[Snyder] is in fact developing a Star Wars project for Lucasfilm that is set within the series’ galaxy, though parallel to the next trilogy. It will be an as-yet-untitled Jedi epic loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai, with the ronin and katana being replaced by the Force-wielding knights and their iconic lightsabers.
We all knew one of the consequences of having the Force merge with the Mouse House would be spin-offs and ancillary works that weren't part of the "main line" of Star Wars films, but still seated comfortably somewhere under its general umbrella. This -- as the Vulture piece goes on to note -- is an eyebrow-raiser, since it was 7Sam that Star Wars itself was at least partly influenced by. (More so and more directly by The Hidden Fortress, but the total package of influences is manifold and evident.)
If this seems like I'm gearing up to scream sacrilege, I'm not. For one, Lucas has done right by Kurosawa many times over -- not just because Star Wars was itself a fine homage to the other man's work (it feels strange to say that now after so much dilution of the brand, but it's true, I tell you), but because Lucas helped co-finance Kagemusha when just about every film studio in Japan no longer considered Kurosawa to be a bankable creative force.
It's also not as grotesque as it might seem in big part because Kurosawa's estate has already given the go-ahead to so many remakes of its own property that another one is just par for the course. Live-action remakes of Sanjuro and The Hidden Fortress; anime reworkings of Seven Samurai (entitled Samurai 7) and Yojimbo (Kaze no Yojimbo), and probably many more that I've missed out on tallying.
So what's one more on the pile -- and, for that matter, one more that brings the cycle of cultural interchange between Kurosawa and those he influenced one more step full circle?
(Side note. For those not in the know, the word "jedi" was derived from Lucas's hearing the word jidai, the Japanese term for period dramas -- like, say, Seven Samurai itself. Such is how deep that particular vein runs.)
EDIT 2013-01-14 21:42: Zack Snyder denies he is working on any such project. That said, my other comments about Lucas and Kurosawa generally still stand.
New York City
Other Lives Of The Mind