It Can’t Be Because of xXx: State of the Union
If you’re like me, you’ve taken all the rumors and news over the last few weeks and thought, “Yeah, JJ Abrams kind of makes sense” (whether or not you like him), or “Lawrence Kasdan coming back… I can see why they’re doing that.” And then there’s, “Simon Kinberg? Really?”
Mr. Kinberg was initially rumored to be working on his own Star Wars standalone screenplay before being confirmed to be consulting on Michael Arndt/JJ Abrams’ EPISODE VII and then confirmed again to be working on his own script as the original rumor suggested.
A quick look at his IMDB listing and you’ll see such films as xXx: State of the Union, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and the reviled X-Men: The Last Stand to his writing credit. Apparently, he developed some unproduced projects at Dreamworks, so it is quite likely that he met Steven Spielberg, and through him, Kathleen Kennedy, which would explain how he got the job on STAR WARS despite those less than stellar films to his credit. But the conspiracy nut in me sees a bit more going on with his hiring than meets the eye.
Mr. Kinberg is also listed on the screenplay of 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, which is generally accepted as a lighter, more fun reimagining of the Holmes story. The playful tone of that movie would be right at home in the STAR WARS galaxy, depending on which character the story focused on. He’s credited as a producer on Neill Blomkamp’s follow-up to District 9, Elysium, which gives him a bit of clout as well. But the thing that intrigues me the most is that he was one of the producers on X-Men: First Class.
First Class was a surprisingly enjoyable movie, and I’ve heard more than one fan argue that it is the first X-Men movie that 20th Century Fox “got right” (despite the radical changes to the comics those films have made). Kinberg certainly would have had a hand in that film’s success, enough of one to be credited as a writer on its sequel, Days of Future Past.
But who directed X-Men: First Class? Matthew Vaughn. The same Matthew Vaughn who is said to be a huge STAR WARS geek (rumor has it that during the production of Vaughn’s Kick-Ass at Elstree Studios, he went and found every spot in the studio where The Empire Strikes Back was shot). He was also rumored to be in the running for the EPISODE VII gig.
This is of course pure speculation (and I can’t stress that enough!), but it could very well be that Kennedy brought on Kinberg (someone she knows) to lure in Matthew Vaughn since the two of them have worked together with good results. If I had to make a guess, that’s where I’d be placing my money. And I’d also be saying that Lawrence Kasdan is doing the Yoda movie, which may be the Seven Samurai-inspired tale that it is rumored they talked to Zack Snyder about.
In any case, whatever is really going on is being played close to the chest, turning the internet world into the wild, wild west again (as it was in The Phantom Menace days). Hopefully something more concrete than attached talent is announced soon. Otherwise, Grando Calrissian may show up and demand a role and a couch to crash on.