Wednesday 30 April 2014

Star Wars Rebels trailer debuts on Star Wars Day

Lucasfilm has issued a press release announcing the worldwide premiere of Star Wars Rebels trailer on Star Wars Day:

The rebellion begins this Sunday. The trailer for the upcoming animated series "Star Wars Rebels" will premiere in a global, multiplatform debut on Star Wars Day, SUNDAY, MAY 4th – also known as "May the 4th Be With You," the unofficial fan-driven holiday celebrating Star Wars.

In the U.S., Disney XD will feature the "Star Wars Rebels" trailer during the premiere of LEGO's "Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles" at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT. Additionally, the trailer will air on Disney Channel, ABC, ABC Family, Fusion, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 at varying times throughout the day.

The trailer will also debut on Disney XD and Disney Channels in countries spanning across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Australia – reaching approximately 105 million households in over 50 countries, across six continents and over 20 time zones.

Tuesday 29 April 2014

Star Wars: Episode VII cast revealed

Big news ahead of May the Fourth!

The Star Wars Team are thrilled to announce the cast of Star Wars: Episode VII.

Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and Abrams. Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, and John Williams is returning as the composer. The movie opens worldwide on December 18, 2015.


Monday 28 April 2014

Marvel's Netflix series part of the Cinematic Universe

Joe Quesada (Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment) has confirmed Marvel's upcoming Netflix series is connected to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will be available to binge-view from day-one.

Speaking on Kevin Smith's podcast, Quesada revealed:

"There will be some interconnectivity, much like the movies. They will exist within the Cinematic Universe again, so this is all the same world as S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Avengers… Although these are superhero stories, this is different now. This is the street level… this is the street level noir side of the Marvel Universe. Something that you haven’t really, really seen in any of our Marvel movies. And probably more ground level, than I think you’ve seen. This is not like us doing Batman, Dark Knight or any of that stuff. This is very much Marvel doing street level superheroes."

"The scripts are coming in. They are pretty fantastic. They’re really emotional. They’re very, very original. But at the same time, it is Daredevil. It is Matt Murdock. We will eventually, hopefully start casting really, really soon, but I’m very, very excited about it."

When Smith asked whether Kingpin would be part of the Daredevil or Spider-Man universe, Quesada remained coy about the villain. “I’m not going to say who the villain is in our story,” answered Quesada.

This July Marvel's Netflix series begins shooting in New York for release in 2015. Presumably to tie-in with Avengers: Age of Ultron.

DC Comics please take note.

Via Live for Films.

Saturday 26 April 2014

Lucasfilm reboots the Star Wars Expanded Universe

I remember the moment I walked into WHSmith and picked up a copy of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire!

Zahn's book reignited the Star Wars franchise, which lead to Dark Horse Comics' lauded Dark Empire graphic novel, new action figures and my all-time favourite FPS: Dark Forces. Good times!

Under Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy's direction, the company for the first time ever has formed a story group to oversee and coordinate all Star Wars creative development. Some might argue it's an elegant way to maximise monetization of the brand.

"We have an unprecedented slate of new Star Wars entertainment on the horizon," Kathleen Kennedy said. "We're set to bring Star Wars back to the big screen, and continue the adventure through games, books, comics and new formats that are just emerging. This future of interconnected storytelling will allow fans to explore this galaxy in deeper ways than ever before."

To preserve the element of surprise, the new Star Wars trilogy will not tell the same story told in the post-Return of the Jedi Expanded Universe. Fair enough.

Later this year fans will get a taste of the rebooted universe in Star Wars Rebels when the new series exclusively premieres on Disney Channel. Followed by all-new comics from Marvel in 2015.

Hate this? Love this? What's your thoughts?

Friday 25 April 2014

How HP Z workstations empower creativity

HP’s Z workstations have been designed to meet the demands of professionals who may be working with intricate 3D models, complex datasets, video editing and photography.

HP’s workstations set the “standard for innovation, performance, and reliability” according to the company, and are used in areas such as media, entertainment, engineering, architecture and even life sciences.

HP Z workstations come in all shapes and sizes to fit a users needs; all-in-ones, desktop workstations, and even laptop workstations such as the HP ZBook 14 Mobile Workstation which offers a choice of Windows 8 and Windows 7 versions, a choice of processors including the Intel Core i7-4600U with Intel HD Graphics 4400, and a large 16GB of RAM.

While the types of devices are tailored for desktop and mobile scenarios they all offer the power that professionals require.

The Ultimate CGI showcase powered by HP Z

CGI is a staple of film and television production the world over. Award-winning FX houses The Mill, Milk, Imaginarium and Framestore leverage HP's technology to startling effect as evidenced by this video.

Advanced Video Editing Software on HP Z Workstations

Non-linear editing software has come a long way since pioneering work at Lucasfilm spawned EditDroid and SoundDroid during the production of Return of the Jedi. Here HP showcases how HP Z workstations can be utilised with cutting edge video editing software in time-sensitive environments.

This post is sponsored by Spreaditfast. Opinions are mine.

Thursday 24 April 2014

Nintendo confirms Mario Kart 8 bundle

An interest in purchasing a Wii U has been piqued by Mario Kart 8 and the allure of an official bundle this May.

The £249.99 Mario Kart 8 Premium Pack includes a 32GB black Wii U Premium console, black GamePad controller, the Wii U's sensor bar and a physical copy of Mario Kart 8.

A special edition bundle featuring either Mario or Luigi is available exclusively from Nintendo.

The Wii U has failed to reprise the blockbuster sales of the Wii! However, Mario Kart 8 may be the fillip the console needs and platform exclusive Bayonetta 2 beckons.

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Beware the Batman exclusive to Prime Instant Video

My Prime Instant Video Watchlist is brimming with DC Comics' acclaimed animated series: from Batman: The Animated Series to Young Justice.

Beware the Batman is the latest exclusive on the streaming service in the UK.

"This milestone deal signals an exciting time in the growth of our exclusive content offering," said Tim Leslie, Vice President of Amazon Instant Video EU. "We're passionate about investing in the very best shows for our customers of all ages, and this is a great new series for a range of generations to immerse themselves in."

Jeffrey R Schlesinger, President of Warner Bros Worldwide Television Distribution, added: "Bruce Wayne is a character with so many stories to tell, and we're excited to have brought this cutting-edge animated series to a service like Amazon Prime Instant Video. Allowing the Caped Crusader's fans to enjoy all episodes on-demand means new audiences can experience the action-packed world of Beware the Batman whenever they want, however they want."

Tuesday 15 April 2014

The Beginning: Making Star Wars: Episode I

The making of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is officially available online.

Anyone with a modicum of interest in media production will find this documentary insightful, and George Lucas' candour is refreshing.

If only Jar Jar Binks had been cut in pre-production...

Monday 14 April 2014

Doctor Who and Sherlock on Prime Instant Video

Amazon has inked a deal with BBC Worldwide to add Doctor Who and Sherlock to its Prime Instant Video streaming service. Emphasising the company's continued investment in quality content for its members.

These award-winning drama series are already available on Netflix. However, more classic Doctor Who serials would be welcomed.

In other Amazon-related news. The online giant is buying ComiXology for an undisclosed amount. This could have far-reaching implications for the comic book industry.

Amazon Prime Instant costs £79 for a yearly subscription.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Bruce Timm's animated short Batman: Strange Days

A brand new short from producer Bruce Timm featuring a lost tale from Batman's past, the Dark Knight tracks a strange giant to the mysterious lair of Dr. Hugo Strange.

Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series, inspired by Tim Burton's movies, is the quintessential incarnation of the Dark Knight and introduced fan favourite Harley Quinn.

Friday 11 April 2014

Karen Gillan's hair in Star Wars: Episode VII

In an interview with Collider, Karen Gillan talks Oculus, Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars.

"They made my hair into the most incredible well-made wig and they gave it to the 'Star Wars' people," she said.

"It's just so funny to think that my hair is made into a wig, next to all these Star Wars monster heads in a warehouse. I thought that was really funny." But it was certainly no simple task to get rid of her flowing locks. "I was laughing hysterically," she said. "It really hit me when I woke up the next morning. That's when I was like, 'Oh, my god, where's my hair?!'

"But also, everyone kept me in good spirit. Everyone was laughing and telling jokes. Marvel are the best company to work for, they really are. They treat you really well."

The news isn't without controversy. Some Star Wars fans argue this is a spoiler pertaining to Expanded Universe character Mara Jade.

Talking spoilers. Keep a lookout for an upcoming co-authored blog post on the subject.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

The Last of Us: Remastered listed for PS4

Sony accidently posted this banner art for The Last of Us: Remastered! It briefly appeared on the Sony Entertainment Network, but the pre-order link lead to a "Page not found" notice.

Purportedly the PS4 port will include the Left Behind expansion and all Season Pass DLC.

A Sony spokesperson told Polygon that "At no time have we announced that The Last of Us is coming to PS4 and therefore, have nothing to say on the subject." The award-winning title was a PS3 exclusive released last year.

Sony's confirmed the release of the much-anticipated game this summer!

The PS4 edition will feature increased graphical fidelity and in-game cinematic commentary from actors Troy Baker (Joel) and BAFTA-winner Ashley Johnson (Ellie).

Creative director Neil Druckmann took to Twitter to add that Naughty Dog is targeting the holy grail of 60fps for the game.

I rarely double-dip, but this is a day-one purchase. You can pre-order today.

A movie adaptation has been green-lit by Screen Gems, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment. Who would you like to see play Joel and Ellie on the big screen?

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Peter Mayhew returns as Chewbacca in Star Wars

The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively revealed Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) will be joining R2-D2 in Episode VII!

Rumours suggest the new Star Wars movie has already begun shooting. However, no further cast announcements have been made.

Perhaps JJ Abrams is going to wait until May the Fourth to confirm the rest of the returning cast members from the original trilogy?

Monday 7 April 2014

Sans Sky? Here's how to watch Game of Thrones S4

There's no reason for Game of Thrones fans to miss the S4 premiere Two Swords on Sky Atlantic!

With NOW TV's Entertainment Month Pass you can watch 10 channels including Sky One, Sky Atlantic and FOX for £4.99 per month (introductory price). Find out more at

Sky's streaming service is available across multiple devices including PS3, Xbox 360 and NOW TV Box, which I reviewed here. Incidentally, the NOW TV Box may be receiving a 1080p firmware update in the near future.

There's no contract. What's not to like? Unleash those dragons, Daenerys!

Friday 4 April 2014

The Big Bang Theory celebrates Star Wars Day!

Star Wars references are nothing new to hit comedy series The Big Bang Theory. However, this is something special. Sheldon and friends travel to Dagobah with help from those fine folk at Lucasfilm.

"The Proton Transmogrification" airs May 1st and sees the gang celebrate May the Fourth while Sheldon (Jim Parsons) has visions of his childhood mentor, Professor Proton (Bob Newhart), acting as a personal Jedi Master.

"We were approached by the Lucasfilm people to do something to celebrate Star Wars Day, which was nice," co-creator Chuck Lorre told The Hollywood Reporter.

Added showrunner Steve Molaro: "We knew that Bob was coming back and Lucasfilm called us, and we realized that that this might be an opportunity to mix both stories and come up with something special."

Yes, there will be lightsabers.

Thursday 3 April 2014

That's no moon. It's a Panavision.

Camera operator Andrew Bikichky has posted photos on Twitter of Panavision's 35mm custom-built cameras for Star Wars: Episode VII!

The "A" and "B" cameras are codenamed "Death Star" and "Millenium Falcon" respectively. Both will be loaded with Kodak film stock 5219, as revealed by cinematographer Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC last summer.

Purportedly Lucasfilm has moved into Pinewood ahead of principal photography in May. Brace yourselves for blacked-out windows and closed set notices.

Wednesday 2 April 2014

Amazon Fire TV trumps Apple TV for $99!

For years speculation has surrounded an Amazon streaming device. Not so much if, but when. Today the company tardily unveiled its Fire TV during a live media event in New York City.

The new Android-based streaming device apes the Kindle HDX form factor sans built-in screen, boasts triple the processing power of Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku, and features voice search FTW.

Voice search works with the bundled Bluetooth remote's microphone. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you're done. It's a simpler solution to Microsoft's Kinect.

X-Ray for Movies & TV by IMDb brings second screen integration much like Xbox SmartGlass. You’ll be able to look up actors, music, or other IMDb-provided details, as the content plays on your TV. Amazon says that X-Ray will add support for iOS devices later this year.

Amazon is not only taking on Apple, Google and Roku, but has Ouya in its sights too. As rumoured, a dedicated controller accessory is available to play games on the Fire TV. The diminutive set-top-box will play games like Minecraft, Asphalt 8 and a few other games at an average price of $1.85. Thus beating Apple to the punch in offering apps and games.

Fire TV will host lots of apps aside from Prime Instant Video. Including Netflix, Hulu, Pandora, YouTube, Crackle, Showtime Anywhere and many more.

Amazon Fire TV ships from today in the US for $99. There's no word on an international release and that's where Apple TV dominates.

The streaming wars just got more intense. However, do consumers need another box?

Tuesday 1 April 2014

George Lucas on how he invented the lightsaber

This isn't an April Fools' joke! Star Wars creator George Lucas, actor Mark Hamill, and sound designer Ben Burtt discuss the concept and creation of the lightsaber.

The Birth of the Lightsaber was first seen as a special feature on the original Star Wars trilogy's DVD box set in 2004, but this marks the first time the video has made its way onto the internet in an official capacity.