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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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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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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Star Wars News Roundup

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With Star Wars Episode VIII in production, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story amping up for release, there is a lot of focus on the world’s most beloved space saga.

Some of that focus came from the British Royal Family, with the future King of England and his brother visiting the set of Episode VIII.

Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Henry (more commonly known as Prince Harry) the Prince of Wales, were photographed playing with lightsabres, hugging Chewbacca and generally having an amazing time on the set of the major motion picture.

Unfortunately, that galaxy far, far away’s very own royal, Princess Leia Organa, wasn’t on hand to greet the princes, but her brother, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, was.

The Princes, apparently, did more than visit the set.  Rumour (we stress this word… RUMOUR) has it they have a special cameo role in the film as Stormtroopers who are on hand when Rey and Fin allegedly infiltrate a First Order base.

For more information on Henry and Williams’ visit, click here to read the Vanity Fair article.

In other Star Wars news, there’s an unusual rumour floating around the internet that tries to explain why Luke is still single and alone decades after playing his part in defeating the Empire.

Apparently, some fans believe Luke is gay, and Mark Hamill has no issue with that if that’s how it turns out.

Luke EVIII

To read more about this intriguing possible twist, click here to check out the CinemaBlend article.

Lastly, the crew of Episode VIII have arrived in Ireland to film more scenes in this second installment of the third trilogy.

We don’t know what scenes are being filmed, or which actors are on hand, but it’s probably safe to assume this is another leg in Luke and Rey’s journey and that both Mark and Daisey will be enjoying the incredible vistas of that beautiful island.

To read more, visit The Star Wars Underworld here.

I should probably mention before I go that there is a post on Reddit that claims to spoil the majority of the film.  I have read it, and if the poster really has gotten a hold of a copy of the script (which is very unlikely), I wish I hadn’t!  It all sounds fantastic, and a lot of it lines up with things we’ve heard from the production so far, but it does list off what could be the major beats of the film.

Which I don’t want to know!

In the event it is a genuine leak I’m not going to include a link here.  If that post on Reddit is a real list of the major story points for Episode VIII, I’m not going to risk spoiling the film for everyone.  I love spoilers, but only so far as they whet my appetite for what’s to come.  I don’t want an entire film ruined for me, particularly one I’m looking forward to more than any other release due out in the next two years.

If you want to read the post, you’ll have to rely on Google.

That’s it for now.

As more news comes to light, I’ll post it here.

May the Force be with you!

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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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The Countdown Begins

Star Wars Episode VIII Logo for WordPress

Star Wars Episode VIII officially began filming today (the 15th of February in the US, the 16th here in Australia).

Rian Johnson, the director of the next installment in the ongoing saga of the Skywalker family, along with Disney, made a point of sharing this milestone with fans, posting to social media and various other sites.

Disney and Rian even released some footage officially commemorating the first day of filming.

The most special thing about that footage is that it shows us Luke Skywalker as more than a figure standing against a beautiful, scenic background in a wide shot.

The footage is brief, and like a lot of fans I’ve watched it a few times.  It begins with a zoom in across a body of water, with the island Luke has been hiding on centre screen, then switches to a close up of the Jedi Master, followed by a shot of Rey handing Luke his lightsaber.

From there we see a shot of Rian Johnson (very happily) saying “cut… beautiful.”  That’s followed by a simple graphic that reads ‘VIII’.  Then we’re back to Rian who says “…ladies and gentlemen, welcome to episode eight.”

The last thing we see is a graphic that reads ‘NOW IN PRODUCTION’.

Disney let the world know via the official Star Wars website, and their announcement was picked up by pretty much every science fiction and general entertainment website on the internet.

To read the official announcement and watch the footage from Lucasfilm and Disney, click here.

If you can’t tell, I’m bloody excited!

I’m looking forward to the anthology films, but with no where near as much excitement as I’m looking forward to Episode VIII!

I love this sort of fan service.  It makes us a part of the journey without ruining a thing, and it hypes up our anticipation.  The only disappointment for me in Episode VII, was the lack of Luke.  Getting this unexpected early gift from the production team was perfection.

I hope we get a few additional little glimpses as filming continues over the next few months.

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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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The Force Awakens Roundup

Star Wars Hits One Billion

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is a juggernaut!

It’s now officially beaten Avatar as the highest grossing film in the United States, and now punters are looking at Avatar‘s international record and wondering if the new Star Wars film will topple that?

It’s a pretty tall order, and the film has to make another 1.2 billion dollars internationally (give or take) to do that… but it toppled Avatar domestically in record time, so who knows!

In other Force Awakens news, Hasbro have officially commented on why Rey is not featured in the Star Wars monopoly set, and they’re saying it’s because they didn’t want to spoil the movie…?!

Rey Rescuing BB-8

As a person, I’m not fond of focusing on the negative, but that sounds pretty weird to me.

For now, let’s give Hasbro the benefit of the doubt.

They’re also saying that Rey will feature in a lot of new merchandise this year.

Next, my favourite Star Wars site for all things ‘newsy’ about our beloved saga is MakingStarWars.net.

Making Star Wars Logo

MakingStarWars.net have a few Star Wars news items of note, including updates on the first anthology film (A Star Wars Story: Rogue One), images of the new IMAX posters for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, and a bunch of new hi-res photos from the film that have been released by StitchKingdom.

They’re beautiful, as you can see from the small collection below.

Go check out StitchKingdom‘s site!  You can take a wander through the amazing shots they’ve put together right here.  The MakingStarWars.net article is here.

Lastly, io9 have a great feature on the backstory to the Force Awakens – everything from who the heck Lor San Tekka is, to the size of the Resistance and the First Order, and how the Force actually awakened.

To read the article, click here.

Any bets on whether or not The Force Awakens has a chance of beating Avatar in the international takings stakes?

So you know, Avatar took 2.78 billion dollars internationally.  The Force Awakens is currently at 1.56 billion dollars internationally.

For more information so you can make a better judgement, read the Hollywood Reporter article here.

For the record, I think Star Wars can do it.

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Star Wars Update

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With Star Wars: The Force Awakens now an unqualified success, Star Wars fans are starting to wonder about what comes next.

While we have continued to bask in the glow of the rebirth of a franchise that we had all, at one time or another, feared was dead, work on the eighth feature film has been underway for some time.

And someone has seen the script.

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Daisy Ridley has read the script for episode eight, and she says it’s good.  Very good.

Episode eight starts filming in only a few weeks time, so of course Daisy has seen the script, along with her co-starts (no doubt), but this is the first time someone has commented on it.

If you’d like to check out the article, visit the fantastic Making Star Wars website for more information.  Bookmark MSW, as a site, it’s writers have done an incredible job of keeping fans up to date on everything episode seven.  No doubt they will do the same with episode eight.

To read the article, click here.

Episode eight is being written and directed by Rian Johnson, and while we don’t know how many of the cast is returning, word is it will – at the very least – be Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Daisy Ridley as Rey, Oscar Isaac as Poe, John Boyega as Finn, and Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma.

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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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