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

Star Wars Forces of Destiny Banner

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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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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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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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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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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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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Episode VIII Update – Daisy Ridley, Leia and Chewbacca

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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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George Lucas on Episode VII

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“The Great Maker”, aka George Lucas, developed an idea in the 1970’s that went on to capture the hearts and minds of a generation… and then every generation to follow.

His contribution to modern cinema goes far beyond the Star Wars saga, though.

In his many years in the entertainment industry, George has personally directed a number of films, produced even more, and written quite a few.  He’s also done a lot to support the development of the arts and education in general.

His directorial credits include: THX 1138American GraffitiStar Wars Episode VI: A New Hope, and the oft-maligned Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceStar Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

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His producer and executive producer credits are even more extensive, and include all of the live action Star Wars films (except for Episode VII), all of the Indiana Jones films, and cult classic favourite, Willow – to name only a few.

When you add in his writing credits, his contributions are even more impressive: THX 1138American Graffiti and More American GraffitiStar Wars Episodes IIIIIIIVVVIVII and VIII (yes, Episodes VII and VIII), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (yep, he has a writing credit for the first anthology film), all of the Indiana Jones films, and Willow.  There are more, but those are the best known.

But as indicated above, George isn’t just a writer, producer and director.  He’s also a philanthropist, setting up or contributing to a number of initiatives, including: The George Lucas Educational Foundation, the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, he gave one million dollars to help build the Martin Luther King, Jnr National Museum, gave 25 million dollars to the charity After School Matters, and gave 175-180 million dollars to the University of Southern California‘s film school, where he learned to make motion pictures.  He also has plans to donate most of the money he received from the sale of Lucasfilm.

As the creator of Star Wars, George is universally loved.  As a creative person, he’s both loved and loathed.

As a human being, George has equally felt all the love – and all the loathing, and at various times and in various ways it has taken its toll on him.

One thing is clear, without George we wouldn’t have that “galaxy far, far away”, and I don’t know about you, but my childhood would have been so much less without Star Wars.

Despite the contentious way in which George is viewed by Star Wars fans, I do believe most still love and admire him, and I think many of us were shocked, back in 2012, when he sold Lucasfilm to Disney.

I think we were just as shocked when we heard that Disney had thrown George’s ideas for Episodes VII, VIII and IX out the airlock.

In the build up to the release of Episode VII, and most certainly since it’s release a couple of weeks ago, a lot of people have been wondering one thing: “did George like Episode VII?”  After everything, would he enjoy this new vision for his baby and how would he feel about the public’s reaction?

I suspect he’s in two minds over it all.  In one interview he said he was looking forward to being swept away by the experience like any other fan, because he’s never had the chance to see Star Wars and be surprised by it.  In others, he’s walked around the question.  George has made a number of comments over the last few months, most diplomatic but there has been at least one that could be called unfortunate, which is the one attracting all the attention right now.  I think the comment he is getting criticism for points to the emotion he feels over moving on from something he feels quite deeply for.  Does he regret the sale?  I get the feeling he does.  Not because Disney has ruined Star Wars, but because, as Yoda would remind us “always in motion, is the future” and what seemed like a good idea doesn’t always stay feeling like a good idea.  Hindsight can be cruel.

For the record, I am a huge fan of George Lucas, and first read the biography of his work, Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas by Dale Pollack, when I was about 12.  It was that book that inspired me to get into the film and television industry.

I even own the recently updated edition and am still in love with the book some thirty years later.

Skywalking with Hyperspace Effect

So, as a fan of George’s, I obviously have a bias and feel for him.  As far as I’m concerned, George can have whatever opinion he wants to have, and we should all respect that whether we agree with it or not.

George’s most recent ruminations, it would seem, aren’t completely positive… and I think I get why.  How would you feel seeing something that you had created being taken in a different direction to the one you had been dreaming of for decades?

George created Star Wars and he had a vision for all nine films.  Disney chose to ignore that vision with the sequel trilogy and George is understandably perturbed by that.

It’s important to note that his reaction and opinion aren’t negative.  George doesn’t slam the film, but he is clear that it’s different to the one he would have made.

Some fans will no doubt show very little support for George, saying he shouldn’t have sold Star Wars if he didn’t want to run the risk of someone doing something with the property that he wouldn’t have done.

From what I can remember, George sold Lucasfilm and all of its properties to Disney along with story ideas for the sequels to Star Wars.  He probably thought the sequel films would be developed around his ideas, and never assumed Disney would eventually abandon them.

Some fans might also say that before selling Star Wars, George should have just made the sequels himself.  They’ve probably forgotten how horrible things got there for George when the prequel trilogy came out and how deeply the fan community hurt him.

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A number of media outlets are reporting on the most recent interview where George talks about Episode VII, so you can read about it on pretty much any entertainment news site.

Rolling Stone magazine are one of those media outlets, and a link to their story is below.

Included in the article is the video interview where George talks about Episode VII and gives his opinion (at around the 50 minute mark), go check it out.  Click here and enjoy and before you judge George, try putting yourself in his shoes for a moment and try to remember that without him, we would have never had Star Wars.

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Disney’s Gamble Pays Off

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In October of 2012, Disney and Lucasfilm called a press conference to announce Disney had purchased the studio that brought us Star Wars, the Indiana Jones series, Labyrinth and Willow for four billion dollars.  Lucas also received 400 million shares in the Mouse House.

George Lucas stepped aside, and Kathleen Kennedy, the former co-chairman of Lucasfilm, was made President of Lucasfilm and the Executive Producer of any new Lucasfilm production.

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At the same time, Disney and Lucasfilm announced a new Star Wars movie that would take place AFTER Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

That new film was scheduled for 2015, and as we all know, it made it’s release date.

Recently, just before the release of the movie, reports started to come out saying that for Disney to make its money back, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens would need to make 1.4 billion dollars, and so would Episodes VIII and IX.

That would mean that the new Star Wars film would pretty much need to break every record ever.

And it has.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens just hit that magical 1.4 billion dollar mark, and now people are saying it just might make 2 billion dollars.

Congratulations to everyone involved in The Force Awakens.

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Something tells me J.J. Abrams is going to be able to make any movie he wants to make, thanks to the almost universal praise Episode VII has received, not to mention its success at the box office!

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is currently playing in cinemas around the world, and is due to open in China very soon.

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