Feb 23, 2018

Quotes about the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars

The Enterprise

Alien's Nostromo

Firefly's Serenity

The Last Star Fighter

These ships might come marginally close to be interesting BUT everyone knows what the Falcon is.

If there is one space ship above all space ships in the history of film space ships, it's the Millennium Falcon.

It's the fast hunk of junk around! And according to Rey, it will do!

Here's some quotes from the four Star Wars movies where the characters have talked about the actual ship.

A New Hope

Luke Skywalker on laying eyes on the Millennium Falcon for the first time: What a piece of junk!
Han Solo: She'll make point five past lightspeed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've made a lot of special modifications myself.

Han Solo: Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi: Should I have?
Han Solo: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. I've outrun Imperial starships. Not the local bulk cruisers mind you, I'm talking about the big Corellian ships now. She's fast enough for you old man. What's the cargo?

Princess Leia to Han Solo and Luke: You came in that thing? You're braver than I thought ...

The Empire Strikes Back

Princess Leia: This bucket of bolts's never gonna get us past that blockade.
Admiral Piett: Lord Vader, our ships have completed their scan of the area and found nothing. If the Millennium Falcon went into light-speed, it'll be on the other side of the galaxy by now.

Darth Vader: There will be a substantial reward for the one who finds the Millennium Falcon. You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. No disintegrations.
Boba Fett: As you wish.

The Millennium Falcon, under siege from the Empire, won't start:
Princess Leia: Would it help if I got out and pushed?
Han Solo:t might!

C-3PO to R2D2: No! We're not interested in the hyperdrive on the Millenium Falcon, it's fixed!
C-3PO: Just open the door, you stupid lug!
C-3PO: I never doubted him for a second! Wonderful!

Darth Vader: Yes, Admiral?
Admiral Piett: Our ships have sighted the Millennium Falcon, Lord. But it has entered an asteroid field and we can not risk...
Darth Vader: [interrupting Piet] Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral! I want that ship, not excuses!

"You know, that ship's saved my life quite a few times. She's the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy!"

Lando: Punch it!
The engine fails.
Lando: They told me they fixed it! I trusted them to fix it! It's not my fault!

Return of the Jedi

Han Solo: Look. I want you to take her. I mean it. Take her. You need all the
help you can get. She's
the fastest ship in the fleet.
Lando Calrissian: All right, old buddy. You know, I know what she means to you. I'll take
good care of her.
She-she won't get a scratch. All right?
Han Solo: Right. I got your promise now. Not a scratch.
Lando Calrissian: Look, would you get going, you pirate.

The Force Awakens

Finn and Rey are desperately running to a ship to avoid the attack of the two TIE fighters.
Finn: 'what about that ship?'

Finn points offs creen to his right

Rey: 'that ship is garbage!'

The ship they were running to explodes as a TIE lands a direct hit.

Rey: 'garbage will do!'

This is the moment the Falcon is revealed to applause to from every theatre that first enjoyed this gag.

The Last Jedi

Finn says when the Falcon joins the Battle of Crait "Ah they hate that ship!"

Solo: A Star Wars story

Time will tell but we're pretty confident she's going to be subject to a bet!

The Falcon features so much in the story but have you  ever wondered how Lucas came with with the name?

Feb 20, 2018

The influence of Frank Herbert's Dune novel on Star Wars

A look at how the Dune book influenced George Lucas' first Star Wars film script

We have covered many times that George Lucas soaked up a thousand different inspirations from books and films that he wove into the grand tapestry of Star Wars.

We've looked at war films, country and westerns,  Akira Kurosawa and even the novels of Edgar Rice Borrows.

We have however always shied away somewhat from Frank Herbert's Dune.

Let's fix that.

Forget that Dune was made into a movie in 1984 by David Lynch, it's the novel that had the influence on Lucas and his development of the original Star Wars script or "Journal of the Whills" as it was once titled.

While there should be no doubt about the influence that it had on Lucas, we cannot find a single article or quote by the man wherein he refers to Dune. But make no mistake, the comparison of some if the ideas in both movies are unmistakable....

Indeed Herbert himself has been said to have jokingly formed the "We’re Too Big to Sue George Lucas Society" when he recognized elements from his own works and many other writers in the film.

And let's be clear, Star Wars does not have the same story as Dune. It took elements and themes but not the direct plot.

If you wanted to be fairly uncharitable your could argue that A New Hope is basically Akiro Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress set in Dune.

Spice Up Your Life

In the first draft of Star Wars the drug ‘spice’ was very much a central theme of script. Indeed Lucas's version of Princess Leia was not fleeing from the Empire with the stolen plans for the Death Star but rather, holding a cargo of the drug 'melange' spice... later Han Solo became a smuggler of spice...

And let's not forget that young Luke Skywalker once had the belief that his "father didn’t fight in the clone wars, he was a navigator on a spice freighter.”

Here's a comparison of some direct lifts and inspirations

A New Hope

  • Princess Leia’s name is arguably inspired by the Princes Alia
  • Star Wars features a desert planet called Tatootine. Remind me what kind of planet Arrakis was in Dune?
  • The Jawa sandcrawler Jawas was inspired by the mining vehicles Arakin’s used. 
  • The Skywalker family were moisture farmers in a similar vein as the 'dew collectors’.
  • The 'Jedi Mind Trick' is very similar to how the sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit can use The Voice to influence the actions of others.
  • In ANH, Luke Skywalker practices his lightsaber training against an automated training remote. This seems a direct lift from the part where Princess Alia works on her sword skills against an automated training dummy.

The Empire Strikes Back

  • In Empire Strikes Back, the Millennium Falcon just manages to escape from the jaws of giant, space slug that was living in a space asteroid. In Dune, there are giant sandworms which cause a bit of similar havoc when one attacks the Duke's vessel. 
  • In ESB, the villain turns out to be hero's father. In Dune, the villain out to be hero's grandfather

Return of the Jedi

  • Return of the Jedi’s Jabba the Hutt looks like a giant slug with a fat face and arms. This character may have been inspired by The God Emperor of Dune, Leto Atreides the Second who funnily enough was a 15 foot long slug.
  • Indeed a lot of the whole Jabba The Hutt Palace scenes appear to have been inspired by the Children of Dune sequel.

Let's not forget Lawrence of Arabia

Both Dune and George Lucas were inspired by the story of Lawrence of Arabia which was a spiritual journey of sorts that took place in a desert. Lucas was most definitely inspired by the David Lean movie and use shots from it for both the original and prequels films.

We say this to show that though the book came before the film, they both share common inspirations. Indeed, 19 other movies went into the creation of Star Wars.

Speaking of the Great Bard...

We should acknowlege that a lot of Shakespeare's plays influenced Frank Herbet as he developed Dune - so while many of the family dynamics in Dune and the 'saga' of it all, can be compared and contrasted with Star Wars, one could perhaps argue the driving force of Shakespeare ripples underneath the surface quite strongly in Star Wars regardless of Dune's influence.

Indeed, to dismiss Shakespeare's work as an influence on George Lucas would be a mistake. Though Lucas may not have been directly taking paragraphs out of Shakespeare (unlike which he did for Tolkien!) his admiration of The Forbidden Plant exposed him to what was basically The Tempest set in space. Given Lucas's love of films by Akiro Kurosawa, he most likely saw 'Ran', which was a remake of King Lear!

Shakespeare actually has a lot to answer for - it was his line from Othello that inspired the name of the Mortal Engines novel!

Extra for Experts: 

One: We mentioned above that David Lynch directed the movie version of Dune. We think it's a pretty good science fiction movie, though a patient watch is needed. You know how things come full circle? George Lucas actually met with Lynch to discuss the possibility of Lynch taking the director's chair for Return of the Jedi! Lynch turned him down which led to Marquand having a crack.

Two: There's a large feeling out there that Lucas was perhaps inspired by the film script of a Dune film that never got made by director Alejandro Jodorowsky. That this version of Dune got so close to being made is the stuff of legend and can be seen in the documentary called 'Jodorowsky's Dune'.

Three: Denis Villeneuve looks set to direct a remake of Dune. He's well placed to do so following the success of his Blade-runner sequel and the fantastic Arrival. 

Feb 18, 2018

Look at this fool bringing a sword to a gun fight!

Yours truly turned 40 last month and to celebrate, my friend and talented artist Neil Billings drew a picture of me, feeling like I could take on the Empire all by myself!

James Ryan as Rebel Pilot by Neil Billings

You can tell it's me as I have more freckles than Luke Skywalker!

Note the halo effect of the twin stars. 

A few of our crowd have been turning 40 and Neil has done quite a few of us, check out his wonderful work.

Thanks Neil, the Force is strong with you!

Feb 14, 2018

37 facts, trivia and Easter Eggs about The Last Jedi

trivia facts and figures the last jedi

Facts and trivia about The Last Jedi

Star Wars VIII had some big shoes to fill.

On the left foot was the behemoth that was The Force Awakens and on the right was the juggernaut that was Rogue One.

So the Star Wars production crew went hard under the watch of Rian Johnson and Kathleen Kennedy.

And now we have The Last Jedi. Some might say it's an amazing film. Others may say it has too many plot holes and plot choices.

Whatever, on with the show.

Here's some facts and figures about making the movie:

  1. Director Rian Johnson came up with the episode's title during his first draft and had to keep it secret for several years.
  2. Benicio Del Torro, was originally cast as Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace but dropped out when he realized his on screen time would be minimal. So the trivia is he has been cast twice for a Star Wars film!
  3. Rian has confirmed that to his mind, The Last Jedi title refers to Luke.
  4. Tom Hardy (Batman, Peaky Blinders) and Gary Barlow (singer from Take That) made cameo appearances as Stormtroopers, however their scenes were cut (as were those of Prince William and Harry).
  5. Rogue One's director Gareth Edwards has a small cameo (as he did in Rogue One)
  6. It's almost a forgone conclusion these days, but Warwick Davis has yet another cameo. Here's a list of the cameo parts of The Last Jedi.
  7. Jimmy Vee plays R2D2, formally replacing Kenny Baker following his death.
  8. Carrie Fisher had filmed her scenes in the months before her untimely death.
  9. The horses that Finn and Rose escape on during the scene on Canto Bight are called 'falthiers'. The handler / trainer of the falthiers goes by the name of Bargwill Tomder.
  10. Rian reckons that Carrie Fishers dog 'Gary' can be spotted in the Canto Bight casino scene. He's a pet of a gambler. He can be found at the bar.... 
  11. Rian Johnson watched three particular movies to help inspire him when writing the script. Rian said "Twelve O’Clock High was a big touchstone, for the feel and look of the aerial combat as well as the dynamic between the pilots. Three Outlaw Samurai for the feel of the sword-fighting, and the general sense of pulpy fun. And To Catch A Thief was a great film to rewatch, for the romantic scale and grandeur".
  12. TLJ begins immediately where The Force Awakens left off.
  13. Luke's first words to Rey are "Who are you?"
  14. John Williams again wrote the score, his eighth time for a Star Wars movie. When Rian was asked about his approach to the soundtrack and whether it was to lean on the classic themes or lean more on new music he reply that his approach was "to hand the movie to John Williams. ;-)"
  15. Captain Phasma returns and now brandishes a spear as her weapon of choice.
  16. Canto Bight is on a planet called Cantonica.
  17. Carrie Fisher's sudden death in December 2016 meant she had not completed her audio dialogue re-recording parts. The sound team had to take snippets of her work "from here and there" to get the job done. 
  18. Rian Johnson asked JJ Abrams for a Force Awakens script change to allow R2D2 to accompany Rey to Ach-to Island instead of BB8. This was so R2 could feature more and also echo the fact that he was on Degobah with Luke during his training with Yoda, much the same as Rey does with Luke.
  19. Rian was hired  to  direct the The Last Jedi just when J.J. Abrams was starting to shoot The Force Awakens.
  20. More than 125 sets for the production where made. 
  21. There was a 110 days shooting schedule.
  22. The amount of practical creatures in The Last Jedi is bigger than The Force Awakens and Rogue One combined.
  23. Adrian "Ade" Edmondson, of British Sitcom TV Royalty, has an extended cameo as a First Order Officer.
  24. The Falthier boy jockey at the end used the Force to pick up the broom
  25. When Rey reaches out and touches the rain on the Island, this is her first experience of rain. When she is drawn into the dark side of the island, that's probably her first time submerged in salt water or perhaps even swimming. Remember, there was not a lot of water on Jakku.
  26. As the Force Tree burns, its flames appear to make the Rebel Alliance symbol. This could be interpreted as the Jedi rising 'from the ashes'
  27. The Last Jedi has 12 scene end 'wipes' compared to The Phantom Menace which had 55.
  28. Kelly Marie Tran by playing Rose Tico is the first major character of Asian heritage. 
  29. George Lucas had absolutely no part in the development of the movie.
  30. In the prequel Rogue One, Jyn Erso reads out the list of data file names - one is 'hyperspace tracking' - this shows it was a 'thing' in the Star Wars universe and not just a gimmick for the movie. 
  31. When Luke is projecting himself to Crait from the Island there are two clues for the view. His beard is brown and he appears younger - the same look as when he last say Kylo Ren. While Kylo's feet where disturbing the red salt, when Luke walked over it, no red salt was disturbed. 
  32. Rogue One director Gareth Edwards has a cameo as one of the last Rebels on Crait - you can catch him in the trenches. 
  33. The classic line "I've got a bad feeling about this" was not said by a human but apparently BB-8.
  34. DJ's name stands for Don't Join. As in 'don't join a side' - it's actually written on his hat in Aubresh. 
  35. No light sabers actually cross each other in the heat of battle, a first for a main trilogy Star Wars film. 
  36. The 'iron' ship fakeout scene is a nod to 'Hardwear Wars', a short film which was one of the original parodies of Star Wars that came out in 1978.
  37. When Luke raps Rey over the knuckles with the plant, that's a call back to when Yoda trained Luke in Empire.
  38. When Poe says to Rey, "I know" this is a call back to Han Solo's famous quote.
  39. When Luke Skywalker takes the saber offered by Rey as they meet, a close inspection of the hand shows damage exactly at the place Luke was shot in The Return of the Jedi during the escape from the Sarlac Pitt:
But wait! That's not all! We have plenty more trivia about the prequel Han 'Solo' film.

43 awesome facts and Easter Eggs from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Rogue One facts and trivia

Facts and trivia about Rogue One, a truly great Star Wars movie

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 'Los Alamos'. 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. He actually posted the title of the movie to his Twitter account at one point but no one knew it was the movie!
  6. Whitta also drafted an opening crawl that went unused.
  7. 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. 
  8. The original R1 squad had a giant green alien called Senna and an Lunka. They were paired as a duo but ultimately dropped. This concept design shows what they may have looked like.
  9. 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.
  10. In the initial first drafting of the movie, Jyn Erso and the character that became Cassian Andors survived the Battle of Scariff. 
  11. Alan Tudyk plays Enforcer Robot, K-250. He filmed a small cameo as a pilot called Wray Nerely but it was cut out.
  12. 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.
  13. The "I don't like you either" guy, Dr. Evazan has 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.
  14. Genevieve O'Reilly reprised her role as Mon Mothma, whom she previously played in Revenge of the Sith.
  15. Jimmy Smits also returns as Leia's father, Bail Organna. He played supporting roles in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith
  16. Anthony Daniels appears in his 9th Star Wars movie - if you count his voice acting work for the cinematic release of The Clone Wars, making him the only actor to appear in all the Star Wars movies. Whike his side kick R2D2 also appears in all the movies, R2 was only played by Kenny Baker in 4 movies - most of the prequels where animated and he was too ill for The Force Awakens.
  17. Jyn Erso was originally conceived as being a Sergeant in the movie. This was changed so late in the piece that production runs of the Jyn Erso doll included the rank as part of the name!
  18. Character 'Saw Gerrera' originally featured in Star Wars: Clone Wars television show. Gerrera is played by Oscar winner, Forrest Whitaker.
  19. 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.
  20. Gary Whitta, one of the script writers, filmed a cameo as a Rebel pilot but it never made the final cut. 
  21. Gareth Edwards requested that that extras grow out their sideburns and mustaches to fit into the ‘70s aesthetic of A New Hope. Check out the radio operator on the Rebel Base...
  22. It falls to K-2SO to deliver the line "I've got a bad feeling about this" - be he gets cut off before he can finish the famous quote. This makes it the tenth time the line has been uttered in a Star Wars movie.
  23. 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.
  24. In Saw Gerrera's cave there are paintings of monsters from director Gareth Edward's prior movies, Monsters and Godzilla.
  25. As Pao sees the approaching AT-ACT on Scarif he let's out a cry of 'Karabast!' - which Rebels fans will know as a saying of characters Zeb and Ezra.
  26. To design the U-wing, 781 different drawings were done by Doug Chiang's design team before they settled on the final look.
  27. You know that planet Jyn is rescued from as a prisoner? That's called Wobani. Do you think it curious that Wobani is an anagram of Obi-Wan?
  28. 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'.
  29. Director Gareth Edwards has a cameo as a Rebel on the Tantive IV. He's the one that frees the ship to allow it to escape Darth Vader. 
  30. Speaking of directors, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson also had a cameo as an operator on the Death Star.
  31. The firing sequence is copied exactly from that of ANH, frame for frame.
  32. 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?
  33. The ship known as 'The Ghost' from the television show Rebels makes an appearance in the final Rebel attack. It's the first leap from that show's realm to make into a Star Wars movie.
  34. And to tie into the above, Pablo Hidalgo has confirmed Chopper was in Rogue One - where? He can be briefly found on Yavin base. See the red circle in the image just below.
  35. Did you spot the blue milk in the Erso's family home? That's a nice wee Easter egg referring to Luke having a drink of it back at Uncle Owen and Beru's farm in ANH.
  36. The use of Blue Squadron was a reference to the novelization of Star Wars featuring Blue Squadron instead of Red. This was a choice made by Lucas late in the piece, after the novel was already written by Alan Dean Foster. Foster when on to write Splinter of the Mind's Eye and the novelization of The Force Awakens.
  37. Leia says the last line of the movie "What is it they've sent us? Hope." It's a clever set up for the title of A New Hope and ties in thematically well. In saying this last line, that takes Leia's tally saying the final line of a Star Wars movie to three - the other two being The Force Awakens and Return of the Jedi.
  38. The Hammerhead Corvette used in the Battle of Scarif to smash one Imperial Stars Destroyer into the other was an idea taken the classic video game, Knights of the Old Republic. It was also seen in season two of Star Wars: Rebels.
  39. Rogue One sets up how Luke eventually gets the call sign 'Rogue-Five'. The Original Red Five, Pedrin Gaul, was killed during the battle over Scarif, meaning that when Luke gets involved with the Rebel assault on the Death Star, he takes up the vacancy in Red Squad.
  40. Jyn's mother Erso wears the "red sash of the enlightened' which was worn by the sects found on Jedha - the same as Chirrut wore. Given these sects were about the Whills and the Kyber Crystals, the scene when Jyn receives her mothers crystal necklace should serve to show that her mother was truly trying to protect her with the power of the Force. Also, and perhaps crucially for the plot - Chirrut was able to sense the crystal around Jyn's next on Jedha - which led to Baze and Chirrut getting caught up in Jyn's adventure.
  41. Wedge Antiles makes a cameo of sorts. The voice actor for the character, David Ankrum, was brought in to do act as the Public Address voice for the scenes featuring the Rebel Base. Ankrum can be heard telling the Rebels to board their ships.
  42. Admiral Ackbar was intended by Gary Whitta to lead the assault on Scariff however JJ Abrams beat him to the punch and used him in TFA. Gary was quoted as saying “We didn’t want to use him again after The Force Awakens. So Ackbar became Admiral Raddus."
  43. The co-writer of Rogue One, Tony Gilroy is the voice questioning Bodhi Rook on the U-Wing, which led to the pilot coming up with the call sign “Rogue One”.
Did you like all of that? Here's 111 more facts about the Star Wars films.

Feb 6, 2018

The dudes that make Game of Thrones are gonna have a crack at Star Wars

It's official, there's ANOTHER series of Star Wars films on the way. As if Rian Johnson's trilogy wasn't enough, the dudes that make Game of Thrones have been given the nod by Kathy Kennedy to take part in the far away galaxy. 

Here's the official word from Lucasfilm:

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are going from Winterfell to a galaxy far, far away.

It was announced today that Benioff and Weiss, creators of the smash-hit, Emmy Award-winning television series Game of Thrones, will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films.

These new films will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently-announced trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

“David and Dan are some of the best storytellers working today,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “Their command of complex characters, depth of story and richness of mythology will break new ground and boldly push Star Wars in ways I find incredibly exciting.”

“In the summer of 1977 we traveled to a galaxy far, far away, and we’ve been dreaming of it ever since,” Benioff and Weiss said in a joint statement. “We are honored by the opportunity, a little terrified by the responsibility, and so excited to get started as soon as the final season of Game of Thrones is complete.”

No release dates have been set for the new films, and there have (thankfully) been no sightings of White Walkers around Lucasfilm.

Feb 4, 2018

We guess this glorious shit will be in the full trailer TM #solo

The Han 'Solo' teaser is out... #solo #redcup


The Solo teaser is out:

Well what do you think? 

The full trailer is coming tomorrow. 

Jan 25, 2018

How Akira Kurosawa inspired Star Wars & The Last Jedi 40 years apart

akira kurosawa

Film director Akira Kurosawa, his Hidden Fortress and his effect on George Lucas

Legendary Japanese film maker Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress was released in 1958.

The movie tells story of a general and a princess, fighting their way home through enemy lines in feudal Japan with the help of a pair of bumbling peasants.

Does that sound similar?

What if you replaced the pair of peasants with the bumbling R2D2 and C3PO?

A princess?

A General who fought in the Clone Wars?

That's right, young George Lucas took the two bickering peasants and traded them them in for C3PO and R2D2 - it was his intention that his Star Wars story be told from their perspective. And it many ways it is, the start of the story features them setting everything off in motion.

George Lucas explained in an interview how he gained his inspiration:

“I remember the one thing that really struck me about The Hidden Fortress,” he said, “the one thing I was really intrigued by, was the fact that the story was told from the two lowest characters. I decided that would be a nice way to tell the Star Wars story.

Take the two lowliest characters, as Kurosawa did, and tell the story from their point of view. Which, in the Star Wars case is the two droids, and that was the strongest influence."

At so it began that George Lucas would make reference and homage to one of Japan's greatest film makers, Akiro Kurosawa.

You know how in The Phantom Menace, Padme fakes out everybody by pretending to be a servant of the Queen? That's a direct plot point taken from Hidden Fortress.

Akira's Yojimbo film also served as inspiration for the famous Cantina scene.

Yojimbo featured a bar scene where a group of men threaten the film's hero and brag how they are wanted by 'the authorities' and then suddenly swords are drawn and an arm is left lying on the floor of the bar.

It's almost a play by play account of what happens to Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan before they are introduced to Han Solo by Chewbaca!

Did we mention the famous scene ending 'swipes'? Another idea totally taken from Kurosawa.

Have you ever heard of the film, The Magnificent Seven?

It is one of the great Westerns films in cinema history.

But guess what?

The John Sturges directed film was actually a remake of Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai, which at the time, was the biggest box office grossing film in Japan.

Lucas said of the original: "I think Seven Samurai influenced me a lot more [than Hidden Fortress], in terms of understanding how cinema works and how to tell a very exciting story and still have it be very funny and very human.'

Which is a long way of saying that in Revenge of the Sith, Lucas deftly slipped in a visual reference The Seven Samurai film. In the below image, as Yoda brings his hand to his head, this is directly referencing Akira's movies.

But that's just a subtle nod. The Phantom Menace had a great and direct nod to the Seven Samurai:

As Star Wars Analysis Expert Mike Klimo points out - this iconic shot above of the attacking army on Naboo coming over the hill is a direct lift.

Here's a couple of other moments that inspired Lucas:
  1. The Han Solo hiding-under-the-floor trick is a lift from Yojimbo's sequel, Sanjuro
  2. The Empire Strikes Back features a lot of the plot and imagery from come from the Oscar winning Dersu Uzala.

And what of The Last Jedi?

When Lucas handed over his franchise to Disney, no one would have ever guessed that Rian Johnson would deliver a script for The Last Jedi that would also make deliberate nods to the Kurosawa films - this should have actually surprised no one for Johnson had made it clear he understood the rhyming rings of Star Wars.

In referencing Kurosawa, Rian also honours the spirit of George Lucas original movie making adventure.

Let's talk about what people are calling 'The Rashomon Sequence'

In a crucial flashback moment in the film, we learn that Luke had intended to kill Kylo Ren but at the last second decided not to.

We later learn in another flashback why Kylo Ren destroyed Luke's Jedi Training Academy - he believed Luke had arrived to kill him and was about to do so - so he struck first (just like his father Han Solo when he shot first!)

The two differing views are important because they each affect Rey's understanding of her relationships with Luke and Kylo and of course explain the path that Luke and Kylo set themselves on.

This story telling technique of utilising differing perspectives was first used as device by Kurosawa in his film Rashomon. The film was the tale of a murder that described in four mutually contradictory ways by its four witnesses.

Rashomon had a large success in America and the 'Rashomon Technique' has been copied by many a director ever since - Edward Zwick's, Courage Under Fire is a pretty good modern day example.

In the book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi Rian reflects on how the flashbacks came to be

“The three flashbacks were a late addition – one of the last things that went into the script before we started shooting. It’s similar to Rashomon, but the actual story motivation was that I wanted some harder kick to Rey’s turn: ‘You didn’t tell me this.’ I wanted some harder line that was crossed – a more defined thing that we could actually see – between Luke and Kylo. 

I didn’t want to do a big flashback. So one flashback that you repeat three times but that’s just one moment seemed more right. Ultimately, the only one who lies is Luke, in the very first flashback, where he omits the fact that he had a lightsaber in his hand. Kylo is basically telling the truth about his perception of the moment.”

In this context, it’s probably not a coincidence that The Last Jedi shows one of its most pivotal scenes, the encounter between Luke and Kylo Ren that drove Kylo Ren to the dark side, at least three different times, from competing perspectives, before resolving them, just as Kurosawa does in Rashomon.

From my point of view the Jedi are evil, indeed.... 

The Last Jedi ending compared to Kurosawa's 'Ran'

Rian Johnson, in the tradition of Lucas, was perhaps inspired by how Kurosawa used red in Ran and Kagemusha (see above) iamge.

Rian uses of the crimson red on Crait's surface to make it looks like it is bleeding when the characters move (this actually is used as a device to show that Luke is not actually present). Kurosawa often used thematic color play.

Indeed, when the Resistance's old hunks of junk line up to take on Kylo's Gorilla AT-ATs, they stir up the red, similar effect to the charging red colored soldiers in 'Ran'.

This color use also perhaps further extends to the lightsaber duel Rey and Ren have with Supreme Leader Snoke’s Prateoran guards in the blood-red chambers echoes Kurosawa's Academy Award nominated 1980 film, Kagemusha.

Rian has also publically spoken of how a viewing of Three Outlaw Samurai by Hideo Gosha influenced the character of Benicio Del Toro's DJ:

“This was kind of in lieu of rewatching Kurosawa, because I’m a big Kurosawa fan and I’ve seen his movies lots and lots of times. So I felt we were all familiar enough with Kurosawa, I thought let’s dig into some stuff that maybe we haven’t seen in the samurai genre. 

This is that era where they were trying stylistic things that were a little funky or a little more out there. And just style-wise, it’s got something that was going to push it out beyond what we maybe expected from a samurai film. The direction of that movie is incredible. But then, also, there’s the kind of unexpected camaraderie, this uneasy alliance with these samurai. There’s the whole issue of class in it in its own way, which plays out. 

And this is something that does pop up in Kurosawa films, but there is the flea-bitten samurai who they find in jail and is kind grubby and waking up, ‘Oh, God, really? Do I have to?’ And he is actually the one who ends up having incredible skills. That was kind of the most direct lift from that movie.”

Jan 14, 2018

List of celebrity cameo appearances in The Last Jedi

Warwick Davis cut scene as Kedpin Shoklop

Cameo role appearances in The Last Jedi

These days it's almost a given, but Warwick Davis make's his 10th appearance in a Star Wars movie. That's just an incredible run! Davis is a genuinely nice guy and the fans just love him, so it's no surprise he keeps being asked back for a turn.

  • Frank Oz plays Yoda in an unexpected performance.
  • It's been confirmed by John Boyega that the Princes William and Harry visited the set and had a turn as Stormtroopers. They were cut though!
  • Gary Barlow, songwriter from Take That donned  the white and black, as did Bane himself, Tom Hardy but both only made the cutting room floor. 
  • Rogue One's director Gareth Edwards has a small cameo as one of the Rebels fighting in the trench on Crait. He has R1 written on his tunic. 
  • Adrian "Ade" Edmondson, of Bottom, Young Ones fame, has an extended cameo as a First Order Officer.
  • Joseph Gordon Levitt does the voice of the alien that turns in Finn and Rose at the Canto Bight Casino. Levitt has appeared in several films directed by Rian Johnson so no surprise there. The character was called Slowen Lo.
  • Justin Theroux plays the Master Code Breaker that Finn and Poe are sent by Maz Kanata to meet.
  • Star Wars veteran Warwick Davis plays Wodibin - his 9th appearance in Star Wars. He actually filmed a second part though this did not make the final cut. The picture above is of him as Kedpin Shoklop from a bath room scene at Canto Bight that was cut. 
  • Noah Segan, who has been in every Rian Johnson film, has a small spot as an X-Wing pilot.
  • Mark Hamill also does the voice work for the chap that inserts the coins into BB-8 at the Canto Bight Casino. 

Director Edgar Wright and writer Joe Cornish took a turn as the Resistance:

edgar write cameo in the last jedi

And Mark Hamill's children turned up as Rebels!