Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Fisher, Hamill Round Out Episode IX Cast

Wednesday begins principle photography of Star Wars: Episode IX to conclude the current trilogy of stories. Ahead of that Disney announced the cast of the film. The key surprise castings is Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Carrie Fisher (General Leia Organa). The former didn't survive the end of the movie while the latter tragically died unexpectedly. While probable Luke will appear as a force ghost, the return of Leia is less obvious.

“We desperately loved Carrie Fisher,” director J.J. Abrams said in announcing the news on StarWars.com. “Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie [Lourd], we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.”

The use of previous footage was also approved by her brother Todd with Hamill tweeting "It’s bittersweet facing my final chapter without her-She is simply irreplaceable. I’m finding solace in the fact that she won’t BE replaced & would love the worldwide outpouring of affection from those who loved her when they heard the news."

Joining the pair will be returning cast members Daisy Ridley (Rey), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Issac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong'o (Maz Kanata), Domhall Gleeson (General Hux), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose Tico), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO). New cast members (so far) are Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Naomi Ackie (role unknown), and Richard E Grant (role unknown).

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Solo Home Video Release Date Set

Disney has announced the release date of Solo: A Star Wars Story for digital and Blu-ray along with the below trailer. The digital release is set for September 14 for around $20 or wait another two weeks for the Blu-ray and DVD release on September 25 and get a physical and digital copy for about the same price.

The special features are the usual behind the scenes/sales pitch with director, cast interviews, deleted scenes, and more but sadly no commentary track. Below is the details on the special features with the movie.

DIGITAL AND BLU-RAY BONUS MATERIAL (may vary by retailer):

Solo: The Director & Cast Roundtable – Sit down with director Ron Howard and the stars for an intimate and entertaining discussion of the film’s making.

Team Chewie – See what it takes to bring your favorite Wookiee to life in this lighthearted look behind the scenes.

Kasdan on Kasdan – Iconic Star Wars screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and son Jonathan share what it was like to write the movie’s script together.

Remaking the Millennium Falcon – Track the transformation of the most famous ship in the galaxy, from Lando’s swank and impeccable pride and joy to Han’s stripped-down hot-rod freighter with “special modifications.”

Escape from Corellia – Get behind the wheel for the making of this high-octane chase through the streets of Corellia.
solo-bluray

The Train Heist – Explore the challenges and thrills of creating this action-packed sequence, including its remote location and spectacular effects.

Becoming a Droid: L3-37 – Meet the newest droid—and the talented actor who helps bring her to life.

Scoundrels, Droids, Creatures and Cards: Welcome to Fort Ypso – Take an in-depth tour of the rough-and-tumble bar where strangers mix and gamblers risk all in the legendary card game, Sabaac.

Into the Maelstrom: The Kessel Run – Join Han and Chewie at the controls of the Millennium Falcon to see how this legendary moment in Star Wars history unfolds.

Deleted Scenes
Proxima’s Den
Corellian Foot Chase
Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
The Battle of Mimban: Extended
Han Versus Chewie: Extended
Snowball Fight!
Meet Dryden: Extended
Coaxium Double-Cross

The Millenium Falcon: From Page to Park – An exclusive look at the history of the most famous ship in the galaxy, its origin and development, and how it will translate in one of the most anticipated expansions in Disneyland’s history.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Original Lando Returns to Star Wars

We might have had a new Lando in Solo: A Star Wars Story but the original isn't done with the character. Billy Dee Williams has signed on for Episode IX to reprise the role of Lando Calrissian. He is essentially the last original trilogy human character standing. Details on the role or really anything about Episode XI remains on lock down. We know the movie will exist for a December 20, 2019 release date and that's about it.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Disney Spins Star War Films Hold

A recent report indicated that the box office failure of Solo: A Star Wars Story was leading Disney to decide to put a hold on future spin-off films (with possible exception of the Boba Fett film). In source was an unnamed insider which has now been countered by other unnamed insiders saying this isn't true but really the comments seem to actually back up Collider's reporting rather then deny it.

From The Hollywood Reporter:
"They haven’t slowed down development," says a source with knowledge of Lucasfilm’s thinking, "but they are licking their wounds."

"It doesn’t mean those spinoffs don't happen," says another insider of Solo's underperformance globally. "It just means they’re trying to figure out how to make, and market, them differently."

But there's a catch with Boba Fett. Sources say that after the underperformance of Solo, the project could now be reconfigured. The thinking is that if Han Solo, one of the most iconic characters in the Star Wars universe, couldn’t sustain a big-budget origin feature, then any Fett movie would have to be scaled down, since though the character is popular, he’s certainly less well-known to most moviegoers than the Corellian smuggler.

The status of the Obi-Wan Kenobi spinoff is even less clear. Stephen Daldry had been in negotiations to direct, but both the studio and his agency, CAA, had no comment on the current state of the project.
From ABC News:
Lucasfilm sources on Thursday characterized as "inaccurate" a report that future "Star Wars" movies falling outside of the regular trilogy storyline (Episodes I to IX) have been put on hold in the wake of the box office under-performance of "Solo: A Star Wars Story."

Instead, Lucasfilm told ABC News there are still "multiple" Star Wars films currently in development that have not been officially announced. Those projects are moving forward separate from an already-announced "Star Wars" trilogy being overseen by "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson and another series of movies from "Game of Thrones" producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
So basically Collider was accurate. One spin-off film (Boba Fett) may move forward and no movement on any other spin-offs. I suspect Disney's plan is to do a cheaper budgeted Boba Fett film, see how it does and then decide if they will do other spin-off films based on how it does combined with how far in development they are on the Rian Johnson's trilogy and the Benioff/Weiss film. A reasonable plan, not entirely sure why they just state that.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Disney Putting Star Wars Anthology Films on Hold?

It seems the relatively lackluster performance of Solo: A Star Wars Story might be making Disney gun shy about continuing to release a Star Wars film every year. Collider is reporting that unnamed sources within Disney owned Lucasfilm are " put plans for more A Star Wars Story spinoff movies on hold, instead opting to focus their attention on Star Wars: Episode IX and what the next trilogy of Star Wars films will be after that film." Disney has not confirmed this report.

If true, its a bit of a sudden turnaround considering they just hired James Mangold (Logan) to write and direct a Boba Fett film. Or alternatively that film is the last hurrah to maintain a "trilogy" feel for the spin off films. The possible decision is in light of Solo's weak $343.4M world wide box office result which means the film might break even at best. However, Disney is really comparing it to over $1 billion the previous 3 films have made.

If true, its seems like an over reaction. Solo didn't do well because it was an average film that came out during a highly competitive box office window against Disney's own Avengers: Infinity War, Rampage, A Quiet Place, Deadpool 2 and a host of others. Its a level of competition that the three previous films avoided with their holiday release dates that have the fraction of of tent pool releases and the rest are mostly Oscar bait releases that are not remotely competitive for box office dollars compared to Star Wars. In short, Disney can afford to verify if Solo was an outlier which is what the Boba Fett film, if moves forward, could do.

In the meantime, the Star Wars fun will definitely continue. Star Wars Episode IX is still on track for a December 2019 release. Rian Johnson remains in charge of the potential next trilogy of films that will follow for the 2020's and Jon Favreau is working on a live-action TV show. Later this year the next cartoon series Star Wars Resistence is expected to premiere.