Sunday 27 December 2015

Star Wars makes a billion at the box office in 12 days

Briefly emerging from seasonal slumber to catch up with Star Wars: The Force Awakens' box office tally before New Year.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the new movie has taken over a billion dollars at the box office. This is unprecedented in such a short time frame and suggests The Force Awakens may surpass James Cameron's Avatar as the biggest grossing movie of all time.

"You almost have to rewrite all the record books for this movie," box office analyst Paul Dergarabedian of Rentrak said. "It's absolutely mind-blowing that 'Star Wars' could get to a billion dollars in 12 days and it hasn't even opened in China, the second biggest movie market in the world."

"It's great for the audiences, great for studios and theater owners in particular who can point to this and say the movie theater industry is as viable and relevant as it's ever been," he said.

Back to building LEGO Star Wars...

Thursday 24 December 2015

Harrison Ford signs LEGO Millennium Falcon on Conan

This is my final post of 2015! A year that saw Star Wars' triumphant return to the silver screen. So, this hilarious skit, featuring The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams and Harrison Ford (Han Solo) on Conan, seems an apt way to wrap things up on Christmas Eve.

I would like to wish you all a fantastic festive period, whatever you may be doing, and wish you all the best for the New Year!

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Star Wars strikes back at box office

Disney's $4 billion dollar gamble on "a galaxy far, far away" appears to be paying off and then some.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is breaking box office records following last week's premiere and passes Jurassic World's global box office debut with $524.9 million.

“That’s an incredible weekend,” Disney CEO Bob Iger told Bloomberg. “What this really does is it sets this great franchise up for far more value creation over a longer period of time for the company.”

The Force Awakens has yet to open in China, which is the world's second largest movie market.

“‘Star Wars,’ I’ve said a number of times, I think is probably the most valuable, maybe even the most important mythology created in our time,” the Disney chief said.

Analysts say the space saga could become the biggest-selling movie of all time.

"Our sole focus has been creating a film that delivers that one-of-a-kind Star Wars experience, and director JJ Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and the Lucasfilm team have outdone themselves," Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said.

The new Star Wars movie is already available for pre-order on Blu-ray disc.

Friday 18 December 2015

The Force Awakens soars with Star Wars magic of old

This is the Star Wars movie fans are looking for. Over the summer Jurassic World took an ageing franchise and reinvigorated it into box office gold. Now, the granddaddy of them all enjoys a yuletide homecoming without equal following a ten year absence.

Time enough for the prequels to fade, a change of ownership and fans to focus on events following Return of the Jedi over thirty years ago. Marvel Comics couldn't satiate my yearning to see beloved heroes in new adventures on the big screen. What happened to Luke Skywalker and friends after the defeat of Darth Vader and his Emperor?

Director JJ Abrams had already captured the magic of Steven Spielberg in Super 8 and now George Lucas' saga sees him graduate into the top flight of Hollywood directors.

Fresh from rebooting Star Trek. Abrams' supernatural grasp of the mythology of the original trilogy delivers spectacularly in a superlative sequel brushing shoulders with The Empire Strikes Back during its bleakest moments and equalling A New Hope.

In Abrams' galactic odyssey we witness Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) rage surpassing sulky Anakin Skywalker in the prequel trilogy and Rey's (Daisy Ridley) reluctance to fathom her mysterious past as she befriends Finn (John Boyega), a disenfranchised First Order Stormtrooper, and leaves behind life as a scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku after rescuing BB-8. The spherical droid newcomer is truly a marvel to behold and takes its rightful place alongside R2-D2 and C-3PO.

Amidst the Arthurian storytelling and beguiling vistas shot on Kodak film, John Williams' sweeping soundtrack for The Force Awakens is triumphant. More than once it prompted bittersweet feelings of nostalgia at seeing Star Wars for the first time with my late mother. A transcendental experience in the wake of childhood trauma in 1977.

Star Wars hadn't opened in the UK when I was admitted into children's hospital following a serious head injury. But, I remember the American neurosurgeon - who saved my life alongside a talented team - saying I had to promise him I'd see Star Wars and gave me a poster of R2-D2 and C-3PO as a parting gift! The promise was kept.

What of Luke Skywalker's fate? That's for fans to discover for themselves. The old and new cast shine with charisma and Daisy Ridley, beautiful and effervescent, carries the movie with an aplomb belying her freshman acting career. The sight of a squadron of X-Wings was met with whoops and cries of delight.

I laughed, cheered and cried watching my most cherished film franchise soar once more. The emotional stakes are raised in a galaxy far, far away...

Thank you for an incredible Christmas gift, JJ!

Wednesday 16 December 2015

The Force Awakens' Christmas cheer for Star Wars fans

Today the review embargo for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is lifted and critics are raving about JJ Abrams' Star Wars movie and how it harkens back to the original trilogy whilst keeping a keen eye on the future.

Here's a snapshot of spoiler-free reactions from the press:

The Times critic Kate Muir wrote: "Adults will be floored by tearful nostalgia because this is a classic."

The Daily Mail's Brian Viner described The Force Awakens as "a triumph of escapism and the most exhilarating film yet in this mighty franchise."

The Telegraph's Robbie Collin, who admitted to crying three times, said director JJ Abrams and his team had "taken a slightly tattered franchise and restored its sense of magic and myth."

One more sleep until I see The Force Awakens...

Monday 14 December 2015

John Williams conducts opening to The Force Awakens

We’re on the home stretch for the sequel to Return of the Jedi. The Hollywood premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is today.

60 Minutes, on CBS, went behind the scenes of the recording of The Force Awakens soundtrack, composed and conducted by Oscar-winning composer John Williams.

The music featured includes a tantalising tease of the cue that follows the famous opening crawl. So, please consider this a spoiler warning for the following clip. Director JJ Abrams shares anecdotes between capturing moments, from the recording session, on an iPhone. Steve Jobs would be proud.

Historically, I've always listened to the soundtrack months ahead of a new Star Wars movie's release in the UK. However, this time I'll have to listen to the soundtrack after seeing The Force Awakens this Thursday.

My (mostly) spoiler-free review will be posted following the lifting of the review embargo on 16th December. Until then, may the force be with you...

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens rated 12A in the UK

As predicted, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has garnered a 12A rating from the BBFC for "moderate violence" in the UK. The new movie was rated PG-13 by the MPAA in the US. It's earned the rating "for sci-fi action violence" across the Atlantic. So, this isn't surprising.

The Force Awakens has a running time of 135 minutes and editing was completed on 3rd November. This was followed by effects polish and John Williams' final soundtrack scoring session.

The new generation of Star Wars stars, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, are taking the galaxy by storm and appeared on ABC News.

9 days to go until The Force Awakens in the UK!

Thursday 3 December 2015

The Force Awakens in Rolling Stone

With only two weeks to go until Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in UK cinemas, Rolling Stone magazine goes behind the scenes of JJ Abrams' space opera and hints at the possible plot of the movie.

"The world is so horrible," says Mark Hamill, Luke's closest earthly representative, sitting in the shadow of swaying trees in his rather pleasant Malibu yard. At 64, Hamill is older than Alec Guinness was in the first Star Wars, and is in the process of regrowing a distinctly Obi-Wan-ish beard. "Between the Middle East and gun violence and global warming and racism, it's just horrible. And people need this. It's therapeutic."

Read the full article here.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Star Wars Rebels renewed for third season

Ahead of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in cinemas this month, Disney's announced news that will delight fans of Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD.

A third season is already in production for broadcast in 2016. Marc Buhaj, Disney XD's senior vice president programming and general manager, made the announcement, "We are proud to bring our audience a third season of 'Star Wars Rebels,' a series that has resonated across generations." Buhaj added, "The creative team behind the series continues to do a brilliant job in delivering on the key tenets that fans have come to expect from a Star Wars property, including adventure, hope and the battle between good vs. evil."

"We're very proud of our incredibly creative Rebels team," says Lucasfilm's senior vice president of development, Kiri Hart. "The show continues to tell fun, heartfelt, exciting new Star Wars stories week after week, and it's beloved by fans of all ages. Season three will see our Rebel heroes face new obstacles and find new allies in their fight against the Empire."

Following a series of critical events, the lives of our heroes will be changed forever as season three begins.

Tuesday 1 December 2015

Counting down until The Force Awakens

Star Wars fans know all about waiting. But, The Force Awakens is released in cinemas this month. There, I've said it!

I'll be posting daily LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar photos on Instagram and John Rivers, friend and fellow Star Wars superfan, is celebrating with a cool countdown to The Force Awakens...

Guest post by John Rivers

As a Star Wars fan since the early 80s, easily as far back as I can remember, I’ve enjoyed the ups and downs of wanting to experience more in the adventures of Luke, Han and Leia. When ‘The Force Awakens’ in seventeen days’ time it will be the culmination of over thirty years of waiting for the saga to continue. [I'm getting misty-eyed - Ed]

Over the years and thanks to the explosion of online video in the past decade, fans have collected, catalogued and screened all sorts of ephemera around Star Wars. Whether it’s old adverts for Kenner Toys, spin-off TV movies, cartoon series, radio dramas or BBC documentaries, there’s an awful lot of content out there about the making-of, marketing and magic of George Lucas’ movies.

That’s what I’m presenting with 30 Days of Star Wars a collection of all the ‘stuff’, usually found on TV, that sat around the original trilogy for the past 30-odd years. I wanted to create a sort-of Advent Calendar for fans to enjoy as the time ticked away (oh so slowly!) until the new movie premieres.

I’ve focused on the Original Trilogy because there’s a wealth of archive material to draw upon and of course, those characters are back. None of the material is uniquely uploaded by me, but I thought that 30 Days of Star Wars could act as a hub for collecting some of this content together. I also enjoy researching where items came from and who was behind them. For example raw footage of R2-D2 and C-3PO on ‘Sesame Street’ is not something you see every day. Or Big Bird messing-up his lines, come to think of it.

Occasionally there’s also a rare glimpse into the mind-set of what may happen in future Star Wars movies. I mean, you guys all knew there was a character in the ‘Droids’ cartoon series from the mid-eighties named ‘Kybo Ren’ right? Coincidence? Time will tell!

Follow @johnrivers

Monday 30 November 2015

Has Peter Jackson confirmed directing Doctor Who?

From directing one lord to another. Director Peter Jackson posted this hilarious video on his Facebook page, which shows Peter Capaldi urging the director of The Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit to direct Doctor Who.

Series showrunner Steven Moffat has wanted Jackson to direct for sometime. The Oscar-winner is a fan of the series. Wonder how he'll adapt to uprooting from New Zealand for a 12-day shoot in Cardiff?

Excited to see Peter Jackson direct Doctor Who? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 29 November 2015

R2-KT to appear in The Force Awakens

There's a life-affirming story behind the little pink R2 unit, R2-KT, and its subsequent appearance in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and JJ Abrams' upcoming The Force Awakens.

R2-KT memorialises Albin Johnson's young daughter Katie, diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour, who passed away in 2005.

At the time of diagnosis, The 501st Legion (which had been co-founded by Johnson in 1997) rallied to his cause and the R2 Builders Club set about building an R2 unit, to be painted pink at the suggestion of his daughter Allie, for Katie. Sadly, the droid wasn't finished in time, but another astromech builder, Andy Schwartz, sent his along to keep a vigil by Katie's bedside.

The completed astromech, presented to Johnson in 2006, has gone on to do great good in Katie's memory and will next be seen on the big screen.

Mary Franklin of Lucasfilm asked me to pitch the idea to Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President), and after hearing the story of our pink ambassador of hope Lucasfilm requested we ship her off to London early last year. Quick repairs were made and off she went for six months,” Johnson says in his email. While he could not disclose just when we could expect to see the pink droid, he was assured that she will definitely appear.

You can read the full story here. Star Wars fans are the best and I'm proud to be a member of the community since 1977.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Star Wars TV Spot is a Thanksgiving treat

It's Thanksgiving in the US and Disney has unleashed the full fury of the dark side in this new TV Spot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Kylo Ren is to be tested and I've got a bad feeling about the fate of our heroes in the new movie. Three weeks today I'll be watching The Force Awakens and that blows my mind.

In related news. I've teamed up with Design By Humans to offer readers an exclusive saving of 10% on all products with no minimum spend requirement. Use promo code: GENSTARWARS.

Happy Thanksgiving to US readers!

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Captain America: Civil War's trailer shakes the MCU

Viewers of Jimmy Kimmel Live were treated to the world premiere of Captain America: Civil War's first trailer!

The next installment in the blockbusting Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) combines the tone of The Winter Soldier, my favourite Marvel movie, and the sweeping scale of the Avengers. Age of Ultron is a snooze fest compared to this.

Captain America: Civil War premieres April 2016 in the UK.

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Google easter egg celebrates Star Wars

The new Star Wars movie is now finished, according to The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams, and Google's getting in on the act with officially authorised app customisations and a very cool scroll when you search "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...".

The search results are not the easiest to read. But, that's missing the point and such a fun easter egg is going to amuse fans (myself included).

So far the unreleased Star Wars movie has taken an estimated $50 million at the box office in advance ticket sales. Have you bought yours? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday 22 November 2015

SNL's spoof auditions for Star Wars: The Force Awakens

During last night's Saturday Night Live (SNL) with host Matthew McConaughey and musical guest Adele, director JJ Abrams introduced a sketch featuring never before seen Star Wars screen tests featuring Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Emma Stone, Michael Bublé and Jon Hamm.

Under a month to go until the new movie premieres in theatres and those auditions, including The Force Awakens actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, are a hoot.

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

Thursday 19 November 2015

These are the speakers Star Wars fans are looking for!

AC Worldwide is launching fully-licensed Star Wars bluetooth speakers in the shape of fussy protocol droid C-3PO and an Imperial Stormtrooper from the original trilogy.

Each speaker has been crafted with meticulous attention to detail. Not only do they look amazing. But, they boast high-end sound quality for the discerning Star Wars fan as they listen to John Williams' soundtracks.

Key features:
  • Full 2.1 system audio, with two tweeters behind the eye and a powerful bottom-facing subwoofer
  • Sync your speakers to your phone with Bluetooth or NFC
  • Hands-free answering - talk to the character when taking a call
  • Touch-sensitive buttons
  • When paired each speaker emits an iconic phrase "I do believe they think I'm some sort of god" and "Move along"
  • Both mains and rechargeable, and totally portable at 28 cm tall
  • £129 / $196

The force is strong with these speakers and I hope to post a hands-on review soon!

UK fans can pre-order from Amazon today: C-3PO and Stormtrooper.

If you have a licensed Star Wars product and are seeking coverage in the lead-up to the theatrical release of The Force Awakens. Please get in contact. Look forward to hearing from you.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Could Clara's time be up in Face the Raven?

Series 9 of Doctor Who has delivered some of the best episodes since the time-travelling drama returned to television screens a decade ago!

This weekend's Face the Raven looks set to up the ante further with the return of old friend Rigsy and Ashildr (Maisie Williams) in a twisted tale that pits the Doctor and Clara against an old enemy.

From the war-torn wastelands of Skaro to the heart of London. Fellow fan and blogger Andrew Lewin and myself feel our faith in Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman has been vindicated.

Stay tuned for our upcoming look back at Series 9. VWORP! VWORP!

Friday 13 November 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens TV Spot on ABC

If an international trailer and TV Spots aren't enough in the wake of the so-called final trailer a few weeks ago.

Here's the latest extended preview for Star Wars: The Force Awakens that premiered on ABC in the US last evening. It contains new footage. So, if you're trying to keep things as spoiler-free as possible...

Be still my beating heart. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

UK readers be sure to tune in to Children in Need's Star Wars special on BBC1 from 7:30PM. More importantly, please donate if you can.

Tuesday 10 November 2015

JJ Abrams on directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens

JJ Abrams, Star Wars superfan and director of The Force Awakens, talks to Wired magazine about the past, present and future of the franchise.

Abrams wanted to hark back to A New Hope. “We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle, and end but at the same time, like A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow,” the director says. “When Star Wars first came out, it was a film that both allowed the audience to understand a new story but also to infer all sorts of exciting things that might be. In that first movie, Luke wasn’t necessarily the son of Vader, he wasn’t necessarily the brother of Leia, but it was all possible.”

The director is acutely aware of the Star Wars legacy. “The Force Awakens has this incredible advantage, not just of a passionate fan base but also of a backstory that is familiar to a lot of people,” he confesses. “We’ve been able to use what came before in a very organic way, because we didn’t have to reboot anything. We didn’t have to come up with a backstory that would make sense; it’s all there. But these new characters, which Force is very much about, find themselves in new situations—so even if you don’t know anything about Star Wars, you’re right there with them. If you are a fan of Star Wars, what they experience will have added meaning.”

What of the future for the Star Wars franchise? “The script for VIII is written. I’m sure rewrites are going to be endless, like they always are. But what Larry and I did was set up certain key relationships, certain key questions, conflicts. And we knew where certain things were going,” explains Abrams. “We had meetings with Rian and Ram Bergman, the producer of VIII. They were watching dailies when we were shooting our movie. We wanted them to be part of the process, to make the transition to their film as seamless as possible. I showed Rian an early cut of the movie, because I knew he was doing his rewrite and prepping. And as executive producer of VIII, I need that movie to be really good. Withholding serves no one and certainly not the fans. So we’ve been as transparent as possible. Rian has asked for a couple of things here and there that he needs for his story. He is an incredibly accomplished filmmaker and an incredibly strong writer. So the story he told took what we were doing and went in the direction that he felt was best but that is very much in line with what we were thinking as well. But that will be his movie; he’s going to do it in the way he sees fit. He’s neither asking for nor does he need me to oversee the process.”

You can read the full Wired interview here.

Friday 6 November 2015

Star Wars fan gets dying wish and there's a new trailer

Director JJ Abrams and Disney have granted Daniel Fleetwood's dying wish to see The Force Awakens following a social media campaign spearheaded by stars of the new movie.

Daniel's wife, Ashley, took to Facebook:

“Daniel just finished watching an unfinished version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!!! We would like to thank the awesomely talented [director] JJ Abrams for calling us yesterday to tell us Daniel was getting his wish granted!” she wrote.

Hope Daniel enjoyed the movie.

A new international trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been posted on Disney's Youtube account in Japan. It contains lots of new footage and dialogue featuring Rey, Finn, BB-8 and Kylo Ren.

Still no sign of Luke Skywalker. Director JJ Abrams is keeping the mystery box closed until release.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens character posters

Social media exploded today when John Boyega (Finn) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) teased their new character posters for Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Twitter and Instagram. This was followed with posters for Han Solo, Leia and Kylo Ren.

Which is your favourite poster? Let me know in the comments below.

The new Star Wars movie opens in under two months.

Monday 2 November 2015

Star Wars fan's dying wish to see The Force Awakens

"I just love Star Wars. With everything I got I love Star Wars."

A Star Wars fan's dying wish to see The Force Awakens has gone viral with support from fellow fans, Mark Hamill and John Boyega.

Daniel Fleetwood has terminal cancer and doesn't think he'll be alive to see the US theatrical premiere on 18th December.

"Judging by how progressive the disease has gotten in the past two months," Daniel told KPRC. "I really don't think that I'll be able to make it.”

The Texan has been a Star Wars fan since the age of 8, collecting merchandise, writing fan fiction and made the local news when he camped outside for tickets to see the prequels.

"It's a commitment and he still has that commitment, that drive, and that love and I think that it's a beautiful thing," said Fleetwood's wife, Ashley. "Even if it's just a movie. That's magic for a lot of people."

Director JJ Abrams granted a similar dying wish to a Star Trek fan. So, please be awesome again. Many of us have been touched by cancer in some way. This year an aunt of mine passed away due to a brain tumour and cancer. The last time I saw her was at Christmas and we talked about seeing The Force Awakens together. Alas, that won't be possible.

Hope you get your wish, Daniel. May the force be with you. Always.

Friday 30 October 2015

The Force Awakens is incredible says Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford wore a hot dog costume to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens with Jimmy Kimmel.

“I can tell you this. It’s really, really good,” Ford, who reprises his iconic role as Han Solo in the Star Wars sequel, told the late-night talk show host who was dressed as Princess Leia.

“The new cast – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac – are phenomenal,” Ford continued. “J.J. has made an incredible movie. You will not be disappointed at all. I promise you.”

Kimmel asked if Ford preferred original Star Wars director George Lucas to current boss Abrams, Ford paused and asked back, “Or Donald Trump?”

Joking aside, Ford added, “No, I love them all. George has been amazing to me. He’s been the author of the early chapters of my life and given me the opportunity to have a really extraordinary life. J.J. has given me a chance to have a really wonderful part in a great movie.”

Wearing an hilarious hot dog costume or not, Harrison Ford ain't fooling around!

Thursday 29 October 2015

Children in Need to use the force in Star Wars special

The force is strong with Pudsey! This year's Children in Need will feature a sketch starring R2-D2, C-3PO, Warwick Davis (Wicket from Return of the Jedi), Lord Sugar and more as the BBC joins forces with Disney and Lucasfilm for the annual fundraising event!

Children in Need will be shown on Friday 13th November on BBC 1 from 7:30PM.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Where's Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens?

Luke Skywalker’s absence from the final trailer for The Force Awakens has ignited much debate and controversy. Has he turned to the dark side or gone into hiding like Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope? This is a masterstroke and preserves the mystery, which is so lacking in Hollywood marketing.

Director JJ Abrams admits: “It’s no accident.” He added: “These are good questions to be asking. I can’t wait for you to find out the answers.”

Abrams goes on to say he's still working on the movie ahead of its premiere in theatres this December. “My guess is we’ll probably be doing visual effects for the next three or four weeks, even though the cut will be done,” he said. “We still have another scoring session with John Williams, who’s a god when it comes to music, so it’s been an ongoing, surreal experience. I just cannot wait for the movie to be out in the world.”

The co-creator of Lost is no stranger to unlocking the mystery box on film and television. Much was made of attempts to keep Khan's identity hidden in Star Trek Into Darkness. That didn't work out so well.

Whatever happens, I admire the brilliance of this campaign. So very little is known about The Force Awakens. But, I already care about new characters Rey and Finn.

Friday 23 October 2015

Marvel's Jessica Jones is very, very dark

This is the week for tasty trailers from the Mouse House. Monday saw Kylo and the Knights of Ren triumphant in a resurgent Star Wars buoyed by nostalgia for the original trilogy in The Force Awakens. Now it's the turn of Marvel and Netflix with Jessica Jones.

Today the studios have dropped a full trailer for Marvel's Jessica Jones.

Former superhero Jessica Jones is played by actress Krysten Ritter and she'll be joined by co-star David Tennant as the villainous Zebediah Kilgrave AKA Purple Man.

If Daredevil is anything to go by, Marvel's Jessica Jones will be another binge-viewing masterpiece when all episodes arrive on Netflix on 20th November.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

The Force Awakens trailer evokes the original trilogy

Yesterday pre-sale tickets for Star Wars: The Force Awakens went live and cinema booking sites felt the power of the force as they crashed around the world. Thankfully, I was able to secure tickets for 17th December without any fuss in the UK.

In the early hours of this morning (BST), the third and final trailer was premiered during Monday Night Football on ESPN and dropped online not long after.

The trailer frames the upcoming Star Wars movie around Rey's (Daisy Ridley) journey from scavenger to, well, that'll be answered in a couple of months unless you've seen that Topps trading card.

Here it is in all its mythological glory. Distilling the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy.

To say this was worth the wait would be an understatement from my perspective. Tears of joy...

Sunday 18 October 2015

Kathleen Kennedy wants a female to direct Star Wars

Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and Star Wars: The Force Awakens producer, talked to Fortune Magazine about her ambition for a female director to helm a Star Wars movie at Disney.

"It is going to happen.

"We will hire a woman who is going to direct a Star Wars movie."

Up to now the Star Wars film franchise has been directed by males. However, I've long hoped the likes of Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation) maybe enticed to direct. There's a shift at Lucasfilm.

Kennedy explains: "Fifty percent of the executive team [at Lucasfilm] are women. "Six out of eight of the people in my story group are women... I think it's making a huge difference to the stories we're writing. 

"I'm sure there are a lot of people who would be surprised that we're making Star Wars movies and the majority of the people involved in the development of those stories are women."

She's acutely aware that the majority of creatives interested in working on Star Wars are male and goes on to contextualise the commitment to a female director.

"If we do want to bring a woman in to direct a Star Wars movie, we want to make sure that it's somebody who is passionate and really wants to do a Star Wars movie. We don't want to talk somebody into it."

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

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Supergirl soars onto Sky 1

Supergirl is to join DC Comics stablemates Arrow and The Flash on Sky 1 this October.

Melissa Benoist is following fellow Glee alum Grant Gustin, who plays Barry Allen in The Flash, into heroic adventures on the small screen as the titular Supergirl.

Adam MacDonald, director of Sky 1, is excited for the new series: “I am delighted to announce Supergirl is coming to Sky 1. We’ve already seen in the success of The Flash and Arrow that comic-book characters are a big hit with our customers, and with this fresh, fast-paced new series, we’re giving them another sure-fire superhero smash.”

Supergirl starts on Thursday 29th October at 8:00PM on Sky 1.

You can subscribe to Sky 1, Sky Atlantic and more on NOW TV. No contract.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Sir Clive Sinclair channels Willy Wonka with ZX Vega

The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was my first computer and I wanted to share this with readers.

Retro Computers Ltd, the company behind the Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega games console, have today announced that they are giving away 12 Golden Vegas to customers for Christmas!

The retro games console, which comes complete with 1000 licensed games built in, has been produced as a special limited edition of just 12 replica Vegas to be available to the public as part of this campaign.

In each of the 12 weeks of “Clivemas”, leading up to the end of 2015, a “Golden Ticket” will be randomly given to one of the customers who have bought a Vega. Eleven of these tickets will be placed, one per week, in sealed Vega console boxes at randomly chosen online retailers carrying the product. A 12th Golden Ticket will be sent to one of the backers, also selected at random, of the Vega’s Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign. Everyone who has purchased a ZX Vega via the original campaign or by buying a retail Vega during the 11 week "Clivemas" period, will be in with a chance to win a Golden Vega.

The lucky winners will be invited to see the Vegas being made at the UK factory of SMS Electronics Ltd, where they will be presented with their ultra-rare, limited edition Golden Vega.

The Golden Vegas will never be on sale and are limited to this promotional give away only.

Saturday 10 October 2015

Star Wars Battlefront Beta gameplay on PS4

On Thursday EA launched the company's multi-platform Star Wars Battlefront Beta and I broadcasted over eighteen minutes of live gameplay from PS4.

For fifteen minutes or so there's a palpable sense of being immersed in one of cinema's most iconic battles. The battle of Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back. However, the jury's still out regarding longevity in the absence of a story campaign.

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

Tuesday 6 October 2015

LEGO Doctor Who set materialises this Christmas

Earlier this month LEGO teased the company's upcoming Doctor Who Ideas set created by fan-designer Andrew Clark. Now, the highly-anticipated set, featuring Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor, Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman's companion Clara Oswald, has been officially revealed.


Construct a stunningly detailed LEGO® version of the iconic TARDIS® and role-play the Doctor’s time-travel adventures! Created by fan-designer Andrew Clark and selected by LEGO Ideas members, this set is based on the BBC’s popular and long-running television series about a Time Lord – the Doctor – exploring the universe in a blue police box. Due to trans-dimensional engineering, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside than the outside and this cool multifunctional set includes the console room that houses all the flight controls. Regenerate the Doctor and defeat the evil Daleks™ and a Weeping Angel with the help of his extraordinary companion Clara. Then close the doors of the TARDIS and launch into another dimension! Includes 4 minifigures with assorted accessory elements: the Eleventh Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor, Clara Oswald and a Weeping Angel, plus 2 Daleks™.

The set goes on sale from 1st December in time for the holiday season.

Monday 5 October 2015

Hasbro's Transformers ten year box office plan

Hasbro has been watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and DC Universe (DCU) with envious eyes. The toy company has announced a ten year plan for four more Transformers movies, which will form the bedrock of a transmedia universe. This will most likely include spin-off movies focussing on popular characters such as Bumblebee.

"You’re going to see a new Transformers movie coming from Hasbro and Paramount and Michael Bay and our other partners," said Hasbro Studios president Stephen Davis, adding, "We decided that we wanted to plot out the next 10 years of the Transformers franchise, so we got together in a room over a three-month period of time." Davis refers to the likes of Akiva Goldsman, who won an Academy Award for her A Beautiful Mind screenplay.

The franchise is no darling of the critics, but the box office suggests there's a rabid fanbase for Rock'em Sock'em Robots in IMAX 3D.

Brace yourself for more, much more, than meets the eye!

Friday 2 October 2015

Star Wars Reads Day is on October 10th

The fourth annual Star Wars Reads Day, to encourage fans around the world to read from their favourite Star Wars comics, novels and activity books while promoting literacy, takes place 10th October. This year benefits from the fervour surrounding The Force Awakens.

“We are thrilled to be working so closely with Lucasfilm and our publishing partners in planning this year’s Star Wars Reads Day,” Jeanne Mosure, senior vice president and group publisher for Disney Publishing Worldwide, told USA Today. “The growth of this initiative globally is a true testament to the force of the Star Wars franchise and the importance of reading.”

Publishers including DK Books, Del Rey and Marvel, back producing Star Wars comics, are supporting the campaign.

There will be events across the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, and the UK.

Details on individual events can be found on the Star Wars Reads facebook page.

Are you organising a Star Wars Reads event? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday 1 October 2015

It's a trap! Admiral Ackbar in The Force Awakens

The force is strong with this reunion set some thirty years after Return of the Jedi.

Actor Tim Rose confirms Admiral Ackbar, teased in the Comic-Con 2015 Reel, is returning in The Force Awakens and he is reprising the memorable role.

Rose talked to The Australian about his frustration at the need for secrecy surrounding the next chapter in the popular space opera now owned by Disney.

"I'm very frustrated by that," Rose told AAP in Sydney. "Out of the need to be secret, we're not actually able to get everything we need to do our jobs as well as we could," he said.

"And as someone who has been doing it for 35 years, I find it very frustrating."

Rose goes on tease The Force Awakens: "What I can say about the new movie is that if you were a fan of the original three, you're going to absolutely love this one to bits. You can expect a smorgasbord of people you love."

Who else do you think will return from the original Star Wars trilogy? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 30 September 2015

Star Wars soundtracks to be reissued on vinyl

The original Star Wars soundtrack was the first vinyl LP I owned at the age of six. It started a soundtrack odyssey that continues to this day.

It became a tradition to listen to the soundtrack weeks before the next Star Wars movie opened in UK cinemas. The rare spoiler track title - Ben's Death and Qui-Gon's Noble End - didn't detract from my enjoyment of the upcoming movie. If anything; it further fuelled my anticipation and excitement for the next installment in George Lucas' space opera.

Sony Classical is reissuing a vinyl and CD box set 8th January 2016. Just weeks after JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens opens in cinemas around the world.

The ultimate vinyl collection is available for pre-order.

What are your first memories of hearing the Star Wars soundtrack? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 25 September 2015

Hayden Christensen to return as Darth Vader?

Hayden Christensen may reprise his role as Darth Vader and/or Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Episode VIII, directed by Rian Johnson, if this news tidbit is to be believed!

Making Star Wars was told that: “a team in the U.K. are soon heading to the U.S. to begin training Hayden Christensen for a Star Wars: Episode VIII appearance of some sort.”

There's been much conjecture regarding what role, if any, Anakin Skywalker might play in Disney's new trilogy. This follows the second teaser trailer for The Force Awakens in which Luke describes his father as having the force in the current tense. A force ghost a la Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original trilogy? Maybe.

Gareth Edwards' Rogue One is set prior to the events in A New Hope and there's no reason not to envisage Darth Vader making a cameo in the first Star Wars Anthology film, too. An alleged on set sighting of Darth Vader's helmet and working chest piece has only fuelled more rumours. The character has most recently appeared in the brilliant Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD and in Marvel comics.

Either way. Looks like the Dark Lord of the Sith is set to return to a multiplex theatre near you.

Tuesday 22 September 2015

Jurassic World director hints at Star Wars

Director Colin Trevorrow hinted at the scope of his upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX in an interview for the Jurassic Park fan podcast Jurassic Cast.

“I obviously can’t talk too much about Star Wars, but the idea of that ‘Universe,’ that word gets thrown around a lot as far as movies are concerned and what people are building, that one’s an actual universe. I think that the size and scope of that. Every kind of story we can think of can be told in the Star Wars universe, because it is endless and boundless.”

I waxed lyrically about how Trevorrow rekindled my enthusiasm for Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park franchise in my review for Jurassic World. Can't wait to see what he does with the final chapter in Disney's new Star Wars trilogy, which begins with JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens this December.

In other Star Wars news. Principal photography on Episode VIII has begun with director Rian Johnson (Looper) filming Mark Hamill's scenes at Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of Southern Island, which is featured in The Force Awakens and is rumoured to be Luke Skywalker's hideaway.

Monday 21 September 2015

Original Star Wars trilogy theatrical cuts on Blu-ray?

Disney's about to release brand new steelbook editions of the entire Star Wars saga on Blu-ray disc, ahead of The Force Awakens theatrical release this December, and there's a rumour the Mouse House may bring the original theatrical cuts to the silver platters in the future, too!

That's according to director John Landis (An American Werewolf in London) during a Q&A promoting the American Werewolf maze that's opening at Universal Studios in Orlando.

Landis dropped this bombshell. "Did you know Disney, by the way, is putting out the original Star Wars the way it was? So, Disney, they’re like, money on the floor.",

The rights to the distribution of the original trilogy do not revert to Disney until 2020 and Twentieth Century Fox retains the rights to A New Hope in perpetuity. Presumably some kind of deal would have to be struck before the movies could be shown theatrically or made available to the home market. There's a commercial impetus in view of Disney's sizeable investment in Lucasfilm and its most successful franchise.

Would you like to see the original trilogy sans special editions? Let me know in the comments below.