Month: July 2017

The Last Jedi behind the scenes photos leaked

Source text: ScrenRant

NOTE: To prevent Disney to come shut down my blog, I will not post any leaked image in this post. The Imgur gallery showing the leaked images has been taken down. However, a gallery showing all of these images can be viewed here and here.

A leaked collection of Star Wars: The Last Jedi promotional images highlight many of the film’s principal characters, including Luke Skywalker and Supreme Leader Snoke. Lucasfilm’s marketing campaign for the sequel has been personified by the small amount of plot details revealed, but the studio hasn’t been very lucky when it comes to unofficial leaks online. Ahead of September’s Force Friday II products, fans have already seen several of the toys that will be available, some of which confirm rumors and tease potential storylines. In particular, LEGO sets and mini-figures have provided a bounty of information, including the presumed physical appearance of Snoke.

Just yesterday, viewers got a better of idea of what the dark side master could look like in the flesh thanks to an artist’s rendering of the character’s description, but today we’re treated to the real deal. A batch of behind-the-scenes promo photos depicting the heroes and villains of the tale showcase everyone from Rey to Snoke’s elite praetorian guards.

The photos first appeared on the Twitter account Star Wars Stuff, and from the sound of it, they were not planned to be released as part of advertising right now.

The shoot highlights the new costumes that will be worn throughout the film, some of which have been seen in marketing materials before (such as Kylo Ren with his repositioned facial scar and flowing cape). Among this set, the ones that are sure to get most of the attention are those of Luke, who is sporting a much different outfit than the one he had at the end of The Force Awakens. In stark contrast from his white robes, Skywalker is seen in dark brown attire, looking rather ominous with his hood up. Switching gears to the First Order, Captain Phasma has a fresh weapon, clutching a staff as Gwendoline Christie strikes an action pose. These photos also give fans their first “real” look at Snoke’s guards, who – as per the rumors – are each armed differently. One has a pair of blades, while another does battle with an axe pike. Hopefully, the guards take part in an action sequence or two and aren’t just for show. As for Snoke, he was seen once again in his golden robe.

At this point, the rate of Last Jedi leaks is becoming alarming, especially after so much for Episode VII was kept under lock and key until that film’s premiere. While Lucasfilm surely wants to stop this from happening (before something far more spoilery comes out), right now what’s coming out is mostly harmless and serves as free marketing to help get fans more excited for what’s to come in December. There’s only a little under five months left, so fans don’t have to wait much longer for the full picture.

Star Wars illustrations by Brian Rood

Brian Rood is a professional illustrator working in the entertainment, comic and commercial art fields. He is most known for his photo-realistic paintings of Hollywood’s stars and characters. Brian has established an international fan base as well as an impressive client list featuring Lucas Film Ltd., Disney, Paramount Pictures, Pressman Films, Acme Archives Direct, Dynamic Forces, EA games, and others great companies. Visit Brian Rood’s official site for more of his amazing work.

The 25 greatest Star Wars posters of all-time

Source: ComingSoon.net

Arguably no other major franchise has inspired so many great artists over the years than Star Wars. From the saga’s original conceptual genius Ralph McQuarrie to art students, there are literally thousands upon thousands of artworks to filter through when compiling a list of the best Star Wars poster art ever. Inspired by Abrams Books’ publication Star Wars Art: A Poster Collection, which features twenty frame-worthy works you can pull out and stick on your wall, ComingSoon.Net done a great job along with the officially-licensed artists who have produced truly breathtaking, funny and above all COOL works of pop art. So, here are according to ComingSoon, the 25 greatest Star Wars posters of all-time.

Skywalker – Tsuneo Sanda

There it is, the whole sprawling Skywalker family saga summed up in one exquisite image by longtime Lucasfilm artist Sanda. It’s enough art nouveau beauty to make Alphonse Mucha jealous.

Trilogy – Olly Moss

Moss is a master of composition, utilizing elements of key scenery to create the facial features of Vader, Boba and C-3PO. This triptych of minimalist portraits has been oft imitated since their release.

Droids – Dave Perillo

These ARE the droids you’re looking for. Everything from the federation foot soldiers (“Roger Roger”) to EV-9D9, the hardest hardass in Jabba’s palace, all in one adorable print!

Star Wars Identities – X3 Productions/ Bleublancrouge

The traveling Star Wars Identities exhibit kicked off in the spring of 2012 in Montreal and offers a fascinating look at all (well, the first) six films in George Lucas’ saga, in which the attendee answers a range of questions at different kiosks pertaining to the trilogy to see how those decisions shape a personality, much like Anakin and Luke’s journeys. Okay, so the educational value is limited, but the mix of production art and props from the movies is the best tour through SW history of its kind. This poster, made up of hundreds of little ships, perfectly encapsulates the aim of the exhibit.

Celebration VI – Jeff Carlisle

This is a veritable “Where’s Waldo” of Star Wars fandom, drawn in micro detail. Look with a magnifying glass for all sorts of cameos, including George Lucas, Phil Tippett, Joe Johnston, Steve Sansweet, Ralph McQuarrie, Gary Kurtz, Seth Green, Dave Filoni, John Carter of Mars and Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud’s Arzach. Also, a very out of place Kirk, Spock and McCoy. The in-jokes are endless. Make sure you click the image to see a bigger version, and check out Carlisle’s Facebook page for some information on who’s included in the print.

The Phantom Menace – Drew Struzan

Struzan is the undisputed king of Star Wars poster artists, having done one-sheets for all six movies including the Special Editions (and hopefully The Force Awakens as well). While The Phantom Menace may not be the king of Star Wars movies, this piece is an absolute masterpiece, and represented one of the final gasps of the hand-painted era. “My poster artwork was used for the film unchanged in every country in every language all around the world at the same time,” Struzan said. “So the whole world was seeing my artwork all at once. That is the first time that had ever happened and it’s likely becoming the most-seen piece of art ever.”

Attack of the Clones (IMAX) – David McMacken

One of the first major Hollywood movies to get an IMAX release, the large-format version of Attack of the Clones shown in November of 2002 was not only an immersive experience (that occasionally showed off some digital seams) but also may be the optimum version of the film, since its shortened runtime dispensed with the bulk of the sappy Anakin/Padme romance that you chapter skip on the DVD. Now even films like Focus get a token IMAX release, but this poster is a great throwback that harkens to the era of showmanship the IMAX screenings were emulating before it became commonplace.

Attack of the Clones – Tsuneo Sanda

Another gorgeous work by the masterful Tsuneo Sanda, this promo piece for the Dark Horse Comics adaptation of Episode II might have outdone Drew Struzan, which is a tall order to be sure. It may even be more vibrant and dynamic than the movie itself!

Revenge of the Sith – Drew Roberts

By the time Episode III came to pass, George Lucas was no longer as hands-on with the marketing, and Struzan’s theatrical poster got botched in Photoshop at the last minute. Thus, we look to the fan community to represent the film, and although there isn’t nearly as much great fan art for the PT as there is for the OT, this minimalist design by Drew Roberts is a powerful depiction of the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin on Mustafar.

A New Hope – Charlie White III and Drew Struzan

This piece, known affectionately as “One-Sheet Style D” or simply “Circus-Style,” has the distinction of being George Lucas’s favorite, and is actually hung in his house. The summer 1978 re-release art was a collaboration between Struzan and White (who was the inspiration for Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III), the layered design coming about when they realized there wasn’t any room for the credits.

A New Hope – John Berkey

There are potentially more posters – both official and unofficial – for the original Star Wars than any of the other movies, partly due to all the alternates, foreign and re-release art that was generated. How any of them can top the sheer bravura nature of this piece is a mystery, since Berkey captured everything about the intensity of a space battle in his vertical composition that a horizontal screen never could.

A New Hope – Hideki Ohwada

Leave it to the Japanese to invent Karate-style C-3PO. This is the lighter side of Star Wars at its malleable best. The lettering roughly translates: “Of course I am fluent in over six million forms of communication. But that implies physical communication as well, master Luke.”

A New Hope – Bruce Yan

The fan art community has truly embraced the galaxy far far away, sometimes creating popular limited-run screen prints or, in the case of Yan, simply whipping something up for fun to celebrate May the 4th this past year and inadvertently creating one of the most memorable posters A New Hope has ever earned.

A New Hope – Arthur Parreira

Brazilian artist Parreira created this popular wallpaper piece for a contest, perfectly emulating the aesthetics of Edo-era Japanese prints (Hokusai, etc.) The Kanjis appropriately read (right to left): “Finally we have met. The circle is now complete. When I left you I was but the learner. Now I am the master!” “Only a master of evil, Darth.”

A New Hope – PJ McQuade

Another rising star in the pop art illustration world is McQuade, whose work has appeared in Variety, MAD Magazine and other important news outlets. Here he gives us a detailed look at the stop-motion holomonsters that inhabit the tabletop game of Dejarik, as played by spoiled sport Chewbacca and R2-D2 aboard the Millennium Falcon.

A New Hope – Mark Brooks

Done in 2007 for Celebration IV, Brooks’ officially-licensed lithograph perfectly captures the sepia-toned look of the original ’77 cast if they had happened upon an old timey photo booth at a fair (complete with coffee stain).

Star Wars Holiday Special – Matt Busch

This is perhaps the closest we’ll ever get to a photo-realistic version of the first appearance of Boba Fett, as seen in 1978’s infamous “Holiday Special.” Nelvana’s animated segment, known as “The Faithful Wookie,” featured the entire original cast voicing the heroes as they encounter the bounty hunter on a gooey galactic raindrop known as Panna. This awesome recreation was made exclusively for this April’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim.

The Empire Strikes Back – Noriyoshi Ohrai

This gorgeous Japanese B1 poster for the fifth chapter in the saga is not as well known as the Gone With the Wind-inspired US theatrical, but deserves to be. Original 8×10-inch high-resolution transparencies of Ohrai’s artwork were discovered in 2010 within the Lucasfilm archives, and a rich re-mastered edition was issued in a limited run of 500.

The Empire Strikes Back – Boris Vallejo

Iconic fantasy artist Boris has earned his place alongside Frank Frazetta, Julie Bell and the Hildebrandt Brothers as one of the premiere fantasy painters of our time. In 1980 he was commissioned by Coca-Cola/Burger King to create four posters in his own bold style, the best of which shows Luke and Han having some Taunton adventures on Hoth, probably right before the start of the film.

The Empire Strikes Back (Radio Play) – Ralph McQuarrie

This image was chosen for the cover of “Star Wars Art: A Poster Collection,” and it’s an inspiring image executed by the design visionary behind the look for Episode IV and V, Ralph McQuarrie, AKA Star Wars artist numero uno. The piece itself was done for the Empire Strikes Back radio play on NPR, and showcases some of the Dagobah beasties that were a little too fantastical to afford for the film itself.

The Empire Strikes Back – Cat Staggs

Staggs has amassed a most impressive portfolio of official Lucasfilm illustrated work for comics, trading cards and, yes, prints. This one for Celebration V is part of the new wave of retro WWII style propaganda posters that a lot of artists have been creating, but for our money this one is definitely the best.

Return of the Jedi – Tim Reamer

A truly unforgettable image, used for the A sheet in the US, but we prefer the British quad version since all that bothersome text is pushed to the side so we can see Reamer’s rendering with perfect clarity.

Return of the Jedi – Tibor Helény

Of all the bonkers foreign posters for the OT that are out there, this one is super cool because the artist had definitely seen the movie (or at least a few publicity photos), yet still felt compelled to add in that weird green dragon creature holding a (the first?) double-sided lightsaber. If J.J. Abrams, Gareth Edwards or Rian Johnson are reading this, please find a way to include this monster in some capacity for future movies.

Return of the Jedi – Tim Anderson

Here we go, simple, elegant, and oddly serene. This is a poster made by a fan for fans, the kind of thing that couldn’t really exist as a selling tool for a new movie but perfect for a classic. We know precisely the connection between that shield generator and Death Star 2, and its critical function in the battle between the Empire and Rebellion.

Return of the Jedi – Vincent Rhafael Aseo

Finally, we end on a fan piece that is not in any way simple, but manages to deliver all the key elements of Episode VI’s story in a fresh, sophisticated way. Miraculously, Aseo’s design avoids being too busy/maximalist for its own good despite so many disparate elements. This is how a master artist using modern tools could create truly eye-catching one-sheets for modern audiences if Hollywood would only take a cue and bring artistry back to the poster world.

Star Wars Rebels: Dave Filoni reveals Kanan and Ahsoka’s history

Source: ScreenRant

Dave Filoni has shared new details about Ashoka past with dialogue from a never before seen interaction with Kanan. In light of the still unanswered mystery of Ahsoka’s fate and whereabouts, the Star Wars Rebels executive producer continues to drop interesting morsels of information regarding the former Jedi. Following his revelation earlier this month of an undisclosed meeting between Ahsoka and the Bendu, Filoni this time shared some backstory, as well as an untold conversation between the Torgutan and “Last Apprentice” Kanan.

When Ahsoka was revealed to be Fulcrum by the end of the first season of Rebels, fans quickly got excited given her direct ties to Star Wars: The Clone Wars. But while Ahsoka has become a pivotal member of the Ghost Crew before her mysterious disappearance in season 2’s finale, “Twilight of the Apprentice, Rebels explored little on her backstory; not even her potentially knowing Kanan before Order 66 was commanded and the Jedis were purged. But thanks to Filoni, we now know how the two met at the Jedi Temple as Padawans.

In a new post on his official Twitter account, Filoni has spilled some details regarding Ahsoka being a mentor to Kanan in “many ways.” Check out the two’s supposed dialog excerpt below:

“AHSOKA: Even at a young age you were gifted with a lightsaber. But without training and discipline, those skills fade. 

(Kanan gets up again, he is a bit dispirited.)

KANAN: (CONT’D): I haven’t had to fight with my lightsaber very often. For a while, I chose not to. I was…

(Kanan struggles with the moment, Ahsoka helps).

AHSOKA: You were afraid to use it. I understand.

(Kanan appreciated her words.)

KANAN: I’ve been teaching Ezra as best as I can. I want him to be the Jedi I’m not, that I couldn’t be. 

AHSOKA: And I want you to be the Jedi that you are.” 

One of Kanan’s biggest struggles, especially during the early episodes of the show, was coming to terms with being one of the final Jedi. Despite initially not finishing his training (which he eventually gets in season 2), he took it upon himself to try and be a good master to Ezra. The character has gone through many ups and downs since then, but arguably his biggest achievement thus far is making sure that his apprentice doesn’t fall to the dark side despite several temptations along the way.

As for Ahsoka, her fate remains to be seen. The internet has been populated with various theories about what happened to her in Malachor and, if she does make a return in Rebels season 4, how she’d do it. Filoni has continued to capitalize on this fascination by giving out small hints at the character’s fate. Nevertheless, whatever happens to her character, we are all hoping that she gets the fitting story wrap-up that she deserves.

Star Wars Rebels is set to conclude with the fourth and final season that premieres September on Disney XD.

17 things you never knew about Grand Admiral Thrawn

Source: ScrenRant

The newest Star Wars book, Thrawn, gives the modern Disney canon its first longform novel about one of the most intriguing characters in the history of the Expanded Universe. While the book goes some way to fleshing out the character that most new fans will only know from Star Wars: Rebels, there’s a lot of interesting backstory behind Grand Admiral Thrawn and his impact on the Star Wars universe as a whole. Many of Thrawn’s older tales have been relegated to non-canon Legends, but they’re still very interesting reads. The character’s first appearance, in the series of books that came to be known as The Thrawn Trilogy, kicked off the Expanded Universe in a big way, and left a lasting impression on fans that has allowed the character’s popularity to endure for decades after his initial appearance. To help you get the most out of the new novel, here are 17 interesting and little-known facts about Grand Admiral Thrawn.

17. THRAWN WAS ENVISIONED AS THE OPPOSITE OF THE EMPEROR


Believe it or not, there was a time when the rules of the Star Wars universe weren’t as firmly entrenched as they are now. Back in this bygone era, not every antagonist was necessarily an evil wizard with a fondness for dressing all in black and ruling the galaxy with an iron fist of fear. Following the logical popularity of Return of the Jedi, novelist Timothy Zahn was given the difficult task of attempting to follow up the original trilogy of movies with a brand new set of Star Wars stories. Of course, Emperor Palpatine and his attack dog, Darth Vader, were off the table as a result of their recent demise, meaning that Zahn had to go back to the drawing board to invent a villain that would drive his new stories further. In a genius stroke of storytelling, Zahn decided to create a character that, while still terrifying in his own way, was as far removed from The Emperor and Darth Vader as possible. Instead of wearing all black, Grand Admiral Thrawn dresses in white. Instead of motivating his troops through fear, Zahn uses battlefield promotions as a carrot to dangle in front of his lieutenants to get the most out of them. The result is a character who’s every bit as iconic as Emperor Palpatine (despite not having received as much publicity), but who introduces unique new ideas to the Star Wars formula. Eventually, subsequent writers would fall back on copying existing Sith characters, but this merely serves to make Thrawn all the more compelling by comparison.

16. THRAWN KICKED OFF THE EXPANDED UNIVERSE

There were very few stories set in the Star Wars universe that were released before Timothy Zahn’s book, Heir to the Empire, arrived on store shelves. Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and The Star Wars Holiday Special aside, the only place that fans of the series could experience the adventures of a galaxy far, far away was in George Lucas’ trilogy of movies. Naturally, when approaching the task of expanding this universe to create more stories, Zahn copies the pre-proven formula, writing a trilogy of novels that each told a larger story, mirroring the serial format of the Star Wars movies, and wrapping everything up neatly at the end. These books went on to become the quintessential Expanded Universe tales, laying the framework for hundreds of other novels and stories that were told with the same characters. Had The Thrawn Trilogy, as it’s commonly known, not proven successful, it’s very likely that the entire Star Wars franchise would have withered away to nothing in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace. If Thrawn hadn’t been quite as compelling of a villain, there’s a good chance that the Star Wars Expanded Universe would have turned out to be every bit as sparse as the Indiana Jones wider canon. Such a concept doesn’t bear thinking about.

15. FANS THINK THRAWN’S NAME REFERENCES HIS CREATOR

The influences that go into the name of a Star Wars character aren’t always easy to trace. Nobody knows where the names “Watto” or “Nute Gunray” came from, and while we do know that “Luke” was George Lucas’ childhood nickname, the logic behind most of his characters’ names will probably never be explored. With Thrawn, though, many fans think that they have a clue. The Grand Admiral was initially created by Timothy Zahn, and some believe that, as with Luke Skywalker, this character might be named for his creator. Zahn does sound an awful lot like Thrawn, and it would make sense for the writer of Heir to the Empire to want to name himself after the coolest character in the book (naming Mara Jade “Timothy” probably wouldn’t have worked). Alas, this has never been confirmed and will probably always remain a rumor, but it’s nice to think that Zahn’s name is forever embedded in Star Wars canon, albeit in an altered form. He definitely earned it.

14. LUCASFILM HAS WANTED TO BRING THRAWN BACK FOR DECADES


The problem with a tight, well-written series of books that come to a conclusive and neat ending is that you have to say goodbye to your primary antagonist. In The Last Command, the third novel in the Thrawn Trilogy, everyone’s favorite blue-skinned Imperial is stabbed to death by one of his bodyguards, after it’s revealed that his dominion over the alien Noghri race is based entirely on a lie, and that Princess Leia of all people is their rightful ruler. But while this makes for a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, it’s clear that Timothy Zahn didn’t anticipate just how popular his character would become, leading Lucasfilm to try desperately to find a way to bring the character back to life long before the studio was sold to Disney. Back during the production of The Clone Wars animated series, producer Dave Filoni made plans to introduce Thrawn to the prequel series in order to bring some fun Expanded Universe flavor into the show. This idea was ultimately put on hold, but was revisited later in Star Wars Rebels, which is why Thrawn is now a key character in the CGI Star Wars mythos, after years of planning.

13. THRAWN OWNS THE HOLY GRAIL


Easter eggs connecting the Star Wars and Indiana Jones universes are not uncommon, but for the most part, they’re limited to pictograms of R2-D2 and C3PO in Raiders of the Lost Ark. There are far fewer cases of Indy references popping up in Star Wars, but if any character is going to pull off a connection between the two franchises, it’s Grand Admiral Thrawn. The Grand Admiral’s office is a treasure trove of hidden references to wider Star Wars canon, but the crowning jewel in his collection is the Holy Grail, as seen in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, which can be seen on the left in the photo above. Hidden away in the shadows of the office, this isn’t merely a case of fan speculation, as the art director for Star Wars Rebels, Kilian Plunkett, has confirmed that the team really did sneak the Grail into the scene. Clearly, Thrawn’s collection of ancient artifacts is more impressive than anyone had realized – the only question that remains is how the Grand Admiral got hold of such a rarity!

12. THRAWN ALSO OWNS SOME STAR WARS CONCEPT ART


As if owning a universe-shattering piece of otherworldly Indiana Jones memorabilia isn’t enough, there’s also another fantastic piece of art in Thrawn’s gallery which goes so far as to break the fourth wall. Among his collection is a piece of concept art originally drawn by Ralph McQuarrie, the visual artist who crafted much of the look and feel of the Star Wars movies. McQuarrie’s work was influential in helping George Lucas to convince studio executives at Twentieth Century Fox that they should take a chance on his quaint little science fiction story, and the artist is responsible for designing Darth Vader, the Millennium Falcon, and C3PO, among many other characters. If you can think of something fantastic from A New Hope, there’s a good chance that it originated in one of Ralph McQuarrie’s paintings. Thrawn seems to think that the artist deserves high praise, as he has a piece of McQuarrie’s art gracing his wall. It’s best not to think too hard about the in-continuity explanation for McQuarrie’s artwork – supposedly, it fell through the same hole in time and space that brought the Holy Grail to Thrawn’s doorstep.

11. THRAWN CAMEOS IN PLENTY OF VIDEO GAMES


Considering the impact that Grand Admiral Thrawn has had on the Star Wars Expanded Universe on a whole, it’s no wonder that plenty of the media that’s now considered non-canon “Legends” material pays tribute to the iconic Imperial baddie. This extends to several video games, with Thrawn popping up, if briefly, in strategy games including Galactic Battlegrounds and Empire at War. These references make sense considering the subject matter of these games, wherein players command large armies of troops – after all, when ordering Imperial soldiers to attack an enemy, it makes sense that many players would feel like they’re fulfilling a Thrawn power fantasy. The Grand Admiral also appears in brief cameos in other games, though, including the zippy shooter TIE Fighter. Here, strategy and tactics are far from the intended gameplay design, but a subtle mention of Grand Admiral Thrawn ties this game together with the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, even if the game itself is no longer considered canon.

10. THRAWN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIRST ORDER


When The Force Awakens first released in theaters, Lucasfilm was deliberately vague about the events that had led the galaxy to its current state, with the First Order fighting against General Organa’s Resistance. Over time, though, more details have been filled in, including the explanation for how the First Order came to be. As Thrawn has become a more significant player in the new canon, his contributions to the story have been expanded. According to the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy of books, Thrawn, himself from beyond the Outer Rim of known space, is the one who helps plot the Empire’s course to explore the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. In so doing, the remnants of the Empire have a place to hide away and regroup following the death of the Emperor, before returning as the First Order. It’s therefore as a result of Thrawn’s influences on the Empire that the First Order was able to rise to power. Fans are hopeful that this means the Grand Admiral is still alive in the time of the upcoming Episode 8, The Last Jedi, and that he could make an appearance in the modern films as a leader for the First Order.

9. THRAWN’S VOICE ACTOR WAS NOMINATED FOR AN ANNIE AWARD


It’s no small task to approach a character that’s primarily only ever been portrayed in silent media, such as novels, and attempt to give them a distinctive voice. Everyone will have their own impression of what a character like Thrawn will sound like, and voice actor Lars Mikkelsen had a lot of expectations to live up to when joining the cast of Rebels to provide a believably eloquent yet imposing voice for the popular character. Thankfully, Mikkelsen did a fantastic job with Thrawn, to the point that he was nominated for an Annie Award for his work voicing the character on Rebels. Annie Awards celebrate successes in animation, so being nominated for one is a prestigious experience that proves just how powerful Mikkelsen’s performance is. Mikkelsen was nominated in the category of “Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production”, and while he ultimately lost out to Carlos Alazaraqui’s work on The Mr. Peabody and Sherman Show, he’s certainly established himself as the definitive take on the character — at least from a vocal perspective.

8. THRAWN’S VOICE ACTOR IS GALEN ERSO/HANNIBAL’S BROTHER


You might have guessed this already, but Lars Mikkelsen, the actor who provides the voice of Thrawn in Rebels, is indeed the older brother of acclaimed actor (and the subject of Hideo Kojima’s mancrush) Mads Mikkelsen – himself another Star Wars alum, after playing Jyn Erso’s father Galen in Rogue One. While not as famous as his younger brother, Lars Mikkelsen has had a prestigious career filled with appearances in plenty of popular television shows. He played Viktor Petrov in seven episodes of House of Cards, and took on the role of the villainous media magnate and mind palace user Charles Magnussen in season three of Sherlock, providing a suitably disturbing baddie to follow up Andrew Scott’s Moriarty. With credentials like these, it’s no wonder the team behind Rebels thought that Mikkelsen would be a perfect fit to voice Grand Admiral Thrawn, and if the villain ever comes to the big screen, Lucasfilm could do worse than painting Hannibal’s brother blue to create a truly unsettling live-action version of the character.

7. THRAWN WAS AMONG THE FIRST NON-MOVIE CHARACTERS TO BECOME AN ACTION FIGURE


Star Wars is all about the toys. Both George Lucas himself and the Disney corporation have made plenty of money selling action figures to eager fans, and we’re more than happy to snap up whatever new toys arrive on the market, regardless of whether or not the characters have a significant role in the Star Wars movies. Back in 1998, Kenner released an expansion to their popular Power of the Force range of action figures that featured a selection of characters from the Expanded Universe. These included a clone of the Emperor and an evil Luke Skywalker from the Dark Empire comic book range, as well as multiple figures based on characters from the Thrawn Trilogy. The Grand Admiral himself is represented in the range, alongside other characters introduced by the books, including Mara Jade. While these figures were beaten to the market by toys based on the Shadows of the Empire video game and novel, Thrawn’s figure still remains one of the earliest examples of a Star Wars toy that’s based on a character who doesn’t appear in any of the movies, paving the way for far more action figures based on the Expanded Universe in the coming years.

6. THRAWN WORKED WITH ANAKIN SKYWALKER


It seems that Darth Vader has met pretty much every significant character across all of Star Wars canon, and happened to be in the right place at the right time to rub elbows with major players even long before becoming the Emperor’s right-hand man. The new Thrawn novel provides details of how Thrawn once met the young Jedi before his fateful duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Mustafar, and hints that, unlike most of the galaxy, Thrawn is aware of Darth Vader’s former life. The new novel, which was written by Timothy Zahn in his return to writing for Star Wars, contains several vague references to past books by Zahn – just enough to hint that these events in Thrawn’s backstory still took place in the new canon, but not enough to nail things down. There’s every possibility that Zahn will return to the series later to provide more details and stories about Thrawn’s past, but for the moment, it seems that Rebels and other cinematic Star Wars stories will be dealing with the character’s future.

5. THRAWN IS AVAILABLE AS A LEGO FIGURE

https://moseisleychronicles.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/thrawn.gif?w=1024

Something that longtime fans could only dream about happening for many years, after decades of waiting, Thrawn has finally been made available in Lego form. The ultimate benchmark of Star Wars figure popularity (and cultural relevance in general), modern Lego sets feature a wide variety of characters from throughout modern canon, including several sets based on Rebels. One such set, 75170 The Phantom, comes with three figures – Kanan Jarrus, C1-10P (better known as Chopper), and Admiral Thrawn. Interestingly, the name of Thrawn’s figure is technically incorrect. Described simply as “Admiral Thrawn”, the figure doesn’t represent Thrawn’s full rank within the Empire as Grand Admiral. This could be a simple mistake, or a deliberate decision to keep the figure’s name shorter for identification purposes. As Admiral Thrawn has limited connections with the Phantom in the Rebels television show, this appears to be an example of Lego Master Builders wanting to squeeze a popular character into a set, one which is greatly appreciated by fans who’ve been waiting a long time to see the character in the flesh.

4. THRAWN INSPIRED AN ENTIRE RACE IN THE OLD REPUBLIC


When Grand Admiral Thrawn first appeared in Heir to the Empire, he was the first of his species to turn up in a Star Wars story. Naturally, with the popularity of the character, his people, the Chiss, began seeping through into other stories, appearing as a species with a large empire that exists just beyond the borders of known space. In modern canon, the Chiss are still a mostly unknown force, rarely entering Republic or Imperial space. But in the story of BioWare’s mass multiplayer role-playing video game, The Old Republic, the Chiss are far more connected to the story, and are available as a playable species for gamers to choose. To a certain extent, this makes sense within the confines of the game, as the story takes place thousands of years in the past during a war between the Republic and Sith forces that appear from the Unknown Regions. At the same time, it is a little strange that, following this war, everyone in the Republic instantly forgot that the Chiss ever existed. Star Wars can be strange sometimes.

3. THRAWN JOINED THE EMPIRE WITH NOBLE INTENTIONS


Considering the Empire’s xenophobic stance on alien life forms, Grand Admiral Thrawn stands out as something of an anomaly. His bright blue skin and glowing eyes stand in direct contrast to the predominantly white human soldiers and lieutenants of the Empire, making his presence among their ranks very perplexing. Thrawn’s reason for joining the Empire in spite of their policy against non-humans is because he believes there’s a greater threat hiding beyond the borders of known space. This could suggest a major plot point for a future Star Wars movie, or a hint that the Vuuzhan Vong from the Legends continuity may eventually appear in modern canon as well. For the Emperor’s part, his reason for relying on Thrawn, besides his skills as a strategist, are because nobody available knows the Unknown Regions better. This knowledge proves useful, no matter Thrawn’s origin – although he’s hardly given a place of prominence among the ranks of the Imperials.

2. THRAWN WAS THE FIRST LEGENDS CHARACTER TO BECOME CANON


Back when Disney first purchased the Star Wars franchise, the decision was quickly made to wipe the slate clean and start over with a brand new canon. Aside from the movies and CGI television shows, no characters or events were considered in-continuity with the new universe, in order to give new teams of writers the freedom to craft original stories that didn’t need to fit within decades of lore. For a while, it seemed like everything old had been completely thrown out – until, that is, Grand Admiral Thrawn was confirmed to be appearing in Star Wars: Rebels. Since then, the floodgates have opened, and more characters previously deemed non-canon have made their return. Who knows? If the decision hadn’t been made to bring back Thrawn, we might not have ever seen these classic characters again – so it’s worth celebrating the Grand Admiral’s pioneering return, even if it doesn’t seem like Mara Jade will be coming back anytime soon.

1. CORUSCANT MADE ITS DEBUT ALONGSIDE THRAWN


Back when George Lucas was planning his prequel trilogy of Star Wars movies, he made the decision to fit the stories in around existing Expanded Universe stories. Part of that involved including the planet of Coruscant, the home of the Empire (and the Republic before it) in Episode I. The planet had originally appeared in Heir to the Empire, wherein the New Republic has set themselves up in the former Imperial palace that had been built on the ruins of the Jedi temple. In Heir to the Empire, Thrawn makes use of a series of plants that decorate the palace, which react to sound by changing color, in order to listen in on the conversations that the Republic are engaging in. Through this sneaky tactic, he’s able to spy on Luke, Leia, and the other heroes, and predict their actions. This element fo the story has never appeared in other media, but the planet of Coruscant has gone on to be hugely important to the Star Wars series as a whole, and it’s all thanks to the first book to introduce Grand Admiral Thrawn.

As exciting as Thrawn’s history might be, though, it’s exciting to see where the character goes in future. Now resurrected and able to escape his untimely assassination, Grand Admiral Thrawn is free to appear time and again throughout the Star Wars stories that will be told in coming years. While not all elements of his backstory have made it into modern canon, the future is looking bright for this red-eyed Imperial, and his continued opportunities to make life difficult for the Rebel Alliance and the New Republic.

Star Wars’ THRAWN coming to Marvel Comics

Source: ScreenRant

He’s the villain too good for Star Wars to scrap – and now, THRAWN is coming to Marvel Comics. The announcement came from Lucasfilm directly at San Diego Comic-Con, revealing the cover of the first issue of the series boasting one more menacing look at the blue-skinned, red-eyed Grand Admiral of the Empire. But for the diehard fans who already read through Timothy Zahn’s novel Thrawn, it’s mainly the artistic reinterpretation you have to look forward to… and not a brand new story starring the fearsome villain.

After being born from nothingness by Zahn in his infamous and aptly-titled “Thrawn Trilogy” of Star Wars novels, Lucasfilm’s decision to render the entire Star Wars Extended Universe non-canon hurt Thrawn fans most of all. But modern audiences and readers weren’t robbed of the great Imperial antagonist, as the story group at Lucasfilm reintroduced Thrawn into the world of Star Wars Rebels – and called Zahn in to craft the new (old) villain’s origin story. An origin story now making the leap from printed page to comic page.

The ongoing Thrawnaissance™ comes as no surprise to the fans in the know, as both Thrawn’s original story, and Zahn’s most recent Thrawn novel earned accolades. Which means writer Jody Houser (Mother Panic) and artist Luke Ross (Darth Maul) will have a high standard to meet when they launch their THRAWN series at Marvel beginning in February 2018.

The first cover image of the series is also what fans have come to expect, since little more than Thrawn’s icy stare is needed to excite existing fans, and attract the attention of casual Star Wars enthusiasts. Even if Houser hadn’t already made a name for herself at Marvel, DC, and beyond, the story of an unknown alien plucked from unknown space rising to the heights of the Emperor’s regime is a strong enough framework on its own. But having already worked in the galaxy far, far away on the Rogue One comic adaptation, she’s an easy choice. And for those already reading Darth Maul‘s pre-Episode I comic, Luke Ross is a perfect fit.

The panel in which the comic was announced also revealed some impressive cover art for the upcoming Mace Windu comic series, and comments from the writers of the previously announced slate of The Last Jedi tie-in novels. We’ll be bringing you some of those comments and images in the coming days.

It still may not be the big screen starring role many feel Thrawn always deserves (it seems the ship has sailed), but Lucasfilm’s commitment to keep Thrawn in the public eye is something. Will you be following along as Thrawn rises from obscurity to authority through cunning, deceit, and devious genius?

THRAWN #1 arrives in February 2018.

The Last Jedi: Kylo Ren’s TIE Silencer officially revealed

Source Text: ScreenRant. Animated Gifs: Tumblr.

Kylo Ren’s ship, dubbed the TIE Silencer, has been officially revealed ahead of its big screen debut in December’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Among the many topics the Episode VIII rumor mill has covered over the past few months are the new vehicles. The First Order’s “gorilla walkers” were perhaps the most noteworthy, but it’s also long been speculated villain Kylo Ren will have a ship of his own to fly around. When reports first came out, it was said Kylo’s personal TIE took inspiration from Darth Vader’s uniquely designed fighter from A New Hope. Leaked images of the ship in toy form (which have since been deleted) seemed to confirm this was the case, offering the latest example of the sequel trilogy updating a concept in the originals.

The Last Jedi has been vulnerable to several leaks recently, with photos of LEGO sets and other tie-in merchandise hinting at plot points and story details Lucasfilm does not want out right now. In an effort to combat this, a highly detailed behind-the-scenes sizzle reel debuted at D23 this past weekend (marking the first official reveal of Luke Skywalker’s feathered friends, the porgs), and now it’s time for Kylo’s ship to get a moment in the spotlight.

On the latest episode of The Star Wars Show (watch above, 1-minute mark), the program pulled back the curtain to showcase the ship, which is called the TIE Silencer. Those interested can see all of its specifications, including the weight and width. A 3D rendering of the vehicle was shown on the program, giving people a close-up look at it.

Since much of Star Wars 8 remains under wraps, it’s difficult to say how the TIE Silencer will factor into the main narrative. The teaser trailer from Celebration hinted at a giant space battle between the First Order and Resistance, so perhaps Kylo Ren takes part in that dogfight. It would make for cool visuals if the former Ben Solo got involved in that action sequence, given his family heritage. As the grandson of Anakin Skywalker and the son of Han Solo, piloting is very much part of his DNA. He’s probably skilled behind the controls and could be a formidable opponent for X-wing pilots. Remember, Darth Vader took out Red and Gold squadrons during the Battle of Yavin almost single-handedly.

With the reveal happening now, a couple of months before Force Friday 2017, Lucasfilm is setting up the TIE Silencer to be a key part of the first product wave that hits stores this fall. We already know it will be available as a LEGO set, and there will probably be other toys. The Silencer has a distinct design, making it ideal for merchandising purposes. Fans will want to get their hands on one of their own, especially if it’s part of a memorable set piece in Episode VIII.

 

The Last Jedi: Behind the Scenes Reel and Character Posters are awesome

Text: ScreenRant. Animated Gifs: Tumblr.

During the live-action film panel at Disney’s D23 expo, Lucasfilm showcased a behind-the-scenes sizzle reel for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While the studio attempts to get the young Han Solo spinoff film back on track with Ron Howard taking over for Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII has been sailing smoothly from the beginning. Fans are excited to see what the Looper director has in store for the galaxy far, far away, especially with the promise that the movie sets new rules for the franchise and is different from its predecessors. Promotion for the film has been characteristically tight-lipped, but fans have seen enough to be teased in tantalizing ways.

With Lucasfilm opting to forgo a Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con this year, D23 marked the last chance for the studio to advertise Star Wars 8 on a large platform this summer before things kick into high gear in the fall. While there is still no second trailer, viewers can get another taste of Johnson’s film via a behind-the-scenes featurette, similar to the ones for The Force Awakens and Rogue One that premiered at similar times in their respective years of release. You can watch the video below.

The main focus of the video is Johnson’s vision for the story and the exciting new directions he took the property in. Daisy Ridley called the narrative “unexpected, but right,” and John Boyega mentioned that the sequel shifts things in an “opposite direction” from what the audience may have thought following the events of Episode VII. Newcomer Kelly Marie Tran was also complimentary of Johnson’s handling of the material, stating that the characters are “complex,” which is ultimately makes the film as special as it is. From the beginning, word was The Last Jedi was going to be a different kind of beast when compared the the previous episodes, and it seems like there’s some truth to that. Boyega claimed Johnson made Star Wars “fresh and new,” which is just what the fans want to hear after The Force Awakens drew a little too much inspiration from A New Hope.

Viewers also got a look at some of the new creatures that will make their big screen debut in Episode VIII. Chief among them are the porgs, which are indigenous to Ahch-To. The bird-like animals have been previously seen in fan sketches and a leaked image of a pinball tabletop game. Impressively enough, the ones in the video are practical effects – most likely animatronics. There is also something that resembles a white wolf, and another alien in a stable of some kind. It’s possible the latter of those is a prized racing animal found on Canto Bight, rumored to be part of an action sequence. The video also shows off some of the locations – including Ahch-To, the high-rolling casino city Canto Bight, and Crait (where Rey and Finn look to have a reunion).

There’s plenty to unpack in these three minutes – arguably more than another trailer. Fans will be analyzing every frame for possible clues about the secretive story. The footage seems to confirm some bits of speculation that have made their way online (see: Finn and Rose dressed as First Order officers undercover) and sets the stage for one of the most emotional Star Wars films yet. As the late, great Carrie Fisher says at the end, “It’s about family. And that’s what’s so powerful about it.” If the D23 reel is any indication, audiences will be in for one special treat this holiday season.

The Last Jedi Character Posters revealed

Source: ScreenRant

Following the live-action films panel at D23, the first wave of Star Wars: The Last Jedi character posters have made their way online. The galaxy far, far away had a key presence at this year’s expo, as Lucasfilm unveiled a new behind-the-scenes sizzle reel that teased more of Episode VIII, giving fans a great look at some of the new creatures and locations. It was fittingly epic and emotional, setting the stage for a sequel that creates new rules for the franchise and pushes the story in exciting new ways. Everyone from Mark Hamill to newcomer Kelly Marie Tran is impressed by what writer/director Rian Johnson did with the material, and fans only have to wait five more months until they get to see the full picture for themselves.

As it turns out, some new footage and details weren’t the only thing Lucasfilm had in store. Looking to ramp up advertising efforts, they’ve begun a rollout of character posters covering the main members of the cast – including Finn, Rey, and General Leia Organa.

 Taking to social media, the official Star Wars Twitter account, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley shared the one-sheets, which are all simple, yet elegant, in their design.

Each one follows the same format, cutting off the top half of the subject’s face and depicting them in an all-red outfit. The ominous aesthetic is probably connected to Episode VIII‘s tone, which is said to be darker than The Force Awakens. Oscar Isaac has mentioned in the past how all the characters are tested throughout Last Jedi, so everyone from a young scavenger to a hardened Resistance leader will be dealing with their personal demons as they take the next steps of their respective journeys. Back at Celebration Orlando in the spring, Boyega mentioned Finn has to decide what side he’s on, suggesting there are some difficult choices that await him in this chapter. In the Luke Skywalker poster Mark Hamill revealed, the exiled Jedi is clutching a lightsaber, hinting at his possible arc to pick up the sword and rejoin the fight.

The arrival of character posters might have some fans wondering if a new theatrical trailer is on the way (one was said to be classified a few weeks back), but it seems as if moviegoers will have to wait a little longer for that. The one-sheets are a reminder that The Last Jedi is coming soon, generating even more hype for what is arguably the most anticipated film of the year.

Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill honored as Disney Legends at D23


Source: ScreenRant

Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill have been honored as Disney Legends in a special ceremony at the D23 Expo. It’s been an emotional year for Star Wars fans, following the sudden loss of Fisher when passed away at age 60 on December 27, 2016. Fortunately, Fisher had completed filming her scenes as General Leia in the upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi before her passing, and in the past few months months, Lucasfilm and Disney have slowly been revealing images and footage of the late screen icon in her final performance; along with tributes from several Star Wars luminaries  including Mark Hamill – at gatherings like Star Wars Celebration in Orlando, Florida, in April.

The celebration of Fisher continued at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, where the actress was posthumously named a Disney Legend in a ceremony where Hamill was named a Disney Legend as well. The introduction to the ceremony honoring Fisher, much like her tribute at D23, included a video featuring Fisher’s film acting work, as well as her accomplishments as a screenwriter and her life with her late showbiz mom Debbie Reynolds.

Following the presentation, Disney CEO Robert Iger delivered a tribute, saying, “Carrie has been an iconic part of the Star Wars franchise as you saw from the very beginning, and she will always hold a very special place in our hearts, and the hearts of fans around the world. We all miss her talent, her wit, and her friendship.” Talking about her role in her final film, The Last Jedi, Iger says, “As always, she brought her trademark strength, heart and humor to the role, which is truly, truly a legendary performance.”