Month: September 2016

The cost of building a real-world AT-AT

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Few properties in the pop culture zeitgeist have a fan base that can rival Star Wars. For nearly 40 years, moviegoers have been infatuated with the galaxy far, far away, and now a whole new generation of viewers have an easy gateway into the franchise via the feature films that Lucasfilm is releasing under the Disney banner. For many people, their love of Star Wars goes well beyond the big screen, and they frequently look for ways to continuously celebrate the galaxy far, far away all year round. This of course can come in a multitude of ways, such as collecting official merchandise or following the non-film canon materials.

Some extremely dedicated fans like to spend parts of their free time trying to unravel the unsolved Star Wars mysteries. A quick Internet search will find no shortage of theories regarding Rey’s parentage or the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke, but that only scratches the surface of what viewers can hypothesize over. The book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe detailed friends and their quest to figure out what it would take to build a real-life Death Star (including the cost). Now, another one of the Empire’s best known weapons has received a similar treatment: the AT-AT.

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https://moseisleychronicles.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/untitled-101.gif?w=550&h=220AT-ATs attacking the rebel base on Hoth, in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.

The website Best Casino has posted an infographic (see it below) that breaks down how a real-world AT-AT would come together. As one would expect, the materials don’t come cheap and the construction would be $226.5 million. That figure does not include the annual salary for the crew (collectively $192,000), which would amount to one pilot, one gunner, one commander and up to 40 stormtroopers.

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According to the research, the main armor would be the most expensive element of the vehicle at $146 million, or more than half of the total cost. This isn’t surprising, given that the AT-AT is very large, weighing at an estimated 1,020 tonnes and requiring 19.1 MW of power to operate. The lasers on the head also make up a large percentage of the sum. Finding real-world equivalents, the team is using $22 million for LaWS lasers (which are on the USS Ponce) and prototypes of the ATHENA lasers, which run for $50 million. Besides the crew, the leg joints and motor are the most cost-effective, setting Best Casino back by only $8.5 million.

All in all, this is a fun little experiment that if anything shows just how well-funded the Imperials were during the Galactic Civil War. It takes a considerable amount of resources to build just a single AT-AT, and there were several of them present during the Battle of Hoth. Studies such as this make the Rebellion winning the war even more of an impressive achievement, since they were clearly a ragtag bunch that had no business emerging victoriously. As for how much it takes to produce one of Rogue One‘s AT-ACTs, we’ll just have to wait and see.

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Some of the new AT-ACTs we will see in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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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Star Wars: Rogue Friday retailer exclusives revealed

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Star Wars fans are well aware that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is right around the corner, scheduled to premiere in theaters in just a few months. Lucasfilm has already done a great deal of advertising, releasing two well-received trailers, a plethora of still images, and information about the variety of new characters that are in the spinoff. The studio will continue their marketing efforts in the very near future with the Rogue Friday event. Similar to last year’s Force Friday, the day will see the first wave of Rogue One merchandise hit store shelves.

Awareness has continuously been raised for the collection of toys. Hasbro spent the past few weeks unveiling pictures of their new action figures, and the “Go Rogue” stop-motion video series has showcased the products in action (you can watch the 3 firsts videos clicking on the links Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3). As fans make their shopping preparations, they need to figure out which store(s) they want to visit. That decision should become easier (or harder, depending on your point of view) with the announcement of retailer exclusive items.

In a press release, Hasbro revealed five new toys that will be available in specific stores. Wal-Mart will have the Smart R2-D2, which is similar to Sphero’s popular BB-8. It is programmable and interactive, linking with an app that allows users to control the droid’s movements and actions. It also responds to your voice, and dances to songs. At K-Mart, fans can buy the 6-inch Jyn Erso Black Series Mountain Base variation, which has a diorama base for the figure. Amazon shoppers will be able to get the Black Series Shadow Trooper helmet, which comes equipped with voice changing technology. Target is the only place for the Captain Cassian Andor blaster from Nerf, and Toys “R” Us has a Black Series 6-inch Imperial Hovertank Pilot figure. Check out images of the toys in the gallery below:

In addition, the Star Wars fan site Yak Face has posted an unofficial check list of all of the various Rogue One items that will be available. Collectors can download a PDF and keep track of everything they own as they make their purchases. As one would expect, there are several products out there, and die-hards will no doubt be attempting to get as many as they can. There’s something for all budgets, so even the more conservative consumers should find at least one piece of Rogue One merchandise to bring home. It’s an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan, with Disney planning movies well into the next decade, and they can keep fan enthusiasm high, there will be Force Fridays going on for a very long time.

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: Grand Admiral Thrawn explained

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Source: ScreenRant.Com and MoviePilot.Com

The big news coming out of this past summer’s Star Wars Celebration was the announcement that a certain legendary character from the original iteration of the Expanded Universe (that overflowing collection of novels, comic books, short stories, and video games) would be popping up in the new Disney-owned Star Wars saga: Grand Admiral Thrawn, the villain originally introduced to take the place of the fallen Dark Lords of the Sith, Darths Sidious (Ian McDiarmid) and Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones).

The only alien that Emperor Palpatine trusted to climb the Imperial ranks, the good admiral will first be popping up in the season 3 premiere of Star Wars Rebels (where he’ll be voiced by Lars Mikkelsen) before arriving once again in book form, in the appropriately titled Star Wars: Thrawn. The latter is scheduled to be released on April 11, 2017 and will act as a prequel to Thrawn’s television run, covering his first encounter with the Empire and ending just before Rebels‘ third season.

Newer viewers and readers can be forgiven for not being familiar with Thrawn, and even those battle-hardened story veterans may need a bit of a refresher, given just how many decades it’s been since the character was initially established – and given some of the continuity problems that the reintroduction of the character can cause. It may be necessary all around, therefore, to ask one simple question: Who Is Grand Admiral Thrawn?

SO, WHO IS THRAWN?

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“To defeat an enemy you must know them. Not simply their battle tactics, but their history, philosophy, art.” – Grand Admiral Thrawn

When publisher Bantam Spectra and Lucasfilm agreed in the late 1980s that a trilogy of novels set in the immediate years after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi would be a tremendous financial success, Timothy Zahn was selected to be its author. Zahn, in turn, realized that he would need a villain not only to propel the books’ plot, but to also stand up to the legacy of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader (who, at the time, were unknown to both be Sith Lords, a revelation which wouldn’t come to light until nearly a decade later, in Episode I: The Phantom Menace).

Zahn’s accurate instinct was to create an antagonist who would represent a wholly different approach to Imperial hegemony; one who valued strategy over brute force, creative contributions from subordinates instead of simple blind obedience, and who possessed an unshakably calm demeanor as opposed to the rage-filled outbursts from Lord Vader (and, later on, Kylo Ren [Adam Driver]). Thrawn is an individual who prizes art above all else, both for its external beauty and for its intrinsic ability to carry an entire people’s psychological disposition within it. By studying a civilization’s art, along with dabs of its culture and history, he could deduce the strategies they would deploy on the battlefield, allowing him to always be three steps ahead of whatever opponent he was currently facing. When combined with his very alien appearance – blue skin, jet-black hair, glowing red eyes – the resultant effect is a character who is wholly unique in all of Star Wars, from the movies to the rest of the old EU to, most recently, the television outings.

In short, it’s absolutely no surprise that Lucasfilm would bring him back into the new Star Wars canon status quo.

Fans finally got their wish when Thrawn’s appearance was revealed in the latest Star Wars Rebels Season 3 trailer. The reveal of Thrawn comes in around the 1:55 mark.

THRAWN’S ORIGINAL ROLE IN THE FIRST EXPANDED UNIVERSE

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In the years before Episode IV: A New Hope, Thrawn is able to do the impossible: work his way up the Imperial ranks in a largely human-only club, where he eventually reaches the dizzying rank of grand admiral (another invention by Timothy Zahn) and is eventually made the commanding officer in charge of exploring the Unknown Regions, those uncharted territories beyond the galactic rim.

He returns from his mission four years after the Galactic Empire’s defeat at the Battle of Endor to fill the Emperor’s larger-than-life shoes (robes?), attempting to shore up the shrinking Imperial numbers, topple the still-fledgling New Republic, and reassert Palpatine’s New Order once and for all. This campaign, which comes so narrowly close to being successful, forms the basis of Timothy Zahn’s inaugural trilogy of books: Heir to the Empire (1991), Dark Force Rising (1992), and The Last Command (1993) (which, collectively, have since come to be known as the Thrawn trilogy, for obvious reasons).

trilogyDie-hard fans know that Thrawn was a character who was introduced by author Timothy Zahn in his first novel Star Wars: Heir to the Empire. That novel eventually turned into a trilogy (Dark Force Rising and Last Command were the other two) and was the first set of stories to follow the conclusion of Return of the Jedi.

As the final volume in this series comes to a close and as the grand admiral’s immaculate plans start to miraculously unravel, the unexpected happens: Thrawn is betrayed by one of his most loyal servants, being stabbed in the back while sitting in his command chair aboard his flagship, the Star Destroyer Chimera (even here, with the double shock of betrayal and death ravaging him, Thrawn never loses his trademark calm, wryly noting “But… it was so artistically done”). Just like that, the gravest threat that the New Republic has yet faced dissipates, allowing the government time to stabilize and granting Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) the chance to, at long last, create that New Jedi Order he has long been burdened with initiating.

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That would, obviously, seem to be the end of Thrawn, but he is resurrected, both literally and figuratively, five years later, for Zahn’s next big Star Wars outing: Specter of the Past (1998) and Vision of the Future (1999), which together comprise the Hand of Thrawn duology. With the still-existing Empire on its last legs (yes, once again) and with the New Republic on the verge of disintegration and civil war (again), Grand Admiral Thrawn’s clone rises to take his progenitor’s place, and the sheer announcement of his “return” is enough to place nearly the entire galaxy into a state of panic.

In an interesting, if somewhat cliché, move, Zahn offers two twists almost back-to-back, which serve to end The Hand of Thrawn, starting with the revelation that the man presumed to be the admiral’s clone is actually an imposter, and ending with Master Luke discovering the real clone, who was created immediately after the real Thrawn’s death a decade earlier but has yet to be awoken. After a debate over the morality of killing the genetic offspring (since he technically has committed no crimes and all), the clone dies, anyway, when Luke and his compatriot are forced to blast their way out of the cloning facility.

PREQUELS, RETCONNING, AND THE FUTURE

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Timothy Zahn ultimately couldn’t resist playing with his most famous creation one final time, doing so across the novels Survivor’s Quest (2004) and Outbound Flight (2006), with the former having more to do with Thrawn’s legacy than anything else and the latter being a prequel, delivering a full story based off of an off-hand reference made in the Thrawn trilogy about a key episode in the grand admiral’s secretive past. Interestingly enough, it is in these final Thrawn outings that we glimpse some of the continuity difficulty that Dave Filoni, the showrunner of Rebels, and Zahn himself will now be facing in their attempts to assimilate the iconic character in this new iteration of the Expanded Universe.

To explain, let’s back up for a moment. As part of his efforts to furnish the story for his initial trilogy of books, Zahn had nearly free reign in providing his own explanations for a number of mysterious plotlines that were left over from the movies (such as what, exactly, the Clone Wars were, or how Palpatine could have been a Force wielder without having been a former Jedi Knight). But once the prequel trilogy started to arrive on the scene, bringing along with it the official answers to these riddles, Zahn needed to attempt to reconcile the two continuities. Hence, none other than Darth Sidious himself makes an appearance in Outbound Flight – which is now inserted in between The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones – striking a bargain with the newly-discovered Thrawn out in the Unknown Regions to help him start to pick off Jedi, some 10 years before the Purge. (An effort was also made to place the episode – and all of Thrawn’s backstory, more generally – in the context of preparing for the eventual war against an extra-galactic alien race known as the Yuuzhan Vong, whose arrival formed the basis of the “New Jedi Order” publishing program that lasted from 1999 to 2003 and which consisted of no less than 19 books.) It was a fine narrative needle to try and thread, but Zahn plugged away at it dutifully, fudging the details in order to make a general fit.

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Such a messy integration is seemingly needed once again, as both the author and the Rebels writing staff have indicated that references to the character’s past (and now-invalidated) adventures will be included in both the television episodes and the new novel, a move which can potentially open a Pandora’s box of continuity chaos. Will the character’s earlier alliance with the once-and-future Emperor Palpatine be carried over, and, if so, will extra moves be taken to scrub all the old-EU-specific detritus away from the narrative core? Will the brilliant battlefield strategies that older readers were originally delighted by 25 years ago in Heir to the Empire be dusted off and repurposed for Rebels – something which could bore the long-time fans? And, finally, will the more out-there scenarios, such as having several Thrawn clones waiting to run around the galaxy once their genetic antecedent bites the dust, be invoked – possibly in Episode VIII or IX? (It’s a possibility which, actually, isn’t that far-fetched, given that Rebels and its predecessor, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, have already brought Darth Maul [Ray Park] back to life, robotic spider legs and all.)

And all of this doesn’t even address the fundamental issue underlying the entire enterprise – should the new Expanded Universe stories address, or otherwise reinforce, their older, non-canon versions? If left unchecked, such a move would ultimately and inexorably lead to the boundary between the two versions being erased entirely, resulting in an even bigger, inchoate mess than what the original EU was during its more awkward early days (after the Thrawn trilogy and before Del Rey imposed a strict top-down game plan on the narrative proceedings).

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Just when you thought the news couldn’t get any better, Timothy Zahn himself revealed to the mass audience that a new Star Wars novel will be released in April 2017 simply titled Star Wars: Thrawn. The novel will look to shed some light on this fan-favorite character.

But all of those are future concerns best left to a different day. For now, all that Star Wars fans should concentrate on is the fact that one of the most brilliant additions to that galaxy far, far away is set to become, at long last, a canon resident – and that he’s probably here to stay.

Happy B-Day, Mark Hamill

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Happy Birthday, Mark Hamill! The actor turned 65 yesterday.

Born in 25th September 1951, Mark was raised in California by his parents Virginia and William. The actor was one of seven and moved often due to his father’s station in the military. However, he came to enjoy acting during his youth and chose to pursue the profession as he majored in drama at Los Angeles City College.

The actor’s first roles found him on television series like General Hospital and The Bill Cosby Show. However, there is undoubtedly one role that fans know him best for.

Mark was cast in Star Wars after he auditioned for a role in Apocalypse Now and caught the attention of George Lucas. He nabbed the starring role of Luke Skywalker, and the film’s unprecedented success launched Mark into global stardom. He reprised his role through the original Star Wars trilogy and brought Skywalker back to theaters when Disney announced they were pursuing new films alongside Lucasfilm.

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force-awakens-7Four times (so far) Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga.

Aside from Star Wars, Mark has an extensive resume of on- and off-screen projects. Most famously, Mark is known for voicing the Joker in various animated Batman features as he played the villain on Batman: The Animated Series. He recently reprised the role in Batman: The Killing Joke, a full-length animated featured based on an eponymous graphic novel.

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Happy birthday! May the Force be with you!

Star Wars Comics will tell untold stories from Yoda’s past

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

While Star Wars began in the movies, stories from the franchise have come in all shapes and sizes. The Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm created quite the shakeup when they announced that they would be cleaning the slate for their own upcoming lineup. All Expanded Universe materials (everything but the six live action movies and the most recent Clone Wars cartoon series) were now considered “Star Wars Legends” and officially non-canon. Fortunately, Disney has gotten straight to work on the task of creating an all new continuing legacy.

One such expansion comes from their comic collaboration with Marvel. A number of series have come to fruition, exploring the backstories of characters like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and Lando. But one core series — simply titled Star Wars — follows the principal cast between the events of the original film and The Empire Strikes Back.

In an interview with StarWars.com, Star Wars comic series author, Jason Aaron discussed his upcoming exploration of the untold adventures of Jedi Master Yoda. Issue #26 will see Luke in the main timeline, coming across Obi-Wan’s manuscripts about Yoda’s past adventures. A flashback adventure will continue from there.

yoda-episode-5A puppet Yoda in his first apparition in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.

yoda-episode-iA fully digital Master Yoda is seen in Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace.

yoda-episode-2Yoda ready to action in Star Wars Episode II Attack of the Clones.

Check out the Star Wars #26 Cover Art by Stuart Immonen below:

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“I was always trying to figure out a way for us to use Yoda. We’re a bit hamstrung in terms of the time period of our main story because Yoda’s chilling on Dagobah. So this was kind of the only way we could kill all those birds with one stone — to do one story that connects Luke, Yoda, and Obi-Wan all at the same time, while still taking place in three different time periods.”

Aaron is also hoping to show Yoda in light unfamiliar to many fans.

“This story takes place before the Clone Wars and it’s set in a world we’ve never seen before… We’ve seen Yoda as the teacher, as the wise Jedi Master, but I wanted to see Yoda just as the Jedi. So this puts him on a very unusual adventure.

“The other big challenge with Yoda, of course, is finding something that’s a challenge for him… I think we came up with an interesting answer to that question… It’s not a matter of just him being the more powerful Jedi. It’s a bit trickier than that.”

star-wars-26-interior-artStar Wars #26 – Interior Art by Salvador Larroca.

While the story doesn’t have a precise date, it does pre-date the film series and features appearances from Qui-Gon Jinn and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi. This adventure promises to play off of the ending of the previous arc, and will be illustrated by artist Salvador Larroca who recently made waves with his work on Darth Vader.

Star Wars #26 hits retail shelves December 2016.

Rogue One now being scored by Michael Giacchino

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Ever since the inception of the Star Wars series in 1977 by director George Lucas, every one of the films has been scored by the same man, the legendary composer John Williams. Williams composed the iconic Star Wars main title film, as well as all of the other music in the films, from A New Hope to The Force Awakens. In fact, Williams’ score for The Force Awakens last year earned him an Oscar nomination – the 50th of William’s long and decorated career.

It’s been known for awhile that Williams would not be scoring this year’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, sitting out one of the films for the first time. The 84-year-old Williams has suffered health problems in recent years, although he’s set to return for next year’s Star Wars: Episode VIII. Veteran Wes Anderson collaborator Alexandre Desplat was originally announced, last spring, as the Rogue One composer, but now it appears he himself has been replaced.

Michael Giacchino is the new composer of Rogue One, the THR reported this week. The switch came as a result of the production’s recent reshoots. The reshoots, the report said, led to a rescheduling of the film’s scoring, now set for a time when Desplat was not available, leaving room for Giacchino to take on the project.

Giacchino is an accomplished composer in both film and television. He scored all of the TV series Lost (which was co-created by J.J. Abrams), all three of the Abrams’ Star Trek movies and most of the recent Pixar films, including The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up — for which he won an Oscar — as well as this year’s Zootopia. Giacchino is also a longtime Star Wars fan who even filmed a cameo in the Force Awakens, as a stormtrooper.

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While it’s going to be weird to have a Star Wars score composed by someone besides John Williams, Giacchino is an inspired choice. The opening sequence of Up, featuring his score, is one of the most purely magical movie moments of the past 10 years, and if he can bring anything close to that to Rogue One, it will certainly have been the right decision.

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.

Marvel’s Darth Vader Comic: A deeper look into the final issue

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Source: ScreenRant.Com

Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, Marvel has reclaimed the Star Wars comic book mantle from Dark Horse, one they originally held from 1977 until 1986. Since then, the House of Ideas has steadily built upon and integrated their shared universe, continuing the in-canon development of new characters like Star Wars: Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus as well as classic characters like Han Solo and Princess Leia. By far one of their hottest properties since redeveloping their line has been their Darth Vader solo series.

Starting in 2015, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca tapped into the untold tales between Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, exploring the aftermath of Vader’s ‘failure’ to protect the Empire’s first planet killer. Several months ago, Marvel announced that issue #25 would conclude the post-Battle of Yavin chronicle.

In honor of Vader’s popular run, Marvel pulled out all the stops, including variant covers from Adi Granov, Jamie McKelvie, Michael Cho, Sara Pichelli, Chris Samnee, Kamome Shirahama, John Tyler Christopher, and Cliff Chiang. Marvel CCO Joe Quesada even got in on the action (take a look at more variants here). In addition to the alternate covers, Marvel is also giving fans a sneak peek at the action-packed conclusion to this acclaimed series. Check out the synopsis and get an early look at the interiors, as well as a few more of the variants below:

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“It has all been building to this! The epic conclusion to the blockbuster ongoing series! Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s critically acclaimed series comes to a close on October 12th in the blockbuster DARTH VADER #25! It has all built to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids. It all comes to a head in this cataclysmic final chapter. Plus, this oversized issue also contains a thrilling new tale from Kieron Gillen and artist Max Fiumara. Who lives? Who dies? The answers may surprise you!”

The latest round of adventures finds Darth Vader trying to get back in the Emperor’s good graces after that whole Death Star fiasco. Of course as a Sith Lord, he has a few plots cooking on the side as well, including his wheelings and dealings bounty hunter favorites, his subterfuge with Doctor Aphra, and the reveal of Cylo’s diabolical ace in the hole in Darth Vader #24. The final issue will wrap up the swirling subplots, the menacing machinations, and conclude the heady “The End of Games” mini arc with a major bang.

As one of the most fascinating characters in Star Wars mythology, it’s no wonder Marvel chose to further expand on the Jedi hero turned Sith Lord. While the Prequel Trilogy and the Clone Wars animated series explored more of the elder Skywalker’s trials and tribulations, his early and middle years (glimpsed further in Rebels) show Vader in his prime. Gillen and Larroca’s work has delved into some of the meatiest material, allowing fans to watch the Emperor’s Right Hand recover from one of his worst periods since his defeat at Mustafar by his former teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi.

While it’s always a little sad to see Vader’s latest adventures come to an end, fans only have a short wait until the Dark Lord rears his sleek mask in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story this December. The Sith Lord’s story, of course, is far from complete. Following the success of his solo arc, it wouldn’t be surprising if the fallen Jedi finds his way into another solo run.

vaderDon’t be sad, Darth Vader will be back in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, on December!

DARTH VADER #25 arrives in comic shops and on digital devices October 12, 2016. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016

Star Wars Rebels Season 3: First 6 episode titles revealed

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Source: ScreenRant.Com. Read more on Star Wars Wikia.

As Star Wars fans get ready to embrace spinoff film Rogue One, releasing this December, and continue to listen out for news about next year’s Episode VIII, a new season of animated series Star Wars Rebels is on the horizon. In just a couple weeks, the hit Disney XD show will return to the airwaves with possibly its most important and strongest season yet, leading into an all out war between the Rebels and the Empire.

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Set around the time of Rogue One, not too long before Episode IV – A New Hope, Star Wars Rebels follows the ragtag crew of starship Ghost as they fight against the growing, evil Galactic Empire. Ezra Bridger is a young orphan from Lothal who can use the Force, and after season 2 he’s now stronger than ever. Last we saw him, Ezra had managed to escape Sith Lord Darth Vader and recover and unlock the Sith holocron using the dark side of the Force. Now in season 3, the Ghost crew are preparing for the biggest mission yet: a direct attack on the Empire.

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Having established a secret base on Atollon with new resources and recruits, Ezra and weapons expert Sabine are ready to face off against their newest enemy, Grand Admiral Thrawn, whose strategic, tactical and cultural insights make him a threat unlike any they have faced before. Not much else is known about the upcoming episodes, beyond some returning characters like Wedge Antilles, but new episode titles give us a few hints. The first six titles for season 3 of Star Wars Rebels will be “Steps into Shadow, Parts 1 & 2”, “The Holocrons of Fate”, “The Antilles Extraction”, “Hera’s Heroes” and “The Last Battle”.

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The one-hour television movie “Steps into Shadow”, which is comprised of the first two episodes and kicks off season 3, exclusively debuted this summer at Celebration Europe. Spoilers for the premiere can be found online, but the gist is that Ezra being in possession of the Sith holocron will have a lot of ramifications on not just the Star Wars Rebels world – but the character himself. Ezra will have to decide between the light and dark sides of the Force, while new baddies and impartial characters try to sway him in different ways.

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Next it seems “The Holocrons of Fate” will further test the power of these ancient artifacts and possibly feature the merging of the Jedi and Sith Holocrons we saw in the first trailer. From there, “The Antilles Extraction” will introduce Wedge Antilles, the legendary X-Wing pilot – who, in Star Wars Rebels, is just a young Imperial pilot ready to defect from the Empire. Then “Hera’s Heroes” and “The Last Battle” round out the first batch of episodes taking us through the end of October. With Katee Sackhoff also reprising her role as Bo-Katan, there are sure to be a lot more surprises coming up.

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Star Wars Rebels season 3 will premiere Saturday, September 24 at 8:30 p.m. EST on Disney XD.

Star Wars Soundtrack to release on Vinyl modeled after the Death Star

star-wars

Source: ScreenRant.Com

There’s something magical about that familiar Star Wars fanfare. Adults become children again, and restless kids settle down and lock their eyes on the screen. Over the years, John Williams’ iconic score has been interlaced into seven feature films, a radio drama, and two animated series. It’s become a cinematic touchstone, a near-perfect merger of action and sound, responsible for the enjoyable escapism experienced by several generations.

Far-away galaxy devotees and vinyl aficionados in all likelihood already have at least one copy of the Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope soundtrack, either lovingly worn with scratches and hisses or tucked away for safe-keeping (or both). A brand new picture disc, which combines the visual and sonic elements of the saga, may just earn an honored place in many fans’ collections.

Blastr brings news (by way of The Force) of a two record set which captures the sound and the fury of the franchise. The first slab of vinyl displays the menacing dark side of the Force, featuring everyone’s favorite non-moon, the Death Star on the A-side. Flip the record and Darth Vader’s menacing mug will spin right ’round the turntable. The second disc brings fans back to the heroic spirit, both in tone and in image highlighting the rousing X-Wing attack sequence and a blaster/bow-caster toting Han Solo and Chewbacca on the B-side.

Force fanatics drooling for a copy will have to keep their dark side urges in check, though. The double disc set retails for roughly $35, but it won’t be available until September 30. Fortunately, the records are currently available for pre-order through Amazon.

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Star Wars, like vinyl, experienced several elongated dips in popularity. During the dark times, the saga and the medium were kept alive by the fire in the hearts of devotees. Fortunately, both have entered into exciting new chapters as the next generation rediscovers the magic of Star Wars and the rich tones of records. The new two disc set will be gratifying for many old timers – especially those who fondly recall sitting on the edge of their bed, gazing beyond the record sleeve into cosmic realms as the stains of Williams’ score crackled through the speakers. It’s also ideal for those just uncovering the Star Wars Universe and the audio gold of vinyl.

In an era when just about everything can be digitally enhanced, there’s just something about an organic feel which can’t be replicated with CGI. The latest wave of Star Warsfilmmakers understand that and chose to include more practical and blended effects in their stories. The same rings true for a classical score – despite John Carpenter’s ‘80s synth awesomeness. And while it’s a shame that John Williams won’t score Lucasfilm’s first standalone, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, fans can enjoy his stunning soundscapes in The Force Awakens as well as throughout Episodes VIII and IX.

Click here to listen John Williams’ Star Wars Theme (midi extension file). Buy the Star Wars A New Hope Vinyl Edition on Amazon.