There’s not a lot of universe-changing news this week, but there is the announcement that J.J. Abrams is set to direct the next Star Wars movie. Abrams is known for his work on Star Trek, which is a weird qualification for a Star Wars director, and Lost, which is–by all report at the Pub here–a superb one. According to the linked article, Michael Arndt, writer of Toy Story 3, is set to write the screenplay, which is another hopeful sign. Might the next Star Wars be a worthy heir to the legacy of A New Hope?
io9 has some of Abrams’ thoughts on the job, and GeekTyrant has embedded a video in which Abrams talks about Star Wars as good storytelling. Related articles are available at MTV.com and Deadline Hollywood.
In slightly less directly related articles: Turks get in a tiff over a ‘Jabba’s Palace’ Lego toy; apparently they think it looks too much like the Hagia Sophia. io9’s Rand Simberg questions the original cost estimate for building a Death Star, and Charlie Jane Anders highlights a set of R2D2 high heels. The TOMS posted in the comments are likewise adorable.
It’s been a quiet week here at The Hog’s Head, and apparently everywhere else, too–but there are a couple of hefty news stories. First, Christopher Tolkien gave an interview in which the history of his relationship to his father’s work is covered, as are his feelings about the Peter Jackson adaptations. Sample from the latter:
“Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”
Second, the White House has responded to a petition to create a Death Star. Despite their rejection of the proposal, they’re apparently gung ho on getting to space. This has provoked some presumably fake diplomatic responses from long-dead Star Wars characters.
Also unfortunately for Star Wars fans, a bunch of wet-blanket physicists have determined that the Millenium Falcon’s jump to hyperspace wouldn’t look anything like what the movies show in Han Solo’s windshield. They’re probably correct, but whatever. They also have difficulties with Batman and James and the Giant Peach.
It’s the third day of Christmas, the feast day of St. John the Apostle–patron of authors and publishers–and a good day to sit around the common room, drink some spiced pumpkin juice, and contemplate magical things. To start, we have Christie over at Spinning Straw into Gold posting about Father Christmas as Fairy Tale:
[St. Nick’s story] is a fairy tale. Or a folk tale, if you prefer. Many elements of a fairy/folk tale are present: an ordinary person called to do or be something extraordinary; a journey, whether symbolic or literal; dealings with faeries (elves); reward and justice; the sense of mystery or more questions left than answers. Here is a figure as universal but specific as Baba Yaga.
Going on with news and commentary:
King’s Cross Station has now opened a little official Harry Potter memorabilia shop at Platform 9 3/4.
Jon Michaud over at the New Yorker argues that The Hobbit is a better book than The Lord of the Rings.
With summer drawing to a close, the interwebs are quiet and everyone is busy trying to do summer-things. Hence, a short list tonight. If you’re preparing for fall, though, GeekTyrant has a link to something you’ll want for keeping your feet warm in the colder days to come: hairy hobbit-feet slippers. Plush. Second breakfast not included.
Author L.B. Gale has taken to asking geek questions weekly on her blog, and check out the first two: “[Which modern story is the] Heir to Star Wars?” (with Potter, of course, being top contender) and “[Can a Movie Be] Better than the Book?” (she says yes… feel free to have fun in her comments). Also, I had to love her post “10 Fictional Bookworms and What they Imply About Real Bookworms” (Hermione is among them, as is Sawyer from LOST.)
Screenwriter Evan Daugherty discusses with TheWrap.com how a passion for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films inspired his idea to reinterpret the Snow White fairy tale for 21st Century audiences in Snow White and the Huntsman, opening in theatres this weekend.
Next up for Daugherty: a script for the film adaptation of the Veronica Roth novel, Divergent, which Lionsgate/Summit is hoping will be the next Hunger Games (which was hoped to be the next Twilight, which was hoped to be the next Harry Potter). Divergent was reviewed last year by the Hog’s Head’s Jenna St. Hilaire.
In a blockbuster weekend competing against The Avengers and Men in Black 3, the only question remaining is: will Snow White and the Huntsman be the fairest of them all?
After a couple of weeks’ buildup, we have an immense number of links this week. Accio interesting stuff!
First, the Hogwarts Professor’s report on St Andrews’ academic conference on Harry Potter. The members of the Blogengamot who couldn’t catch a broom to Scotland for that experience are all thoroughly mopey for having missed it.
In the fantasy realm, in bullet points:
While we’re discussing movies at the Pub, it seemed a good time to mention that quite a number of books–ranging from the popular to the obscure to the classic–are being made into movies. We all know about The Hobbit and The Hunger Games; maybe we’ve also heard about upcoming adaptations of Les Miserables (book to musical to movie) and The Great Gatsby. Young adult book blogger Rebecca has the most complete list I could find at a glance; the Huffington Post features a slideshow piece of their own top ten picks. From The Lorax to Anna Karenina, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones to Great Expectations, this should be an interesting year for the movies. Whether the results are very good or very awful, book-loving movie-goers should have plenty to talk about.
A girl after our own heart: Given the suggestion to make a Top Ten list about any book-related subject, Briana from the review blog Pages Unbound lists the Top Ten Books Relating to J.R.R. Tolkien. Some of them look quite fantastic.
Want to be the very image of a Modern Major Tolkien Fan? Here’s how.
The recording and music are obviously spur-of-the-moment, of course, but the lyric is all geek delight. (Via Mark Shea)
Also, sent for posting this morning by Mr. Pond: here’s a tribute to the HP movies and the fan experience around DH2, from the Guardian. With quotes from Thewlis, Gambon, Isaacs and more. Those who have less than unalloyed praise for the portrayal of Dumbledore may find the portrayal of Gambon in this article rather curious. But it’s all an interesting read. Especially since getting a picture taken at Platform 9 3/4 is probably on every Potter fan’s bucket list.