Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Disney‘s D23 Expo took us behind-the-scenes of the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi movie, and gave us a beautiful tribute to Carrie Fisher as well as a special announcement.

It also gave us some simply stunning new character posters for the six main characters of the new film – Luke Skywalker, General Leia Organa, Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo Ren.

Rian Johnson, the Director of the new movie, debuted the behind-the-scenes trailor and it is… FANTASTIC.

The trailer is something fans will rewatch and dissect for weeks to come, and it really builds anticipation for the next saga entry.  Fittingly, it’s Carrie Fisher who has the last word in the trailer, as she gives us a little insight into the soul and motivation at the core of the eighth feature: “It’s about family.  And that’s what’s so powerful about it.

To watch the trailer, visit the official Star Wars YouTube channel here.

Out of all the Star Wars: The Last Jedi news that broke at D23, one of the most moving and poignant was the announcement that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher had been made Disney Legends, and that Carrie was now a Disney Princess.

Thanks to Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, we learned that that had always been a dream of Carrie’s.

Billie wasn’t able to attend the event due to filming commitments on American Horror Story, but did send a letter thanking them for honouring her mum, in that letter she wrote:

Becoming part of the Disney family was truly an amazing moment for her. She secretly always wanted to be a Disney princess, so getting to be a Disney princess and a Disney Legend would have been her ultimate dream.

For more information on everything Star Wars at D23, visit the Official Star Wars website here.

For more information on Mark and Carrie becoming Disney Legends, visit the official site, again, here.

Thank you, Disney, for making this fan very happy.  I never thought my favourite Princess would be a Disney Princess, but now she is, and knowing that it would have meant the world to her, makes it a special thing indeed.

Holonet Graphic

Vanity Fair Star Wars Exclusive

Star Wars The Last Jedi Vanity Fair Shoot

Annie Leibovitz is one of the world’s most acclaimed photographers, and she has a history with the Star Wars saga that has produced some of the series’ most intense portraits.

She recently completed a series of shots for Vanity Fair and their special anniversary Star Wars edition.

The photos feature new and familiar faces, with some of the most beautiful photos carrying an extra layer of meaning because of the recent tragic passing of Carrie Fisher.

The Vanity Fair article gives some new insight into Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and is well worth a read.  For those of us who are fans of Carrie’s, the article gives us a beautiful glimpse into the relationships our beloved Princess formed with her co-stars and with Director Rian Johnson.

Included in the photo collection are Laura Dern as Admiral Amilyn Holdo and Benicio Del Toro as “DJ”.  We also get to see new character Rose Tico, and an incredibly moving photo of Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher in costume as Lieutenant Kaydel Connix and General Leia Organa.

Billie Lourd and Carrie Fisher as Lieutenant Kaydel Connix and Leia Organa

Equally as moving is a beautiful photo of Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in costume.

It’s wonderful to see Luke and Leia together again.

Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa

Here’s a selection of some of the other beautiful photos.  They capture the heart and soul of these characters, and the iconic actors behind at least two of them.

Visit Vanity Fair‘s special edition article here.  Don’t just look at the photos, make sure you read the exceptional article by David Kamp.

There are only a few months left until Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is in cinemas.

The film will be bitter sweet, and hopefully a fitting tribute to Carrier Fisher.

Holonet Graphic

The Women of Star Wars, and an Episode VIII Update

The Women of Star Wars and The Last Jedi Update Banner

There was always going to be a lot of Star Wars news over the Easter long weekend, thanks to the Star Wars Celebration event happening right now in the United States.

There’s both good news and disappointing news out of the event, as well as at least one thing that is sure to excite everyone – the very first trailer for the brand new saga entry.

It’s… fantastic!

We’re eight long months away from Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, and I have to admit I wasn’t expecting a teaser just yet… and I certainly wasn’t expecting this teaser, which left my jaw hanging open.

If you want to avoid spoilers for Episode VIII, then scroll down right now.  You can stop when you see the Episode VIII promo image featuring Rey, Poe and Finn.  You’ll know it when you see it.

Here we go…

Spoiler Alert

The teaser trailer is brief, as you would expect, but it packs a punch.

Particularly the last words of the trailer, uttered by Luke Skywalker.  Yes, my friends!  Luke actually has dialogue in this film!!

Here are a few shots from the two minute long preview:

What we see makes it clear that this movie is going to be bigger and darker than The Force Awakens.  And let’s face it, Episode VII was pretty dark thanks to the death of Han Solo and the destruction of an entire star system!

The film looks beautiful, and I’m really excited to see it.

Those words uttered by Luke, the ones that left my jaw hanging open?

“It’s time for the Jedi… to end.”

WTF?!  That’s the dark stuff I’m talking about.

As regular readers know, the death of Carrie Fisher a few months ago hit me pretty hard, like it did for a lot of fans, and as a result I wasn’t as excited about the new movie as I normally would have been.  This trailer has gotten me pumped up for the next entry in the saga again.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, or if you want to watch it again, you can visit the official Star Wars site, or click right here to visit their YouTube channel.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Promo Image

And now to other Star Wars news.

First, the disappointing item.

After Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, told us that his sister would be appearing in Star Wars Episode IX via unused footage from Episodes VII and VIII, we’ve been let down by the current keeper of the Star Wars flame, Kathleen Kennedy.

Kathleen has pretty much said General Leia’s story will now, more or less, end with The Last Jedi.  Carrie won’t be appearing in any form in Episode IX.

To read more, visit sciencefiction.com here.

I understand why they’ve made this decision, but it kind of hurts a bit.  I just hope they don’t kill the character off.  It would be wonderful to still be able to follow her adventures in any tie-in novels and comics.

Lastly, let’s finish the article with some good news.

Disney are releasing a series of mini-stories focused on the women of Star Wars, called Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.

The Women of Star Wars

What we do know, is that there will be a story focused on Princess Leia, as well as one on Jyn, Rey, Sabine, Hera and Ashoka, and that the whole thing will be narrated by Maz Kanata.

Hopefully, these stories will also do something with the characters of Padme and Mon Mothma.  Two important women in the Star Wars saga too often overlooked, despite their vital roles.

If you’d like to learn more about the new Forces of Destiny series, click here to visit Slate.com.

That’s it for now.  If you’re lucky enough to be at Star Wars Celebration, have an amazing time!

For the rest of us, we’ll post any significant news from the event that we hear about.

Until then, May the Force be With You.

Holonet Graphic

 

Our Star Wars News Roundup

Briefing Room Banner

First up, I need to apologise for the haphazard (and almost total lack of) posting this year.  As strange as it may seem to some, Carrie Fisher’s passing hit me like a tonne of bricks… that was followed by another tonne, and another tonne, and another tonne.

For any women reading this, here’s an insight into the male mind: we don’t always cope well with loss.  So much so, we tend to avoid anything that reminds us of the person who has passed on.  We also do that with the jobs we leave and pretty much any other emotional upset we’re having difficulties processing!

Sadly, I’ve done that with every significant loss in my life, and it wasn’t until last year that I discovered (via friends) that a lot of other men respond in a similar way.  Further investigation showed me it’s not a rare phenomenon.  A lot of men will retreat into a strange, brooding place because we’re not as emotionally resilient as we’d like to be.

I’m not saying all men do this.  I’m sure there are millions of well-adjusted ones out there, but I’m not one of them.

And so, writing about Star Wars, something I love, became difficult because Carrie Fisher was my entry into the saga, and Princess Leia, despite being female, was the character I identified with.

So, be patient with me.  I’m trying to get back on the horse.

Speaking of Carrie, her public Memorial Service was held today in Los Angeles at the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood hills.

According to Carrie’s brother, Todd, Carrie wanted a public memorial because her fans meant the world to her.

News of the memorial popped up here in Australia earlier this morning.  Australia has long had a love affair with Carrie.  She spent a great deal of time here over the years, and even shot Time Guardians down-under back in the ’80s.  I followed Australia and Carrie’s romantic flirtation throughout my childhood and teenage years, and am sometimes surprised (and really pleased) it’s endured as long as it has.

For more information on the memorial, click the following links:

Visit news.com.au here and the Los Angeles Times here.

As always, we send our love to Carrie’s brother Todd Fisher, her daughter Billie Lourd, and Carrie’s beloved animal companion, Gary.

And, still on our beloved Princess/General Leia, news broke in the middle of this week from Lucasfilm, telling us that Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, has not been changed or re-edited because of Carrie’s passing.

Oh yeah… and in case you’ve been living in a Detention Block somewhere, with Stormtroopers refusing to give you the Death Star’s wifi password, the eighth Star Wars film got its name a few weeks ago: The Last Jedi.  Boy, did that cause an internet meltdown – a few thousand fans trying to divine the meaning of the words “Last” and “Jedi”.  If you want to read about that meltdown, just Google “fan reaction to Last Jedi announcement” and read and be amused.

For more information on the announcement from Lucasfilm about Episode VIII and Carrie’s role in it, visit Syfy Wire (formerly Blastr) here.

In other Star Wars news, we’ve been told that there are plans to keep the films coming after Episode IX sends the Skywalker saga out with a (hopefully fitting) bow.

No one is being overly forthcoming with what that means, but they’re cooking something up that will keep us returning to that galaxy far, far away, for years to come.

In that same announcement, there’s a little news on the new Han Solo film.

For more information, visit StarWarsNewsNet here.

That’s most of the big stuff going on right now.  There are some interesting things taking place in Star Wars: Rebels as they draw closer to the events depicted in Rogue One and A New Hope, and there have been multiple announcements about the upcoming Han Solo movie.  Also, a lot of information has been revealed about the alternate endings to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but that’s pretty much everything.

To read about those and more, I encourage you to head back to StarWarsNewsNet here and scroll through their amazing collection of stories.

Until next time, may the Force be with you.

Holonet Graphic

Our Forever Princess

rest-in-peace-carrie-fisher

2016 has been a remarkably cruel year.  A lot of people have suffered in one way or another, and many of them in ways they could never have imagined.  In my day job I’m a Counsellor, and from my experiences of interacting with hundreds of people this year while they’re at their most fragile, and from simply being someone on social media seeing what people post, I’ve seen what I’d call a remarkable upswing in personal sadness and tragedy.

On top of all the personal trials and tribulations so many of us have endured, 2016 has taken from us some incredibly bright lights.  Most recently, Carrie Fisher.

2016 saw the passing of 46 celebrities to date, names that have defined the entertainment world and many of our lives.  Among them, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Harper Lee, Jon English, Garry Shandling, Ronnie Corbett, Prince, Muhammad Ali, Anton Yelchin, Kenny Baker, Gene Wilder, Florence Henderson, Leonard Cohen, Zsa Zsa Gabor, George Michael and too many more.

For those of us who literally grew up with Star Wars, playing with the action figures as children in the late 70s and early 80s, reading the comics, collecting the books and cutting out newspaper and magazine articles for our scrapbooks, Carrie Fisher’s death is a devastating and surreal blow.

Only yesterday I was posting on this blog that Carrie was doing better, and now today I’m sitting at my computer with my dog at my feet, writing about the death of my all time favourite actor – and wondering how her beloved companion, Gary, will cope.  For those of you who aren’t dog people, our furry friends don’t do well with change and they definitely don’t cope well with losing people.

When I first saw a Star Wars film, it was Empire Strikes Back.  I was nine.  I saw a new hope after Episode V, so my introduction to Star Wars was a little skew whiff.  Because I was raised by a single mother (an incredibly strong woman who had to fight every day for us just to eat) it was the character of Princess Leia Organa that spoke to me.  Not Han Solo, not Luke Skywalker, not Boba Fett (which was a thing back then).  I was swept away by Leia.  Princess Leia was it for me.  She was a character whose strength helped get me through some very rough times.

It might sound strange for a man to say that the character he most identified with in Star Wars was a female character, but to me she was stronger than the men, more resilient and more gutsy.  Han was cocky and actually reminded me of a few of the bullies I had to contend with, and Luke never became a favourite of mine until much later in my life.  Leia was headstrong, confident, hilariously mouthy and unapologetically bold.  As a child I used to think that if I could be half as plucky as her, I’d be okay in life.

As I matured, Leia remained my favourite, but my attention turned to the actor behind the character.

Carrie Fisher was many things.  Most importantly to me, she was someone who endeavoured to live life.  She made a multitude of mistakes and some of them were quite public, but she faced up to them and in doing so changed the world for a lot of people.

Yes, she had a drug addiction, but rather than be victimised or defined by that, she used her fame and her formidable sense of humour to combat her addiction and help others find the courage to do so too.  We eventually learned that her addiction was a form of self-medication, because she had BiPolar Mood Disorder.  Rather than sink into self pity at her mental health condition, she used her celebrity to advocate for mental health reform and to bring awareness to mental health issues in general.  She joked about it, spoke frankly of her struggles, and tried her hardest to live her life.

She turned her experiences into a number of best selling books and gleefully “took the piss” out of herself on multiple occasions.  She faced life by facing her fears, and in doing so actually become fearless.

As a writer, an actor, a Counsellor, and someone with a mental health condition, she was an amazing gift to me – like I know she was to so many people.

Right now I’m just numb.  I opened up the news at a little after 6am here in Melbourne Australia, to see as the top headline the announcement Carrie was gone and burst into tears.  Her death affected me as badly as if it had been a member of my family, and I’m fighting a deep depression as I type this.  I’d had my Princess Leia action figures lined up on my bedside table since Carrie’s heart attack, using them as a focus for good thoughts, and I’d been so happy to hear she was improving yesterday.  The news she has passed is just too much.

The thing about having been a Counsellor since my early twenties is that whether I want to or not, I’m pretty much programmed to “process”.  It’s now 8:30am and I just want to get drunk, but the rational part of my mind is telling me it’s way too early to give into that demon and I need to work through it.

Hopefully my process might help you if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, like I am right now.

Carrie Fisher has passed, but Princess Leia Organa has not, and if the powers that be at Lucasfilm and Disney have a heart, they won’t kill her in Episode VIII or IX because Carrie isn’t able to reprise that role.  While that move worked for Spock in Star Trek Beyond as a way if acknowledging Leonard Nimoy’s passing, it won’t work in Star Wars.

Leia is still out there, kicking fascist ass and that’s empowering to me.  And Carrie?  Her bravery lives on even if she is no longer with us physically.  Her example is a good example, and her life was a life lived well.  Carrie Fisher accepted herself for who she was, warts and all, and though she battled with severe depression for most of her life she used humour and self reflection to stay afloat and to help others in similar situations stay afloat.  She didn’t have to bear her life warts and all for our entertainment.  She did it to de-stigmatise addiction and mental health, and as her own way of processing what she was experiencing.  Yes, she smoked like a chimney, at one time drank like a fish, struggled with her weight, and in her younger years snorted anything she could get her hands on, but those actions didn’t and don’t define her.  What does define her is the person she became and remained after her youthful missteps and her attempts at self-medication.

Carrie was courageous, beautiful, frighteningly intelligent, obnoxious, hilarious, dangerous, relentless, insightful, an unabashed and honest mess, ridiculous, inspirational, obscene, loving, compassionate, effervescent, confronting and powerful.

If each of us could live our lives half as audaciously, we’d probably be a lot happier.

I’ll take Carrie’s example with me, each day, as I confront my own demons and help other people confront theirs.

Thank you, Carrie Fisher, for changing my life and making my world a much brighter place because of your presence in it.

I send my deepest, heart felt condolences to Debbie Reynolds, Carrie’s mum.  To Todd Fisher, her brother, and most especially to Billie Lourd, her daughter, and Gary, her companion.  While my heart is breaking, I know each of yours is shattered.  I hope the love we’re all pouring out for your daughter can in some way help you guys get through this.

This might seem inappropriate, but I’m fairly certain Carrie would appreciate it.  Years ago Carrie gave an interview where she reflected on what she’d like people to say when she eventually passed.  It went like this:

“Remember the white dress I wore all through that film (Episode IV)?  George came up to me the first day of filming, took one look at the dress and said: ‘You can’t wear a bra under that dress.’

“‘Okay, I’ll bite,’ I said.  ‘Why?’  And he said: ‘Because… there’s no underwear in space.’

“He said it with such conviction.  Like he had been to space and looked around and he didn’t see any bras or panties anywhere.

“He explained.  ‘You go into space and you become weightless.  Then your body expands but your bra doesn’t, so you get strangled by your own underwear.’

“I think that this would make for a fantastic obituary.  I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.”

Rest in peace, Carrie.  You were a gift and I love you.

Carrie Fisher.  She died in moonlight, strangled by her own bra.

Though this powerful woman is no longer with us, her legacy lives on.  Long live Princess Leia.

Holonet Graphic

Carrie Fisher Hospitalised

carrie-fisher-banner-24122016

The woman who forged the way forward for strong female leads in science fiction, Carrie Fisher, is in an ICU in Los Angeles after suffering a serious heart attack on a flight from London to LA.

Carrie was rushed by paramedics to a hospital in LA after her flight landed in LAX around 12pm on Friday.

She was on United Airlines Flight 935 from London to Los Angeles when she collapsed.  Flight Attendants and passengers with medical qualifications cared for her, with one, an EMT, providing her with what sounds like it was almost constant CPR.

The airline is being understandably cagey with their responses, because it’s their duty to maintain Carrie’s privacy, but tweets from passengers on the flight give us some insight into what happened:

Anna Akana (@AnnaAkana):
“Don’t know how else to process this but Carrie Fisher stopped breathing on the flight home.  Hope she’s gonna be OK [sad face emoji]”
8:06AM – 24 Dec 2016

Brad Gage (@bradgage):
“I’m in complete shock.  @AnnaAkana and I sat in front of Carrie Fisher on our flight from London and she was just taken off the plane by EMTs”
8:03AM – 24 Dec 2016

Carrie had been in London on a book tour promoting The Princess Diarist, her latest in a long line of books.

According to Carrie’s brother, Todd Fisher, an earlier report that she was in a stable condition was “writing between the lines“, and that Carrie is still in ICU.  Todd says she is not in a stable condition.  “She’s in ICU and everybody’s praying for her,” was his report to Variety in a phone interview earlier today.  “There’s nothing new from the doctors.  There’s nothing new at all… there’s no good news or bad news.

Multiple news and Science Fiction sites are reporting on this story, and you can obtain updates from them.  Here are a few links:

io9/Gizmodo: click here,
Star Wars News Net: click here, and
ScienceFiction.com: click here.

While many of us know and love Carrie for her ground breaking performance as Princess Leia Organa, she is just as widely known for her advocacy work around mental health – in particular Bi-Polar Mood Disorder which she suffers from, and as an acclaimed novelist and respected script doctor.

Carrie’s first book, the semi-biographical Postcards from the Edge, blew me away when I first read it.  The novel was eventually made into a film starring Meryl Streep, and was followed by a number of other books culminating most recently in The Princess Diarist.

2016 has already been a very rough year for many of us.  One person on Twitter summed up what has happened best:

David (@RogueNoOne):
“Dear 2016, don’t you dare take Carrie Fisher”
10:00AM – 24 Dec 2016

William Shatner, Star Trek‘s Captain James T. Kirk, was one of the first well-wishers to jump on Twitter and send his regards.  Carrie and Bill have had a long running faux-feud on Twitter, often focusing on which series is best – Star Wars or Star Trek.  Bill tweeted:

William Shatner (@WilliamShatner):
“I ask everyone to stop for a moment and send special thoughts to @carriefisher.”
8:33AM – 24 Dec 2016

Carrie’s long time co-star and friend, Mark Hamill, also added his voice to the well-wishes:

Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself):
“as if 2016 couldn’t get any worse… sending all our love to @carriefisher”
9:41AM – 24 Dec 2016

Bette Midler and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) also sent their love:

Bette Midler (@BetteMidler):
“#CarrieFisher’s had a heart attack; hope and pray she recovers soon.  Quick witted, hilarious on paper and in person, and just plain beloved.”
10:32AM – 24 Dec 2016

Peter Mayhew (@TheWookieRoars):
“Thoughts and prayers for our friend and everyone’s favourite princess right now.. @carriefisher”
8:48AM – 24 Dec 2016

I join everyone with my well wishes.  Carrie has been an inspiration to me since I was a boy, and has remained one throughout my adult life.

Please get better soon, Carrie, and please leave the ICU ASAP, well on the road to recovery.  May there be no long term damage of any kind, and may you continue to bring joy into our lives for many years to come – and I really want to see you as General Organa in Episode IX!

If you’d like to add your voice to thousands of others and have a Twitter account, just search for @carriefisher.

Also send some love to her family, her daughter Billie Lourd, her mother Debbie Reynolds, and her brother Todd Fisher as they wait anxiously for good news.

Holonet Graphic