Nov 30, 2014

BB-8 - They see me rollin', they hear me going beep bop blurp beep....

Now that glow (and what a wondrous glow it was) of The Force Awakens’ teaser trailer has begun to dissipate, it’s time to explore things in more detail – but that’s for other people - I just wanted to point out some of the inspiration for the cute little rolling ball robot that featured ever so briefly, BB-8:

BB-8 robot force awakens
They see me rollin'
The internet was quick to suggest where the inspiration for the lil dude or dudette came from – the mind of Ralph McQuarrie – being the original concept artist / designer that George Lucas employed to bring his words to life by way of drawings.

early R2d2 concept idea
Here’s an initial sketch of what could have become R2D2 and has duly become a part of The Force Awakens (just like the series Rebels has been doing). 

You'll note the roller ball at the base of the draft sketch - it's clearly an inspiration. 

You can see how the top is very similar to the traditional R Type Mech droids we have been used to seeing over the years. 

What's an astromech you ask? The official Star Wars site says:

"Astromech droids are a series of versatile utility robots generally used for the maintenance and repair of starships and related technology. These small droids are often equipped with a variety of tool-tipped appendages that are stowed in recessed compartments. The R2 unit is a popular example of an astromech droid."

You might say this has been done before in the form of Eva from Wall-e - that's true in a sense but remember Star Wars did it first with the Droideka units in The Phantom Menace who rolled about....

And if you wondered how this draft design of an R unit became transformed into what we know and love as the R2D2 droid, check out this very early concept art which was considered pivotal by George Lucas in convincing Fox Studios to back production of the very first Star Wars movie:

Nov 29, 2014

Unkar Plutt quotes from The Force Awakens

unkar plutt quotes

Unkar Plutt quotes from The Force Awakens

Unkar Plutt is a minor character that can be found in Star Wars: The Force Awakens but his character is quite notable for whom is playing him.

That being the very famous Star Wars prequel hater Simon Pegg.

Pegg is also well known for Shawn of the Dead, Mission Impossible and a small film called Star Trek - he was able to use his leverage with JJ Abrams to get the small role by dint of their Star Trek relationship.

As for the actual character!

“One-quarter portion…” so says Plutt to Ray during their negotiation and thus usurping him as being a more mean wheeler and dealer that Watto.

"Quiet girl" - so says Unkar to the young Rey in the flashback sequence.

Nov 28, 2014

Storm Troopers still can't shoot properly...

Is this just the prettiest thing? Yes, that's the Falcon dog fighting with Tie Fighters, seemingly over the desert of Tatooine!

Nov 25, 2014

'Episode II was a decrease to da series' as decreed by Brian Delaney, Star Wars fan.

We were amused to spy this comment on G+. We think the author was trying to suggest that Episode II: Attack of the Clones was a disgrace to the Star Wars franchise.

Was it? We’ve covered how the haters are gonna hate like Brian here and yes, it is part of the prequel trilogy, a much maligned set of films. 

But we thought we should cover off four areas of what we think there is to love about Attack of the Clones and address some of the parts which do let the site down just a tad. Just a tad....

1. Yoda turns out to be a total bad ass.

I dunno about you, but in the theatre where I saw Attack of the Clones people began cheering when Yoda and Count Dooku started to battle. Yoda was flipping around and using the Force like he invented it. This was great spectacle and showing Yoda in this light increased his standing in the Star Wars realm amongst fans. The prequels are great because they showed how great a Jedi the little green guy was.

Nov 24, 2014

The very best Star Wars movie quotes from the best characters

The very best Star Wars movie quotes from the best characters

The very best Star Wars movie quotes from the best characters

One of the best things about the Star Wars films is that they are so quotable – the lines and phrases have become part of pop culture across so many realms – Yoda’s altered sentence structures, Han’ call it like it is quips and Luke’s bright eyed innocence about wanting to go to Toche Station have made the films live on.

From upstanding Jedi to fallen  Sith, precious princesses to bickering robots, here’s what we think are the best quotes of the major characters are from six motion picture films of the Star Wars franchise. 

Yoda, the meanest greenest Jedi ever known
  • “You must unlearn what you have learned.”  - Some say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Yoda seemed to think he Luke could with Luke and ultimately he was proven right. 
  • “Do or do not. There is no try.” - This pretty much sums up the whole of Luke's efforts in Empire
  • “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering. I sense much fear in you." - A line from Phantom Menance where Yoda is basically outlining what will happen to Anakin Skywalker and the consequences his fear will have for himself, all those around him and beyond.
  • "When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good, you will not, hmmm?”  - Yoda has a joke with Luke and then he dies....
  • "No, there is another." As Obi Wan Kenobi laments Luke possibly failing and being the last hope, Yoda through into the mix that there was another hope. 

Nov 18, 2014

Bodhi Rook quotes by Riz Ahmed from Star Wars: Rogue One

Bodhi Rook quotes from Star Wars

Played by Riz Ahmed, who was argubably best known for his role in Nightcrawler before this appearance in Rogue One.

Bodhi Rook is part of the squad lead by Felicity Jones' character, Jyn Erso. He's a Rebel pilot who defected from the Empire as part of a mission Galen Erso sent him on.


This is Rogue, Rogue One.

This is for you, Galen.

Nov 17, 2014

Yoda's Akiro Kurosawa reference in Revenge of the Sith

Yoda Seven Samurai reference

Revenge of the Sith featured a very cool reference to one of the films by a Japanese director that inspired the original Star Wars film.

We have mentioned before how Akira Kurosawa’s The Hidden Fortress was a major influence on George Lucas.

It’s no surprise then that Lucas deftly slipped in a visual reference to AkiraKurosawa’s famous Seven Samurai film.

As Yoda rides in a gunship, he runs his hand over his head, sadly pondering how has Jedi Council's request of Anakin to spy on Palpatine has riled Anakin. This mimics Kambei Shimada’s motion in the Seven Samurai. 

Pretty cool when you know to look for it! 

Nov 16, 2014

What was the working title for The Force Awakens?

working title force awakens avco
2nd Unit film canister of Avco

The working title of The Force Awakens was:


This production title was named after  a Los Angeles cinema that showed Star Wars which in itself is not hugely notable except for two points:

  • Avco was one of only four cinemas who fitted Lucasfilm’s THX sound system for the film.
  • It was the cinema that the young JJ Abrams first saw the Star Wars.

So there you go, not quite as cool as the story of Blue Harvest but quite the bit of trivia none-the-less.

Nov 10, 2014

Han Solo will die in A Force Awakens!

That’s our prediction any way - here’s the rationale.

Actor Harrison Ford has never been hugely fussed with Star Wars and is on record in a few interviews as being a bit bemused by everything and its success. He is also well noted thinking of himself as being more Indiana Jones than Han Solo.

With this seeming reluctance to play Han Solo in yet another Star Wars film, he agreed to take part in A Force Awakens so that he could contractually get a new Indianna Jones movie into production. Let’s assume this was a one time deal in that this will be Ford’s last Star Wars appearance ever – so in order for JJ’s The Force Awakens to take full advantage of the fact that Han Solo won’t be in any future Star Wars films, the script has been written so that Solo goes out.

So that’s the ‘real reason why’ Han will die.

But what about the story telling reason?

In terms of story telling, The Force Awakens is a hand over. The major characters from the original trilogy are passing the torch to the new, much younger actors who will carry the next 2 films of the trilogy (not to forget potential roles in the cross over films). 

If the story of film is truly about a hand over, why not have Han Solo die in the most glorious way as he saves everybody and in doing so passes his own torch to his child who will go on to have many wonderful space adventures. Everyone suspects he will have married Leia and their child will be Force sensitive so the hand over goes that way (Kira?)

Another idea why - from a certain point of view, A New Hope hinged on the death of Obi Wan Kenobi. His sacrifice (of a sort) helped Luke and Leia escape from Tarkin and Vader’s clutches. The Force Awakens needs such a moment, and Han Solo is the perfect candidate for it.

Of course his death should be so heroic and so noble it will be up there with movie deaths such as Spock in Wrath of Khan, Damien Karass in The Exorcist, Harry Stamper in Armageddon and let’s not forget the death of Obi Wan at the hands of his former apprentice in A New Hope.

Here’s hoping any way.

Nov 7, 2014

A Stars Wars fan actually predicted The Force Awakens title a few years ago

Reddit pointed out an interesting post of a forum from 2012. For shits and giggles people were punting up names for Episode VI - things like Han and Chewies' Excellent Adventure (which would have been totally bogus) and then this happened:

Which is kind of cool really given the news!

The forum poster was contacted and had this to say:

"Ultimately this was a random guess. No inside info or connection to Lucas. But to me it seemed logical that the first movie in this trilogy would need to address the force. I'm a believer that the movie titles in each trilogy closely relate and I suspect this will carry over for the ST. So I knew it was going to be 3 words, and the force. I also know that the wording would be vague/ambiguous/old fashioned like all the other six movie titles."

Nov 6, 2014

Han Solo quotes from The Force Awakens

Han Solo quotes from  Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Many, if not most, Star Wars fans were thrilled to learn that Harrison Ford was returning as everyone's favourite spice smuggler, Han Solo in The Force Awakens.

An immensely quotable character, his "I know" to Leia when facing death in Empire is the stuff of movie legend.

Here's Han Solo's best quotes and lines of dialogue from Star Wars - The Force Awakens.

"Chewie, we're home."

Rey: "You're Han Solo?" 
Solo "I Used To Be."

When asked by Rey about the stories that happened, Han replies, "It's true. All of it. The dark side. The Jedi. They're real".

To Finn "Women Always Figure Out The Truth. Always."

“Tell that to Kanjiklub.” (actually Han didn't say this but it feels like he did....)

Han Solo: "Are you sure you're up for this?"
Finn "hell no"

Han Solo as he offers Rey his pistol "You might need this"
Rey: "I can handle myself:
Han Solo: "That's why I'm giving it to you!"

Finn: "That Possible?" 
Han "I Never Ask That Question Until After We've Done It."

As Solo mans the pilot seat of the Falcon in a tight spot "Come baby, don't let me down"'

To Finn who has just advised Han he doesn't have a plan and thinks the Force can just be used to save Rey: "that's not how the force works!".

Han Solo as he walks up to Kylo on the bridge and yells "BEN!" and in doing so reveals Kylo's real name and that he was presumably named after Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Want more quotes? Here's what Luke had to say in the Force Awakens. 

Easter eggs from The Force Awakens

Easter eggs from The Force Awakens

Princess Leia quotes from The Force Awakens

Leia hugging Han Solo in The Force Awakens

Princess Leia quotes from The Force Awakens

Princess Leia returns for her 5th outing in a Star Wars movie (you gotta count her as a baby in Revenge of the Sith!). This time Leia is known as Commander Organa of the Rebellion.

Here's what lines Carrie Fisher uttered to the weird and wonderful people and robots found in The Force Awakens

Leia "Don't Do That."
Han Solo "Do What?"

Han to Leia when they first meet after a long time spent apart "You Changed Your Hair."
Leia observes "Same Jacket."
Han replies "New Jacket."

The subtext in this one is quite huge - Han is saying to Leia he's a different person now - he's the father of Kylo Ren, not just a space pirate. The same applies for Leia - new hair implies, new person.  

Facts and trivia about The Force Awakens

Like the other movies before it, Star Wars The Force Awakens has a lot of cool trivia and facts surrounding its production and story line.

JJ Abram's masterfully crafted film is chock to the brim with call backs to the other movies and shout outs to famous moments.

Here's some of the best trivia and facts we've found about The Force Awakens.
  • Principal filming started on May 16 2014 in the desert of Abu Dahbi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Prior to that some second unit filming had taken place in the same desert and Iceland. The filming finished on 7 November at which time the film's name was revealed via Twitter.
  • Max von Sydow, who plays Lor San Tekka also played Emperor Ming the Merciless in the film Flash Gordon. It’s a loose piece of trivia but the Flash Gordon serials were a major influence on Lucas’s development of Star Wars. 
  • Poe Dameron's name is is inspired by JJ's long time assistant Morgan Dameron.
  • The production crew had a preference for using real locations and miniature models over green-screens and computer-generated imagery This was so The Force Awakens was aesthetically similar to the original Star Wars trilogy. It’s also likely a response to concerns that the Prequel Trilogy was hugely CGI based – so much so that that all the Storm Troopers were CGI (yet there was actually heaps of modelling in those movies, most people miss it).
  • James Bond star Daniel Craig has a blink and you'll miss him cameo as a Storm Trooper.
  • Simon Pegg has a turn as a masked character as well, called Unkar Plutt.
  • Director J.J. Abrams had worked with Harrison Ford before. Ford appeared in the film Regarding Henry which was written by Abrams.
  • The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars film to have more than one producer, being J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk.
  • The XL2 cameras that were used where given names - the "A" camera was nicknamed the "Death Star", and the "B" camera, the "Millennium Falcon".
  • The filming name was "Avco" so named after the Los Angeles cinema that the director JJ Abrams first saw the Star Wars in.
  • Captain Phasma's final armour 'look' was at one time a conceptual design for Kylo Ren.
  • At one stage Carrie Fisher had not read the film’s script but was desperate too. She tried to bribe costume designer Michael Kaplan to divulge details with a chance to see the red shoes from the Wizard of Oz that Fisher’s mother owned. Kaplan while tempted, he kept his mouth shut and never saw the shoes.
  • The first trailer for The Force Awakens was 88 seconds long and debuted on November 28 2014. The second trailer was released on 17th April 2015 and had over 88 million views on the internet in 24 hours. The third trailer was released on October 19th and broke the internet. 
  • Alan Dean Foster returns to the series to write the novelisation. Foster wrote the original Star Wars novelisation, and is somewhat famous for the sequel, Splinter of the Mind's Eye
  • The Starkiller base name was inspired by that word being the original last name of Luke Skywalker.
  • The name of the crashed Star Destroyer that Rey pilots the Falcon through is called the Inflictor which was scuttled onto the planet Jakku in a battle that took place one year after the events of Return of the Jedi.
  • First Star Wars movie where no one loses an arm.
  • Finn's storm trooper reference number FN-2187, is a reference to the cell 2187 which was Princess Leia's original cell on the Death Star in A New Hope. In that movie Leia was held captive in cell block THX 118 which was a reference to George Lucas' first film of the same name. 
And of course, there's also plenty of The Last Jedi trivia to be read as well!

The crawl of The Force Awakens from Star Wars

The opening text crawl of The Force Awakens from Star Wars

Star Wars is famous for its opening crawls - each prologue sets the scene up for what we the viewer are about to witness. At the least it's a chance to listen to some John William's magic!

The Force Awaken's opening word crawl was no different that what came before.

Heroes on both sides this is not!

Here's the screen crawl:

Luke Skywalker has vanished.
In his absence, the sinister
FIRST ORDER has risen
from the ashes of the Empire
and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi,
has been destroyed.

With the support of the REPUBLIC,
General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE.
She is desperate to find her
brother Luke and gain his
help in restoring peace and
justice to the galaxy.

Leia has sent her most daring
pilot on a secret mission
to Jakku, where an old ally
has discovered a clue to
Luke’s whereabouts . . . .

So there you go. I hope you like castles...

Star Wars 7 is is officially titled The Force Awakens

The wait has been a long, long time coming. The seventh film in the Star Wars series is titled:

This is an excellent title - it gives a sense of new direction for the Star Wars franchise yet it keeps in tone with what movie titles have gone before.

Quotes from The Force Awakens - Star Wars

The Force Awaken quotes

The Force Awakens quotes

It’s been thirty years since the Return of the Jedi ended the story of how Anakin Skywalker became the Chosen One and now we have The Force Awakens movie to tell a new story from the Star Wars galaxy.

Here’s some of the quotes from the movie, a few of which are certain to enter the common lingo, particulary because of that thing Luke did when that thing happened and let's not forget what Han Solo did! That line he spoke was just amazing, people will be quoting that for years to come! And don't get us started on what Carrie Fisher's cheeky but charming Leia said!

The Force Awakens Star Wars quotes
  • "This will begin to make things right”  the first line of the movie uttered by Lor San Tekka
  • "Nothing will stand in our way. I Will Finish What You Started" - Kylo Ren
  • "I was raised to do one thing. But I've got nothing to fight for." Finn.
  • "There has been an awakening, have you felt it? The dark side and the light"  Supreme Leader Snoke"
  • "We're home Chewie" - Han to The Giant Furball when they are re-aquainted with the Millennium Falcon.
  • "I've got a bad feeling about this!" - said by Han Solo
  • “Submit your blaster for inspection.” Captain Phasma
  • "Women always know when you're lying to them" Han Solo
  • "Even you, have never faced such a test."Supreme Leader Snoke to Kylo

Finn, Kylo Ren and Poe Dameron also had a few things to say.

Nov 4, 2014

Lucas' long term vision for Star Wars is playing out as he had in mind

greedo conceptual art by ralph mcquarrie
Going somewhere, Solo?
I came across this quote from George Lucas which simply serves to show the ideas and scope of what he thought Star Wars could be – and note this was in 1975, 2 years before A New Hope was released:

“I want to have Luke kiss the Princess in the second book. In the third book, I want the story just about the soap opera of the Skywalker family, which ends with the destruction of the Empire. Then someday I want to do the back story of Kenobi as a young man – a story of the Jedi and how the Emperor eventually takes over and turns the whole thing from a Republic into an Empire, and tricks all the Jedi and kills them. The whole battle where Luke’s father gets killed. That would be impossible to do, but it’s great to dream about.”

Lucas made this statement on December 29, 1975, in a conversation with Alan Dean Foster where they were plotting the novelization of Star Wars. Keen Star Wars fans know that Lucas charged Foster with writing the next Star Wars story and this became Splinter of the Mind’s Eye – a story in itself which you can read here.

History shows that Lucas got half his wish – he was able eventually make a prequel trilogy that while it featured the rise of Darth Vader, it really was about how Kenobi became one of the greatest Jedi Knights the galaxy had ever witnessed. Luke also did kiss Leia in the second film but not in the manner in which Lucas may have been originally thinking!

Now that JJ Abrams is making the first film of the new trilogy, we have enough information to work out that the film will be a transition of sorts from the ‘classic’ characters to a new generation of heroes and villains. This quote from Mark Hamill recalls the things Lucas had in mind on for a strong finish to the saga:

“You know, when I first did this, it was four trilogies,” Mark Hamill recalled in 2004, speaking of their conversation in 1976. “Twelve movies! Out on the desert, any time between setups… lots of free time. And George was talking about this whole thing… ‘Um, how’d you like to be in Episode IX?’ ‘When is that going to be?’ ‘2011.’ […] I said, ‘Well, what do you want me to do?’ He said, ‘You’ll just be like a cameo. You’ll be like Obi-Wan handing the lightsaber down to the next new hope.'”

While Lucas has been chided in the past for claiming to have every thing mapped out, the reality is that he had germs of ideas and character journeys in mind – these were eventually mapped out by himself as basic treatments and became a condition of the sale of Lucas Film to Disney that they be included in the sale.

So while The Force Awakenswill largely be an amalgam of the vision of writers Ardnt, Kasdan and Abrams, George’s long held ideals helped form the genesis of the story. As far as I’m aware, no other film maker has had such an influence on story telling in this manner.

One can only wonder about the spin off films and what story influence Lucas contributed…

Nov 2, 2014

'Pretty in Pink' - a great Twi'lek Halloween costume

Halloween has been and gone for another year. The occasion did see fit to bestow us with this wondrous Twi’lek.

twilek halloween costume
Pretty in Pink
Found on reddit, the character met with Peter Mayhew’s personal approval. Can’t get much better than that!

The poster of the picture, misspfabuloussaid she made the costume herself “I made the lekku out of fabric, rice ( to weigh them down), cotton stuffing from a pillow, Tupperware ( for height and support), gorilla tape, and faux leather.”

She also said “The lekku took me about 36 hours I hand sew everything because I am completely unable to use a machine. It took me probably 6 hours to stud the bra and sew the pants to perfection. The makeup took me 3 hours. So 45 hours give or take.”

Here's the twi'lek having a good time on the town:

twilek with big breasts

Korr Sella quotes from Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Maisie Richardson-SellersKorr Sella quotes from the Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.

update - the character's scenes were left on the cutting room floor so no quotes were made - she was seen very briefly when Hosnian Prime was destroyed.

Korr Sella is a rumored Star Wars character that is rumored to be played by Maisie Richardson-Sellers. 

Internet scuttlebut suggest Daisy is playing a character who has been referred to in production notes as 'The Emissary'. The same scuttlebut suggests The Emissary is working on behalf of Leia.

None of this is confirmed yet but we'll have the full details on Korr Sella as soon as they are released.
Here's a recent picture:

 Maisie Richardson-Sellers from Star Wars