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May 25, 2016

Rogue One / VII cast poster art revealed for Celebration

Star Wars celebration 2016 Poster


To help promote STAR WARS CELEBRATION EUROPE 2016 a poster featuring some the cast from Star Wars VIII and Rogue One has been released. For fans looking for insight into the R1 movie, note on the poster is a new class of AT-AT: the AT-ACT, or All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport.

This poster is just one more in a long line of Star Wars posters...

May 22, 2016

The complete list of Star Wars film release dates


The complete list of Star Wars film release dates

The release of Star Wars films are some of the most anticipated dates in film history. While everyone when nuts with impatience in the year Empire was released, arguably the most anticipated dates in Star Wars film history were those for The Phantom Menace and The Force Awakens.

Here's a list of all the Star Wars film dates, and yes, we threw into the list the animated The Clone Wars film, and the two Ewok adventure spins offs as they are all part of the Star Wars family (who doesn't love a Gorax!). Yes, you too Star Wars Holiday movie.

Film Release date

A New Hope May 25, 1977
Star Wars Holiday Special November 17, 1978
The Empire Strikes Back May 21, 1980
Return of the Jedi May 25, 1983
Caravan of Courage November 25, 1984
The Battle for Endor November 24, 1985
The Phantom Menace May 19, 1999
Attack of the Clones May 16, 2002
Star Wars: The Clone Wars August 10, 2008
Revenge of the Sith May 19, 2005
The Force Awakens  December 18, 2015
Rogue One December 16, 2016
Episode VIII December 15, 2017
Episode IX May 24, 2019

So of these movies, the Holiday special and the two Ewok movies are no longer considered official canon.

You'll note that for the first six 'big movies' they traditionally had a release date of sometime in the month of may. New Hollywood marketing realities since those movies were made (and a delay in the production of The Force Awakens) meant the December Christmas Holiday season is the favoured release window.

May 17, 2016

Who else gets the feeling a lot of characters are going to die in Rogue One?


Who else gets the feeling a lot of characters are going to die in Rogue One?

Unless Disney is saving up their Rebels for Rogue Two, we’re pretty sure that a LOT of rebel characters are going to die in Rogue One.  It’s not quite the Han Solo route, but it’s up there. This is a heist movie. It needs suspense. Will the heroes live or die? We’ve complained before that with big budget films, too many good guys win at the end of the day (as no one likes a downer ending right? Wrong). But we get tired of that. We want to see things get real.

Wil this Death Squad will certain er.... death. 
And just like Harrison Ford agreeing to do just one more Star Wars film, this Rogue One prequel gives the filmmakers a massive opportunity to raise the ‘will they survive’ ante. They can afford to do it as this particular movie does not tie into the original trilogy in the sense that this film’s characters turn up in (Mon Mothma and Darth Vader excluded). 

That means it doesn’t matter if Jyn or Chirrut or K-250 die as it will be of no consequence to the Star Wars franchise going forward. It will merely add to the drama of Rogue One.

So, Rogue One can have an epic ending where it really is life or death for the characters and viewers can go along for that ride in the cinema. As the Death Star’s plans get closer and closer to being Leia’s grasp, the stakes can be raised. All it will take is for one character to survive. If that’s the case, we’d put good money on Jyn surviving and everyone else to die trying. Hope fully Lord Vader’s saber gets to play a bit of a hand in that!

May 16, 2016

Who or what is the Blue Snaggletooth? And what is the truth?


The Blue Snaggletooth is one of the rarest Star Wars figurines - its design was part guess, part screw up. But wait, is there a alternative truth. Something that comes from a certain perspective. 

Snaggletooth, was originally released by toy maker Kenner in 1979 as part of a 'Star Wars Cantina Adventure' set. He came with three other friends, Hammerhead, Walrusman and the eponymous Greedo

Their faces were sculpted rather accurately by Kenner when compared to how they appeared in the original Star Wars movie, but what they did to their clothes (and sometimes physiology) has amused figurine collectors for years since.

With only a black-and-white headshot photo of Snaggletooth to go on, Kenner effectively made-up what it thought the character looked like, giving the alien human proportions a lovely blue suited costume to wear. It was quite the dapper costume.

The  actual movie version of Snaggletooth is actually half the height and wears a red outfit. Once this 'mistake' was confirmed, the correct version of Snaggletooth was re-produced and released. This meant that original Blue Snaggletooth is now a rare find and a prize worth to any Star Wars collectors top shelf. 

THAT ABOVE IS THE LEGEND. HERE IS THE TRUTH:

It can be argued that Kenner didn't really make a mistake with their design. If you want the real truth you have to go to the official Star Wars site where they lay it out:

"The funny thing is that Kenner actually wasn’t mistaken. Snivvians, the species of Snaggletooth, are average sized and more than one does appear in the classic trilogy. The character that inspired Kenner to create a smaller Snaggletooth didn’t even appear in Star Wars. It was a smaller female Snivvian called Zutmore who appeared in The Star Wars Holiday Special, seen on the photo Kenner used for the figure’s card. The Snivvians that appeared in Star Wars are often documented in black and white photographs and while they sport a hunchback, neither is short in height."

So there you have it. Every other website seems to report that the design of Snaggletooth was done in some kind of vacumn - however

Fun Fact One: The legend of the Blue Snaggletooth is so well established that you can still buy the figurine on Amazon.

Fun Fact Two: Walrusman was eventually renamed - Ponda Baba, and the rest is history. 

May 2, 2016

A brief design history of Darth Vader

Early concept of a young Starkiller dueling Vader
Kylo Ren may be obsessed with Darth Vader but the rest of the world got there well before him. In 1977 to be exact when Vader stepped into the Tantive  IV and threw a few Rebels about. As he did so, he stepped into movie infamy as one of the greatest villains ever.

We have a theory that one of the key reasons why that happened was the look of Vader. He was like a caped black knight, spewing evil from that robotic face. Not to mentioning that terse, measured breathing that was utterly terrifying. It was just sinister. Vader was a big deal, even before the most infamous reveal of his fathering Luke Skywalker.

Indeed Pierre Christin, a noted comic creator who had some influence over Star Wars, had this to say on why we love Vader, “A villain like Darth Vader is simply a cinematic flash of genius, destined to be a great film icon forever. The reason we fear him so much is because he partly reflects ourselves.”

 So we love Vader because we fear him. Got it, thanks French dude.

So what were the elements that went into the design of Darth Vader? Who came up with him and his look? Read on, Star Wars fan, read on.

How did the concept of Vader come to being?

George Lucas is the father of Darth Vader. When Lucas was throwing around ideas for his ‘Journal of the Whills’ concept he wrote down the name of ‘General Vader’ who he noted was an imperial commander.

The character was described as a “tall, grim looking general”. Lucas also wrote down ideas for 'Knights of the Sith', a character called 'Kane Starkiller' who was a cyborg. Eventually Lucas fashioned the character as a 'Black Knight of the Sith' who served the 'Master of Sith'.

Initially Vader did not have his famous helmet. Lucas had suggested his face be obscured by a black silk scarf.  This was during 1975 at which time Lucas asked Ralph McQuarrie to turn this concept into a drawn character. When McQuarrie learned that Vader (as it was then in the script) was to cross through the cold vacuum of space to enter Leia’s spaceship, he added the mask. Obviously the reasons for Vader needing the mask were made more interesting later on.

McQuarrie delivered duly delivered some concept art:

Early Darth Vader concept designs
Early Darth Vader concept designs
A costume designer by the name of John Mollo was given these sketches and told to get to work. He was inspired by samurai influences (which would have pleased Lucas given his penchant for Akira Kurosawa movies) and Nazi uniform and armour that was used in the trench battles of World War I. In keeping with this minor Nazi influence, Stormtroopers were named after specialist German soldiers from the same era.

Brian Muir made the actual helmet and mask, fashioning early sculptures out of clay. He did his sculpting over a plaster head of David Prowse. He’s a great interview with Muir explaining the process.

Fun fact: Vader’s armour was given the serial number E-3778Q-1M.

That voice

During filming, David Prowse did the actions and also voiced the character believing he would be doing the final recordings as well. Lucas had other ideas and tried to hire the great film maker Orson Welles (check out his VO work in as Unicron in Transformers Animated Movie!) with no success. This was just as well for James Earl Jones got the gig and Vader’s final ingredient was found. Jones recorded his lines in 2 and half hours. Jones also chose to not receive an on screen credit as he thought his role was too small. This was eventually rectified when Star Wars become a global smash again with Empire Strikes Back.

That breathing

Ben Burtt invented the sound by recording him using a scuba breathing apparatus. The microphone was placed in the regulator. To get the sound just right, these recordings were played in empty rooms and re-recorded to get that ‘from the helmet’ sounding effect.

Who was that guy that played Vader in Jedi?

During ANH and TESB, David Prowse did the body work for the character. Bob Anderson did the heavy lifting. Come time for the finale of Jedi, there was a need to show Vader’s face. It was the big reveal moment, father and son eyeballing each other for the first, and last time in their lives. Veteran English actor Sebastian Shaw was hired. His scene was filmed in secret so as to hold off on the ‘surprise’ as long as possible. It is Shaw who stands as a Force ghost with Yoda and Obi-Wan in the original form, replaced by Hayden Christiansen in the Special Edition.

Coming back to Kylo Ren for a moment – When Luke Skywalker ceremonially cremated his father's armour on the moon of Endor in Jedi, Vader’s helmet featured on the pyre. This specific prop was an old promotional mask that was used from the promotional touring that took place after the premiere of A New Hope. The mask and helmet that Kylo Ren is holding when he talks to his grandfather Vader in The Force Awakens has been retrieved from the pyre.