Jun 29, 2014

Tales of Tatooine - cool facts and quotes about the desert planet from Star Wars

Tales of Tatooine - cool facts and quotes about the desert planet from Star Wars

Tales of Tatooine - cool facts and quotes about the desert planet from Star Wars

The first planet we ever laid our eyes on in Star Wars was the desert that was Tatooine.

Supposedly full of scum and villany, this was where Luke Skywalker grew up, learning to shoot womp rats.

Here's some sweet facts and the odd quote about the hunk of rock.
  • The Hutts effectively rule the planet by way of being crime lords. The planet is too hard to manage by Imperial standards so it is essentially left to its own devices. 
  • The so called Tusken Raiders or sand people are the actual natives of Tatooine. Jawa, Hutts and Humans came after.
  • While Mos Eisely is perhaps the most famous place on Tatooine, its actual capital is called Bestine. It is situated far west of Mos Eisley near the south-western Dune Sea.
  • One of Stars Wars most famous quotes was uttered by Obi Wan Kenobi as he observed what lay before him and Luke:
"Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
  • The filming location that served as Tatooine in A New Hope was the deserts of Tunisia. For Epiosde 7 filming was done in Abu Dabi
  • Obi Wan Kenobi lived on Tatooine to key an eye on Luke Skywalker. He lived in the region known as the Jundland Wastes.
  • The famous Catina where our heroes met Han Solo is actually called Chalmun's Cantina. 
  • Tattoine is not actually referred to by name in A New Hope. It was originally going to be called Utapau but Lucas went for Tatooine and Utapau was used in Revenge of the Sith.
  • Classic quote from Jedi when Luke and Han are about to be thrown into the Sarlac's pitt:
Luke: "There's nothing to see. I used to live here, you know." 
Han Solo: "You're gonna die here, you know. Convenient."
Interested in other places of the Star War's universe? Why not catch a game of sabacc at Cloud City or talk a forest walk on Endor.

Jun 26, 2014

Facts about Ewoks and Endor from Return of the Jedi

Cindel from Caravan of Courage
A googly eyed Wicket, Cindel and Ewok buddy who's name I have no idea of

Facts about Ewoks and Endor from Return of the Jedi


Love them or hate them they are part of Star Wars canon so they are part of the Star Wars universe. So here's some facts and stories about them and the moon they live on, Endor.

You may have heard of it...
  • The word Ewok is never mentioned, not even once in Return of the Jedi. They are referenced in the credits. 
  • Kenny Baker, famous for playing R2D2 was supposed to play the part of Ewok Wicket. When it came time to film , he was too sick and so a very young Warrick Davis filled in at the last moment. The rest is history and he made a career out of acting ever since. Baker did in the end have a cameo as an Ewok  - he's the one that steals a Stormtrooper's speed bike as a diversion tactic!
  • The scenes of Endor's forest including the Ewok assault and the speed biker race were filmed at locations in North Carolina, USA.
  • One idea for Jedi was the the Wookie people to feature as the combatants the Storm Troopers faced during the Battle of Endor. It was eventually realised that concept of the Wookie engaging in the intended primitive acts the script demanded as it was clear Chewbacca was too advanced such as he could fly a Falcon! Thus the Ewoks were born. 
  • The cynics out there disregard this story and believe the Ewoks were created as they were be more marketable in terms of merchandise opportunities. 
  • Wicket is never named in the movie, only in the credits. 
  • What do you get if you say wookie backwards? Ewok. It is however said that Ewok are named after the Miwok, a Native American tribe, indigenous to the Redwood forest where the scenes featuring the cuddly critters were filmed.
  • Endor is not a planet but a moon. The Return of the Jedi novel suggested that the planet around which the moon orbited was destroyed a long time ago. That planet was called Endor, hence why some people call Endor, the Forest Moon of Endor. Other media suggests a planet does exist.
  • Endor went on to feature in a couple of Star Wars spin off movies, namely Caravan of Courage which featured the Gorax as the chief monster villain and Battle for Endor. These movies introduced magic and mysticism whereas the trilogy had only the Force. This change was designed to appeal to children and thus witches, wizards, giants and fairies featured in the movies. 
  • The Ewoks managed to star in their own cartoon that ran for two seasons. 

Jun 22, 2014

The ten best pieces of Ralph McQuarrie Star Wars concept art

When George Lucas was thinking about and writing his early version of The Star Wars he would put his ideas down onto a yellow legal pad with a pencil. While his stories were amazing, he needed to be able to show people how his film The Star Wars could look. He engaged the services of an artist called Ralph McQuarrie and the rest is history.

Ralph took George's ideas and concepts and turned the words into the world that became Star Wars. Ralph did the robots, the villains, the landscapes and the heroes. His drawings lead to so many iconic things being in Star Wars and thus his influence on the world is very marked.

Sadly McQuarrie died some years ago but we can celebrate his work by examining the top ten pieces of concept art he drew for Lucas.

This early draft picture of C3PO and R2D2 is perhaps the most significant work that Ralph did as it set the standard for everything else. Lucas wanted the story to be told from the point of two robots (he was inspired by the bumbling duo in The Hidden Fortress) and after some experimenting with robot design, this was one of the images that Lucas took with him when he met studio executives as he pitched his film.

For C3PO, McQuarrie had pretty clear direction from George as to his design:

"Back when I was doing the initial concept artwork for Star Wars, George had photographs of the Metropolis robot, which he said he'd like C-3P0 to look like, except that I should make it a boy”.

original design of the Millennium Falcon

This is an early design of the Millennium Falcon, the cock pit and 'style' of the ship made it to the final design (which legend has it was based on a suggestion from Lucas that it resemble a pickle stuck to a bun). The Falcon has become one of the most iconic ships in the Star Wars franchise - it's up their with the Death Star and Luke flying around in his X-Wing.

luke starkiller mos eisley concept drawing

Jun 18, 2014

The official explanation for Han's Kessel Run is no longer canon

“You’ve never heard of the Millennium Falcon? … It’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.” 

Now that the Star Wars canon has had a shake up, a lot of things that used to be considered canon are no longer the true version of the story.

So there’s no General Thrawn or Truce at Bakura for example that currently ‘exist’.  

And if you think about it, the explanation of the Kessel Run being done by Han Solo and Chewie in less than 12 parsecs means the ‘mistake’ of the original film remains (in that everyone with a science major knows a parsec is a unit of distance rather than a measurement of time).

Following the success of the film, this seeming error was pointed out many times by fans so much so that the Han Solo trilogy of books explained that the Kessel Run’s distance was shortened when Han flew close to a black hole which cut the distance down.

But this whole parsec thing is a bit stupid anyway.

The script for A New Hope reads:

Solo "It's the ship that made the Kessel run in less than twelve parsecs!"

Ben reacts to Solo's stupid attempt to impress them with obvious misinformation. 

Which means the line was simply intended to be some nonsense Han just threw out into the conversation.

The novelisation of the film however did pick up on the use of the word and changed the distance measurement to “standard time units”.

Now, you might think that the mention of the famous run in The Force Awakens addresses the issue. THink carefully about this and you will see it's not the case. The Force Awakens did not explain how the Kessel Run was achieved, it merely referenced it. 

So until any new Star Wars material mentions the parsec run explanation, it simply does not exist in the Star Wars universe and Han Solo was merely trying to impress Obi Wan by lying as confirmed by the script notes.

Jun 16, 2014

Luke takes on Jedi's Rancor concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

Here’s some more Return of the Jedi concept art from RalphMcQuarrie.

Rancor concept art from Return of the Jedi

This is Luke Skywalker facing doom in the eye in the form of the Rancor.

The rancor in this picture doesn’t actually seem so scary….  Cool to see the sharp gate that silenced the Rancor was there from the get go.

Despite the bony remains to the right, the room seems a little to clean for a feeding place!

Well clearly that was noted as Luke against the Rancor became this:

Luke beats the Racor conceptual art design

Want more Return of the Jedi concept art? Check out McQuarries's early designs.

Jun 14, 2014

Just some Ewok concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

Concept Art Ewok village by the water

Apparently Ewoks liked to take their vacations at the lake....

Nah, it was just an idea that didn't make it to script or screen.

Jun 13, 2014

Reasons to love Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of Star Wars and Indianna Jones. Hey, that's two reasons right there!!

Kasdan on the right, Lucas middle and Kershner left
He has some fine Star Wars pedigree, being the main author of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Did we mention he's written the script for The Force Awakens with JJ Abrams? How cool is that? This means he'll have had a firm hand in three Star Wars films in a row. 

He wrote Raiders of the Lost Ark. Directed by George Lucas's best friend Steven Speilberg, it featured Star Wars alumni Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones. The guy wrote Indianna Jones, how could you not love him for that!

Kasdan wrote and sold the script and for The Bodyguard in the late 70s. It was eventually made and released in 1992. So in a round about way, Kasdan is responsible for making Whitney Houston’s cover of ‘I will always love you’ a massive hit!

Kasdan is also a film director – his more well known, genuine hits  include Body Heat, French Kiss and The Big Chill.

Rumour has it he's also written a stand alone Boba Fett film. We kind of doubt it but that's what they say.....

Jun 9, 2014

Boba Fett doesn’t seem such a bad ass now eh?

Here’s presumably not Jeremy Bulloch on set during the filming of a scene at Jabba’s palace. We think the ‘stach is TERRIBLE…..

bobba fett with his helmet off

We're not actually sure  who is playing Boba Fett in this picture. If you haven't picked it, it's a scene from Return of the Jedi at Jabba's Palace.

Jun 7, 2014

Star Wars references that director Spielberg put into E.T.

Yoda in the film E.T.
Yoda as seen through the eye of E.T's Halloween costume

Star Wars references that director Spielberg put into E.T.

When I was a kid, Steven Spielberg's E.T. was one of the most scariest films I ever saw at the theatre.

That scene when E.T. is chased by the 'bad people' and ends up at Eliot's house was pretty thrilling and frighting for a young lad.

But a young lad who is being frighted may well have missed the Star Wars references in the movie - particularly as he hadn't probably seen Star Wars at that time.   

But to see you the hassle, there's the Star Wars references that Steven Spielberg put into E.T.
  • When Elliot shows E.T. his action figures, three of them are Star Wars figures; Greedo, Boba Fett, and Lando Calrissian.
  • At one point Eliot's older brother Micheal imitates Yoda while making fun of Elliot. 
  • When the mother sees the mess in Elliot's room, she says, "this is no room, it's an accident," which is a reference to Obi Wan Kenobi's line from A New Hope, "that's no moon, it's a space station.
  • A child in a Yoda costume is spied during Halloween walk scene. E.T. starts walking towards him exclaiming, "Home". Composer John Williams wrote the music for E.T. and in this scene we hear a brief moment of Yoda's theme, which he wrote for The Empire Strikes Back film where Yoda was introduced to the Star Wars universe.
George Lucas noted the references and returned the favour in The Phantom Menace, by sneaking in some E.T. like characters.

Jun 4, 2014

JJ denies Star Wars 7 will have the Millenium Falcon in it. THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!!!!!

JJ has responded to the Star Wars leaks by confirming the Millennium Falcon is not in Star Wars 7.

How dare they make a Star Wars film without the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy?

Jokes aside, the note is resting on the holochess board that featured in A New Hope where Arto was encouraged to let the Wookie win by C3PO!

Jun 3, 2014

Star Wars 7 X-Wing leaks suggests they are modeled on the original McQuarrie design art. Bodes well for the movie.

star wars 7 xwing leak

The leaks are coming thick and fast about Star Wars 7 - this time we have space ship props, from the England Pinewood Studios.

What we want to focus on is this X Wing model picture. Obviously it suggests there are X wing in the movie which is cool as they are to my mind, the greatest ships in Star Wars.

Look closely at what I'm gonna call the 'jet intake' where the wings join the body. Do you recognise anything?

xwing jet intake leak

If you're a Ralph McQuarrie fan you may spy that they are very similar to his original designs of the X Wing from A New Hope.

xwing concept art mcquarrie

The design of the ship also appears to have a shorter nose than the original X Wing seen in the Original Trilogy.

This is pretty cool as it models the approach the forth coming Star Wars: Rebels is taking using some original design models. It's kind of a same same but different approach.



Jun 2, 2014

Lupita Nyong'o cast in The Force Awakens

Lupita Nyong'o star wars

The official Star Wars site has announced:

Lupita Nyong'o joins the recently announced cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens This year, her breakthrough performance in 12 Years a Slave earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.

This is not a surprise, Nyong'o's name has been the subject of much speculation in recent months.

Lupita said in Twitter:

Brienne of Tarth cast in The Force Awakens

Gwendoline Christie from Star Wars
Gwendoline Christie
Gwendoline Christie has been cast in Star Wars 7.

Currently a fan favourite in the television series Game of Thrones as Brienne of Tarth, this will be a popular casting choice. 

"I could not be more excited about Lupita and Gwendoline joining the cast of Episode VII," says Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. "It's thrilling to see this extraordinarily talented ensemble taking shape."

Christie played Captain Phasma.

Update: Christie has tweeted on her casting: