"Episode VII" News Dominates "Star Wars" Celebration Europe

Posted on: July 29th, 2013 by ABC News No Comments

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(ESSEN, Germany) — While thousands of fans attending Star Wars Celebration Europe in Essen, Germany, over the weekend had much to see, some of the biggest news coming from the fan fest had them looking forward — to Star Wars: Episode VII.

During one of Celebration’s Q&A panels on Saturday, producer Kathleen Kennedy explained of the new project’s gestation, “The story and characters are all we’re talking about right now.  We have an amazing team [who] can create fantastic effects, but if we don’t have a great story and characters, the effects mean nothing…And if you don’t spend the time you need on developing characters, and finding stories, complicated stories, the audience gets tired because they think they’re seeing the same thing again and again.”

Kennedy also announced that Oscar-winning Star Wars composer John Williams will, in fact, return to score the upcoming film, which will be directed by J.J. Abrams. 

On a video interview with the maestro released by StarWars.com, Williams said, “I’ve loved doing the Star Wars films,” and said, “The ‘galaxy far, far away’ — I actually feel…like I’ve never left it.”

The composer of all six Star Wars movies explains, “The story is still unknown to me, the new story, but I can’t imagine that there will not be some references to the existing stories that we know that would necessitate, and make appropriate, the use of some of the earlier themes.”

While many fans lamented what they saw as overuse of computer-generated special effects in the prequels, Kennedy explained, “Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects — that’s something we’re looking very seriously at.  It’s using model makers; it’s using real droids; it’s taking advantage of artwork that you actually can touch and feel.  And we want to do that in combination with CG effects.  We figure that’s what will make it real.”

Fans at the convention were also treated to artwork from Star Wars: Rebels, the first animated series since Disney purchased the rights to George Lucas’ Star Wars universe when it acquired his company Lucasfilm.  That series is scheduled to premiere in fall 2014 as a Disney Channel movie, then segue into a weekly series on Disney XD.

Finally, at Sunday’s closing ceremonies, Lucasfilm announced the next Star Wars: Celebration will be timed for Episode VII’s May 2015 release, and be held in Anaheim, Calif., from April 16-18, 2015.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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