Some people can’t wait for Star Wars: Episode VII because they love Star Wars. I like Star Wars, but I can’t wait because I find rumors so tiresome, and they’re going to be tiresome for at least a decade as people try to dig up every scrap of information on these movies. We didn’t even report the Emperor Palpatine rumor because it was so thin, but news is slow this morning, and I figured I’d make a comment on how little stock you should put into these early reports. Our test case will be the latest rumor that Obi-Wan Kenobi will be in Episode VII.
Hit the jump for more, and why the Force is weak with this one.
Latino Review reports that Obi-Wan Kenobi will return as a “Force Ghost” (I don’t know if that’s the official terminology, but that’s what LR is calling it) even though Alec Guinness remained a ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi rather than having Ewan McGregor step in like Hayden Christensen. In the new sequels, the ghost will be McGregor because this is the conversation characters should have:
OBI-WAN: Luke, the Force is still strong with you.
LUKE: Who are you?
OBI-WAN: I’m Obi-Wan Kenobi.
LUKE: I can kind of see the resemblance, especially in the voice. But why are you now a young guy?
OBI-WAN: I didn’t know I could look younger until I saw young Anakin as a ghost—
LUKE: That’s who that guy was? I was just smiling politely at him.
OBI-WAN: Yeah, confusing. Anyway, now I’m younger too because who wouldn’t want to look like this?
LUKE: True dat.
Latino Review says they have three sources who have “confirmed” that McGregor will be back to play the role, but LR neglects to mention the script is still being developed. Until casting begins and people are confirmed to play roles, every rumor should be prefaced with “At this time it’s possible” because scripts change. If the Internet had existed in the 1970s (shudder), people could report that the director of American Graffiti was working on a script that involved a guy named Luke Starkiller going after crystals and there was a green alien named Han Solo. Completely true at one point, but now it’s trivia.
I do not like criticizing other sites. Years ago, we engaged in that behavior and it only invited needless conflict. I’ve met guys who’ve worked for Latino Review, and they’re good people. But it’s irresponsible to run a headline reading, “EXCLUSIVE: Obi-Wan Kenobi Set To Return In ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’”. It’s misleading and they’re smart enough to know how the business works.
And for “proof” that McGregor’s interested in returning, they use this interview [via Digital Spy]:
If you don’t want to watch it, here’s his response to if he would be willing to come back:
“I guess, yeah, of course,” McGregor said, when asked whether he would return. “If they need me, yeah, I’d be happy [to go back].”
That’s not a commitment. That an actor making the smart move and not closing a door.
What if this story is true? What if it was based in fact and Obi-Wan really is coming back and McGregor would play him? If so, what happens if McGregor isn’t down with the terms of the contract? Will they recast the role? Will they decide, “Hey! Audiences aren’t dumb, and they’ll understand if we cast an older actor who can do a good Alec Guinness impersonation!” If that happened, this story would cease to be true, and no one would notice because at the speed of the Internet these fly-by-night rumors are forgotten.
And then this is where I completely lose my shit:
But that is not all! Check this out! The interesting part of the conversation I had with my source was that McGregor also wants a solo standalone film! Whether he gets one or not is still up in the air. The other question now is whether or not Hayden Christensen will return.
Really. That’s the other question. Not “How is this going to work?” or “How close is this to actually happening?” or “Who cares what McGregor wants because McGregor isn’t Lucasfilm and doesn’t get to make those calls?”
I don’t mind speculation. It can be fun. But it goes too far when you pass off rumor as fact, and I really wish people would stop doing it.