Friday, 20 October 2017

JJ Abrams to take Star Wars elsewhere in Episode IX

JJ Abrams is back at the helm of a Star Wars movie, following Colin Trevorrow's departure, and shared a tantalising glimpse into his plans for the untitled Episode IX, which concludes the sequel trilogy that began with the director's The Force Awakens.

In a recent interview with the BBC, alongside composer Michael Giacchino, Abrams said, “Well, it’s certainly something that I’m aware of now working on ‘Episode IX’ — coming back into this world after having done ‘Episode VII.’ I feel like we need to approach this with the same excitement that we had when we were kids, loving what these movies were.”

Abrams added, “At the same time, we have to take them places that they haven’t gone, and that’s sort of our responsibility. It’s a strange thing – Michael’s worked on things like ‘Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars,’ and these are the things of dreams. Yet we can’t just revel in that; we have to go elsewhere.”

From the buzz surrounding Rian Johnson's upcoming The Last Jedi, Abrams has a tough act to follow with writing partner Chris Terrio.

Star Wars: Episode IX is in theatres 20th December 2019.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

EA shutters Visceral Games and pivots Star Wars title

Following BioWare Montreal's closure in the wake of Mass Effect: Andromeda. EA has shuttered Visceral Games (formerly EA Redwood Shores), perhaps best known for the Dead Space survival horror franchise.

Visceral Games was working on an untitled Star Wars game, with Uncharted's Amy Hennig as project lead, scheduled for release in 2019 to coincide with Star Wars: Episode IX directed by JJ Abrams.

The reason for the shift in the untitled Star Wars project's focus is that EA feels it has "become clear that to deliver an experience that players will want to come back to and enjoy for a long time to come, we needed to pivot the design."

"We will maintain the stunning visuals, authenticity in the Star Wars universe, and focus on bringing a Star Wars story to life. Importantly, we are shifting the game to be a broader experience that allows for more variety and player agency, leaning into the capabilities of our Frostbite engine and reimagining central elements of the game to give players a Star Wars adventure of greater depth and breadth to explore."

EA, like several AAA publishers, is seemingly moving towards monetised loot boxes at the expense of single-player storytelling. For example, the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II forgoes a season pass in favour of paid-for loot, which has left a bitter taste in the video game community weeks from release.

As a Star Wars fan, I was really looking forward to Star Wars Battlefront II this November. However, I've cancelled my pre-order for the Xbox One X enhanced title for now.

Is a fixation on loot to the detriment of storytelling in modern video games? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Han Solo spin-off is titled Solo: A Star Wars Story

Principal photography on the second standalone Star Wars movie at Disney has wrapped and director Ron Howard took to social media to announce the title of the hitherto untitled prequel to A New Hope.

Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Fans reacted to the functional title with hilarious memes. It's no Han Solo at Stars' End or countless pulp Marvel comic strip titles. Ultimately, Solo: A Star Wars Story is in keeping with last December's Rogue One. And "Solo" sounds much better when said in the voice of Jabba the Hutt. Just saying.

The troubled Star Wars production witnessed the departure of directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller weeks from completing the spin-off. Ron Howard has a storied history with Lucasfilm and there's no reason to think Solo: A Star Wars Story will be a disaster. However, as a fan of the franchise, I would have welcomed a December, not May, release next year.

What do you think of the title? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Predator returns to UK cinemas for 30th anniversary

Get to da choppa! Thanks to the folks at Park Circus Films, fans of the original Predator can celebrate the 30th anniversary of Arnold Schwarzenegger's classic sci-fi action movie, directed by John McTiernan, on the big screen.

Predator sees Arnold joined on his quest to defeat an invisible alien hunter by Carl Weathers, Bill Duke, Sonny Landham, Elpidia Carrillo, Richard Chaves, Jesse Ventura and Shane Black. The latter is directing next year’s reboot The Predator.

The movie was a box office hit, spawning a successful video game tie-in, Dark Horse Comics series, sequels and Aliens vs. Predator spin-off franchise.

Predator returns to UK cinemas from 9th November. Park Circus Films will also release Predator in selected international markets throughout the autumn and winter.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Stranger Things gets a Friday the 13th trailer

It's Friday the 13th and Stranger Things season 2 is released this month in time for Halloween. So, the fine folks at Netflix have released the final trailer and it's a horror movie homage spectacular.

Stranger Things season 2 will be available to stream on Netflix from 27th October.

Excited about returning to Hawkins, Indiana? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Watch Daisy Ridley perform an Eminem rap for Vogue

Daisy Ridley reprises the role of Rey in director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December. She appears on the November cover of Vogue magazine and was interviewed by the publication. At one point Ms Ridley performs a rap by Eminem.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theatres 15th December and you can book tickets now.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Blade Runner 2049 is an existential masterpiece

Director Denis Villeneuve's follow-up to Ridley Scott's seminal tech noir opus Blade Runner is a transcendental sequel that brings the cerebral to Hollywood.

If you're looking for high-octane action; you would do well to look elsewhere. Villeneuve artfully unpacks the enigmatic core of the original Blade Runner at a languid pace, befitting a transformative museum tour, that respects the source material and audience's intelligence in Blade Runner 2049.

Villeneuve presents a central protagonist, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), who embarks on a rerun of Rick Deckard's (Harrison Ford) mission to retire a replicant 30 years later. This blade runner is in a romantic relationship with a holographic personal assistant called Joi (Ana de Armas) that recalls Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) in Spike Jonze's Her.

Ultimately, K's journey is a Pinocchio parable as explored in Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence and that's not the only reference to the late Stanley Kubrick as fans will discover.

Harrison Ford reprises a fan favourite role a la Star Wars: The Force Awakens. However, all I'll say is that his performance as an aging Deckard is mesmeric and a career high. Robin Wright, Sylvia Hoeks and Jared Leto are all phenomenal. Hoeks bares an uncanny resemblance to Sean Young who played Rachael in the original Blade Runner.

Sweeping vistas are wrapped in an industrial soundscape with callbacks to the original score, composed by Vangelis, and Sergei Prokofiev's childhood classic Peter and the Wolf.

It's a treatise on existentialism in a neon-drenched dystopia and a heartbreaking love story between an android and an app achingly distilled by Ryan Gosling and Ana de Armas.

Blade Runner 2049 left me melancholy and, conversely, optimistic by its enchanting end. Amidst the deafening roar of nihilistic blockbusters, there are compelling stories of the human condition being told like in fairytales of old. That's worth tears in the rain.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer embraces the dark side

The highly-anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer dropped during Monday Night Football. Director Rian Johnson has orchestrated a masterclass in misdirection and taken expectations to the nth degree.

Well, it looks like the galaxy is in flux as it should be in the second act. Everything has gone to hell as heroes are tempted by the dark side. The space battle, lead by Kylo Ren in his TIE Silencer, evokes Revenge of the Sith and that's a good thing.

One thing is certain. Porg mania is going to be a thing this holiday season.

Book tickets to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi from Fandango. This is an affiliate link and therefore I may receive compensation for any referrals.

Is the hype real? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

The Last Jedi trailer during Monday Night Football

The teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi premiered during Star Wars Celebration Orlando last April.

Now, as the holiday season and The Last Jedi's release fast approaches, a trailer will be shown during halftime on Monday Night Football, in a game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears, on ESPN.

This isn't news to avid Star Wars fans following Mark Hamill on Twitter. He made a cryptic announcement weeks ago before quickly deleting the tweet, but not before news spread.

Tickets will go on sale everywhere immediately afterwards.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be in theatres 15th December.

Booking tickets tomorrow or Tuesday morning? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Sphero R2-D2's rival R2-Q5 at New York Comic Con

Following the launch of R2-D2 and BB-9E on Force Friday. Sphero has brought R2-Q5 to New York Comic Con (NYCC) this week. The latest app-enabled droid is the dark side version of fan favourite R2-D2.

"R2-Q5™ is an Imperial astromech droid from a galaxy far, far away.... Control it with your smart device or keep this nefarious Droid in top shape with augmented reality training. R2-Q5’s signature front and rear LED lights are fully functional, and an integrated speaker means all sounds come right from the droid itself. Watch R2-Q5 interact with other Star Wars™ App-enabled Droids by Sphero, and view films from the Star Wars saga with R2-Q5 reacting by your side. This special droid has been brought to life thanks to Sphero technology."

The limited edition droid is on sale at NYCC. The Sphero R2-Q5 will be available for pre-order from 10th October, and is available in the UK exclusively at John Lewis from 27th October for £199.99.

Will you be bringing R2-Q5 home for the holidays? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Star Trek through the looking glass

Episode 3 of Star Trek: Discovery is a masterclass in mystery and suspense! After the two-part prologue aboard the USS Shenzhou, fans are finally introduced to the titular starship in a story that is to all intents a purposes another pilot.

In shades of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) is en route to a penal colony, to serve time for treason and igniting the war with the Klingons, when the shuttle is attacked, the pilot killed and she's rescued by the mysterious USS Discovery.

Burnham boards a starship that is more Star Destroyer than exploration vessel inhabited by a militarised crew wearing black badges and seemingly on a black ops mission to defeat the Klingon threat by all means necessary. Old allies and former friends are distrusting.

In the heart of darkness lies the enigmatic Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs) with his menagerie of familiar foes from the franchise's celebrated past. A morally ambiguous character hell bent on defeating an enemy with untested biological technology a la Project Genesis from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

To reiterate and develop an observation from my review of the two-part premiere. Some fans have commented that the look and feel is too advanced for a prequel series. However, what if this is the Mirror Universe, intimated through the use of reflections, colour and composition, and the Federation has focussed on empire resulting in rapid technological progress at the expense of peaceful coexistence?

Fun conjecture to be sure, but I never imagined thinking about Star Trek with such passion and genuine intrigue after Star Trek: The Next Generation ended. Deep Space Nine mined Babylon 5's episodic storytelling and still failed to capture my full attention. Voyager and Enterprise reprised too familiar Trek tropes.

Discovery doesn't shy away from body horror and the series' first away mission paid chilling homage to Aliens and John Carpenter's The Thing. Lorca's new pet has an unknown gruesome part to play in the future.

From Jason Isaacs' Captain Pike through a mirror darkly to allusions and references to Alice in Wonderland as Burnham tries to make sense of her place in a fractured universe. This is a Star Trek series I've always wanted to see since Yesterday's Enterprise.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Is Star Trek: Discovery worthy of Gene Roddenberry?

Episode 3 of Star Trek: Discovery is now available to stream on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US. So, I thought it might be fun to have a second opinion on the two-part premiere and have enlisted the help of Rob Wainfur, founder of The Bearded Trio and a contributor to this blog.

Rob has avidly followed the franchise since the heyday of Star Trek: The Next Generation. How does the new series stack up against such a storied legacy created by Gene Roddenberry?

Guest post by Rob Wainfur

Here are my spoiler-free thoughts on Star Trek: Discovery. I am a huge Star Trek fan and think Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the finest TV ever made. How does Star Trek: Discovery do and is it worthy of the Star Trek name?

The first thing I must say about Star Trek: Discovery is it looks incredible, probably one of the best looking TV series I've ever seen. I really mean this! The battle sequences are up there with anything I've seen on the small screen or the big screen for that matter. It looks like Star Trek with a hint of Mass Effect at times. Very pleasing on the eye. The technology used sometimes looks a little advanced for the timeline, but I can forgive this for artistic licence.

The sound effects are pleasing, especially for a Trek fan like me. From time to time you hear a familiar chime or alert sound that you know all too well from previous incarnations of Trek.

For a pilot episode it has a lot of potential. Not the strongest Trek pilot in regards of story, but certainly better than Encounter at Farpoint and The Caretaker. It didn't feel obliged to introduce everyone and everything, which a lot of pilots are guilty of. Saying that, I was a little bit surprised they didn't introduce more main characters from the Federation side only stopping to introduce you to the captain, the first officer and the science officer.

The story isn't the strongest point of the pilot, but that may just be me. I was never a fan of Klingon episodes, leaning too much to combat with their honour and beliefs playing a strong part. The decision to have the Klingons speak in their native tongue with subtitles got a little tiresome and I was wishing I had an universal translator at one point. The story I felt was a cross between Star Trek: Nemesis and JJ Abrams' Trek reboot. The episode did dip, but it's a pilot episode so I guess that was inevitable.

I had low expectations for Discovery and I was all ready to describe it based on my predetermined expectations. I thought it was going to be a wine spritzer. A fine wine that has been cared for and made with love and then watered down to appeal to the masses. I was wrong. It is Trek. It deserves the name.

It could have been better, yes. The acting I hope improves, but even my favourite Trek, Deep Space Nine, suffered with that problem at first. A promising start with future potential. I hope we get more Trek stories and a little less battle and fighting in future episodes. I hope Trek on TV is here to stay and lives long and prospers.

Rating - 7/10

We'll revisit the series after the midseason finale and update with our opinions. Will the war with the Klingons dominate or exploration prevail?

This review originally appeared on The Bearded Trio.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on US television 30 years ago today! A seminal series foreshadowing technology we now use on a daily basis. From touchscreens to voice assistants...

I wouldn't see Encounter at Farpoint until the following summer and become a fully-fledged fan until after Doctor Who was cancelled in 1989. Star Trek: The Next Generation filled a void vacated by timey-wimey adventures and I had a teenage crush on Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) who vied for poster space with actresses Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder.

Avidly read Marvel UK's official magazine, which republished DC Comics' strips and Starlog articles. When the magazine folded in 1992, I switched to the defunct Starlog magazine. Collected Playmates' action figures and accessories and amassed Galoob's Micro Machines as an undergraduate. Playmates' electronic USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D still has pride of place in my collection.

It's worth noting I attended my first ever comic con in 1996 at university. The highlight was an informative Q&A with Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) model maker Chris Boyd. He talked fondly of meeting the late Leonard Nimoy at Forbidden Planet and shared an amusing anecdote involving Marina Sirtis on the set of Star Trek: Generations. She allegedly suffered from serious 'gas' following a restaurant meal and...

Later in the Q&A the subject of the Star Wars prequels arose. Boyd confirmed that the title was Shadows of the Empire! The assembled throng raved. However, knowing that this was not the case, having read an article in Edge magazine, I pointed out that Shadows of the Empire was a multi-platform marketing project centered on the launch of Nintendo's upcoming 64-bit games console known at the time as the Ultra 64. My comments were met with derision. History would suggest otherwise.

Star Trek: The Next Generation first-run episodes switched from BBC2 to Sky 1 and was the first series I binge-viewed thanks to a friend stockpiling episodes on VHS whilst I was away studying for a degree in Media Production.

Star Trek would see further television spin-offs including Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise. However, none of them would capture my imagination the way The Next Generation did until Discovery, which premiered this week on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US.

This evening I'm going to watch Yesterday's Enterprise, The Dauphin and The Best of Both Worlds Pt I & II on Netflix. Incidentally, CBS commissioned digitally remastered episodes of the entire seven seasons and the results are spectacular. It's like watching a brand new series in high-definition with Dolby Digital Plus surround sound.

You can buy the S1-7 boxset on Blu-ray disc from Amazon.

What are your memories? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Star Trek: Discovery boldly goes for a darker future

The highly-anticipated Star Trek: Discovery began streaming this week on CBS All Access and Netflix outside the US.

This is the first new Star Trek television series since Enterprise ended in 2005 and much is riding on its success in the wake of JJ Abrams' cinematic reboot. So, how did Discovery fare against previous pilot episodes in the franchise's 51-year storied history?

“The only word to effectively describe it is…. wow.” These are the words of Commander Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) and the two-part season premiere is better than Encounter at Farpoint, which aired 30 years ago this month.

The pilot opens on a desert world in a scene reminiscent of Rey scavenging parts from a derelict Star Destroyer on Jakku in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Clearly, the producers are aiming to expand the fanbase with the help of the Force. Of course many fans (myself included) follow both franchises, but I welcome the change of pace aping the cinematic reboots of Star Trek and Star Wars under the auspices of JJ Abrams.

Some fans may decry the lack of exploration, a central tenet of original series creator Gene Roddenberry, in favour of a more militaristic tone so early in the series. However, this prequel feels more like the lauded Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Yesterday's Enterprise with hints to the Mirror Universe. Sci-fi is at its best as allegory and Discovery deals with the real and present danger of isolationism.

The Federation's actions are difficult to empathise with as it goes to war with the Klingons. It's a darker tale with a flawed protagonist. Yes, Star Trek has been in this territory before in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, but never so morally grey. This is Star Trek post Battlestar Galactica and it's frakking awesome. Sorry not sorry.

There are lens flares aplenty and a gorgeous stellar backdrop eclipsing the film series in a fashion I didn't foresee on the small screen. From a space walk borrowing heavily from Marvel's Iron Man and 2001: A Space Odyssey to the futuristic interior of the USS Shenzhou with its android crew member and voice assistant (now integral to our daily lives as foreshadowed by Star Trek: The Next Generation). Shiny Star Trek is shiny and replete with fun Easter Eggs that longtime fans of Gene Roddenberry's franchise will appreciate.

Minor niggles mostly pertain to editing, clunky dialogue (technobabble doesn't trip off the tongue), and use of music. Elements that can be fixed going forward and early previews suggest episode three is even better. Continuity hounds may baulk at a prequel that looks more advanced than the original series chronicling the voyages of the USS Enterprise commanded by Captain James T. Kirk.

After production woes which witnessed the departure of series showrunner Bryan Fuller, review embargoes and beginning life as a series solely to launch CBS All Access in the US. It’s great to see an energised (pun intended) Star Trek streaming on the small screen in an aspect ratio befitting the big screen with cinematography by Oscar-winner Guillermo Navarro (Pan’s Labyrinth).

With prestige dramas such as Game of Thrones and Westworld dominating social media and watercooler conversations. Star Trek needed to be rebooted on the small screen. It's early days, but this second prequel series is already much more fun than Enterprise ever was and we haven't seen the titular starship in action. A second season is already greenlit from what I've heard.

What seemed to be nothing more than a troubled production routed in a beloved sci-fi series that began in 1966 has culminated in something mythological and awe-inspiring. To quote Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Encounter at Farpoint: "Let's see what's out there..."

What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider trailer

Following the first official poster for the Tomb Raider cinematic reboot starring Alicia Vikander, which garnered a mixed reaction earlier this week. Because freaky neck is freaky in Photoshop fail. A trailer has dropped depicting scenes inspired by the video game reboot from 2013. So much so, fans of the video game franchise (myself included) will see nothing new and this is a good thing.

Do you think Vikander is a worthy successor to Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara Croft on the big screen? She sounds like Camilla Luddington who voices the beloved character in the video game series since 2013. Let me know in the comments below.

Tomb Raider opens 16th March 2018.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Blade Runner 2049 prequel starring Dave Bautista

Warner Bros. has released the second of three prequels to Blade Runner 2049.

The short film follows Sapper Montan (Dave Bautista) a replicant on the run. 2048: Nowhere to Run is the second of three short films that will fill in the timeline between the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 starring Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.

This is the official synopsis for Blade Runner 2049:

"Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."

Blade Runner 2049 is in theatres 6th October.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Mark Hamill talks to GQ about playing Luke Skywalker

Actor Mark Hamill recently talked to British GQ magazine about the success of Star Wars and playing Luke Skywalker.

Hamill is GQ's Icon of the Year 2017. He reprises the role of Luke Skywalker in director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi this December.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Win The Doctors: The Tom Baker Years on DVD

Tom Baker is, arguably, the most recognisable actor to play Doctor Who. For seven years, between 1974 to 1981, Baker battled evil (with the aid of jelly babies) on Saturday teatimes and popularised the series across the Atlantic.

Now, the Fourth Doctor’s era, regarded by many fans (myself included) as a golden age, is subject to six excellent documentaries spread over a 2-disc DVD to be released on 18th September.

The Doctors: The Tom Baker Years features the most comprehensive collection of interviews with the actors and creators who brought the world of Doctor Who to life.

- Includes six documentaries making the definitive set of interviews with the team of actors who brought the TOM BAKER era of DOCTOR WHO to life.
- Presented by voice of the Daleks Nicholas Briggs.
- Quality in-depth interviews with Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane), Ian Marter (Harry), Louise Jameson (Leela), Mary Tamm (Romana) and John Leeson (Voice of K9).
- This 2 DISC special collectors edition is 5 hours of pure nostalgia, which will give you a whole new insight into the making of Doctor Who.
- Includes special feature: Introduction by Nicholas Briggs & Producer Keith Barnfather.

To celebrate the release of The Doctors: The Tom Baker Years, we’re offering two readers a chance to win a copy on DVD.

To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this simple question:

Which serial was Tom Baker’s first as the titular Time Lord?

A. The Hand of Fear
B. Logopolis
C. Robot

Please leave your answer in the comments below.

The competition is open to UK readers only and closes Friday, 22nd September. The winners will be randomly selected and contacted soon thereafter. Good luck.

Pre-order The Doctors: The Tom Bakery Years from Amazon. This is an affiliate link and as such I may receive compensation for any referrals.

Special thanks to Koch Media for supplying the competition prizes.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

JJ Abrams replaces Colin Trevorrow on Star Wars

Lucasfilm announced today that JJ Abrams will return to write and direct the final chapter in the Star Wars sequel trilogy in the wake of Colin Trevorrow's departure.

“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.

The Force Awakens revitalised the saga and Abrams has the ability to share a singular vision whilst remaining an auteur. He directed Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness with aplomb.

Star Wars: Episode IX has been moved from May to December 2019. Frankly, all Star Wars movies should be released during the holiday season as the franchise has cornered the festive market since 2015.

What do you think about JJ Abrams shepherding the trilogy home? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 11 September 2017

SyFy celebrates 25 years with Battlestar Galactica

The SyFy channel began in 1992, but I didn't take much notice until the early part of this century.

The series that inspired this lifelong sci-fi geek to become a true believer was the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Showrunner Ronald D. Moore's tech noir spin on a camp classic from Glen A. Larson cashing in on the success of Star Wars in 1977. This was in the wake of 9/11.

In 2005 I imported a copy of the mini-series on R1 DVD. Expecting very little, I was instantly gripped by its chilling tale of humanity on the brink of extinction. All but wiped out by its sentient machine servants, the Cylons, in a quest for supremacy. A sci-fi trope that has not lost its edge in recent years.

Much was made of Starbuck's recasting as a female - years before Jodie Whittaker would takeover as Doctor Who - and Katee Sackhoff's stellar performance, alongside an amazing cast, soon put this to rest.

Tricia Helfer's iconic portrayal as Six remains a genre great. The actress would go on to voice EDI in the original Mass Effect trilogy to startling effect and move this videogamer to tears in Mass Effect 3.

The late Richard Hatch, who portrayed Captain Apollo in the original Battlestar Galactica and became a childhood hero alongside Luke Skywalker and The Six Million Dollar Man, played Tom Zarek in Ronald D. Moore's lauded reboot.

Battlestar Galactica has left a lasting legacy in popular culture from The Big Bang Theory to Portlandia.

SyFy will be celebrating the channel's silver anniversary with a Battlestar Galactica marathon this month. Earlier this year the cast and crew reunited for an ATX Festival panel to reminisce about their time on the series.

Season one opener 33 remains a dramatic touchstone, a masterclass in tension, never bettered. What's your favourite episode of Battlestar Galactica? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Topps trading card shows Snoke in The Last Jedi

Supreme Leader Snoke remains as much a mystery as Rey in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

Snoke first appeared as a giant hologram in JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens and fans will learn more about the power behind the First Order in Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi this December.

Fans got their first glimpse of Snoke's toy incarnation before Force Friday. Now, Topps reveals how he'll look in The Last Jedi. His appearance is akin to a reconstructed Anakin Skywalker. It's divisive out of context sans Andy Serkis' voiceover. Snoke's a giant seemingly channelling Hugh Hefner in a golden robe. More intergalactic playboy than menace.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Director Colin Trevorrow exits Star Wars: Episode IX

Following weeks of speculation in the wake of the troubled Han Solo spin-off movie that saw director Ron Howard take the helm from wonderkids Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Colin Trevorrow is the latest director to leave a Star Wars movie at Disney.

Is the franchise in creative crisis at the Mouse House? Even Gareth Edwards' Rogue One underwent an extensive summer reshoot under the auspices of Tony Gilroy. Lucasfilm has released a statement:

"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."

There's been no negative coverage surrounding Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi, which is released in theatres this December. Will Johnson be asked to direct or could JJ Abrams return for the final installment in the sequel trilogy? Both directors share Lucasfilm's vision for an homogenised Star Wars universe, and I say that in the best sense of the word.

Who would you like to see direct Star Wars: Episode IX? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Royal Mail Star Wars stamp collection for The Last Jedi

The Royal Mail has announced 8 stamps to commemorate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December.

The UK postal service did this for The Force Awakens in 2015 with these, again, illustrated by British artist Malcolm Tween.

The special edition stamps focus on droids and aliens. Porg, Chewbacca, BB-8, R2-D2 and C-3PO are among those who'll appear on the stamps.

The Star Wars stamps are available both individually or part of limited edition presentations. I've ordered a set of framed stamps to go with The Force Awakens collection.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Star Wars fans share their Force Friday II stories

So, yesterday was Force Friday II, Black Friday for Star Wars fans, and many took to social media to share their merchandise haul stories to commemorate the release of The Last Jedi this December.

I shopped online for The Last Jedi ephemera and lived vicariously through fans' in-store anecdotes from Target to Toys "R" Us. Here's a selection of my favourites.

Find the Force, Disney's augmented reality (AR) treasure hunt, runs until 3rd September in participating stores worldwide.

How did you celebrate Force Friday II? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Sphero introduces R2-D2 for Force Friday II

Sphero BB-8 was introduced on Force Friday in 2015 and the app-enabled droid quickly became a must-have for the holiday season. So much so, I ordered mine from the Disney Store on day-one as it quickly sold out.

Now, Sphero is adding BB-9E from The Last Jedi and, best of all, R2-D2 for Force Friday II. Like BB-8, the latest droids will be able to watch Star Wars movies and television series (via a future update) with fans. R2-D2 includes an integrated speaker. So, the diminutive droid can vocally respond to actions, himself. R2-D2 will retail for £179.99 and is available from Amazon.

The extended app-enabled droid line can interact with each other for added play value. How will BB-8 react to his evil twin, BB-9E, when they come face-to-face on my desktop?

"Since Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon 40 years ago, consumer products have been a critical part of the fan experience, helping to introduce new audiences to the franchise’s rich stories and characters,” said Disney executive Jimmy Pitaro. “Technology-powered storytelling is at the core of the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ product line, and will immerse fans in the Star Wars universe like never before.”

Chris Pirillo, fellow gadget geek and Star Wars fan, has launched a new YouTube channel. Star Wars Radar. It's filled with awesome unboxings from Disney, Sphero, Hasbro and more.

6-year-old me wanted to own an R2-D2 like this in 1978. Almost 40 years later I can.

Will you be attending a midnight store opening? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Game of Thrones to return for final season in 2019

Game of Thrones' seventh season concluded this week with a fantastical flourish and the final season may not be broadcast until early 2019.

This is to allow time for a year-long shoot, followed by extensive post production, if rumours are to be believed. Given the mythological grandeur of the war with the White Walkers, it shouldn't come as a surprise to fans. HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys elaborates:

“Our production people are trying to figure out a timeline for the shoot and how much time the special effects take. The shooting is complicated enough — on different continents, with all the technical aspects — and the special effects are a whole other production period that we’re trying to figure out. That is a big factor in all of this.”

HBO is known for incubating rich dramas and allowing showrunners creative freedom. A case in point is stablemate, and heir apparent, Westworld, which does not return to television screens for a second season until 2018.

I'm avoiding spoilers for folks who haven't seen seven season. However, suffice it to say the shortened season has moved at a breathless pace, too fast for some, but not for a fan brought up on the original Star Wars trilogy and MTV.

Unlike The Walking Dead. Game of Thrones' audience has increased to record-breaking numbers. 31 million viewers per episode to be precise. It's understandable HBO is in no mood to rush the final season.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Blade Runner 2049 prequel starring Jared Leto

Blade Runner 2049, a sequel to director Ridley Scott's iconic Blade Runner starring Harrison Ford, is released in theatres this October with Ford reprising the role of Rick Deckard alongside Ryan Gosling as LAPD Officer K.

Collider has posted an exclusive prequel short film starring Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream) playing Niander Wallace. 2036: Nexus Dawn is one of three short films that will fill in the timeline between the original Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049.

This is the official synopsis for Blade Runner 2049:

"Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years."

Blade Runner 2049 is in theatres 6th October.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Celebrate Force Friday II at Apple Store

Star Wars fans will be able to celebrate Force Friday II at Apple Stores this Friday.

Apple will be hosting special events from 1st September thru 9th September in the United States, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Hong Kong, Italy, Switzerland, and Sweden.

Fans will be able to edit their own Star Wars trailers with an iPad and iMovie. Editing on an iPad Pro is something I have firsthand experience with and suggest fellow owners to invest in an Apple Pencil (if they haven't already done so) as it speeds up the workflow.

How To: Build Your Own Star Wars Trailer

"Explore how to create a Star Wars trailer with authentic footage from the films. You’ll discover signature Star Wars trailer-making techniques in an exclusive video from The Last Jedi director, Rian Johnson. Then you’ll create your own trailer complete with titles, transitions, sound effects, and official Star Wars music using iPad and iMovie."

Other Star Wars-related sessions will be offered, including a special effects masterclass from Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) at the Union Square store in San Francisco.

"Join ILM’s Hal Hickel, Landis Fields, and Colie Wertz and explore how they use animation and 3D modeling to bring the Star Wars galaxy to life. They’ll share their creative process, and give you a behind-the-scenes look at their journey from stop motion to CG. Then you’ll create your own Star Wars droids using the same techniques used at ILM—all with iPad Pro and Apple Pencil."

Apple Stores may carry new Star Wars toys from The Last Jedi, as part of the Find the Force campaign, too.

Will you be dropping by your local Apple Store? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Bring Your Rey Game to Force Friday II

US retailer Target invites Star Wars fans to "Bring Your Rey Game" on Force Friday II. This is a clever tagline based on the sequel trilogy's main character Rey (Daisy Ridley).

Think of Force Friday as the holiday season for Star Wars fans. This year promises to be the biggest yet with fans encouraged to Find the Force in celebration of The Last Jedi.

Toys have started appearing in stores ahead of Force Friday II. Most recently a 6-pack action figure set from Hasbro's The Last Jedi collection was seen for sale at UK retailer Tesco. Toys "R" Us will have midnight openings at selected stores. So, check with your local retailer for event information and exciting weekend offers from 1st September.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Star Wars fans Find the Force on Force Friday II

Force Friday II is a week today. A bi-annual merchandising event celebrating all-things Star Wars that began with The Force Awakens. This year, to promote The Last Jedi in theatres, Disney is releasing an augmented reality (AR) app for mobile devices.

“Force Friday II is a major milestone in the countdown to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Star Wars has always championed new technology, and we are excited that augmented reality will allow fans to experience the universe in a whole new way,” says Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm.

From 1st September thru 3rd September, fans will be able to capture their favourite characters at participating retailers in-store and online, and upload them using hashtag #FindtheForce to enter a sweepstake to attend the premiere of The Last Jedi.

Lucasfilm uploaded a cryptic message from General Leia.

For more information, visit Find the Force.

How are you celebrating Force Friday II? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Starfighter Assault mode from Star Wars Battlefront II

EA has released a new trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II. Starfighter Assault mode features cameos from Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Master Yoda and more.

It's filled with Easter Eggs including Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer from The Last Jedi. The space battles evoke the original trilogy and Rogue One. This is a good, very good, thing.

Star Wars Battlefront II is available for pre-order on PS4, Xbox One and PC. The game is released on 14th November. Stay tuned for further coverage.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Stranger Things to end after fourth season

Stranger Things is my most anticipated returning series this fall. And there's talk of two more seasons of Netflix's love letter to 1980s Americana. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer recently spoke to New York Magazine.

"We’re thinking it will be a four-season thing and then out,” Ross told the magazine. “We just have to keep adjusting the story,” said Matt. “Though I don’t know if we can justify something bad happening to them once a year.”

A four season story arc is compelling and should avoid the pitfall of diminishing returns in the wake of accusations of "Netflix bloat". This is where a season is stretched too thinly.

“They’re going to have to get the fuck out of this town!” said Ross. “It’s ridiculous!”

When the "Thriller" trailer dropped during SDCC, I likened it to the Duffer brothers downloading my dreams. Yes, I'm beyond excited.

Stranger Things season 2 will be available to stream from 27th October.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Channel John Hammond in Jurassic World Evolution

During a pre-Gamescom briefing from Xbox, Jurassic World Evolution was announced from the developers of Elite Dangerous, which Rob Wainfur, founder of The Bearded Trio, reviewed previously.

Frontier Developments has based a sim around the 2015 blockbuster movie directed by Colin Trevorrow. Players will be able to unleash their inner John Hammond, played by the late Sir Richard Attenborough in Steven Spielberg's original Jurassic Park, and design a dinosaur theme park replete with reptilian perils for unsuspecting tourists.

Aside from this surprise. The Xbox pre-Gamescom conference was a rehash of E3 and underscored the lack of first-party titles! My hot take. It was nothing more than an extended Xbox One X pre-order announcement, which should have gone live during E3. However, I've pre-ordered the Project Scorpio Edition and am looking forward to improved fidelity in titles such as Rise of the Tomb Raider on a Samsung Curved SUHD 4K 3D LED TV.

Jurassic World Evolution will be released for PS4, Xbox One and PC in the summer of 2018 to coincide with Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Empire looms large in Han Solo Star Wars spin-off

Director Ron Howard teased a photo from his upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off, alluding to the Empire's Death Star or Star Destroyer interior, on Twitter.

Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) didn't see the Death Star until A New Hope. So, unless his memory was erased, it's unlikely the infamous battle station will appear again soon on the big screen. However, it's worth noting the standalone spin-offs are set before A New Hope and act as Disney's prequels to the original trilogy.

There's a danger of repetition, something the Star Wars saga is known for, what with Rogue One centered around stealing the Death Star plans. But, the Death Star is familiar to filmgoers, so who knows. That said, I'm all for Solo breaking into a detention block and setting an imprisoned Chewbacca free before escaping in the Millennium Falcon with TIE Fighters in hot pursuit.

So, what do you think? Will Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich), Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover) and Chewbacca be aboard the Death Star or not? Let me know in the comments below.

The untitled Han Solo spin-off is scheduled for release 25th May, 2018.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

George Lucas still has his say on Star Wars

George Lucas may have sold Lucasfilm to Disney for $4 Billion in 2012. But, the creator of Star Wars still offers advice to the Mouse House. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy tells Entertainment Weekly (EW):

“Not really, but he’ll whisper in my ear every now and then. Usually, it’s something specific or important to him about Jedi training. Things like that.”

Star Wars was released over 40 years ago in America and it's understandable Lucas would still have an interest in his blockbuster creation. Director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi seemingly centres on Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) training Rey (Daisy Ridley). Kennedy goes on to say:

“I think he’s starting to settle into this and just be a fan. It’s taken a while. It’s hard to let go, after 40 years. That’s a lot of expectation and things he thought a lot about. Suddenly that next generation, that whole thematic idea he came up with, is in process.”

Lucas planned 9 movies as evidenced by the liner notes of The Empire Strikes Back soundtrack release. However, the sequel trilogy and standalone spin-offs are very much the vision of Kennedy and Disney.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Rey's identity to be revealed in The Last Jedi

Rey (Daisy Ridley) is the 'Rosebud' of the Star Wars sequel trilogy. An enigma spawning countless fan theories since The Force Awakens. However, Star Wars: The Last Jedi promises to shed light on the character's origins.

“To me, it’s important insofar as it’s important to her. And I think it’s important to her in terms of what is her place in all of this?”, director Rian Johnson told Entertainment Weekly (EW).

"What’s going to define her in this story? She was told in the last movie that the answer’s not in the past; it’s looking forward. But she’s showing up on this island to talk to this hero from the past.

"You can be told [‘the answer’s not in the past’], but I think she still has a lingering hope that she’s going to find the thing that’s going to say: This is where you belong. This is where you are. I think she still holds onto the thought that where she comes from will help define where she’s going."

In the same interview, Daisy Ridley teased the big reveal won’t necessarily affect Rey’s journey in Star Wars.

“You can always look for answers and that doesn’t mean that the rest of your life is so easy”, she explained.

“It’s not like, ‘oh, I know who my parents are so now everything falls into shape’, especially in the Star Wars world.”

Who do you think Rey is? Anakin Skywalker reincarnated, Obi-Wan Kenobi's granddaughter or something else? Let me know in the comments below.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is set for release on 15th December.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Praetorian Guards from The Last Jedi

The enigmatic Emperor's Royal Guards captured my childhood imagination whilst leafing through the pages of a toy catalogue prior to the release of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The latest issue of Entertainment Weekly (EW) looks at Snoke's crimson Praetorian Guards. An updating of the Royal Guards for director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi.

“The Emperor’s guards were very formal, and you always got the sense that they could fight, but they didn’t,” writer-director Rian Johnson tells EW. “They looked like they were more ceremonial, and you never really saw them in action. The Praetorians, my brief to [costume designer] Michael Kaplan was that those guys have to be more like samurai. They have to be built to move, and you have to believe that they could step forward and engage if they have to. They have to seem dangerous.”

The evolution in design since the original trilogy is welcome and I'm looking forward to seeing the Praetorian Guards in battle aboard Snoke's Mega Star Destroyer (confirmed by an Amazon listing ahead of Force Friday II).

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is in theatres 15th December.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Constantine to join DC's Legends of Tomorrow?

John Constantine's (Matt Ryan) cameo in Arrow was a highlight of season four. The producers of DC's Legends of Tomorrow want Constantine to join the battle against Damien Darhk (Neal McDonough) in season three of the time travelling spin-off series.

Galvanised by a stellar second season, producer Marc Guggenheim sheds light on the upcoming season-long story arc:

"Damien Darhk is going to be the leader of this group in the way Thawne was sort of the boss last year for the Legion of Doom. This group is distinctly led up by Damien. We have a fun way to bring him back that kind of plays into the season-long mythology."

Returning to the fray is Wentworth Miller as a 'bizarro' Captain Cold.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow returns 10th October on The CW. Stablemates Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl premiere the same week.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Harry Potter scribe to write Star Wars: Episode IX

Star Wars: Episode IX is getting a rewrite after Colin Trevorrow and writing partner Derek Connolly had previously submitted drafts of the script.

Jack Thorne has been hired by Lucasfilm to work on the final film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy. Thorne is best known for his work on This Is England and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I had the pleasure of meeting Thorne during a screening of This Is England '86 at the BFI. He was unassuming and endlessly funny.

The Colin Trevorrow directed sequel is scheduled to begin principle photography in January. This is a few weeks after Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi premieres in theatres.

Disney has too much at stake with the beloved franchise. Especially in the wake of Chris Lord and Phil Miller being replaced by Ron Howard on the untitled Han Solo spin-off weeks from completion. So, really excited to see what Jack Thorne does in a galaxy far, far away...

Star Wars: Episode IX is scheduled for release 24th May 2019.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

The Walking Dead Season 8 first look trailer at SDCC

The Walking Dead returns to television screens this October only on Fox.

A new 5-minute trailer for season 8 premiered during a panel with cast and crew at SDCC. It teases a time jump and promises more action. Season 7 lost dramatic impetus in a reprise of the second second (the first time I stopped watching the apocalyptic soap noir). So much so, I didn't bother continuing after the mid-season break. By this time, DCTV had my exclusive attention.

On the strength of this trailer, I'll resume The Walking Dead when all box sets start streaming again on NOW TV this September.

In related news. During the quieter summer months - the return of Game of Thrones notwithstanding - I'm catching up with genre series that didn't warrant immediate viewing.

Fear the Walking Dead seemingly continues to struggle to find a voice despite an impressive cast. Oftentimes the production is middling and there's a palpable lack of fear factor despite a promising start. Presumably AMC has invested too much in the brand to mothball the prequel series for now. Fear the Walking Dead is in need of a soft reboot.

The Walking Dead shuffles back on 23rd October on Fox.

Friday, 21 July 2017

Radio Flyer announces Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder

Many Star Wars fans (myself included) wanted to own a full-size replica of Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder growing up. Alas, fans had to settle for Kenner's toy vehicle when the first film in George Lucas' space opera was released in 1977.

Now, Radio Flyer has announced a kid-sized Landspeeder for the next generation of fans.

"The first kid-sized Landspeeder you can drive. Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder™ by Radio Flyer is modelled after the sand-pocked and sun-faded X-34 craft from Star Wars: A New Hope. With seats for 2 riders, an interactive dashboard with lights and real movie sounds, and a 5mph driving speed, this speeder provides a truly galactic driving experience.

The gear shift switches between 2mph forward, 5mph forward, or 2mph reverse. 12V rechargeable battery and charger included. For ages 4+, max weight 130 lbs."

The attention to detail is incredible and I'm in no way envious of younger fans when this ships from Toys "R" Us following Force Friday II.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

BBC responds to Jodie Whittaker casting complaints

Reactions from fans have run the gamut in the wake of Jodie Whittaker's casting as Doctor Who. From delight to dismay. Now, the BBC has formally responded to complaints.

"Since the first Doctor regenerated back in 1966, the concept of the Doctor as a constantly evolving being has been central to the programme. The continual input of fresh ideas and new voices across the cast and the writing and production teams has been key to the longevity of the series.

The Doctor is an alien from the planet Gallifrey and it has been established in the show that Time Lords can switch gender.

As the Controller of BBC Drama has said, Jodie is not just a talented actor but she has a bold and brilliant vision for her Doctor. She aced it in her audition both technically and with the powerful female life force she brings to the role. She is destined to be an utterly iconic Doctor.

We hope viewers will enjoy what we have in store for the continuation of the story."

Personally, I can't wait to see Whittaker's take on my favourite time traveller. Your mileage may vary. I'll leave you with Chris Hardwick's reaction to Doct-Her Who on Comedy Central.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Use the Force of AR in Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

App-enabled devices are de rigueur and soon you will be able to hone your lightsaber skills with Star Wars: Jedi Challenges announced at the D23 Expo.

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges is a technological partnership between Disney and Lenovo that sees staples of the franchise utilised in a headset paired with a smartphone. For example players will be able to experience a game of holochess or wield a lightsaber.

The impressive augmented reality (AR) suite does not have a release date, but Force Friday II is 1st September to celebrate Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges surpasses Kinect Star Wars and will surely be a must-have for fans this holiday season.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Jodie Whittaker is the Thirteenth Doctor Who

Finally, after months of speculation the next actor to play the titular Time Lord Doctor Who has been announced in a very cool, and enigmatic, fashion.

Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch) will take the helm of the TARDIS from current incumbent Peter Capaldi this Christmas as showrunner Stephen Moffat makes way for Chris Chibnall, creator of Broadchurch.

A time lady, you say? Well, my earliest memory of a possible female Doctor Who dates back to Tom Baker's swansong season and, ever since, I've expected either a male or female actor in the role. Most recently when Matt Smith announced he was leaving during the 50th anniversary season and fans speculated Olivia Colman was taking over. Ultimately, Capaldi was revealed as the next Doctor during a BBC special hosted by Zoe Ball.

Aside from the announcement of the Thirteenth Doctor. Loved the soundtrack callback to the 1980s and hope this is a teaser for things to come (the cancellation of Doctor Who during Sylvester McCoy's era notwithstanding).

Whittaker is an accomplished actress and I'm excited to see Doctor Who, my favourite series, continue to embrace its central conceit of change. VWORP! VWORP!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Behind-the-scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Lucasfilm has released a thrilling behind-the-scenes sizzle reel for director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi at the D23 Expo.

Johnson was joined on stage by cast members Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).

Fans will have to wait a little longer for a new trailer. It's all about building excitement.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Star Wars Land first look at D23 Expo

A year ago I was at Star Wars Celebration Europe in sweltering heat.

From acting as an unofficial tour guide for fellow fans en route to the ExCeL London to meeting childhood heroes amidst an inclusive community from around the world. Star Wars Celebration Europe was the best convention I've attended and you can read all about it here.

Fast forward a year. D23 Expo starts today in Anaheim and Disney's given fans a sneak peek at the company's upcoming Star Wars Land announced in 2015. “This is the most ambitious land we’ve built to date,” said Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney’s parks division at the unveiling. Fans will be able to pilot the Millennium Falcon. The Star Wars attraction opens in theme parks 2019.

Star Wars fans (myself included) are hoping there'll be official movie news at D23 Expo. Director Rian Johnson has teased on Twitter he'll be in attendance. It would be a surprise if there's no new footage from The Last Jedi. Fans are speculating there'll be an Obi-Wan movie spin-off announcement to deflect from the controversy surrounding the Han Solo movie slated for release next May.

What Star Wars news are you hoping for? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Stranger Things at SDCC

A year ago this was the eve of Star Wars Celebration Europe and Stranger Things' debut on Netflix. The Duffer brothers homage to the 1980s caught the imagination of geeks (myself included) the world over, and I was held spellbound by its callbacks to John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg masterworks.

Earlier this week Netflix announced the second season begins streaming 27th October. Alongside this exciting news an amazing poster, that conveys The War of the Worlds meets The Goonies, was unveiled.

The new season is set in 1984, a year after the events depicted in season one, so expect pop culture references from that year including Ghostbusters and Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. Personally, it was the year my folks gifted me a Commodore 64, which I still own, and I religiously listened to Frankie Goes to Hollywood whilst playing the Sabreman trilogy with childhood friends.

Stranger Things will be at San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) in Hall H.