Tuesday, July 28, 2015

All Changes Made to Original Star Wars Trilogy Over the Years

Below are four videos that provides a very comprehensive look at the (infamous) alternations that George Lucas made to the original Star Wars Trilogy between edition releases on home video. The key comparisons are probably a 1980s VHS 480p tapes (wish hadn't lost mine), 2004 DVD release and the 2011 Blu-ray release. The first two videos are for Episode IV: A New Hope, third one is for Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back and the last is for Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.

The comparison doesn't just cover CGI tweaks but sounds alterations, different or inserted lines, removed or added scenes and more. Keep in mind that because the source material is around 30 years old and not in HD, the original footage is often fuzzy and washed out looking and not specifically related to the comparison. I had for years read from fans how much they hated all the changes, some of which I remembered myself by only vaguely and the over all feeling I came away from watching these videos is most of the changes were not really that bad. In some cases they are a genuine improvement. The few that I didn't like usually involves unnecessarily adding lines (No!!) and yells when character silence tended to be more powerful for the scene. Of course replacement old Anakin with young Anakin remains moronic and completely unnecessary. For any fan of Star Wars, these vids are worth watching.

The Force Awakens Rumor of Character Death

Spoiler Warning!

Assuming the below turns out to be true (and there is currently zero evidence to support it), this is your spoiler warning.

EpicStream is reporting that they heard from an unnamed Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor that a major character from the original trilogy dies. The tidbit involves an overheard scene where he says "I don't know how he will cope without him" which indicates that either Chewbacca or Han Solo dies during the movie. Chewbacca has died once in officially approved novel form but that was retconned out when Disney shuttered the Extended Universe for fear it would confuse new viewers by allowing it to continue for older fans. The more likely candidate is Solo as Harrison Ford has long wanted to have his character die, going back to Return of the Jedi and I would not be the least bit surprised if his Force Awakens contract specifically stipulates that Solo dies so the actor doesn't have to worry about being bugged to return to the next two films of the trilogy. As usual with rumors, time will tell on which turn out to be true.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

SDCC 2015: Star Wars Panel Starts With BTS Reel, Ends in Concert

It seems JJ Abrams decided to go with the mantra of "go big or go home" for Friday's Star Wars: The Force Awakens panel at the San Diego Comic Con (SDCC). Moderated by Chris Hardwick (Nerdist, @midnight) included Abrams, producer Kathleen Kennedy, co-writer Lawrence Kasdan (who also wrote Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi), new good guys of John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Issac (Poe Dameron) then the bad guys of Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domhall Gleeson (General Hux) and Gwendonline Christie (Captain Phasma). If that wasn't enough, later Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford joined the panel.

During the panel Abrams showed a behind the scenes reel that showed off sets, props, actors (including Simon Pegg playing an alien) and more that teased various aspects of the movie. Usually these reels are never released to the public (for reasons I never understood) but Lucasfilm released that same reel to the public about the same time they showed it at SDCC (1st video below, screenshots here). By most standards that is enough for Star Wars to have won comic con but nope Abrams decided to kick it up a notch by inviting everyone at the panel to a Star Wars concert at the San Diego Symphony that ends in fireworks (3rd video). Below is a summary of key bits from the panel or you can watch the entire panel by clicking the second video below.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Star Wars Film Focused on Han Solo?

It seems the departure of Josh Trank has led to a re-evaluation of how Disney might handle their Star Wars Anthology films. The director was set to direct the second film that would focus on Boba Fett but now it seems the film might either be bumped or replaced with one that will focus on young Han Solo according to The Hollywood Reporter. If true it will be directed by Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the team behind The Lego Movie using a script from Lawrence and Jon Kasden with a release day of May 25, 2018. This would replace them directing The Flash for Warners Bros. Disney has not officially confirmed this news so it remains a rumor but THR tends to have solid sources for news like this.

Darth Vader Big Bad of Rogue One?

As always this is to be taken with a grain of salt but Birth Movies Death is reporting that Darth Vader might appear in Star Wars Anthology: Rogue One. The movie will be a prequel to 1977's Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope by showing how the plans for the first Star Wars were stolen and I assume made their way to Princess Leia's hands for the iconic opening of that movie. Darth Vader's role is described as "[Vader] will not be the main antagonist but he will be working behind the scenes, pulling strings and will appear onscreen. Literally, I'm told - he'll be showing up via viewscreen or holo projection or something." Considering the "time" of the film's setting, a cameo appearance of the character does make sense. As usual time will tell on rumors like this.