Star Wars News Roundup

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I don’t know what’s going on at the moment, but I’m not “feeling” the Star Wars vibe right now.

The lead up to Episode VII had me doing back flips of joy.  The initial news coming out about the first Anthology film likewise had me pretty excited.

Now?  That’s all kind of evaporated.

The odd bit of news is coming out about Rogue One, and we’re getting some news on Rebels too, but next to nothing on Episode VIII so maybe that’s the deal breaker for me?

I’ve always been heavily invested in the Saga films.  I love Luke, Leia, Han, Threepio, R2, Chewie, Lando and Yoda.  I loved Anakin, Padme, Obi-Wan and Palpatine despite how unpopular it was to enjoy the Prequel films.  I’ve fallen in love with Poe, Rey and Finn.  Maybe the lack of news on that film has diminished the initial excitement I’d been feeling for Rogue One?

Maybe the news that’s coming out is just average.. and I’m getting too philosophical about it all!

So, rather than write an article on what’s been going on in the land of Star Wars lately, let me direct you to two incredible sites that will keep you up to date on everything.

They’re my go-to sites, but I admit I’ve stopped visiting them as often as I used to because they are kind of drowning in way too many podcasts.  One or two podcasts, fine, podcast after podcast all about the same thing just done by different people and I kind of don’t see the point and it becomes a bit of a turn off.

Never the less, the news these two sites presents is usually pretty good – even if they never ending podcasts are a little irritating.

If you’re keen to keep up to date on all the various things happening with current Star Wars productions, check out makingstarwars.net and starwarsunderworld.com.

Of course, you should also always check out the official Star Wars website at www.starwars.com.

As soon as anything momentous pops up, I’ll be sure to post about it here.

Until then, May the Force be with You.

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Update

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A few days ago, a new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped online.

As with the first official trailer, this one was atmospheric, beautiful, exciting and seems to promise one amazing adventure.

Multiple sites have dissected it, and by and large all of them agree that this looks like it’s going to be a great film and a really worthy addition to the Star Wars saga.

If you’re trying to avoid everything about this new movie, don’t read on because there are very minor spoilers ahead.

Spoiler Alert

There are a lot of things to love about the new trailer, but something that was a really nice touch was one of the first opening shots, which shows us all a familiar image – a moisture vaporator.

It’s a really little thing, but it subconsciously ties this movie into the Star Wars universe.

Standing next to the moisture vaporator is a man who we quickly learn is Jyn’s father.  Approaching him from across the tundra is our new bad guy, Orson Krennic and a bunch of cool looking Stormtroopers.

Interspersed between the images of Orson and his troops approaching are shots of a young Jyn and her father talking, as he tells her to stay where she is.

It’s obvious Jyn’s father is not happy about Orson coming to visit, and may even be frightened of what’s about to happen next.

He’s taken away, and Jyn is left alone in a field watching the events unfold without any way to intervene.

The next images help to further set the tone of this film – a massive Star Destroyer floating above a city scape… TIE Fighters zooming about… explosions… Stormtroopers everywhere… an older Jyn… her arrival at the Rebel HQ where she meets their leadership.

We see Mon Mothma again, and that’s quickly followed by a beautiful image of the Death Star rising above the clouds, brief shots of all the new characters, what looks like it could be the back of Darth Vader’s head as Orson talks to him, and then a lot of fighting and crap getting blown up.

The most noteworthy thing about the trailer is the reveal of Darth Vader through a cloud of steam or smoke.

The second official trailer is jam packed with visuals that remind us this isn’t another saga film, this is a war movie and it’s own beast.

Having Mon Mothma and now Darth Vader in the film help ground it in the Star Wars mythos, and announce to the audience that the stakes at risk in this movie are high.

As I’ve said before, I am excited to see more of Mon Mothma’s story, and now that we know Darth Vader is officially in the film, that amps up my excitement a great deal.  While I love the prequel movies (though admittedly not as much as the original trilogy), I’m not happy that the last cinematic image I have of Vader is him screaming “NO!” after being put back together by Palpatine at the end of Episode III.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is scheduled for release on the 16th of December.

I think Disney and Lucasfilm have fallen in love with this particular month, especially after Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens performed so well as a Christmas movie.

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If you haven’t seen the trailer yet, you can view it on YouTube or by visiting the official Star Wars website here.

Not many sleeps until this movie is released world wide.  Hopefully it will do good business, and we’ll see more anthology films featuring these characters in the future.

I haven’t even seen the film yet and I’m already falling in love with its characters.

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A Star Wars Update

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Way back in June, Rian Johnson told the world that Star Wars: Episode VIII had officially wrapped filming… and maybe it had, but we’ve recently learned that at least one major Star Wars star is about to go back in front the cameras (or did very recently) and another star for the first time!

Lupita Nyong’o, the stunningly beautiful actress whose motion capture skills and acting talent brought the character of Maz Kanata to life in The Force Awakens, had commented a while ago (after Rian’s announcement) that despite the end of principal photography, she hadn’t filmed her scenes yet.

This gave rise to rumours Maz wan’t going to be in the eighth Saga film.

Those were put to rest when Lupita appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

She quickly shot down the rumours and let everyone know that she had completed her scenes and while no one can ever guarantee they won’t end up on the cutting room floor, as far as she knows, she’s in the movie.

Another surprise piece of information that came via the New York Comic Con‘s Instagram was that the First Lady of Star Wars was not done with filming.  The NYCC’s Instagram said “We’re sorry to announce that due to #StarWars production, Carrie Fisher will only be at #NYCC on Sunday.”

The convention runs from the 6th to the 9th of October, which would indicate additional filming for Episode VIII will happen into early/mid October.

This, of course, set the rumour mill off.

The fan community often goes into a minor meltdown when a movie schedules additional filming or reshoots.

It should be pointed out, neither Lupita’s or Carrie’s stuff are reshoots.  Lupita was doing her scheduled filming, and Carrie is doing additional filming.

Additional filming usually means footage is being shot that couldn’t be gotten to because of scheduling conflicts.  Sometimes it means that new things are added in to improve the flow of the film.  There have been indications that Leia’s role may be being expanded.  A few sources have reported this, but to date I haven’t been able to find any formal confirmation so we really don’t know.

Some of you may remember reports from a few months ago that said Leia spends a fair amount of time in a coma in Episode VIII.  Perhaps, during editing, Rian decided that didn’t work and wanted to see the General up and around and being more active.

This would certainly make the fans happy.  Though Carrie had an okay sized role in Episode VII, it wasn’t as meaty as it could have been.  Of course, it was better than Marks!

The important thing to remember is this is normal.  Productions schedule additional shoots and reshoots into their budgets and timelines to cover all bases.  A film shoot is a really complicated thing with dozens to hundreds of different moving parts.  All of which can be derailed by a bird chirp no one picked up on, or a shadow no one saw.  Since World War Z, which required major reshoots because the story wasn’t working, people have gotten anxious when a movie they are looking forward to does a little extra work around the edges.

The last bit of big news out of the Star Wars universe is that Season Three of Star Wars: Rebels launched on the 24th of September, featuring the introduction of fan favourite Legacy character, Grand Admiral Thrawn.

It’s probably a little too soon to gauge overall viewer reaction to Thrawn’s inclusion, as he will be new to some fans who didn’t follow the Expanded Universe (now Legends) novels, but if you are a fan of Thrawn and are able to watch the newest season, keep an eye out for one of the most intriguing protagonists to ever be introduced to the Star Wars universe.

As more news on Episode VIII and Rebels comes to light, we’ll report on it here.

Until then, May the Force be with you.

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The Future of the Star Wars Saga

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Have you wondered what will happen to the story of the Skywalker family when Star Wars: Episode IX premieres in 2019?

A number of media outlets are reporting today (thanks to Variety ) that Disney CEO Bob Iger, has spoken with investors about the future of the Star Wars saga (among other things).

According to Variety, Iger has had conversations with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and mapped out the future of Star Wars well past 2020.

We have confirmation that the anthology movies will be continuing, focusing on moments in time in the saga’s history, and some media commentators are suggesting the saga films could also continue.

It’s reasonable to expect that Episodes VIII and IX will continue to focus on the Skywalker family.  Luke, Leia and Kylo Ren are holding the banner at the moment, but what will happen to this famous, history shaping family after Episode IX?

Will that be the end of their story?

It’s doubtful Kylo Ren will survive.  He’s about as bad as a villain gets in Star Wars, especially with his horrific act on Starkiller Base in Episode VII.

It’s still possible that Rey is a Skywalker.  It’s also possible that Luke did have a child before exiling himself, or that Leia and Han had a second child who was secreted away after Kylo’s fall.  Another possibility is that Kylo has a child who will continue the history of the family – hopefully as a Jedi and not as a Knight of Ren or a Sith.

It would be wonderful to see another generation of Skywalkers work to uphold peace and justice in the galaxy.

Part of me wants the saga films to continue.  I’ve been in love with the Skywalker story for a very long time, and seeing it end would be like saying good bye to an important part of my childhood, but part of me would also feel a sense of closure if the story does end in a way that isn’t just horrifically tragic.

Time will tell.  I’m sure the anthology series will gain a huge audience, and it might only be us GenXers who will feel the absence of the Skywalker family – having grown up with it.  Either way, it is nice to know that Star Wars will continue, probably indefinitely, to inspire new generations to spend some time in that beautiful and compelling galaxy, far, far away.

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Rogue One and Rebels

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As December draws closer, we are getting to see a little more of the upcoming first Anthology film in the Star Wars saga.

A recent trailer, which you can view here, gave us some spectacular visuals, including: the Death Star orbiting a red planet, a Star Destroyer hovering in-atmosphere over what might be a base or a township on top of a levelled off mountain, beach combat for the first time in Star Wars film history, and my personal favourite – Jyn Erso going face to face with a TIE fighter… and she’s not in a starship.  She’s literally face to face with a TIE fighter.

Since the most recent trailer previewed, new publicity shots have also been released including these beautiful ones which have popped up over at /Film.  Check them out here.

As you can see, if you visited either of the above links, Rogue One looks like Star Wars but at the same time has a slightly different visual aesthetic.  The previews, and the stills, have a definite indy vibe to them – which is exciting, but also, if you can believe the reports, something that made Disney a little nervous and may have been the cause of the recent reshoots – though Disney does claim otherwise.

I personally love the look and I am really falling in love with this film – it’s visual style, the snippets of performance we’re seeing, and most certainly the incredible special effects.  I think it’s appropriate Rogue One have a different yet familiar feel to the Saga films.  We’re seeing side stories that play into the overall arc of the Skywalker family, adding more ‘meat’ to the events that caused Darth Vader to become one of the most feared beings in the known galaxy, and the events that catapulted his children, Luke and Leia, onto the Galactic stage.  They should feel different, and they should evoke something new while still being obviously Star Wars.

Star Wars: Rogue One premiers around the world in December of this year, and promises to be a hard-hitting, unique entry into the overall Star Wars story.

The film was directed by Gareth Edwards, and stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker (in what will be the most diverse cast to ever appear in a Star Wars film).

The movie has been written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta.

Kathleen Kennedy’s guiding hand is, of course, present as one of the producers of the film.

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What else is happening in that galaxy far, far away?

Some very interesting news for Star Wars: Rebels and fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe series, now known as the Star Wars Legacy series.

A popular character from the Expanded Universe is making their way onto Rebels – and the character they’ve picked to appear is a really wonderful choice.  He captured all of our imaginations years ago when Timothy Zahn released the first Star Wars novel to officially follow up on the adventures of Luke, Leia and Han post Return of the Jedi, and has stayed a fan favourite ever since.

Who is it?

Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Thrawn has never appeared in any Star Wars movie.  His first appearance was in the Timothy Zahn novel Heir to the Empire, way back in 1991.

Thrawn was one of the very few non-human officers to serve in Palpatine’s Imperial Navy, and though he was relegated to the backwaters of space, made a name for himself there – so much so, he ended up eventually leading the Empire after Palpatine’s death.

We don’t know how much of that original backstory will be in play come Season Three of Rebels, but hopefully we will see the same thoughtful and charismatic officer many of us got to know in the Expanded Universe novels.  It would be nice to see him as a strong leader who could, perhaps, go on to lead the Empire after the second Death Star gets destroyed… because that could mean he would appear in a future Saga film (maybe Episode IX) – or maybe even get his own Anthology movie.

One of the brilliant things about having Thrawn appear in Star Wars: Rebels is that he is now a canon character.  It’s an exciting development for those of us who are fans of the Expanded Universe, because there’s now the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to see a few more characters from that series of novels in the future.

Thrawn will make his appearance in the third season of Rebels, due to air September 24.

For more information, check out the official Star Wars website here.

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What’s Going on in That Galaxy Far, Far Away…

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The big Star Wars news right now is that the first anthology film is in the last stages of post production, in preparation for it’s December release.

Yes, there were reshoots.  Yep, people got a bit angsty about them.  Yes, they’ve been completed without issue… and yes, you bet the movie is still going ahead and will be released mid-December as has been planned all along.

Am I sure?

As sure as I can be, and to prove that everything is okay, Disney is releasing a new three minute long trailer for Rogue One in less than a week.  The trailer will air in the United States on the 15th of July during a special documentary called Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey that will be showing on a number of channels.

As a fan based outside of the US, that kinda sucks… but, do not fear, dear fellow international fans, there will no doubt be a simultaneous (or soon after) release of the trailer on YouTube.

It’s a safe bet that pretty much every Star Wars fan will be counting down the days to the new preview.

To read more, visit the Star Wars Underworld here.

In other news from our favourite galaxy far, far away, John Boyega and Anthony Daniels recently finished filming on Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Both actors confirmed that it was a wrap for them via social media, with John letting his fans know via Instagram and Anthony letting his know via Twitter.

According to Mark Hamill, filming on the whole film will wrap on the 22nd of this month (July 2016).

Rian Johnson, the Director of Episode VIII, has also hinted principal photography is due to end soon – though hasn’t given a date just yet.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with film terminology, the completion of principal photography doesn’t mean that the entire film has been completed.  Second unit photography will probably continue for a while, and of course the next 17 or so months will be spent on scoring the film, doing it’s special effects, organising sound effects, doing any reshoots that might be required, and all the other hundreds of things that need to happen before a film can hit the cinemas.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to be released on the 15th of December 2017, and stars Mark Hamil as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, and Adam Driver as Kylo Ren (Ben Organa-Solo).

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Episode VIII and Rogue One Update

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There’s been a little angst around the recent reshoots that took place for the first of the Star Wars Anthology films, Rogue One.

Some outlets reported that Disney was not happy with the tone of the movie, and didn’t feel that it “fit” with the original trilogy (or even the prequel trilogy), and they were apparently concerned it could cause a backlash from fans.

Other rumours insisted a test audience had reacted poorly – except it was later discovered the film hadn’t been seen by a test audience.  It had only been viewed by the executives at the Mouse House.

All that we really know for sure is that reshoots did indeed happen, but no one seems clear on why – other than the usual reasons for reshoots, which are to tighten up scenes that weren’t working, or to fix something that wasn’t spotted during principal or second unit photography.

If you’d like to dive into those rumours, the two best sources for a wrap up on all the drama are Making Star Wars and the Star Wars Underworld.  For the MSW stories, click here and here.  For the SWU story, click here.  They’re a good read.

One of the benefits of having been in the entertainment industry for two decades, is knowing that reshoots are not a bad thing.  Yes, sometimes they’re done because a film has lost its way, but more often than not they’re done because a mistake was missed during principal or second unit photography, or because something needs to be fixed that didn’t play right when seen in the context of the whole film.  What looks good on the page, doesn’t always translate to the screen.  Reshoots are so common that production companies budget for them in the months before principal photography begins.  They’re run of the mill, and don’t necessarily mean anything is wrong.

I don’t think the fan community need worry too much!

In Episode VIII news, the latest rumour out is that fan favourite, General Leia Organa, gets to use the Force in the film, and in fact, it’s her ability with that energy field that binds the galaxy together, that saves her life.

To read more on this, visit the article at Making Star Wars here.

Finally, there have been a few people questioning whether or not John Williams, the legendary composer, will return to score Episode VIII.  He is, after all, 84 and might actually want to retire.

For a lot of fans this has caused concern, because many of us can’t imagine Star Wars without John’s incredible score accompanying the amazing visuals and story.

John himself recently announced that he would be scoring Episode VIII, if Disney and Lucasfilm would have him.

To read more from John on whether or not he’ll have a part to play in any future Star Wars films, visit the Star Wars Underworld here.

As more news comes to light on the Anthology films and sequel trilogy, we’ll feature it.

In the meantime, be sure to visit the Star Wars Underworld and Making Star Wars to stay up to date on everything!

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John Boyega on Episode VIII

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The beautiful and frustrating thing about a Star Wars film is that we rarely know what to expect, but we all like to guess – and we all like to be titillated by the stars and other creative people involved in the films.

The incredibly charming and insightful John Boyega whose character, Fin (FN-2187), was one of the breakout fan favourites in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, recently spoke about the next instalment in the saga to Variety and Vulture while at the Cannes Film Festival in France.

A question a lot of the media and a good many fans often ask is “will Episode VIII be darker?”  Some of us who love pop culture seem to have a worrying preoccupation with how dark, nasty, and downright depressing a movie or television series needs to be.

Which is confusing, because we constantly move the goal posts and shoot off mixed messages.  Media pundits often wonder if “The Walking Dead has gone too far?” and “become too dark?” while at the same time deriding Fear the Walking Dead for not being dark enough.  Man of Steel was criticised for being too dark but so many people seemed to want it to follow in the footsteps of The Dark Knight, which was, funnily enough, pretty dark.  At the same time, people can’t get enough of the sadistic dysfunction of a bunch of people fighting over a steel seat in Game of Thrones.  Damien, the series that follows in the footsteps of The Omen apparently isn’t gory enough, but American Horror Story apparently went too far.

Either media critics have a serious personality disorder, and the public really doesn’t know what it wants, or writers, actors, directors and producers everywhere just need to give us all the middle finger and make what they want to make because it’s obvious we don’t have a clue what we want.

Personally, I hope Rian Johnson doesn’t give a crap and isn’t listening to the contradictory and often fickle arguments.  I hope he just gives us a mind-blowing movie that’s true to him as an artist, and true to the saga of a family caught up in the events of a galaxy far, far away.

Historically, Star Wars has become a film about family.  An extraordinary family, but a family never the less.  To date, the films have always taken us on a journey with each trilogy, one that focuses on the Skywalkers, and that journey has always been a mix of tragedy and joy, light and dark.

In the original trilogy, each movie had it’s dark aspects – Episode IV had the merciless destruction of an entire planet, the torture of a Princess, the slaughter of one of our heroes’ only known family, and the death of a revered Jedi Knight.  Episode V had the betrayal by a supposed friend, the capture and entombment in carbonite of one of our heroes, and another of our heroes lost his hand after being told he was the son of one of the most evil men in the galaxy.  Episode VI saw our only heroine enslaved by a giant slug, the suggestion one of our heroes might have to kill his father to banish the dark side from the galaxy, the slaughter of hundreds of cuddly little bear creatures, and the sort of suicide of the saga’s main villain.

Episode I saw a young Queen lose her throne to a greedy corporate collective, explored the issue of slavery, saw a mother lose her son to the Jedi, and the death of one of the film’s heroes.  Episode II saw the attempted assignation of a politician, the revelation someone somewhere had grown a clone army, the death of our young hero’s mother, the capture and attempted execution of all our heroes, and the secret wedding of a Jedi and a Senator.  Episode III was perhaps the darkest Star Wars film of them all, with our hero surrendering to his fears and sliding into the arms of the dark side which leads him to slaughter children and eventually kill the love of his life.

And people think Empire is dark.

I think a lot of fans, when they call Episode V dark, mean that it’s atmospheric.  When you look at V verses every other Star Wars film, it’s definitely not the darkest.  It does end on a cliffhanger, and tonally it is the most emotional – thanks to the spectacular performances of Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford during the scene where Han is frozen, and Mark Hamill’s brilliant and heart-breaking performance when Darth Vader delivers his saga defining news, but it’s not the bleakest of all the films by a long shot.

John, in answering the question about how dark VIII will be, pretty much says that any level of ‘darkness’ will come down to the individual perspectives of the viewer.  He does, however, say it will be darker than VII… which worries me!  Hello?  Han, anyone?

In both interviews, John talks about the joys of working with Rian Johnson, his new co-stars, the possibility of a romance with Rey, and how Episode VIII is BIG and will blow us all away.

To check out the interviews, visit my two favourite Star Wars fansites, Making Star Wars and Star Wars Underworld here and here.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is set to be released in cinemas around the world on the 15th of December next year.

The movie has been written, and is also being directed, by Rian Johnson, and stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisey Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, Andy Serkis, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.

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Star Wars News Roundup

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With Star Wars Episode VIII in production, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story amping up for release, there is a lot of focus on the world’s most beloved space saga.

Some of that focus came from the British Royal Family, with the future King of England and his brother visiting the set of Episode VIII.

Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Henry (more commonly known as Prince Harry) the Prince of Wales, were photographed playing with lightsabres, hugging Chewbacca and generally having an amazing time on the set of the major motion picture.

Unfortunately, that galaxy far, far away’s very own royal, Princess Leia Organa, wasn’t on hand to greet the princes, but her brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, was.

The Princes, apparently, did more than visit the set.  Rumour (we stress this word… RUMOUR) has it they have a special cameo role in the film as Stormtroopers who are on hand when Rey and Fin allegedly infiltrate a First Order base.

For more information on Henry and Williams’ visit, click here to read the Vanity Fair article.

In other Star Wars news, there’s an unusual rumour floating around the internet that tries to explain why Luke is still single and alone decades after playing his part in defeating the Empire.

Apparently, some fans believe Luke is gay, and Mark Hamill has no issue with that if that’s how it turns out.

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To read more about this intriguing possible twist, click here to check out the CinemaBlend article.

Lastly, the crew of Episode VIII have arrived in Ireland to film more scenes in this second installment of the third trilogy.

We don’t know what scenes are being filmed, or which actors are on hand, but it’s probably safe to assume this is another leg in Luke and Rey’s journey and that both Mark and Daisey will be enjoying the incredible vistas of that beautiful island.

To read more, visit The Star Wars Underworld here.

I should probably mention before I go that there is a post on Reddit that claims to spoil the majority of the film.  I have read it, and if the poster really has gotten a hold of a copy of the script (which is very unlikely), I wish I hadn’t!  It all sounds fantastic, and a lot of it lines up with things we’ve heard from the production so far, but it does list off what could be the major beats of the film.

Which I don’t want to know!

In the event it is a genuine leak I’m not going to include a link here.  If that post on Reddit is a real list of the major story points for Episode VIII, I’m not going to risk spoiling the film for everyone.  I love spoilers, but only so far as they whet my appetite for what’s to come.  I don’t want an entire film ruined for me, particularly one I’m looking forward to more than any other release due out in the next two years.

If you want to read the post, you’ll have to rely on Google.

That’s it for now.

As more news comes to light, I’ll post it here.

May the Force be with you!

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

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Disney have fulfilled their promise to fans, and have kept the first Star Wars anthology film on track for a December 2016 premiere – which is quite a feat considering the fact they’re coming off the back off the massive endeavour that was The Force Awakens, and are in production on Episode VIII!

The first official trailer for the new Star Wars feature was released this week – and it blew people away!

It’s quite seriously one minute and fifty-seven seconds of amazing.  It’s so very Star Wars, while at the exact same time feeling new and fresh.

To watch the preview, visit the official Star Wars site’s YouTube page here.  I’d love to know what you think of it.

One of the biggest surprises in the preview was the unexpected return of a long time fan favourite – Mon Mothma, the leader of the Rebel Alliance.

Mon Mothma first appeared on screen in 1983 in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and then again in the prequel films – although her scenes were cut and are only available in the special features sections.

The character also played a prominent role in the Expanded Universe novels, playing a major part in the formation of the New Republic after the defeat of the Empire at the Battle of Endor.

The same actor to play Mon Mothma in the prequel trilogy has returned in Rogue One – Genevieve O’Reilly.  For those who saw the prequel special features, Genevieve’s similarity to the first actor to play Mon Mothma, Caroline Blakiston, is remarkable.

Genevieve is the perfect choice to reprise the role of the Alliance leader, and it was wonderful to see her in this preview.  I hope she is featured throughout the new anthology film.

This movie looks like it’s going to be exceptional.  I’ve been excited for it, but no where near as excited as I am for Episode VIII – until now, and I’ll admit my excitement has ramped up because of the inclusion of Mon Mothma.

The leader of the Alliance has long fascinated fans of Star Wars.  Like Leia, she is a former Imperial Senator, who worked from within the Empire to destabilise it.  Alongside Leia’s adopted father, Viceroy Bail Organa, and Leia and Luke’s mother, Senator Padme Amidala, she was one of the first to distrust Chancellor Palpatine and sense that something was wrong with the Republic under his rule.

Without using Luke, Leia, Han and Chewbacca, the anthology series needs a link to the seven current major saga films, and those links should be via much loved characters who have never received much time on screen.  The anthology series was originally promoted as an opportunity to explore characters we had seen but never learned a great deal about, and as an opportunity to go to places we had heard of but never seen.  Rogue One promises to do that.  Of course, we do have an upcoming young Han Solo film (which I think is a bit of a mistake) and though Han is far from a character who has had barely any screen time, we will no doubt visit places we’ve never seen through Han’s adventures pre-A New Hope.

Check out the preview for the first anthology film, and start counting down the days until the release of this next story from that wondrous galaxy far, far away.

It’s looks truly special and definitely worthy of a place in that fictional galaxy that has come to mean so much to so many of us.

Holonet Graphic