Dec 28, 2015

The best subtle moments of The Force Awakens

Just as most of the Star Wars film's have some subtle moments - Luke wearing white under his black costume in Jedi is a great one, The Force Awakens has it's fair share. Here's a few we've noticed.

Don't let the sun go down on me

In the climatic moment where Kylo Ren kills his father, Han Solo the light is bathing them both. Blue and red light flushes Kylo's face. He is torn between the dark side and the light side of the Force and appears to have to make a choice. He chooses the dark and the step towards it is a saber plunged into his brave father's chest. Just at the moment, the Star Killer sucks the last remnant of solar energy from the sun and thus dies, so too does any light left in Kylo Ren.

While it's not a wholly subtle moment - indeed, the lighting effects are in your face, what is somewhat subtle is the as the sun literally dies, Han Solo's son is lost to the dark side.

Prior to this moment, Poe Dameron makes a telling statement while his X-Wing squadron is attacking the Star Killer base. He tells them that have have a chance while there is still light, as did Han and Kylo.

A ray of light

Given a key theme of this movie is the dark and light side of the Force, we should take a brief moment to consider Rey's name. Spelt R-E-Y, it's said exactly the same as RAY as in Rey is a ray of light. That's a forest for the trees kind of subtle. As an aside, the scene where Rey defends herself is designed to show she can handle herself in combat. This subtly (along with Chewie's unsubtle bowcaster blast to Ren's chest) serves to inform the viewer that when Rey goes head to head with Kylo Ren  she has the necessary skills to stand her ground.

You're cold?

When Chewie complains about being cold whilst on the Star Killer base, Han gives him some ribbing for it as they are all cold in the ice he jests with the quote, "you're cold?" suggesting that because Chewie has fur, he shouldn't be. Later on as they are about to leave the installation, Chewie picked up Han's forgotten dropped jacket and gives it to him so he won't be cold as they are heading back out side.

It's a very quick moment but it serves to show that Chewie got Han's joke but that he was also looking out for his best friend.

An old friend makes a cameo appearance

There are plenty of cameo appearances in The Force Awakens but the voice-over by Ben Kenobi is the most interesting. During Rey's flash back sequence when she touches Luke's lightsaber, he hears Obi Wan call out to Rey "Rey! These are you first steps!". There's a lot going on in the flashback so it's arguably subtle - especially as this author missed it on first viewing! Even Yoda's voice was thrown into the mix.

Both Ewan Macgregor and Alec Guiness each feature in the same single line that can be heard during Rey's encounter with Luke's lightsaber. Alec does the 'Rey' part and Macgregor does the 'there are your first steps'. Here's how they managed this trick.
Han punched first

When Han chooses to push one of the bad guys into the path of the Rathtor beast that had been let loose on his freighter, that was the equivalent of Han shooting first - as we all know he did when confronted by the green Greedo in A New Hope.

Lor San Tekka is Boba Fett?

We're going out here on a limb but we think that Boba Fett is Lor San Tekka. We don't have much evidence other than the fact that his amour makes an apparent appearance in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath novel and that the novelization of The Force Awakens refers to Tekka as being a former soldier of fortune, which could fit the description of a bounty hunter.

That's all we've found and thought about so far - let us know what you've found in the comments and we'll add them to this piece! Want more moments? Check some subtle moments found in Revenge of the Sith.

Dec 25, 2015

Is Lor San Tekka actually Boba Fett?

I vaguely recall the internet being abuzz that the character we know know as Lor San Tekka was going to be a character we had originally seen in one of the Prequel Trilogy films. People threw out all kinds of suggestions.

And then the Boba Fett rumours started. And also that he was a cyborg robot kind of guy called Montrose. Or that he was a vicar.

So were any parts of this information correct? The truth is we have nothing concrete.

We do know in The Tales of the Bounty Hunters collection of short stories that Boba Fett survives the Sarlacc Pit. But that's no longer canon.

So in the Force Awakens we meet Lor San having a chin wag with Poe Dameron. He looks old and tired. He makes reference to Leia being royalty as if he knows her. There's is no clue at all that he's a retired Boba Fett.

So why are we asking this question? The novelisation of The Force Awakens suggests that Tekka is an old 'soldier of fortune' and that Kylo Ren knows him as such.

We think that it's probably not Boba Fett in retirement as the sentiments he shares regarding Leia to Poe Dameron suggest a relationship of sorts.

And then if you really want to get into it, why does Lor San Tekka have the map that leads to Luke's whereabouts? Would Luke share such a secret with a bounty hunter that had sold out him and his friends?

Can someone please ask JJ this the next time he get's interviewed?

Update - it was pointed out in the comments the lineage of Jango and Boba Fett - the actors that played them are both of Maori descent - Given that Max Von Sydow is most certainly not Maori - it would be a strange continuation of the character in that sense.

Daniel Craig's cameo in TFA as Storm Trooper: JB-007

Daniel Craig's cameo in TFA as Storm Trooper: JB-007

Daniel Craig's cameo in TFA as Storm Trooper: JB-007

When it was leaked that Daniel Craig was spied on the set of The Force Awakens in a Stormtrooper costume many assumed it would be a simple blink and you miss him moment.

It wasn't until after the film came out that insiders let out the secret - it was a genuine cameo performance by the James Bond star.

Craig was the Stormtrooper featured when Rey attempted to use the Force a la Ben Kenobi did with the troopers at Mos Eisely space port in ANH.

It's a risky scene as you just have to accept that Rey suddenly found her Force powers and was learning how to use them but if you do accept it, you get a great verbal exchange between Rey and the storm trooper credited as JB-007:

Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.
Stormtrooper: What did you say?
Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.
Stormtrooper: I will tighten these restraints, scavenger scum!
Rey: You will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.
Stormtrooper: I will remove these restraints and leave this cell with the door open.
JB-007 leaves and Rey chances her arm once more:
Rey: You will drop your weapon.
Stormtrooper: annnnddddd I will drop my weapon.

A great exchange, one that might become a classic Star Wars quote now that everyone knows that James Bond was behind the mask of a Stormtrooper.

There's plenty of other cameos in The Force Awakens, our favourite being the message from Obi Wan Kenobi delivered by way of recordings from Alec Guiness and Ewan MacGregor.

Dec 23, 2015

Our favourite Chewbacca moments from The Force Awakens


Everybody loves the walking carpet known as Chewbacca. He's the ying to Han Solo's yang. Known for his loyalty to Han, he's been in 5 Star Wars movie and is considered an iconic character.

And so he returned for The Force Awakens. Peter Mayhew was literally rolled out one more time. Due to Mayhew's bad knees, heavy use was made of a double but it made no difference as The Force Awakens produced the definitive Chewbacca performance. Here's our favorite moments:

  • When Chewie complains about being cold whilst on the Star Killer base, Han gives him some ribbing for it as they are all cold in the ice. Later on Chewie picked up Han's jacket and gives it to him to he won't be cold as they are heading back out side. 
  • When Han and Chewie turn up for the first time. You'd already seen the trailer and knew it was coming but the feels when it happened in movie it was amazing.
  • When Chewie shoots Kylo Ren. It was more than just Chewbacca trying to get some form of Revenge, it was Chewie shooting someone he no doubt helped raise. But, he would have seen the choice that Kylo had made so he should feel bad about shooting him. The shot also helped level the playing field for Ren's duel with Rey.
  • Chewbacca then goes on a rage shooting at least 6 Storm Troopers in a row and then decides, 'screw it all, I'm blowing this place to hell' presumably to finish the mission but more than likely to try and kill Kylo.
  • When Chewie needs medical attention and he's battling with Finn. Finn probably has no idea of this particular Wookie's reputation and so is very persistent - to the point where he actually succeeds giving him first aid. Later Han suggests the Wookie likes Finn and so lets him treat him. It's a cute but subtle moment. 
  • Perhaps for this writer the saddest moment in the whole film was when Chewbacca has returned to the Resistance's base and finally has a quiet moment to himself and he puts his head down to mourn the loss of his best friend and quite possibly his only family (Lumpy doesn't count!).
  • Our favorite heroic moment was when Chewie pulled up in the Falcon to rescue Rey and Finn - he was still thinking of his new friends even at probably one of the lowest moments in his life. 

Dec 22, 2015

So how did they get Obi-Wan Kenobi into The Force Awakens?

So it wasn't until my second viewing of The Force Awakens that I heard Old Ben Kenobi call out to Rey during the flash back scene. I thought it was pretty exciting. At work the next day I was chatting like a school girl on speed with a couple of dudes who had seen the movie and they hadn't heard it so I doubted that I actually had heard it too. Wistful thinking on my part....

And then the internet went bonkers over the revelation from TFA's director JJ Abrams that yes, that was Obi-Wan Kenobi calling out to Rey and that the voice was that of both actors that have played Kenobi, the younger Ewan McGregor and the older, nominated for an Oscar for his turn at the role, Alec Guiness!

So what was the actual quote that Ben Kenobi called to Ren? It was:

Rey! These are your first steps

It turns out that Ewan had been called into to record this line of dialogue. Which is pretty cool as he was arguably the best thing about the Prequel Trilogy. He was the ultimate Obi-Wan in Revenge of the Sith and his part made Guinesses turn all the more special when you understand what the character went through.

So how did this happen that Guinness had a line as well as McGregor? You can thank producer Bryan Burkk for surprising JJ with some dialogue that Guinness had recorded when he said the word 'afraid'.The sound engineers were able to take the Rey sounding syllable as it was phrased just the way the script needed it. McGregor's words were used for the rest of the line.

Abrams said of the cameo appearance:

“The idea of the voices was, we wanted the audience to feel – but not necessarily be presented right in your face — this idea that familiar, Force-strong voices were connecting with her. At least as well as they could."

Given this, the words "Rey! These are your first steps" are a very big clue that Rey is on her way to becoming a Jedi. But first she has to convince Luke to train her.....


More things Kenobi:

So how did they get Obi-Wan Kenobi into The Force Awakens?
Was Gandalf the inspiration for Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Is Wedge Antilles really Obi-Wan Kenobi's Uncle? Yes, from a certain point of view.
Is the best ever cosplay of Obi-Wan Kenobi?
The best Obi-Wan quotes this side of the galaxy (it’s far, far away)
This is the last time Anakin and Obi-Wan spoke as friends.

Dec 18, 2015

Made a new friend last night !

At the work Christmas 80s party, this bloke struck gold with his Jabba suit! 

Dec 16, 2015

Review of The Force Awakens - in which we discuss spoilery things.

She's not no one.
This review contains spoilers and discussion of them so hit the jump if you dare.

The Hollywood stars had literally aligned for this movie. The 'big three' of Luke, Leia and Han were back (despite some fan's concern Luke wasn't featured in promo for the film). Peter and Anthony were also back to play C3PO and the Walking Carpet.  JJ Abrams had gotten some 'practice Star Trek films' under his belt and was given the job of being the brains and face of the new Star Wars production company. Empire and Jedi scribe Larry Kasdan had come back to the writing team after Michael Ardnt set the ball in motion.  New acting talent had been found and a true mix of the old and new ways of making movies was often spoken of.

And the trailers were beautiful. But, so was the trailer for The Phantom Menace and many Star Wars fans to this day still cry that that film destroyed their fondest childhood memories (get over it - Ed).

So, should we have been brave enough to truly believe in this movie?

Dec 8, 2015

Snap! It's Temmin Wexley! Here's his quotes from The Force Awakens.

Greg Grunberg has revealed the name of his character in The Force Awakens:


We think that's probably the best name of all the new ones.

Greg's character is an X-Wing pilot and is presumed to be the equivalent of Wedge Antilles from the first set of films.

Snap is the nickname of the character - argubaly because he's allways snapping his fingers. Snap's first appearance in the Star Wars canon was in Chuck Wendig's Aftermath.

Grunberg is best known for his turns on the Heroes show. He's a long term friend of JJ Abrams who has previously cast in minor roles in Mission Impossible III, Lost and Super 8.

Here's a quote:

“Watch out for ground fire!” – said as he's taking part in the Battle of Starkiller base.

Dec 7, 2015

Why we think that it was dumb luck that Phasma’s armour doesn’t feature breasts.

Why we think that it was dumb luck that Phasma’s armour doesn’t feature breasts.

News that Captain Phasma was originally intended to be played by a male makes us wonder about the true story of the development of the design of the character’s chrome armour.

Much ado was made of Gwendoline Christie’s character being a female and a strong female villain at that.

Let’s be clear, this is a great thing for Star Wars.

A leap into the 21st century where girl power is not a singing phenomenon from Britain but an expectation of many discerning film fans that the films they love have strong, well developed and meaningful female characters. 

You might recall how the official Star Wars site did somesocial media when a fan attempted to not be sexist but totally succeeded:

But he got smashed in reply:

“It’s armour. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

We’re not disputing that the armour doesn't need to reflect the female form but we’re wondering what dumb luck lead to that to be the case. 

We understand that it was a last minute decision in the few weeks prior to the filming of the Force Awakens that lead to Christie being cast as Captain Phasma.

At this point the film was well down the production path and the designs for Phasma were probably done and it is quite PROBABLE that the costume for Captain Phasma had already been made.

TFA writer Lawrence Kasdan has said the choice for Christie to be the Captain came after there were loud rumblings on the net that Rey was seemingly the only new female for the franchise.

Indeed, JJ Abrams has said that the chrome suit was original under consideration as a concept for how Kylo Ren would look.

If this theory is correct, it was dumb luck that meant that Phasma’s chrome form was more 'masculine' and not designed in the more traditional feminine style.

Which means the whole “It doesn’t have to look feminine” retort is possibly too cute – only in the sense that it was lucky that the design was as such prior to Christie being cast.

Who knew what the designers would have come up with for Phasma if they knew the character would be played by a female.

Breast armour?

We can only but speculate.

We could of course be absolutely completely wrong as one wonders that the physical suit could have needed to be adjusted / fashioned depending on whomever was cast so it was possibly ripe for any shape or size of person.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter that it was dumb luck (or not). That's just an amusing thought that's only based on the speculation of this writer.

We actually think people love Phasma on first sight because the armour actually looks amazing and when we first saw her walking towards the camera in the second film trailer, we got that instant menacing vibe, the kind we got when we first saw Darth Maul ignite his red double light saber. 

Let's hope the character actually delivers some kick ass in the film. 

The real last thought should be left to Gwendoline Christie who will forever own this character:

“And the reason I love my character so much and I feel so enthusiastic about Captain Phasma is, yes, she’s cool, she looks cool, she’s a villain — but more than that, we see a female character and respond to her not because of the way she looks.

We respond to her because of her actions. I think we’re a society that has promoted a homogenized idea of beauty in women — and in men — and I think it’s really interesting, modern and necessary to have a female character that isn’t about the way her body looks.

Dec 1, 2015

Sales of the Prequel Trilogy are doing quite well at the moment

Star Wars's biggest fan / analyst Mike Klimo (of Rings Theory fame) pointed out this great sales chart of all the Star Wars films on Blu Ray in a very recent week. Note how well the prequels have been doing:

Guess they must be alright movies after all eh? While the haters might say, well all those people might hate them too after watching them but we say 4 million Blu Ray buyers can't all be wrong ;)