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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Star Wars Breaks Records and Where’s Rey?

Star Wars To Be Biggest Movie Ever

According to ForbesStar Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is well on its way to becoming the highest grossing movie ever.

Both Variety and Forbes are reporting on the unprecedented speed with which The Force Awakens has broken every US domestic record bar one, and both are stating that the new Star Wars film will surpass Avatar (the current record holder) sometime tomorrow!

Dog Fight Over Takodana

There are too many domestic and international records that The Force Awakens has broken to list them here, especially when so many journalists have gone above and beyond to do just that – but what it all boils down to is that the seventh Star Wars film is a phenomena.

It’s perfect blend of nostalgia and new, humour and tragedy, and heart as well as special effects is a winner for old and new converts, and its success seems to be about more than a group of die-hard Star Wars fans seeing the film over and over again.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has staying power, and it is a movie that resonates with people, in particular young women as can be seen by the trending #WheresRey and the numerous complaints Hasbro is receiving for leaving the film’s protagonist out of box sets and it’s recently released Star Wars monopoly set.

John Boyega Daisy Ridley Peter Mayhew and Harrison Ford

It’s a little sad that the merchandise side of the Star Wars phenomena hasn’t broken any female representation records – considering the fact the film has more female roles in it than any previous entry in the saga, and especially considering the fact that Princess Leia Organa was the world’s first major strong female action hero.  She won our hearts two years before Ellen Ripley and 27 years before the rebooted Starbuck.  You’d think anyone and everyone associated with Star Wars would be proud of that legacy, and Rey would feature predominantly in any merchandise that came out.

Still, don’t let the lack of foresight by Hasbro damage your enthusiasm for this truly wonderful film.

If you haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Aweakens yet, I encourage you to.  It is everything you want a blockbuster movie to be – and even better, there’s not a bloody superhero in sight!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong’o, Max Von Sydow and Gwendoline Christie.

To read the Forbes article on the box office success of Star Wars, click here.

To read more on the #WheresRey controversy, click the following links:

Legion of Leia
The Mary Sue
The Vine
Global News

An interesting side note, the film still hasn’t opened in China, so no doubt a whole bunch of other records will fall when that enormous market starts lining up to see the movie on the 9th of January.

Congratulations to everyone involved in The Force Awakens.  You have given hope to Star Wars fans everywhere, and you’ve treated the source material with respect.

Bring on Episode VIII.

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A Force Awakens Update

Star Wars The Force Awakens Update Banner 1

The spoiler free (and not so spoiler free) reviews are slowly unspooling on the internet, which has become a little bit like a minefield, if you haven’t seen the movie.

What I’m comfortable telling you guys is that according to Rotten Tomatoes, as of the 18th of December (in Australia), Star Wars: The Force Awakens is 95% fresh and has had 245 reviews (43 from top critics)!

Millennium Falcon

What I’m also comfortable telling you, is that the reviews are so far very favourable.

Apparently there are a bunch of people on facebook threatening to spoil the crap out of the movie, and post it on every social media platform unless Disney reinstates the former Expanded Universe Star Wars novels to canon, who probably don’t like the film all that much, but other than those guys, every review I have come across has said Star Wars is back.

Finn and His Tie Fighter

If you want a taste of the excitement felt by those who have seen the film, without any spoilers, we have some for you below – to save you accidentally stumbling across something that might ruin the film for you.

We also have something bloody awesome that should be being shared everywhere – and that’s the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens singing some of the tunes from Star Wars A Cappella.

First, the reviews, then keep scrolling down for something that is sure to brighten your day.

Charlie Jane Anders from io9 reviews SWTFA here.

Various, straight from the premiere here.

Bryan Bishop from The Verge here.

Peter Sciretta from /Film here.

And now for something crazy awesome:

Jimmy Fallon, the Roots and the Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast singing a medley of Star Wars themes A Cappella… right here.

Enjoy!

SWTFA Cast Sing

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New International Trailer

Tie Fighters

A new international trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has dropped on YouTube, showing some beautiful new footage, and giving us an interesting line of dialogue between Rey and BB-8.

As Rey and BB-8 walk through the desert, Rey asks BB-8 where he’s (she’s) from.  BB-8 toots and whistles at Rey, and she interprets the response for the audience, saying “Classified?  Me too.”

Rey and BB-8

Could Rey have been placed in hiding by someone?  Could Leia or Luke be using Ben and Yoda’s old trick – the ruse that was used to keep them safe from their father?  Is this more evidence that Rey is either Leia or Luke’s daughter?

It’s an interesting snippet.  Go watch the trailer and see where that exchange, and others, takes your thinking!

The trailer was put together for a Chinese audience, where Star Wars isn’t quite as well known or popular as it is in most western countries.  A few sites who have reported on this particular trailer have suggested that that is the reason why the Chinese and most foreign market previews are lengthier and reveal more plot than American and Australian trailers.

To view The Force Awakens preview for China, click here.

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The Origin of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

JJ and the Cast of SWTFA

The wonderful io9 website recently posted a feature article that explores the origin of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Fans of Star Wars are probably aware that the movie we’re all going to see in a few days time is not the movie we would have seen if George Lucas had remained in charge of the saga – and George has said as much.  He’s also said that fans should love the film.

The-Resistance-Star-Wars-7-Force-Awakens-X-Wing

In the interview, J.J. explains that Disney was the one to abandon George’s ideas, and that Michael Arndt (Academy Award winning writer of Little Miss Sunshine), with Lawrence Kasdan consulting, needed to come up with something new.  Michael eventually left the production because he needed more time than Disney could give, which left the writing of the film to Lawrence and J.J..

J.J. says that some of what Michael created remained, but a number of things were thrown out because Lawrence, if he was suddenly going to write the film (instead of consult on it) needed to start from scratch because that was the way he worked.

To read the article, click here.  It’s written by the very talented Germain Lussier, a regular contributor to io9.

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