Showing posts with label princess leia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label princess leia. Show all posts

Friday, 5 May 2023

Celebrating Carrie Fisher on May the Fourth

Carrie Fisher, who most famously played Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy (in the process becoming my first and greatest silver screen crush 45 years ago), was poignantly remembered on May the Fourth AKA Star Wars Day!

Her daughter Billie Lourd, Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill, C-3PO and R2-D2 assembled for Fisher's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony.

Hamill read out a note he'd written shortly after his friend's death in December 2016.

“I thought, this is as relevant today as it was when I wrote it,” Hamill said about the note.

“Carrie was one of a kind. She belonged to us all, whether we liked it or not,” Hamill’s note reads. “She was our princess, dammit! And the actress who played her blurred into one gorgeous, fearlessly independent, ferociously funny, take-charge woman who took our collective breath away. Determined and tough, but with a vulnerability that made you root for her and want her to succeed and be happy. She played such a crucial role in my professional and personal life. Both would’ve been far emptier without her.

“Was she a handful? Was she high maintenance? No doubt,” the note continues. “But everything would’ve been so much drabber and less interesting if she hadn’t been the friend that she was. I’ll never stop missing her, but I’m so thankful we had her as long as we did. I’m grateful for the laughter, the wisdom, the kindness, and even the bratty, self-indulgent crap my beloved space twin drove me crazy with through the years. So thank you, Carrie. I love you.”

With my best friend, I met Fisher and Hamill at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016. A kiss from a princess, a hug from a Jedi Knight and tears of joy. It's not every day you meet childhood heroes who turn out to be amazing in person.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Empire Strikes Back at 40

This May marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, directed by Irvin Kershner (Eyes of Laura Mars), in the US. It's that rarest of sequels, one that successfully builds on the mythology of the original while taking the story to darker and unexpected places.

To commemorate this milestone, Generation Star Wars' John Hood and Taking the Short View's Andrew Lewin look back to one of the Rebel Alliance's darkest hours...

John: It's summer 1980, I've started the six-week school holiday after finishing primary school for good. Obviously, my thoughts were on seeing the next chapter in the Star Wars saga at the Exeter Odeon, where I'd seen Star Wars two years previously. However, ongoing rehabilitation following a life-changing head injury in primary school meant more hours spent undertaking hospital visits, physiotherapy and plaster casts. Alas, no recovering in a bacta tank, operated by medical droids FX-7 and 2-1B, for me!

Undaunted, I avidly listened to the latest double LP soundtrack by John Williams, played with existing Star Wars action figures and excitedly leapt upon the mention in the album liner notes that creator George Lucas was planning no less than nine movies in total. Now that was surely something to look forward to, right?

Then, following a hospital appointment with a surgeon who showed no empathy (a far cry from the surgeons who had saved my life in 1977 and set me on a cinematic path), mum surprised me with new Han Solo and Chewbacca action figures. Suffice to say, I was chuffed to bits. What I wasn't expecting was the Millennium Falcon in my bedroom adorned with Star Wars wallpaper! There was the so-called 'piece of junk', in all her glory.

I remember the hurdle my late mum and an aunt had to overcome helping me into the Exeter Odeon cinema (my legs encased in plaster cast for the umpteenth time). Of being enthralled by the AT-AT attack, traumatised by Darth Vader's scarred skull (triggering the trauma of seeing my shaved head and surgical stitches for the first time post surgery) and mesmerised when Master Yoda used the Force to lift Luke Skywalker's sunken X-Wing out of the Dagobah swamp, but somewhat nonplussed by Han and Leia's romance. Too much kissing and not enough PEW! PEW! PEW! Although I needn't of worried, the movie's climax in Cloud City brought more than enough thrilling blaster and lightsaber action.

Years later, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) hugged and kissed me at Star Wars Celebration Europe. Childhood me would never have believed it.

As for that shock paternal revelation, I thought Vader was lying to Luke and merely trying to coax him back from the edge of the gantry in order to kill or convert him. Ah, the gleeful mind of a young child, eh? So, what are your memories, Andrew?

Andrew: I'm afraid I'm going to be a major disappointment to you on this one, John! I have weirdly few actual first-hand memories of seeing The Empire Strikes Back in 1980, certainly far fewer than I can recall about seeing the original film three years earlier. Obviously, I did see the film on the big screen at the time - I can state with complete confidence that I've seen all 11 Star Wars first time on the big screen as a point of principle - yes, I'm including Rogue One and Solo, just accept it!

John: Controversial confession: I didn't bother seeing Solo at the cinema, nor since on Sky Cinema or Disney+! With the conclusion of The Clone Wars and season one of The Mandalorian, I've run out of excuses.

Andrew: Wow! I'm genuinely aghast. I figured that you would have at least streamed it by now. It's not at all bad, honest - if you can make it through Star Wars: The Phantom Menace then you'll definitely be able to get to the end of Solo without too much trouble!

Getting back onto safer territory, I'm strangely lacking in specific recollections of the very first time I saw The Empire Strikes Back. It would undoubtedly have been at the old Southend Odeon, which was so big and plush that it would even give today's Empire Leicester Square a run for its money in terms of capacity. (Alas long since gone and now part of the Southend campus of the University of Essex.) I remember staring at the screen curtains for hours as the lights faded endlessly from green to purple and back again - it was mesmerising, almost better than many films that followed once the curtains parted and the lights went out!

While I don't remember seeing the film itself at the Odeon, I know I did - and multiple times - because I have vivid memories of the short film that preceded it. Remember when there was a pre-feature British production on every programme? For The Empire Strikes Back it was Black Angel, the tale of an Arthurian knight returning from the Crusades who rescues a princess. It was shot in Scotland and atmospherically directed by Roger Christian, who'd actually won an Oscar for his set decoration on the first Star Wars movie. It was really quite brilliant.

John: I too remember the prothetic Black Angel and it was around this time that a neighbour friend gifted me a copy of The Lord of the Rings, which would only cement a lifelong passion for fairytales and by extension story telling. Darth Vader as a Ring Wraith... Sorry, please go on.

Andrew: Having been put off Tolkien for a long time by a forced school study reading of The Hobbit, it was many years later - almost 20 in fact - before I finally dipped my toe into The Lord of the Rings. Back in 1980, Black Angel was simply the ideal dark fantasy accompaniment to The Empire Strikes Back that followed.

Sadly, the film originals for this short film were reported lost shortly after, but I do still remember seeing it multiple times at the Odeon. In fact it's the only support feature I do remember from those days, so it follows that I must therefore also have seen The Empire Strikes Back many times too. But the rest of my recollections from that time are now all just part of a general "The Empire Strikes Back memory" in which I know every line and shot and music cue, but not whether I'm recalling it from watching it 1980, 1999, or last week!

Being slightly older at the time than your good self, I think I was more, umm, open to the idea of the Han/Leia romance for some unknown reason. I do have a strong sense that even on first viewing I completely accepted Vader's shock revelation without question as it was surely too delicious a twist to be a lie (as opposed to the similar attempted revelation between Rey and Kylo Ren in The Last Jedi, which simply never had an equivalent ring of satisfaction to it and therefore never felt quite right). And I do remember desperately wanting a Snowspeeder for Christmas - which I don't think I ever got, now I think of it...

John: Did someone mention toys? Not only did The Empire Strikes Back give us, arguably, the greatest instalment (spawning the prequels years later), but also a fine collection of new Star Wars action figures, playsets and accessories. Sorry you never received that coveted Snowspeeder; mine arrived alongside an AT-AT and Rebel Troop Transport, Christmas 1981. Do you have a favourite piece of merchandise from the era, Andrew?

Andrew: For me it was always all about the Millennium Falcon. I think it must rank as one of the all-time greatest, most iconic science fiction spaceship designs, up there with the likes of Space: 1999's Eagle transporter, Star Trek's Enterprise and the Liberator from Blake's 7 (and a smorgasbord of International Rescue craft, of course). I remember I had a wonderfully detailed and high-quality metal die-cast model Falcon which was small enough to almost fit into the palm of one's hand - surprisingly heavy for its size but nonetheless ideal for whooshing through the air as the leading player in many imagined thrilling chases and dog-fights.

John: I was gifted die-cast Darth Vader's TIE Fighter and Star Destroyer one Christmas along with a Millennium Falcon. The tooling on those toys was peerless, and - as you've already suggested - of a premium build quality. In fact, I've now remembered receiving Boba Fett's Slave 1. However, the very rare TIE Bomber proved too elusive.

Andrew: Alas, poor ultra-elusive TIE Bomber - the Doctor Who: The Collection Season 14 Blu-ray limited edition boxset of its day!

The apex Millennium Falcon back in those days was unquestionably the much larger playset version that you could use with all the standard-size action figures fitting inside it. Try whooshing that behemoth through the air over your head and you'd definitely do yourself an injury! Sadly, when I finally got one for Christmas, there was a part missing - one of the landing struts. I was absolutely devastated, as the model couldn't stand upright without it. My dad leapt into action, and cut and glued two pieces of soft wood together which slotted in and actually worked surprisingly well once painted the right shade of grey. In the end I grew rather fond of it, and proud of being the sole possessor of this unique "peg leg" edition Millennium Falcon.

Before we close, one final question: I trust that we still in full agreement that even four decades later, The Empire Strikes Back remains the very best of all the Star Wars films? Or do you have a controversial (and obviously wrong!) alternative opinion on this seminal matter?

John: Longtime readers will already know my answer! Not only is The Empire Strikes Back my favourite Star Wars instalment, it also, conveniently, happens to be my all-time favourite movie. Kershner's sequel to Lucas' original casts a long shadow…

Andrew: I was pretty sure that would be your verdict, but I just wanted to get you to say it anyway. After all, you are a man of rare distinction and refinement; even if you still haven't got around to seeing Solo yet!

John: Well, that's our recollections of The Empire Strikes Back. What are yours? Let us know in the comments below.

In the meantime, why not checkout our previous conversations regarding Doctor Who and Star Wars.

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.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Barbie in a galaxy far, far away...

In the run-up to the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Mattel and Disney have joined forces for a new Star Wars-inspired Barbie collection based on Darth Vader, R2-D2 and, my personal favourite and childhood crush, Princess Leia.

Star Wars x Barbie is an homage to Star Wars: A New Hope. This eponymous collection, inspired by the film’s original concept art, re-imagines iconic characters through a distinctive Barbie high-fashion filter. Darth Vader Barbie reminds me of a female Kylo Ren cosplayer I saw at Star Wars Celebration Europe, which is very cool.

Barbie is no stranger to sci-fi. Kirk, Spock and Uhura dolls were released to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

The new Star Wars x Barbie figures retail for $100 dollars and are available for pre-order from (affiliate link) and (affiliate link). No doubt these will prove to be very popular with Barbie and Star Wars collectors alike.

Which is your favourite Barbie from the collection? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Harrison Ford remembers his friend Peter Mayhew

Harrison Ford recently appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and discussed the 35th anniversary of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Mark Hamill's impression of him on the set of Star Wars and, most poignantly, the passing of his friend Peter Mayhew.

Ford and Mayhew played best friends and Millennium Falcon co-pilots, Han Solo and Chewbacca, in the original Star Wars trilogy and The Force Awakens.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Peter Mayhew, Star Wars' Chewbacca, dies aged 74

Awoke to the terribly sad news that Peter Mayhew has passed away aged 74.

Mayhew played the mighty Chewbacca, Millennium Falcon co-pilot and best friend of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), in the original Star Wars trilogy and became a beloved fan-favourite to generations of fans (myself included).

"He put his heart and soul into the role of Chewbacca and it showed in every frame," his family said.

Together, Ford and Mayhew co-piloted the Millennium Falcon and took on the Empire in some of the franchise's most memorable scenes. "We were partners in film and friends in life for over 30 years and I loved him," said Ford.

"He invested his soul in the character and brought great pleasure to the Star Wars audience."

Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, said: "What was so remarkable about him was his spirit and his kindness and his gentleness was so close to what a Wookiee is.

"He just radiated happiness and warmth. He was always up for a laugh and we just hit it off immediately and stayed friends for over 40 years."

I'll always cherish the bittersweet childhood memory of discovering, on Christmas morning, that my grandparents' dog, Smurf, had chewed up action figure Chewie!

May the Force be with you, sir! Always. RIP.

What are your favourite memories of Chewbacca? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Did Adam Driver share a spoiler regarding Rey to GQ?

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is less than two months away from release and fans know very little about the upcoming Star Wars sequel directed by Rian Johnson. However, actor Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren, may or may not have let slip a spoiler regarding Rey's parentage during an interview with British GQ magazine.

Read on at your own peril, if you want to avoid any possible spoilers.

“I remember the initial conversations about having things ‘skinned’, peeling away layers to evolve into other people, and the person Kylo’s pretending to be on the outside is not who he is. He’s a vulnerable kid who doesn’t know where to put his energy, but when he puts his mask on, suddenly, he’s playing a role. JJ had that idea initially and I think Rian took it to the next level… You have, also, the hidden identity of this princess who’s hiding who she really is so she can survive and Kylo Ren and her hiding behind these artifices.”

Now, Driver's comment is ambiguous enough to pertain to either Rey or General Leia, Kylo's mother, played by the late Carrie Fisher. Personally, I can't imagine the actor was careless enough to let slip a spoiler of this magnitude so close to release without Lucasfilm vetting the interview. Afterall, he didn't disclose that his character Kylo Ren would kill his father, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), in The Force Awakens.

"When I watched the premiere, I felt sick to my stomach," the actor said. "Immediately, I thought I was going to puke. I was holding my wife's hand, and she's like, 'You're really cold. Are you OK?' Because I just knew what was coming — I kill Harrison Ford — and I didn't know how this audience of 2,000 people was going to respond to it, you know?"

Whatever the case, fans will find out this December.

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

Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Star Wars Story

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

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

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

The promise was kept.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 40th birthday, Star Wars!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Carrie Fisher remembered by fans on Star Wars Day

Star Wars fans around the world are celebrating Star Wars Day, May the Fourth, and paying tribute to the late Carrie Fisher.

I updated my social media avatar with a photo taken with Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration Europe last summer.

How are you celebrating Star Wars Day? Let me know in the comments below.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Star Wars fan film: The Force and the Fury

Star Wars fan films have thrived since the original trilogy. Now, Star Wars: The Force and the Fury continues the tradition and is dedicated to the memory of the late Carrie Fisher.

Fellow fans are going to love this.

"A Jedi crash lands on a barren planet and is pursued by a mysterious Sith who seems to know him."

Fan films can be an excellent opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their talents. Kudos to Star Wars: The Force and the Fury writer and director Jason Satterlund.

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

Source: LFF

Thursday, 13 April 2017

A tribute to Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration

Cast and crew pay tribute to the late Carrie Fisher at Star Wars Celebration during an emotional 40 Years of Star Wars panel featuring franchise creator George Lucas.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Carrie Fisher's death won't alter The Last Jedi

In the wake of Star Wars: The Force Awakens' and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story's box office success. It's no surprise Disney plans to continue the Star Wars saga beyond a sequel trilogy.

"We’re starting to talk about what could happen after Episode IX. About what could be another decade-and-a-half of Star Wars stories," Disney CEO Bob Iger said on Thursday during a talk to film students in Santa Monica.

During the talk, Iger confirmed that The Last Jedi has not been altered in light of Carrie Fisher’s death last December. At the time there was speculation surrounding what impact it might have on the upcoming Star Wars sequel directed by Rian Johnson.

"When we bought Lucasfilm, we were going to make three films — Episodes VII, VIII and IX," he said.

"We had to deal with tragedy at the end of 2016. Carrie appears throughout VIII. We are not changing VIII to deal with her passing. Her performance remains as it is in VIII. In Rogue One, we had some digital character. We are not doing that with Carrie."

Looking forward to further adventures in a galaxy far, far away? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Star Wars starts 40th anniversary top at the box office

Happy New Year to folks who celebrate and may the Force be with us all in 2017!

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars' release in the US and director Rian Johnson's untitled Episode VIII will be lent even greater poignancy in the wake of actress Carrie Fisher's death, last December, when the first sequel to JJ Abrams' The Force Awakens opens in theatres later this year.

Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story continues to dominate multiplexes over the festive season, becoming the 2nd highest grossing movie of 2016. Doubtlessly, fans (including myself) will have returned to theatres in tribute to the late actress and her iconic role as Princess Leia. Of course Carrie Fisher was so much more. But, for now...

Aside from Episode VIII, which movies are you looking forward to most in 2017? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

"So long, Princess!"

Actress Carrie Fisher, most famous for playing Princess Leia in the Star Wars saga, suffered a serious heart attack aboard a flight from London to Los Angeles last week. Passengers attempted to revive her with CPR and she was taken to hospital after the plane landed.

Sadly Carrie Fisher succumbed to her injuries and died yesterday. She was 60.

I couldn't let this pass without comment during the festive season break.

My first, and greatest, silver screen crush. Vivid memory, post discharge from children's hospital, of asking my late mum if 'Princess Leia' would wait for me to grow up? Doubtlessly, I wasn't unique in that, but for a 5-year old, who had survived a life-changing trauma, it was a big deal. My younger self never imagined actually meeting her; let alone getting a kiss. Star Wars Celebration Europe will be fondly remembered. Always.

Coincidentally, I visited mum's memorial yesterday and she introduced me to Star Wars. The connective tissue of hope...

Star Wars ignited a lifelong passion for film, giving me a framework within which to make sense of feeling intense isolation in the wake of a childhood trauma, and the inspiration behind the inception of this blog.

Thank you and RIP Carrie Fisher. xx

How did Carrie Fisher and Star Wars impact your life? Let me know in the comments below.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Star Wars Rebels connects to The Force Awakens

Star Wars Rebels returns 20th January on Disney XD and the spectacular mid-season trailer teases a connection to The Force Awakens. The trailer includes dramatic footage of Darth Vader, Yoda and Princess Leia's debut in Disney's hit Star Wars spin-off.

Executive producer Dave Filoni explains the green crossguard lightsabre's inclusion in an interview with EW: "I wanted to put a nod to this new history we’re seeing in The Force Awakens. It’s important to have these links between stories in major ways and subtle ways. Here you find a sword we’ve encountered before and it gives a little more context to something that turns up later."

Looking forward to more Star Wars Rebels? Let me know in the comments below.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Princess Leia to appear on Star Wars Rebels

Princess Leia makes her debut in Star Wars Rebels this January on Disney XD. The episode "A Princess on Lothal" is set three years before A New Hope.

“One of the complex challenges of depicting Leia in 'Star Wars Rebels' is that we have to remind the audience that she is part of the Empire at this point,” says Executive Producer / Supervising Director Dave Filoni. “She doesn’t believe in the Empire, but she is acting the part, almost as a double agent. The Empire sees her as a privileged princess who runs mercy missions to wayward worlds, but in truth she is much stronger and more dangerous than they imagine.”

The young Princess Leia is voiced by actress Julie Dolan and harkens back to a time before audiences saw her blossom into a general with Carrie Fisher reprising her iconic role in The Force Awakens.

“There really is no other character quite like her,” says Filoni. “And to quote The Force Awakens’ Lor San Tekka, ‘She’ll always be royalty to me.’”

Princess Leia is the latest original trilogy character to appear in Star Wars Rebels.

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!

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!

Friday, 27 March 2015

Like him to return in The Force Awakens, we would

Yoda voted as character fans would most like to cameo in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The force is definitely strong with Yoda as he’s voted the classic character that most people would like to see in a cameo role when Star Wars returns to our screens later this year.

We all know that Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia and the droids are back but, with just months to go until Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits cinemas, speculation and rumours are rife about the plot and the possibility of other characters that could make a return.

De Agostini Publishing, the company behind the Build the Millennium Falcon magazine, carried out an online survey to see which other character from the Original Trilogy most people would like to see make an appearance in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Yoda was by far the most popular choice, with 46.6% of the vote, followed by Darth Vader with 26.1%.

Interestingly, fan favourite Boba Fett only scored 13.3%, with Lando and Wicket coming in behind him with 8.2% and 5.7% respectively.

The ancient Jedi proved to be a hit with the movies’ more adult fans, with 60% of parents and more than half (52.1%) of the 45 to 51 age group voting for him. Vader, however, proved to be most popular with the older voters, with a third (35%) of over 65s behind a return for the Dark Lord.

And, despite his poor showing in the ranks, Boba Fett proved to be the man’s choice of bounty hunter, receiving more than twice as many votes from men (17.8%) as from women (7.1%).

Officially licensed by Lucasfilm, each weekly issue of Build the Millennium Falcon comes with a selection of parts that build into a 1:1 scale model of the original Empire Strikes Back movie prop, including pre-painted hull parts, removable panels, working electronics for the moving ramp, LED lighting, and many internal details including the famous dejarik hologame table.

Priced at £8.99 an issue, the series is available throughout its publication via either newsagents or via subscription, which can be cancelled at any time. More information and details on how to subscribe can be found on the official website, and the official Facebook page at

The survey questioned 2,007 Google users during March 2015.

STAR WARS and related properties are trademarks in the United States and/or in other countries of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. © & TM 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Sesame Street's Star Wars parody stars Chewie cookie!

Sesame Street and The Muppets occupy a poignant place in my formative years! So, I couldn't pass up seeing some of my most beloved childhood heroes in a galaxy, a milky way galaxy far, far away...

Star S'Mores is a peach of a parody and follows unlikely heroes as Cookie Monster tries to learn self-control and rescue the Princess from the evil Empire.

Hearing Frank Oz's Groda, a mashup of Gonzo and Yoda, is a highlight. What fun!

Use the Four.