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Oct 31, 2013

5 reasons to love that JJ Abrams is directing Star Wars VII

This man will make Stars Wars 7
To direct a Star Wars movie takes a bit of courage. If you're a film maker in your early days, it takes some moxie to put together a sci fi film such as A New Hope and expect to come out the other side. Then, if you're Irvine Kershner, you have to film the sequel to the biggest grossing movie of all time. So you come up with a film even better than the original. Then you are Richard Marquand, tasked with the Return of the Jedi.

Then you, as the franchise creator, make three prequels which everyone says they hate (but don't really) and you're so tired of it all you sell the company to Disney. Who then will take the mantle to direct a new Star Wars? Not Brad Bird, he was too busy. Spielberg? Too busy.

Step up JJ Abrams.

While the announcement of JJ Ambrams as director for Episode VII was meet with a lot of "nice choice" there has been the odd fan boy that has started started to kill him Jar Jar Abrams. Which while cheeky, sums up everyone's fears about the new trilogy. But there's no need for fear, as here's 5 reasons to love that JJ Abrams is directing Star Wars!

1. The man can write. Fringe. Lost. MI3. Alias. Felicity. Super 8. Did you ever see one of the greatest Astronaut movies ever, Armageddon? Yeah JJ wrote that too. So given JJ has taken over writing duties, I think we can all relax.

2. The Man can Produce. JJ is an UBER producer in Hollywood. He makes stuff happen. Star Trek. The Believers. Super 8. Lost. Coverfield. What about Brian? Alias. Fringe, He was put together so many shows and movies so he totally has the experience for this job.

3. The Speilberg Factor. JJ has been given a blessing by Steven Speilberg. Super 8 was his love letter to Speilberg. Given Lucas and Spielberg are so tight, you just know that the two of them nutted out the choice of JJ.

4. Aliens. JJ knows his Aliens. And Star Wars has aliens in spades right? Star Trek. Klingons, Vulcans, Romulans. Check. An alien wanting to just get home in Super 8. Check. An alien that falls from the Sky and destroys most of New York? Check.

5. Star Trek. Purists may have hated them but Star Trek were two really good space adventure movies. But here's the thing, Abrams did them because they were great directing gigs but he was no Trekkie and has publically stated that he much prefers Star Wars over Star Trek. If you agree the Star Trek films were enjoyable, who good a movie will Star Wars be given JJ actually likes Star Wars?!

Oct 29, 2013

What's the deal with this book, Splinter of the Mind's Eye? Is it Star Wars canon?

splinter of the Mind's Eye book cover
The book cover
Splinter of the Mind's Eye is a classic Star Wars novel written by Alan Dean Foster

It takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. In effect the first original full-length expanded universe works and was published shortly after the release of the original movie.

The plot features only Luke, Leia and Vader as they jostle on the planet Mimban to find the Kaiburr crystal, a device which allowed the user to greatly increase their Force powers.

The book was commissioned by George Lucas as a being the basis for a potential sequel to Star Wars. Alan Dean Foster was writing the novelisation of Star Wars and also SOTME as second book. He was as simply instructed by Lucas to write the book based off some ideas and film treatments that George threw at him.

In light of this novel being intended as serving as the basis for a film sequel to Star Wars, Foster made the decision to place his story on a misty jungle planet - this was intended to reduce set and background costs for a film adaptation. Is a misty jungle planet familiar to any one? ...

According to Foster, Lucas's only request upon inspecting the first draft was the deletion of a space dogfight featuring Luke and Leia before they crash-landed on Mimban, which would have been effects-heavy and thus expensive to put to film.

The reality is that when Star Wars 'went global' Lucas changed story direction and the film sequel script was first drafted by Leigh Bracket, which after her death from cancer, Lucas refined further with help from Lawrence Kasdan.

In terms of canon, Empire made no reference to the book's plot. Technically it can serve as canon and perhaps more so than recent efforts in the expanded Star Wars universe. That said, the ending features Luke cutting off Vader's arm and this is repeated in Empire. So it's probably best just to count this story as a good yarn about Star Wars and leave the real canon to the films and the novels that came much later that attempted to do real justice to the lore that developed.

There are new rules about canon and this book no longer counts.

SOTME is regarded by many Star Wars fans as a classic Star Wars story and it is still a popular read.

Buy Splinter of the Mind’s Eye from Amazon.

Oct 28, 2013

The 5 best Chewbacca quotes from the 4 Star Wars films he's ever Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr ed in!

Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr!  chewbacca

While Chewbacca doesn't speak a line of English in the Star Wars films, he is an eminently quotable character. His growls, snarls, grunts and gutteral cries have conveyed a lot of meaning in the four films that he's appeared in.

Often Han Solo has done the translation for the viewer but take the emotion delivered in the growl and the context of the scene and you'll see that Chewie is quite the nuanced character.. here's his most famous quotes from each of the four movies he has appeared in.

A New Hope

Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr!

Empire

Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr!

Jedi

Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr! 

Revenge of the Sith

Raarrwwrararrrrrrrrr! 

The Force Awakens

Raaawwweweweeer!

Oct 27, 2013

Star Wars 2015 is happening. How do we know?

Luke Vs Rancor from Jedi
Because the shareholders of Disney need to be advised if anything has compromised or will interfere with projected earnings - so says Jedi Master SQL

"If Disney opted to release the film in 2016 then they would be required to advise the stock market at the time of decision as that would impact on accounts by material value. They haven't confirmed the specific release date at this point but I understand that 11/11/15 is still the target."

The man on the ground further backs this up with:

"There are two production designers on Episode VII, Rick Carter and Darren Gilford. This is highly unusual and a sign that they are moving swiftly towards production and want a fast set-up. That could mean that they'll be designing and building on location and on the soundstages at the same time, thereby speeding up production."

With the recent deal with Harrison Ford seemingly completed, we are on track for a 2015 release - possibly not keeping in with the month of May release tradition...

Ford is now in, and in big for Star Wars and has secured a deal for a new Indiana Jones flick


Jedi News is reporting via their source that Harrison Ford is now well and truly onboard to appear in the new Star Wars movie. You may recall George Lucas had previously said the main players were going to re-appear. These were apparently verbal agreements - negotiations with Ford have been on going. 

Jedi News states that:
  • Ford wanted to see the synopsis for his character's development over more than just Episode 7. He saw this in August and is happy with the story arc.
  • Ford wanted a commitment to Indy 5. He did not get this as there is no plot line or script in place. What did happen was an agreement was made wherein an outline would be developed by the end of calendar year 2014, and if all parties can agree to it moving forward, efforts would be made to move on Indy 5 for release before the end of 2016.
  • Disney wanted a multi film deal with Ford which transcends Episode 7. This has now been agreed.
This all seems pretty reasonable given that Ford is one of the most successful  actors in Hollywood history - his movies have made millions.  It's thus wise for Disney to lock in Ford for three movies, likewise for him to get another Indy movie - it seems to be his preferred franchise of the two?

Oct 24, 2013

Give those Rebels hell

Give those Rebels hell! Buy Imperial War Bonds.

Give those Rebels hell! Buy Imperial War Bonds.

Ardnt finished, JJ and Kasdan taking over Star Wars writing duties for The Force Awakens

lawrence kasdan

Big news has come in from the boss of Star Wars, Kathleen Kennedy:

As The Force Awakens continues pre-production, Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams have assumed screenwriting duties for the film. 

"I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script," states Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen.

J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production."


It’s an interesting development. Maybe Arndt’s plot wasn’t satisfying his Disney masters? Maybe he had spent enough time on it and wished to work on another project? Either way, let’s hope this change doesn't delay production too much, if at all.

Oct 21, 2013

Famous Darth Vader quotes that show he was the worst Sith Lord ever (but possibly the greatest Jedi!)

Darth Vader quotes from the Star Wars movies
Vader in Return of the Jedi

Famous Darth Vader quotes that show he was the worst Sith Lord ever (but possibly the greatest Jedi!)


If you had to think of the most loved, most famous movie villain all all of movie history, you would be hard pressed to go passed Star War's Darth Vader.

A New Hope introduced him as the meanest, most bad ass and mysterious bad guy ever.

His place in movie history was assured when he became one half of a conversation that was to be one of the biggest plot twists in movie history and by the time Return of the Jedi rolled around he proved to actually be the Chosen One.

There's basically him and Ernst Stavro Blofeld from James Bond and maybe The Terminator. But even then, he turned to the light...



Did you ever think Lord Vader was supposed to be Darth Sidious' apprentice and they were to rule the world together? Betraying your Sith Lord Master must be the ultimate betrayal right? (It's almost expected by the Sith).

Well Vader already betrayed the Jedi when he took part in Order 66 so what’s one more betrayal? Just add it to the list right?

Or maybe not...

Palpatine intimates to Anakin during Revenge of the Sith that Darth Sidious killed his master while he slept so maybe that’s what the Sith do to each other.

After all, Palpatine also set up Count Dooku as an apprentice only to deliberately set him up so that Anakin could behead the poor chap – this was so as to give Anakin a chance to dip his toes into the murky depths of the dark side…..

Sure, the prequels introduced Anakin as a screechy, whinnying idealistic young boy that hates sand but let's put that aside for now - here are the best Darth Vader quotes from the four movies the character was in.

He had a way with words that made him very quotable.

the force is strong with this one
The Force is strong with this one!

The original Star Wars later known as A New Hope


“I find your lack of faith disturbing” - says the Dark Lord after appearing to be openly mocked by Officers on board the Death Star. Vader challenges one of them to a force choke competition, naturally he went first... it's arguably one of Vader's most famous quotes.

"When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master." - Vader taunts Obi Wan, his Jedi teacher and former friend just before he kills him.

"The Force is strong with this one." Vader is commenting on the skills of an X-Wing pilot that is trying to blow up the Death Star, not realising he's trying to kill his own son.

Hardly a Sith Lord at the peak of his powers?

Surely he could have tapped into the Force on that one?

We jest.

The Empire Strikes Back quotes by Vader


“I am altering the deal, pray I do not alter it any further…” - Vader tells Lando how it is from beneath his black helmet. Han is going with Boba Fett and everyone else is Vader's.

"Impressive. Most impressive. Obi-Wan has taught you well. You have controlled your fear. Now, release your anger. Only your hatred can destroy me." -
Vader praises Luke after he manages to escape Vader's trap with an acrobatic flip.

"No, I am your father!" -  And so revealed was one of cinema's greatest plot twists that Vader was actually Luke's old man.

Here's the full conversation which happened just after the father cut off the son's hand:

Darth Vader: There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy.
Luke Skywalker: I'll never join you!
Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.
Luke: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!
Vader: No. I am your father.
Luke: No...no. That's not true. That's impossible!
Vader: Search your feelings, you know it to be true!
Luke: Noooo! Nooooo!

Return of the Jedi


Jedi was full of awesomeness from Vader:

“I hope so for your sake, the Emperor is not as forgiving as I am” - This was the end of Vader's pep talk with the Jerjerrod who has in command of the second Death Star

Was it a slight joke by Vader to encourage the completion of the battle station or merely a statement of fact?

Concept art of Luke and Vader dueling
"Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong. Especially for... sister. So, you have a twin sister. 

Your feelings have now betrayed her, too. Obi-Wan was wise to hide her from me. Now his failure is complete. If you will not turn to the Dark Side... then perhaps she will..."

This taunt from the Sith Lord was perhaps not the finest thing he could have done. While he was trying to enrage Luke enough to open the door to the Dark Side for him he miscalculated and Luke finally bested him.

Luke: I'll not leave you here. I've got to save you.
Anakin: You already have, Luke.


Having proven that he was indeed the Chosen One by killing the Emperor and restoring balance to the Force, Vader perhaps single handedly* became the worst Sith and greatest Jedi at the same time.

His conversation with Luke is perhaps the most emotional moment of all the Star Wars films, given the weight behind it.

And then we come to Revenge of the Sith where Anakin Skywalker succumbs to the Dark Side and becomes Lord Darth Vader. 

The quote everyone remembers from this movie went something like this:

"Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!"

And we'll leave it at that.

Rogue One quotes


Vader was brought back for the Rogue One prequel movie - even though he had minimal screen time, his cameo was awesome!

"Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director."

* You saw what we did there right?

Want to read some more sweet things about Darth Vader? 

Try this click bait on for size:

Oct 20, 2013

Here's a fairly gratuitous picture of Carrie Fisher in the slave costume... at the beach

Carrie Fisher at the beach wearing the Slave Bikini
Life's a beach for Ms Fisher.
This is the bikini you've been looking for. If you asked a million fan boys and girls to sum up Return of the Jedi in three short words, it would be a fair bet to say that 'Leia's slave bikini' would be the most likely combination uttered.

So here we are then, life's a beach for Carrie Fisher as she takes an actual day at the beach dressed in Leia's bikini. Amongst Fisher's assets, it would appear her teeth are pretty perfect eh?

This betty could have been in Star Wars but I think she ended up in Mass Effect?

Here's some concept art for an idea that was never realised for Star Wars, the Betty Droid:

betty droid star wars concept design
She may be the droid you're looking for...

While this design never appeared in Star Wars, I'm pretty sure she turned up in Mass Effect 3.....

Oct 17, 2013

Harry Potter himself confirms where Star Wars 7 is going to be filmed.

Leavesden

No surprises, it’s Pinewood Studios in Engerlund.

Harry Potter blabbed the details during about some film he was promoting:

“….Because "Star Wars" is filming in Leavesden. There was at least one guy, Digby Milner, who worked on all the "Potters" who had also worked on "Star Wars," the originals. And he will be working on new "Star Wars" at Leavesden as well. And it is kind of amazing because "Star Wars," the originals, were made in England as well. So there's a lot of that crew who we'll basically have a huge amount of sons and daughters of the original crew who are now on the new "Star Wars" movie.

Now back to drinking your warm beer

Oct 14, 2013

Is Wedge Antilles really Obi-Wan Kenobi's Uncle? Yes, from a certain point of view

wedge antilles obiwan uncle and nephew

Wedge Antilles is Obi Wan's uncle!


Yes, from a certain point of view...

In terms of the film there is no relationship between Wedge and Obi Wan Kenobi however in the real wold Denis Lawson who played Wedge Antilles is the uncle of a rather famous actor called Ewan McGregor ! Dennis's sister is Ewen's mother.

An interesting aside is that Wedge is the only minor character of the original trilogy to survive all three major battles being Yavin, Hoth and Endor.




Oct 13, 2013

Who had what cut off in the Star Wars films? A list of all the characters who had hands cut off in the movies

luke's mechanical arm from empire

What arms and legs were cut off in Star Wars


If you lived a long time ago in a galaxy far far away you could be forgiven for thinking all your people did was run around cutting off each other’s arms.

It was the price for getting smart to a Jedi in a bar, the price for trying to arrest a Sith Lord and the price paid for a kid who just wanted to have some time with his busy father…

Here’s a list of all the dismembering we could remember that happened in the Star Wars films, very minor characters such as robots were not counted.




A New Hope

  • Ponda Baba had his limb removed from his body by Obi Wan Kenobi in the Cantina bar after he and his friend Dr. Evazan gave Luke some less than friendly lip. 

The Empire Strikes Back

  • While the Wampa got the goods on Luke in the first round, when Luke left the Wampa's cave, at least he had both arms then... 
  • Luke loses his hand to Vader in an duel in which Vader reveals he is Luke's father. Talk about Luke having a really bad day at the Office. 

Return of the Jedi

  • Luke gets shot in his mechanical hand which doesn't count as losing a limb but it's a reminder of the significance - he is very like Vader. 
  • Everything however comes full circle when in the climatic duel aboard the Death Star when Luke is just about to fully give into The Dark Side, he cuts off Vader's hand. At which time Luke realises he is a Jedi and he has no wish to be anything but. Turning off his saber, he shows he is in control of his emotions and will not succumb to to the Dark Side. A truly awesome Star Wars moment. 

The Phantom Menace

  • No one had their hand cut off in this movie though Obi Wan did manage to sever Darth Maul in half.... 



Attack of the Clones

  • Obi Wan cuts off Zam Wessell’s lower arm as she starts to attack him in a bar.
  • Mace Windu chops up Jango Fett
  • Count Dooku manages to cut off Anakin's arm near the end of the film. This serves as one of the the first markers for Anakin becoming Darth Vader. Of course, the massacre of the Tusken tribe was probably a bigger one...

Revenge of the Sith

  • Before Anakin taps into the Dark Side of the force to kill Count Dooku, the Sith Lord in training had both hands removed from his person. 
  • Obi-Wan cuts two of General Grievous' hands off. 
  • Anakin cuts off Mace Windu’s hand to stop him from finishing off Palpatine. 
  • Anakin Skywalker does not have the high ground when Obi Wan remove his biological arm in a classic moment of the entire film series. Obi Wan leaves Anakin for dead, to wit the lava they were just battling over starts to burn Anakin. Queue a rescue from Palpatine but only after Anakin has used his mechanical arm to drag himself away from the flaming lava.

The Force Awakens

  • Kylo Ren excutes Lor San Tekka with his saber but we do not see a limb or head being severed. 
  • In the novelisation, Chewbacca rips of Unkar Plutt's arm when Plutt catches up with Rey for stealing the Falcon. This did not appear in the film. 

Meet Star Wars Rebel's Inquisitor


The next great villain from a galaxy far, far away is here. Fans attending Lucasfilm's Star Wars Rebels panel today at New York Comic Con got the world's first look at the Inquisitor, a black-clad, intimidating figure who will play a prominent role in the upcoming animated series. In a special video (available below) screened at the end of the panel, Star Wars Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni officially revealed the character, showing a sculpted maquette, design sketches, and disclosing that the Inquisitor is "tasked by Darth Vader to hunt down the remaining Jedi Knights."

The panel, hosted by Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo, focused on the Empire and how it is central to the story of Star Wars Rebels. Hidalgo revealed that the series takes place about 14 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, a time in which the Emperor's rule is secure and the Empire is seeking to expand its power to Outer Rim territories. That leads Imperial forces to Lothal, a poor planet that initially welcomes the Empire on the promise of security and prosperity.

It soon becomes obvious, however, that the Empire does not have Lothal's best interests at heart, as the Imperials exploit its people and begin recruiting young citizens to join TIE fighter and Stormtrooper academies, or to work in the Sienar Fleet Systems factory -- which builds TIE fighters -- in the planet's capital. Hidalgo showed new art focusing on Lothal, including the planet itself, a town, and alleyways, as well as an Empire recruitment poster.

The show is fully embracing the Star Wars legacy, taking direct inspiration from the original trilogy and its concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.

Hidalgo displayed new Star Wars Rebels imagery and animation models for Stormtroopers, Star Destroyers, TIE fighters, and TIE fighter pilots, all of which fit seamlessly with classic Star Wars. 

Additionally, Hidalgo introduced several new Imperial vehicles and designs created for the series: the All Terrain Defense Pod (AT-DP), a ground attack walker based on an early Joe Johnston (the filmmaker who designed Boba Fett's armor and speeder bikes, and made other major contributions to Star Wars) illustration from 1979; the new AT-DP pilot, which blends designs of the classic AT-AT walker driver from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back and the AT-ST walker pilot from Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; the Imperial Troop Transport, which comes from an early Kenner toy that was actually not based on designs from the films; and the Imperial freighter, a reimagining of an Imperial-style craft designed for Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace by concept artist Doug Chiang, featuring a dock to transport TIE fighters from system to system.

Oct 12, 2013

This is what Dave Filoni had to say about the Clone Wars in 2014

From Dave's Facebook:

Star Wars fans - I have some exciting news! We have wrapped production on all of the remaining Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes, and while that might be sad news in one way, it's good news in another. It means you will finally get to see them. When, exactly, is a detail I cannot yet share. I can confirm that in early 2014 you will be watching the final episodes of The Clone Wars, including one of Master Yoda's most challenging missions. So, get ready. We've got Clone Wars and Rebels coming at you in 2014. Animated Star Wars is alive and well. Trust in the Force my friends.

What on Earth is that blue liquid drunk in Star Wars?

luke drinking blue milk

The blue drink drunk by Luke Skywalker in A New Hope has made many a viewer wonder what it was and where it was from - it turns out it's milk from a Bantha. A big, hairy Bantha.

Imagine what colour their piss is like...

New York Comic Con Star Wars cosplay

xwing pilot cosplay
Red Squadron ready!
It's the city of New York's turn for a round of Comic Con and so why not celebrate the event with a bit of Star Wars cosplay?

Here's the best we've found so far...

han solo cosplay carbonite
Han Solo frozen in carbonite cosplay

wookie cosplay
It's all about the Wookie!

bobba fett cosplay
It's not Comic Con without Bobba!

aayla cosplay jedi
Even Jedi need a pretzel break every so often

naboo queen cosplay
Some representatives from Naboo





Anni-tude


Oct 8, 2013

Given The Force Awakens will not be an independent film but a Disney film, will it be forced to have opening credits?

falcon going into an asteroid - empire strikes back

When George Lucas originally put all the credits of the people who helped make his film at the end of the show to preserve the dramatic opening, he boxed himself into a corner and then came out swinging like a champ.

Apparently the Writers' Guild and Directors' Guild had allowed this to happen as no one thought the film would be awesome. Apparently.

When Empire Strikes Back rolled around the unionists through their toys. I say unionists as that's the guilds are - organised professionals. The unionists didn't want Lucas breaking with their rules so they fined him and Empire's director Irvine Kershner. Lucas wasn't having any of this bollocks, paid the fines and then quit the various bodies that were getting in his way. And thus the Star Wars films became effectively known as independent films - especially as Lucas was stumping up the cash to produce them himself.

Which is all to George's credit - Star Wars gave him the luxury of being his own man. He could do what he wanted and the studios would still support him and distribute his films. His dispute with the DGA did apparently prevent him from hiring his pal Steven Spielberg to direct Return of the Jedi. Apparently.

Which got me thinking, now that Lucasfilm has been sold to Disney & George has stepped away from the the story writer and director's chairs to act as a glorified consultant to JJ Abrams - will the status quo remain? Will Star Wars The Force Awakens credits be left to be displayed at the end? I think where they currently sit is awesome as they get to go out on John William's most excellent scores.

It will be weird enough that Fox's trumpet fanfare won't play before the classic yellow Star Wars logo appears so to have the introduction of Star Wars The Force Awakens interrupted by "A film by JJ Abrams" would just be garish. Can you imagine if halfway through Revenge of the Sith's battle opening we had to cut to "A Walt Disney production"?

They could of course do an elongated opening scene - some James Bond movies have done that very successfully, but then that is a tradition for those movies - do a cool action scene and then have nude woman dance around guns whilst the credits play.

So, let's hope the new Star Wars is modeled on the prior six movies and the credits come at the end!

Oct 1, 2013

Saoirse Ronan has confirmed she did not get a role in Star Wars 7.

Saoirse Ronan star wars
This is Saoirse
Saoirse Ronan has confirmed she auditioned for Star Wars 7. That's all we know. 

She didn't get it - "I just shouldn't have said anything. I just auditioned for it, like everyone else did."I don't have Star Wars. I don't have the role.