Month: August 2016

New Star Wars Rogue One toys revealed

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

With just under four months to go until Rogue One: A Star Wars Story reaches theaters (as of this writing), Lucasfilm is about to crank up their marketing efforts to 11. Earlier this month, the studio unveiled a full-length trailer for director Gareth Edwards’ war drama, and the latest coverage on the film has brought about new official stills and even an explanation of its title. If last year’s Force Awakens campaign is anything to go by, this is merely the tip of the iceberg. There’s still much to be done before the Rogue One premiere.

Of course, Star Wars is a merchandising giant thanks to the variety of tie-in products that are available. Action figures are arguably the most popular item, allowing fans to bring a piece of the film home and play out their own adventures in a galaxy far, far away. The first wave of toys from the Rogue One line will be released as part of this year’s Force Friday event, dubbed “Rogue Friday,” on September 30, 2016. As moviegoers make their shopping plans, they can now get a look at some of the action figure sets hitting shelves.

Jedi Temple Archives got a hold of some images depicting three “versus” dual packs, two new vehicles, and an electronic stormtrooper helmet that’s similar to the Kylo Ren one from last year. Check out the pictures below:

A1Moroff vs. Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader

A2Rebel Commando Pao vs. Imperial Death Trooper

A3First Order Snowtrooper vs. Poe Dameron

A4Imperial TIE Striker with Imperial Pilot figure

A5Rebel U-Wing with Cassian Andor figure

A6Black Series electronic stormtrooper helmet

Save for the oddly placed Snowtrooper vs. Poe Dameron set, these toys primarily spotlight all the fresh elements that Rogue One will introduce to the franchise. Rebel allies like Moroff and Pao (affectionately called Big Mouth by fans after the behind-the-scenes sizzle reel from Celebration) are new creatures that haven’t been seen before in the films. It’s also nice to see the Empire’s army getting more variations of the stormtrooper design. The all-black Death Troopers in particular are sure to become a fan-favorite as promotion heats up. And Star Wars wouldn’t be complete without some ship battles, which will make the U-Wing and TIE Striker highly sought after.

These only scratch the surface of what will be available during the big rollout. During the Rogue One panel at Celebration, Felicity Jones got to show off the first Jyn Erso action figure, and there are still several other characters that haven’t been revealed yet (fans will want a Chirrut Îmwe figure immediately). Hasbro will most likely use the hype surrounding Darth Vader’s heralded return to the movies as a launching pad for new Vader toys. The Sith Lord’s appearance in the trailer was brief, but the villain should factor heavily in the merchandising. Fans have much to be excited about as they wait for Rogue One to hit theaters this holiday season, and sales should be just as strong (if not better) than they were for Episode VII.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

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Famous album covers redesigned as Star Wars Art

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This is really amazing and the best Star Wars mashup I’ve seen in years.

Source: ScreenRant.Com

Everybody loves the classics. Whether they come in the form of old westerns, crooner tunes, or even 90’s-era branded jukeboxes, nostalgia gives us a sense of comfort and belonging because of its familiarity. So when you mix classic tropes with anything involving Star Wars, there’s little wiggle room for going wrong.

In an all-new series of crossover artworks this exact mash-up is the name of the game: Lando Calrissian graces Prince’s self-titled 1979 album, Han Solo becomes David Bowie, and the ever-cool Nein Nunb represents rapper Eminem.

Artist Steven Lear, aka WhyTheLongPlayFace, [h/t Collider] shared the series that takes classic shots of Star Wars characters and meshes them with similar poses and aesthetics from some of music’s most timeless album covers. The distinctive mash-ups are actually the artist’s specialty, and Star Wars isn’t the only subject that Lear has explored. Take a look at some of the pieces:

Calling them “Vinyl Mashup Comparisons,” Lear wrote that the Star Wars collection is “Complete… ish” on his Facebook page, and the full set – which contains 97 images so far – is heaven for Star Wars fans who also like classic rock. The only thing missing is a crossover between Luke Skywalker and The Kinks, one of actor Mark Hamill’s favorite bands.

There’s quite a bit of classic rock influence interspersed with some of the best 90’s rap albums, with a bit of ancient indie influence on the side. Among the most notable bits of this set is the fact that John Lennon and Yoko Ono are so often used to represent Han Solo and Princess Leia – both tragic power couples in their own right, to certain degrees.

Lear describes himself as a digital artist who has an “unhealthy obsession” with movies, music, and photoshop – so, he’s been creating these mash-ups for a while. So far, the Star Wars collection contains characters from the prequels and the original trilogy, so it’ll be interesting to see if these last few pieces have their eyes set on Rogue One or the ongoing sequel trilogy that began with The Force Awakens. His full collection is available to view on his website, but for now, there’s no telling where Lear plans on going (film-wise) after his Star Wars collection wraps up.

Take a look at this incredible collection and check the original albums for comparisons. All pictures taken from the artist Facebook Page:

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Rogue One: the biggest reveals from the new trailer Part 1

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Source: ScreenRant.Com. All animated gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

We’ve been waiting quite a long time for the second trailer from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – we all originally thought that we would be receiving it during Star Wars Celebration last month, and while itdid manage to premiere there, it was meant only for the crowd in London. (And then we all ended up waiting even longer during NBC’s Olympics coverage last night, as the network didn’t deem fit to air the Rogue One sneak peek until some two-and-a-half hours into its sporting coverage.)

And now that it’s here, it’s proven to be… well, we won’t use the word anticlimactic, since nearly anyStar Wars teaser stirs our hearts, but it did rely rather heavily on footage from the previous trailer. Still, there’s a few tidbits – not to mention speculation – to wring from last night’s two minutes of footage, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

Without further ado, here are the Biggest Reveals From The New Rogue One Trailer Part 1.

K-2SO REVEALED AT LAST

Let’s get the most obvious hint out of the way first.

K-2SO (Alan Tudyk), the former Imperial enforcer droid that has been reprogrammed by the Rebels to help them on their various missions against the Empire, has been much-discussed and -anticipated, and while we have gotten a few snippets of him here and there (such as in the first teaser), we’ve yet to see him in his full glory – or speaking with the accent that Tudyk opted to utilize for the character.

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And what a voice it is! Although practical and no-nonsense, and quite as far removed as an AI can get from the ubiquitous C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), Kaytoo nonetheless has a streak of humor running through him (casually telling Jyn Erso [Felicity Jones] that he won’t kill her, since she’s a friend to the Rebellion), and he features that lovely personality trait that Threepio constantly exhibits across all of his appearances: stating the impossible statistics that are in front of the crew (“There’s a 97.6% chance of failure”). Given just how dark this film looks – director Gareth Edwards has consistently stated that this is more a war movie than anything else – it seems that Kaytoo’s comedic relief will come as a welcome break from the tension.

(And for all those wondering just where, exactly, the Imperial enforcer droid pops up in the [new] Star Wars canon, don’t bother looking – this particular model has been created exclusively for this first “Anthology” film, which adds to its excitement but which could also complicate the timeline a bit.)

CASSIAN ANDOR’S BACKSTORY

Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor, after featuring prominently (well, at least visually) in the first trailer, finally gets a bit more to say – and it reveals a lot about his personality, his specific mission in the film, and what his backstory is.

Let’s address the basics before anything else: Cassian is a recruiter for the Rebel Alliance, going out to various planets and finding those peculiar individuals who have the combined qualities of being resentful towards the Empire and brash enough to do something about it. (It would seem his best find was none other than K-2SO, whom he freed from his Imperial programming.)

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Though Andor didn’t recruit Jyn, he is her handler, the one tasked with ensuring the erstwhile criminal follows her orders and ensures a victory for the Rebellion. While this information may be old, the relationship that forms between them is new material: “If you’re really doing this,” he tells Jyn at one point in the new footage, “I want to help” – hinting at the bond that grows between them in the film (which is only solidified by the trailer’s end, when, after Erso asks her motley crew, “Are you with me?” he answers with a definite “All the way”).

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The last bit that we get further established about his character can be cobbled together from various sources and cemented in the sneak peek, and it just may end up being the most narratively salient point: when combined with his apparent programming ability and handiness with a blaster, the fact that he seems to more than know his way around a cockpit (he’s spotted being Jyn’s co-pilot/navigator) not only underscores his importance to the Alliance, but also may prove to be the way that Lucasfilm can implement his character across the Expanded Universe.

A FIRST PEEK AT BODHI ROOK

Of all the marketing materials – especially the trailers – to be released thus far, there are clearly a handful of standout characters, the ones who will, undoubtedly, be the main leads in the finished movie: Jyn Erso, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), and Cassian Andor.

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On the other end of the spectrum, there are a few Rebels who have consistently had the spotlight pass them over, with Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) being at the forefront. Though he doesn’t get any dialogue in last night’s new footage – and though he barely even registers in it at all – there is one specific shot that is meant to establish him to the general movie-going audience (the ones who don’t follow every single interview or press release) and to simultaneously hint at his personality. After Kaytoo gives the odds of their mission’s success, Bodhi gives a look over his shoulder at Cassian and his droid, and it’s one of pure anxiousness.

That, in a nutshell, is the character. Having been a cargo pilot working for the Empire, Rook isn’t a starfighter jockey, a martial arts warrior, or a hardened insurgent mastermind; he’s literally just an ordinary galactic citizen (perhaps the first to be featured in any Star Wars film as a protagonist), making him the most basic and straightforward of the cast.

This is why nervousness never seems to leave him, and this is why he may be one of the most important elements of Rogue One: he will ground the story in a way that Han Solo (Harrison Ford) did in the original installment (that’s Episode IV: A New Hope, for all those playing along at home), helping to make the fantastical all the more believable.

CHIRRUT IMWE SPEAKS

Chirrut Imwe is one of the most interesting parts of this first Star Wars Story, as he represents, just like Bodhi Rook, the very first attempt at branching the overarching franchise into a new direction: he is, essentially, a non-Jedi Jedi Knight, a man who believes in the precepts of the Force even if he has no sensitivity to it, who uses sheer mental discipline to attain a certain physical prowess.

And that’s the other new element he brings to the SW table: martial arts. Neither the movie nor the various television series have ever opted to go down the more traditional kung-fu cinematic route before, and while this particular facet of the character (and the movie) is old hat now – it was one of the biggest highlights of the first Rogue One trailer, after all – the rationale for Chirrut’s physical abilities is at long last addressed beyond interviews or statements from the studio. It’s just a brief taste, but it’s enough to sell this new, somewhat risky aspect.

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Finally, that lone line of dialogue – “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it” – does more than just serve as exposition; it’s also, arguably, a callback to the prequel trilogy, particularly that famous Yoda (Frank Oz) monologue from Episode I: The Phantom Menace, when the wizened Jedi Master tells young Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) that fear is the path to the dark side. Given how Episode VII: The Force Awakens included a (brief) reference to the Balance of the Force, it’s not unrealistic at all to think this is a continuation of drawing on all the franchise.

To be continued on Rogue One: the biggest reveals from the new trailer Part2.

Rogue One: the biggest reveals from the new trailer Part 2

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Source: ScreenRant.Com. All animated gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

We’ve been waiting quite a long time for the second trailer from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – we all originally thought that we would be receiving it during Star Wars Celebration last month, and while itdid manage to premiere there, it was meant only for the crowd in London. (And then we all ended up waiting even longer during NBC’s Olympics coverage last night, as the network didn’t deem fit to air the Rogue One sneak peek until some two-and-a-half hours into its sporting coverage.)

And now that it’s here, it’s proven to be… well, we won’t use the word anticlimactic, since nearly anyStar Wars teaser stirs our hearts, but it did rely rather heavily on footage from the previous trailer. Still, there’s a few tidbits – not to mention speculation – to wring from last night’s two minutes of footage, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do here.

Without further ado, here are the Biggest Reveals From The New Rogue One Trailer Part 2.

MORE FROM SAW GERRERA

Although Jyn Erso may be the movie’s lead, and though Chirrut Imwe represents the biggest break in the cinematic language of the franchise, it is Saw Gerrera that best illustrates the new Lucasfilm’s approach to its now-shared-universe storytelling: originally introduced in the TV series The Clone Wars, he has since gone on to have his character and historical influence built up in such Expanded Universe installments as Rebels, Clone Wars’s television follow-up, and the novel Bloodline (which was doubtlessly done in order to help prepare for his introduction into the live-action format). Lucasfilm and Disney have been long hinting at such multimedia coordination and crossovers as they continue to fire up their around-the-clock Star Wars release machine (you can read all about this in ourexploration of Saw Gerrera).

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For all those viewers who have no idea about any of this rich, cross-promotional history, however, Gerrera’s little speech that opens the new teaser goes a long way to establishing his past, illustrating his rather extreme nature (which is fully on display in the original teaser, in which Saw presses the untested Erso on what will happen when her mission goes south). One could also infer from this exchange that the Clone Wars veteran has had a resistance cell operating on the moon of Jedha, where most of Rogue One’s action seems to be set, for some time, and that Jyn and her team are attempting to coordinate with Gerrera in order to help achieve their objective(s).

ORSON KRENNIC IS FUMING MAD

The one character that is still, to this day, the most mysterious – in either the marketing materials or in interviews with the cast and crew – is Orson Krennic, the white-clad man who can be seen charging onto the battlefield, his cape flapping behind him, in the previous teaser. While we now know he is a military director who has latched onto the completion of the Death Star as a means of climbing the Imperial ladder and currying favor with Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) himself, nothing in the aired footage thus far has ever established such a role or backstory.

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What is hinted at is something a lot less expositional and more visceral: his sole shot in the second trailer is of him strolling towards a viewport, presumably on the Death Star, as a planet comes into view, with a look of pure rage on his face. Though admittedly not much to go on, it does suggest a loose timetable of events, starting with Jyn and the Rebels’ arrival on Jedha, their complication of some important Imperial work there (more on this in just a moment), and Krennic’s extreme displeasure of the whole Death Star project blowing up in his face, ruining his career.

This could also be where the presence of the Dark Lords of the Sith come into play – we already know that Darth Vader is in the film, and there’s that already-legendary shot from the first trailer that shows some dark side-aligned figure entering a chamber that is flanked by the Emperor’s personal guard. Perhaps they’ve been deployed by Palpatine in order to ensure that Orson doesn’t falter from his path, which could lead to…

A MAJOR WEAPONS TEST IS IMMINENT

“A major weapons test is imminent” is a phrase that features heavily in both trailers, spoken by Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) to, it appears, Jyn Erso, when describing her crucially important mission to her. In the teaser, one wouldn’t be blamed for assuming that a “major weapons test” is all that the still-fledgling Rebel Alliance knows of the Death Star, with the heroine’s job being to attain as much intel on it as possible. In the context of this footage, however, one could argue that maybe the weapons test applies less to the floating battle station itself and more to an actual test that the Death Star is going to actually implement – against Jedha, possibly Orson Krennic’s retaliation for the difficulties that the planet (and Jyn Erso) has been providing for him.

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There is, of course, a chronological danger here, as is present in so many prequels (including George Lucas’s own trilogy): seeing the Death Star fire and destroy another celestial body, even if it’s just a moon, would dramatically undercut the impact and unprecedented nature of the destruction of Alderaan – which was also, of course, supposed to be the weapon’s first deployment. Then again, there’s another danger present, as well, one relegated to the specific storytelling requirements ofRogue One specifically: if the whole movie spends a great deal of time building up the mystique, majesty, and power of the Death Star, then not firing it would be the literal definition of an anticlimax. This is a delicate balance that Gareth Edwards needs to maintain, and one that may very well provide a zero-sum outcome.

DARTH VADER’S POSSIBLE ROLE

We’ve already speculated on how Sith Lord Darth Vader’s presence is accounted for in the film, but that leaves just what his payoff will be. We actually have two guesses on this front.

Before we dive into them, however, it’s first necessary to quickly recap what we know about Jedha. Its role as the location where “the special resources needed to build lightsabers” (most likely Kyber crystals, if the new Lucasfilm opts to use the old continuity’s mythology) are located means that it’s strategically important for the Empire to occupy the moon, and it also means that it’s become something of a pilgrimage site for those who still remember and mourn the Jedi Order (or for those like Chirrut Imwe, who adhere to the tents of the Force). In short, we could call this a Force-sensitive planetoid.

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Now, onto the first possibility for why Vader is in the film. The former Anakin Skywalker may be the one who belays Orson Krennic’s order to destroy Jedha, given its importance to the Force (and, just perhaps, as a sop to the small part of him that is still Anakin and, therefore, still a Jedi). This would provide a narratively-valid way to preserve the continuity of A New Hope (in theory, at least).

Secondly, Lord Vader may be present in order to be the method of our protagonists’ destruction; this movie doesn’t seem destined, in terms of either timeline or tone, to boast a happy ending, and what more fitting a way to have Jyn and her team be defeated than by the fearsome Dark Lord himself? It would make his grand entrance in the beginning of Episode IV all the grander.

THE ATMOSPHERICS OF COMBAT

This new trailer opens with some rather epic shots of Jedha, and the Imperial occupation of it. The filmmakers have mentioned that they modeled the desert moon loosely after the Middle East, generally, and Mecca, specifically, utilizing narrow alleyways and throngs of people (pilgrims?) to create the sense and feel of something of a holy site.

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Completing the contemporary paralleling is the imagery of occupation – exactly what the United States is currently doing in both Afghanistan and Iraq – including the constant hustle-and-bustle of Imperial shuttles and TIE fighters swirling over the landscape but dominated, quite literally, by a massive Star Destroyer hovering above what we can only assume is Jedha’s capital city. More than its sociopolitical overtones (which fit with, say, Episode VI: Return of the Jedi’s Vietnam War-era allusions, though nowhere near as directly), it’s the sheer beauty – and chilling effect – of the shots that jump straight to one’s mind; it’s yet another first for a Star Wars film, which plays up the premise and potential both of the “anthology” installments rather nicely. (Providing the first on-the-big-screen depiction of a Star Destroyer in planetary atmosphere may also go a long way to counterbalancing the “been there, done that” baggage of the Death Star, as well.)

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It also potentially hits at something that is, itself, an extremely recent addition to the SW cinematic pantheon: in-atmosphere combat. While space dogfights have been a mainstay since the very beginning, all the way back in 1977, and while ground battles followed shortly thereafter in 1980, it wasn’t until just last year, with The Force Awakens, that atmospheric conflicts were first seen. Maybe the Disney Lucasfilm wants to double-down on what may ultimately prove to be one of its hallmark touches during its tenure of the franchise.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Star Wars actor Kenny Baker passes away at 81

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

The Star Wars franchise has come back in a big way over the past year, with Star Wars: The Force Awakens proving to be a big hit and a whole slate of exciting new movies to look forward to. Today, however, Star Wars fans must say a sad farewell to a performer who has been a part of the franchise since A New Hope hit theaters in 1977. Kenny Baker, who played Luke Skywalker’s android friend R2-D2 in the Star Warsmovies, and also had a small role as an Ewok in Return of the Jedi, has passed away at the age of 81, following a long illness.

Baker was born in Birmingham on August 24, 1934. He was born with a form of dwarfism, and as an adult stood at just 3ft 8in tall, making him the ideal height to be the man inside R2-D2. After Star Wars kicked off his film career, Baker went on to make appearances in Flash Gordon, The Elephant Man, and Time Bandits, as well as numerous other movies and TV shows. In 1970 he married fellow actor Eileen Baker, with whom he had two children, and the couple remained together until Eileen died of epilepsy in 1993.

Baker’s niece Abigail Shield paid tribute to her uncle in a statement to The Guardian, explaining that Baker had been “very poorly for a long time”:

“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime… When he was a child, he was told that he probably wouldn’t survive through puberty, being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life.”

Baker was very active on the convention circuit over the years, meeting many fans face-to-face for autographs and photos. Shield says that he was invited to the L.A. premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but was unable to make it since he was too ill to travel. However, he was able to reconnect with Star Wars director George Lucas when Lucas made a trip to Manchester following the UK premiere. R2-D2 is a much-loved and long-standing member of the Star Wars family, and Baker is sure to be fondly remembered.

R.I.P. Kenny Baker

Reblogged and updated from my other blog All That I Love – post published for Kenny Baker’s 79th anniversary.

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Kenneth George “Kenny” Baker (born 24 August 1934) is an English actor and musician, best known as the man inside R2-D2 in the popular Star Wars film series.

Kenny Baker, at 3 feet, 8 inches (112 cm) tall, was born and educated in Birmingham, Warwickshire, and at boarding school in Kent. His parents were of average height. He went to live with his father, stepmother and half sister in Hastings, Sussex, and in 1951 was approached on the street by a lady who invited him to join a theatrical troupe of dwarves and midgets. This was his first taste of show business. Later, he joined a circus for a brief time, learned to ice skate and appeared in many ice shows.

He had formed a successful comedy act called the “Minitones” with entertainer Jack Purvis when George Lucas hired him to be the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars in 1976. Baker appears in all six of the Star Wars films, although stock footage was used for much of R2-D2’s role in “Revenge of the Sith”. Kenny even played an additional role in 1983’s “Return of the Jedi” as Paploo, the Ewok who stole an Imperial speeder bike. He was originally going to play Wicket W. Warrick, but he fell ill, and that role was handed over to Warwick Davis.

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Baker has also worked with George Lucas outside of the Star Wars films. Baker had an uncredited role as R2-D2 in “Star Tours” and an uncredited role as a Nelwyn band member in “Willow” (also with Jack Purvis and Warwick Davis), as well as a role as the Goblin Corps in the 1986 Jim Henson film “Labyrinth”. Baker’s other films include 1980’s “The Elephant Man”, 1981’s “Time Bandits” (also with Jack Purvis), “Flash Gordon”, and “Amadeus”. On television, he appeared in the British medical drama “Casualty”. He also had a part in the BBC production of “The Chronicles of Narnia”.

In November 2009, his biography entitled “From Tiny Acorns: The Kenny Baker Story” was made available through his website and at conventions and book signings. It was written with Ken Mills. Baker continued his association with the character of R2-D2 in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, which was released on December 18, 2015 in North America. He was going to be a member of the cast, but he served as consultant for R2 instead. In November 2015 it was confirmed that Jimmy Vee was cast as R2-D2 in “Star Wars: Episode VIII”, replacing Baker.

Baker resided in Preston, Lancashire. He was married to actress Eileen Baker (who co-starred with him in the 1977 film “Wombling Free”) from 1970 until her death in 1993. Although Eileen also had dwarfism, this was not inherited by their two children.

Kenny Baker died on 13 August 2016, just eleven days before his 82nd birthday, following an extended illness.

Text: Wikipedia.

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Rogue One new trailer: meet the players

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Finally, Disney has released the second trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story yesterday. You can check it out below.

Rogue One: A rebellion built on hope

Source: StarWars.Wikia.Com. All animated gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, also known simply as Rogue One, is an upcoming live-action Star Wars film, the first in the Star Wars Anthology Series. The film, set for release on December 16, 2016, is directed by Gareth Edwards and produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, amongst many others. Gary Whitta worked on the first draft of the screenplay throughout 2014, and Chris Weitz took over final screenwriting duties in 2015. The film is based on a story concept from John Knoll, Chief Creative Officer/Senior Visual Effects Supervisor of Industrial Light & Magic. The film’s score is composed by Alexandre Desplat, marking the first live-action film in the official Star Wars canon to not be scored by John Williams.

The film, which began production in August 2015, is set between Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. It is set closer to the latter film and focuses on the efforts of the Rebel Alliance to steal the plans to the Death Star, an event that was referenced in the opening crawl of A New Hope. Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, and a group of other characters band together to steal the plans from the Galactic Empire.

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Rogue One stars Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk. Genevieve O’Reilly reprises her role as Mon Mothma, the leader of the Rebel Alliance; O’Reilly portrayed the character for 2005’s Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, but her scenes were cut. The film also features the return of Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones). Director Edwards has described the film as a grounded, war-based movie, one in which normal people have to come together to fight the Empire as opposed to relying on the Jedi or the Force.

Read more about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Wikipedia.

JYN ERSO (FELICITY JONES)

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Jyn Erso was a human female soldier and former criminal who fought for the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. She was recruited by Mon Mothma, a leader of the Rebel Alliance, to take part in what became the theft of the Death Star plans.

Jyn Erso was born to the scientist Galen Erso and grew up on her own from the age of fifteen years old, developing a reckless and rebellious streak. She had a number of incidents on her record, including the forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. Almost two decades into the Empire’s reign, Erso was detained by the Rebel Alliance. However, with the Alliance having learned of the construction of the Death Star, an armored battle station capable of destroying entire planets, Erso was given another chance and was recruited by a leader of the Alliance, Mon Mothma, to learn more about the test of the weapon. As a result, Erso became involved in the theft of the Death Star plans that ultimately led to the destruction of the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin.

MON MOTHMA (GENEVIEVE O’REILLY)

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Mon Mothma was a human female politician and revolutionary leader who served in the Galactic Senate and Imperial Senate as the representative of Chandrila, the leader of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, and the first chancellor of the New Republic. She came to political prominence during the Separatist Crisis and the Clone Wars as a member of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s Loyalist Committee. Along with such allies as Bail Organa of Alderaan and Padmé Amidala of Naboo, Mothma became an outspoken proponent of pursuing peace between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems.

She also spoke out against the increase in executive wartime power given to Chancellor Palpatine. At the end of the war, as Palpatine continued to amass power and ultimately transformed the Republic into the Galactic Empire, Mothma worked with Senator Organa to begin planting the seeds of rebellion against the Imperial regime. Though she remained in the Imperial Senate as a proponent of democracy, these seeds ultimately led to the formation of the Rebel Alliance to militarily combat the might of the Empire.

SAW GERRERA (FOREST WHITAKER)

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Saw Gerrera was a human male resistance fighter who, as a leading member of the Onderon rebels, fought against the Confederacy of Independent Systems on Onderon during the Clone Wars. He and his sister, Steela Gerrera, were instrumental in the rebel liberation of their homeworld during the Battle of Onderon. He later became a key member in the fight against the Galactic Empire and the formation of the Alliance to Restore the Republic. His tactics against the Empire led him to be seen as an extremist, one whose notoriety was recognized by the Empire and, many years later, the New Republic.

CASSIAN ANDOR (DIEGO LUNA)

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Captain Cassian Andor was a human male who served as an intelligence officer in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. Captain Andor was stationed at the Rebel base on Yavin 4 when Jyn Erso was assigned to take part in what became the theft of the Death Star plans by Mon Mothma, a leader of the Rebel Alliance. During the mission, Andor was assigned to keep an eye on Erso due to her reckless and potentially volatile nature.

CHIRRUT ÎMWE (DONNIE YEN)

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Chirrut Îmwe was a blind human male, born on the planet Jedha, and a spiritual warrior-monk who was active during the days of the Galactic Empire. Alongside his friend and protector, Baze Malbus, he and other members of a rogue group of Rebels fought in an effort to steal the plans of the first Death Star.

BAZE MALBUS (JIANG WEN)

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Baze Malbus was a freelance assassin who was active during the days of the Galactic Empire. He was a devoted protector of his friend and partner Chirrut Îmwe, and fought alongside him and other members of a rogue group of Rebels during a mission to steal the plans of the first Death Star.

BODHI ROOK (RIZ AHMED)

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Bodhi Rook was a human male who served as a pilot in the Alliance to Restore the Republic during the Galactic Civil War. He fought alongside a group of rebels during a mission to steal the plans to the first Death Star.

K-2SO (VOICED BY ALAN TUDYK)

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Sometimes spelled Kaytoo Esso or Kay-Tuesso, K-2SO was an enforcer droid originally created for use in the Galactic Empire’s armed forces. At some point, however, the droid had joined the Alliance to Restore the Republic, a resistance movement that sought to overthrow the Empire and restore democracy. Along with a band of roguish Alliance operatives, K-2SO went on a daring mission to steal the plans for the Empire’s moon-sized battle station, the Death Star.

ORSON KRENNIC (BEN MENDELSOHN)

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Orson Krennic was a human male who served in the Galactic Empire as Director of the Advanced Weapons Research division of the Imperial Military during the Galactic Civil War. He was responsible for protecting the security of the Death Star project, and commanded a squad of death troopers, wielded as his personal weapon against the Rebel Alliance.

DARTH VADER (VOICED BY JAMES EARL JONES)

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Darth Vader is Darth Vader… Need I say something?

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Rogue One new trailer is coming today

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Star Wars enjoyed a fantastic comeback last year with the release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and the enormous response it generated, but this December’s release of Star Wars: Rogue One will prove the real test for how much Star Wars audiences can handle or even want. The future of the franchise promises a new Star Wars film every year, and Rogue One is the first of them to depart from the saga’s traditionally episodic nature.

Star Wars: Rogue One is something of an “inbetweenquel,” taking place before the events of the original Star Wars film but many years after the prequel trilogy, and it centers on the Rebel’s heist to steal the plans for the Death Star – the very same plans Princess Leia will later hide inside R2-D2. Being so close to the original trilogy’s timeframe, we are expecting some familiar faces to appear, but the focus will be on the intrepid team of rebels undertaking the dangerous mission – and rightly so, they take center stage in this new teaser.

On Thursday during NBC’s broadcast of the 2016 Rio Olympics, a new trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One will debut, and in the grand tradition of today’s movie marketing, we have a short trailer for the upcoming trailer. Give it a watch, above, or see the full teaser for the new trailer in GIF, below (10,7 mb):

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Along with a quick rundown of Rebel One‘s crew, the teaser for Thursday’s trailer also includes a look at the U-Wing featured earlier in a new still and that thrilling sequence of Erso and team on the ground, facing off against an AT-AT. Obviously, any new footage is being saved for the new trailer, so how much more will be revealed? Will a new trailer give a clearer indication of the film’s story? Or perhaps, our first tease of Darth Vader’s role? Tune into NBC’s Olympics broadcast on Thursday.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

Leia uses the Force in new novel Aftermath: Life Debt

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Source: ScreenRant.Com.

Luke: It won’t be easy for you to hear it, but you must. If I don’t make it back, you’re the only hope for the Alliance.
Leia: Don’t talk that way.  You have a power I don’t understand and could never have.
Luke: You’re wrong, Leia. You have that power, too.  In time, you’ll learn to use it as I have.  The Force is strong in my family. My father has it.  I have it. And… my sister has it. Yes. It’s you, Leia.
Leia: I know. Somehow… I’ve always known.

Star Wars Episode VI – Return of the Jedi

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In Return of the Jedi, audiences learn that Princess Leia Organa is Luke Skywalker’s twin sister. As the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, it means that Leia is Force sensitive and has the potential to be a Jedi Knight if she so chose. Of course, the siblings went down very different paths following the Battle of Endor. Leia became a leading figure of the New Republic before assuming command of the Resistance; Luke went off on a quest for the lore of the Jedi and exiled himself on Ahch-To once Ben Solo became Kylo Ren.

Still, Luke mentions to Leia, “In time, you’ll learn to use it as I have.” As fans have seen with Maz Kanata in The Force Awakens, it is possible to know the Force (and control it) without becoming a full-fledged member of the Jedi Order. It would appear that Leia fits that bill, if passages in the new canon novel Aftermath: Life Debt are any indication. At some point, Luke taught his sister some lessons, which play a substantial role in the book.

Leia using the Force isn’t exactly a new topic for Star Wars to cover. When Kylo Ren killed Han Solo in Episode VII, a cutaway shot showed that Leia felt a disturbance:

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Even in The Empire Strikes Back, she hears Luke’s call for help and brings the Millennium Falcon back to Cloud City:

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At the end of Return of the Jedi, Leia tells Han that she knows Luke wasn’t inside the Death Star when it exploded.

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The biggest takeaway from Life Debt is that Leia received some minor training from Luke, specifically how to let the Force guide you during a troubling time. In the novel, Leia is going through a very stressful period, as Han has gone missing while trying to liberate Kashyyyk with Chewbacca (and the New Republic offers minimal help to find him).

Life Debt made headlines prior to its release thanks to an excerpt that depicted Leia communicating with her unborn child and realizing that she’s pregnant with a son. This is perhaps the most noteworthy example of the Princess using the Force in the book, but it is far from the only one. During a dogfight sequence towards the end (when Leia is flying the Falcon against an Imperial attack), author Chuck Wendig writes:

“There are even moments when she can feel the battle unfolding around her in space – invisibly, as if all of it is a warm stream in which she has dipped her hand.” 

Leia may never have followed the footsteps of her brother, but she is using her abilities in ways that benefit her, letting the Force flow through her when it’s absolutely necessary.

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The Disney canon hasn’t been afraid to suggest Leia has become somewhat skilled with her gifts. There are instances in Claudia Gray’s Bloodline that imply Leia is using the Force as she works on unraveling a diabolical plot. She isn’t performing Jedi mind tricks or levitating objects with her mind yet, but there’s enough evidence in the publications to suggest that Leia has become (or is in the process of becoming) strong with the Force, and it will be interesting to see if this aspect of the character is developed in the future. Leia has always been a powerful fighter, but now that she has the Force as her ally, she can take things to a whole other level.

A big question is whether or not Leia’s developed use of the Force will factor into one of the upcoming movies – beyond the small segments already seen. The Lucasfilm story group is very careful about what they release and when they publish it, so it’s likely they have some plans for Leia in Episode VIII or Star Wars 9. At the same time, her role in The Force Awakens was very minimal, and if rumors about Star Wars 8 pan out she won’t have much to do in the next chapter, either. It would be disappointing if Leia never got to display the full extent of her talents on the big screen, but at the very least, fans are getting a taste of a Force enhanced Leia in the other materials available, illustrating that Lucasfilm is making the most of their initiative.

Han Solo and Chewbacca life debt backstory explained

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

One of the most dynamic duos in all of cinema, Han Solo and Chewbacca have been an inseparable pair since they were first introduced in 1977. It’s hard to think of one without the other, one of the many reasons why Han’s death in last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens was so heartbreaking. They are two of the most beloved and popular characters in the entire franchise, making them ideal candidates for their own spinoff film (hitting theaters in 2018). And with all the new novels and comics being released as part of the larger series canon, there are plenty of opportunities to put the best friends in the spotlight.

This is why there is much interest in the latest book, Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, the sequel to last year’s Aftermath. As the title (and cover image of the Millennium Falcon) would suggest, part of the narrative deals with Han and Chewie’s history with each other as they work on accomplishing a mission that means so much personally to the both of them. We’re breaking down the backstory for the two characters here, as well as theorizing on what (if any) implications it will have on future films.

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HAN AND CHEWIE’S LIFE DEBT

Fans of the old Expanded Universe (now “Legends”) know the story quite well. Han Solo was a member of the Imperial Navy and saved Chewbacca from enslavement as the Empire occupied the Wookiee home planet Kashyyyk. Because of this, Chewie felt he owed Han a life debt, and stayed by his side through thick and thin. Of course, Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012 wiped out most of this material, but the story group stuck very close to this basic idea when re-canonizing how Han met Chewie.

The primary focus of Life Debt is Han and Chewie attempting to liberate Kashyyyk from whatever traces of the Empire remain. At some point, the Wookiee is captured while Han makes a getaway. Obviously, the smuggler is determined to save his co-pilot, which proves to be a dangerous task. After a transmission to Princess Leia ends abruptly, Leia sends a team of New Republic fighters out to find her husband. When the group finally discovers Solo and asks why he’s risking his life, Han explains the deep bond he has with Chewbacca, making it apparent why he can’t just turn his back and walk away.

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Though the passage in the novel is brief, it’s heavily implied that the Disney canon version of the tale is very similar to Legends. During their rise to power, the Imperials severely mistreated the Wookiees. Says Han:

“I’ve seen what the Empire has done. They ripped down trees. They put cuffs and collars on all the Wookiees. Some of them they cut open. Others they ship off to work the worst jobs the Empire has on offer. They took his home from him. I can’t abide by that. I don’t have a home anymore besides the Falcon, but him? He does. And he deserves to go home. He has a family too, you know.”

The “him” Han is referring to is Chewbacca. From this, it would appear that in his younger days, Solo’s journeys somehow landed him on Kashyyyk, where he saw firsthand the tyranny of the Empire. Somehow (this isn’t revealed in the book), Han gets Chewie off the planet, and the famed life debt is formed. Chewbacca believes that Han saved him, but according to Solo it’s the other way around:

“I saved him, at least that’s what he says, the big fuzzy fool, but really, he saved me. I was on a bad path, and Chewie, he put me straight. Saved my shanks more than once too. He said it was part of some life debt… It means that he owes his life to me… He doesn’t owe me. I owe him. I got a debt to Chewie to get him his home back.”

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This is a fascinating angle that adds a layer to Han and Chewie’s relationship. For longtime fans, it also makes a great deal of sense too. Dating back to A New Hope, Chewbacca has always been Han’s conscience. As the Rebels geared up to assault the Death Star, Chewie seemed to be reluctantly going along with Han’s plan to make away with his reward. “What are you looking at? I know what I’m doing,” Solo said to his pal after Luke Skywalker stormed off. Off-screen, it very well may have been the Wookiee that influenced the change of heart in the smuggler. Han realizes that his partnership with Chewie led to a far more rewarding life than he could have ever imagined (or deserved), so he wants to repay his friend.

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By the end of Life Debt (with a major assist from Leia and members of the New Republic), Kashyyyk is freed and the Wookiees can work on rebuilding their homes and eliminating whatever Imperials are left. In an emotional scene, Han says goodbye to Chewie, because he now has to go back with Leia and start his own family. Insisting that he stays on Kashyyyk, Han tells his co-pilot “We’ll see each other again. I’m gonna be a father and no way my kid won’t have you in his life.” From there, they go their separate ways. Those who read Claudia Gray’s Bloodline know that the two weren’t “together” for a while, as Han was partaking in an intergalactic racing league while Chewie settled into a domesticated life with his relatives.

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The big question, then, is what happens between Bloodline (set six years before Force Awakens) and Episode VII. Han and Chewie are back to their smuggling ways in Star Wars 7, hauling rathtars and swindling whoever they can in the galaxy. It will be interesting to see if a future canon publication will detail this time period, since it’s now something fans will be very curious about. Did the First Order target Kashyyyk? Did Chewie just decide to rejoin his friend after Ben Solo turned to the Dark Side? It’s an interesting topic that could serve as a compelling story.

AN ‘ORIGIN STORY’ SPINOFF FILM

Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s currently untitled young Han Solo anthology movie will of course feature Chewbacca fighting alongside Alden Ehrenreich’s version of the Corellian. Disney CEO Bob Iger has mentioned that the project is envisioned as an “origin story” for the pair, but wouldn’t elaborate past that distinction. It’s a vague classification that could mean one of several things. Going by the textbook definition of “origin,” Han Solo could detail how the two met and became a team for life. It is somewhat telling that Wendig doesn’t explain the entire backstory in his book, as if Lucasfilm is planting seeds for things to come.

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One of the key aspects of any Star Wars movie is heart. The best films in the franchise have a strong emotional core that makes viewers genuinely care about what happens to the characters. What Han alludes to in Life Debt has the potential for an engaging tale that provides a satisfying character arc for fans to enjoy. It’s true that seeing Han on the “bad path” could contrast with the action/comedy sensibilities of Lord and Miller, but it’s worth pointing out that Star Wars has seamlessly blended tones before. The Empire Strikes Back is regarded as the darkest installment, yet still has plenty of laughs. The Force Awakens dealt with some serious subjects, but also made time for BB-8’s thumbs up and Kylo Ren’s temper tantrums. Moviegoers shouldn’t go into Han Solo expecting 21 Jump Street in a galaxy far, far away. However, Lord and Miller should still find room for their unique voices while fitting into the larger franchise.

There are many fans who are questioning the necessity of a young Han Solo movie, and if it’s basically When Han Met Chewie…, it could be viewed as a wasted opportunity (since everyone knows the two become best friends). Kathleen Kennedy has mentioned Lucasfilm doesn’t want to get into the habit of answering questions better left untouched, but the Han and Chewie origin story may not fit into that category. An argument could be made that this would be a stronger angle than having the two go on a random assignment from Jabba the Hutt (in James Bond style, for example). The circumstances surrounding their partnership being formed could enhance the dynamic on display in the original trilogy, changing the way fans watch the first three movies. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is poised to do this with the Death Star plans, so it’s only logical Han Solo could add something of value too.

CONCLUSION

The backstory of Han Solo and Chewbacca was one of the most famous aspects of the Legends materials, so it was only a matter of time before the new canon covered it. For fans of the EU, it’s nice to see that not much has changed, and if anything, it’s now more impactful. The two saved each other from unspeakable horrors, and Life Debt serves as a touching epilogue to their pre-Force Awakens adventures. Their debts are now repaid, and they will never forget what they gained from their friendship.

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For the most part, Lucasfilm has made an effort to tone down any references to the larger canon in the feature films, understanding that not all viewers will have been caught up on all that’s available. Still, there are certain nods to elements from the books, comics, and TV shows popping up. The Aftermath character of Temmin Wexley is an X-wing pilot in Episode VII, and Forest Whitaker is portraying Saw Gerrera from The Clone Wars series in Rogue One. These are smart ways to illustrate that it’s all connected while still maintaining universal accessibility. Even if Han Solo deals with the fateful first meeting of smuggler and Wookiee, reading Life Debt won’t be a requirement; it will just make the experience more rewarding.

Lucasfilm’s story group doesn’t just arbitrarily do things, there’s a purpose behind each and every move they make. It’s no surprise that Episode VIII director Rian Johnson contributed story ideas for Bloodline, which lays the foundation for the political landscape of the galaxy. The Han Solo spinoff is arriving just five months after Star Wars 8, so it wouldn’t be a shock if Life Debt was the studio’s way of introducing concepts that tie into the movie, allowing fans to familiarize themselves with the history. Time will tell.