Mar 26, 2017

This is some great thinking...

It seems that everyone loves coloring in these days. It's all the rage. Genuine, fully grown adults buy whole books and color them in as a form of relaxation or therapy. Even the Star Wars coloring books are selling like hotcakes on Amazon.

Some insist on keeping the felt-tip inside the lines. Some colorists insist on doing everything just perfect.

Others just want to watch the world burn:

Darth Vader colouring picture

Mar 22, 2017

19 uncommon bits of trivia about Star Wars

A view over a hive of villainy and scum

There's a lot of things that go into a Star Wars movie and with 8 films of the released, there's plenty of cool bits of trivia around. Here's some of the more odd and uncommon bits of trivia.

  1. The Force Awakens' Captain Phasma's final armour 'look' was at one time a conceptual design for Kylo Ren. Phasma wears a black cape with red trim, the colours of the First Order. Given that Phasma was inspired by the Boba Fett character it's no surprise she has a cape as the original idea for Fett was to have him wear a cape / poncho in the style of The Man with no Name from Clint Eastward's Spaghetti Westerns. Phasma's chrome armour is said to be taken from a space yacht built on the planet Naboo that Palpatine owned. The suit is thus able to repel radiation however Phasma used the recycled chrome as a symbol of might and power.
  2. Carrie Fisher had to stand on a box for most of her scenes with Harrison Ford in the original Star Wars films because she is a foot shorter than him. This was done so the actors would look better in the frame shot together.
  3. Denis Lawson who famously played X-Wing pilot Wedge is the real life uncle of Ewan McGregor who played Obi Wan Kenobi in the prequel films!
  4. The wise wizard Gandalf from Lord of the Rings was a huge influence on the character of Obi Wan Kenobi - so much so that an early draft of the Star Wars script featured lines cribbed directly from the pages of Tolkien! For the Phantom Menance, an early idea that George Lucas had was for Qui-Gon Jinn to have long white hair. In hindsight that was a wise choice as it sounds that would have been too much like Gandalf the White
  5. In The Force Awakens, no one loses a limb on screen, a first for a Star Wars film. Given the franchise's long tradition of characters losing limbs, The Force Awakens was the first Star Wars movie where no one loses an arm. In the novelisation of the film there is a scene were Ankar Plutt arrives at Maz Kanata's castle to retrieve the stolen Millennium Falcon. Chewbacca intervenes when Plutt accosts Rey and rips his arm off. The scene was filmed but cut for the final edit. The scene was released with the DVD/BLU Ray.
  6. Darth Vader was actually the only Star Wars film character to lose an arm three times! And both his legs as well. Obi Wan Kenobi got 3 of his limbs in Revenge of the Sith!
  7. The name of Yoda’s species has never been mentioned. In official records he is simply an ‘unknown species’.
  8. In The Force Awakens, Christopher Lee's niece played Doctor Kalonia! The doctor that tends to Chewbacca's arm wound would have been well known to British Star Wars fans as she was played by Dame Harriet Walter, a renowned stage and screen actress. Her character was called Dr. Kalonia. There's a nice piece of symmetry here in that her uncle was Christoper Lee who played Count Dooku in two Star Wars films.
  9. E.T. creatures made a cameo appearance in The Phantom Menace
  10. The first view of Mos Eisley in Star Wars where Obi Wan delivers his famous quote about it being a place of villany and scum, is was shot from a place called Death Valley in California from what is known as Dante's View. with a matte painting added in the distance to create the visual.
  11. The name of the famous cantina is Chalmun's Cantina. A well known haunt of freighter pilots and a host of other dangerous characters it is where Han shot Greedo first and where Obi Wan cut off Ponda Baba's arm
  12. In Empire Strikes Back, Ford ad-libbed his line "I know" in response to Leia's "I love You". It's become one of cinema's most famous quotes. People say it to each other all the time, 30 years later. 
  13. The late and great John Wayne's voice was used in ANH - an old recording was manipulated and used for the Imperial spy Garindan - that's the guy with the big black nose that informs the Stormtroopers as to Luke and company's whereabouts. It's quite a cool bit of trivia when you understand that Wayne's The Searchers had a strong influence on the movie.
  14. Despite being one of the most famous and well known villains in the history of movie making, Darth Vader actually has only 12 minutes of screen time in A New Hope! That's four minutes less than the screen time of Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs - and Anthony Hopkins got an Oscar for the part! What an impact Vader has had. 
  15. David Lynch was offered the chance to direct Return of the Jedi but turned it down. Can you imagine how crazy Jedi could have turned out if Lynch had cast his magic over the film? Lynch actually chose Dune as his next film, and while it wasn't an amazing film, it has gone on to earn its place in film history. It was also probably just as well that Sting didn't have a role in Jedi either.....
  16. Rogue One is the first Star Wars movie where the title of the movie is said. Bodhi Rook says it, confirming the title of the movie is a call sign.
  17. Everyone assumes Luke only appeared in the three original Star Wars films. Think about if for a moment and you’ll realise Skywalker appears a baby at the end of Revenge of the Sith following Padme Amidala giving birth to him and Leia at the medical facility on Poliss Massa.
  18. In the original drafts of Star Wars, Darth Vader and Anakin Skywalker were definitely different people - it wasn’t until the development of the Empire treatment that the two were combined as one character.
  19. The sound effect when Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber is kicked down the reactor shaft in the climatic battle with Darth Maul, is the same sound effect heard when Luke Skywalker throws his lightsaber away in Return of the Jedi when he tells the Emperor that he is a Jedi, like his father before him!
  20. Rogue One's planet Jedha features a place known as the 'Temple of the Whills'. This is a great reference to some obscure Star Wars trivia - The Journal of the Whills was a formal record of history, maintained by a beings known as The Whills. During the original Star Wars writing period, George Lucas had the idea that R2D2 relayed the stories he knew to the Whills so that the Skywalker saga could be recorded for all time.

Facts and trivia about Captain Phasma

facts and trivia about Captain Phasma

Facts and trivia about Captain Phasma

Captain Phasma is the new kick ass bad guy gal that features in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi

Arguably the new Bobba Fett of the third Star Wars trilogy, Phasma is played by fan boy favourite, Gwendoline Christie. Christie made a name for herself in Game of Thrones playing Brienne of Tarth, a strong female character that has echoes of Ellen Ripley from Alien.

The Force Awakens producer's clearly wanted to parlay this fan boy love for Christie  and her bad ass reputation into their bad ass Phasma.

They didn't need to really as the moment the first images of Phasma were released, Star Wars fans adopted the character nearly as fast as they did the new robot BB-8.

The book was judged by its cover so to speak, which is perhaps somewhat ironic due to the intention to have Phasma be played by a strong female actress to negate some of the stereotypes that abound in film making.

This point is better covered by a better writer than this one.

Here's some handy facts and trivia about Captain Phasma.

  • How did Phasma get her name? The Force Awakens' director JJ Abrams named Phamsa because of the amazing chrome design that came from Michael Kaplan’s wardrobe design team. It reminded him of the murderous silver ball in the film Phantasm. Check out the image to the right. 
  • Phasma's armour design was originally a concept consideration for the Kylo Ren character.
  • Phasma is an officer of the First Order. 

  • phantasm movie poster
    Phantasm film poster

  • Phasma wears a black cape with red trim, the colours of the First Order. Given that Phasma was inspired by the Boba Fett character it's no surprise she has a cape as the original idea for Fett was to have him wear a cape / poncho in the style of The Man with no Name from Clint Eastward's Spaghetti Westerns.
  • Originally intended to be played as a male character, the fan response to the lack of female characters in the movie at the first cast announcement prompted a quick change in identity. As the part had not been cast, Christie was found to be the solution. 
  • Like Judge Dredd and Bobba Fett, Phama's face has not been revealed and probably never will be. Unless she turns out to be Rey's sister or something...
  • In The Last Jedi, Phasma's weapon of choice was a spear.
  • The fact that Phasma is a female villain provoked a lot of discussion. One Star Wars fan suggested they weren’t being sexist when said “Not to be sexist but it’s really hard to tell that’s female armour for me”. These kind of comments drew a firm response from Gwendoline Christie: “And the reason I love my character so much and I feel so enthusiastic about Capt. 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."
  • Here's some quotes from Phasma in The Force Awakens.
  • The chrome armour costume is said to be taken from a space yacht built on the planet Naboo that Sith Lord Palpatine once owned. The suit is thus able to repel radiation however Phasma used the recycled chrome as a symbol of might and power. 

Mar 20, 2017

What was the original ending of Rogue One as drafted by Gary Whitta?

Original script ending for Rogue One

Here's the originally intended ending of Rogue One as told by Gary Whitta 

The filmed ending of Rogue One was perfect.

Our heroes died in a blaze of glory, Vader got to slaughter a few Rebels and Princess Leia got away with the stolen plans to the Death Star.

It was the ending we predicted and the ending many fans wanted. 

It was just perfect. 

Except as writer Gary Whitta has revealed, the film makers all wanted that dire ending but they were sceptical that Disney, a family friendly company, would not let them film such an ending where literally the main AND supporting cast all die. 

So Gary Whitta had drafted a different ending to Rogue One. It went something like this according to Whitta:

"A rebel ship came down and got [Jyn and “Cassian”] off the surface. The transfer of the plans happened later. They jumped away and later [Leia’s] ship came in from Alderaan to help them. The ship-to-ship data transfer happened off Scarif.”

So that's a happy ending of sorts. No mention of Bodhi or the others surviving so perhaps the script offered a glimmer of hope? 

In the original draft, Darth Vader still boarded the Rebels ship and wrecked havoc while destroying Admiral Raddus' ship but only after the data transfer to the Tantive IV. 

In the last moments, the audience would have seen an escape pod separate from the wreckage which could have contained Cassian and Jyn.

Indeed Whitta confirms this was his intention:

"They got away in an escape pod just in time. The pod looked like just another piece of debris.” 

And that sounds like exactly what R2 and C3PO do in A New Hope and what Han and Leia got up to in Empire.... 

Mar 9, 2017

Awesome cameos you may have missed in the Star Wars films

Richard Marquand Cameo return of the jedi
Could this be the director of Return of the Jedi taking part in the Battle of Endor? 

Star Wars has plenty of cameos by famous people and by people that got famous due to Star Wars!

You just need to know where to look.

The Star Wars films are full of cameo moments by people related to the films in some way.

Whether they were the son of a certain director, a certain director himself or an actor famous for wearing a golden suit or short fella known for his role as Wicket in Jedi, there's been plenty of fun had amongst the casting of many faces in the films.

Here's the list of cameo spots in Star Wars but bear in mind that it is not all inclusive, it features only the cameos of fairly well known persons - there are many cameos by production staff and friends of the Lucas realm that are not included.

Prequel films cameo appearances:

The Phantom Menace

Warwick Davis as Weazel in Phantom Menace
Davis on the right of Watto.
  • Warwick Davis who is famous for playing Wicket made a turn as Weazel. He's actually appeared in Star Wars many times.
  • Sound man Ben Burt turned up as a noble man. 
  • Francis Ford Coppola's daughter Sofia turned up as one of Padme's aides. Sofia went on to win an Academy Award for her script for Lost in Translation. 

Attack of the Clones

  • Think back to Attack of Clones where Obi Wan and Anakin chase Padme's would be assassin to the bar. After Obi Wan strikes with his light saber a white haired man is shown. This is none other than Anthony Daniels, that actor who plays C3PO. Oh my! Ahmed Best is in the scene too but best not to mention that too loudly in case the Jar Jar haters are listening

Revenge of the Sith 

  • George Lucas famously turned up dressed in blue.
  • Anthony Daniels did a cameo as a solider called Dannl Faytonni
  • Jeremy Bulloch who is a very popular element of Boba Fett did a fairly genuine cameo as Jeremoch Colton, the captain of the Sundered Heart.
  • Jett 'son of George' Lucas has a small but cool role as a young Padawan who attempts to get to Bail Organa but is killed by the Storm Troopers. 
Original Trilogy Cameo Appearances:

A New Hope 

  • This was the first film so there was not a real tendency to cast people in the know by way of self referential cameos. Except for one. Joe Johnston donned a Storm Trooper costume for a couple of scenes. Johnston of course was responsible for designing the Tie Fighter and other space ships for the film. He went on to become a fairly good director in his own right most notably Captain America.

The Empire Strikes Back

  • Ralph McQuarrie, the famed designer of the look of the Star Wars universe has a brief cameo in Empire during the Hoff base opening events.
  • That chap to which Han Solo retorts, "Then I'll see you in Hell!" just before he heads out into the dark knight to find a certain missing Jedi? That's Cliff Clavin from Cheers AKA John Ratzenberger. Hey Norm!
  • That's Ralph with the folder. Good folder holding Ralph!
  • While Jeremy Bulloch is known for playing Boba Fett, he had a small role as an Imperial Officer in Empire Strikes Back - he's the one escorting Leia once she has been captured by Vader. Whether this counts as a cameo or he was just filling in, I'm not sure because he wasn't 'famous' still after the film came out.

Return of the Jedi 

  • The film's director Richard Marquand had a go piloting an AT-AS walker in Return of the Jedi.
  • Marquand also did the voice of the robot EV9D9 on Jabba's sail barge - he's the one who gives R2D2 and C3PO their jobs. 

The Force Awakens

The list is too long to go here, so check the cameo list here! It features Daniel Craig from James Bond.

Rogue One

  • Warwick Davis plays Weeteef Cyubee 
  • Jimmy Smits plays Bail Organna

Mar 8, 2017

So Luke is not Rey's dad? It depends on your point of view...

Update: It appears we were right. A leak from the Disney shareholder meeting in 2016 suggests that Luke's first words to Rey are "Who are you?" which renders most of the Skywalker family links redundant."

This could of course be a fake out OR it could be that Luke doesn't recognize his daughter due to age.


Time will tell....

First up, we think that fans are being set up in The Force Awakens to believe that Rey is the daughter of our favourite bearded Jedi, Luke Skywalker.

We consider the film makes so many suggestions of this relationship that it MUST be a red herring. The arguments are weighty but not without counter points....

Here's some reasoning why Rey is the daughter of Luke Skywalker. It's loose but does give food for thought.

The first point is that they have shared similar circumstances. We first met Rey in TFA as a woman who is stuck on a desert planet just wishing she could leave but is held back by the promise that her family to Jakku will return for her.

Luke couldn't leave, he's stuck on the sun burnt sand plain of Tatooine as well, with the promise from Uncle Owen of leaving after 'next season'.

Their tales start basically begin the same. They set forth on a journey making new friends and learning about the Force as they go. Ultimately they meet each other at the top of an island where Ray attempts to hand over Luke's long lost saber to its owner.

This is actually a key theme of the movie.

It would seem Luke is set to teach Rey how to become a Jedi but the question we're all asking, is Rey Luke's daughter?

Recall The Empire Strikes Back where Luke enters the cave to find Vader approaching. Luke experiences a Force moment where he learns that he could become Darth Vader himself i.e. turn to the dark side of the Force.

In The Force Awakens, Rey is lured down to the lower bowels of Maz Kanata's castle to find the lightsaber that has been deliberately placed for her. She has her own moment with the Force, arguably her personal Force awakening. This moment is so similar to Luke's experience, we wonder if the connection is deliberate.

Speaking of Maz, she is Rey's Yoda like figure so when she tells Rey the lightsaber is calling her, you have to wonder why a saber who's previous two owners were Skywalkers has chosen to divine to her.

Is it a family heir loom?

The voices rey hears in her flashback vision are those of Yoda and Obi Wan - both are prior teachers of Luke.

It's like they are watching over her, knowing she is going to have a big role to play.

At her arrival on Echc-to Island, Luke seems to be wholly aware of who Rey is.

Is this because he recognises his daughter? Her vision seems to suggest to her Luke's current whereabouts.

Was he communicating this to her (or was it Obi-Wan?)

There are some more minor points to consider.

Both Luke and Rey (and Anakin Skywalker) are known as fine pilots. Rey demonstrated this when she flew the Falcon in the down Star Destroyer, Luke with taking down the original Death Star and Anakin many times!

Is Rey's skill as demonstrative of being of Skywalker lineage?

Rey also has a clear mechanical aptitude.

Luke was no mug with a spanner, nor Anakin.

Like father like daughter?

Rey seems to have an interest in rebel pilots. In her AT Walker home she has a rebel pilot doll and appears to relax wearing a fallen Rebel's fighter helmet (the novelisation does suggest this was a learning device for piloting simulation). Does this attachment suggest a link to Luke?

We think it's a deliberate red herring from the writers.

At key moments, such as the saberfight between Rey and Kylo, 'Luke's theme' or leimotif can be heard.

Does this suggest a familial connection?

Luke doesn't say a thing in the movie - but he did in the 2nd trailer where he appeared to be telling some one in his family that they had the Force. While that was strictly for the teaser and not in the film, it could be argued he Luke was having a father daughter chat with Rey.

Speculative at best, we know and it could just be another red herring by JJ and Kasdan.

There are other theories too - Rey could be a Kenobi or a Skywalker. Perhaps she is from a completely new family.

We'll explore those another time. 

Key Ren seems to know what's going on as at one point he exclaims to her face "it is you" as if he knows her story.

Indeed one could argue that he was the one who left Rey on Jakku but that's not part of this discussion.

Either way, we as the viewer have no confirmation of Rey's parentage and will have to patiently wait until The Last Jedi comes out. 

Mar 5, 2017

Star Wars cosplayers do it Playboy Bunny style....

playboy bunnies as star wars
This dude knows whats up
This is Star Wars awesomeness at its best - a collective of cosplayers bring the sexy back for Star Wars, Playboy style.

We can only wonder what the pillow fights after looked like....

Did you ever read what Carrie Fisher said when she didn't appear topless in Playboy?