Dec 4, 2016

A quick review of 'The Science of Star Wars', a book that explains the science fiction.

A quick review of The Science of Star Wars by Mark Brake and Jon Chase

I was sent a copy of The Science of Star Wars to review. Normally I’d like na, I’ve got to go watch Frozen again but it was a slow news day and I had a long bus ride ahead of me so I took the bait and read the book.

It’s pitched as addressing ‘fifty topics that span the movies’ universe such as battle technology, alien life, space travel, etc. You’ll find fascinating explorations of physics, plausibility, and more. The book addresses many unanswered, burning questions’.

The Science of Star Wars attempts to ground some of Star Wars magical ideas and giant constructions like the Death Star into maths and science. 

And so it proved with an handy discussion about how X-Wings could actually manoeuvre in space during combat and how the X-Wing open wing position is probably only useful for better laser accuracy than offering any fancy extra moves in combat. 

I found that point very interesting. Not a big thing, but a thing that was good to know.

This book is a fairly easy read in the sense that simple language is used to explain what can at times be fairly complex concepts.

Its value can be found in offering those with an inquiring minds good discussion about science in the real world. It’s almost a discussion about science with Star Wars used as the example rather than a book that explains Star Wars.

I’d caution that a casual Star Wars fan may not get much joy from The Science of Stars. It’s certainly best enjoyed by anyone with a bent towards the stars and how they stay up there…

I would recommend this book to a Star Wars fan who was really interested in maths and of course science. It's probably not for a casual Star Wars fan looking to learn something about the Star Wars universe but for the right fan, it would be an excellent Christmas present.

Order it now from Amazon.

The Star Wars Ring Theory proves once and for all that Lucas really knew what he was doing the with Prequel Trilogy

The ring theory of Star Wars

The Star Wars Ring Theory Explained

Star Wars has possibly a deeper narrative than you may have previously thought.

George Lucas said to Vanity Fair in February 2005:

 "The interesting thing about Star Wars—and I didn’t ever really push this very far, because it’s not really that important—but there’s a lot going on there that most people haven’t come to grips with yet. But when they do, they will find it’s a much more intricately made clock than most people would imagine."

This epic essay demonstrates how all 6 Star Wars movies are unified in ways that many people, including myself have quite likely never fully grasped.

It's amazing that it took till 2014 for a copywriter called Mike Klimo to put it all together. 

The crux of the essay is that the 6 films have a deliberate internal 'ring' system where the stories flow in rhythmic pattern. 

While this post is reducing the essay to a very basic form, the premise is that the films relate to each other like this >>>

So the cadence of the story of Star Wars follows a pattern of ABC CBA where each letter relates to the corresponding film in terms of themes and patterns that occur in them. 

The essay is detailed in its thinking. Perhaps a little too smart for its own good in places and may over reaches in others, however it does an extremely fine job of demonstrating the similarities in each of the films, the call backs to each other that they make and the ‘meaningful coincidences’ that permeate the films.

We do really suggest you take 20 - 30 minutes to have a read.

If you don’t here’s some interesting takeaways from it that explores the relationships between the films.

The essay covers things in way more depth with some great use of comparative images from each movie. 

Phantom Menace’s Relationship to Jedi

  • Each films beginning scenes are very similar. Menace features Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan delivering the Chancellor’s demands in hopes of settling a conflict between the Trade Federation and the Naboo. Jedi features 'brobots' C3PO and R2D2 delivering Luke Skywalker’s message in hopes of settling the conflict between Jabba the Hutt and Han Solo. Both scene's feature the infamous Star Wars quote “I have a bad feeling about this.”
  • The trap that Emperor sets for Luke and his friends in Jedi is the result of him confirming to himself that his ‘flaw of compassion’ strategy will work as it did when he enticed Amidala to come to him in The Phantom Menace. He learned that compassion and fear can be used for his advantage, and he did the same over Luke in Jedi.
  • Jedi and Menace’s finale both feature a saber fight, a space battle and a land battle. 
  • C3PO's eyes are fixed by Anakin, Salacious Crumb eats one.
  • The pod race in Menace and the speeder bike chase in Jedi occur at the half way point of both movies.
  • In terms of the broader story of Anakin’s destiny started in Menace it is only fulfilled when Luke fulfills his (kind of a ring within a ring moment).

The inverted relationship of Attack of the Clones and The Empire Strikes Back

  • Clones begins with three small ships accompanying a larger ship and Empire features an ending where the Falcon escapes being chased by three tie fighters. 
  • Clones starts high in the clouds, ends in caves. Empire starts low (swamps of Degobah?) and ends high in the Cloud City.
  • Anakin uses Padme as bait to lure out an assassin. Vader users Han, Leia and Chewie as bait to lure out Luke, each trap leading to the intended trap victim blowing out throw a window. 
  • Obvious reference points are the Fetts, an asteroid belt scene, C3PO getting dismantled (Die Jedi Dogs!)
  • The bounty hunter losing her arm in the beginning of Clones mirrors the Wampa losing his arm at the beginning of Empire both moments serve to foreshadow a Skywalker each losing a limb in either movie.
  • Anakin finding his mother and killing everybody in the camp is the same emotional journey that Luke goes through when he enters the cave on Dagobah. Both scenes reflect the both the father and son’s descent into their own darkness of personality.
  • If one considers the first act of Jedi as the last act of Empire (which kinda makes sense) other similarities include the monsters in the arena and Jabba’s pit, a Skywalker using a green light saber for the first time, a Fett dying moments after a jet pack malfunction, Padme and Leia using a chain to kill a beast and a common sexual element in terms of those female characters clothes (the bikini however being more overt than Padme’s naked midriff but sometimes less is more….)
  • The two films are opposites in that Empire featured it’s great battle at the start, Clones the end as the Separatists tangled with the Republic. In a similar manner, Empire’s colour palette changes from blue (Hoth) to red (Cloud City skies) and Clones begins with Blue (Coursucant and Kamino) and ends with Red (Geneonis). 

The pairing of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope

  • The beginning is the end – the Invisible Hand ship serves as Palpatine’s throne room when he orders Anakin to execute Count Dooku and then escapes. Which mirrors the last half of a New Hope when Luke rescues Leia from Vader. 
  • In Sith, a clone pilot gives the order, “Set S-foils in attack position.” In A New Hope, after the X-Wing pilots report in, Red Leader orders his men to “Lock S-foils in attack position.” Many other comments are variants of each other. 
  • R2D2 uses his arm tool while in the trench run in ANH and the space battle in Sith. 
  • At some shenanigans on the Invisible Hand that mirrored the events on the Death Star Grevious mocks the Jedi with “That wasn’t much of a rescue” which practically is dripping the same sarcasm that Leia delivered with “This is some rescue!”
  • Other mirroring moments include Luke realising why the Jawa were slaughtered to rush and find his family dead, and Obi Wan and Yoda encounter dead children as they enter the Jedi Temple, C3PO drives Padme and Luke various places.
  • General Grevious being mostly a robot with breathing difficulty reflects the introduction of Vader and his famous breathing technique. 
  • Both the last act of Sith and the first act of A New Hope famously feature the sword fights between a Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi
  • Vader’s late appearance at the end of Sith ties nicely to Vader’s early entrance as he boards the Tantive IV at the beginning of ANH. 
  • C3PO says the last and first line of each movie. 
  • Yoda feeling the death of hundreds of Jedi after Order 66 is given, mirrors Obi Wan feeling the death of the people of Alderaan.
So as we said, these are just some of the elements that we found interesting in the essay.

You might like to to read this interview with Mike Klimo - it offers some sweet insight into how he went about writing the essay. 

If this wonderful theory is true, the way George would have done is that he manged to get a strong story going with the original trilogy tales and when he was doing the prequels he would have been able to write the scripts to suit the ABCCBA relationship.

What do you think of this ring theory?

It seems pretty strong.

Rogue One also continues this concept a bit. Where A New Hope started with Darth Vader dressed in black being surrounded by his white Storm Troopers, Rogue One reverses this with Krennic dressed in white being surrounded by his black suited Deathtroopers. 

Let's play spot the cameo appearance in Rogue One

Cameo appearances in Rogue One 

Star Wars films has become a pretty handy vehicle for featuring pretty awesome cameo appearances both by those involved with the film's production and some genuinely famous actors having brief on screen moments.

The world lost its proverbial when it was realized that James Bond appeared as a Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens so what has happened with Rogue One?

List of Rogue One cameo appearances

  • Warwick Davis has yet another turn at a cameo in a Star Wars movie. His role means he has played a different character in all the films 10 times by my reckoning.
  • Alan Tudyk obviously plays Enforcer Robot, K-250. He filmed a small cameo as a pilot called Wray Nerely but it was cut out. So no 'leaf on the wind' moment for him!
  • Ben Nathaniels, well known for The Exorcist and House of Cards has a small but pivotal role as General Merrick, the salty old soldier who leads an X-Wing Squadron. 
  • Taking a leaf from Alfred Hitchcock's playbook, Director Gareth Edwards makes a secret costumed cameo.
  • Where think this might be stretching things a little but Jimmy Smits returns as Bail Organa. Smits played the role in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Bringing the character back is a wink and a nod of sorts so arguably is a cameo due to the small amount of screen time.
  • Ingvild Deila briefly plays Princess Leia at the end of the movie.

Dec 1, 2016

19 awesome facts about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One facts and trivia

Facts and trivia about Rogue One

Here's some facts and trivia about the development, production and detail of Rogue One, the first Star Wars anthology film.
  1. The film's working title was 'Red Cup'. Star Wars films have an odd naming history.
  2. Its place in the Star Wars time line is just before A New Hope. It is also 5 years after the Star Wars Rebels television show.
  3. Visual effects legend John Knoll came up with the story. He pitched it to Kathleen Kennedy and the rest is history.
  4. Doug Chiang is the production designer. His claim to fame is design work on the prequel trilogies.
  5. Garry Whitta wrote the first draft of the screenplay and came up with the film's title. Gary is known for his work on The Book of Eli and After Earth.
  6. Screenwriter and director Christopher McQuarrie did a two week pass on the script post Whitta's effort. McQuarrie is best known for winning an Oscar for scripting The Usual Suspects and has had a strong career since so his involvement is notable. 
  7. This is the first Star Wars movie where the title of the movie is said. Bodhi Rook says it, confirming the title of the movie is a call sign.
  8. Alan Tudyk plays Enforcer Robot, K-250. He filmed a small cameo as a pilot called Wray Nerely but it was cut out.
  9. It is the first big screen Star Wars movie that John Williams has not recorded the score for. Michael Giacchino composed the music for Rogue One.
  10. The "I don't like you either" guy, Dr. Evazan as a blink and you'll miss him cameo. You'll remember his as they guy giving Luke Skywalker a hard time in the Cantina Bar in ANH, a hard time until Obi-Wan stepped in and sorted things out.
  11. Genevieve O'Reilly reprised her role as Mon Mothma, whom she previously played in Revenge of the Sith.
  12. Jimmy Smits also returns as Leia's father, Bail Organna. He played supporting roles in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith
  13. Character 'Saw Gerrera' original featured in Star Wars: Clone Wars television show. Gerrera is played by Oscar winner, Forrest Whitaker.
  14. The planet Jedha features a place known as the 'Temple of the Whills'. This is a great reference to some obscure Star Wars trivia - The Journal of the Whills was a formal record of history, maintained by a beings known as The Whills. During the original Star Wars writing period, George Lucas had the idea that R2D2 relayed the stories he knew to the Whills so that the Skywalker saga could be recorded for all time.
  15. It was Donnie Yen's idea for his character Chirrut Imwe to be blind. Director Gareth Edwards thought it was cool and ran with it. Yen initially turned down the role when it was first offered to him however when he told his kids about the chance, they were so excited, he changed his mind.
  16. In Saw Gerrera's cave there are paintings of monsters from director Gareth Edward's prior movies, Monsters and Godzilla. 
  17. Chris Weitz, one of the scriptwriters, said that one of the titles of the movie that was 'kicked around' for Rogue One was 'Dark Times'.
  18. Gareth Edwards has a secret costumed cameo appearance.
  19. Where A New Hope started with Darth Vader in black being surrounded by his white Storm Troopers, Rogue One reverses this with Krennic dressed in white being surrounded by his black Deathtroopers. A continuation of Lucas' Ring Theory perhaps?

Did you like all of that? Here's 111 more facts about the Star Wars films.

Nov 29, 2016

When is a Jedi not a Jedi? When the New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs says so.

Luke at Jabba's Palace concept art

When is a Jedi not a Jedi? When the NZ Department of Internal Affairs says so.

The Department of Internal Affairs has rejected a request by the Jedi Society Incorporated to be recognised as a legitimate charitable endeavour, with all the tax-free benefits that entails.

The Jedi Society was formed partly due as a response to the New Zealand official Census not recognised as an official religion of forms that are required to be filled out in NZ when the Census occurs every four years.

This was despite the Church of Scientology managing to get on the list, that being a religion apparently founded on science fiction novels.

The report of the Charities Registration Board considered that Jedi Society could not be recognised as a charity under the act and noted at paragraph 2:

“The Board considers that the Society does not meet the requirements for registration under the Act. The Board is not satisfied that the Society is established and maintained for exclusively charitable purposes. Specifically, the Board considers that the Society does not advance religion or promote a moral or spiritual improvement in a manner consistent with the case law”.

This ruling of course flies in the faces of established Star Wars canon as even the great Han Solo himself recognises that the religion practiced by Old Ben Kenobi was ‘hokey’ but a religion none-the-less. 

That said, the Board specifically appears to reject Jedi’s mythological content coming from the Star Wars films as a reason for its credibility as a religion:

Maybe there is a Sith Lord on the board? A hidden Knight of Ren pulling strings in the Wellington beltway? We jest. There’s no way the Wellington beauracracy would let such a thing happen…

Bacvk to reality, if you want to know more about churches in Star Wars, check out The Church of the Force and it's part in The Force Awakens.

We’ve finally seen everything: Admiral Ackbar as a Playboy Bunny cosplayer

Ackbunny cosplay
My eyes are up here, boys
This most definitely the weirdest Star Wars cross over we’ve ever seen – Jenny Newman has come up with an incredibly odd cosplay riff – a female Mon Calamari as a classic Play Boy bunny waitress!

In a classic play on "it's a trap", comes "it's a frap!"

it's a frape! ackbunny cosplay

Here’s Jenny after her day out as Admiral Ackbunny at the Star Wars celebration event:

Did you know Carrie Fisher once appeared in a Playboy article? The mind boggles...

Nov 27, 2016

Ten oddly interesting facts about Mos Eisely, a well known hive of scum and villany

Mos Eisley

Facts about Mos Eisely

Ben Kenobi famously described Mos Eisely as a hive of scum and villany where people need to be cautious. The place has become a cultural touch stone in many ways.

It's where the Stormtroopers didn't find the droids they were looking for. It's where Luke had his first drink in a bar and it's where Han shot first.

They even named a whiskey after the place in the film Young Adult.

So what's there to know about the place? Here's some facts:
  • The first view of Mos Eisley in Star Wars where Obi Wan delivers his famous quote about it being a place of villany and scum, is was shot from a place called Death Valley in California from what is known as Dante's View. with a matte painting added in the distance to create the visual.
  • The real-world locations for places around Mos Eisley were filmed in Tunisia
  • Check out the drink dispensers from the Cantina - one of them was recycled into assassin droid IG-88.
  • The name of the famous cantina is Chalmun's Cantina. A well known haunt of freighter pilots and a host of other dangerous characters it is where Han shot Greedo first and where Obi Wan cut off Ponda Baba's arm
  • The Cantina had a 'no droids' policy. 
  • The name of hangar where the Millennium Falcon takes off from in A New Hope is docking Bay 94.
  • If you want to know more about IG-88, check out the short story in which he attempts to take over the world.
  • The band that plays the famous "Cantina' music is called Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. The bald players are known as Biths. You can hire them for weddings but I wouldn't recommend it.

What are the best Star Wars toys for Christmas Presents?

What are the best Star Wars toys for Christmas Presents? What's this Rogue One business?

Coming up to Christmas, it's time to think about ideas for presents for the kids and the kid you know who never grew up.

You can't really go wrong with Star Wars presents so here's what we are picking will be the must have Star Wars toys and products that every young fan will be looking forward to finding in their Christmas stockings! These are great gift ideas and are nearly guaranteed to not disappoint!

Every link below will take you to Amazon where you can check out the price and product details and make your order.

We suggest you get in early so there will be no disappointment come delivery times in late December.

Amazon do a great job, but get in as early as you can.

Rogue One will be the highest demanded toys!

Let's start with the elephant in the room, being Star Wars: Rogue One.

Timed for release just before Christmas, the cash in on tie-in products will be monumental. With new characters and vehicles and space ships, comes a fantastic range of figures and models to choose as gifts.

This will be the number Star Wars present for 2016 - The Star Wars: Rogue One Rebel U-Wing Fighter

The U-Wing looks to be one of the coolest things in Rogue One, but it is guaranteed to be on the hot list of many boys and girls coming into Christmas

Arise, Lord Vader

The return of the Darkest Sith Lord himself, Darth Vader having some scenes in Rogue One is hugely anticipated.

It's one of the most blatant cash ins in movie history bringing back Darth Vader but who are we to argue when there is so much cool character merchandise to share with our loved ones!

Have a Jyn and tonic

While Darth Vader looms large over the movie, the hero of the piece is Jyn Erso.

She's the lastest female lead in a Star Wars film after the great step forward that Rey took and the boy and girls are no doubt keen to snap up her figurine:


If Jedi clashing with Sith and Han Solo were not enough to keep Star Wars fans entertained, the space ships certainly add to the adventure.

While the Millennium Falcon doesn't feature in Rogue One, there were plenty of new space ships added and the models of them will make excellent Christmas and birthday gifts (someone please tell my wife!?).

Our favourite thus so far is the U-Wing. It also comes as a Lego version!

The Force Awakens

Not to be forgotten, there is still plenty of awesome The Force Awakens gear to be had. The BB-8 remote control droid is still a very popular toy.

A big seller as is the face of the whole merchandise packaging for TFA, Kylo Ren.

Star Wars Lego

Lego is a classic children's gift and is an ideal Christmas gift idea. Lego is one of the worlds most enduring play toys and translates very well into the Star Wars line.

While the giant Death Star might be out of most buyer price ranges, there are many affordable Lego sets that make great stocking stuffers.

Star Wars Lego Video Games

If the child or young person you are buying for has an Xbox or Play Station, you could always consider gifting them one of the Lego video games.

Lego has done a fine job turning all the Star Wars movies into video games.

They are deceptively fun games that take classic moments from the films and turn them into small problem solving set pieces. Many an hour can be spent playing through them, especially as some of them have over 50 playable characters!

We had particular fun ourselves with the Original Trilogy game that came out about 10 years ago! The current Lego version of The Force Awakens has been a very popular version of the format, especially as it features the voice acting talent of Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford.

The older kids (and Dads...) might like to have a crack at Star Wars: Battlefield.

Nov 25, 2016

10 perculiar facts and triva about the man who composed all the Star Wars music, John Williams

John Williams conducting
Daaaa Na!
John Williams is cinema’s most celebrated composer and one of the true reasons behind the success of the Star Wars movies.

He’s been in the music making business for over 60 years and has produced some of the most famous musical works in history.



Indiana Jones.

E.T. Schindler’s List and Star Wars.

And those are just the movies we like. Apparently Harry Potter has a good theme ;)

Here's some key points, facts and triva from William's most extraordinary career:
  • Started out as a jazz pianist for hire. His early work with the famous Peter Mancini opened up many opportunities for him. 
  • He’s had to 'thank the Academy' 5 times thanks to his scores for films, Fiddler on the Roof, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T., and Schindler’s List. That's fine haul of Oscars (Star Wars has a few awards too!).
  • In 1974,  the not yet famous director Steven Spielberg approached Williams to compose the music for his feature directorial debut, The Sugarland Express. They teamed up again a year later for Spielberg's second film, Jaws. This success lead to Spielberg recommending Williams' services as a composer to George Lucas, who needed a composer to score Star Wars. The rest is history.
  • The original Star Wars sound track remains the highest grossing non-popular music recording of all-time
  • In 1999, George Lucas launched the first of a series of prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy. Williams returned for all 3 films meaning the combined scores of all six Star Wars films add up to more than 14 hours of orchestral music. His Duel of the Fates and Across the Stars are considered by man fans as being just as good as his themes from the original films.
  • Williams has been nominated for over 40 Grammy Awards, winning over 20 times.
  • Has had four of his themes chart on the American Billboard Charts:
    • 1975 – "Theme From Jaws," Highest position No. 32
    • 1977 – "Star Wars Theme – Main Title," No. 10
    • 1978 – "Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind," No. 13
    • 1979 – "Theme From Superman," No. 81
  • This next one is a little far out - John's son Joseph is the lead singer for the band Toto! Not the original singer mind you, but the singer right now!
  • Williams has also composed music for television - some well known works included Lost in Space, Heidi, and Gilligan's Island. 
  • Such was the success of their working relationship, Williams has, to date, scored every sound track for Steven Spielberg's films with the exception of The Color Purple. 
  • Rogue One is the first Star Wars film for which he will not record the score.

Nov 24, 2016

13 lucky facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

leia kissing a guard
Don't ask about what's happening here.

13 lucky facts about the making of the Return of the Jedi

For this writer, Jedi was the first Star Wars movie I ever saw on the silver screen.

I must have been 6.

It was awesome.

I was given a book where you played a cassette along at the same time and I duly memorised it.

I also recall borrowing the novelisation (with pictures) a million times from the school library.

And now too many years later here I am blathering on a facts and trivia about the making of the movie....

Here's 13 awesome bits trivia and facts about the effort that when into the making of Return of the Jedi:

  1. Ewoks were a late addition to the Star Wars mythology. Their part in the story was to be played by the Wookiees, but by the time Lucas and his production partners sat down to write Return of The Jedi, they realized that, because Chewbacca could fly the Millennium Falcon, repair the ship and operate pretty much any weapon or machine in the known universe, they'd made the Wookiees too technologically advanced for the plot.
  2. Yoda was to sit this one out, but he was added after consultation with child psychologists helped George Lucas decide he needed an independent character to confirm Darth Vader's claim that he is Luke Skywalker's father. Now you know why Yoda doesn't do much for the rest of the movie. That and the fact he died of old age.
  3. "It's a trap," which is arguably the most famous line in the movie, was, incredibly, not in the screenplay. The line was scripted as "It's a trick!" and was later changed post-filming after a test screening because, let's face it, "it's a trick" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
  4. Admiral Ackbar's backstory is that he was once the slave of Grand Moff Tarkin, as well as his personal pilot. This is no longer canon. 
  5. Ben Kingsley, who played the title role in the 1982 movie Gandhi, read for the role of Emperor Palpatine and “was considered ‘very English.’ That said, Palpatine was eventually played be Englishman Ian McDiarmid...
  6. David Lynch was originally offered the chance to direct this episode of the series. He turned it down because he believed it was "Lucas' thing." He went on to direct Dune instead.
  7. In the DVD 2004 release, Sebastian Shaw (older Anakin Skywalker) is replaced in the celebration scene by Hayden Christensen. Many fans did not understand, nor appreciate this.
  8. Darth Vader's funeral pyre was added at the very last minute, long after principle photography and pick-ups had wrapped. The scene was thrown together and shot near the hills of Skywalker Ranch.
  9. It took six people to work the full-sized animatronic of Jabba the Hutt.
  10. This is the first Star Wars film to show a lights saber combat something other than another light saber. Luke on the Sail Barge fights guards with staffs and blasters. This perhaps a call back to the original movie where Luke wears a blaster helmet and tries to anticipate shots from the Remote on the Millennium Falcon. This shows the progress Luke has made as a Jedi Knight.
  11. Listen very carefully as Darth Vader picks up the Emperor and throws him down the Death Star shaft. This is the only time the Jedi theme music plays over a shot of Vader, reflecting his return to the light side of the Force.
  12. After appearing in this film, Wedge becomes the only X-wing pilot character (apart from Luke) who survives all three major battles in the films.
  13. The film was originally going to be called Revenge of the Jedi until Lucas decided that Jedi do not seek revenge. This was quite late in the production so there was a lot of promotional gear with the title already printed on it. 
This was just a taste of the vast amount of ROTJ trivia out there - if want more try this book, The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by J. W. Rinzler.

Bonus fact - Alan Rickman auctioned for the role of Jer Jerrod. 

Bonus picture of the Death Star II being built:

building the death star

Do you want more Star Wars trivia? Check out these 101 intriguing facts about Star Wars