Friday, 21 February 2020

Hasbro's animatronic Baby Yoda is star of toy fair

This year, Star Wars fans are in for a treat with merchandise from Disney+'s The Mandalorian flooding toy aisles around the globe. From Funko to LEGO, there's something for fans of all ages.

Hasbro's animatronic The Child AKA Baby Yoda stole the show at this year's New York Toy Fair when it appeared on Good Morning America (GMA).

“You can pretend to harness the power of the Force as he closes his eyes, raises his arm, and sighs as if exerting a great amount of energy,” wrote Tony Morrison for GMA. “Lay him down and he will close his eyes and take a ‘Force nap.’”

The Child animatronic edition will be this holiday season's must-have gift. Pre-order from Amazon (affiliate link) today.

The second season of The Mandalorian is set for release in October and the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars premieres today on Disney+.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Westworld trailer teases war of the machines

HBO has released a new trailer for Westworld season 3. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy's sci-fi thriller ups the ante with Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Maeve (Thandie Newton) coming to blows. It's the Battlestar Galactica prequel series, Caprica, writ large.

The new season stars Evan Rachel Wood, Aaron Paul, Jeffrey Wright, Tessa Thompson, Thandie Newton, Lena Waithe, Marshawn Lynch, Kid Cudi and Vincent Cassel.

Season 3 begins 15th March on HBO and 16th March on Sky Atlantic.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

The Mandalorian to stream weekly on Disney+ UK

Disney+ has launched a dedicated UK Twitter account ahead of the 24th March launch of the House of Mouse's nascent streaming service.

Episodes of the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, will seemingly be released weekly as they were in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and The Netherlands. So, there's no official way to binge-view the entire first 8-part series unless you're prepared to wait. Be sure to check back for updates should the situation change.

Disney has confirmed existing DisneyLife subscribers, in the UK and Ireland, will be migrated to Disney+, which was expected. Although unconfirmed, Disney+ will be available to Sky Q and NOW TV subscribers in a similar deal that sees Netflix on both Sky-owned subscription-based platforms.

There's no sign of The Simpsons on Disney+ in the UK. However, classic animated series DuckTales, Chip 'n' Dale, Darkwing Duck, Gargoyles and The Gummi Bears will be available at launch. These titles are currently available on DisneyLife. Now, where are the Wuzzles?

In related news. Disney has released a Star Wars narrative timeline ahead of the seventh and final season of The Clone Wars this Friday on Disney+. The Rise of Skywalker is coming soon to the streaming service and bows on Blu-ray (affiliate link) next month, just 3 months after its theatrical release.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Apple TV+ teases Amazing Stories

Director Steven Spielberg (Jaws) is bringing Amazing Stories, his eighties anthology television series, back to Apple TV+.

Apple has released a nostalgia-filled teaser, featuring the late Robert Forster (The Black Hole) in one of his final roles, for the upcoming 10-part series and it includes John Williams' original opening theme. All the feels.

Amazing Stories starts streaming exclusively on Apple TV+ this March.

Friday, 14 February 2020

From Russia with Love... Stranger Things 4 first look

Netflix has released a first look trailer for Stranger Things 4, which sees fan-favourite Jim Hopper (David Harbour) alive and well in Russia. Hopper seemingly sacrificed himself at the end of Stranger Things 3.

“We’re excited to officially confirm that production on ‘Stranger Things 4’ is now underway — and even more excited to announce the return of Hopper!” the Duffer brothers wrote in a statement. “Although it’s not all good news for our ‘American;’ he is imprisoned far from home in the snowy wasteland of Kamchatka, where he will face dangers both human…and other. Meanwhile, back in the states, a new horror is beginning to surface, something long-buried, something that connects everything. Season 4 is shaping up to be the biggest and most frightening season yet, and we cannot wait for everyone to see more. In the meantime, pray for the American.”

Netflix has not announced a release date for Stranger Things 4. Are you excited to see the return of Hopper? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Rian Johnson's thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker

Director Rian Johnson (The Last Jedi) spoke to MTV, on the red carpet at the Academy Awards, about his thoughts on JJ Abrams' The Rise of Skywalker:

“I want to sit down like a Star Wars fan and just get my popcorn and just be 10-years-old again and see this whole thing brought home in a beautiful way that surprises me… it’s Star Wars. It takes you there. It transports you. The instant that John Williams score comes up, the instant you’re back in that world and hear those lightsaber sounds, it’s just [snaps] – you’re back to being ten.”

Eloquently put in the wake of the fandom menace surrounding the conclusion to the sequel trilogy. Johnson is currently developing a new Star Wars trilogy at Lucasfilm.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Westworld Season 3 premieres this March

Game of Thrones and His Dark Materials may be over. But, fans of HBO's prestige dramas won't have to wait much longer to return to Westworld. Season 3 begins 15th March on HBO and 16th March on Sky Atlantic.

Showrunners Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy have an endgame, as Joy tells Den of Geek:

“We have an ending in mind; we’ve had it from the pilot. It’s very emotional, I think. I can’t tell you exactly when that ending will come… but I think for every season what we try to do is tell a chapter of the story that gives you closure and then opens a door to a new chapter… The overarching question of the series is, what will become of this new lifeform? So I feel it would be irresponsible to not have an end goal in mind.”

Looking forward to Westworld season 3? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Baby Yoda is Funko's best-selling pre-order

Star Wars fans can't seem to get enough of Baby Yoda! Funko Pop's official The Child merchandise is the best-selling pre-order in the company's history. Funko art director Reis O'Brien revealed the news on Thursday via a Twitter video in which he discussed the development of the upcoming toy.

"It's bananas," O'Brien said of the figure's popularity. The tiny tyke took the world by storm when it was revealed at the end of episode one of The Mandalorian. Fans clamoured for merchandise, but none was ready in time for the holiday season due to secrecy surrounding the new character.

Pre-order on (affiliate link)
Pre-order on (affiliate link)

Don't forget Hasbro and Mattel are also launching Baby Yoda merchandise from The Mandalorian this spring.

What Baby Yoda merchandise are you looking forward to most? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

The Mandalorian returns in October on Disney+

The second season of the first Star Wars live-action spin-off, The Mandalorian, begins this October on Disney+. Disney CEO Bob Iger made the announcement during The Walt Disney Company’s quarterly earnings call.

Iger went on to confirm the second season of The Mandalorian has been in production for a while, and the House of Mouse is considering further Star Wars spin-offs to bolster its Lucasfilm offerings alongside a slate of Marvel Studios productions including Loki, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.

Baby Yoda has captured the zeitgeist and Iger promises further merchandise announcements from official licensees later this year. Mattel's The Child is the most popular Star Wars-related pre-order on Amazon (affiliate link).

Disney+ picked up 29 million subscribers in the three months since it launched in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Australia. This is predicted to increase to over 60 million by 2024 as the service expands into more markets including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. I'd argue that's a conservative estimate and it'll surpass that figure with ease.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Star Wars fan film: The Last Stand

Stormtroopers have always had a bad rep in the Star Wars saga. So, director Sekani Solomon wanted to envisage them in a more serious fashion.

"Star Wars: The Last Stand is a dynamic, gritty and somewhat over the top full CGI depiction of battle-worn storm troopers facing off against an unknown enemy."

Solomon writes on YouTube: "Stormtroopers are often portrayed as somewhat silly and incompetent, so I wanted to create a film to showcase troopers as skilled fighters, which is how I see them. Having the simple idea of showing Stormtroopers fighting, I knew the crux of the project would be to illustrate the battle in an interesting way. To do this I wanted to use dynamic camera angles, focusing on moments and scenes we don’t usually see in Star Wars films. I worked on this piece on and off for 3 years, mostly by myself."

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

Monday, 3 February 2020

Marvel's Disney+ first look during Super Bowl

Marvel Studios dropped a teaser trailer for its upcoming live-action Disney+ spin-offs during Super Bowl LIV.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision debut on Disney+ fall 2020 and Loki premieres in 2021. All the spin-offs star original Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) cast members and will tie into Phase 4 beginning with Black Widow this May.

Disney+ has been a huge success in the US, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand since launching last November and launches on 24th March in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland with Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series The Mandalorian and the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Disney+ is available on a range of devices including Android, iOS, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, PS4 and selected smart TVs.

Which Marvel live-action spin-off are you looking forward to most on Disney+? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

Make it so, Star Trek: Picard!

Star Trek: Picard, the latest CBS All Access spin-off, premiered on my birthday on Amazon Prime almost thirty years since The Next Generation on BBC2. Two episodes in, and I'm totally hooked on this tale of a forgotten champion of Starfleet caught in the middle of an intergalactic conspiracy.

Sir Patrick Stewart is back as an ageing Admiral Jean-Luc Picard without a ship or crew as he's now an outsider, with a terminal illness (due to his time as Locutus of Borg?), in a synthetic-fearing universe in search of Data's (Brent Spiner) daughter, Soji (Isa Briones), after her twin sister, Dahj, finds Picard before being killed by Romulan assassins.

Picard begins tracing the whereabouts of Soji with the aid of a Romulan ally, Laris (Orla Brady). All the while, the Romulans are dismantling a Borg cube.

Synthetics were banned by the Federation following a massacre on Mars. However, unlike the Cylons in the lauded Battlestar Galactica reboot or the Geth in Mass Effect, it is made clear, in a flashback, rogue synthetics are reprogrammed and the Utopia Planitia shipyard attack is not out of free will. So, by whom and for what insidious purpose?

The consequences lead to Starfleet abandoning its pledge to rescue the Romulans, a sworn enemy of the Federation, from a natural catastrophe and precipitated Picard's resignation on ethical grounds.

There are countless Easter Eggs from the franchise's rich storied history, but there's nothing here to alienate new or casual fans. This only serves to further enrich a beautifully paced character-driven drama that sees a beloved sci-fi figure shaken out of exile and back exploring the final frontier.

CBS All Access has hit another home run with its latest Star Trek spin-off. Certainly, I'm excited to see what happens next and how Picard ties into the third season of Discovery. Since Viacom recently merged Paramount and CBS, it's one big glittering unified Trek universe once more.

What do you think of Star Trek: Picard so far? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 31 January 2020

Watch test footage from Star Wars: Underworld

A Star Wars live-action series had been in development long before Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney and The Mandalorian brought Baby Yoda to the masses on Disney+ last November.

Originally, a television series was planned to follow Star Wars (1977). However, the box office success of George Lucas' space opera saw that idea (rightly) shelved and one of the made-for-television sequels was Splinter of the Mind's Eye, written by Alan Dean Foster who ghost wrote the original Star Wars novelisation.

Fast forward to Revenge of the Sith (2005). Lucas planned to follow the conclusion of the prequel trilogy with a live-action series entitled Star Wars: Underworld. Set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, Underworld was envisaged as spanning one hundred episodes and John Knoll's script was developed into Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. A tie-in video game, Star Wars: 1313, was also planned before LucasArts was shuttered.

Ultimately, the live-action series was mothballed once Disney took over Lucasfilm. However, fans can watch test footage from Underworld, which depicts Coruscant's underbelly in the style of Blade Runner or Cyberpunk 2077. Stargate Studios has worked on Doctor Who, The Walking Dead and The Orville.

What are your thoughts on Star Wars: Underworld? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Colin Trevorrow confirms Duel of the Fates leak

Director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) confirmed, on Twitter, leaked conceptual artwork is from his unmade Star Wars sequel, Duel of the Fates, after he left Lucasfilm, citing creative differences, and JJ Abrams took over the project to direct what would become The Rise of Skywalker. Thus, finishing what he started with The Force Awakens.

Trevorrow's tweet comes a week after a screenplay was seemingly leaked online. It sees Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) dispatched by Rey (Daisy Ridley) in the final act and the Emperor's (Ian McDiarmid) 7000-year-old master, Tor Valum, a "Lovecraftian" menace, playing a pivotal role. Pity, it wasn't Darth Plagueis, first mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, who some fans thought was Snoke's (Andy Serkis) true identity before Rian Johnson burned the house down in The Last Jedi.

Trevorrow spoke to Empire magazine about his time on Star Wars, “I don’t want to talk too much about it because I don’t want to affect the way that fans get to see these films.”

He added, “When we were kids, these movies came to us from far away. They were a gift. And the more we talk about how they’re made, the more it reveals that they’re just movies.”

Trevorrow continued, “But they’re not just movies, they’re more than that. Beyond that, I got the opportunity to tell a story that is a celebration of everything I believe in, I got to tell it to George Lucas and I got to tell it to Luke Skywalker, and those are experiences I will cherish for the rest of my life.”

Saturday, 25 January 2020

The Doctor and the BritBox of delights

A couple of weeks ago I reviewed Doctor Who on BritBox. Our resident US roving reporter, Nick Smith, friend and fellow Whovian, has had more time (pun intended) to explore.

Here are Nick's thoughts along with an anecdote regarding how his adventures aboard the TARDIS began (he never cared to mention it during classic Doctor Who screenings on VHS at university).

Guest post by Nick Smith

Everyone knows the best babysitter isn’t Mary Poppins or Nanny McPhee. It’s the TV set! That steadfast screen can show us the world, how to behave and how not to. It can show us how to get to Sesame Street. It can show us the past and possible futures, human nature and Mother Nature.

In September 1980, I had a human babysitter called Mrs. Baggs. Ten or more kids at a time, nothing fancy, just her living room to play in and a drink of water if we got thirsty. Mrs. Baggs knew how magical TV was to simple kids who wouldn’t have known what to do with a Gameboy if it bit them. Those gadgets wouldn’t be around for almost a decade, so at the age of eight, I was happy playing with a toy steering wheel. I was a mini-Mansell oblivious to my surroundings. Then Mrs. Baggs said a few words that pricked my attention above the roar of my World Championship Racing engine.

"Did you see Doctor Who the other night?", Mrs. Baggs asked her charges in her piratical Bristolian accent. "He got ‘is arms and legs pulled off. It was brilliant!"

Although I’d been casually watching the Doctor since I was a toddler, I had not seen the offending episode. I was fascinated by the lurid picture painted by my sitter, the way her eyes got Tom Baker-wide when she described the cliffhanger from The Leisure Hive. I had to find out what happened next!

From then on, I was an avid viewer. While the episode endings did not always have me clamouring for more, they got everyone talking about how the Doctor would escape his latest predicament. The school playground was rife with conjecture about what would happen next. Like Saturday matinee serials beforehand, Doctor Who had a life outside its 25-minute airtime, a life that transcended TV’s two dimensions thanks to our vivid imaginations.

Later, convention screenings, bootleg videos and VHS/DVD releases meant we could watch stories any time we wanted! UK Gold ran repeats for a staggering 15 years, from 1992 to 2007. BBC2 showed the occasional rerun as well. Although we didn’t always have to wait a week between episodes, there was a sense of chronology. We watched a story through from beginning to end.

Now, with the advent of BritBox, that’s starting to change. The online streaming collection of British TV shows from the BBC and ITV provides an a la carte menu of viewing. Want to watch your own Cyberman saga or check out an Auton oeuvre? Go ahead, binge away.

Other services such as Twitch (with the occasional marathon) and Pluto TV, which has a Doctor Who Classics subchannel, provide a different way of viewing. They don’t give you a choice of what to stream but they do show whole stories. Pluto’s choice of stories can be arbitrary, although it’s good to see that they show some ‘60s tales casting a black and white light on Tom Baker Street. Some of the programming is strategic – want to watch Tomb of the Cybermen followed by Earthshock? Pluto’s your planet. But because the shows can’t be rewound, you might find yourself catching parts 2-4 of Power of Kroll. The result is more of a pick ‘n’ mix than the banquet of BritBox.

There are pros to this brave new world of streaming sci-fi. It’s on all the time and you can dip in whenever you want. The major downside: commercials, popping up uninvited on Twitch and Pluto. Yuck. Pacing in these shows is very important, and even 25 minutes stretched to half an hour makes a difference.

More Who is never a bad thing. Personally, I’m very glad there’s enough interest in my favourite TV show to devote a 24/7 channel to it. And if streaming draws new fans, subsequently increasing the show’s longevity, then that is great too. The new series still has a cliffhanger ending or two up its masterful sleeve, and I can handle missing episode one of Meglos. A show about time travel doesn’t always have to start its stories at the beginning.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Star Wars: The Clone Wars this February on Disney+

Lucasfilm has announced the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars will start streaming on Disney+ on 21st February.

The award-winning animated spin-off, created by George Lucas, was cancelled in 2013 after Disney acquired Lucasfilm. However, fan fervour has helped bring back this beloved series. The 12-part season explores events leading up to Revenge of the Sith.

In related news. Disney+ will now launch on 24th March in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland. The nascent streaming service will undercut Netflix at £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year, which is very tempting. Existing DisneyLife subscribers will most likely be migrated to Disney+, but no official announcement has been made.

Looking forward to the final season of The Clone Wars? Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Taika Waititi approached to direct Star Wars movie

Director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnorak) is currently promoting his latest movie, Jojo Rabbit, and has been approached by Lucasfilm to develop a movie for the Star Wars franchise following the conclusion of the Skywalker saga in The Rise of Skywalker. This is according to THR.

Waititi has directed an episode and played a character, IG-11, in Jon Favreau's live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, for Disney+. So, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise as Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is joining Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy to produce future Star Wars movies.

After the success of The Mandalorian, what are your thoughts on Waiti directing a Star Wars movie once he's helmed Thor: Love and Thunder? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Doctor Who on BritBox is a timey-wimey treasure trove

Classic Doctor Who materialised on BritBox on Boxing Day and quickly became the most viewed show on the newly launched streaming service from the BBC and commercial broadcaster ITV.

Reemah Sakaan, Group Director ITV SVOD, commented:

"BritBox becoming the first complete digital home of Doctor Who Classic creates a special opportunity for fans and streamers across the UK. We are looking forward to expanding the collection even further by working with the show creators to lovingly restore lost and previously unavailable episodes in the months to come and offering a truly exclusive experience."

Sally de St Croix, Franchise Director for Doctor Who at BBC Studios added:

“It’s thrilling to partner with BritBox and see all this amazing Doctor Who Classic content congregate in one place where subscribers can stream to their hearts’ content – some experiencing the show for the first time whilst others will simply be enjoying it all over again.”

I'd already availed myself of a free 1-month trial, during the public beta, but reached out to customer service who very kindly arranged another free month so I could explore the 627 episodes of Doctor Who post Christmas. This would more than tide me over whilst waiting for series 12, starring Jodie Whittaker as the titular time lord, to begin on New Year's Day.

BritBox hasn't asked me to review the service nor promote it in any way. However, I wanted to in gratitude for letting me watch classic serials - many of which I've never gotten around to seeing on VHS, DVD or Netflix - and to encourage fellow fans (old and new) to trial the new streaming service for free, themselves. The Wheel in Space is a tantalising exclusive from the Patrick Troughton era featuring my favourite villains. The Cybermen.

Like Disney+, there were launch day issues for some fans due to overwhelming demand. Personally, I was able to stream episodes of Doctor Who on my iPad Pro and Apple TV without any issues, however, a few friends weren't so lucky and had to wait a day or two for things to settle down.

BritBox has curated serials so that newer fans can savour the very best of William Hartnell to Paul McGann without being overwhelmed. As a lifelong fan, since Tom Baker's era, I dived straight into The Android Invasion and was reminded of how traumatic this serial was for a then 3-year old me. I was, literally, terrified that the adults in my life would be replaced by Kraal androids and there'd be no way of knowing until it was too late...

During the festive season, dad and I rewatched The Seeds of Doom - remembering how scary this serial was from the fabled gothic era. Due to the increasingly nightmarish nature of the show, I think Doctor Who was banned from the Hood household as I have no recollection of seeing season 14, coming to Blu-ray (affiliate link) this April, until an omnibus repeat of The Robots of Death! I'd missed the departure of Sarah Jane Smith (Elisabeth Sladen) and was nonplussed to discover Leela (Louise Jameson) had replaced my first and favourite companion.

Subsequently, it's been mostly effortless switching between incarnations of the Doctor from the comfort of my sofa - no longer hiding behind it as in the mid-to-late seventies. I did notice The Masque of Mandragora is formatted incorrectly (BritBox assures me this will be fixed). The art direction is woefully inconsistent: varying from lush to generic artwork, which is a missed opportunity given the copious amount of material available. It would be nice to see more devices supported in the future including PS4, Xbox One and my Samsung smart TV from 2015.

Overall, the experience of watching Doctor Who on BritBox has been brilliant and will only get better. Back to the politically-relevant Inferno this winter.

Are you going to keep subscribing to BritBox after the free trial? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Willow sequel series begins production for Disney+

Willow, directed by Ron Howard (Cocoon) and written by George Lucas (Star Wars), is an eighties fantasy film that found a cult following on home video.

Upon initial release, as an adolescent, I baulked at seeing Willow on the big screen during a time when the adventures of Luke Skywalker and Doctor Who were seemingly less alluring. Surely, I was too old for this stuff?

Turns out I wasn't too old, nor ever will be, thankfully, as I rented the movie in the early nineties and fell in love with the adventures of Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) and composer James Horner's clarion call to heroism. Oh, and never stopped being a Star Wars and Doctor Who fan, but longtime readers already knew that.

Jon Kasdan (Solo: A Star Wars Story) has teased on Twitter that production on the Willow sequel series is going ahead for Disney+. Hopefully, Lucasfilm veterans Ron Howard and Warwick Davis will return.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Billie Lourd played Leia in The Rise of Skywalker

There are spoilers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. ILM Visual Effects Supervisor Patrick Tubach revealed the creative process behind the late Carrie Fisher's (General Leia) inclusion in The Rise of Skywalker.

For the scene depicting Leia's Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Billie Lourd stood in for her late mother.

"Billie was playing her mother," Tubach told Yahoo Entertainment. "It was a poignant thing, and something that nobody took lightly – that she was willing to stand in for her mom.

"It felt great for us, too. If you're going to have someone play [Fisher's] part, it's great that it's [Billie] because there are a lot of similarities between them that we were able to draw from."

The filmmakers also used footage from Return of the Jedi for Fisher's younger face, and visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett added: "What you see is what we developed.

"The idea was to provide this great surprise where they take the helmets off, and you see Luke and Leia's younger faces. We scoured outtakes from the original movies, and we took some pieces and then had to try and figure out the technical aspect of putting that shot together."

However, he noted that it was up to Fisher's family – particularly Lourd, who also plays Kaydel Ko Connix in the sequel trilogy – as to whether her likeness will ever be used in a Star Wars movie again.

He added: "When you see her in this movie, it's the live-action element of her face taken from outtakes of either The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi, and then building a digital Carrie around that face.

"She's wearing a new costume, she's got new hair, she's got new jewellery. We didn't want it to feel like we'd simply taken previous shots from previous movies and just edited her in; we wanted her to be unique to this movie, and we wanted her to be integrated into the scenes.

"JJ's principle in pre-production was, 'I want Princess Leia to be played by Carrie Fisher. How do we do this?' That was the integrity that he wanted brought to it, so that he could really put his hand on his heart and say that Princess Leia was always played by Carrie Fisher."

Lourd writes in Time magazine about becoming the keeper of Princess Leia.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is in cinemas now.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker nears a billion dollars

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker may have divided fans and critics (what franchise doesn't?). However, the final chapter in the Skywalker saga starts 2020 as the dominant box office Force. JJ Abrams' Star Wars sequel is on course for a billion dollars and is the number one movie for a third week.

During the holiday season, Disney announced a new 27-disc Blu-ray box set spanning all 9 movies in 4K UHD. It is presumed these are taken from the 4K masters used for Disney+. This is available as an exclusive limited edition from (affiliate link).

Over the years, like many fellow fans, I've bought Star Wars countless times on VHS and DVD, but stopped short of Blu-ray due to format fatigue and switching to streaming services such as Netflix and most recently BritBox (to access classic Doctor Who). I'm going to make a rare exception for this.

Will you be buying the complete Skywalker saga on Blu-ray? Let me know in the comments below.

Thursday, 2 January 2020

Star Trek: Picard renewed at CBS All Access

It's a new year and a new decade. Star Trek: Picard, the latest Star Trek spin-off from CBS All Access, has been renewed ahead of the season one premiere on 23rd January, which is coincidentally my birthday.

The new series sees Picard, played by Sir Patrick Stewart, haunted by the past. Stewart will be joined by franchise fan-favourites Brent Spiner (Data), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Marina Sirtis (Troi), Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) and Jonathan Del Arco (Hugh).

Like many fans, I'm really looking forward to this. Now, if only CBS All Access would announce a Captain Pike-led (Anson Mount) spin-off prequel series, too. Star Trek: Discovery's second season was so much fun with Pike at the helm.

Star Trek: Picard will stream exclusively on 24th January on Amazon Prime outside the US.