Saturday, 30 January 2016

The Force Awakens on Blu-ray this April

Amazon lists the Blu-ray release for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as 5th April. This is mere months after a record-breaking box office run last December. A far cry from when the original Star Wars movie made its home video debut several years after being shown in cinemas.

Whilst director JJ Abrams has said there won't be an extended edition. Expect plenty of deleted scenes including a First Order Snowspeeder chase as suggested by merchandise.

Personally, I can't wait to see the latest installment in the Star Wars saga, again and again, on my Samsung Curved SUHD 4K 3D LED TV.

Looking forward to the blu-ray release and finding all the easter eggs? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 29 January 2016

New NOW TV Smart Box teases 4K

Sky Q isn't the only new product from Sky this year. NOW TV, the company's streaming service, is to get a NOW TV Smart Box that appears to be based on a Roku 4 (supports 4K) and includes 60 free-to-air channels when it's released later this year.

Additionally, a brand new user interface (UI) will be rolled out in February to existing NOW TV Boxes. A new ‘Best of Catch Up’ section, curated by content partners, showcases all the best shows customers may have missed in one place.

Gidon Katz, Director of NOW TV said: “The launch of our new homepage on the NOW TV Box will make it easier than ever for our customers to quickly find and watch their favourite shows. And when the new NOW TV Smart Box arrives later this year, it will be the perfect one-stop box to get a contract-free, flexible way of watching the best of pay TV and free-to-air content all in one place.”

Last year the NOW TV Box was refreshed with a Roku 3-based model that is 6 x faster and I've been most impressed with it. You can read my review of the original NOW TV Box here.

With the news of a NOW TV Smart Box and the possibility of 4K content. I'm hopeful Sky's streaming service will offer 1080p and 5.1 surround sound in the near future. NOW TV has lagged behind competitors Amazon Prime and Netflix in this regard.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Star Wars and Marvel movies to infinity... and beyond!

Disney CEO Bob Iger told the BBC the Star Wars saga is set to run and run. Most likely outliving fans who watched the original trilogy first time round.

“There are five Star Wars films – four more with Episode VII: The Force Awakens – that are in varying stages of development and production,” Iger told Newsbeat. “There will be more after that. I don’t know how many; I don’t know how often.”

This also applies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which shows no signs of stopping soon.

“Marvel, you’re dealing with thousands and thousands of characters [from the comic books] – that will go on forever,” Iger said, clearly suggesting there's no fatigue from fans.

“No, I don’t think they’re getting weary,” Iger added. “But I think we keep raising the bar in terms of telling stories that bring them back, that excite them, that make it feel new, and that is what we do for a living.”

The next installment in the Star Wars saga is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and for true believers there's Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange in 2016. X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool are not part of the MCU.

Which of these Star Wars and Marvel movies are you most excited about? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Star Wars won't be battling Avatar in Christmas 2017

Star Wars: Episode VIII gets pushed back to 15th December 2017, as part of a strategic move by Disney, and pundits excitedly predicted it would go up against James Cameron's Avatar sequel in a fierce festive box office battle. However, it looks like the return to Pandora has been delayed, again, according to a report in The Wrap.

Cameron has yet to begin principle photography and Twentieth Century Fox has not issued a new release date for the next installment, nor the further two sequels shot back-to-back in New Zealand.

Given the director's propensity for perfection, developing new and ambitious technologies, and prolonged post-production. It's highly possible the Avatar franchise won't continue until the conclusion of the new Star Wars trilogy at Disney in 2019.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Pirates of the Caribbean hijacks Star Wars release date

Star Wars fans will have to wait seven more months for the release of Episode VIII!

The Force Awakens sequel, written and directed by Rian Johnson, has been moved from 26th May, which marks the 40th anniversary of the original Star Wars' release in the US, to 15th December 2017. Pitting the Star Wars franchise directly against James Cameron's sequel to Avatar during the lucrative Christmas release window.

This makes more sense. The Force Awakens was a critical and commercial success last December, gives Johnson time to make a darker sequel to rival The Empire Strikes Back and Disney can spread its tentpole blockbuster franchises more evenly throughout the year. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Lies will now occupy the 26th May release date.

Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story should bridge the gap this December.

Star Wars: Episode VIII begins principal photography in London next month.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Darth Vader rumoured to be in Star Wars: Rogue One

Not an entirely surprising Star Wars rumour.

The upcoming Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, directed by Gareth Edwards and starring Felicity Jones, is set prior to events in A New Hope. Therefore an appearance by Darth Vader wouldn't be unexpected.

The Sith Lord has already made his presence known in Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD and James Earl Jones is rumoured to reprise voice over duties on the big screen, too.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released in cinemas 16th December.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Marvel's Jessica Jones renewed for second season

Netflix has confirmed Marvel's Jessica Jones will return for a second season.

Krysten Ritter and David Tennant will reprise their roles as Jessica Jones and Kilgrave respectively in 13 new episodes.

The news of the renewal is not surprising in the wake of NBC's suggestion Jessica Jones is the most-watched drama series on the streaming service.

Incidentally, Jessica Jones is the first series I've watched in 4K on a new Samsung Curved SUHD 4K 3D LED TV that included a free 6 month Ultra HD Premium subscription to Netflix. The finest television I've ever owned.

Daredevil's second season premiere is 18th March on Netflix. Upcoming Marvel Netflix series include Luke Cage, Iron Fist and The Defenders. All of which are a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Excited for more Jessica Jones? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Kylo Ren is Undercover Boss on SNL

Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) goes undercover as Matt, a radar technician on Starkiller Base, in Saturday Night Live's inspired Undercover Boss spoof!

"You get so caught up in restoring the galaxy to its rightful state that you miss what's going on behind the scenes. I'm looking forward to having some real talk with some real folks," explains Kylo before heading into the base. Can he control those infamous temper tantrums or will First Order employees see him through his disguise?

What did you think of SNL's latest Star Wars parody? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Star Wars Rebels connects to The Force Awakens

Star Wars Rebels returns 20th January on Disney XD and the spectacular mid-season trailer teases a connection to The Force Awakens. The trailer includes dramatic footage of Darth Vader, Yoda and Princess Leia's debut in Disney's hit Star Wars spin-off.

Executive producer Dave Filoni explains the green crossguard lightsabre's inclusion in an interview with EW: "I wanted to put a nod to this new history we’re seeing in The Force Awakens. It’s important to have these links between stories in major ways and subtle ways. Here you find a sword we’ve encountered before and it gives a little more context to something that turns up later."

Looking forward to more Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Marvel's Poe Dameron Star Wars comic co-stars BB-8

One of the coolest characters to emerge from Star Wars: The Force Awakens is ace pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). His bromance with Finn (John Boyega) has become a fan favourite and now Poe's adventures leading up to The Force Awakens can be read in Marvel comics from this April.

“Sometimes it can feel like the Star Wars universe is so well trodden and so many stories have already been told,” writer Charles Soule explains. “But the way the Episode VII galaxy is set up, there are opportunities for new archetypes almost, and the bad guy we’re working with is going to feel fresh and cool.”

Beloved ball droid BB-8 will co-star in the new comic alongside familiar faces from the original trilogy.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Princess Leia to appear on Star Wars Rebels

Princess Leia makes her debut in Star Wars Rebels this January on Disney XD. The episode "A Princess on Lothal" is set three years before A New Hope.

“One of the complex challenges of depicting Leia in 'Star Wars Rebels' is that we have to remind the audience that she is part of the Empire at this point,” says Executive Producer / Supervising Director Dave Filoni. “She doesn’t believe in the Empire, but she is acting the part, almost as a double agent. The Empire sees her as a privileged princess who runs mercy missions to wayward worlds, but in truth she is much stronger and more dangerous than they imagine.”

The young Princess Leia is voiced by actress Julie Dolan and harkens back to a time before audiences saw her blossom into a general with Carrie Fisher reprising her iconic role in The Force Awakens.

“There really is no other character quite like her,” says Filoni. “And to quote The Force Awakens’ Lor San Tekka, ‘She’ll always be royalty to me.’”

Princess Leia is the latest original trilogy character to appear in Star Wars Rebels.

Friday, 8 January 2016

The Force Awakens becomes biggest film ever in UK

Move aside Skyfall. There's a new box office king in town.

After only 22 days of release, the latest installment in the Star Wars saga has passed £100 million at the UK box office and continues its record-breaking ascent.

This during a week that witnessed The Force Awakens surpassing Avatar's domestic box office gross to become the number one movie of all-time in the US. The movie still has some way to go to eclipse James Cameron's sci-fi movie's global tally, but the force has a lot of power...

All eyes are now on China where the new Star Wars movie opens on 9th January.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

The Force Awakens and Indiana Jones returns

In the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' success, Disney has confirmed Lucasfilm's other famous film franchise, Indiana Jones, will return to the big screen.

CEO Bob Iger announced the news during an interview with Bloomberg News, promising “more great stories with George Lucas’ Star Wars and Indiana Jones, by the way, which will be coming”.

Director Steven Spielberg has hinted he'd be back at the helm if Harrison Ford reprised the iconic role last seen in the middling Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Given Ford's spectacular return as Han Solo in Star Wars...

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Use the Force Band by Sphero to control BB-8

Sphero BB-8 was, arguably, the coolest Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-in launched last year.

A premium product that was a hoot at dinner parties and the diminutive droid stole the hearts of millions of fans (myself included) in JJ Abrams' movie when it was released last December.

Sphero announced at CES plans to release an app accessory for the app-enabled droid later in 2016. This is a wearable wristband - tentatively titled Force Band - that will enable force gesture control and extend the life of the gadget whilst we wait for Episode VIII in 2017.

The company will also release a BB-8 with Jakku wear and tear alongside the new wristband. However, current owners need not replace their shiny droid friend.