Aug 31, 2016

Meet C2-B5 - the Imperial's wannabe answer to R2

C2-B5 Rogue One Astromech droid

Meet C2-B5 - the Imperial's wannabe answer to R2. This robot will have a part to play in Rogue One. We doubt it's even a 100th of the robot R2 is.

Lady in red...

Some times Twi'lek come in green.

Sometimes they come as sinister red Sith.

Sometimes you get this great cosplay:

darth talon cosplay

Here's some more Darth Talon cosplay.

Aug 28, 2016

What's with the Death Trooper featuring on the Rogue One toy packaging?

Death Trooper Rogue One

Did you notice anything really interesting about the marketing material for Rogue One?

In particular the packaging for the Rogue One 3.75 inch figurines? Look to your right >> for a picture of the packaging.

The common feature across every toy unit is the Imperial Death Trooper.

In Rogue One, these guys are the body guards of Director Krennic. There's a sweet look at two of them at the top of this article.

This is very interesting. 

If you recall the marketing and packaging for The Force Awakens was Kylo Ren.

Kylo Ren, bloody everywhere.

The Phantom Menace featured Darth Maul’s black red visage.

Darth Maul, bloody everywhere.

Yet for Rogue One, they are using the basically anonymous Black Death Squad Storm Trooper. Which seems a fairly benign sort of move. Yes, he’s a DEATH trooper but Disney has a huge ace up their sleeve which they don’t appear to be using:

Darth Vader

Yes, in case you’ve been recently held captive in one of Jabba’s cells, Darth Vader is in Rogue One. He was in the trailer.

One would have thought that Disney would be marketing the SHIT out Darth Vader for Rogue One but it would appear the official merchandising packaging is not going to include him.

It’s like they are leaving money on the table, especially as Rogue One is being released just before Christmas and all the Star Wars toys and masks will be flying out the door as presents. Darth Vader will out sell the Death Trooper 100 times to one. I know these numbers to be fact, as I asked my wife for the number.

Maybe the marketing team at Disney is doing this a bit different this time around deliberately. They know that Rogue One, is a Star Wars story but it’s not THE STAR WARS STORY so they are trying to manage brand expectations.

Maybe not.

We suspect that this trench run tranche of Rogue One figurines is just the first gambit. Disney is going to release a whole heap of Darth Vader toys and figures as effectively he is being re-introduced to a new generation of Star Wars fans. It would look pretty stupid for a Darth Vader figurine to be sold with the Death Trooper on the packaging.

That’s kind of like U2 opening a concert for Fall Out Boy which is just ridiculous so expect new packaging in due course.

Update - the Death Trooper packaging is across The Force Awakens and Star War Rebels figurines as well, so it's a more broadly deliberate strategy than just the promotion of Rogue One toy merchandise.

Still got your thinking on? What does the name of Rogue One mean?

Aug 16, 2016

4 subtle moments you may have missed in The Force Awakens

subtle moments you may have missed in  The Force Awakens

4 subtle moments you may have missed in  The Force Awakens

1. There was something familiar about the Dejarik Board on the Falcon...

"I suggest a new strategy, Artoo: let the Wookie win." - Aboard the Millenium Falcon, R2D2 is beating an agitated Chewbacca at Dejarik so C3PO suggests the strategy to placate the hairy goof. That game between the Walk Carpet and The Little Droid that Could was never actually finished.

In The Force Awakens, Finn accidentally turns on the Dejarik board and the game begins exactly where R2D2 and Chewbacca left off!

2. Obi Wan calls out to Rey via the Force

During Rey's flash back scene at Maz Kanata's castle, Obi-Wan Kenobi called out to her via the Force:

Rey! These are your first steps

It was very subtle and many people missed it the first time round. 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!

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.

3. Rey was always awesome, she didn't suddenly 'become' able to take on a Knight of Ren (but she did have some help...)

When we first met Rey, she is shown crawling and abseiling around the crashed Star Destroyer. She later beats up the two men sent by Unkar Plutt to steal BB-8 from her.  

This subtly demonstrates to the viewer that she can handle herself in a fight, which is handy when she fights the grand son of darth vader. 

It should also be no surprise when she goes sneaking around the Star Killer base after she has escaped as she has had practice climbing around the crashed destroyer on Jakku, it was practically her day job after all! 

It's a classic movie making trick to show the hero doing something at the start of the movie so it's no surprise when they can do it later on. 

It's the Chekov's gun thinking at play. The subtly of The Force Awakens is that it's not in your face as much as other movies do.

4. It was not an accident that Han Solo kept using Chewbacca's Bowcaster weapon

When Han died, Chewbacca shot Kylo Ren in anger to avenge Han. What was REALLY happening was the culmination of the movie's running gag of Han Solo using Chewbacca's bowcaster.

The movie made a blunt point that Chewbacca's Bowcaster weapon is very strong. Both Chewie and Han Solo used it to great effect, demonstrating that when hit with it you would be thrown 10 feet from where you stood. And probably be dead.

After Kylo Ren killed Han Solo, Chewie shot Kylo with the bowcaster. He took the full blast to his chest. He didn't take a back step, which demonstrated how strong he was however Chewbacca's shot severely injured him.

The subtlety of this is that it was a deliberately drawn out plot point that leveled the 'playing field' somewhat so that when Rey fought Kylo, she at least would be able to foot it with him for a time... 

The blast had left Ren bleeding and as he faced Rey, his blood was spilling onto the snow at his feet. 

All those hammy jokes of Han trying out the weapon were a not-so-subtle effort to make the climax of the movie believable. 

Did you like that? Star Wars is full of subtle moments. We've got some more:

As usual, Carrie Fisher knows how to make a splash!

Carrie Fisher making a splash at the beach

Here's a picture of a young Carrie Fisher dressed as the Return of the Jedi version of Leia, having some fun in the surf. We think this photo was part of the famous Rolling Stone Cover shoot.

Aug 10, 2016

What is the Church of the Force?

What is the Church of the Force?

What is the Church of the Force?

Back when everyone was in the rumour mill phase of The Force Awakens and when every little bit of information was placed under the magnifying glass of a thousand Star Wars fans, there was a piece of concept art that leaked that featured Max Von Sydow dressed in brown robes.

The art was called The Vicar and sent off many a wild rumour and speculation. Was he the new Obi-Wan Kenobi? At one point, we even wondered if he was Boba Fett or a cyborg robot kind of guy called Montrose!

It turns out the vicar was actually the priest known as Lor San Tekka, and he was a priest of the Church of the Force. So what is it? Is it a cult? Why does the Force need a church? Was its Jedi Council sanctioned?

The Church of the Force was an underground faith made up of loosely affiliated worshipers of the Jedi ideals. Members of the faith believed that the Jedi Order would not only one day return, but that its return was essential in bringing balance to the Force.

The Church of the Force existed as an underground movement during the Age of the Empire, when the Jedi Knights were hunted to near-extinction following the infamous Order 66 and worship in the supernatural was a violation of Imperial law.

One member of the faith was Lor San Tekka, an explorer who did not believe the Imperial description of the so-called Jedi betrayal of the Galactic Republic.

Tekka was was born in the waning years of the Galactic Republic. He became a believer in the ideals of the Jedi Order during the Clone Wars, despite not being Force-sensitive, and followed the underground faith of his church during the dark times of the Galactic Empire's rule over the galaxy

He spent years finding history of the Jedi that the Empire had tried to suppress, and eventually helped Luke Skywalker, in his own search for Jedi lore and the orginal Jedi Temple.

The Church of the Force first appeared in the The Force Awakens, not that viewers would have learned this. The Church of the Force was not official referenced until Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary was

Ilco Munica from The Force Awakens
Illco Munica getting his last rites from Stormtroopers
It provided an official backstory for San Tekka and mentioned the Church of the Force.

His back story suggested that after the Battle of Endor (that occured in Return of the Jedi), San Tekka helped Luke Skywalker recover secret Jedi lore that the Empire had tried to erase.

It is implied in his conversation with Kylo Ren that he is well aquanited with Princess Leia.

Following decades of adventure San Tekka had retired to live simply on Jakku, where he followed the dictates of the Church of the Force.

While it's never explained how, Kylo Ren learned he had the map, found him and killing him and other fellow Church of the Force followers, including Ilco Munica, the terrified Abednedo that briefly featured on screen)