Friday 30 September 2016

Celebrate Force Friday with Rogue One merchandise

Fans around the world are celebrating Force Friday, for a second consecutive year, with the release of new merchandise for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. From LEGO sets to Funko Pop figures and much more...

Unlike last year's faux pas surrounding the enigmatic character of Rey in The Force Awakens. Toy companies have Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) tie-ins in abundance.

As always LEGO sets are impressive. Most impressive.

Krennic's Imperial Shuttle set is joined by TIE Striker, Rebel U-Wing Fighter, Imperial Assault Hovertank and AT-ST Walker from the original trilogy.

Darth Vader is conspicuous by his absence. However, expect to see the Sith Lord back on toy store shelves in the next few months.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in theatres on 16th December.

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

Monday 26 September 2016

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition coming to The O2

London, fresh from hosting Star Wars Celebration Europe, will be the venue for an official state-of-the-art interactive exhibition. Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition.

The stunning collection of some 200 props, models, costumes and artwork from the original Star Wars films, an interactive identity quest and insightful scientific content, all work together in Star Wars Identities to follow the dramatic journeys of the characters and help you create your very own Star Wars identity.

"This exhibition offers a fresh perspective on the beloved characters of Star Wars," says Jacques-André Dupont, President and Executive Producer of X3 Productions. "We get a deeper understanding of their identities, and, at the same time, we get a deeper understanding of our own."

"The collection, the interactive components, and the scientific content work hand in hand here to create a seamless and exciting experience for our visitors. It’s a character-driven adventure into identity.”

The exhibition will run at The O2 from 18th November 2016 to 3rd September 2017. Tickets go on sale from Force Friday.

Will you be attending? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

The kids from Stranger Things perform Uptown Funk

The kids from Stranger Things performed at the Emmys pre-show last Sunday!

Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo warmed up the crowd with an electrifying performance of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' hit Uptown Funk. Thanks to Netflix and Jimmy Kimmel Live the video is now available to watch.

Can these great guys do no wrong? Of course not. Don't miss their appearance on Chelsea.

You can read my spoiler-free review of the Duffer brothers Stranger Things here. The series is currently streaming on Netflix.

Monday 19 September 2016

This is the Loot Crate "Dream Crate" you're looking for

A few weeks ago the fine folks at Loot Crate approached me about assembling my “Dream Crate” as part of a blogger outreach. The winning entry may be turned into a future crate.

Here's what I came up with based on the theme of Star Wars. I know the franchise has been previously featured by Loot Crate. But, it would be a missed opportunity with Force Friday and Rogue One merchandise at the end of the month.

This is a "Dream Crate" and I was given permission to think big.

Jyn Erso Pop Vinyl

LEGO Imperial Assault Hovertank

Black Series Stormtrooper electronic voice changer helmet

Death Trooper tree ornament

Darth Vader t-shirt

If you’re unfamiliar with Loot Crate, it is a monthly subscription service that delivers 4 – 6 geeky goods to your door curated from fantastic franchises. There is the original Loot Crate, Loot Anime, Loot Gaming, Loot Pets, Loot Wear, and Loot Crate DX, which can all be delivered monthly. With so many options, there’s a crate for everyone!

What would be your "Dream Crate"? Let me know in the comments below. Better yet, let Loot Crate know your ideas, they may become reality.

Friday 16 September 2016

Michael Giacchino to compose Rogue One soundtrack

With only three months until release THR exclusively reports Oscar-winning composer Alexandre Desplat has been replaced by longtime JJ Abrams collaborator Michael Giacchino on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This is due to the extensive summer reshoots requested by Disney executives, overseen by Tony Gilroy and director Gareth Edwards, and a resulting calendar conflict.

Michael Giacchino is no stranger to the big screen and has scored eclectic movies from Incredibles to Star Trek and his work will be heard next in Marvel's Doctor Strange. Giacchino's a lifelong Star Wars fan and cameoed in JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens as a First Order Stormtrooper.

Whilst I'm a fan of Alexandre Desplat. Michael Giacchino also channelled John Williams with aplomb in Jurassic World and there's no reason to think he won't do so again in a franchise synonymous with Williams' majestic music. Now if only they'd keep the iconic main theme and opening crawl...

Wednesday 14 September 2016

What happens in Westworld stays in Westworld

Game of Thrones ends with season eight and HBO's pulling no punches with its remake of a Michael Crichton classic. Westworld. Crichton's original dysfunctional theme park. An idea the author and director would return to in Jurassic Park.

This isn't the first time a Westworld spin-off series has graced television screens. Beyond Westworld was a short-lived series in 1980 chronicling an attempt to use the robots in Delos to conquer the world.

The new series, premiering this October on HBO and Sky Atlantic in the UK, is shaping up to be a worthy heir to stablemate Game of Thrones on the award-winning network.

Following a software update, the machine inhabitants of Westworld have experienced an awakening...

I won't be posting specific spoilers as that would be a disservice. But, fans of Westworld will warmly welcome the nods to the original movie and its embracing of the new. This is a Westworld from the perspective of its robot inhabitants as they grind out an AI equivalent of Groundhog Day and discordant memories begin to surface with nightmarish consequences.

The compelling premise, also explored in AMC's Humans, is a springboard for the existential question posed by author Philip K. Dick: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" Are the machines solely produced to satiate the wanton needs of base human desires without consequence or have they evolved into sentient beings deserving of equal rights? What would happen if they decided to rebel against their decadent masters?

On the strength of the four episodes I've watched courtesy of HBO; fans of tech noir are in for a treat worthy of Ex Machina, Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica and Terminator. The premiere episode is a masterclass in world building with a superlative cast including Sir Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, James Marsden, Thandie Newton and Evan Rachel Wood.

Evan Rachel Wood talks enthusiastically about the upcoming series: “It’s more of a revolution than a TV show. I don’t think people are going to expect it. They’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m excited. And everyone working on it, we’re all in agreement that it’s our Odyssey. We’re like, ‘This is going to be the one Everyone in the top of their fields is pouring everything they have into this, which is why it was such a massive undertaking and why filming was extended. It’s not because things are going badly. It’s because they’re so massive and it’s so complicated and we want to get it right. We’re not just phoning it in. We’re taking our time with it because it’s really important.”

Much was made of Westworld's delayed production last January. However, showrunners Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) and Lisa Joy needed more time to develop a masterplan spanning five seasons. On the strength of the pilot episode, directed by Jonathan Nolan, it was more than worth the wait.

“We didn’t want to have a story that repeated itself [each year] - we didn’t want the Fantasy Island version of this [where new guests arrive at the park every season]," Jonathan Nolan said. "We wanted a big story. We wanted the story of the origin of a new species and how that would play out in its complexity.”

Actor James Marsden (X-Men) goes on to say: “It wasn’t about getting the first 10 [episodes] done, it was about mapping out what the next 5 or 6 years are going to be. We wanted everything in line so that when the very last episode airs and we have our show finale, five or seven years down the line, we knew how it was going to end the first season – that’s the way Jonah and [executive producer J.J. Abrams] operate. They’re making sure all the ducks are in the row."

Westworld is a chilling and clever expose on human hubris and a potential televisual masterpiece in the making. This sci-fi series has been furnished with the utmost care and what I've seen suggests something truly special.

Westworld will premiere on 2nd October on HBO. Followed by Sky Atlantic and NOW TV on 4th October.

Looking forward to Westworld? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 9 September 2016

Lightsaber Safety 101

What Star Wars fan doesn't want to wield a lightsaber around the home? This helpful instructional video, from the fine folks at Nukazooka, will guide you through the do's and don'ts! Don't be a Larry!

Share your lightsaber mishaps in the comments below.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

The Power of the Daleks is restored 50 years later

A Doctor Who classic, seemingly lost forever during the BBC's infamous purge of its studio masters in 1974, is to be released on digital download and DVD.

The Power of the Daleks.

The sixties serial is notable for being the first adventure of the newly regenerated Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton. The Doctor travels to Vulcan (not a Star Trek crossover) with companions Polly (Anneke Wills) and Ben (Michael Craze) to thwart the Daleks latest cunning plan.

A painstaking black and white restoration, comprised of remaining footage, new animation, audio clips and photos, has been undertaken by an animation studio.

“The Power of the Daleks animation is the most ambitious Doctor Who archive restoration ever attempted and we’re all very honoured to be a part of such an exciting project,” director Charles Norton said.

“Intelligent, suspenseful and magnificently staged, Power of the Daleks is one of the great lost classics of 1960s television and a superb example of the black and white era at its finest.”

The Power of the Daleks will be released on the BBC Store website as a digital download, and will be available to download on Saturday 5th November, 50 years to the minute after its one and only airing on BBC One. A DVD will be available for purchase on the 21st November.

A special screening of episodes 1-3 of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks will take place at BFI Southbank, London on Saturday 5th November, with a Q&A from Director Charles Norton, star Anneke Wills and former Doctor Who companion Frazer Hines.

Looking forward to The Power of the Daleks? What other lost classics would you like to see released? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday 5 September 2016

Star Wars Rebels Season 3 is Thrawnalicious!

Star Wars Rebels season 3 begins 24th September on Disney XD and here's the latest trailer featuring Grand Admiral Thrawn, plotting the downfall of the Rebellion and the motley crew of the Ghost, to whet your appetite.

Grand Admiral Thrawn (Lars Mikkelsen) was the scourge of the victorious Rebellion in author Timothy Zahn's sequel to Return of the Jedi, Heir to the Empire, published in 1991.

The Thrawn trilogy was well received by fans (including myself) and, arguably, kickstarted a mainstream renaissance in the Star Wars franchise that included Dark Horse Comics' Dark Empire trilogy and seminal first-person shooter Dark Forces, which inspired Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Looking forward to seeing fan favourite Grand Admiral Thrawn in Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday 2 September 2016

Star Wars fans Go Rogue on Force Friday

It's September and Force Friday returns on the 30th! The annual Star Wars merchandising event began with The Force Awakens and continues with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

This year fans are invited to create their own Star Wars short films and skits as part of a creative alliance between Disney and Tongal. Go Rogue. The global contest, running from 30th September through 21st October, will be judged by a panel including director Gareth Edwards. Winners will be invited to Lucasfilm in San Francisco to attend a screening of Rogue One, and see their short story on the big screen.

The fan-created shorts, showcasing the new line of Rogue One toys for the first time, launched on the Star Wars YouTube channel, with weekly instalments of the four-part series released throughout September. Think Robot Chicken for all the family. Go Rogue is a fan-made homage to Disney's other franchise Toy Story.

The creative team was led by James DeJulio at Tongal, and the series was written by Kevin Ulrich and brought to life by stop-motion animators and directors Dan MacKenzie and Tucker Barrie. The stories follow the adventures of Rogue One toys from Hasbro, LEGO, Funko, Jakks Pacific, Mattel and Disney Store as they try to track down the building instructions to the LEGO Star Wars Death Star set which have been misplaced by the Empire.

“These fan-created shorts are a tribute to the incredible content that the Star Wars community posts online every day,” said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “The Go Rogue campaign was designed with Star Wars fans in mind – we want them to be front and center in the run up to ‘Rogue One’ by imagining and creating their own Rogue Stories."

“I’ve been a Star Wars fan my whole life so this is a dream project,” says James DeJulio, co-founder of Tongal. “It’s been amazing to see what an inspiration Star Wars has been to so many members of our creative community, whether that’s coming up with their own Star Wars storylines, or playing out scenes with Star Wars toys at home with their kids. I’m excited to share this first ‘Rogue Story’ with the world and hope it inspires other fans to share theirs.”

From LEGO sets to Nerf blasters and Black Series action figures to Sphero Force Band. This year's event promises to be spectacular and selected merchandise is available for pre-order today.

Given the merchandising legacy of the Star Wars franchise. The new toys will be almost as deeply scrutinised as the upcoming films themselves.

Looking forward to Force Friday? Let me know in the comments below.