Frank Marshall says ‘Star Wars’ director search is winding down

The announcement of who is directing “Star Wars Episode VII” cannot come quickly enough.  At this point, I want it to happen because I can’t believe I’m writing one news story a day about a movie that will not be in theaters until 2015.

Frank Marshall, husband to Kathleen Kennedy, who is now the president of Lucasfilm, was cornered by MTV.com and gave them precisely the sort of non-interview that is going to end up being widely reported in the absence of anything concrete.  Marshall knows why, too.  As he mentions to MTV, this is going to be perhaps the most hyped blockbuster film of all time, and for those of us who were doing this during the build-up to “The Phantom Menace,” that is a slightly terrifying proposition.

According to Marshall, the hunt is down to “a couple of candidates,” which seems right to me.  As I said in the piece yesterday about reactions from Jon Favreau and JJ Abrams, I’m betting they are further along in this process than the press realizes.  The announcement of the Disney/Lucasfilm deal caught everyone off-guard, and since that moment, we’ve been playing catch-up.

The timetable on this one is going to have to be fairly aggressive, and I would expect that not long after they’ve made the announcement about who is directing, they’ll start giving us casting news quickly.  As interested as I am about the returning cast like Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher or Harrison Ford, I’m far more interested to see which new actors join the world, and how much Lucasfilm is willing to reveal about those characters and when.

It seems like StarWars.com is gearing up to be a more open and active place during the production of this one, but if anyone knows how to draw things out and get the maximum amount of hype out of the most innocuous statements, it is Lucasfilm, and just because Kathleen Kennedy is in charge, I don’t think that’s going to automatically mean that everything runs differently this time.  It may be a matter of degrees, but when the mere mention of your film from a director or a producer not associated with it at all is enough to cause headlines everywhere, you don’t have to push too hard to get publicity.

While Marshall isn’t directly connected to “Star Wars,” he would be involved if there was another “Indiana Jones” film, and his comments about that series seem to indicate that it’s going to be a long time before we hear any news related to Dr. Jones.  That’s probably a good thing after “Crystal Skull,” and Lucasfilm’s focus has to be on getting “Star Wars” up and running for now.

“Star Wars Episode VII” will be in theaters in 2015.