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“Star Wars: Episode VII” rumors heat up: Brenda Chapman or Joe Johnson involved?

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If we keep speculating about who will be the director of “Star Wars: Episode VII,” we’ll have to be right eventually, right? The latest two names to be brought forward are Brenda Chapman and Joe Johnson, though the evidence backing up these claims could go either way.

First up is Chapman, who Bleeding Cool and /Film speculate could be working on, if not directing, the new “Star Wars” film. The “Brave” director left Pixar to work at Lucasfilm back in August, and has teased on Twitter that she could be involved. That’s not quite enough to substantiate the claim that she’s the woman for the directors chair, but it wouldn’t be a stretch to assume that Chapman is somehow involved.

Meanwhile, Johnson was asked by The Huffington Post if he would be the man directing “Star Wars: Episode VII,” and he hedged around the question.

“A lot would depend on what ‘it’ is. I am very glad to see Lucasfilm cranking up to get productive again, regardless of who ends up doing it,” he said.

While we’re busy trying to figure out who Disney is looking at for the new film, those close to the project already know. MTV News caught up with producer Frank Marshall, who said that Disney has a “couple of candidates” who they’re looking into.

“I do (know) but I can’t reveal it, or I won’t be alive tomorrow,” he said. “I’m really excited about this. I didn’t grow up with it, but I was a big fan and have been since the series started. I’ll always remember seeing that big mothership go over the screen. I’ve never forgotten it. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

“Star Wars: Episode VII” is expected to hit theaters in 2015.

Who do you think should direct the new “Star Wars” movie? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Soap tv show

As the Spoof Turns

15 Hilarious Soap Opera Parodies

Catch the classic sitcom Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures Television

The soap opera is the indestructible core of television fandom. We celebrate modern series like The Wire and Breaking Bad with their ongoing storylines, but soap operas have been tangling more plot threads than a quilt for decades. Which is why pop culture enjoys parodying them so much.

Check out some of the funniest soap opera parodies below, and be sure to catch Soap Saturday mornings on IFC.

1. Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a cult hit soap parody from the mind of Norman Lear that poked daily fun at the genre with epic twists and WTF moments. The first season culminated in a perfect satire of ratings stunts, with Mary being both confined to a psychiatric facility and chosen to be part of a Nielsen ratings family.


2. IKEA Heights

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IKEA Heights proves that the soap opera is alive and well, even if it has to be filmed undercover at a ready-to-assemble furniture store totally unaware of what’s happening. This unique webseries brought the classic formula to a new medium. Even IKEA saw the funny side — but has asked that future filmmakers apply through proper channels.


3. Fresno

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When you’re parodying ’80s nighttime soaps like Dallas and Dynasty , everything about your show has to equally sumptuous. The 1986 CBS miniseries Fresno delivered with a high-powered cast (Carol Burnett, Teri Garr and more in haute couture clothes!) locked in the struggle for the survival of a raisin cartel.


4. Soap

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Soap was the nighttime response to daytime soap operas: a primetime skewering of everything both silly and satisfying about the source material. Plots including demonic possession and alien abduction made it a cult favorite, and necessitated the first televised “viewer discretion” disclaimer. It also broke ground for featuring one of the first gay characters on television in the form of Billy Crystal’s Jodie Dallas. Revisit (or discover for the first time) this classic sitcom every Saturday morning on IFC.


5. Too Many Cooks

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Possibly the most perfect viral video ever made, Too Many Cooks distilled almost every style of television in a single intro sequence. The soap opera elements are maybe the most hilarious, with more characters and sudden shocking twists in an intro than most TV scribes manage in an entire season.


6. Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace

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Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was more mockery than any one medium could handle. The endless complications of Darkplace Hospital are presented as an ongoing horror soap opera with behind-the-scenes anecdotes from writer, director, star, and self-described “dreamweaver visionary” Garth Marenghi and astoundingly incompetent actor/producer Dean Learner.


7. “Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive,” MadTV

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Soap opera connoisseurs know that the most melodramatic plots are found in Korea. MADtv‘s parody Tae Do  (translation: Attitudes and Feelings, Both Desirable and Sometimes Secretive) features the struggles of mild-mannered characters with far more feelings than their souls, or subtitles, could ever cope with.


8. Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks, the twisted parody of small town soaps like Peyton Place whose own creator repeatedly insists is not a parody, has endured through pop culture since it changed television forever when it debuted in 1990. The show even had it’s own soap within in a soap called…


9. “Invitation to Love,” Twin Peaks

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Twin Peaks didn’t just parody soap operas — it parodied itself parodying soap operas with the in-universe show Invitation to Love. That’s more layers of deceit and drama than most televised love triangles.


10. “As The Stomach Turns,” The Carol Burnett Show

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The Carol Burnett Show poked fun at soaps with this enduring take on As The World Turns. In a case of life imitating art, one story involving demonic possession would go on to happen for “real” on Days of Our Lives.


11. Days of our Lives (Friends Edition)

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Still airing today, Days of Our Lives is one of the most famous soap operas of all time. They’re also excellent sports, as they allowed Friends star Joey Tribbiani to star as Dr Drake Ramoray, the only doctor to date his own stalker (while pretending to be his own evil twin). And then return after a brain-transplant.

And let’s not forget the greatest soap opera parody line ever written: “Come on Joey, you’re going up against a guy who survived his own cremation!”


12. Acorn Antiques

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First appearing on the BBC sketch comedy series Victoria Wood As Seen on TV, Acorn Antiques combines almost every low-budget soap opera trope into one amazing whole. The staff of a small town antique store suffer a disproportional number of amnesiac love-triangles, while entire storylines suddenly appear and disappear without warning or resolution. Acorn Antiques was so popular, it went on to become a hit West End musical.


13. “Point Place,” That 70s Show

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In a memorable That ’70s Show episode, an unemployed Red is reduced to watching soaps all day. He becomes obsessed despite the usual Red common-sense objections (like complaining that it’s impossible to fall in love with someone in a coma). His dreams render his own life as Point Place, a melodramatic nightmare where Kitty leaves him because he’s unemployed. (Click here to see all airings of That ’70s Show on IFC.)


14. The Spoils of Babylon

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Bursting from the minds of Will Ferrell and creators Andrew Steele and Matt Piedmont, The Spoils of Babylon was a spectacular parody of soap operas and epic mini-series like The Thorn Birds. Taking the parody even further, Ferrell himself played Eric Jonrosh, the author of the book on which the series was based. Jonrosh returned in The Spoils Before Dying, a jazzy murder mystery with its own share of soapy twists and turns.

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15. All My Children Finale, SNL

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SNL‘s final celebration of one of the biggest soaps of all time is interrupted by a relentless series of revelations from stage managers, lighting designers, make-up artists, and more. All of whom seem to have been married to or murdered by (or both) each other.

Will Darth Vader be resurrected for “Star Wars: Episode VII”?

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Of all the characters who have been introduced in the “Star Wars” universe, Darth Vader has got to be the most iconic. But considering his death at the end of “Return of the Jedi,” it doesn’t seem likely that his black helmet will be returning in the upcoming “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

Well, not so fast. A new rumor is claiming that the man once known as Anakin Skywalker could be resurrected for the new movie. According to a “film mole” who talked to British tabloid Express, Darth Vader could be brought back in some capacity in the forthcoming “Episode VII.”

“He’s an integral part of the franchise. Replacing him is virtually impossible. The plan is for him to return and play a significant role in the new films,” the source said. “This is science fiction remember. Darth Vader will rise from the ashes.”

Considering the plan is to bring back older versions of Luke, Han and Leia in the new movie (yes, that means it will likely star Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford), we aren’t putting anything past Disney. But Darth Vader returning? Really? Unless a new version of the character has risen to glory in the time between the end of “Return of the Jedi” and beginning of whatever “Episode VII” ends up being called, we doubt that will happen.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t think there will be a return of the man beneath the mask. Anakin followed the likes of Yoda, Obi Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn as he lived on in spirit form, so why not bring that concept back (yes, we begrudgingly realize that means bringing back Hayden Christensen as well) and just have him hanging around and offering his words of wisdom to young padawans?

Of course, we all know the real reason Disney would want to bring back Vader: Money. But if Darth Maul could sell action figures, couldn’t a new villain? We’d say let the past stay dead and don’t ruin our childhoods (again).

Would you want Darth Vader to come back in “Star Wars: Episode VII”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro and more shoot down “Star Wars: Episode VII” involvement

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“Star Wars: Episode VII” might officially have a writer, but it doesn’t have a long line of big name directors itching to helm it. Following the news that Disney was eying the likes of J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg and Brad Bird to direct the flick, most of those names have come out and denied their involvement.

“No! No! It’s not my genre. It’s my best friend George [Lucas]‘s genre,” Spielberg told Access Hollywood last week.

Now Abrams, who previously said he was “thrillified” by the concept of helming the movie, has since come out to say he’s not going to be the man behind the camera on this one.

“Look, ‘Star Wars’ is one of my favorite movies of all time,” Hollywood Life. “I frankly feel that – I almost feel that, in a weird way, the opportunity for whomever it is to direct that movie, it comes with the burden of being that kind of iconic movie and series. I was never a big Star Trek fan growing up, so for me, working on Star Trek didn’t have any of that, you know, almost fatal sacrilege, and so, I am looking forward more then anyone to the next iterations of Star Wars, but I believe I will be going as a paying moviegoer!”

Guillermo del Toro has also said it’s not his cup of tea, telling Fanhattan, “You know, I saw it on the Internet, but I haven’t approached them, they haven’t formally approached me. I mean, I heard some rumblings, but to me it’s really — I have so many projects to discuss or think about. [For] something that is not a possibility yet, I don’t do that. You know, because I have so many things that I need to catch up with. If this becomes ever a reality, and there’s an approach to do it, I would then think about it, but — it’s like thinking if I want to date a supermodel. I don’t think about these things.”

Most emphatically against the movie is Quentin Tarantino, who told Entertainment Weekly, “I could so care less. Especially if Disney’s going to do it. I’m not interested in the Simon West version of ‘Star Wars.'”

And, of course, Zack Snyder shot down the movie to the Los Angeles Times, saying , “I don’t think I’d be interested in directing it. I’m a huge ‘Star Wars’ fanatic. I just think doing [episodes] seven, eight and nine is just a slippery slope. It’s a whole other mythological experiment I’m excited to see, but it’s a lot of effort.”

For his part, Bird is currently lined up to direct the mysterious Disney project “1952,” so he seems out of contention as well. But there is one major Hollywood name who seems interested in the flick: Jon Favreau.

“I think both J.J. and I come from a generation of people who formed our whole creative persona around what we experienced as kids from watching those films, and I have had the good fortune of working with George [Lucas] and around George, and whether it is doing a voice on ‘Clone Wars,’ or being at the Skywalker Ranch mixing ‘Iron Man’ – so I have been very happy and lucky to just experience the culture that Lucas has created, both in my own life growing up as a kid and professional – whether it was interviewing him at film festivals on stage, he is just a really wonderful, talented gifted guy who has changed the business so much, so I am just giddy, first and foremost as a fan, to see what happens with it,” he told Hollywood Life. “I think there is a lot of question marks of how they are going to do it, and who they are going to do it with, and what the story is going to be about; but to say that I am not excited about it is definitely an understatement. We’ll see.”

Lastly, it’s “Safety Not Guaranteed” director Colin Trevorrow who seems most interested in the part. His name has been attached to “Star Wars: Episode VII” in some rumors, and he seemingly implied to podcast filmmixern that he had met with producers.

“I have very little to say about it,” he said. “Certainly, no specifics about whats going on behind the scenes in the selection of that person [a director]. I think that I can speak as a ‘Star Wars’ fan, which is important to me. Whoever does do this movie, I think, just needs to have a fundamental understanding of why it’s important to us. We come from a generation who grew up with this as children, to us it’s almost a belief system. It’s harder for people who are older or who were already teenagers when the movie came out to understand how deeply it is our mythology. And there are a bunch of incredible directors who are up for this job… I think whoever gets it will have that fundamental understanding of why ‘Star Wars’ matters so much to a billion people. It’s just incredible. So that’s all I can say about that. I’m equally excited about it. … That’s all you’re gonna get!”

“Star Wars: Episode VII” is slated to hit theaters in 2015.

Who would you like to see direct “Star Wars: Episode VII”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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