Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

When the news first broke that Carrie Fisher suffered a massive heart attack on December 23, it was hoped that after several days the news would get better. Sadly it was not meant to be. The actress and author died this morning at the age of 60. She is most famous for the role of Princess Leia, cast at the ripe age of 19. A role she later reprises in The Force Awakens and will play one last time next year in Episode VIII. A character that remains beloved and powerful all these years later.

She didn't just do Star Wars though. She had roles in The Blue Brothers, The Burbs, Marry Met Sally, Catastrophe and more. She wrote many books, her most recent being "The Princess Diarist" which she was out promoting for the last several months. The sad fact is her career was once again on an upswing, with old and new fans getting to enjoy her unique but wise perspective. She was taken too young. Condolences to her family and friends.

Additional links: Reactions | Videos | @carriefisher

Friday, December 23, 2016

Rogue One Locations, K-2S0, and Missing Trailer Scenes

Rogue One is doing very well at the box office with a worldwide total of $388.1 million. Despite that the featureless continue to promote the film. The first video called "Locations" discusses the various locations that were used by the film to look like a galaxy far away while the second film from Wired has Alan Tudyk discuss his approach to his character of K-2SO. Thanks to Feris O. for the links.

On the slight info front, you may have noticed that some of the early trailers contained scenes that were not in the movie. You can thank the re-shoots for that which do appear more extensive then Disney wanted to let on as it seems major acts were re-written, especially the ending. Here is a breakdown of those missing scenes. Lastly if it seemed a few scenes from Rogue One matched A New Hope for more closely then seemed should have, it was because they likely were actually footage from the cutting room floor for that film that was remastered by ILM. What scenes were not mentioned but Rogue One director discusses the footage with Collider.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Rogue One In Theaters Now

The long wait ends as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out in theaters now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rogue One K-2SO Featurette

Here is a very brief behind the scenes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that focuses on Alan Tudyk as K-2S0 in the movie. He voices and performs the motion capture of the character.

Honest Trailer for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

Here is an Honest Trailer for Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back. Normally these vids make fun of the movies and some of their tropes but in this case the running joke is how to you make fun of perfection. They do manage to find a way.

Monday, December 12, 2016

New Rogue One IMAX TV Spot

Here is the latest Rogue One: A Star Wars Story TV Spot from IMAX. Keep in mind the movie was not filmed in IMAX but will be post-production converted. Generally Real IMAX is filled im 70mm scale vs 35mm for all the films you normally see so my best guess is this just means that scenes might be crisper and scaled for the giant screens but you still have the black bars along the top and the bottom.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Rogue One Official Chinese Trailer

Star Wars YouTube page has posted the Chinese trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It does include a few new scenes but otherwise not much different then seen before.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

New Rogue One TV Spot With 10 Days To Go

T-minus 10 days and counting to the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as this new TV spot reminds us.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Two New Rogue One TV Spots

Here are two more TV spots for Rogue One which is hitting theaters on December 16.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Losing the Opening Crawl and Info on Star Wars Future

In interviews to promote Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Lucasfilm President and Star Wars executive producer Kathleen Kennedy spoke about the franchise as a whole. The tidbits include dropping the opening crawl on Rogue One (and likely any non Episode/Saga films for the franchise), how tone will change for story films, and more. Quotes below.

Opening Crawl
“We felt that’s so indicative of what those saga films are. Initially, we probably will begin the film in a way that is traditional, with just the title.”
Female Director
“We want to make sure that when we bring a female director in to do ‘Star Wars,’ they’re set up for success. They’re gigantic films, and you can’t come into them with essentially no experience… We want to really start to focus in on people we would love to work with and see what kinds of things they’re doing to progress up that ladder now, and then pull them in when the time is right.”
Boba Fett Film
No direct quote but no update after director Josh Trank left (or fired). With the set back the Han Solo film was moved up and the third "Star Wars Story" film's focus officially remains unknown.
While “Rogue One” is described as a “World War II-style adventure film,” Kennedy says the Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Han Solo spin-off: “…moves closer to a heist or Western type feel. We’ve talked about [Frederic] Remington and those primary colors that are used in his paintings defining the look and feel of the film.”
After Episode IX
“There are [possible movies] that we have been talking a lot about. But we are planning to sit down in January, since we will have had The Force Awakens released, now Rogue One, and we’ve finished shooting Episode VIII. We have enough information where we can step back a little bit and say, What are we doing? What do we feel is exciting? And what are some of the things we want to explore? That’s a conversation going on right now, too.

I have to honestly tell you, could we [do nothing but stand-alones]? Sure. But I don’t know. We are looking at all of that. I think [the idea of new stories] is exciting for fans. It’s certainly exciting as a filmmaker, the notion that we can explore these stories that genuinely have a beginning, middle and an end, and don’t necessarily have to tie into something specific.”
I suspect if the every other year trilogy with stand-alones in between remains as lucrative in the long term as it currently seems it will be, Disney will insist they continue the pattern for as long as audiences show up. So the question is less "will they" and more "what story will they tell next." Personally I would just like to see the Jedi actually fight with complete mastery of the force. It has only been hinted at but mostly devolved to literal saber rattling but there has be more to their capabilities. The Extended Universe suggested it multiple times (once with the death of Anakin Solo) but the books were really the only time force abilities had been pushed beyond the narrow film scope of moving few things, moving themselves quickly, being good with lightsabers, and vaguely sensing others.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Game of Thrones Actress Joins Han Solo Movie

Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke (Khaleesi) has joined the cast of the Han Solo movie that is set for release in May 2018. StarWars.com didn't identify the role but said "Clarke’s role will round out a dynamic cast of characters that Han and Chewie will encounter on their adventures." The other cast roles for the film are Alden Ehrenreich (Han) and Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian). Probably safe to assume she is playing the lead female character and possible romantic interest for Han. The way the recent films have been blatantly copying the trilogy I suspect we will find her characteristics will be eerily similar to a certain princess.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Rogue One Featurette

Below is a new featurette for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that gives a behind the scenes peek at the movie.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rogue One International Trailer #2

Here is the second international trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Not a whole lot of new footage, probably the most significant is an additional second or two of Vader.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Donald Glover Cast as Young Lando

On the official Star Wars account it has been confirmed what fandom has been recommending for ages for the upcoming young Han Solo movie. They wrote "Hello, what have we here? Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian in the untitled 2018 Han Solo Star Wars Story." The actor, mostly known for Community, recently starred in the TV series Atlanta and played a scientist in The Martian.

The Han Solo film will be directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, Community) who spoke about the casting. “We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us. These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”

If not watching Atlanta, the next time you will see the actor is in Spider-Man: Homecoming in an unknown role.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

New Rogue One Character Posters

If you are interested, there are eight new character posters for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that will hit theaters on December 16 (in US) or December 15 (in UK). To the left is the poster for Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) but the rest of the posters for the Rogue One team can be found here.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Trailer 2

Here is the newest trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (long title, prefer Star Wars: Rogue One). The movie will hit theaters on December 16, 2016.  The new trailer indicates a definite shift in time to something much more hopeful as the lead character and her team just seems more hopeful and enthusiastic about the Death Star mission then the previous trailer. Not sure if that is a good thing or not but the takeaway is this has become that much closer to be an Ocean's 11 in space.

New Rogue One Poster, Trailer Coming Today

Here is a new poster for Star Wars: Rogue One. In addition Disney said the new trailer for the movie will drop sometime today.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One Scores A New Composer

In a sign that the Star Wars: Rogue One shoots were probably more dramatic then Disney has let known, the movie has replaced the movie's composer with Michael Giacchino. The composer was supposed to be Alexander Desplat who tends to score more dramatic films like The Imitation Game, Zero Dark Thirty, Suffragette and more. Basically his hiring suggested a tense, dark movie. Giacchino is the opposite of that who often light fun fair like many Pixar movies and adventure stories like the Star Trek films, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World and more. In short it indicates that the re-shoots were extensive enough that the film likely experienced and entire tonal shift in presentation that instead of being something different will be exactly like all other Star Wars films. Not really a negative but more of a sign that Disney is going to play it very safe with Star Wars and take no chances on any bumps in the billion dollar road.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Visual Effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Below is an interesting look at the visual effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, courtesy of ILM

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One International Trailer

Below is the new international trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One. While mostly the same as the just released Olympic one, it does have a difference by revealing how the Rebels learned that the Death Star existed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One TV Spot

Below is a new TV spot for Star Wars: Rogue One. With the Olympics starting Friday, I would not be surprised if a few more are released over the next two weeks.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Star Wars Episode VIII Wraps Production

On the Star Wars Facebook page, it was revealed that Star Wars Episode VIII has completed production and now moves into post-production. The video comment says "Final slate of the final shot. VIII is officially wrapped. Thanks to the best cast and crew in the galaxy, and thanks to the fans for all the love and support through the whole process. Cannot wait to put it together and share it with you all! " -Rian Johnson"

Few Star Wars Celebration 2016 Panels

If you are interested, below are videos from four Star Wars Celebration 2016 panels when it was held in London a week ago. The first is for Rogue One, second is for the Han Solo movie, next is about Episode VIII and the last is the Art of Storytelling.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Alden Ehrenreich Cast as Young Han Solo

At Star Wars Celebration in London, it was revealed that Alden Ehrenreich has been cast as Han Solo for the planned Han Solo film that will follow Episode 8. The current plan is to have Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie) write and direct the film. The actor was the first to audition for the role out of an eventual 3000 which later included screen tests on the Millennium Falcon with Chewie over the course of six months of continued screen testing.

Said Lord: “I relate to Han Solo: He doesn’t want to do anything he’s told, when you tell him not to do something he wants to do it more — he’s very sarcastic and at the end of the day he’s reasonably optimistic. That’s why we got so excited about making this movie: the dichotomy between this grouchy guy with the biggest heart in the galaxy.”

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Grand Admiral Thrawn Re-Introduced In Star Wars: Rebels Season 3 Trailer

Star Wars Celebration continues in London and with it comes a new trailer for Star Wars: Rebels season 3. It seems the time frame has skipped forward a bit and two characters will appear. One is Wedge Antilles. The other is Grand Admiral Thrawn who is a master tactician and a real threat to the rebels. From the Extended Universe, Thrawn was introduced in the 1991 novel Heir To The Empire that took place right after Return of the Jedi. Over the course of the three novels now called The Thrawn Trilogy, the character nearly destroyed the New Republic and re-energize the Empire. For all intents and purposes this trilogy created the Extended Universe for Star Wars and reintroduced the franchise to a new generation of fans.

When people (like me) complain about the loss of the EU and the refusal of Disney to allow new stories to be told in the "Legends" continuity (why? would love a real explanation), it is because of novels like the Thrawn trilogy. I remained a fan of Star Wars because of the EU and the 1990s to 2014ish novels. Not because of the movies. So while seeing Thrawn being re-introduced into canon is great, its also a constant reminder of Disney's bizarre policy of blocking off the EU and allowing no one to play in that sandbox again.

Below is the trailer and Bleeding Cool has the summary of the Rebels Panel.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Star Wars: Rogue One Behind the Scenes/Trailer, Poster and More

Yesterday Star Wars Celebration kicked off in London with Star Wars: Rogue One. As part of that there was a panel (few highlights below) with the cast and crew, a reveal of a new poster (right), and a kind of trailer/behind the scenes video of the movie. Below are links to gallery of images of exhibits, props, etc. at the convention.

Galleries: Trailer Stills | Exhibit | Rogue One Panel | Rogue One Props

- When George Lucas visits: "I was told on Friday and spent the whole weekend crapping myself," [Rogue One Director Gareth] Edwards said. "I challenge anyone to have a more surreal experience than showing a Star Wars film to George Lucas. He'd criticize things, but then we'd realize he was joking. But we'd all be having heart attacks."

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rogue One Characters Revealed, Vader Confirmed

As part of Entertainment Weekly's cover story for Star Wars: Rogue One, the website has posted pictures and short bios on the main characters of the movie. As the cover confirms, Darth Vader will be in the film but not as the main villain. I suspect his role will be small, mostly demanding updates, action, and eventually unleashing retribution on Empire commanders once its clear the Rebels get away with the Death Star plans before taking charge of the chase which will provide a nice bridge to the opening of A New Hope. B elow is my even shorter description of each with head shots of each in character here.

Characters (Actor):
Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) - described as becoming "a kind of Joan of Arc in the story."

Captain Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) - "a by-the-book Rebel intelligence officer, brought in to steady the volatile Erso..."

Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) - "Pronounced chi-RUT, he’s no Jedi, but he’s devoted to their ways and has used his spirituality to overcome his blindness and become a formidable warrior."

Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) - "Heavily armored ...he is devoted to protecting his friend Chirrut at all costs" but doesn't really believe in the Force.

Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) - "Rebel squad’s lead pilot. He tends to be hot-headed, but any abrasiveness is overshadowed by his skills in the air"

K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) - "the antithesis of C-3PO."

Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) - "Jyn’s estranged father is like the galactic version of nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer, with doomsday knowledge that is sought by both the Empire and the Rebellion."

Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) - ambitious smart Empire leader who wants to destroy the Rebellion

Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) - Same character as one from Star Wars: The Clone Wars season five as a young man who fought with Anakin Skywalker against the Separatists droids. Now 20+ years older, his experiences from the Clone Wars to fighting against the Empire has turned him into a radical that the Rebellion leadership doesn't really trust (and he doesn't trust them) that is willing to go to extreme measures to do what he thinks is right.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Announcement Trailer for 1983's Revenge of the Jedi

The Academy Film Archive (part of the group that does the Oscars) has posted this teaser trailer of sorts that apparently was shown in May 1982 before a double feature of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the UK. It is likely the first teaser for Return of the Jedi since it still used the Revenge of the Jedi title. No footage was shown so likely this was made even before principle photography had begun. Any case it makes for an interesting piece of Star Wars history.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Actor Cast to Play Young Han Solo

Disney has found their new Han Solo. Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar) has been cast to play the 20-something version of Han Solo in the "A Star Wars story" film that is set for reason after Episode VIII on May 25, 2018. Nothing is know about the film beyond it being directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie).

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Origin of May the 4th, Star Wars Day

May the Fourth...Force Be with you on this Star Wars day. It turns out that while the day has only been celebrated by Star Wars fans recently (mostly due to Disney seeing the promotional value of it), its origin goes all the way back to 1979 with Margaret Thatcher using the pun to celebrate her first day as Prime Minister on the same date. For more details on how Star Wars Day started and how Disney pushed it to become an unofficial yet official day, click over to The Verge.

May The 4th Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

In time for Star Wars day, here is the latest trailer for Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It reveals a few more details including new missions that are not in the movie like hunting raptars, rescuing Admiral Ackbar and more with the cast of the movie voicing their Lego counterparts.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Everything Wrong with Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Below might be either an annoying or amusing video for Star Wars: The Force Awakens fans. It kind of depends on deep your love of the film is as it breaks down all the major and minor problems with the film in an amusing fashion.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

JJ Abrams Hints on Who Rey's Parents Are Not

JJ Abrams has been talking here and there about Star Wars: The Force Awakens to promote the recent release of the movie on Blu-ray and DVD. As part of that he revealed a hint on who Rey's parents are not, reworking the key characters' relationship, and re-doing a familiar story.

On Rey's parents:
"Rey's parents are not in Episode VII. So I can't possibly say in this moment who they are. But I will say it is something that Rey thinks about, too. Obviously it’s not for me to talk about in this moment because this is [Episode VIII director] Rian [Johnson]’s story to continue now. The last thing I’m going to do is reveal something that he would be upset about. I want to make sure that Rian gets the courtesy that he showed me."

Finn/Rey relationship reworked due to Ford's leg injury:
"It didn't work at all. They were much more contentious. I didn't direct it right. It was set up all wrong. [I] was able to look at everything we'd done and rethink it and rewrite quite a bit of that relationship. So when we came back to work we actually just reshot, from the ground up, those scenes, and it was an amazingly powerful thing to get these two characters to where they needed to be."

Copying A New Hope:
“The weird thing about that movie is that it had been so long since the last one. Obviously the prequels had existed in between and we wanted to, sort of, reclaim the story. So we very consciously—and I know it is derided for this—we very consciously tried to borrow familiar beats, so the rest of the movie could hang on something that we knew was Star Wars. This movie was a bridge and a kind of reminder. The audience needed to be reminded what Star Wars is, but it needed to be established with something familiar, with a sense of where we are going to new lands, which is very much what 8 and 9 do.”

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Teaser Trailer

Here is the official teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It is set before A New Hope and is supposed to tell the story on exactly how the Rebellion was able to get hold of the Death Star plans that eventually leads to a certain man in black to chase down a princess above a desert planet.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Star Wars: A Familiar Hope Honest Trailer

The Screen Junkies guys have released their latest Honest Trailer with the target being Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mark Hamill Glares For Force For Change

In a new video that somewhat mocks Mark Hamill's role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he glares his way through a new charity campaign via Force For Change, this time through CrowdRise. The volume of potential prizes is much less but the grand prize is a trip to Ireland. See the video below for details, click here to donate.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

More Special Feature Teasers for The Force Awakens

As of yesterday Star Wars: The Force Awakens became available for digital download (for $20). Alternatively you can wait until Tuesday, pay the same $20 and get a physical copy of the movie and a digital code. The movie is available for pre-order now. In the meantime below are a few commercials promoting the special features of the movie. If in a mood for spoilers (of sorts), click here for a summary of some of the new info about the movie from the special features.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Gameplay Trailer

Set for release on June 28 is Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game that adds that Lego fun to the movie including "extra" scenes and of course more humor. The play style is unlikely to change from previous Lego games so if a fan it will likely be a nice addition to your collection. Odd that it took this long to come out but my best guess is the game developers didn't get to start working on the game until well into the post-production process due to the veil of secrecy that director JJ Abrams was keeping on the film.

The Force Awakens Deleted Scenes Teaser

With the home video release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens just over a week away (April 5), here is another teaser trailer, this time focused on deleted scenes. You can pre-order the movie now via Amazon.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Force Awakens Home Video Special Feature Teaser

Below is a new teaser for one of the special features for the April 5 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on home video. You can pre-order the movie now from Amazon.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Home Video Details

Disney has revealed the release date and special features for the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on home video. As has become the norm, a digital only version gets an early release on April 1st while the physical copy will be released on April 5. The digital version release isn't the normal two weeks but usually it costs the same as the physical which also includes a digital copy so I recommend waiting for more bang for you buck. The release will also have 8 behind the scenes featurettes and deleted scenes. Retailers will also be given their own exclusives that will range from additional bonus material to different covers and steelbooks. While temping to pre-order, I would wait until get closer to release as prices will probably become more competitive and all the store exclusives will be easier to compare. After the commercial is the press release about the special features.

Friday, February 19, 2016

JJ Abrams Kicks Off Star Wars Fan Film Awards 2016 Entry Phase

JJ Abrams kicks off the Star Wars Fan Films Awards 2016 in the below message. Star Wars fans have until April 24, 2016 to submit entries in various categories. More details can be found at StarWarsFanFilmAwards.com including access to "a sound asset pack of official Star Wars sounds to use in your film."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Disney Verifies Star Wars VIII Production Start, New Cast Members

In a short video (below), Disney verifies that Star Wars 8 is in production now. Ironically they do it by using behind the scenes footage shot while filming the final moment of The Force Awakens. Rian Johnson is directing with the main cast of Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis all returning.

In addition three new cast members were announced - Laura Dern, Kelly Marie Tran, and Benicio del Toro. Laura Dern should be familiar to Jurassic Park fans, and Benicio from The Collector in Guardians of the Galaxy. This will be Kelly Marie Tran's first movie and looking at her career list and pics it seems her main role on YouTube and TV guest appearances was to be adorkable. Not a negative, just observing a pattern that could be either very informative of her character or completely useless information. Per usual, no clues on what their characters are, how much screen time, or other details. Rumors are the del Toro's character will be the films big bad but that remains unconfirmed.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Star Wars 8 Filming Has Begun

According to Entertainment Weekly, the Star Wars 8 has begun filming. The info comes from Disney CEO Bob Iger during a Disney quarterly earnings call where he revealed Star Wars: The Force Awakens "earned more than $3 billion globally in consumer products" on top of the $2 billion in box office returns. Considering all of Lucasfilm was sold for "only" $4 billion, by the time Awakens adds home video sales and TV rights to the mix, Disney basically recouped its purchase cost on the first film alone.

“There is no better way to propel this franchise into the future than producing quality products,” [Iger] said. “Filming of Star Wars: Episode VIII, the next chapter of the legendary saga, has just commenced and it will be in theaters December 2017. And production of Episode IX, a 2019 release, has also begun. ...Filming of Rogue One is virtually completed and we absolutely love what we’ve seen so far."

In regards to Episode IX, he probably means pre-production as in script writing, working on set designs, costumes, casting, CGI models and so forth that will probably take a minimum of six months to complete. Production (as in principle photography) will likely not start on that film until late 2017 to early 2018.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

100+ Vintage Star Wars Toy Commercials Online

If you want to continue to tap your nostalgia button after Star Wars: The Force Awakens (or just want to see how old toy commercials were done) head over to the YouTube Channel 12BACK. There are over 100 old Star Wars toy commercials from the 70s and 80s to enjoy. Sadly I actually owned a decent size Star Wars collection (a mix from all three films) but idiotically gave them all away many years ago (in favor of keeping my Transformers, but had option to keep both). Only consolation is had none of the packaging so the value isn't that high but still annoying. (via StarWars.com)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Crosses $2 Billion Box Office

As Star Wars: The Force Awakens theatrical run around the world winds down, it managed to land two more major records at the box office over the last weeks. The top movie of all time in the US has now become the first to cross the $900 million point in the US. Considering the previous record holder, Avatar was at $750M, it looks like a record that will hold for a while (or at least until the Episode 8). The film also crossed $2 billion in worldwide box office totals. That keeps it at the #3 slot behind Titanic ($2.12B) and Avatar ($2.77B). As of today its total stands at $2.00B, only about $200M behind Avatar. It only took in around $6M this last weekend so the #2 slot remains out of release. At least until Disney decides to re-release the film at some point in the future and then those totals will likely bump it past Titanic. As of now the rumored release date for the home movie release of the movie is sometime in April.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Video Game Announced

Disney has officially announced the release of Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens with a teaser (below) that mimics the movie's teaser but inserted Lego humor into it. The game will be released on PC, X-Box One, XBox 360, PS Vita, PS4, PS3, WiiU, and 3DS on June 28 2016. The game is available to pre-order now.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Behind the Scenes at Creating Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens

Below is a short video that provides a behind the scenes peek at the visual effects of Star Wars: The Force Awakens with an emphasis on the creation of Maz Kanata using Lupita Nyong'o's motion capture performance. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Star Wars Episode VIII Bumped to Christmas 2017

The original plan for the new Star Wars trilogy was to release the movies every other summer but that idea was forced to be adjusted when it was clear that Star Wars: The Force Awakens wouldn't be able to meet the deadline of essentially completing a CGI heavy film in just 18 months. Now it appears what was a decision forced by circumstance has become the norm for upcoming Star Wars films as Star Wars Episode VIII was bumped 7 months to December 15, 2017 instead of May 26, 2017. Star Wars Rogue One is the next film set for release on December 16, 2016. The decision was driven by the near $2 billion box office take The Force Awakens has enjoyed and likely would not have reaped in the highly competitive summer movie season.

Personally I have long been confused on why the studios don't stake out the December corridor more often. Its no accident that the three top movies of all time were released during the holidays. The competition is much lighter (unless Oscar bait type films) as there are traditionally few tent pole level movies released then. If think about this last month, if you were in the mood for an action film, or a science fiction film, or just a fun film (that wasn't Oscar bait), your option was Star Wars or nothing. And this has been typical for years now. Assuming Disney plans on staking out mid-December for the next five years for each of their Star Wars films it will be interesting to see if the other studios respond by possibly moving what would have been summer films into the holiday time frame to try to soak up some of the Star Wars bucks.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Force Awakens Passes $1 Billion Box Office

The box office news remains solid for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While the film is no longer number one in the US it still is making the kind of numbers in its 5th week of release that most movies consider a great opening with a total of $32M for the US holiday bring its US total to $858.5M. Internationally the film made $47.3M bringing its total past $1 billion for a worldwide total of $1.86 billion. On the all time list this places past Jurassic World's $1.669B total to the number three slot just behind Titanic's $2.18B and Avatar's $2.78B totals.

As for passing Avatar, that simply isn't going to happen and now it looks like it will not pass Titanic's total either. This is due to the movie not being the success Disney had hoped for in China. While the film's first weekend was an excellent $53 million, bad reviews in the country caused a whopping 72% nosedive for a $14.8M take this past weekend. Disney needed the film to make close to $500M in the country to pass Titanic, now it looks like it will barely make $125M there. If such a nosedive occurred in the States the film would be considered a complete failure, studio stock would suffer and probably a few careers would end. Fortunately China isn't that important to Hollywood's fortunes (yet) but it did put the kibosh on any new box office records. My best guess is the nostalgia factor that was a selling point in the United States and elsewhere actually went against the film in China. The Force Awakens in a substantial number of ways is essentially a remake of A New Hope. Here that generated high praise, in China that nostalgia vein simply doesn't exist. Chances are Disney will continue to spend substantial amount of money in the country to improve Star Wars familiarity in the country so the Episode VIII doesn't suffer the same fate.

As of now, it looks like the film might just go over $2 billion but its going to be close (~$900M US, ~$1.1B international) by the time it exists most theaters by mid-February. Definitely something to brag about over at Lucasfilm and something to build on for the next five or so years of Star Wars films that are in the pipeline.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Trailer Reveals Cloverfield Sequel (of sorts)

Before this blog focused its attention on Star Wars, it started with the movie Cloverfield. In screening of Michael Bay's 13 Hours revealed that JJ Abrams secretly produced a sort of sequel to the movie called "10 Cloverfield Lane". The movie was filmed around two years ago by director Dan Trachtenberg with stars John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and John Gallagher Jr. Judging by the trailer, the movie occurs concurrent to and just after the Cloverfield. In a statement to Collider, JJ Abrams said "The idea came up a long time ago during production. We wanted to make it a blood relative of Cloverfield. The idea was developed over time. We wanted to hold back the title for as long as possible." Winstead offered a brief description of the film where her character wakes up in a bunker with a stranger (Goodman) saying "He tells me that basically the world is over outside because there’s been a nuclear fall-out. It does have similarity to Faults, in some ways, because you don’t know who’s telling the truth or who to believe. There’s a lot of, who’s manipulating who, and all of that. Tonally, it’s very different, but it has some of those same themes." Update: Added poster for movie.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Receives 5 Nominations

Today the Oscar nominations were announced and Star Wars: The Force Awakens scooped up 5 nominations including John Williams getting nominated once again for a Star Wars score. The full list of nominations can be found here. The winners will be announced on February 28.

Film Editing
The Big Short, Hank Corwin
Mad Max: Fury Road, Margaret Sixel
The Revenant, Stephen Mirrione
Spotlight, Tom McArdle
Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Maryann Brandon and Mary Jo Markey

Original Score
“Bridge of Spies” Thomas Newman
“Carol” Carter Burwell
“The Hateful Eight” Ennio Morricone
“Sicario” Jóhann Jóhannsson
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” John Williams

Sound Editing
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Mark Mangini and David White
“The Martian” Oliver Tarney
“The Revenant” Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender
“Sicario” Alan Robert Murray
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Matthew Wood and David Acord

Sound Mixing
“Bridge of Spies” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo
“The Martian” Paul Massey, Mark Taylor and Mac Ruth
“The Revenant” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño, Randy Thom and Chris Duesterdiek
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects
“Ex Machina” Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett
“Mad Max: Fury Road” Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams
“The Martian” Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner
“The Revenant” Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith and Cameron Waldbauer
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Colin Trevorrow Hints At Episode 9

In a new interview with Entertainment Tonight, Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow spoke a little bit about some of his plans for the film which isn't due until summer 2019 (and likely will not have a script until around 2017). Suffice it to say its so early in the process that its great he is thinking about it but whatever he is saying is pretty much meaningless. For example one quote "spoils" that Luke and Leia survive Episode VIII but that film is still in the scripting stages so...
On wrapping up the trilogy
A lot of scribbling and a lot of notes thinking about the story that I want to tell"

Is she actually Rey Skywalker, daughter of Luke (Mark Hamill)? Or could she be Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter?
We're going to make sure that that answer is deeply and profoundly satisfying. Rey is a character that is important in this universe, not just in the context of The Force Awakens, but in the entire galaxy. She deserves it. We'll make sure that that answer is something that feels like it was something that happened a long time ago, far away, and we're just telling you what happened.

Creating new characters
What's interesting is I'm not creating a host of new characters. I have a lot of characters that people really love that we're going to make sure are all honored. No one's going to be left behind.

Leia and Luke in Episode IX
[wants] to find new places that we can take those characters. They are icons, but they're also people that have suffered tremendous loss and challenge over the course of all these films. [Episode IX] is something that needs to honor a story that's been told over a period of 40 years. I don't want to ignore any of it, and I respect all of it. It's something I think the fan base is going to embrace.

Friday, January 8, 2016

JJ Abrams Confirms Copying A New Hope for Force Awakens Intentional

In an interview for The Hollywood Reporter Chatter podcast, director and writer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens JJ Abrams confirmed that he wanted "history repeating itself."
“Ultimately the structure of Star Wars itself is as classic and tried and true as you can get. It was itself derivative of all of these things that George loved so much, from the most obvious, Flash Gordon and Joseph Campbell, to the [Akira] Kurosawa references, to Westerns — I mean, all of these elements were part of what made Star Wars.”

“I can understand that someone might say, ‘Oh, it’s a complete rip-off!’” he said. “We inherited Star Wars. The story of history repeating itself was, I believe, an obvious and intentional thing, and the structure of meeting a character who comes from a nowhere desert and discovers that she has a power within her, where the bad guys have a weapon that is destructive but that ends up being destroyed — those simple tenets are by far the least important aspects of this movie, and they provide bones that were well-proven long before they were used in Star Wars.”

“What was important for me was introducing brand new characters using relationships that were embracing the history that we know to tell a story that is new — to go backwards to go forwards. So I understand that this movie, I would argue much more than the ones that follow, needed to take a couple of steps backwards into very familiar terrain, and using a structure of nobodies becoming somebodies defeating the baddies — which is, again, I would argue, not a brand new concept, admittedly — but use that to do, I think, a far more important thing, which is introduce this young woman, who’s a character we’ve not seen before and who has a story we have not seen before, meeting the first Storm Trooper we’ve ever seen who we get to know as a human being; to see the two of them have an adventure in a way that no one has had yet, with Han Solo; to see those characters go to find someone who is a brand new character who, yes, may be diminutive, but is as far from Yoda as I think a description of a character can get, who gets to enlighten almost the way a wonderful older teacher or grandparent or great-aunt might, you know, something that is confirming a kind of belief system that is rejected by the main character; and to tell a story of being a parent and being a child and the struggles that that entails — clearly Star Wars has always been a familial story, but never in the way that we’ve told here.”

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Force Awakens Passes Avatar in US

After 20 days of release, Star Wars: The Force Awakens passed Avatar to sit at the top of the US box office roost. In its US run Avatar made $750 million while Force Awakens is at $760.5M as of Wednesday with at least a month of strong days to go. My guestimate is the film will top at $900 million in the states. As for the film's chances of passing Avatar in the world wide all time list at this point the outlook is unlikely.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Climbs to #4 On All Time Worldwide List

Star Wars: The Force Awakens continues to climb the box office worldwide chart having landed in the 4th spot after just a touch over two weeks of release with a worldwide total of $1.5B ($750.2M from US; $786.1M international). In the US it the film will sit at the top of the heap by the end of the week as its only $10.5M from passing Avatar's $760.5M US total. The continued climb was assisted by a strong third weekend of release with an $90.2M weekend in the US. The relatively small 39.5% drop (60% and up bad, around 50% average, 40% or less is good) indicates the film might cross the $900 million mark in the US.

The continued strong US showing is no longer being matched internationally as the film only took in around $14.5M for a significant 63% drop. While the US sales will easily allow the film to pass Jurassic World's $1.7B worldwide total, it will not be enough to push it over the top to pass Titanic ($2.2B) and Avatar ($2.8B). The only chance of that occurring is if China embraces the film when it is released this weekend in the country. Star Wars and China get along ok but it historically has not had significant support there but then again the last time that was tested was over 10 years ago with the prequels and the volume of Chinese moviegoers for American films was significantly smaller.

By my rough guess, the movie would have to break the Chinese single weekend box office record (currently Furious 7 at $182.4) to boost the film enough to pass Titanic. Most American releases in China only are allowed a few weeks of release which is why despite the strong first weekend, the total gross for Furious 7 was $390.9M. Assuming the laws there have not changed that indicates a record weekend for the movie (~200M+) with the limited release window would put the film at ~$500M from China. Assuming that best case scenario here is my guesstimate on where The Force Awakens might land on worldwide gross: ~$500M China + ~$900M US + ~$850 rest of world = ~$2.25B worldwide total which is enough to pass Titanic but not Avatar. Oddly my guess seems to match what the paid professionals say.