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J.J. Abrams confirmed for “Star Wars: Episode VII” – Film might not come in 2015

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The most surprising news of the ongoing “Star Wars” sequel series saga just got confirmed: J.J. Abrams is confirmed to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

“To be a part of the next chapter of the Star Wars saga, to collaborate with Kathy Kennedy and this remarkable group of people, is an absolute honor,” J.J. Abrams said in a statement. “I may be even more grateful to George Lucas now than I was as a kid.”

Both Lucas and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy have voiced their excitement for Abrams’ involvement as well. Kennedy said Abrams is “perfect” for the franchise because “he has an intuitive understanding of this franchise,” which is obvious from his take on the “Star Trek” movies.

Lucas, meanwhile, said, “I’ve consistently been impressed with J.J. as a filmmaker and storyteller. He’s an ideal choice to direct the new Star Wars film and the legacy couldn’t be in better hands.”

However, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that “Abrams has not committed to that release date, meaning the date could be changed if the development process requires it.” Because Abrams has commitments to the next “Mission: Impossible” and “Star Trek” films and his various TV projects, there is a chance that the movie won’t end up coming out in 2015 as originally planned.

Michael Ardnt is writing the screenplay for “Star Wars: Episode VII.” There is also a rumor that Zack Snyder is working on a “Seven Samurai”-style spinoff film.

Do you think Abrams is a good fit for “Star Wars: Episode VII”? Who would you like to see cast in the movie? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Underworld

Under Your Spell

10 Otherworldly Romances That’ll Melt Your Heart

Spend Valentine's Day weekend with IFC's Underworld movie marathon.

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Photo Credit: Screen Gems/courtesy Everett Collection

Romance takes many forms, and that is especially true when you have a thirst for blood or laser beams coming out of your eyes.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a werewolf, a superhero, a clone, a time-traveler, or a vampire, love is the one thing that infects us all.  Read on to find out why Romeo and Juliet have nothing on these supernatural star-crossed lovers, and be sure to catch IFC’s Underworld movie marathon this Valentine’s Day weekend.

1. Cyclops/Jean Grey/Wolverine, X-Men series

The X-Men franchise is rife with romance, but the steamiest “ménage à mutant” may just be the one between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Cyclops (James Marsden), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Their triangle is a complicated one as Jean finds herself torn between the two very different men while also trying to control her darker side, the Phoenix. This leads to Jean killing Cyclops and eventually getting stabbed through her heart by Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand. Yikes!  Maybe they should change the name to Ex-Men instead?


2. Willow/Tara, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Joss Whedon gave audiences some great romances on Buffy the Vampire Slayer — including the central triangle of Buffy, Angel, and Spike — but it was the love between witches Willow (Alyson Hannigan) and Tara (Amber Benson) that broke new ground for its sensitive and nuanced portrayal of a LGBT relationship.

Willow is smart and confident and isn’t even sure of her sexuality when she first meets Tara at college in a Wiccan campus group. As the two begin experimenting with spells, they realize they’re also falling for one another and become the show’s most enduring, happy couple. At least until Tara’s death in season six, a moment that still brings on the feels.


3. Selene/Michael, Underworld series

The Twilight gang pales in comparison (both literally and metaphorically) to the Lycans and Vampires of the stylish Underworld franchise. If you’re looking for an epic vampire/werewolf romance set amidst an epic vampire/werewolf war, Underworld handily delivers in the form of leather catsuited Selene (Kate Beckinsale) and shaggy blonde hunk Michael (a post-Felicity Scott Speedman). As they work together to stop the Vampire/Lycan war, they give into their passions while also kicking butt in skintight leather. Love at first bite indeed.


4. Spider-man/Mary Jane Watson, Spider-man

After rushing to the aid of beautiful girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), the Amazing Spider-man is rewarded with an upside-down kiss that is still one of the most romantic moments in comic book movie history. For Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), the shy, lovable dork beneath the mask, his rain-soaked makeout session is the culmination of years of unrequited love and one very powerful spider bite. As the films progress, Peter tries pushing MJ away in an attempt to protect her from his enemies, but their web of love is just too powerful. And you know, with great power, comes great responsibility.


5. Molly/Sam, Ghost

When it comes to supernatural romance, you really can’t beat Molly and Sam from the 1990 hit film Ghost. Demi Moore goes crazy for Swayze like the rest of us, and the pair make pottery sexier than it’s ever been.

When Sam is murdered, he’s forced to communicate through con artist turned real psychic, Oda Mae Brown (Whoopi Goldberg in her Academy Award-winning role) to warn Molly she is still in danger from his co-worker, Carl (a pre-Scandal Tony Goldwyn). Molly doesn’t believe Oda is telling the truth, so Sam proves it by sliding a penny up the wall and then possessing Oda so he and Molly can share one last romantic dance together (but not the dirty kind). We’d pay a penny for a dance with Patrick Swayze ANY day.


6. Cosima/Delphine, Orphan Black

It stands to reason there would be at least one complicated romance on a show about clones, and none more complicated than the one between clone Cosima (Tatiana Maslany) and Dr. Delphine Cormier (Evelyne Brochu) on BBC America’s hit drama Orphan Black.

Cosima is a PhD student focusing on evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Minnesota when she meets Delphine, a research associate from the nefarious Dyad Institute, posing as a fellow immunology student. The two fall in love, but their happiness is brief once Dyad and the other members of Clone Club get involved. Here’s hoping Cosima finds love in season four of Orphan Black. Girlfriend could use a break.


7. Aragorn/Arwen, Lord of the Rings

On a picturesque bridge in Rivendell amidst some stellar mood-lighting and dreamy Elvish language with English subtitles for us non-Middle Earthlings, Arwen (Liv Tyler) and Aragorn (Viggo Mortensen) bind their souls to one another, pledging to love each other no matter what befalls them.

Their courtship is a matter of contention with Arwen’s father, Elrond (Hugo Weaving), who doesn’t wish to see his daughter suffer over Aragorn’s future death. The two marry after the conclusion of the War of the Ring, with Aragorn assuming his throne as King of Gondor, and Arwen forgoing her immortality to become his Queen. Is it too much to assume they asked Frodo to be their wedding ring-bearer?


8. Lafayette/Jesus, True Blood

True Blood quickly became the go-to show for supernatural sex scenes featuring future Magic Mike strippers (Joe Manganiello) and pale Nordic men with washboard abs (Hi Alexander Skarsgård!), but honestly, there was a little something for everyone, including fan favorite Bon Temps medium, Lafayette Reynolds (Nelsan Ellis).

In season three, Lafayette met his mother’s nurse, Jesus, and the two began a relationship. As they spend more time together and start doing V (short for Vampire Blood), they learn Jesus is descended from a long line of witches and that Lafayette himself has magical abilities. However, supernatural love is anything but simple, and after the pair join a coven, Lafayette becomes possessed by the dead spirit of its former leader. This relationship certainly puts a whole new spin on possessive love.


9. Nymphadora Tonks/Remus Lupin, Harry Potter series

There are lots of sad characters in the Harry Potter series, but Remus Lupin ranks among the saddest. He was bitten by a werewolf as a child, his best friend was murdered and his other best friend was wrongly imprisoned in Azkaban for it, then THAT best friend was killed by a Death Eater at the Ministry of Magic as Remus looked on. So when Lupin unexpectedly found himself in love with badass Auror and Metamorphmagus Nymphadora Tonks (she prefers to be called by her surname ONLY, thank you very much), pretty much everyone, including Lupin himself, was both elated and cautiously hopeful about their romance and eventual marriage.

Sadly, the pair met a tragic ending when both were killed by Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, leaving their son, Teddy, orphaned much like his godfather Harry Potter. Accio hankies!


10. The Doctor/Rose Tyler, Doctor Who

Speaking of wolves, Rose “Bad Wolf” Tyler (Billie Piper) captured the Doctor’s hearts from the moment he told her to “Run!” in the very first episode of the re-booted Doctor Who series. Their affection for one another grew steadily deeper during their travels in the TARDIS, whether they were stuck in 1950s London, facing down pure evil in the Satan Pit, or battling Cybermen.

But their relationship took a tragic turn during the season two finale episode, “Doomsday,” when the Tenth Doctor (David Tennant) and Rose found themselves separated in parallel universes with no way of being reunited (lest two universes collapse as a result of a paradox). A sobbing Rose told a holographic transmission of the Doctor she loved him, but before he could reply, the transmission cut out, leaving our beloved Time Lord (and most of the audience) with a tear-stained face and two broken hearts all alone in the TARDIS.

J.J. Abrams set to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII”

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It’s not official “Star Wars” director news, but it’s as close as we’ve come so far. Inside sources say that J.J. Abrams is set to direct “Star Wars: Episode VII.”

TheWrap has confirmed with an insider “with knowledge of the production” that Abrams will “take stewardship of one of Hollywood’s most iconic and lucrative film franchises.” Ben Affleck had been considering the gig and was reportedly at the top of Disney’s list before “the lure of the Jedi was too strong” and Abrams decided to take the job.

Though Abrams had denied his involvement in the franchise in the past, it is worth noting that he has nothing next on his directing docket now that he’s done with “Star Trek Into Darkness.” No one from Lucasfilm has confirmed that Abrams has taken the job yet, but president Kathleen Kennedy did tease that the director announcement would come in January.

Once “Star Wars: Episode VII” was announced at the end of October, Abrams’ name quickly jumped to the top of the list of fan-favorite directors that people wanted to see helm the project. It took him about two weeks to say that he had no interest in directing the movie.

“Look, ‘Star Wars’ is one of my favorite movies of all time,” he said. “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!”

If this news is true — and it seems likely that it is — then Abrams will be responsible for two of the biggest nerd franchises around: “Star Trek” and “Star Wars,” Maybe it’s Abrams, not a Skywalker, who was always meant to bring balance to the Force.

“Star Wars: Episode VII” is slated to come out in 2015. Michael Ardnt is writing the screenplay. There’s also a rumor swirling that Zack Snyder will direct a “Seven Samurai”-style “Star Wars” spinoff movie.

Do you think Abrams is a good pick for “Star Wars: Episode VII”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

Is there some truth to the Zack Snyder “Star Wars” spinoff story after all?

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Could Vulture have been right about Zack Snyder after all? The outlet is standing by its story that the “Man of Steel” director is working on a spinoff to “Star Wars” that is inspired by Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai.”

“Vulture takes the accuracy of its reports very seriously,” the site writes. “And while a piece published in The Hollywood Reporter this evening quotes Snyder’s rep as saying that the director “is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars,” Vulture stands by its story. This reporter heard through a source very familiar with the situation that Snyder recently flew up to Marin County to meet with Lucasfilm execs about the project.”

The update continues, “When subsequently reached by Vulture, Snyder’s spokesperson would only repeat that he ‘is’ not currently involved. One should note the possible political ramifications here of our original story break: Snyder’s last Warner Bros. film, Sucker Punch, lost millions for the studio, and execs there could have become distressed at the idea of him getting involved with another studio’s franchise when they have so much at stake with their upcoming Man of Steel and want him available for an immediate sequel.”

Vulture’s report initially came under fire when a spokesperson for Snyder told THR, “While he is super flattered because he is a huge fan, Zack is not involved in any way with the new Star Wars. He is currently in post on his two films, Man of Steel and 300: Battle of Artemisia.” But Vulture now has another person backing its initial claim up: Variety‘s Jeff Sneider.

“No clue how REAL the Zack Snyder – Star Wars offshoot rumors are but I GUARANTEE he met with Kathy Kennedy to pitch her that Seven Jedi idea,” Sneider tweeted.

It sounds like it’s all in the wording, here. Just because Snyder isn’t officially involved in the “Star Wars” universe doesn’t mean he’s not trying to be, and we wouldn’t be surprised if Vulture’s initial claim that Snyder is developing a new “Star Wars” project did end up being true. Stay tuned.

Do you think Snyder would do well with a “Star Wars” film? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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