Thursday, December 14, 2017

Catch-Up on the Star Wars Universe Before The Last Jedi

Tonight Star Wars: The Last Jedi will premiere in theaters around the world. In case you need a refresher course on how the Star Wars Universe stands before heading into the theater, below is two-part video that catches you up along with some speculation on what the new movie may have in store. These were made and posted before the world premiere last Saturday so no spoilers to worry about unless have not seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens or any of The Last Jedi trailers and TV spots. The video is focused on "recent" events of Star Wars but if want a breakdown of how it all comes together from the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi to now using current canon sources of movies, comics, TV show, and video games then has you covered with their Star Wars Timeline.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reviews for Star Wars: The Last Jedi Are In

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is just days away from its worldwide release and in the states the reviews are in. In short - they are overwhelmingly positive. They also are specific to point out this mean does not rehash The Empire Strikes Back but paves its own way with a dense story line that is entertaining and moves the Star Wars universe forward. Below are a few highlights and can find more reviews over at Metacritic.

Although, like The Force Awakens, it takes more than a few beats from the Original Trilogy, [Director Rian] Johnson feels eager to subvert our expectations, challenge the archetypes the series was founded on, and take bold steps to establishing a new concept of what a Star Wars movie can be while still feeling very much in line with previous films in the franchise. Although the movie suffers from a few pacing issues, they ultimately don’t detract from the film’s stunning craft and confident storytelling.
[Director Rian Johnson] instantly creates a tense, engaging tone for the film, because from moment to moment, you truly don’t know what’s going to happen next. Any time things seem to be going one direction, they don’t just zig or zag, they blast off into another dimension entirely. And it happens again and again. ...there are parts of the film that are incredibly weird and almost surreal—moments that seem more fit for an avant-garde movie. But they work too, because the very nature of Star Wars is that anything is possible. From scene to scene Johnson is basically saying, “Look, if we can have talking slugs, laser swords, and lightspeed, why can’t I do this?” And then he does it."

The Verge

It’s surprising how neatly and succinctly Last Jedi wraps up the open-ended stories — there are still plenty of details left to address about the new characters’ pasts, but the film answers the trilogy’s biggest questions to date with a directness that feels blunt and pointed: “You need to move on, and you can’t until you have your answers. So here are those answers.” If Last Jedi is fundamentally meant as a rebirth for the Star Wars series, the way Johnson addresses fan questions is the sharp smack on the ass that’s meant to prompt a baby’s first wailing breath. ...It isn’t just a single-story movie, it’s a kind of wide-ranging, almost soap-operatic check-in on an immense cast of characters up to their own adventures. Johnson doesn’t fully justify all the side adventures, but he does weave them into the larger loss narrative, and into an ongoing attempt for the Resistance to live up to its name, while the evil First Order attempts to wipe it out completely.
In addition to brilliant action sequences and state-of-the-art CGI effects, there is strong character development as this chapter continues to pave the way for a new generation of stars to take on the mantle and lift it further into galaxies far far away. This one has it all and then some, and on top of everything else offers a poignant final goodbye to Carrie Fisher, who goes out with a strong presence as the Leia we know and love.
Bleeding Cool
This is a character piece, and the moments of building are subtle and lovely to watch. We see our main heroes each go through new trials and tribulations that help shape the people they will become in future movies — in both good ways and bad. Director/writer Rian Johnson doesn’t just take risks; he does things with this movie that could easily be considered “unsafe” for brand management, and no one at Lucasfilm seems to take issue with it. There is a reason they gave this man his own corner of the Star Wars universe.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The New Worlds of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is just days away from hitting theaters. Here are two new short videos to promote the movie. The first is a behind the scenes look at some of the new worlds the movie will introduce while the other is very short TV spot.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi World Premiere Videos

Saturday night was the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fortunately below are videos of the red carpet event in Hollywood, CA. The first video is a very short summary while the vid that follows is the entire hour or so event with cast interviews and the like. The movie hits theaters this Thursday night.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Two TV Spots, Training BTS for The Last Jedi

Below is two new TV spots and a brief training behind the scenes video from Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cast on Jimmy Kimmel

Last week the cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to promote the movie. Pretty much no plot or spoiler information was revealed. That is unless count the first word of the movie ("We're") and if you are now pissed then you have taken the definition of "spoiler" to bat-sh$^ crazy levels and I have no sympathy. Below are the links to the various segments from the show.

Kimmel Pitches Star Wars Ideas
Cast Talks About Their Characters
Shooting Final Scene for The Force Awakens
Unnecessary Censorship - Star Wars Edition
Mark Hamill Uses The Force
Cast on Being Part of Star Wars
RIP Failed Droids
Cast Thoughts on Porgs
First Word of the Movie
Kimmel Catches Up with BB-8

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Two New The Last Jedi TV Spots, Tracking for $200M Weekend

Below are two new TV spots for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Very little new is shown. As for the movie itself, Disney is probably very pleased with tracking indicating that the movie will have a $200+ million opening weekend in the United States. No idea how this is determined but the number could even be a low ball considering The Force Awakens opened to $248 million while Rogue One opened at $155M. Only other members of the $200M club is Jurassic World ($208.8M) and The Avengers ($207.4M). If it succeeds to do so (and little reason to think it wouldn't) then the film would easily cross the $1 billion worldwide box office threshold which is still a pretty rare achievement despite a hefty boost from China's rapidly growing box office. The film hits theaters on December 15.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Runtime is 2.5 Hours

During a press trip to France, Rian Johnson revealed that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will have a runtime of 2.5 hours, including credits. This will make it the longest Star Wars to date but only by a few minutes. Below are all the runtimes for the curious.

- Star Wars: The Phantom Menace – 2 hours, 16 minutes
- Star Wars: Attack of the Clones – 2 hours, 22 minutes
- Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith – 2 hours, 20 minutes
- Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – 2 hours, 13 minutes
- Star Wars: A New Hope – 2 hours, 1 minute
- Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back – 2 hours, 4 minutes
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – 2 hours, 11 minutes
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens – 2 hours, 16 minutes
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi - 2 hours, 30 minutes

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Four Star Wars: The Last Jedi TV Spots

Here are four new TV spots for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There are a few new scenes but most are the same as the previous trailers. The movie hits theaters on December 15.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Lego Hoth Echo Base Diorama

In a diorama called "Winter Is Hoth", three Star Wars fans used 200,000 plus Lego to re-create the Hoth Echo Base as seen in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. The result include the Millennium Falcon, AT-ATs, subterranean area, and a whole lot more. To see the full set of images header over the Flickr page or Brothers-Brick.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Rian Johnson Set to Create New Star Wars Trilogy

In a new announcement from Disney, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has been effectively anointed the new "George Lucas" of the Star Wars universe. From
Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce.

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.
Since this is about as wide open a door as any creator can get in an already established universe, the result will be anyone's guess. However it is a safe bet to assume that Episode IX which is currently scheduled for December 2019 will most likely conclude the current Star Wars saga's focus on the Skywalker family.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Luke Boards the Falcon in The Last Jedi TV Spot

A new TV spot for Star Wars: The Last Jedi aired during game 7 of the World Series (Astros won) which shows a few new additional scenes including Luke on the Millennium Falcon bridge. Info wise it remains very low but as trailers goes does a good job to make you want to see more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Han Solo Movie Wraps with Official Title

The Young Han Solo movie officially completed principle photography on Tuesday. To celebrate the occasion, Lucasfilm finally revealed the official title of the film as "Solo: A Star Wars Story". This should sound vaguely familiar considering the previous entry was "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" but shortened by every one to Rogue One. The movie now movies into post-production with plenty of time to achieve their May 25, 2018 release date.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

New Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer, Poster

Monday Night Football in America brought the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi along with the poster. Probably the moment everyone will be talking about is the end but I personally think that is two completely unrelated scenes being mashed together. At least I hope as I joke that Last Jedi would be Empire Strikes Back remade but didn't actually want that to be the case. A breakdown, via screenshots, of the trailer can be found here.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Completes Post-Production

In an Instagram post, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson revealed that Friday the movie was finished and now ready for its December 15 release. He wrote, "Aaaand that’s a wrap on the hardest working post production team in the galaxy. Going to miss sitting in dark rooms with these goobers."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

JJ Abrams To Direct Episode IX as Movie Moves to December

Disney and Lucasfilm has officially announced the replacement for Colin Trevorrow on Star Wars: Episode IX. The Force Awakens director and co-writer JJ Abrams will once again perform his dual role work for the the ninth movie with co-writer Chris Terrio. The studio said "J.J. Abrams, who launched a new era of Star Wars with The Force Awakens in 2015, is returning to complete the sequel trilogy as writer and director of Star Wars: Episode IX. Abrams will co-write the film with Chris Terrio. Star Wars: Episode IX will be produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Michelle Rejwan, Abrams, Bad Robot, and Lucasfilm. 'With The Force Awakens, J.J. delivered everything we could have possibly hoped for, and I am so excited that he is coming back to close out this trilogy,' said Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy."

In addition, the movie is moving from its planned May 24, 2019 release to December 20, 2019. The change isn't really a surprise since Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, Rogue One, and Han Solo are all December releases. Might as well stick to the pattern and own the Holiday movie season year after year rather then getting mixed up with all the summer tent pole movies.

This should eliminate any director strife as JJ Abrams set the template that Kathleen Kennedy has really been following even if has not quite recognized it. Her stated goal was to seek out new voices that would add to the franchise but really she wanted safe voices and you can't get safer then JJ Abrams. I can't say I am excited by the choice as making The Force Awakens a rehash of A New Hope didn't do anything to grant confidence and his long history of TV shows and movies have indicated an strong ability to setup interesting mysteries but poor ability at follow through and concluding those mysteries in a satisfying way as I suspect he forgets that to figure out the solution while coming up with the problem/mystery. I guess we will see in two years.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Star Wars IX Seeking New Director

The Star Wars franchise director problems continue as director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) has left Star Wars: Episode IX. "Lucasfilm and Colin Trevorrow have mutually chosen to part ways on Star Wars: Episode IX. Colin has been a wonderful collaborator throughout the development process, but we have all come to the conclusion that our visions for the project differ. We wish Colin the best and will be sharing more information about the film soon," read a Lucasfilm statement.

The movie is currently in the scripting, pre-production design phase so best guess is just too many arguments between Lucasfilm and Trevorrow on the tone, story, and look and feel of the movie. Trevorrow showed he can play in others playground and build on what came before with Jurassic World so can't help but wonder exactly what happened to indicate that wasn't possible here. One theory is that Lucasfilm lost confidence in him after the commercial failure of The Book of Henry (which suffered from a horrible script and lazy ending) but that strikes me as unlikely as that film was never high on anyone's radar to begin with. Apparently some of the problems could be with the script as Jack Thorne (Wonder) was hired last month to give the Episode IX another pass.

This is the fourth director to be replaced in that last two years with JJ Abrams and soon Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) to emerge unscathed from Lucasfilm desire to get director's with new takes while not really wanting them to bring any new takes to the table. Gareth Edwards was effectively replaced on Rogue One by Tony Gilroy. Josh Trank was fired from a potential Boba Fett film that has now been indefinitely tabled for rumors of being extremely indecisive (an absolute no-no for any director since their day is nothing but decision making) on the Fantastic Four movie which eventually bombed spectacularly. The final two was Phil Lord and Chris Miller being replaced by Ron Howard on the Han Solo film near the end of principle photography due to conflicts with Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi) along with entirely to much improv for what is not supposed to be a pure comedy film. Basically there is not true pattern to the firings except it seems that maybe Lucasfilm is following one hit wonder directors a little to much instead of waiting until they have a few hits under their belt. Ultimately they really want directors that are use to merging their vision (or compromising depending on point of view) with the studio's vision and that is something that comes with experience.

A rumor has already emerged that Rian Johnson is being considered as the replacement director which is possible but I imagine Lucasfilm would want to see how The Last Jedi does first. Regardless without a script the director position can wait a little while. ILM can work on pre-production designs without a director but it will mean redoing things once one is picked as the first thing a new boss always wants to do is add their stamp to things whether it needs it or not so any designs they come up with, no matter how good, will get notes on things to change by the new director. From a fan perspective it doesn't mean a thing as this occurred early enough in the film-making process to have no impact on the release date for Episode IX and likely no real impact on the already planned conclusion to the current trilogy.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Lucasfilm Looking To Make Obi-Wan Movie

With talk of the Star Wars Boba Fett movie, the question has become who else might Lucasfilm do the next non-Episode movie after Han Solo. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it appears they have turned their money making machine to Obi-Wan Kenobi with Oscar nominated director Stephen Daldry (Billy Elliot, The Hours) in talks to direct the film. There is no script, no indication of era it would be set in and as a result it means its too early to assume Ewan McGregor will be offered a chance to reprise the role. Considering the last two movies are more or less set as prequels to A New Hope, I would not be the least bit surprised if we get old man Kenobi on Tatooine as he secretly keeps teenager Luke safe from afar. That would allow them to cast a new older actor in the role. Considering this director's entire filmography is nothing but high drama and zero action, an older quietly working Ben using Force moves not lightsabers while trying to survive on a desert planet would fit right in his scope of experience. However this is still very early stages, as we have learned with all the problems Lucasfilm has experienced with directors, until principle photography begins there is no guarantee of a film and even then the director it starts with may not be the director it ends with.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Two Short Vids from the Star Wars: Han Solo Set

If one thing bringing Ron Howard to the set of Han Solo has shown - its how an experienced master "should" be teasing an upcoming film. JJ Abrams and others have taken the over kill approach of putting a cone of silence on everything. Characters names, vague descriptions, costumes, and other plot irrelevant details are treated as if they are state secrets that will blow the entire movie wide open if revealed (only to learn later that holding back those details was just silly.) Ron Howard instead of merrily tweets short videos and the occasional picture from the set. None reveal a thing about the movie and still maintain the cone of silence but at least gives fans the illusion they are part of things. Its the cake and eat it too solution that for some reasons others are incapable of. Today the director tweeted two short videos (see below) that shows a green screen junk yard like set, lets us know it involves a crane while another shows an old speeder decaying on a icy ground. What useful thing did we learn? Not a thing but we feel like we did. That is marketing mastery at its finest.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi EW Cover, Links

This weeks Entertainment Weekly covers Star Wars: The Last Jedi that includes new images from the movie. While the actors do talk about the film, they do dance around providing anything specific about the story. If your interested you can find the four stories here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Images | Summary of articles

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Behind the Scenes of The Last Jedi Video

Below is a new video that shows a bit of a the behind the scenes filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It doesn't show much of anything to give way the story so spoiler warning doesn't seem necessary. Also if interested click here for six new red posters. They just show the characters from chin down to near knees wearing red. Artistic but informationally useless.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

More Details on Firing of Han Solo Directors

Through various "insiders", The Hollywood Reporter is providing more details on what went wrong that caused Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to fire Han Solo directors' Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) and replace them with Ron Howard (The DaVinci Films, A Beautiful Mind, etc.) along with a healthy push from screen writer Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens, Raiders of the Lost Ark..aka the writer that helped build Lucasfilm). The result doesn't make anyone look good except Kasdan who ultimately was doing what all writers try to do and that is protect their script. He just happens to have the real heft to back it up given his legendary career.

- Signs that the big budget, high studio pressure and oversight, created friction along with them relying "too heavily on the improvisational style that served them so well in live-action comedy and animation but does not work on a set with hundreds of crew members waiting for direction." (In short not decisive early enough and fast enough so can make whatever changes are needed be it to the set, costumes, makeup, etc. Something can sketch out in a computer in a few hours can take days for live-action).

- A "deep fundamental philosophical differences" in directing styles between how Lord and Miller did it versus what Kennedy and Kasdan were expecting. (Basically comedy directors being asked to do serious/sarcastic)

- The lack of camera setups, changing camera placements while shooting takes of a scene, resulting in "few angles that had been shot did not provide a wealth of options to use in editing a movie." (In general adds cost but reduces need for re-shoots that can also be costly.)

- Expectation from Kasdan to read lines as scripted, no improvisation. The "solution" was a few takes with the lines read as written before shifting to improvisational takes and providing more setups for those takes to insure their use.

- Despite lack of setups, frequently starting late and taking a long time to shoot the few setups they did get each day. (Usually reducing setups is supposed to speed up filming and reduce costs. It is how TV does it on a daily basis so for it to take even longer is a red flag.)

- Meanwhile, Lord and Miller felt they "were never given enough days for each scene from the very beginning" with "extreme scheduling constraints." (Of note is filming started in February to originally go through July so that makes zero sense. Most films take three to four months, not six.)

- An attempt was made to bring an outside director to "support" Lord and Miller but they rejected that. (Not surprising considering how Tony Gilroy "supported" Gareth Edwards out of the directing and post-production editing chair on Rogue One.)

- Lucasfilm had to bring in an acting coach for Han Solo lead Alden Ehrenreich which in itself isn't rare but usually addressed in pre-production and not late into production. (This doesn't necessarily mean Alden can't act, just may mean he isn't good at the improvisational comedy the director's wanted.)

Basically my read is Kathleen Kennedy made an error in hiring Lord and Miller. She thought she was hiring outside the box directors that could adapt to the serious but sarcastic take of Han Solo while Lord and Miller thought they were hired to bring they same improvisational comedy as seen in their previous movies. Usually once it becomes clear that those holding the budget strings doesn't necessary like that approach, directors will modify accordingly (the boss changing approach is a non-starter as anyone with a boss will tell you). That didn't happen here and instead they dug in probably thinking getting fired was an impossibility. Which is a shame as I think they missed a chance to move away from being "just" comedy directors and proving they could handle pretty much any film of any size and any tone. Now they are permanently pigeon-holed as "comedy directors" as studio executives will not want to risk another "Star Wars debacle" that Lucasfilm can afford but not all movies can.

An example is The Flash is rumored to be next on their list. However, they already fumbled the ball once and The Flash is likely close to tone to Han Solo with a serious approach but comedic moments. Even if they wanted to make an improvisational Flash film (and like Alden Ehrenreich, nothing in Ezra Miller's background suggests he as the skill set for that), the special effects requirements would make that very difficult to execute. If I was Warner Bros. I would dig into the details of what went wrong on the Han Solo movie, compare it to the current script of The Flash and verify the parallels in likely director execution are not going to create a repeat of the problem before I re-offer the job to them.

I have to give Lord and Miller credit, they seem to be handling this as well as can be expected, with people saying that have been "very supportive, very elegant" to the new director Ron Howard. As for the Han Solo movie, Ron Howard took the reigns officially on June 26 with filming now expected to finish in first week of September with "much of what Lord and Miller" filmed being "very usable". It would be interesting to see a Lord and Miller cut vs a Ron Howard cut if only to see how similar used footage can result in likely dramatic differences in tone and execution but like with Rogue One that will never happen.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ron Howard Signs on for Han Solo Movie

The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Ron Howard has agreed to take over the director reigns of the Han Solo movie after the previous directors were fired for "creative differences" after nearly completing principle photography. The director, known for Apollo 13 and a directing Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, has suffered multiple expensive box office misses over the last decade so he is probably looking forward to adding this probable mega hit to his resume. I would not be surprised if it immediately becomes his most successful film ever box office wise.

Howard's task seems easy since in theory he only has to do a month of filming and monitor post production work that has already made significant progress. Instead he has to try to effectively re-film the entire movie to meet what Lucasfilm and Disney want for the production while not actually re-filming the entire movie. That means using movie magic, creative editing with existing footage and creative filming to re-create moments for events and sets that have probably long since been taken down or re-purposed during production over the last few months. Considering his decades long directing career, he is probably one of the few directors with the experience to take it in stride.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Han Solo Movie Directors Fired

It seems the "A Star Wars Story" films just can't catch a break director wise. Rogue One basically did a re-write of the movie with re-shoots, post-production changes and a re-edit that effectively turned the movie over to directing by committee. What was going to be a Boba Fett film had to fire its director due to what could only be described as alleged incompetence and indecisiveness. The replacement film, the Han Solo movie, seemed on track to avoid the problems as it completed its pre-production process without any problems and started principle photography. Instead we learn that directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie, 21 Jump Street) have been fired over "creative differences."

Via The Hollywood Reporter from Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy: "Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon."

"Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project," a statement from Lord and Miller read. "We normally aren’t fans of the phrase 'creative differences' but for once this cliché is true. We are really proud of the amazing and world-class work of our cast and crew."

"Creative differences" probably occurs way more often then the public is aware of but is caught early enough in the pre-production process to not make the news. THR tries to down play it as just part of the movie making process (and it is) but to occur months into principle photography that started in February and when the movie is probably less then a month from being finished indicates that something went seriously wrong. The site says:
Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that the style and vision of Lord and Miller clashed with that of Lawrence Kasdan, the legendary screenwriter behind the classics Empire Strikes Back and ‪Raiders of the Lost Ark, who also wrote, with his son, Jon Kasdan, the script for the Han Solo stand-alone set (for now) to be released in 2018.

Lord and Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) have a comedic sensibility and improvisational style while Kasdan favors a strict adherence to the written word — what is on the page is what must be shot.

The creative clash, according to one insider, also came down to differences in understanding the character of Han Solo. “People need to understand that Han Solo is not a comedic personality. He’s sarcastic and selfish,” said that source.
Despite THR's attempt to shrug it off, this is a major problem and considering the director's likely would have (and may still get) a piece of all the Star Wars action, quitting and/or getting fired is no small thing. We are talking potentially tens of millions of dollars once the dust settles either in payouts, lost residuals, re-shoots, and more. The money involved makes this a massive problem. If this wasn't a Hollywood production you would be hearing talks of CEOs, VPs and other high level management "moving on to other opportunities."

As for what is next, no one knows yet. The current rumor is Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code) or Joe Johnston (The Rocketeer, Captain America) could take over but most director's at their level tend to loath taking over other's people project. Then again this is Star Wars money and working on one of these movies in a major role basically means retirement if so desire.

While my initial impression of events comes down to "what are we missing?" it does sound like a good call as treating Han Solo or most of the key Star Wars characters as just comedic would be a disastrous tone and everything about the directors' background indicates that is what they know how to do. They probably can do serious but they were hired on the strength of the critical and box office results of The Lego Movie so they probably reasonable assumed that is what Lucasfilm wanted from them - essentially a comedy set in the Star Wars universe. However they seemed to miss two red flags: a) Star Wars isn't comedy, it just has humorous elements and b) Kasdan has never written a comedy in his life. Again this assumes that we are not missing very important details which I think we are.

Since the film is currently in production for for a 2018 release, any day not filming is money being burned so Lucasfilm is going to be highly motivated to get the train back on schedule and its going to cost them dearly to do it. Good thing they have all those Star Wars, Disney, Pixar, and Marvel bucks to make it easier.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Happy 40th Birthday Star Wars

Today Star Wars turns 40 years old as May 25, 1977 was the day that Star Wars: A New Hope premiered. Happy Birthday to one of the largest, most important franchises in the world. Below is the current Hamilton cast singing Happy Birthday to Star Wars.

Vanity Fair Reveals Last Jedi Tidbits, Characters

Vanity Fair has posted their Star Wars: The Last Jedi article and it includes some great images from behind the scenes of the film. Per usual, the cone of silence on the film was in full effect but a feel details about the film were revealed as highlighted below. You can read the full article and view all the images here.

- The Force Awakens end meeting between Luke and Rey was "painstakingly" re-staged a year later for The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson since lines were to be delivered. Mark Hamill was not pleased about having to go back since its a big of a hike to get to the top were the scene was filmed on near Ireland's County Kerry atop Skellig Michael island.

- Hamill also was not pleased that the story didn't allow for Luke to be there to witness Han's death but figured the popularity of the film means his take was wrong (personally I suspect history will not be kind to The Force Awakens).

- Finn begins movie still recovering from Kylo Ren's lightsaber injuries in a "bacta suit" aka a tank that heals.

- Part of the movie does focus on relationship between Luke and Rey but it is not a "one-to-one correlation between Yoda and Luke as "There's a training element to it but it's not exactly as you would expect."

- The gallery link above includes first look at Benicio Del Toro's "DJ" character (not named in filmed, called that as point of reference) and Resistance officer Vice Admiral Holdo played by Laura Dern.

- Other new character include Resistance maintenance worker Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) who goes behind enemy lines with Finn and Lieutenant Kaydel Connix (Billie Lourd).

- Rose and Finn's story takes them to Canto Blight which is "a glittering casino city" and "a playground, basically, for rich assholes."

- Leia would have had a prominent role in Episode IX (similar to how Han was featured in Awakens, Luke in Last Jedi) but Carrie Fisher's had to abandon those plans. The backlash over the CGI Grand Moff Tarkin character in Rogue One also meant it couldn't be possible. Not said is what they settled on but I imagine they wrote the character out of the film and will just use other characters referencing her as a coda to the character.

- Anakin Skywalker's light saber is officially considered to be Rey's lightsaber, at least by Lucasfilm's marketing department. Safe to say that Luke only temporarily regains ownership of the saber when Rey was holding it out to him at the end of The Force Awakens.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Force Awakens Detail Changed for The Last Jedi

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson revealed a story tidbit.
“Yes … The big [favor] was, I asked if R2 could come with Rey, and if BB-8 could stay behind with the Resistance,” Johnson says. “Originally it was BB-8 who went with Rey, which makes sense for the story in a way. But I asked, ‘Can you do me this solid and switch the droids?’”
He also revealed the central point of the movie:
“Figuring out where his head was at was the very first thing I had to do when writing the movie. I had to crack this. And it had to be something for me that first and foremost made sense. Why did Luke Skywalker go off to this island?” Johnson says. “That was the starting point, and that’s what the entire movie explores.”
So while light on details it is interesting that Johnson's story relied on making sure R2 was with Luke. Makes since if considering the previous films where R2 is (almost) always with a Skywalker. It also neatly returns BB-8 back to his original owner Poe Dameron.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mark Hamil Pranks Fans in Force for Change Video

In a new video to promote the Force for Change charity raffle, Mark Hamill pulls a prank on some fans. To enter a chance win a chance to meet Mark Hamill, go to the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and more click here.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Star Wars: Rebels Final Season Trailer

At Star Wars Celebration convention, it was revealed that the season four of Star Wars: Rebels will also be its final season. Below is trailer with the season debuting on Disney XD this fall. As for what will replace Rebels, I am guessing that will be revealed at next year's Celebration.

Star Wars: Battlefront II Trailer

Star Wars Celebration continues in Orlando, Florida which means the reveals continue as the trailer for Star Wars: Battlefront II was released. As showing the trailer, the single-player story line picks up right as the Death Star explodes in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and follows the aftermath as the Empire tries to maintain control. If the main character, Inferno Squad Commander Iden Versio looks familiar it is because the motion capture and voice is via the gorgeous Jania Gavankar (Sleepy Hallow, True Blood). The will launch on PS4, XBox One, and PC on November 17. Even if not a gamer you will likely find the trailer enjoyable.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Poster

Along with the trailer, here is the poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi that seems to focus on the potential candidates of the title assuming there is only one since the plural of Jedi is Jedi.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Official Teaser Trailer

Here is the official teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, released as part of this weekend's Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, Florida.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Star Wars Video Tribute To Carrie Fisher

With the start of Star Wars Celebration this weekend, the official Star Wars account posted the below touching tribute to the late great Carrie Fisher. The video shows behind the scenes footage, interviews and more that shows her wonderful personality that fans loved. She is missed. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Honest Trailer for Rogue One

The Screen Junkies guys have posted their "Honest Trailer" For Rogue One. Per usual, they provide an amusing spot-on thrashing of a film.

New Force for Change Charity Announcement

Muck like they did with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a new Force for Change charity drive has been started for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley explains the details in the video below. If interested in donating (and getting a chance to win three "epic Star Wars Experiences Ever" head over to Omaze.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Rogue One Director Talks Darth Vader Attack Sequence

With the upcoming release of Rogue One on home video it means the director is a bit more free to talk about the behind the scenes decision making of the film. One such part was the late decision to add a Darth Vader scene into the movie. You know the one, but if not its included in the video below as director Gareth Edwards talks about the decision to add the scene and other tidbits about it. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Han Solo Movie To Cover Six Years

Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke a little about next year's young Han Solo movie. The details are not much but more then we have now. He said the story will cover Han Solo from age 18 to 24 and show how he won the Millennium Falcon from Lando, meets Chewbacca and "getting his name." The phrasing is odd but likely referring to Solo's reputation as a smuggler. In addition, a theory was Woody Harrelson would play Garris Shrike in the movie since the name is from the old Extended Universe in a story about Solo's mentor as a child and already vetted for any legal issues that might arise. However in a Tonight Show appearance the actor said "I play a guy named Beckett who’s kind of a criminal and a mentor to Han" so that theory is out the door.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Rogue One Blu-Ray Trailer

The date has been set for the home video release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The Digital release is set for March 24 with the Blu-ray editions coming April 4. You can pre-order now via Amazon. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Special Features
A Rogue Idea – Hear how ILM’s John Knoll came up with the movie’s concept – and why it’s the right film to launch the Star Wars stand-alone films.

Jyn: The Rebel – Get to know Rogue One’s defiant, resourceful survivor, and hear what it was like for Felicity Jones to bring her to life onscreen.

Cassian: The Spy – Diego Luna shares insights into his complex, driven character, who becomes a hero through selflessness, perseverance and passion.

K-2SO: The Droid – Explore the development of this reprogrammed Imperial droid, from initial pitch and character design through Alan Tudyk’s performance.

Baze & Chirrut: Guardians of the Whills – Go deeper into the relationship between these two very different characters, with Chinese superstars Jiang Wen and Donnie Yen.

Bodhi & Saw: The Pilot & The Revolutionary – Forest Whitaker and Riz Ahmed reflect on Saw Gerrera, the broken Rebel leader, and Bodhi Rook, the Imperial pilot who defects.

The Empire – Meet a dangerous new Imperial adversary…and cross paths once more with the most iconic villain of all time.
Visions of Hope: The Look of “Rogue One” – The filmmakers describe the challenges and thrills of developing a bold new look for the movie that can fit within the world of the original trilogy.

The Princess & The Governor – See what it took to bring the vibrant young princess of “Star Wars: A New Hope” – as well as one of her most memorable foes­ – back to the screen.

Epilogue: The Story Continues – Filmmakers and cast celebrate Rogue One’s premiere and look forward into the future, to the Star Wars stories yet to be told.

Rogue Connections – Uncover Easter eggs and film facts hidden throughout the movie that connect “Rogue One” to the Star Wars universe.

Photo Introduces Cast to Young Han Solo Movie

A cast photo from the Millennium Falcon cockpit provides the first full look at the core cast of the currently unnamed Han Solo movie. The movie is starting principle photography for a May 25, 2018 release date. The cast in the photo from left to right is Woody Harrelson (name unverified, Solo's mentor), co-director Chris Miller, Phoebe Waller-Bridge (character unknown), Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Emilia Clarke (character unknown), co-director Phil Lord, Donald Glover (Lando Calrissian), and Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca. Not sure why the actor is in the Chewbacca costume but he actually first donned the role as stunt double for Peter Mayhew in The Force Awakens and write a message to the fans about taking on the iconic role. Thanks to Feris O. for the heads-up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Behind the Visual Effects of Tarkin

In the latest video from ILM for Rogue One, they give a look at how they created the CGI character of Moff Wilhuff Tarkin since the original actor died decades ago. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Behind the Visual Effects of The Battle of Scarif

ILM has released another new but too short look at how they did some of the visual effects for climatic Battle of Scarif in Rogue One. Thanks once again to Feris O. for the link.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Behind the VFX of Star Wars Rogue One Planets

ILM have released the below video that gives a little bit of a look at how the visual effects for the planets of Jedha and Scarif were created in Rogue One. Hopefully this will be the first of several from the Oscar nominated film for Best Visual Effects Oscar. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Star Wars: Red Cup Begins Production

A tweet from Director Chris Miller that says "Han First Shot" along with this picture (left) reveals that the young Han Solo movie has begun principle photography. The first take includes the movie "title" as Star Wars: Red Cup, a pun reference to the Solo cups. The official title probably will not be revealed until next year. The movie stars Alden Ehrenreich (Han Solo), Donald GloveR (Lando Calrissian), Woody Harrelson (Han's mentor), and Emilia Clarke (probably Han's nemesis/love interest). The movie is being directed by The Lego Movie team of Chris Miller and Phil Lord for release on May 25th 2018 but I would not be surprised if its bumped to Christmas considering how successful that window has been for Disney these last two years.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Harrelson Playing EU Character in Han Solo Movie?

In a video interview with Variety, Woody Harrelson seemed to confirm the role he is playing in the young Han Solo movie. When directly asked if he would be playing Garris Shrike, the actor answered with a simple "yes". The character was first created for the Expanded Universe (EU) back in 1997 in a series of books about the life of Han Solo. The EU was once canonical collection of books, video games, comic book stories about the larger Star Wars universe before Disney made the decision that is was no longer part of canon and no one is allowed to create new stories for this "Legends" take of Star Wars out of fear of confusing new Star Wars fans.

However, the EU is chock full of already vetted intellectual property so it makes sense to mine it for characters that they can introduce (while throwing the occasional bone to EU fans) as new all over again. In that alternate take, Shrike was the man that raised, abused, and trained Han Solo to become the smuggler we all know and love. In the movie we know he is Solo's mentor but to early to say if that extends to father figure. If you are interested in the characters full back story, head over to Wookieepedia. To help with the time line notes, remember that BYY means "Before the Battle of Yavin" as depicted in Star Wars: A New Hope. The destruction of the first Death Star acts as a marker of Year 0 on the Star Wars time line. Thanks to Feris O. for the link.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Star Wars 8 Gets Official Title - The Last Jedi

The official title of the next Star Wars film in the saga has been revealed. Episode VIII will be called "Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Here is the poster that accompanied the announcement. I assume the title refers to Luke Skywalker since the Star Wars universe changed almost not one iota in the 30 years that passed and what Force users were born seemed to have been killed by Kylo Ren. However, if the series follows the example of the previous film, I would not be surprised if Luke doesn't survive it. Since Rey's learning curve and knowledge base is super-human, her ending the 8th film as the last remaining Jedi would not surprise me in the least.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Rogue One Secrets Explained

In an interview with the Lucasfilm Story Group, the team reveals some of the secrets, details and Easter eggs that are in Rogue One.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Force Awakens Chewbacca Ripping Arm Off Scene

Below is a deleted scene that shows Chewbacca ripping off Unkar Plutt's arm for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Fans probably would have loved the scene but Disney likely refused to allow the scene since they want Star Wars to remain "all ages". Ironic since the movies all depict a high level of death both on and off screen only with so little blood that the average paper cut produces more then wounds in these movies. One of those weird morality lines that companies and average adults consider a line in the sand. Death is long as bloodless. Cussing is ok, as long as do not use the F word. Sex and suggested nudity is great as long as no nipples. Never will get it.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Woody Harrelson Joins Han Solo Movie

The official twitter account of Star Wars has confirmed that Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games) is joining the cast of the Han solo movie in an unspecified role. It seems he will plays a mentor of sorts to young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich). The other known members of the cast are Donald Glover (Atlanta, Community) as Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) in an unknown role.

Harrelson recently started promoting War for the Planet of the Apes and when asked about the casting said:
“It’s mind-blowing. I can’t really…you know, I never would’ve imagined that I’d get this opportunity so I’m really pumped about it. I really like those directors [Phil Lord and Chris Miller], I think they’re really great. You know let’s face it, almost any movie if the director’s great then the movie has a shot, but if they’re not obviously you’ve got very little chance of a good movie. I just feel great to be a part of that. What a cool thing.”

“I don’t think the Force is allowing me to talk about [the role]. They want me to keep pretty mum so I better not say too much about it. They’re pretty top secret about the script and the story… It’ll be cool to be mentoring Han Solo, that will be cool.”

Friday, January 6, 2017

Creating CGI Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin

Below is a video from ABC News that provides a little behind the scenes footage of how Rogue One brought to "life" a young Princess Leia and Peter Cushing's Grand Moff Tarkin. They do somewhat discuss the ethics of creating a dead actor's performance but ultimately the legal issues are "does the family give permission" and unless current actors follow in Robin Williams' footsteps of specifically stipulating in their wills that their likeness cannot be used in such a manner, I suspect this will become more common. Personally I don't have a problem with it as long as done for purpose of story and not just theatrics or attention. In this case, showing how Tarkin took control of the Death Star was fine as was using Leia as connective tissue between the end of Rogue One to A New Hope.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Star Wars: Rebels Trailer Shows Return of Obi-Wan

Here is the mid-season 3 trailer for Star Wars: Rebels that will start up on Saturday, January 7 at 8:30pm ET on Disney XD. This second half seems to include the continued built to the more sizable Rebellion that we know and love and hints at a final confrontation between Darth Maul and Obi-Wan Kenobi.