome Storm Troopers. The more we get into Pinewood shooting, the more I’m hearing about shoots on a Star Destroyer set (because of the way the windows are shaped on the bridge) and various armors. If the New Republic doesn’t exist, I’m not sure what government exists, but stuff from The Empire is still around even if it’s aesthetically changed.
Making Star Wars isn’t far off in how things that are established in the Star Wars Rebels animated series will world-build for Star Wars Episode VII and it’s easy to see how someone who hasn’t read the script could mash the two plotlines together because a TON of design work has been done for the new trilogy using the original Ralph McQuarrie concept art.
So, like the Rebels' Inquistor, Zeb and Chopper are all based off rough McQuarrie designs for Vader, Chewbacca and R2 respectively, a ton of designs on the new film are pulling more from McQuarrie than previous Star Wars movies. This is the disconnect that leads to rampant speculation. Or, like our source wrote: “there are black stormtroopers & other McQuarrie design helmets/costumes. Basically they're reusing tons of discarded McQuarrie concepts”
I think what we really got this week in Star Wars news is two or three good pieces of design information wrapped in speculation about what it’s all going to mean.
There ARE black stormtroopers and they’ll look a lot more like the McQuarrie designs, just like some of the Tatooine sets have previously been pulled from McQuarrie art. Nyong’o and Driver are probably our villains, that lines up with everything we know thus far, and - sure - maybe Lupita gets some neat contacts.
Everything else, though, that’s speculation.
I’m not sure how much I believe that the great motion of the villain(s) of this film are to resurrect the order of the Sith. Considering there are only supposed to be two Sith at a time and we’re not even sure where the Jedi stand in this new Status Quo, I think it’s a little too early to lock down specifically what our villains are hoping to accomplish.
I’m almost positive our heroes’ greater journey will be about family and legacy, but that’s only because we have so many of the next generation cast.
My speculation time. Read that again. Speculation. Here is the pivot where I stop relying on reporting and turn to my blessed fan-mind that’s trying to fit all these puzzle pieces into place. I still don’t go much for “An Ancient Evil” as a subtitle and that being the main thrust of the plot. Honestly, at this point, it’s shaping up as a search for Luke or on behalf of Luke.
As a really vague guess, I’d say Luke has been tapped into whatever the greater threat to the current Star War way before everyone else did and now that Han and Leia and the children begat from characters of the original trilogy need to find Luke and...this-other-character-I-shouldn’t-talk-about-yet… to mount some sort of defense or response. I don’t know who these other "mercenaries" serve, but I doubt our hero faction aren’t the only ones looking for him.
Like I said, crazy guess, but a Luke-as-MacGuffin chase can give us enough time with soon-to-perish Han and allow Mark Hamill to Yoda his way through the trilogy if he wanted too.
ANYWAY - I thought these confirmations, denials and speculations were worth waiting to talk about Warner Bros and DC’s new line-up of superhero films (especially since I think El Mayimbe has a bit more to say about that).
I am, however, so very pleased to have real news, rumors and discussion coming out about this movie 548 days away from release. I’d be disappointed if we knew the whole thing already, honestly.