Actor David Prowse dies aged 85

Nov 29, 2020

 

David Prowse, behind the scenes as Darth Vader


Borrowed from Starwars.

From the moment Darth Vader silently walked on screen in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope — a towering figure clad in black, stalking slowly but with menacing purpose — it was clear that the world had a new icon of villainy. 

That was the power of David Prowse.


Prowse, the actor who gave the physical performance of Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy, died this weekend. He was 85. Standing 6 feet 6 inches with a strongman’s physique thanks to his interest in bodybuilding, Prowse’s Vader was an intimidating presence who, with simple gestures, could convey anger, sadness, and lost hope.

“David brought a physicality to Darth Vader that was essential for the character,” Star Wars creator George Lucas said. 

“He made Vader leap off the page and on to the big screen, with an imposing stature and movement performance to match the intensity and undercurrent of Vader’s presence. David was up for anything and contributed to the success of what would become a memorable, tragic figure. May he rest in peace.”


On Twitter, Mark Hamill remembered his co-star. “So sad to hear David Prowse has passed,” the Luke Skywalker actor said. “He loved his fans as much as they loved him.”



Born in Bristol in 1935, Prowse began bodybuilding at a young age, and went on to win the British heavyweight weightlifting championship for three straight years from 1962-64. He would eventually transition into a career in film and TV, including roles in A Clockwork Orange (1971), The Tomorrow People (1973), and played Frankentstein’s monster in three Hammer horror films. He was particularly well known to UK audiences thanks to his portrayal of the Green Cross Code Man, a superhero who promoted road safety in a campaign that ran from 1971-1990 — a part that would see him awarded an MBE in 2000. 

In addition, Prowse also worked behind the scenes, training Christopher Reeve for the title role in Superman (1978).

For Star Wars, Prowse auditioned for two roles: Chewbacca and Darth Vader. In a 2008 interview with NPR, Prowse revealed why he chose the Dark Lord of the Sith.

“Well, if you think back on all the movies that you’ve ever seen where there are goodies and baddies…you always remember the baddie.”

The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 5 Review: The Jedi

Nov 27, 2020
live action ashoka tano


"I hope it's about him"


This is it. 


The one where our beskar plated Hero meets one of the Jedi sorcerers the Armourer told him to find back in Season One.


We've had Bo KatanCobb Vanth from the Rebels show and the Aftermath novel respectively but for the fans, Ashoka Tano's live action appearance is quite a big deal. 


A bigger deal than Finn anyway...


Does Dave Filloni's latest tilt at the director's chair pull off the excitement of introducing Ashoka Tano?

Yes.

We quickly cut to a dark forest which echo's the colors of Mimban or indeed, the Mustapha forest that Kylo Ren wrecks some havoc on in TROS.


No mucking around, here, Ashoka is quickly revealed as taking down some crude bad guys. We know they are bad guys because a) it's Ashoka and b) they are crude. 


The show then sets up the Mandalorian meeting the main bad gal who sets him on a bounty hunt to bring down Ms Tano. 


Mando proves his worth against a Jedi (a moment that last seconds but speaks through the whole series as the first time Mando has been truly challenged by a greater opponent).


And we learn Baby Yoda's name: Grogu!


Some one took him from the Jedi temple during it's sacking by Anakin at the end of The Clone Wars!


But who?


Ashoka tests Baby Grogu and ultimately determines she will not train him, as she feared his anger would lead him to the dark side. She alludes to her experience with Anakin Skywalker. 


It's great, slow burn star wars and such a rich pay off for the journey as a viewer thus far into 14 chapters of The Mandalorian. 


Oh did we mention Micheal Bein, actor in two of the greatest sci fi films of the 80's turns up of all people turns up? Game over man, game over*.


Indeed, the later scenes feature Ashoka picking off the bad guys like a certain Alien creature familiar with the Weyland-Yutani Corporation. We're certain this is a deliberate nod to the Alien films, hence the casting. 


This episode is possibly the most Star Wars Mando show we've had yet. It echoes all we have seen before, it references Thrawn!, it sets up Baby Grogu as potentially a new hope of some kind and we see the Mandalorian accept he is the father figure he denies he is. 


I'm fairly confident this episode will be the one people long remember well after this amazing show concludes. 


We must note this is David Filioni's third or fourth turn at directing a live action Star Wars show after his many years producing wonderful cartoons in the form of The Clone Wars and Rebels. We cannot but feel he's been given this gig as training for a future Star Wars film of his own. This episode alone shows he would be worth it. 


The music was subtle but incredible and I'm pretty sure I heard Yoda's theme at one point.


Look like we're off to planet Tython...

mandaloran baby yoda art drawing

Facts, trivia, easter eggs and generally cool stuff

  • The rumours were true, Rosario Dawson plays Ashoka Tano and she does it well. 
  • The Magistrate is called Morgan Elspeth.
  • Did you spot the appearance of Morai?
  • Did you spot the Lothcat? (I think this is the second appearance of one...)
  • Question: Was the beskar spear, the same kind as the spear Captain Phasma used in The Last Jedi? Before you ask, Phasma's armour is made from Naboo steel.
  • And will it be what he uses to defend himself against the Dark Saber that Moff Gideon will inevitably use against him him the final episode of this season?
  • The duo HK87 droids were yet another call back to the KOTOR game.
  • When Ashoka says "May the Force be with you" to Mando, he doesn't know the polite reply of "and also with you". 
  • How's that tracking device going for Moff Gideon?

* Yes, we know the quote is not his. 

Rosario Dawson is Ahsoka Tano in THE MANDALORIAN


The Mandalorian: Review Season 2 Episode 4 > The Siege

Nov 20, 2020


After the hotness of last week's live action introduction of Bo-Katan and the name drop of Ashoka Tana, can episode 4 of The Mandalorian deliver again? 


We shouldn't really have doubted the show as The Mandalorian continues to take massive strides with its storytelling and world-building. 


It's starting to become clear that The Mandalorian is the new gateway in the Star Wars realm. Sure, it is leveraging the past in many ways but it's slowly filling in some lore about what happened after the Seige of Mandalore and how the 'remnants' of Empire managed to keep the hustle going. 


But as an episode alone? 


It was kinda dull. 


Sure, there's an exciting TIE Fighter chase which kinda mimics the famous trench run of ANH somewhat, dumb Stormtroopers being all 'meta' and yet another Baby Yoda must eat food moment (over egging much?) and an intriguing insight into why Mof Gideon wants Baby Yoda so bad... 


But it was still kinda dull. 


It was nice to see Cara Dune get to play the badass, out of the shadow of The Mandalorian but the concept of a secret base everyone knows about a few clicks out of town.... c'mon.


The show looks amazing! The CGI is top level. The tie-fighter chase sequence was classic ANH hope style shoot em up (which The Force Awakens also took inspiration from). 


There's not more much to say.... honestly we are just hanging out for episode 5 which is directed by Dave Filoni which suggests we might just get finally to see a live action Ashoka Tano. 


To summarise, while this episode was not filler like say episode 2, it's probably a case of 'don't bore us, get to the chorus'.


chapter 13 mandalorian concept art



Trivia, easter eggs and general Star Wars references contained in Episode IV of The Mandalorian (SPOILERS):



  • The M-Count is a reference to Midicholirans of course and that Baby Yoda obviously has them. 
  • It appears Mof Gideon has a few Dark Trooper variants up his sleeve...
  • Directed by Greef Karga himself, Carl Weathers.
  • There's an implication of cloning and using The Child's midchlorians - which ties in a little to Snoke being a clone with Force user abilities... remember this show is set 4 years after Return of the Jedi. The secret lab with clones could possibly be tied to the Emperor's plans. 
  • Did you spot IG-11 in the town?
  • "Did you lose anyone on Alderaan” - this has to be the dumbest question asked in the history of Star Wars. Or did it give some hint of a very dark past for the character?
  • The "Alright men, load your weapons...blast them!" quote from the Stormtrooper is a sweet nod to ANH.
  • Cliched Wilhelm scream when the trooper falls into the lava. 
  • "I'll try spinning, that's a cool trick." The Mando spinning in his dog fight with the TIE Fighter was probably a nod to what young Anakin Skywalker did in The Phantom Menace.
  • The blue Mythrol was the same bloke from the very first episode of the show in Season One.
  • Moff Gideon's ship was an Arquitens-Class Frigate
  • Tracking device planted on the Razor Crest? No idea where that concept comes from...
  • The 'no guard rail' line is kind of an in joke that in many of the Star Wars films, there are no guard rails in place for dangerous work places i.e. Obi-Wan Kenobi turning off the tracking beam in A New Hope. 
  • One of the girls in the Navarro school has a Rey  style haircut.
  • At the 18th minute and 54 seconds mark you can see a person from the production caught in the frame accidentally. They are to the right of Greef's shoulder (onscreen left). You can see they are wearing a great shirt, blue jeans and a watch on their left arm...
crew caught in frame mandolorian


Everything you need to know about Darth Vader

Nov 17, 2020
Tis but a scratch!

Here's some facts and trivia bout Darth Vader


Here’s everything* you need to know about Darth Vader.

  • Who is he? Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker before he became a Sith Lord known as Darth Vader. A fallen Jedi Knight, Vader became the 'evil henchman' of Sheev Palpatine who rose to rule over the galaxy. In reality, the first six Star Wars films are about the rise and fall of Vader’s character.
  • The Darth Vader mask that appeared in Revenge of the Sith was fashioned using a digital design to computer-lathe the base master, from which molds were made to cast the on-screen costume masks. This meant Vader’s mask was exactly symmetrical.
  • While Qui-Gon Jin theorized that Anakin’s virgin birth was the will of the Force, Palpatine implied in Revenge of the Sith that Darth Plagueis caused the birth using the Force - earlier drafts of the ROTS script suggested this was indeed the case. It’s non-canon however, so it’s only a theory.
  • How old was Vader when he died? Darth was 45 years old. 
  • Vader's look was inspired by Nazi uniforms.
  • In the Alan Dean Foster novel, Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Luke and Vader have a duel and Luke chops off Vader’s arm. When Lucas decided that the novel would not form the basis of the second film the book was made redundant however Lucas keep the idea of the arm severing and reversed who did what. Which was again reversed in Jedi…
  • Seven people have contributed to the character performance of Darth Vader in the movies. If we go in chronological order - Jake Lloyd played Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, Hayden Christian played Anni and Darth in the other two prequels, David Prowse was the suit in all three original trilogy films while James Earl Jones did the voice over 4 times (inc Revenge of the Sith). Bob Anderson chipped in with some stunt work in Jedi and Sebastian Shaw famously played the unmasked Vader in Jedi as well. Finally, when The Empire Strikes Back was redone for re release in 1994-95, C. Andrew Nelson was used for a few fill in bits and bobs ( See his drop by notes in the comments!).
  • Occasionally people think it was Vader’s son Luke Skywalker who brought balance to the Force. While Luke’s efforts helped with it, the actual of balancing the Force came when Vader chose to throw the Emperor down the well (as the Emperor was in the middle of killing Luke with Force lightning). Vader found the compassion & love for his son was greater the choice he made to follow the Emperor and fall to the Dark Side of the Force. Vader truly was the chosen one. Or rather, he used to be until Rise of Skywalker determined Rey was The Chosen One. You can debate it either way until the space cows come home. 
  • Vader was a defeated man. The main way he fell to the Dark Side was by way of trying to find a means to prevent his wife’s death. When he actually caused Padme's death what did he have to live for? Nothing. He was simply trapped as the heavy breathing vessel of Palpatine. He did eventually become obsessed with finding this son so they together could overthrow Palatine.
  • In A New Hope, the character has only 8 minutes of screen time. It was all that was needed to propel Vader to becoming one of the most popular bad guys in the history of bad guys in movies.
  • Vader’s theme song is known as the Imperial March and is often used to signify the arrival of a bad person by smart alecs who hum the tune as they enter a room.
  • James Earl Jones did the voice of Vader.
  • Vader’s confession to Luke that he was his father in The Empire Strikes Back is considered by many movie fans to be the best plot twist in a movie. This concept was not originally thought of by Lucas for the first film which clearly intended that Vader and Anakin were different people -please recall Obi Wan’s expository scene with Luke. The line said during the filming of the scene was “Obi-Wan killed your father” – a clever ruse to throw people off the real twist (which apparently only the team of Lucas, Kasdan, Kershner, and Mark Hamill actually knew the truth of).
  • Darth Vader is not German for Dark Father and the name thus is not a clue about his parentage of Luke.
  • Vader's voice turned up briefly in Rise of Skywalker when it was revealed Darth Sidious had impersonated him. James Earl Jones returned one final (?) time to record the voice. 

Mandalorian Review: Season 2 Episode 3: The Heiress

Nov 13, 2020


Mandalorian Review: Season 2 Episode 3: The Heiress

Directed by Bryce Dallas Howard


-


We're just gonna say it. 


Star Wars ryhmes. 


And so does Katee Sackhoff as Bo Katarn. 


Yep, The Mandalorian went there!


As an Episode of the Mandalorian, this was a classic standalone story, mixed with a splash of story movement that should make any Star Wars fan quite happy. 


Featuring yet another crash landing of the Razor Quest (how many lives does this ship have) we get to the plot - Mando delivers Frog Lady safely after their Episode 2 adventure only to fall perhaps quite naively into a trap - the sailers want his Beskar, which sets up a fantastic reveal of Bo Katarn and her two off siders. 


Finally, Mando has found his people!


Or has he?


We learn he is part of The Watch, a group of Mandalorian that set away from the culture of Mandalore and go to what I could gently describe as 'fanatic roots'. 


An interesting twist. 


A second caper sees Mando team up with Bo Katarn to take down an Imperial Vessel containing weapons which Bo wishes to use to take back Mandalore. 


The real goal is leaning if Moff Gideon actually has the Dark Saber... if only she and Mando took the time to truly get to know each other. 


Stormtroopers were over used as gun fodder and the fact lil Baby Yoda wishes to eat everything in sight is beginning to feel overplayed. 


The verdict is this third episode directed by Bryce Dallas Howard is a good one, full of action, Star Wars lore, crossover from Rebels and not that we needed it, confirmation Mando is RESOLUTE in his mission to deliver Baby Yoda to his people. 


Which sets up quite nicely for Bo to direct Mando to Ashoka Tano....



Trivia, Easter eggs and cool facts about The Heiress:

  • “He didn’t kill your brother, I did”
  • "They couldn't hit the side of a Bantha"
  • AT-craneT...
  • Bo Katarn is searching for the Dark Saber  so she can retake her place as the rightful Heiress of Mandalore. I expect we will see more of the character in time.
  • The Imperial Freighter the Mandalorians attacked was first seen in Star Wars Rebels. 
  • The Captain of the Freighter (Titus Welliver from Lost, Transformers) took a 'suicide pill', the first we have seen in a live action Star Wars. 
  • The changing the terms of the deal moment between Mando and Katarn is a distinct nod to The Empire Strikes Back when Vader threatens to do the same to Lando Calrissian
  • This episode was the first live action Star Wars where Ashoka Tano's name was mentioned. 
  • It's no secret that this episode's director  Bryce Dallas Howard is the daughter of Ron Howard, who directed Solo - and also Apollo 13 - to which BDH paid homage to: