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

Star Wars Rogue One Update

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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John Boyega on Episode VIII

John Boyega and Star Wars EVIII Update

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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Episode VIII Update – Daisy Ridley, Leia and Chewbacca

Rian Johnson and Star Wars

Star Wars: Episode VIII is well into production, with many Star Wars fan sites reporting on the various tid bits of information that are slipping out of the production.

For more information on these bits and pieces, you can visit either of these two major (and pretty awesome) Star Wars fan sites, Making Star Wars here and The Star Wars Underworld here.

Of more interest, to me at least, have been a couple of reports that have centred around the wonderfully talented Daisy Ridley.

It was inevitable that someone would eventually ask Daisy or one of the other young stars of Episode VIII, to compare Rian Johnson with J.J. Abrams.  Daisy, when asked that very question recently, said that both created a beautiful, warm and friendly atmosphere on set, but that Rian was more cheeky and not as focused on secrecy as J.J. – as was recently seen with the teaser to mark the first day of filming on the eighth Star Wars feature film.

For more on Daisy’s comments, you can visit Den of Geek here to read the full story.

Daisy also featured prominently in the news recently because she was “skinny-shamed”.

Skinny-shamed, you ask?  You’ve no doubt heard of “fat-shaming”, well now internet trolls have taken it to a whole new level, and have attacked Daisy for setting unrealistic expectations amongst young women because she’s too skinny.

All the fuss took place on Daisy’s Instagram feed where one of these trolls posted a meme of Rey with a speach bubble saying “I can’t believe the unrealistic expectations I’m setting for young girls.  Who cast me anyway?  Don’t they know real women have curves?”

The comment took the young star by surprise, but to her credit she responded in a very measured and sensible way, declaring she will not allow anyone to make her feel bad or ashamed about her looks.

Daisy’s response?  “I will not apologise for how I look, what I say and how I live life ’cause what’s happening inside is much more important anyway and I am striving to be the best version of myself, even if I stumble along the way.  It seems apt I get tagged in this a day after I received misogynistic comments on my (International Woman’s Day) post.”

To read more of how Daisy handled this unusual attack, you can check out the article at the Guardian newspaper here.

Finally, J.J. Abrams has admitted he made a mistake in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, by having Leia hug Rey, rather than Chewbacca after they returned from the disastrous mission to take out the First Order’s superweapon.

Fans were so surprised by the lack of empathy between Chewbacca and Leia in the film, considering what had happened to them both, that it was creating all sorts of fury and conspiracy theories on the internet – with some fans even suggesting Chewbacca was the reason for Leia and Han’s relationship ending.

To stop all of the insane speculation, J.J. spoke up to set the record straight, pretty much saying he made a creative error.  There was a definite rationale behind the creative choices he made, and it simply didn’t play out which happens sometimes.

Congratulations to J.J. for having the courage to admit the mistake, because it shows a lot of respect for the fans and a great deal of respect for the integrity of the entire saga.

To read more about J.J.’s admission, visit Games Radar here.

Finn Rey and Poe

Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled to be released on the 17th of December, 2017.  The film is being written and directed by Rian Johnson and stars Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Anthony Daniels as C-3P0, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke.

Joining the stars from Episode VII on the newest film are the recently announced Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran.

For those of you desperate to watch Episode VII on DVD or BluRay, the seventh installment in the ongoing saga of the Skywalker family will be released on DVD and BluRay on the 5th of April.  It will be available for digital download on the 1st of April.

Preorders are available for the digital download now.

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Episode VIII, IX and Star Wars: Rebels

The Star Wars Saga

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens continues to kick goals in cinemas around the world, and while fandom is still dissecting the movie with glee, it’s also starting to turn its attention to Episodes VIII and IX – and we’re actually getting some information!  Nothing that really constitutes a spoiler, but some interesting indications that we’re in for one heck of a ride.

The following comes from my go-to info site for all things saga related, Making Star Wars.

If you haven’t read these yet, check them out.

First up is a brief piece on John Boyega, and his reaction to the script for Episode VIII, which he recently read.

John Boyega

In short, he’s calling it “very dark.”  The article over at Making Star Wars comes from a Vogue interview he did recently.  Check out the information here.

The next article hints that we won’t learn anything much about Rey’s parents until Episode IX.

The director of that installment, Colin Trevorrow, tells us he’s been devoting a lot of time to fleshing out the story for Episode IX and from everything he says, it is clear he’s taking his responsibility to the movie and the entire saga very seriously.  It’s a great read and for those of you who may have doubts after Jurassic World, it might put some of your concerns to rest.

He also lets us know that Rey is the most important character in the new films and is vitally important to the entire Star Wars universe:

“…Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of ‘The Force Awakens’ but in the entire galaxy…”

Colin Trevorrow

To read the article, click here.

Last but far from least, everyone’s favourite Princess is scheduled to appear in Star Wars: Rebels this month!

Unfortunately, Carrie Fisher won’t be voicing the Princess she made famous, but a young Leia Organa will well and truly be popping in to work with our favourite animated rebels.

Princess Leia Star Wars Rebels

To read the article, visit Making Star Wars here.

As a long time Star Wars fan, the last couple of years – and especially the last few months – have been surreal.

For a while there, there was literally no news on Star Wars.  The ‘dark age’ for the saga was most definitely the time between Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.  It was an agonisingly long period of, essentially, nothing – until 1991 (eight years after RotJ) when the first post RotJ novel came out with Lucasfilm’s blessing.  If you weren’t a fan of what became a very dynamic novel series, your Star Wars love was limited to staring wistfully at your action figure collection or re-watching the original trilogy for what was most likely the 400th time.

Right now it feels like we’re in a Golden Age of Star Wars and it’s one I hope lasts for a very long time.

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