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.

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Forces of Destiny

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For the last few days, Disney have been gifting us with tiny little vignettes featuring the major female characters of the Star Wars saga.

Who?  Padme, Ahsoka, Jyn, Leia, Rey, and, so far, Sabine.

I don’t know if they’ll include other major women from the saga like Hera and Mon Mothma, but I hope so!

Star Wars Forces of Destiny

Kathleen Kennedy, the current guiding light for all things Star Wars, has described the series of vignettes as:

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia’s heroism, Rey’s courage, or Ahsoka’s tenacity… We’re thrilled that so many of the original actors are reprising their roles in these shorts which capture the small moments and everyday decisions that shape who these characters are.  It is a fun new way for people to experience Star Wars.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is canon, and is a ‘micro-series’ of animated shorts that take place in the prequel, anthology, original and new era of the film series.

Each episode looks at certain decisions made by each character, that have helped to shape and define that person and make them who they are – and who we love.

The current aired episodes, and who they focus on, are:

  • ‘Sands of Jakku’ – Rey;
  • ‘BB-8 Bandits’ – Rey and BB-8;
  • ‘Ewok Escape’ – Leia and Wicket;
  • ‘The Padawan Path’ – Ahsoka;
  • ‘Beasts of Echo Base’ – Leia, R2-D2 and Chewbacca;
  • ‘The Imposter Inside’ – Padme and Ahsoka, and;
  • ‘Bounty of Trouble’ – Leia and Sabine.

There are more to come!

Each episode runs for three-minutes, features an opening monologue from Lupita Nyon’o in character as Maz Kanata, and are actually pretty good.

My favourite to date has been ‘The Imposter Inside’, and the ‘Bounty of Trouble’ wasn’t too bad either.  The voice actors are excellent, and the actor doing Leia’s voice is good and sometimes sounds like a young Carrie Fisher.

The series is worth checking out, and if you have children, these are very child-appropriate.

To watch them, click here to visit Disney‘s YouTube channel.

It’s really great to see new adventures for Leia, Padme and Jyn, because, (SPOILERS), two of those characters were killed off, and, of course, our beloved Carrie Fisher tragically left us in December of last year.  Seeing new material featuring these three women is wonderful, it means their legacy is continues.

Bring on stories for Hera and Mon Mothma!  It might also be pretty damn wonderful to see a Breha Organa story!  Are you listening Disney?  There are a lot of strong female characters in Star Wars and we want to know more about them!

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A Last Jedi Update

Star Wars The Last Jedi Update June

It’s been relatively quiet on the Star Wars: The Last Jedi front for a while, with probably the biggest bit of news focusing on a comment Mark Hamill made, where he had said he had disagreed with Rian Johnson’s interpretation of Luke and Luke’s journey as a character in the eighth film.

It all began a few weeks ago, in late May, when Mark was remembering the first time he ever read the script for the new film:

“I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character.  Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realise your vision.”

And, as the internet and fans are wont to do, everything went… BANG!

Fans were worried, some people feared it meant the eighth movie would feature a Luke Skywalker who was barely recognisable when compared with the Luke we all grew up with in the original trilogy… and so on.

Mark has now explained his remark and spoke to Variety to once and for all clear up the accidental storm his words created.

Just in case the link doesn’t work and you’re unable to watch the interview, Mark’s explanation is below.

“Rian Johnson is an amazing filmmaker,” Mark said, “and if you look at Brick or Brothers Bloom or Looper, each film is different from the last one and they’re so inventive.  I think people will be pleased and surprised, I know I was.  I got in trouble, because I was quoted as saying to Rian that I fundamentally disagree with everything you decided about Luke, and it was inartfully phrased.  What I was, was surprised at how he saw Luke.  And it took me a while to get around to his way of thinking, but once I was there it was a thrilling experience.  I hope it will be for the audience too.”

In addition to the worry and confusion generated by Mark’s words, GamesRadar are wondering if a Lego figure has revealed the origin of Supreme Leader Snoke!

Click the GamesRader link (just above, in blue) to go see the new Lego figure and read the theories.

Last, but not least, the wonderful StarWarsNewsNet has posted about a Japanese promotional image for the new movie that, when translated, ‘roughly’ says: “The Most Shocking Truth In Star Wars History Will Soon Be Revealed!”

No one seems to be able to decide whether or not it’s just hyped up language to attract an audience, or if someone somewhere slipped a little bit of information to the Japanese and they’re taking ‘teasing’ an audience to a whole new level?

To read the article, visit StarWarsNewsNet here.

That’s it for this update, but we can expect more news to come out soon as we count down to December and the opening night of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The eighth feature film in the series stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.

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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.

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The Women of Star Wars, and an Episode VIII Update

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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.

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Rogue One: A Review

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There is no doubt that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is an unqualified success.  The movie has grossed over one billion dollars in worldwide cinema ticket sales and has proved immensely popular with Star Wars fans and new fans alike.

I had the chance to watch the film a little while ago with my 15 year old nephew – which added a whole new dimension to my viewing experience.

He likes Star Wars, but, unlike his Uncle, has never been a die-hard fan.

Before going any further, despite the fact I’m pretty sure everyone who wants to see Rogue One has already seen it, I need to say…

Spoiler Alert

What did I think of the film?

I’m probably going to get slammed for this… but while I enjoyed it, I didn’t love it.  I didn’t hate it, I just left the cinema feeling depressed.

Those feelings would have really affected me, or at the very least interfered with my entire memory of the film, had the movie not ended with Princess Leia’s appearance and her all too brief message of hope.

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Maybe it was because I was still trying to process Carrie Fisher’s passing (which affected me deeply and, to be honest, is still affecting me), but Leia’s appearance in the film softened the ending which was just a handful of scenes that were filled with death after death after death of characters we’d started to become attached too.

My nephew?  He didn’t enjoy it.  He didn’t hate it, he found it confusing.  To put that in context, he loved The Force Awakens, is a fan of the Prequel Trilogy (he was a child when they came out), and enjoys the Original Trilogy.  He loves war movies and thrillers and horror films and going to the cinema in general.

Rogue One?  He didn’t get sucked into the story.

When I pressed him for more information, he mentioned all the different bad guys – Stormtroopers, Shoretroopers, Hover Tank Troopers, Death Troopers… he didn’t know the names of them, he just wanted to know why there were so many different troopers when compared with the other films.  He also felt like the movie was rushed and that parts of it didn’t need to happen.

I definitely agreed with him on the Stormtrooper comments.  In the Original Trilogy we did see different Stormtroopers across the three films, but they were added in one per film and somehow it made sense to the overall narrative.  But Rogue One?  No.  It felt like an exercise in selling merchandise or prepping for a new game.

That might be an unfair comment, because it doesn’t seem to have been an issue for anyone but my nephew and I, but to me we didn’t need them.  My nephews other comments about parts of the film feeling rushed and unnecessary?

He thought that everyone dying was a waste of two and a half hours.  Why invest?  Flow wise, he thought everything was convenient and happened too quickly and too neatly

I didn’t disagree.  At times the pacing was off and the narrative felt contrived.  It lacked the “band comes together” naturally feel that we had with Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  The band came together in Rogue One, yes, but in a way that didn’t feel organic.

Galen Erso’s story felt rushed, and his brief appearances and too quick death robbed the story of a lot of its emotional weight.  It felt like it should have been his and his daughter’s story in a much more involved and intimate way.

Mon Mothma’s appearance was also disappointingly rushed.  This movie raised some important questions about the Rebellion and the way it conducted its business, and there felt like there were some pretty great opportunities for Mon Mothma and Bail Organa (who also makes a too brief appearance) to discuss that and agonise over it a bit.  It would have been exciting to see these two juggernauts go head to head over the methods being utilised.  If a film is going to dump a load of Bantha poodoo over an entity and institution that means so much to so many old school fans, that deserves some exploration.

Jyn’s conversion… almost convincing, but a little rushed and mostly because Galen’s story is thin.

Saw Gerrera… wasted opportunity.  This was a real opportunity to link Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the entire Prequel Trilogy in a substantial way.

Chirrut Imwe… another wasted opportunity.  Chirrut was arguably the most fascinating character to come out of Rogue One.

Krennic… awesome, but also wasted.  It felt like so much more could have been done with that fascinating character.  He was one of the best new bad guys Star Wars has ever produced – slimy, selfish, manipulative, cowardly, obnoxious!  He was wonderful.  He broke the mould of other Star Wars Imperials and Ben Mendelsohn deserves an award for his excellent performance.

Watching him and Galen go at it could have created some intense and meaningful drama.

The unnecessary comment?

For me, that was the death side of things.  Not the Death Star, but the fact everyone pretty much dies at the end of the film.

I’ve read so many arguments about it, with a lot of people saying it had to happen because we don’t see or hear from these guys again – but I disagree.  One of the things the Prequel Trilogy did so well was show us how expansive and vast the Star Wars universe is.  There would have been hundreds of conflicts against the Empire throughout the explored galaxy – many of which could have been led by, or in some way involved, Jyn and Cassian and many of the others.

A few of the main characters dying, yep… I’ll go with that.  It’s a war movie.  War should never be glorified and if we can teach our children one thing via entertainment, it is that war is horrible… but all of the characters being wiped out?  Just unnecessarily depressing.

Star Wars definitely has its dark moments – the death of Padme standing out as one of the darkest, but this felt – to me – unnecessary and a complete waste of what were becoming compelling characters.

The next day I checked in with two scifi loving work colleagues who also saw the movie that weekend.  Their first words?  Both of them said: “Oh… I found it depressing.”

Honestly, if Leia hadn’t have made a cameo the film would have been obnoxiously dark.

 

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The movie is definitely worth seeing.  It is good, it does honour Star Wars and it does do that universe justice.  The director did an incredible job, and he took some brave risks – many of which work.  For me, character is everything and when all of the characters die, it changes my emotional relationship with the movie.

Definitely go see it and buy it on DVD and BluRay, just know that my review is mitigated by what I felt was an unnecessary culling of characters.

I’m going to give the movie three out of five Death Stars.

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Best bits:
– Outstanding special effects;
– Brilliant performances;
– Great music score;
– The appearance of Leia, Bail Organa, Grand Moff Tarkin and Mon Mothma;
– It did feel like Star Wars, despite the odd jarring directing and editing moment and the revelation the Rebellion wasn’t as pure as us older fans probably would have liked.

Worst bits:
– Uneven in places;
– A story that felt rushed;
– An unnecessary amount of Stormtroopers!
– Too little time spent on certain characters;
– Everyone dies.

The last thing I’ll talk about is the CGI Tarkin and Leia.  There are moments when you first see Tarkin that shake you, because it’s obviously CGI – and then it’s seamless.  It’s the same with Leia.  At first, it’s as if 1977 Carrie has been transported forward in time – then it’s obviously CGI, and then it’s convincing again.

The Tarkin CGI in particular is phenomenal.  He’s on screen so often, and the work the effects team did is remarkable.  Just as remarkable is the actor’s voice work.  Guy Henry sounds just like Peter Cushing.

If you are one of the few people who haven’t seen the film yet, don’t let the rubbish around the CGI scare you off.  It really is masterful.  Yes, there are a couple of slips but they are momentary.

The Anthology series is a brave step forward in Star Wars story telling, and despite my disappointment over a few things it’s a movie we as fans can be proud of.

Now, I can’t wait for Star Wars: Episode VIII.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was directed by Gareth Edwards and was produced by Kathleen Kennedy.  The screenplay was by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta.  It starred Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen and Forest Whitaker.  The music was by Michael Giacchino with the original theme, of course, by John Williams.

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Our Forever Princess

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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.

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Rogue One Proves its Pedigree

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Without question, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is a hit!

The film was released internationally only a few days ago, and earned $155 million across its opening weekend.

To put that into perspective, it’s the second biggest December debut ever.  No prizes for knowing the BIGGEST December debut.  Hint… it has ‘star’ and ‘wars’ in its title.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has come in at 37.4% behind Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and is 83% bigger than the $84.6 million debut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (in 2012).

The opening gross for the film puts Rogue One in third place for a film’s debut for this year, behind Captain America: Civil War (at $179.1 million) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (at $166.1 million).

Not bad at all for the very first Anthology film in the Star Wars universe.  There were people predicting it wouldn’t do well, people predicting it would, and people who were wise enough to keep their mouths shut!  I’m relieved it’s proven itself.

What are the critics saying?

They’re saying mostly good things.  Some have commented on how some of the digital characters momentarily took them out of the film (some in surprise at seeing a particular character in the film, and some because apparently the effects weren’t 100% convincing), and others have said the story is a little thin in places, but most agree the film is excellent.

Rotten Tomatoes has the film sitting (as of the 20th of December) at 84% certified fresh by critics, with a 90% audience satisfaction score.

Me?  I haven’t seen it yet.

The lack lustre information coming out about the film in recent months had kind of dulled the excitement for me.  Which really frustrated me.  I was super-excited for the film up until about October, and then the publicity machine went in a weird direction that didn’t appeal to me.

Because we’re this close to Christmas, I’ll be waiting a little while before I see it, but there will be a review around New Year’s Day.  Am I excited?  Yes.  I honestly am.

On a personal level, despite my disappointment in its promotion as we drew closer to the release date, I’m thrilled this film is kicking goals.

The reviews say it is worthy of the name Star Wars, and that it answers a lot of questions that make you want to watch A New Hope all over again.  Critics have called the film “faithful”, and I’m over the moon they’re exploring other areas of the Star Wars galaxy now that we’re almost at the half way point for the latest (and possibly last) saga trilogy.

If the film hadn’t have been faithful to Star Wars I would have been deeply disappointed – to the point of feeling betrayed, but it sounds like Director Gareth Edwards has pulled it off, and to be honest, from the first two previews I saw, I didn’t actually have any fears about him being faithful to the saga that has defined most of my life.

Go see Rogue One and share some Star Wars love.  If future Anthology films are as dedicated to continuity and the essence of that galaxy far, far away, as Rogue One reportedly is, then we, the long time fans of Star Wars, are in for many more years of joy after what were now and again long periods of time where it looked like we’d never see a Star Wars film on the big screen again.

Last thing – reports are that George Lucas loves the film!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is playing now in theatres all around the world.  It stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Jiang Wen, Genevieve O’Reilly and Forest Whitaker with unexpected appearances by a handful of Saga characters I won’t name because I don’t want to spoil the movie for you.  The music is by Michael Giacchino (with original Star Wars themes by John Williams), and the film was directed by Gareth Edwards and produced by Kathleen Kennedy.

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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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