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.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Win Amazing Spider-Man from Sideshow Collectibles

To celebrate the release of Marvel's Spider-Man: Homecoming, which sees Tom Holland's web-slinger in the best franchise installment since director Sam Raimi's Spider-Man 2. Sideshow Collectibles is giving away an Amazing Spider-Man Premium Format Figure.

Enter for your chance to win an Amazing Spider-Man Premium Format Figure here. Please mention you heard about this giveaway on Generation Star Wars. Thank you.

The contest is good through 24th July at 11:59PM (PT). Good luck, Spidey fans!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Star Wars fan film: Dark Legacy

This is turning into Star Wars fan film week on Generation Star Wars and that's a great thing. The fine folks at Manifest Film have taken the dark path to explore the brutality of Sith lore in Dark Legacy.

Whilst the Star Wars cinematic franchise has primarily focussed on Jedi training, fans have yet to fully see the trials of a Sith. Something that could be examined in director Rian Johnson's The Last Jedi this December.

“Training is complete only with the death of the master or the student.”

Dark Legacy is a short film about an apprentice (Erin Wu) imprisoned against her will by a Sith Master (Fabien Garcia) searching for the student who will surpass him, or die trying.

Almost a year in the making. Dark Legacy is directed by Anthony Pietromonaco, with special effects by Jaremy Aiello and Mo Meinhart (Star Trek, The Walking Dead), and fight choreography by Phil Tan and Z Teams (Pirates of the Caribbean, Dragon Ball Z – Light of Hope).

"I'm bored by villains that are one-dimensional," Pietromonaco tells Creators. "For me that kills the story. One of the most fascinating elements of Sith philosophy isn't that it's 'evil.' It's utilitarian. We wanted to create a situation where an apprentice was forced to use the dark side as a practical element for survival. Not because they were bad, but because they had no choice. Our story grew from there."

Pietromonaco has succeeded in reprising The Empire Strikes training scenes between Luke and Yoda with a grim Sith twist.

If you have a Star Wars fan film you'd like to share, please contact me.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Star Wars fan film: Revenge of the Sith remake

New Zealand-based Star Wars fan Tim Hoekstra has filmed a shot-for-shot remake of Revenge of the Sith and it's a blast!

Using nothing more than toy lightsabers and existing indoor and outdoor locations. A group of fans have restaged the final chapter in George Lucas' Star Wars prequel trilogy to humourous effect.

If you have a Star Wars fan film you'd like to share, please contact me.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Sony teases Close Encounters of the Third Kind return

Star Wars isn't alone in celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.

Director Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind was also released in 1977 and, coincidently, would be the second movie I saw at the cinema with my folks in the wake of a life-changing head injury.

Spielberg's opus would cement a lifelong passion for film.

Lacombe (Françoi Truffaut) reminds me of the American neurosurgeon who saved my life in 1977 and encouraged me to see Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's no wonder I wanted to board the Millennium Falcon and mothership all those years ago.

This means something...

Last Monday Sony teased fans with a cryptic teaser trailer on World UFO Day. Fans excitedly speculated as to whether or not this was a sequel. Well, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial began life as a sequel to Close Encounters of the Third Kind. However, a 4K restoration of Spielberg's masterpiece is coming to theatres for one week this September.

This won't be the first time the sci-fi classic has returned to the big screen. In 1980 cinemagoers were invited to follow everyman Roy Neary (Richard Dreyfuss) into the mothership in the Special Edition.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Jenna Coleman returns to Doctor Who this Christmas

Series 10 of Doctor Who ended last Saturday with, arguably, the best season finale in years. The Doctor Falls is an emotional escapade, directed with cinematic flair by Rachel Talalay, witnessing peak Team TARDIS and culminating in a mythological encounter between the Twelfth and First Doctors. A cliffhanger ending comparable to Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this lifelong fan of both franchises.

David Bradley (Harry Potter) played William Hartnell to critical acclaim in 50th anniversary drama documentary An Adventure in Space and Time. This time (pun intended) Bradley is the First Doctor in the upcoming Christmas special seemingly set in the South Pole during the first Cyberman invasion serial The Tenth Planet. A story best remembered for William Hartnell's regeneration into Patrick Troughton. Very, very meta.

Last May I reported there was a rumour suggesting Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald) was returning to Doctor Who for Peter Capaldi's departure this Christmas. A source has now told the Mirror: “Jenna Coleman has agreed to film something new as Clara.

“It’s become a tradition now for the companions to reappear as the Doctor regenerates and Jenna isn’t letting the side down.

“It’ll help to give Peter the send-off he deserves after three years.”

As already stated, this isn't the first time a companion has returned for a regeneration story. Karen Gillan reprised the role of Amy Pond in Matt Smith's swansong The Time of the Doctor. It's worth noting Clara appeared alongside companions and foes in a callback to Tom Baker's last story. Logopolis. Presumably, the Doctor's memory block has been lifted?

So, the Impossible Girl may return for a festive farewell. In the meantime, I'd like to wish my American readers a happy Fourth of July.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi won't be at SDCC

San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is this month and The Unofficial San Diego Comic-Con Blog reports that Star Wars: The Last Jedi won't be there.

The blog reached out to Lucasfilm who replied: “Our presence at SDCC 2017 will be focused on our booth on the convention floor, so there will be no press events or interview opportunities this year.”

Instead, the upcoming sequel to The Force Awakens is expected to be showcased a week earlier during Disney's D23 Expo in Anaheim. This isn't a big surprise as Star Wars Celebration was only a few months ago and is on the back of Lord and Miller's sacking from the Han Solo spin-off, which Ron Howard is now helming.

Are you disappointed The Last Jedi isn't at SDCC? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Film critic Barry Norman dies aged 83

Years before I accidentally stumbled into media studies by way of an oversubscribed photography course in 1989. Starburst, Starlog and Barry Norman were my primary sources for film news and reviews.

Barry Norman was the UK's answer to Siskel & Ebert - before they were a thing - hosting the BBC's "Film..." from 1972 to 1998 before leaving for Sky Movies. The series continues to this day with Film 2017.

Norman was a compelling critic and mentor for film fans (myself included). I would religiously record the latest show on my folks' VCR and watch the following morning before school.

He described Star Wars, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, as an "utterly delightful romp" in 1977 and praised George Lucas' continued tinkering with the original trilogy as indicative of the organic nature of filmmaking.

His wise words will be sorely missed. However, generations of film fans will be forever grateful. RIP Barry Norman.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Jumanji 2 is jungle TRON

A trailer for Jumanji 2: Welcome to the Jungle dropped yesterday and mashed-up Freaky Friday, The Breakfast Club, Pitfall! and Disney's Tron franchise with aplomb.

The first sequel to the original Jumanji stars Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda) and Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy).

The former Doctor Who star looks like she's channelling Lara Croft in the mid 1990s. However, this trope will be explained in the upcoming movie that sees a group of teens sucked into a video game much like Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) in Disney's cult classic Tron from 1982.

I didn't see Jumanji, starring the late Robin Williams, until it was released on DVD and soon became a family favourite.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Star Wars Forces of Destiny premieres this July

Star Wars Forces of Destiny, an animated micro-series by Star Wars Rebels creator Dave Filoni, features Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Felicity Jones (Jyn Erso) and Ashley Eckstein (Ahsoka Tano) reprising their iconic roles in all-new adventures in a galaxy far, far away...

“Star Wars Forces of Destiny is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia’s heroism, Rey’s courage, or Ahsoka’s tenacity,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “We’re thrilled that so many of the original actors are reprising their roles in these shorts which capture the small moments and everyday decisions that shape who these characters are. It is a fun new way for people to experience Star Wars.”

The new series will be backed by a range of merchandise from Star Wars licensee Hasbro.

“From Princess Leia to Sabine Wren, Star Wars heroines are unique, and we wanted to represent that in the product line for Star Wars Forces of Destiny,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “The result is the creation of our new ‘Adventure Figures’ that celebrate the power and stories of these incredible characters and allow kids to recreate their most heroic moments at home.”

The animated shorts will premiere on Disney's YouTube channel prior to airing on the Disney Channel.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny starts 3rd July.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Nintendo Classic Mini: SNES with Star Fox 2

Many video game enthusiasts (myself included) missed out on the Nintendo Classic Mini: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) due to severe stock shortages last November.

So, when the company announced it was following up with the Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) this September. I was determined to secure a pre-order from The 16-bit console represents peak Nintendo.

The successor to the NES captured my imagination whilst flicking through the pages of defunct games magazine Mean Machines. The sleek-looking console was released in its native Japan in 1990 with Super Mario World, F-Zero and Pilotwings. When the machine reached UK shores in 1992 it did not disappoint. Featuring Super Mario World as a pack-in, the 16-bit powerhouse had pride of place under the TV that Christmas. Super Mario World and Super Mario 64 remain my favourite franchise installments.

The "SNES", as it was pronounced on Bad Influence! a weekly tech magazine show hosted by Andy Crane and Violet Berlin in the early 1990s, introduced me to the wonders of Hyrule in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. A game I treasure to this day.

Whilst last year's NES included 30 games, the SNES will feature 21 and it represents a stellar genre line-up including the unreleased Star Fox 2:

Contra III: The Alien Wars
Donkey Kong Country
Final Fantasy III
Kirby Super Star
Kirby's Dream Course
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mega Man X
Secret of Mana
Star Fox
Star Fox 2
Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
Super Castlevania IV
Super Ghouls'n Ghosts
Super Mario Kart
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Super Mario World
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
Super Metroid
Super Punch-Out!!

From ALIEN³ (loaned to a friend and never returned) to Super Star Wars, Nintendo's 16-bit console never failed to delight with Mode 7 and Super FX technological trickery. That said, the cartridges were expensive. Street Fighter II Turbo cost £70!

I took my machine to university where it played genial host to Super Mario Kart tournaments with housemates and friends until the PlayStation was launched in 1995. Without the SNES there would be no PlayStation. Sony's console began life as an aborted SNES CD-ROM add-on in 1988. However, Nintendo shunned Sony and partnered with Philips in 1991. The rest is gaming history.

Nintendo is putting the "n" into nostalgia with these classic mini consoles featuring childhood callbacks for fans.

"Our long-term efforts are focused on delivering great games for the Nintendo Switch system and continuing to build momentum for that platform, as well as serving the more than 63 million owners of Nintendo 3DS family systems. We are offering Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition in special recognition of the fans who show tremendous interest our classic content."

In a statement to USgamer, Nintendo said: "We aren't providing specific numbers, but we will produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition.

"Super Nintendo Entertainment System: Super NES Classic Edition is currently planned to ship from 29th September until the end of calendar year 2017. At this time, we have nothing to announce regarding any possible shipments beyond this year."

Pre-orders sold out within minutes on Monday. I secured mine after following a link on Eurogamer.

Nintendo's 16-bit era arch-rival Sega has recently launched Sega Forever for iOS and Android devices. Sega plans to release games from the Master System to Dreamcast. However, it's off to a stuttering start and there isn't a first-party classic console product of the calibre offered by Nintendo. Personally, I'd love a mini classic Genesis/Mega Drive comparable to SNES with excellent emulation.

Did you manage to pre-order a Nintendo Classic Mini: Super Nintendo? Which games are you excited for? Is it bittersweet because of stock shortages? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery

Here's a first look at Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca in Star Trek: Discovery courtesy of the fine folks at EW.

The upcoming prequel series is set ten years before the original series and begins airing on CBS All Access on 24th September. Netflix will stream the series outside the US sometime thereafter.

Each episode has a purported budget of $6-7 million dollars and is a big gamble for the streaming network. However, Star Trek: Discovery maybe able to reach a mainstream audience much like the rebooted film franchise. The partnership with Netflix can only be a plus for the fledgling series.

The unaired series has been accused of being too diverse by some fans.

“Well, I would encourage them to key into the essence and spirit of Star Trek that has made it the legacy it is — and that’s looking across the way to the person sitting in front of you and realising you are the same, that they are not separate from you, and we are all one,” Sonequa Martin-Green told Entertainment Weekly.

“That’s something Star Trek has always upheld and I completely believe that is why it’s been a mainstay in society in the hearts of so many people for so many decades,” she added. “I would encourage them to look past their opinions and social conditioning and key into what we’re doing here — which is telling a story about humanity that will hopefully bring us all together.”

Diversity and inclusion has always been a hallmark of the Star Trek franchise. Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry was a pioneer.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Ron Howard to direct Han Solo Star Wars spin-off

Following news that directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller had been fired from the untilted Han Solo Star Wars spin-off. Lucasfilm has announced Ron Howard is the new captain of the troubled production.

Howard has a long history with Lucasfilm. He starred alongside Harrison Ford (Han Solo) in George Lucas' American Graffiti and directed Willow. The Apollo 13 director was approached by the creator of Star Wars to direct The Phantom Menace:

"[George Lucas] didn’t necessarily want to direct them. He told me he had talked to Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, and me. I was the third one he spoke to. They all said the same thing: “George, you should do it!” I don’t think anybody wanted to follow-up that act at the time. It was an honor, but it would’ve been too daunting."

The Star Wars spin-off was only weeks away from completing principal photography. So, it'll be interesting to see how Howard steadies the ship and finishes the film in a manner matching Lucasfilms' vision.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Phil Lord and Chris Miller fired from Star Wars spin-off

Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have disembarked from the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars spin-off movie due for release May 2018. A new director will be announced soon.

“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,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm.

“Unfortunately, our vision and process weren’t aligned with our partners on this project. 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,” stated Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

After Phil Lord and Christopher Miller took to the stage at Star Wars Celebration Europe, I was really looking forward to seeing them play in the Star Wars sandpit. The directors have a deft ability to take something overtly commercial and make it fun as exemplified in The LEGO Movie.

Bizarrely, the Han Solo spin-off has been filming since January. So, perhaps there's a tonal issue between the directors and Lucasfilm? It's worth noting Richard Donner was famously fired from Superman II and that turned out OK. Joe Johnston (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Ron Howard (Apollo 13) are frontrunners to take the helm of the troubled Star Wars production.

In related news. Colin Trevorrow's latest movie, The Book of Henry, has met with universal criticism and some fans are calling for the director to be replaced on Episode IX. Seemingly Star Wars is having growing pains at Disney. Josh Trank departed from an untitled spin-off and Gareth Edwards' Rogue One underwent extensive reshoots. The latter didn't turn out too shabby.

Who do you think should direct the Han Solo spin-off? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Star Trek: Discovery explores new frontiers this Fall

Star Trek: Discovery, the delayed prequel series set a decade before the adventures of Kirk and Spock, premieres 24th September on CBS All Access. The first eight episodes will run from September through November. The series will resume in January 2018. This is to allow for further post-production on later episodes.

Fans can watch Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix outside the US. Whilst CBS may not be as enamoured with the Star Trek franchise as it once was - to the point of saturation during the Nineties. The delays, and Netflix's involvement, may elevate the sci-fi franchise back to heights enjoyed by its big screen counterpart with which it has no narrative connection.

Discovery stars Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter/Star Wars Rebels) as Captain Lorca and Sonequa Martin Green (The Walking Dead) as Michael Burnham.

The trailer had a Mass Effect vibe and piqued my interest. Will you be exploring brave new worlds with the crew of the Discovery? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Neill Blomkamp's Rakka starring Sigourney Weaver

Director Neill Blomkamp's Aliens sequel maybe on indefinite hiatus as Ridley Scott continues with his Alien prequel saga. However, Blomkamp's keeping busy with cinematic world building of his own.

Rakka, starring Sigourney Weaver, is a short film from Blomkamp's Oats Studios that sees the human race on the brink of extinction in the wake of an alien invasion.

The director has never shied away from political satire and this thematic subtext can be seen throughout his oeuvre from District 9 to Chappie. I'm interested to see where he goes with this next.

Carly Pope co-stars and DCTV fans will recognise her from the latest season of Arrow. Incidentally, Pope starred in Popular, a proto-Glee, alongside Wentworth Miller.

Blomkamp took to the stage at E3 to discuss distribution on Steam. Paid DLC, including 3D assets, will be made available for aspiring creatives to use. Movies as mods. Disruptive or indulgent? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Bat-Signal to shine over LA in memory of Adam West

One of my most endearing childhood memories from the 1970s was watching reruns of the 1960s Batman television series starring Adam West as the titular character.

Every Saturday morning I'd be sat in my folks' kitchen, with a bowl of Rice Krispies cereal and a collection of Corgi toys, excitedly watching Batman battle a menagerie of garish foes on a portable colour TV.

I was young enough not to be encumbered by matters of time nor fiction. Batman's adventures were of the here and now, and Gotham City was real. Whenever the phone rang, I wondered if it was the caped crusader?

Holy cycle calamity, Batman! Long summer evenings, after a day at primary school, were reserved for Batman adventures with childhood friends. My hooded coat, as worn by Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller) on DCTV, doubled as a batcape much to my late mum's chagrin - it got caught more than once in the back wheel of my bike.

So, Adam West's passing from leukemia, aged 88, was personal. His Dark Knight stirred the detective within and a passion for problem solving. Batman formed part of an heroic trio including Doctor Who and The Six Million Dollar Man. Tonight the Bat-Signal will shine over LA in his memory.

Thank you, good sir. Goodnight, good knight. RIP Adam West.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Marvel's Spider-Man gameplay at E3

Marvel's Spider-Man gameplay footage was released during the PlayStation press conference at E3. The PS4 exclusive, seemingly channelling Uncharted and Arkham Knight, looks amazing and I'm hoping it'll evoke fond memories of playing Spider-Man 2.

The upcoming game was revealed at last year's E3. Sony's PlayStation press conference was good, if not stellar, this year. Horizon Zero Dawn will be getting new DLC in the form of The Frozen Wilds later this year. The lack of any update on The Last of Us Part II left a few fans underwhelmed. It remains to be seen if the company is holding back announcements for Gamescom this August.

Marvel's Spider-Man won't be released until 2018. Third-party developer Insomniac Games has an enviable track record with franchises including Spyro, Ratchet & Clank and Sunset Overdrive. So, it's welcome news the studio isn't going to rush release the game to coincide with Spider-Man: Homecoming this July.

Pre-order Marvel's Spider-Man for PS4 today.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Microsoft shuns VR as it unveils Xbox One X at E3

In a move echoing Apple's annual iPhone release cycle. Microsoft unveiled Xbox One X (codename Project Scorpio) during the company's Xbox E3 Briefing on Sunday. The new premium console joins, but does not replace, Xbox One and Xbox One S.

Matt Charlton shares his insights into the sleek Xbox One X and the direction Microsoft appears to be going with brand Xbox under the leadership of Phil Spencer:

"I see exactly where Microsoft are taking Xbox and it's extremely clever.

They are creating a single platform - Windows 10-based, with multiple tiers. They look to be heading down an Apple iPhone-based distribution model.

You can buy a game for Xbox knowing that it will work on your console, no matter which one you have, the more money you spend, the better graphics and performance you get.

Microsoft has moved to an annual release cycle where they bring out a new console with a new CPU and a new graphics card with more RAM, more storage and more power. The systems and ecosystem evolve with time, but you'll always be able to play the games you've bought. With the company bringing original Xbox games into the fold, it's now a cross-gen platform for anything ever released (as long as developers allow).

Game developers know the platform, they know DirectX and we don't have any of this stupidity where processor architectures change and development for one generation is completely redundant in the next. I remember reading that the PS3 was ridiculously hard to develop for. This stops that.

Different sized texture packs will ship with games, resolution and draw distances can be changed depending on spec, its no different from playing Starcraft 2 on a 4 year old laptop against playing it on an all-singing all-dancing £2000 desktop gaming rig.

Games might get a little bigger, but that's to be expected anyway. You still keep things simple by only having known hardware configurations and multiple tiers.

Also gives them the opportunity to increase their player base. Your frontrunners buy the latest consoles as they come out, the old console is still perfectly fine - they pass it on to a friend or a family member and they buy games and play.

Clever. Very clever.

It's a good time to be a gamer."

So, aside from the Xbox One X, which is garnering a mixed reaction due, primarily, to a price point of £449.99GBP when the new console is released on 7th November. The big takeaway from E3 was a dangerous lack of first-party exclusives, VR and an emphasis on indie developers. 42 games represented as a dull laundry list with BioWare's Anthem, a third-party title that deleteriously impacted Mass Effect: Andromeda's development, closing the presentation.

There was no mention of Rise of the Tomb Raider being enhanced for 4K on Xbox One X, which is disappointing given the superlative sequel was a timed exclusive and improved fidelity is available for PS4 Pro. And Halo was nowhere to be seen.

Will I get an Xbox One X? Yes. I already own a 4K UHD TV and enhanced fidelity is appealing. Plus, as Matt's already stated, all my existing Xbox games will be available to play out of the box from day-one. Something that neither Nintendo nor Sony offers.

Again, this E3 is Sony's to lose in terms of first-party exclusives and third-party marketing deals including Call of Duty: WWII, Destiny 2 and Star Wars Battlefront II. Unless Nintendo knocks it out of the park.

But, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Star Wars Battlefront II trailer at E3

A teaser trailer for Star Wars Battlefront II was shown during Star Wars Celebration Orlando last April. The teaser revealed that the single player campaign follows Inferno Squad, an Imperial special forces unit lead by Commander Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar), in the wake of the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Now, a full trailer drops during EA Play 2017 at E3. Fans finally get to see gameplay footage from the upcoming sequel to the 2015 video game franchise reboot. Unlike its predecessor, Battlefront II will traverse all three Star Wars trilogies.

Star Wars Battlefront II is out on 17th November for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Theft from Star Wars 'Smithsonian' Rancho Obi-Wan

Rancho Obi-Wan, housing the largest private collection of Star Wars memorabilia in the US, has lost $200,000 in stock.

Steve Sansweet, a household name to Star Wars fans and collectors, announced the theft on Monday.

Dear fellow Star Wars fans and collectors,

I need to share some distressing news with you because I need your help.

In February we at Rancho Obi-Wan found out that we had been the victim of a major theft that surreptitiously took place over many months in late 2015 through 2016.

There were more than 100 valuable items stolen, the majority of them vintage U.S. and foreign carded action figures, many of them rare and important pieces. Most have either been resold or professionally appraised for a total of more than $200,000.

The theft came to light after Philip Wise, a good friend, major collector and owner of several Star Wars websites, posted news of the theft of his rare prototype rocket-firing Boba Fett action figure from his Texas warehouse. Zach Tann, a respected toy dealer and collector in Southern California, immediately notified Philip that he had purchased that figure from Carl Edward Cunningham, 45, a well-known Star Wars collector and R2-D2 builder from Marietta, Georgia.

Tann further told Philip that he previously had bought many other rare Star Wars collectibles from Carl and sent a detailed list. Philip said that he quickly concluded by the quantity and quality of items that they had likely been stolen from my collection here in Petaluma, California.

Tann is working closely with us and authorities to help recover and return as many of the stolen collectibles as possible. Without Zach Tann’s call to Philip, which came despite great potential personal financial exposure to himself, we might still not know of the theft or its extent.

Carl surrendered on an arrest warrant from the Sonoma County, California Sheriff’s Department at the end of March and was charged with felony grand theft. He is currently free on bail with additional hearings in the case scheduled.

I have known Carl for many years, considered him a good and trusted friend, and played host to him at my home numerous times. I, and the staff at Rancho Obi-Wan, are devastated that he is the alleged perpetrator of the thefts. Not only have important items been stolen from the collection, but also our time, energy and ability to trust unconditionally have taken a blow.

If you have any information about Carl Cunningham’s activities or items that he has sold please write to If you think you may have purchased a stolen item, please be patient while we work through this process. It is our goal to resolve this situation as quickly as possible and to continue to use the collection at Rancho Obi-Wan to “Inspire through the Force” despite the destruction caused by one person.

Thank you for your help,
Steve Sansweet
Rancho Obi-Wan

This is a LIST OF ITEMS that hasn’t truly been accounted for. If you bought any of these, especially on eBay (user name: winterceltic) or through the forum in the last year from Carl Cunningham, please let us know at
Han Solo (Large Head) 12 Back
Death Squad Commander 12B back Palitoy
Jawa 12 Back Palitoy
Sand People 12A-back Palitoy
Ben Kenobi 12 Back-B Takara Sticker
Jawa 20-back J
Hammerhead SW 21-back card
Luke Skywalker X-Wing Pilot SW 21 back
R5-D4 SW 21-back card
R2-D2 ESB 31-back card
Darth Vader ESB 41 Back-A
Luke Skywalker (Bespin) Brown hair 47-back
R2-D2 with Sensorscope ROTJ 65-back Palitoy
Chewbacca POTF 92 Back
Amanaman Palitoy Tri-Logo
Hammerhead Palitoy Tri-Logo
Luke Skywalker (brown hair) Palitoy Tri-Logo
Princess Leia Organa Palitoy Tri-Logo
Yak Face Palitoy Tri-Logo
LEGO Millennium Falcon Set Sealed #10179
LEGO Super Star Destroyer #10221
LEGO Rebel Snowspeeder #10129
LEGO Imperial Shuttle #10212
Death Star Spherical Cardboard Playset Toltoys box with Palitoy innards

Please help spread the word. Thank you.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi gets early release in the UK

UK Star Wars fans (myself included) will get to see director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi a day before folks in the US. The first sequel to The Force Awakens now premieres on Thursday 14th December.

Eager fans can see The Last Jedi even earlier. The next installment in the Star Wars saga opens in France, Italy and Norway on Wednesday 13th December.

Will you be booking tickets for a midnight screening? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Apple showcases VR with Star Wars demo

Apple has partnered with Valve and showcased SteamVR during its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) took to the stage. An ILMxLAB staffer, using an HTC VIVE headset and wands, populated a virtual world with TIE Fighters, Imperial Shuttle and Darth Vader. The presentation was powered by an iMac Pro coming this December.

Native VR support will be included with macOS High Sierra later this year and further augmented with Unreal 4 and Unity engine support.

The Cupertino-based company is bolstering its desktop line with refreshed iMacs and MacBooks to play catch-up in a resurgent VR space.

Do you think Apple's taking the desktop space seriously in the wake of criticisms suggesting the company has focussed too much on mobile devices? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Odette Annable's Reign of destruction on Supergirl

The DCTV season finales have aired on Sky 1, in the UK, and fans now look to the future of the multiverse on the small screen.

Reign, made famous by The New 52, will be the big bad on Supergirl season 3. She's a Worldkiller, a biological weapon created by the Kryptonians, and will pose a compelling moral dilemma for Kara (Melissa Benoist).

Reign will be played by Odette Annable (Cloverfield).

"Greg [Berlanti] and I have wanted to work with Odette for years," said executive producer Andrew Kreisberg. "We are beyond excited to have her join our cast in the scary, powerful and heartbreaking role of Reign."

In related news. Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the titular Amazonian, is a critical and commercial success at the box office. Perhaps a catalyst for the DC Universe. Less dreary and more fun henceforth. Injustice 2 for PS4 and Xbox One brings Mortal Kombat to the multiverse and becomes one of the best fighting games ever made. Non-fighting fans should play it for the amazing story mode, incredible character animations and cinematics.

Looking forward to Odette Annable and Melissa Benoist battle for supremacy of Earth-38? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

A-Box is a great geek gift for Father's Day

Mystery box subscriptions are proving popular with geeks of all ages. From Loot Crate to Smugglers Bounty by Funko, there's something for fans of film, TV and video games everywhere.

Now, A-Box arrives and it's the perfect subscription gift for Father's Day!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams is a huge fan of the mystery box, as evidenced by his multimedia oeuvre, and a proud self-confessed geek. This maybe something his children would gift him for Father's Day.

A-Box is a new mystery box subscription service working directly with film and video game studios including Marvel and Activision. Each A-Box is packed with over £70 value for £38 per month (less if you opt for a longer subscription) and there's no contract. So, you could gift family and friends for their birthday or the holiday season. Why not treat yourself too?

In addition to a monthly mystery box. There'll be limited edition boxes. The first is Alien: Covenant for fans of director Ridley Scott's xenomorph. This is available for £55, but contains items valued over £150! It's worth noting there's an official life-sized replica, approved by Twentieth Century Fox, from the movie. What could it be? Leave your guesses in the comments below.

Mystery box subscriptions can be hit-and-miss. So much so that I've been reluctant to purchase one (for review purposes). However, A-Box benefits from directly supplying the movie industry for 10 years. They're off to a strong start with the release of the Alien: Covenant box from 26th June.

A-Box looks like a great addition to the mystery box space and a Star Wars: The Last Jedi themed box would be awesome this December. However, the proof will be when I have one in hand to review, myself.

The fine folks at A-Box reached out to me and, as such, this isn't a sponsored post. I simply like the look of this new fully licensed blind box subscription service and wanted readers to see for themselves.

For further details and to subscribe, visit

Monday, 29 May 2017

Renault rolls out R2-D2 at Monaco GP

George Lucas, creator of Star Wars, appeared with the Renault team during last weekend's Monaco GP.

Lucas was joined by R2-D2, Stormtrooper, TIE Fighter Pilot, and Renault teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer to mark the space opera's 40th anniversary, which coincides with Renault's first appearance at the British GP in 1977.

The Force wasn't with Renault.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Star Wars Story

A long time ago... 40 years to be exact. Star Wars was released in America.

Now, I wouldn't see George Lucas' space opera until early 1978. But, that's for context as Star Wars hadn't opened in the UK when I was admitted into children's hospital, following a serious head injury in primary school, in October 1977.

I remember the American neurosurgeon - who saved my life alongside a talented, international, team - saying I had to promise him I'd see Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and gave me a poster of R2-D2 and C-3PO as a parting gift!

The promise was kept.

A few months after being discharged from hospital, I moved house with my folks, an uncle gifted me a copy of John Williams' Star Wars soundtrack LP and an aunt gifted me an R2-D2 action figure for Christmas. Each lunchtime at home (the primary school I was moved to wouldn't accept liability outside of classroom hours) I'd eat a bacon sandwich (or similar snack), play the soundtrack, and let my imagination soar as R2-D2 embarked on another secret mission.

Then in early 1978, aged 5, mum took me to see Star Wars at Odeon Exeter. Dad had to carry me up a flight of stairs (I was wheelchair bound at the time). Once we'd been shown to our seats, by helpful staff, a mother and young daughter appeared. Mum was a warm lady and was asked if she would keep an eye on the daughter during the movie? As always, she was more than happy to oblige and I had a new friend with which to share this inaugural cinematic experience with.

Suffice it to say, the next few hours were mesmerising. From dancers, dressed as characters from Star Wars dancing to the disco arrangement, to the destruction of the Death Star underscored by John Williams' ode to Erich Korngold and Gustav Holst's The Planets to medals bestowed on our heroes. By the film's finale, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Either become a Jedi or filmmaker - both, but that's between us. I said goodbye to my Star Wars buddy and then noticed she'd left her combe behind. Dutifully, I told mum, but the girl had gone...

In the wake of seeing Star Wars, I'd graduated into becoming a film geek for life. Marvel's "making of" magazine, with a cover featuring poster art by the Hildebrandt brothers, fell to bits (it was read daily). Cinema trips became a school holiday treat.

Collecting Star Wars action figures and accessories meant Star Wars was every day, friendships forged (many of which last to this day) and playground adventures shared. Amassed quite a collection from Star Wars to Return of the Jedi. My favourite toys included 12" Boba Fett, AT-AT, Imperial Troop Transport, Darth Vader's Star Destroyer action playset and an Imperial Shuttle.

As much as I wanted to play the hero, the Empire always looked cooler to me. Because Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and Boba Fett. Fun fact: I thought Stormtroopers were robots until The Empire Strikes Back!

From the age of 5 until 17, I was an outpatient undergoing rehabilitation for head trauma. Whilst there would be times I'd feel alienated (who doesn't?), Star Wars remained a constant force (pun intended) for inspiration. If a farm boy could become a Jedi, then I could learn to walk again and help others.

In 1997, whilst working as an online journalist, I was interviewed for a BBC documentary commemorating the 20th anniversary of Star Wars. Lucasfilm, now owned by Disney, decided to drop the fan segment. But, I'll always be determined to make a contribution to the franchise's legacy in some small way. Further to this, I worked on The Gemini Apes starring Sir Christopher Lee. Lee would go on to play Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels.

Last summer was momentous. With a close friend, I met Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) at Star Wars Celebration Europe. Five year old me would never have believed it. Profoundly poignant in view of Fisher's death last December.

Next month marks the tenth anniversary of mum's death due to medical trauma. Star Wars was given an honourable mention during her funeral service. So, today I'll watch the original trilogy in mum's memory.

Through the good times and bad, Star Wars is without doubt the defining film in my life. Thank you, George Lucas!

Happy 40th birthday, Star Wars!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Vanity Fair goes behind-the-scenes of The Last Jedi

Fresh from publishing four variant covers to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Star Wars this week. Vanity Fair goes behind-the-scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with exclusive photos, taken by Annie Leibovitz, and a video.

Fans get their first glimpse of Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro, playing Vice Admiral Holdo and DJ respectively, in The Last Jedi.

Dern strikes an imperious pose, in stark contrast to her character's link to the Resistance, that evokes the opulent prequels. She recently attended a scoring session for The Last Jedi reuniting the Jurassic Park actress with composer John Williams.

Del Toro is channelling a Replicant from Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.

Director Rian Johnson gives an insight into his approach to the Star Wars sequel, saying, “I started by writing the names of each of the characters, and thinking, ‘What’s the hardest thing they could be faced with?'”

On the subject of Rey’s training parallelling Luke's on Dagobah, Johnson teases, “There’s a training element to it, but it’s not exactly what you would expect.”

It's heartbreaking when Kathleen Kennedy suggests Carrie Fisher may have had a bigger role in Episode IX, which closes the Star Wars sequel trilogy. “The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’” Kennedy remembers. “Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”

Be sure to visit Vanity Fair for the full story here.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released in cinemas on 15th December.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Vanity Fair covers the 40th anniversary of Star Wars

Annie Leibovitz has photographed Star Wars actors since capturing the cast of The Phantom Menace in 1999. Subsequently the famed photographer's lavish photo shoots have become a tradition.

Now, Vanity Fair has released four variant covers to commemorate the 40th anniversary of George Lucas' space opera.

The first is Rey and Luke, the second is Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren, and General Hux, the third is Poe Dameron, Finn, and Rose Tico, and the fourth is General Leia. Most notably Carrie Fisher has a cover all of her own. This is in tribute to the late actress and her final appearance in the upcoming The Last Jedi.

The grouping of characters suggests the story structure of The Empire Strikes Back.

Leibovitz’s full photo shoot will be online Wednesday, along with a story on the making of Rian Johnson's upcoming sequel to The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in cinemas 15th December.

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Stormtrooper story in Star Wars Battlefront II

Star Wars Battlefront was a gorgeous game, but lacked a single player campaign. The upcoming sequel appears to address this with a story mode focussing on Imperial forces in the wake of the destruction of the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars Battlefront II will follow Iden Versio (Janina Gavankar), commander of Inferno Squad an Imperial special forces unit, from the end of Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens.

A new developer diary, posted on the official PlayStation YouTube channel, chronicles the production of Star Wars Battlefront II and Lucasfilm Story Group's involvement in the creative process.

Incidentally, Amazon Prime members can read Official PlayStation Magazine for free using the Kindle app. Star Wars Battlefront II is featured in the latest issue.

Stay tuned for further coverage of Star Wars Battlefront II during E3.

Star Wars Battlefront II is out on 17th November for PS4, Xbox One and PC.