These days, blockbuster movies are bigger in almost every sense you can imagine — from the budgets to the special effects that are thrown up on the screen. But it also seems that big ticket movies are getting longer too. “Avengers: Age Of Ultron” runs 141 minutes, “Furious 7” clocked in at 137 minutes, “Interstellar” took 169 minutes to explore the galaxy, while “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” ran 142 minutes, and “Transformers: Age Of Extinction” logged 165 minutes. It seems studios want to ensure audiences get the most bang for their buck in every way possible, but “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan is hoping that his film packs a lot of punch in something resembling a more standard running time.
“…this new movie, first of all, it’s turning out really great. J.J. [Abrams] directed it so beautifully, and it’s so exhilarating and everything,” he told Vanity Fair. “It’s a big movie. It’s full of wonderful stuff, incident and character stuff and jokes and effects. One of the things that we always refocus on from the get-go was that it not be one of these very long, bloated blockbusters. A lot of very entertaining movies lately are too long. In the last 20 minutes, you think, why isn’t this over? We didn’t want to make a movie like that. I mean, we were really aiming to have it be—when it’s over you’ll say, ‘I wish there’s more.’ Or, ‘Wait, is it over?’ Because how rarely you get that feeling nowadays, and I think we’re headed there. But it means that there will be constant critical looking at it from now to the end, saying, ‘Do we need this? Do we need that? Is it better if this comes out, even though we love it?’ Killing your darlings.”
Frankly, I love the idea, especially since so many movies these days tend to overstay their welcome and pile on the spectacle until it loses all effect. It should be noted that ‘Star Wars’ hasn’t been immune to running long. “Star Wars: Episode II — The Attack Of The Clones” is the longest entry in the franchise to date at 142 minutes, and perhaps not surprisingly, the first ‘Star Wars’ is the trimmest at 121 minutes. If ‘The Force Awakens’ winds up near that, I’d be pretty happy.
Meanwhile, we all know the “Star Wars” universe is expanding with lots of familiar faces returning. But one actor whose phone hasn’t rung yet is Billy Dee Williams, but he has reason to keep faith. “Right now, there’s no Lando Calrissian in this movie. But Lando I don’t think is finished in any way, shape, or form,” Kasdan teased.
Elsewhere, down the line in the ‘Star Wars’ slate of movies is a Boba Fett spinoff slated for 2018, and, obviously, it’s an important one. “Boba Fett is a high priority among our list,” Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy to Kotaku, but don’t hold your breath for more adventures on Endor. “…seeing how the Ewoks could return is a little harder to imagine. It is quite difficult to give the many stars of ‘Star Wars’ their own stories on film.”
So that’s your latest dose of “Star Wars” news for now. See in your line on December 18th.