Category: Star Wars

Star Wars 40th Anniversary: There will never be another Star Wars

Source: Text ScreenRant. All Images StarWars.Com

It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armoured space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy…

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It’s the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars. Exactly 40 years ago as you read this, people were queuing around Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the other cinemas that Fox had been able to push the weird throwback space fantasy from that American Grafitti guy into, desperate to get a glimpse of Luke Skywalker’s hero’s journey. To put this in context, that’s the same period of time Anakin Skywalker went from plucky slave racer to galactic dictator before being redeemed out of love from his son.

That’s no doubt a crazy thought for those who worked on the film, from director George Lucas down to the Elstree set hands, and frankly unfathomable to those who’ve grown up with the Force as permanent a fixture as the film medium itself. After all, those queues weren’t a fleeting fancy; in the months that followed the landmark release, George Lucas’ B-movie would become the biggest film ever made, over the years evolving into the biggest entertainment franchise in the western world, “ending” two times already and yet coming back even bigger to enthral a new generation.

On Wednesday, May 25, 1977, Star Wars began its theatrical run on thirty-two U.S. screens, including the legendary Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California. The rest, as they say, is history.

Most people reading this won’t remember what it was like at the start. In fact, the majority won’t have even been alive when that happened. Many won’t have even seen the film we’re talking about – for the twentieth anniversary, George Lucas redid the trilogy with added scenes and the most economical CGI 1997 had to offer and began to suppress the previous versions. That’s right, we’ve now had the rightly reviled Special Editions longer than the untampered versions.

Of course, you don’t have to have been there at the start to appreciate Star Wars. That’s why it endures. Millennials grew up with the prequels, yet many were truly welcomed into that galaxy far, far away through the original adventures, and an entire subculture of YouTube wouldn’t exist if the next generation weren’t shocked by the “I am your father” reveal as toddlers; viewed in original 35mm, on VHS taped off the TV or a spanking new Blu-Ray, the original film is still powerful (and no version of CGI Jabba will change that). But Star Wars is more than the movies and the ephemera. It was a game-changing phenomenon, something that those not there in 1977 will never experience anything like. There will never be another Star Wars.

Of course, The Last Jedi will be a bona fide event and other movies can and will reach similar financial heights, but Star Wars really is “Year Zero”. As a culture we love to mark out dates as “The Beginning”; our entire date system is built around the start of a new religion, while modern western society is defined either from the end of World War II in 1945 or of the Cold War in 1990. In cinema, there’s a litany of turning points; the advent of sound, the introduction of color, the rise of computer-generated effects and animation. But if you want to cite a Year Zero for cinema, a moment where everything before becomes ancient history and everything following is contemporary, you can’t get much better than 25th May 1977.

That’s not intending to downplay every other film before or since and it’s recognized that to single out one movie as “most important” is internet hyperbole personified, but in terms of irreplaceable cultural and societal impact Star Wars is a once-in-a-century event. There’s been imitators, inspirations and massive, industry-altering successes besides, yet none have been as seismic or all-in-one.

The majesty of the original Star Wars (we’ll have no A New Hope here) is well-documented – from the wonderful, recognizable characters to symphonic score it rightly deserves to be regarded as of the greatest movies ever made – so we won’t spend excessive time on that here. Instead, we want to focus on what releasing such a great movie of such broad appeal meant. There’s so much within Star Wars that people love to discuss – how astounding the special effects were, the way it made merchandising essential and how it only got better with the sequel – but any artistic influence on film language is only half the story.

The Journal of the Whills explained

Source: ScreenRant

For Star Wars fans, this past weekend’s Celebration in Orlando, FL was a treasure trove of insider information, a glimpse of the future, and a heavy dose of nostalgia. While it might still take some time to unpack all of the great moments, the highlight was easily the debut of the first teaser for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With a little more than half a year before the film hits theaters, anticipation was high for a proper look at the movie. So far, the project has been veiled in more secrecy than even The Force Awakens was two years prior. Now, the marketing push will kick off in earnest, giving us new insight into the upcoming film.

While we wait, fans have been eagerly dissecting the short teaser for any clues as to the future of the franchise. One particular moment that has the Internet buzzing is a shot of the Jedi Order’s logo on an old book. Appearing to be in Luke’s possession, fans are already declaring it to be the fabled Journal of the Whills. While its identity is still unknown, there’s plenty of evidence that the Whills, once relegated to the Expanded Universe, will make a proper debut in the new Star Wars canon after being teased for years. But just what is the Journal of the Whills, and what does it mean for the future of Star Wars?

THE JOURNAL OF THE WHILLS

Despite being one of the oldest bits of Star Wars lore, there’s not much definitive information on the Whills. Back when George Lucas was crafting the script for the first film in his trilogy, he imagined them as stories recorded by an ancient race of immortals. Known as the Whills, they would pass the knowledge they gained on to chroniclers who would put them into journals. In the story, Lucas imagined R2-D2 would be one of these Keepers. He also at one time imagined that he’d be one himself, and in this way could connect the story of Star Wars to our own reality.

“Originally, I was trying to have the story be told by somebody else; there was somebody watching this whole story and recording it, somebody probably wiser than the mortal players in the actual events. I eventually dropped this idea, and the concept behind the Whills turned into the Force. But the Whills became part of this massive amount of notes, quotes, background information that I used for the scripts; the stories were actually taken from the ‘Journal of the Whills’.”

In the end, Lucas phased out mention of the Whills and turned the idea into the Force. One vestige remained, however, in the form of the opening crawl. These recaps of events were meant as versions of entries into the Journal, and were being told to the audience by the Whills. This is further hinted at in the usage of the phrase “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” setting up the possibility of the events of Star Wars happening somewhere in our own universe.

THE WHILLS IN THE NEW CANON

Over the years, ideas of the Whills were peppered throughout the Expanded Universe, and hints were given in behind-the-scenes materials for the prequels. The concept almost appeared in the Clone Wars animated series, but was later abandoned. Then, with the novelization of The Force Awakens, the Journal of the Whills was finally mentioned in the new canon during an opening quote.

“First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.”
― Journal of the Whills, 7:477

 By including the passage, the Whills were finally made canon and their religious themes were brought to the forefront. Last year, Rogue One made the Whills an even more explicit part of Star Wars by introducing Chirrut Îmwe as a Guardian of the Whills. When we meet the blind warrior, he and his companion Baze are said to be former acolytes from the Temple of the Whills in Jedha City. Thanks to tidbits of knowledge from the movie, its novelization, and a new book centering around Chirrut and Baze, we have a better idea of the who the Whills are.

While the Guardians weren’t Jedi, they worshipped the order and their power. Many, in fact, were Force-sensitive themselves, and had an affinity for the Kyber crystals that came to the planet long ago. Eventually, those crystals would power both lightsabers and the Death Star. As a Guardians of the Whills, Chirrut’s role is still somewhat unknown. It’s likely, however, that his purpose is to preserve knowledge about the universe and the role of the Force in all things. In doing so, the early ideas that Lucas had for the Whills are kept alive and integrated into the Force-focused world that became Star Wars.

Considering how much the Whills have been referenced in Star Wars lore in the past few years, it makes sense that they’d eventually get a larger role in the movies. While there’s no way to confirm the book seen in the teaser is the Journal, it makes sense. And even if it isn’t the exact book, it could be something similar. Another shot in the trailer also highlights the old books Luke has, with the one Rey touches being specifically highlighted. Even if it isn’t the Journal, it’s clear it’s an ancient book having to do with the Jedi. It’s also important enough to factor into at least one scene in the movie and two shots in the first teaser for the film.

Considering Luke’s journey over the past few decades, and ominous declaration at the end of the teaser, he’s clearly been doing lots of research on the Force and the Jedi. As such, the book could be the Journal of the Whills, or simply his collection of knowledge on the Force. Either way, it adds up to much the same thing and will likely be packed full of knowledge that’s long been relegated to Expanded Universe material.

New Star Wars Novel to explore Chirrut & Baze’s backstory

Source: ScreenRant

The Force has been strong these past few years. The animated series Star Wars Rebels and The Force Awakens have both been huge hits for Lucasfilm and Disney, and a never-ending stream of comics and novels have helped to flesh out the all new canon of the Star Wars universe. Meanwhile, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has proven that a standalone film set in the galaxy far, far away can be every bit as successful as the movies focused on the Skywalker family. Rogue One has already made half a billion domestically and joined the $1 billion club globally thanks to massive approval from fans and critics alike.

Meanwhile, connections between the movies and other media continue as Rebels makes more and more connections to Rogue One. Saw Gerrera has already popped up on the series (voice by Forrest Whitaker) and there’s a good chance some of the other characters from the film could follow suit. It looks as if Lucasfilm has no plans on slowing down either. The upcoming book titled Star Wars: Guardians of the Whills will focus on Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus. The book is written by bestselling author and comic book scribe Greg Rucka, known for his work on Black Widow, Elektra, and Daredevil.

“Baze and Chirrut used to be Guardians of the Whills, who looked after the Kyber Temple on Jedha and all those who worshipped there. Then the Empire came and took over the planet. The temple was destroyed and the people scattered. Now Baze and Chirrut do what they can to resist the Empire and protect the people of Jedha, but it never seems to be enough. When a man named Saw Gerrera arrives with grand plans to take down the Empire, it seems like the perfect way for Baze and Chirrut to make a real difference and help the people of Jedha. But will it come at too great a cost?”

Though the book is aimed at young adults, it will still likely appeal to many Star Wars and Rogue One fans. The Whills is one of the deepest aspects of Star Wars lore and Rogue One marked its first mention on screen. Not only does it connect Chirrut and Baze to the Jedi and Force, but also to A New Hope and the other films as the opening crawls are all based on journals from the Whills.

Though this part of the canon has been fleshed out plenty in older tie-in media, it’ll be interesting to see how it fits into the new mythology. As the Guardians of the Whills are essentially a religion built around the Jedi, diving into Chirrut and Baze’s past will likely shine a lot of light on the lore connected to the Force, the Kyber crystals that power the Death Star and lightsabers, and what the temple on Jedha was once like. The book will also be intriguing as it will fill in the story of two of Rogue One‘s most mysterious characters and how they connect to Saw. Hopefully, we’ll see the Ghost crew interact with Chirrut and Baze on a future episode of Rebels, but the upcoming book looks like it will be both fun and informative.

2017 Star Wars release schedule

Source: StarWarsNewsNet

This is a big time to be a Star Wars fan! So, if you’re sulking about the fact Star Wars Celebration is over, fear not, for we still have much to look forward to in 2017! Here’s a breakdown of what’s in store for the rest of the year…

TV:

  • Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny (July)
  • Star Wars Rebels, Season 4 – Final Season (September/October)

Novels (JR = Junior Reader Novels/YR = Young Reader Novels ):

  • Rebel Rising (May 2)
  • Trouble On Tatooine (May 2) – YR
  • Han And The Rebel Rescue (May 2) – YR
  • Guardians Of The Whills (May 2) – JR
  • Adventures In Wild Space: The Rescue (May 4) – JR
  • Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad (July 25)
  • BB-8 On The Run (September 1) – YR
  • A Leader Named Leia (Septemeber 1) – YR
  • The Legends Of Luke Skywalker (September 1) – JR
  • Leia: Princess Of Alderaan (September 1) – JR
  • Phasma (September 1)
  • The Prequel Trilogy Stories (September 26) – YR
  • Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View (October) – Short Stories
  • Join The Resistance: Escape From Vodran (November 7) – JR

Comics:

  • Poe Dameron, Issue 13 (April 19)
  • Darth Maul, Issue 3 (April 26)
  • Rogue One, Issue 2 (May 3)
  • Poe Dameron, Issue 14 (May 3)
  • Lost Stars, Issue 1 (May 4) – Webcomic
  • The Screaming Citadel, Issue 1 (May 10)
  • Off The Rails (May 10)
  • Star Wars, Issue 31 (May 17)
  • Poe Dameron, Issue 15 (May 17)
  • Doctor Aphra, Issue 7 (May 31)
  • Darth Vader: Dark Lord Of The Sith, Issue 1 (June 7)
  • Rogue One, Issue 3 (June 7)
  • Star Wars, Issue 32 (June 14)
  • Darth Vader: Dark Lord Of The Sith, Issue 2 (June 21)
  • Darth Maul, Issue 4 (June 21)
  • Doctor Aphra, Issue 8 (June 28)
  • Poe Dameron, Issue 16 (June 28)
  • Darth Maul, Issue 5 (July 19)
  • Captain Phasma, Issue 1 (September)
  • Star Wars Adventures, Issue 1 (October 17)

Video Games:

  • Star Wars Battlefront II (November 17)

Oh and…

Films:

  • Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (December 15)

As you can see, there’s nothing for us Star Wars fans to complain about… we have more than ever to look forward to. Possibly too much?… Never!

Updated: Special Star Wars Rebels: Everything we know about Season 4


“It was a simple story about a boy who was lost and a girl who was broken. They fought alongside a survivor, a war veteran and a fallen knight. I led them into battle against an evil so terrible it tried to black out the stars. We fought for each other, we fought for those who could not. But we never imagined it would end like this.” – Hera Syndulla

An official trailer for Star Wars Rebels Season 4 was released at the Star Wars Celebration and it handed the limelight over to the more animated side of a galaxy far, far away with the panel for Star Wars Rebels. Watch it now:

Hera’s voiceover in the trailer for Star Wars Rebels Season 4 takes on even more poignancy following the announcement that the upcoming fourth season will be the last for the beloved animated series.

Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer – The end begins

Source: ScreenRant

Season 3 of the animated series only wrapped up a few weeks ago, but Lucasfilm Animation is already hard at work on the show’s fourth and – as we sadly also learned during today’s panel – final season. Not wanting to end their celebratory panel on such a sad note, Dave Filoni also shared the first trailer for Rebels Season 4.

The announcement that Season 4 of Rebels will be its last isn’t entirely surprising. From the outset, the show has been working on a restricted timeline and, as the the events of Rogue One (which actually featured some Rebels easter eggs) and A New Hope get ever closer, the adventures of the Ghost crew need to wrap up. This new look is keenly aware of that, making each characters’ respective endpoints the focus.

In the trailer, Sabine is shown rallying more Mandalorian troops with Ezra at her side; he even has his own Mandalorian armor. She seems to have also chosen who it is that should wield the Darksaber – Bo Katan, the late Duchess Satine’s sister and former Death Watch lieutenant.

We also see a dear moment between Hera and Kanan, followed with scenes of Hera continuing to rise in the ranks of the Rebellion and Kanan committing himself and Ezra to make a last stand to protect Lothal. Saw Gerrera makes another appearance, as does Mon Mothma, who narrates a section of the trailer. There’s also a brief glimpse of Thrawn’s personal bodyguard Rukh, the old canon character voiced by Warwick Davis. There’s even a quick glimpse at Kallus, now looking very much like a Rebel.

Ahsoka lives in Star Wars Rebels Season 4

Source: ScreenRant

Fans of Ahsoka Tano have been left wondering what her fate is after her clash with her former master, Anakin Skywalker aka Darth Vader, and it has now been confirmed she is alive and well in Star Wars Rebels Season 4. Ahsoka has been a fan-favorite character since the early days of her introduction in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and has had a remarkable journey from young padawan to a leader within the Rebels.

She is no Jedi anymore but remains a very powerful and capable Force wielder. However, the Season 2 finale for Rebels left her fate as a big question within the Star Wars community after a duel with Darth Vader. Season 3 did nothing to address what happened to her or where she has been, but – following on from recent rumors – her creator Dave Filoni has just subtly confirmed she is back.

After showing the first trailer for season four of Rebels at Star Wars Celebration, Filoni walked back on stage with a small, but significant change to his attire. While he had previously been wearing a T-shirt reading “Ahsoka lives?”, once the lights came back up, it had changed to “Ahsoka lives!” The quick change from a question mark to an exclamation point has finally confirmed that she will be back in some capacity in the fourth and final season of Rebels.

Now that Ahsoka’s return has been confirmed, it will be a major topic of speculation to determine how this will happen. The last time audiences saw her was in the aftermath of her fight with Vader, where she was seen walking away from the destruction of the Sith temple on Malachor. However, it was unclear at that time whether Vader stayed true to his word and killed her or if she managed to find a way to live. That will more than likely be the case if she truly is alive as Filoni’s shirt suggests, but a Force ghost appearance may not be entirely out of the question either.

There’s also the question of how big of a role she will have. The Ghost crew and the Rebels are growing as the show heads into Season 4, so they may not necessarily need Ahsoka in a position of power. Plus, they still have to address where she has been for all this time. If she was in hiding, it must take some major event to draw her back to her friends. That said, as these events get closer to the original trilogy where the Force was almost the stuff of legends, the galaxy and the Rebellion already may have too many Force wielders – specifically Jedi – at the moment. With months of speculation ahead, fans of Ahsoka can now at least rejoice in her return.

What we know about Star Wars Rebels Season 4

Source: ScreenRant

Star Wars Celebration in Orlando has been a massive source of news for Star Wars fans, from major reveals, from the first look at The Last Jedi to more fun news. Obviously, this means Star Wars Rebels also got some attention, including some big news about the show’s fourth season. While it’s hard to match the hype coming off of last year’s panel and the announcement that Thrawn would be coming to the show, there were still a few huge announcements and teases about what we can expect. Here’s everything we learned about Rebels season 4.

HERA SYNDULLA

Going back to her introduction in the novel A New Dawn, Hera was a bit of a loner, conducting her own personal war against the Empire. It isn’t until she comes across Kanan that the crew of her ship, The Ghost, really starts to grow into the family we know and love from the first few seasons of Rebels. Over that time, the Ghost Crew joins up with a Rebel cell, Phoenix Squadron, where Hera becomes a captain and is eventually promoted to Phoenix Leader.

During the Rebels panel at Star Wars Celebration, Vanessa Marshall, the voice of Hera, teased a little of what can be expected from her in season 4, where Hera has been “really impacted by the losses the group experienced in season 3,” making her “more focused and committed than ever to get the job done.” As we know from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Hera eventually becomes a General in the Rebellion, so it’s likely that her leadership and drive to “really get it done” will be more evident than ever.

GARAZEB ORRELIOS

Zeb didn’t get as much attention as many other characters at the start of the show,  playing the role of a sort of cantankerous uncle, but that saw a major change in season 2 with the episode ‘Legends of the Lasat’, where he helps his exiled people find a new home, and ‘The Honorable Ones’, where he finds common ground with the man he thought was his biggest enemy, the Imperial Security Bureau’s Agent Kallus. This shift not only introduced the seeds of a Zeb and Kallus season 4 “bromance” teased during the Rebels panel, but also started a shift in Zeb’s character. While he was still cranky, he became far less aloof and was shown bonding more with crew mates, including Ezra, who he’d previously treated more like an annoying child.

That shift is set to proceed into season 4, where Zeb’s voice actor, Steve Blum says Zeb is becoming “an uncle more than a brother. He’s becoming more of a responsible citizen instead of a tough musclehead.” After seeing him work with Chopper and AP-5 to defend Chopper Base from an Infiltrator Droid in season 3, it’ll definitely be exciting to see him progress more down that path in season 4.

SABINE WREN

Sabine may have seen some of the biggest steps forward as a character in Rebels season 3. Between inheriting the darksaber and coming to face her family and own up to her Mandalorian heritage, a lot has changed from her early days of graffiti and explosions (not that she’s left all that behind).

Going into season 4,  Sabine’s story will open a door into a side of Star Wars we’ve only briefly glimpsed in The Clone Wars: Mandalorians. After the death of Gar Saxon, the Mandalorians are on the verge of civil war, and Sabine is in the middle of it with the darksaber, a symbol of Mandalorian authority.

Sabine voice actor, Tiya Sircar, teased more of Sabine’s arc in season 4, saying that it took until part way through season 3 for Sabine to finally address her trust issues and find her place with her “family” on The Ghost, but now she has to go do the same with her real family, where the stakes are much higher. She also teased “Some familiar faces, some new faces, all Mandalorian”, which sounds like something all fans can look forward to.

CHOPPER (C1-10P)

Chopper is different from the rest of the characters in Rebels in the fact that he doesn’t have an apparent character arc. He seems to be just a grumpy droid that wants to pick fights and cause trouble, but Dave Filoni calls that into question. The Rebels executive producer talked about Chopper’s emotion, saying “he has a bigger heart than you realize because when the chips are really down he likes these guys”, saying that’s something we’ll see more of in season 4 as well.

KANAN JARRUS

Kanan has been a huge mystery since his introduction. Does he die before A New Hope? Why haven’t we heard of him before? We’ve seen him slowly transition from someone that wanted to hide his Jedi past to a thoughtful master, more in tune with the Force than many Jedi we’ve seen before. As Kanan’s voice actor, Freddie Prinze Jr., says “He’s still blind, but he sees more than he has ever seen before.”

Freddie says that ‘Trials of the Darksaber’ is the episode that can be pinpointed as a pivotal moment in Kanan’s arc “because that sort of defined for me a lot of who Kanan was and who he needs to be.” What Kanan has learned from the beginning is the virtue of patience. The Bendu also taught him how he can see, literally and figuratively, the road in front of him if he’s just patient and quiets his mind.

In season 4, Prinze Jr. says “he knows what path these Rebels need to be on” and “the stuff Kanan goes through is very adult” because he has to learn that “the good guys don’t always win.” That’s a lesson Star Wars fans may have already learned from other stories, but in the context of this particular crew of Rebels, it has an obviously ominous tone, and will likely be the cause of a lot of speculation until we know the ultimate fate of these characters.

EZRA BRIDGER

Over the last 3 seasons of Rebels, we’ve seen Ezra Bridger evolve into a young Jedi who’s power could even rival his master’s at this point. Freddie Prinze Jr. talked about Ezra for a moment,  describing the Padawan’s journey to adulthood: “he sort of steps out of that Jedi Padawan relationship and says ‘I’m not talking about the Force, I’m talking about family, I have so much more to learn from you’ so in that regard he’s still a young man, he’ll still deal with issues of anger the way young men deal with them, but he has a good teacher”

Adding to Freddie’s comments, Taylor Gray, the voice of Ezra, said Ezra’s arc puts him on a quest to discover “what kind of Jedi, and transcending that, what kind of person he wants to be”. After seeing him struggle with the dark side in seasons 2 and 3, it’ll definitely be interesting to see how he progresses now that he’s met both Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi and moved beyond Maul.

MON MOTHMA

One of the biggest moments of last season was when Mon Mothma finally showed up, signaling the beginning of the formation of the larger Rebel Alliance. Unfortunately, this change wasn’t everything the Ghost Crew may have expected when Mon denied Phoenix Squadron any support during Thrawn’s attack of Chopper Base on Atollon. While it may have been the most strategically sound decision – preventing Thrawn from tracking them to other Rebel bases – it was definitely a tough call.

Mon Mothma, who will be voiced once again by Genevieve O’Reilly (who also played the character in Rogue One and in a deleted scene for Revenge of the Sith) is going to continue that trend to show just what she’s capable of as the head of the Rebel Alliance. As Dave Filoni says: “you might see Mon Mothma get a little firy for once. She’s a leader for a reason.”

SAW GERRERA

It was a huge treat for Star Wars fans to not only see Saw Gerrera make the jump from The Clone Wars to Rogue One but then also to Star Wars Rebels,  where he was also voiced by Forrest Whitaker. Last season we saw the more extremist side of Saw, who wasn’t concerned with any collateral damage or innocent death so long as it helped bring down the Empire, and, while he was ultimately talked down by the Ghost crew, we know he’s not done with his extreme measures, due to his appearance in Rogue One, so we can expect his season 2 inclusion to send him farther down that path that eventually leads to the Rebel Alliance choosing to alienate itself from his efforts.

SEASON 4 WILL “BRIDGE THE GAP” TO ROGUE ONE

One of the main criticisms against the Star Wars prequels was the divergence from the well-worn aesthetic of the original trilogy. In the prequels, everything seemed new and shiny, but the original trilogy had this worn down, lived in, second-hand feel. Thanks to the work being done outside the movies, particularly in animation, that gap is closing as story details have established a changing galaxy and the different levels of technology across different civilizations and cultures.

Dave Filoni promised that season 4 would continue to “bridge the gap,” leading up to Rogue One, and likewise, A New Hope. One of the biggest ways this will happen is by the Rebels finally going to Yavin 4, where the old Massassi temples are obviously far more fitting of that classic aesthetic than the shield protected landing pads on Atollon. Obviously, this will also serve to connect the story to Rogue One, where we see the Ghost sitting outside Rebel base on Yavin 4.

Between the Ghost, Chopper, and “General Syndulla”, there were already a number of other Rebels Easter eggs in Rogue One, but season 4 is set to make even more connections, with U-Wings, Saw’s soldier, Edrio Two Tubes, and more Saw and Mon Mothma. It sounds like fans will want to watch Rogue One all over again just to see if they can find even more newly revealed Rebels easter eggs when it’s all said and done.

RUKH

Last year’s announcement that Thrawn would be joining Rebels season 3 drew a huge reaction from fans at Celebration – and nearly broke the internet for those that weren’t – and the character really paid off, playing out in animation as if he had stepped directly off the pages of Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. While Thrawn was initially the only character to be lifted from non-canonical Star Wars Legends content, that’s about to change with the introduction of Thrawn’s Noghri bodyguard, Rukh, played by none other than the Star Wars great, Warwick Davis.

This name has huge implications for a number of reasons, the most primary of which is the fact that in the books, Rukh is the one that actually assassinates Thrawn in the end in the Legends material. Obviously, that doesn’t have to play out the same way here, but that detail will definitely loom over all of season 4 as a potential conclusion to Thrawn’s story.

AHSOKA

Fans were thrilled when it was revealed that Ahsoka Tano had survived the Clone Wars and would be appearing regularly in the second season of Star Wars Rebels. It was a sweet reunion until she inevitably had to confront Darth Vader, resulting in a somewhat cryptic resolution prompting the hashtag #AhsokaLives.

Dave Filoni has a history of playing coy on panels and interviews, so it should hardly be a surprise when he showed up wearing a black shirt bearing the words “Ahsoka Lives?” In a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it trick, when the lights came up after the screening of the season 4 trailer, the text on the shirt had been changed to “Ahsoka Lives!” (notice the punctuation change), prompting rampant speculation about her likely return in season 4.

REBELS IS ENDING WITH SEASON 4

Despite 3 amazing seasons, season 4 will be that end of Rebels. It makes sense, though – the show was always meant to fill in a narrow gap in the Star Wars timeline. Now that they’re running out of road, the stories of these characters will all be wrapped up as Lucasfilm Animation moves on to an as yet unnamed project.

In his announcement that Rebels would end with season 4, Dave Filoni pointed out that he much prefers to end a show on his terms, unlike The Clone Wars, which was canceled in mid-production at the height of its quality, leaving many great stories untold. By bringing Rebels to its ultimate conclusion at this point, we can have confidence that the show will exist as a complete story, looking forward to whatever Lucasfilm Animation is planning next.

Updated: Star Wars Rebels Season 4 won’t include battles of Jedha & Scarif

Source: ScreenRant

Viewers won’t see recreations of Jedha and Scarif when Star Wars Rebels returns for its fourth and final season this fall. There was a lot of news about the show at Star Wars Celebration Orlando this past weekend. We learned of new characters showing up on the series and old favorites popping up again, including Ahsoka Tano – who was last seen battling Darth Vader in the season two finale. Series creator Dave Filoni also announced that the fourth season will be the final one.

Since the series began there’s been some question as to how long the series would go on for with most fans suspecting that the series would wrap up by the time Star Wars: A New Hope takes place. The Ghost made a cameo appearance during Rogue One which has opened the door for the series finale to take place at the same time as that film.

In an interview with /Film, however, Dave Filoni has stated that its not in the cards. Here’s what he told the outlet: “I don’t think that would be right. It would be to hinge this series end on a battle we’ve already seen the outcome of in a feature film. It would be a little bit repetitious, anticlimactic. I think as an initial impulse it sounds great. But the more you think about it, you go hmmmm I don’t know, it would kind of taper your expectations and the tension would be cut quite a bit. I like our ending. And I love that battle. I think it would be neat to see that battle one day from the Ghost’s perspective because we know the Ghost is there, but we don’t know who is in the Ghost. So that’s kind of a good question that needs to be answered.”

Its safe to assume then that the series finale for Star Wars Rebels will take place just short of the battle of Scarif. While we won’t be seeing that tropical world on the animated series, Filoni was asked if it was possible that Jedha would show up: “Anything’s possible in Star Wars storytelling, I’ve learned that lesson. Ever since we brought Darth Maul back, I learned that lesson. I think we have a certain specific task ahead of us and with respect to that film, we wanted things like Jedha to be very special for that movie when it came out. It’s a wonderful sandbox they’ve created over there but you know, it’s not something I could really play with in this series at this point. We have our own Jedi mysteries that we’ve been wrapping our head around on this show.”

That doesn’t preclude Jedha showing up at all. We know that Forest Whitaker will be reprising his role as Saw Gerrera once more for the animated series and seeing as he ends up on that world, we can expect at least a mention if not a brief cameo of Jedha.

At least two characters from Star Wars Rebels are alive during the events of Rogue One: Hera Syndulla and Chopper, with the former mentioned on a loud speaker and the latter glimpsed on screen. Even if the television series doesn’t cover the Ghost taking part of the battle of Scarif you can bet that a book will reveal those events from the perspectives of whichever Star Wars Rebels characters survive by the end of the series.

Updated: How should Star Wars Rebels end?

Source: ScreenRant

At Star Wars Celebration 2017, creator/producer Dave Filoni made the surprise announcement that Season 4 of Star Wars Rebels will be the show’s final season. As sad as it is to see it go away, there’s an extraordinary satisfaction in knowing that this story has a definitive ending, and fans are going to get to see it.

There’s an awful lot of story left to wrap up in just one season, but most important to fans is how the story of the Ghost crew will end. It’s long been assumed by many fans that Kanan and Ezra can’t possibly survive because Luke Skywalker is referred to as “the last of the Jedi” by Yoda – who knew of Kanan and Ezra – in Return of the Jedi. But Dave Filoni has proven many times how much he loves to throw a good curveball, and how effective the payoff of that curveball can be.

So how should Star Wars Rebels end?

The show has always been anchored to the planet Lothal, and ultimately, that’s where its ending would be most appropriate. Lothal is under Imperial control these days, so a big battle for Lothal’s freedom is definitely in the cards. Scenes glimpsed in the Season 4 trailer confirmed this, with imagery of Grand Admiral Thrawn, his new lackey Rukh (voiced by Warwick Davis), and loads of explosions happening on Lothal.

But there’s much more to the show than that one planet. We know for sure that the Rebellion will be based on Yavin in Season 4, which brings things closer than ever to the time of Rogue One and A New Hope. A quick look in the trailer at the white hair of Saw Gerrera and Kallus’ longer hair indicate that there will be a time-jump at some point, either before Season 4 begins, or somewhere within the season itself. With the third season set only two years before the battles of Scarif and Yavin, this means the final season will occur much closer to the original trilogy’s starting point.

Filoni has suggested in the past that he has a plan for the Battle of Scarif — and the Ghost was visible both on Yavin and in the big space battle in Rogue One — as seen from the Ghost crew’s point of view, so it seems likely that will happen at some point, but according to Filoni, it won’t be in season 4. Additional animated projects, comics, or books may very well one day tackle that story from the perspective of the characters we know and love from Rebels, but it’s a story that won’t be told as a part of Rebels‘ 4 season arc.

Elsewhere, things have been left very unresolved where Mandalore is concerned, and the trailer confirmed that this war-torn world will be a big part of Season 4. Sabine and her allies have been on the hunt for a leader worthy of wielding the Darksaber and uniting Mandalore against the Empire; the trailer showed the long-awaited arrival of The Clone Wars‘ Bo-Katan Kryze (voiced by Katee Sackhoff) with the Darksaber in hand, so it’s pretty clear where that storyline is headed. A good guess is that Sabine might install Bo-Katan as leader just in time for Mandalore to show up as reinforcements in the final battle for Lothal.

Another dangling plot thread fans are positively dying to see wrapped up is the fate of Ahsoka Tano. Did she bite the big one on Malachor, or did she somehow survive? Since Dave Filoni has promised to reveal what happened to her at some point (and has already teased the answer to some extent), there are two possibilities for when and how that will happen.

The first and most obvious is to have Ahsoka’s fate revealed before the end of Rebels. Whether that means she shows up at a key moment, alive and well, or Kanan and Ezra find evidence of her demise, it has to be a definitive answer for fans to buy it.

The second option is found in something Filoni stated at the Season 4 Rebels panel at Star Wars Celebration: “The end of Rebels in no way represents the end of what we’re doing at Lucasfilm Animation.” It’s been rumored that a third animated series is already underway at Lucasfilm, and some reports have that mysterious new show set in the 30-year gap between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. When Filoni promised to reveal Ahsoka’s fate, might he have been sneakily referring to events from this new animated series? Only time will tell, but until then, Filoni may be the only person in the entire world that actually knows the answer.

So that leaves us with how and where our favorite characters will end in Rebels‘ story. Aside from the main five, there are side characters that the Rebellion has picked up along the way like Rex, Kallus, Fenn Rau, Ketsu Onyo, Ryder Azadi, and more. It’s all but confirmed at this point that Rex will survive to become one of the soldiers on Endor in Return of the Jedi. As for the rest, it’s anybody’s guess. And what about Thrawn? Now that he’s been canonized, it’s hard to imagine that Lucasfilm would ditch him so quickly, so he could live to tell another story – or even make the jump to live-action!

For the shippers out there, there’s still hope that the unspoken feelings between Kanan and Hera will finally come to fruition. A tender moment in the trailer suggests as much. There was a possibility for romance between Ezra and Sabine at the show’s beginning, but considering the sibling-like relationship they’ve formed over the years, that feels wrong now. And don’t worry, the Kallus/Zeb “bromance” is already confirmed for season 4.

As for who lives and who dies, Star Wars has never killed off characters lightly, so don’t assume that death is the only logical end for Rebels‘ cast. Don’t forget that most fans assumed Ahsoka would die at the end of The Clone Wars to explain her absence from the films, but Filoni and his crew came up with a more creative solution that allowed her to survive in a way that made sense.

Then again, Rebels is a very different show than Clone Wars, so death could be in the offing for our heroes. But the smart move is to assume nothing. From a purely cynical point of view, killing off major characters is bad for business. It limits the opportunities for how those characters might be utilized in future productions. Filoni seems to have full creative freedom to do what he wants on Rebels, but it’s hard to believe he wouldn’t want at least some of these characters to show up in his next animated series.

Will Rebels end at the battle for Lothal, or some other major defeat? While that might work out for the larger context of Star WarsRebels is ultimately a kids show on Disney XD, so something that dark might not be in the cards. But what if the characters live and the Ghost goes on to participate on the sidelines of other major events? Seeing their role diminished that way would be less than satisfying, so probably not. Regardless, knowing that there is a plan and it’s in very capable hands is a reassuring thought.

Star Wars Rebels returns to Disney XD in the fall.

All animated gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6 from the Star Wars Rebels Season 4 Trailer.

Star Wars Comic will explain how Captain Phasma survived The Force Awakens

Did you really think a trash compactor could stop Captain Phasma?

Source: StarWars.Com & ScreenRant

A new comic set at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will reveal how Captain Phasma escaped the destruction of Starkiller Base. Now that Star Wars has returned to theaters, filmmakers are doing their best to honor the original films while still drawing in a new audience. One of the ways they do that is to include a number of easter eggs and references to the previous films and animated series. A familiar droid or vehicle from the past popping up in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or a character hitherto only seen or heard of in the animated series The Clone Wars.

But one of the easiest to spot references is Finn’s revenge on Captain Phasma at the end of The Force Awakens; after making her drop the shields around the Starkiller Base, he, Han, and Chewbacca forced the Captain into a trash compactor – mirroring the escape Han, Luke, and Leia made when they were trying to escape the Death Star. That was the last time Phasma was seen, and not long after that moment the base was destroyed. Despite that, Captain Phasma’s return has been promised in Episode VIII, meaning that somehow she not only got out of the trash compactor alive but escaped the planet.

A brief sight of Captain Phasma in The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer.

According to StarWars.com, the question of how Captain Phasma survived will not be explained in The Last Jedi, but her story will be told in a 4-issue comic book. The series – created by writer Kelly Thompson and artist Marco Checchetto – will release this September, with the first issue’s cover using art created by Paul Renaud. Check it out below.

Captain Phasma is certainly not the only time a comic has been used to bridge the gaps between Star Wars films. One recent example was Shattered Empire – a prequel to The Force Awakens that filled in some of the blanks between Return of the Jedi and the new movies. There was also a single issue story about C-3PO that explained how he got his red arm. But this time the story isn’t bridging two movies but rather showing an event concurrent to Episode VII: it explains what happened while Han was confronting his son.

Artist Checchetto discussed why he was interesting the project, saying “We have not seen much of Phasma, and I’m very excited to explore more of this character.” He’s not wrong; the first female villain in a Star Wars film got a lot of attention before the film was released, yet barely had more than two minutes of screen time and a grand total of 11 lines. She’s set to have a bigger role in The Last Jedi, but hopefully this comic can also show why she’s worthy of the hype.

StarWars.com caught up with the series’ creators to get their thoughts on continuing and expanding Phasma’s story. 

Kelly Thompson: “It’s exciting enough when someone lets you contribute to the Star Wars universe in any real way, but when they let you create the first ever Phasma story for comics? Well, that’s about as good as it gets! Like most, I’m a huge fan of both Gwendoline Christie and Phasma. Christie is magnetic and Phasma has so much fascinating untapped potential…potential which I can’t wait to help unlock for fans in our comic.”

“I’ve been a fan of Marco Checchetto’s work for a long time. We actually almost got to work on something together once before and it didn’t work out, so I’m really excited that everything came together this time. And his work on Star Wars: Shattered Empire was some truly exceptional comics, and I’m so excited about what he’s bringing to Phasma.”

Marco Checchetto: “With this series, I’ve had the opportunity to work on each era of Star Wars. Obi-Wan and Anakin in the prequel era, Shattered Empire and The Screaming Citadel in the classic trilogy, and now in the new era of Star Wars. I’m thrilled to be working on new characters. I’m a huge fan of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and obviously can’t wait to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We have not seen much of Phasma, and I’m very excited to explore more of this character. Kelly is a great writer. I can’t wait to read her script and start work on the series!”

The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer breakdown

Source text: ScreenRant. All animated gifs: Tumblr (additional gifs made by me with Adobe Photoshop CS6).

There has been another awakening: the first teaser for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has arrived. Unveiled by director Rian Johnson at the end of the Celebration panel for Episode VIII, the first proper look at 2017’s Star Wars release has stopped the internet in its tracks and has just about everyone – from padawan to Master – theorizing about what we can expect on December 15th.

The trailer is focused heavily on the Force-side of the movie, spending its first half showing Luke and Rey’s spiritual interaction, before giving a little taste of what to expect from the First Order/Resistance conflict. Like The Force Awakens‘ excellent teasers before it, it’s refreshingly light on major plot details and instead teases tone and character, although diving a little deeper reveals some major secrets about Episode VIII. Let’s break it down.

REY IN SHOCK

Before the Lucasfilm logo, we get Rey collapsing on the Ahch-To rock and gasping for air. She’s wearing the exact same getup we saw her in at the end of The Force Awakens, but it looks like she’ll be wearing this through the film’s first act so it’s no real indication of when exactly this takes place. Her shock appears to be more than just physical exhaustion, with Ridley conveying a sense of worry, which would suggest she’s just experienced something extreme – possibly a Force vision. The reaction is reminiscent of the moment when she first picked up the lightsaber in Maz Kanata’s castle, and also hearkens back to Luke’s experience to the cave on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back (to which this is likely a rhyme).

It’s worth noting the parallels to the previous film. Once again we open with what appears to be a starfield, which is then revealed to be a planet, just like The Force Awakens‘ final trailer. It’s also rather neat that the trailer begins with a hand since Episode VII was originally set to open with Luke’s severed limb from Empire floating through space.

LUKE’S WORDS

“Breathe. Just breathe. Now… reach out. What do you see?”

To make up for his complete silence and brief screen time in The Force Awakens, the very first words we hear from The Last Jedi are Luke Skywalker’s. While in the panel itself Daisy Ridley suggested that Rey and Luke’s meeting wouldn’t go quite as she expected, it’s clear that the pair will eventually form a Master/Apprentice bond, with Skywalker training up his new ward. The overall feel of Luke’s lines – both as written, and with Hamill’s delivery – is evocative of Yoda’s training in The Empire Strikes Back. This creates a nice parallel to the previous trilogy, but they hone in on one particular aspect: visions.

AHCH-TO

As already mentioned, the first portion of this trailer takes place on Ahch-To, the rocky water world first seen at the end of The Force Awakens. The site of Luke’s self-imposed exile, it would appear that this is – as Han Solo theorized – the site of the first Jedi Temple, with Luke going back to the Order’s origins after Ben Solo burnt down his attempt to rebuild it. The planet was only in one scene in The Force Awakens but will be a major setting in The Last Jedi. The trailer features several new aspects of the planet, including new angles of the central island (Ireland’s Skellig Michael), and what may actually be that much-discussed first temple.

REY’S TRAINING

Rey was shown in The Force Awakens to already have a strong affinity with the Force – invading Kylo Ren’s thoughts, mind-tricking Daniel Craig’s Stormtrooper, and holding her own in a lightsaber duel – but she still has much to learn, especially on the more ethereal side. The first half of the teaser is built around her learning to “see” with the Force, becoming one with it and tapping into her full potential. These are all aspects of the Star Wars mythos that Disney has been expanding recently, and will no doubt play a major role in the film.

At this point of the breakdown, it’s worth highlighting some of what Rian Johnson has brought to the film visually. While he – like J.J. Abrams before him – has surely stuck close to the traditional Star Wars style, there is evidence of some very creative shots, especially when it comes to the use of perspective

LEIA ON A RESISTANCE SHIP

After the Ahch-To opening, the trailer moves into the wider galaxy. First we get a behind shot of Leia aboard a Resistance cruiser monitoring various star-charts. This is all we see of the General in the trailer, although but you can get a better look at her new costume in behind-the-scenes photos from the 40th Anniversary and The Last Jedi panels.

Little was shown of the Resistance in the previous film – just their D’Qar base (which we’ll discuss more later) and small X-Wing force – but across this trailer we get teases of their true strength, with the rebel group moving into space.

KYLO REN’S MASK

Next up is a slow zoom on Kylo Ren’s The Force Awakens mask – smashed and smoking (you can make out his voice modulator in the faceplate). The helmet was last seen in Episode VII when Ben Solo removed it on the bridge to confront his father, and was presumed lost in the destruction of Starkiller Base, although this suggests that it was recovered along with Kylo himself (either that or a replacement has likewise been smashed). It could also be an abstract image from Rey’s vision.

Whatever the case, it’s a striking image that hammers home how memorable a villain Kylo has already become. Furthermore, the damaged mask feels like a reference to Vader’s charred helmet in The Force Awakens, a visual reference for how – now he’s killed Han – Ben is now on the same level of evil as his grandfather.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BALANCE

As already alluded to, the first half of the trailer – at least on a dialogue side – is Luke guiding Rey through the Force. In response to his “What do you see?”, she says “Light. Darkness. A balance.”

Again, in light homage to Empire, we’re seeing an expansion of how we perceive the Force – and in this case a very important one. The notion of balance in the Force was first introduced in The Phantom Menace and remained a strong theme throughout the prequels. While much of that trilogy has been skirted around in the new era, this concept remained – at the start of The Force Awakens, Lor San Tekka stated “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force”. With Rey now personally experiencing this, it seems that The Last Jedi will finally explain what that balance really means. Based on Luke’s later words, it likely won’t be a good thing for the Jedi.

THE JEDI TREE

We don’t get to see exactly what the first Jedi Temple looks like in the teaser trailer, although there is what appears to be part of it. After Leia and Kylo, we see a cavern made up of a tree and a stone bookshelf holding eight worn volumes (held in place by rock bookends).

What’s most interesting here by a parsec is the tree, which may be the source of the Temple’s power. In Shattered Empire, a comic sequel to Return of the Jedi, Luke discovered that the Jedi Temple on Coruscant housed a special tree with undefined Force abilities. He sent one to be planted on Yavin IV, but kept the other for himself, presumably to build his own Temple. This may be what we’re seeing here, but what’s more likely is that Luke used this for his ill-fated Academy and what we’ve got here is the original tree from which the Coruscant one was cut.

THE JOURNAL OF THE WHILLS

Getting back to the books, we then get a close-up of one that’s of major Star Wars importance. Held together simply with string and featuring hand-written Aurbebesh notes, this is the movie introduction of an essential part of the franchise’s mythology: this appears to be the Journal of the Whills (at least based on the real world novel on the topic).

Journal of the Whills was the working title of the original Star Wars, with George Lucas planning for the saga to be a long ago tale told through this ancient tome. It was loosely canonized, intended at one point to be based on R2’s centuries-later ramblings, but is now being worked into the bigger story. We already got religious group the Guardians of the Whills in Rogue One, so this book seems to be taking the next step and introducing the order proper. How this will work depends on how deep into the past Johnson is going, but it chimes with the bigger idea of exploring the Jedi origins.

The book also shows a simplification the lore. In the prequel trilogy, the extent of all Jedi knowledge was shown, with the Coruscant temple housing massive hologram libraries and computers documenting all of the known galaxy. However, it seems the core of the order can be distilled down into a single digit amount of books.

Speaking of prequel elements, even if this isn’t the Journal, a core visual part of that trilogy still makes an appearance in the trailer: the Jedi logo. First designed for The Phantom Menace, the glistening lightsaber flanked by two wings (foreshadowing of the Rebellion’s logo in the original trilogy) appears on the cover of the book.

LUKE’S GLOVE

The book in questions appears to be being read by Luke – although the trailer editing suggests Rey, the person reading it is wearing a glove, pointing towards Skywalker’s cyborg hand. When we saw Luke at the end of The Force Awakens, he had his robot right hand free, but it makes sense that he would want to keep it covered some of the time. Instead of the simple black he used when his flesh-covered prosthetic was damaged in Return of the Jedi, here he’s got what appears to be brown leather, something subtly in-keeping with Jedi-style.

THE FORCE VOICES – LEIA, OBI-WAN AND YODA

Very faintly in the background of these previous shots, you can make out audio from across the original trilogy: over the Resistance ship there’s Leia’s “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; for Kylo Ren’s mask Obi-Wan’s explanation of Vader’s turn for A New Hope, “[Vader was] seduced by the Dark Side of the Force”, is used; and over the Jedi books is Yoda’s “Its energy surrounds us and binds us”. There’s also Vader’s breathing over Kylo’s mask.

These each help contextualize the shots – who we’re seeing, what happened to Kylo and the philosophy of the Jedi respectively – but also helps frame the trailer as part of Rey’s vision and suggests the movie itself will be delving a little more into the past (or at least using it as a learning point). The lines could just be included for effect, although as both Yoda and Obi-Wan could be heard in Rey’s vision from The Force Awakens (with Ewan McGregor recording a new line) it definitely makes sense she’d hear them. Some theories even posit that Force Ghosts of the two characters will appear.

LIGHTSABER TRAINING

While the training in the trailer mostly appears to be on the spiritual side, Rey’s still going to need that lightsaber to take down Kylo Ren. One of the most coolest shots is a pan round the island that reveals her practicing her swing with the Skywalker saber as Luke watches on. Although this is more physical training, it’s still rather Force-intuitive; Rey isn’t practicing with any props (we know the remote is still on the Falcon), but merely learning her style.

The fact she’s still using the Skywalker saber may reveal something more about Luke. Of course she has little alternative, but the Jedi Master seems to have reached a point where – like Yoda or the Emperor – his power has passed the need for such a weapon.

GORILLA WALKERS

After the now-customary “This Christmas” card, we cut away from the Force to the bigger galactic fight, in particular to what looks to be something of a Battle of Hoth rematch. This is the Battle of Crait (the name was leaked recently and confirmed by Lucasfilm), a new salt-flat planet, which sees speeders (presumably belonging to the Resistance, although they could be local rebels) taking on First Order walkers, described as bulkier versions of AT-ATs called AT-4Xs.

Based on leaked descriptions, these “gorilla walkers” are hulked behemoths, bigger than the Empire counterpart and with a more arched back design (hence the name).

THE RESISTANCE SPEEDERS

While the looming, hulking transports are menacing, what stands out most from the Crait sequence are the skimmer fighters that appear to hang low to the ground, using a downward rod for balance. These are a very unique design – a mixture of podracers, Snowspeeders and Cloud Cars, although neither callback tells the full story.

Going into battle, the rods kicks up plumes of red, which may be a clue to why the First Order is invading. Crait is a mining world that the Resistance takes up residence on (presumably after their D’Qar base has been evacuated – which we’re getting to). The red plumes are also an incredibly fun George Lucas Easter egg, tactically referencing his World War II drama Red Tails.

FINN’S RECOVERY

At the end of The Force Awakens, Finn was left seriously wounded by his mismatched fight with Kylo Ren, getting impaled by his crossguard and sliced in the back. It was rumored last year that the former Stormtrooper wouldn’t recover from his wounds easily and would be wearing a bacta suit – the healing substance in the Star Wars galaxy that Luke was submerged in after his Wampa attack in Empire – which can be seen here in the trailer. How long he’ll have to wear it for is unclear.

This is all we actually see of John Boyega’s character in the teaser, but Finn is set to play an important part in The Last Jedi. Boyega revealed at the panel that the character would have to make the decision whether to join the Resistance fight or just keep running from the First Order, and previously trailer rumors suggested he’d be on an undercover mission.

POE AND BB-8 ON A RESISTANCE CRUISER

Next up are the final two of our main heroes – Resistance master pilot Poe Dameron and droid BB-8. Poe is set to have a bigger role in The Last Jedi after sitting a big chunk of The Force Awakens out (due to his character being originally set to die in the first act), while Rian Johnson revealed on the panel everyone’s second-favorite droid (R2-D2 still rules the roost) would be as prominent as in The Last Jedi. The pair are back together after the Starkiller Base attack, piloting Poe’s black X-Wing.

What you can also see in this shot is a better look inside the Resistance cruiser seen earlier. It’s got a general design very evocative of what was seen in the originals, from the Tantive IV to Admiral Ackbar’s Home One, but with some added red decals that, while simple, distinguish the design and make them look a bit more advanced.

RESISTANCE UNDER ATTACK

Poe and BB-8 are running because their ship is under attack; as they run into the hangar – typical of the Rebel hangars from Return of the Jedi, having a rather disorganized structure – blue First Order torpedoes (just visible outside of the airlock) smash into the ship, causing massive explosions that engulf Poe’s black X-Wing. Based on previous speculation, it would seem that this action set-piece (which we may actually see a little more of later in the trailer) occurs early in the film – something that further puts the Resistance on the backfoot after the destruction of the New Republic (and somewhat undoes the elation after Starkiller Base’s destruction).

A-WINGS

The Force Awakens had a very limited set of Resistance fighters – pretty much just new-era X-Wings and crew transports. The Last Jedi is really adding to that – as well as the new speeders on Crait and the cruisers themselves, there’s the return of another classic trilogy ship: the A-Wing. The fastest ship in the Rebel fleet as of Return of the Jedi, one fighter can be seen in the hangar explosion to the left of Poe, and some are shown later in the space battle itself.

In the teaser it’s hard to tell what updates (if any) have been made to the design, but they’re sure to be revealed on Force Friday – this is a prime merchandising opportunity. Indeed, it’s not the only classic vehicle getting a fresh upgrade in the film; although it isn’t seen here, Kylo Ren will have his own version of the TIE Advanced, a variant akin to his grandfather’s.

FALCON IN FLIGHT

Of course, you can’t have a new Star Wars without the Falcon. The ship appears briefly in the teaser pursued by First Order TIE fighters, taking as many down as it can. However, while that’s to be expected, it does pose a few questions. The ship was flown by Rey, Chewie and R2-D2 to Ahch-To and based on photos revealed at the panel will remain there during Rey’s training, meaning it can’t be involved in the Resistance escape from D’Qar, and the planet doesn’t look like Crait either. It’s possible that this is Ahch-To, with the group trying to escape once the Empire finds it, but it could also be featured later during a final battle.

The presence of the Falcon also raises the question of who’s flying it. Per The Force Awakens, Rey and Chewie are the co-pilots, although how that interaction continues as Rey goes on her own Jedi-ending arc is unclear (in fact, how the Wookiee factors into the movie in general is a big question).

REY RUNNING INTO ACTION

After a whole thirty seconds not on screen, the movie’s hero returns. Rey is running into action, igniting her lightsaber as she goes full pelt against/after some enemy. The location is unique in the trailer – it’s a flat expanse with rocky surrounds, but based on known plot points it is likely still Ahch-To – just a different place to the main island we’ve seen. That suggests this is from the rumored fight sequence when Kylo Ren arrives on the planet and engages Rey in combat.

Regardless, as Ridley still isn’t sporting her long hair seen on the movie’s merchandise banner, this sequence probably comes at the latest around the movie’s midpoint.

KYLO REN

Adam Driver wasn’t in attendance at The Last Jedi panel and very little information was given about Kylo Ren’s role in the film – most Dark Side information was simply about the First Order in general – but he does make a brief appearance in the trailer. It’s mostly Driver looking as you’d expect – brandishing his red crossguard saber with an angry stare – but with one key addition: he now sports a scar, a souvenir of his showdown against Rey on Starkiller Base. It’s not quite as pronounced as it appeared at the end of The Force Awakens, although the shot has been perfectly chosen to keep the full extent of the damage hidden.

Because of the close-up nature of the shot it’s hard to make out where exactly Kylo is. It may be part of the First Order attack on the Resistance ships, although Episode VII‘s ending alluded to him going to train with Snoke. The editing of the trailer makes it seem like Ahch-To, so perhaps the flames are of the Jedi tree. Oh dear!

DESTRUCTION OF THE JEDI ACADEMY

Star Wars: The Last Jedi may be the first film in the series to have a flashback, or will at the very least feature an expository vision. Near the climax we get a shot of a hooded Luke kneeling down next to R2-D2 as a temple burns in the distance, which should be instantly recognizable to any Star Wars fan – we saw this scene from another angle in The Force Awakens. Yes, this is the destruction of Luke’s Jedi Temple by Ben Solo, glimpsed briefly in Rey’s lightsaber-induced vision.

Beyond confirming that this event – including Kylo Ren’s fall to the Dark – will be expanded upon in Episode VIII, we finally get a look of what Luke’s school looks like and evidence of Kylo’s slaughter; you can see bodies strewn across the ground between Luke and the building, the massacre of which was also seen in Rey’s vision.

PHASMA ATTACKS THE RESISTANCE

The shot of Captain Phasma – who has somehow escaped both a trash compacter and the destruction of Starkiller – coming out of the flames flanked by her squadron may at first appear to be linked to the previous shot of the Jedi Academy, but that’s just the product of very effective trailer editing. This is actually from the attack on the Resistance ship, evidenced by the reflective floor and hangar entrance in the corner. She is likely the one leading the attack, given that Hux and Kylo are at this time visiting Snoke.

After being the Boba Fett of The Force Awakens – she was featured heavily in the marketing and merchandise but played a rather insignificant role with minimal screentime – Phasma is set to have a much bigger role in The Last Jedi, leading the First Order charge.

THE ESCAPE FROM D’QAR

The trailer reaches its climax with two shots from the sequel trilogy’s first space battle. We’ve seen the interior view of this already with Poe and Phasma, but now it’s clear what’s happening. This is the Resistance leaving their base on D’Qar seen in The Force Awakens, only to be intercepted by the enemy (who had already tried to destroy the planet with Starkiller). This is likely going to put the heroes on the run throughout the movie and lead some of the rebellion group to Crait. This will presumably happen early on in the movie – either straight after the crawl or following Luke and Rey’s first meeting.

As for the battle itself, the two shots show TIE forces coming up against X-Wings and A-Wings, as well as revealing larger Resistance ships, presumably the modern update of cargo transports.

“IT’S TIME FOR THE JEDI TO END”

The Last Jedi title isn’t hyperbole – the trailer comes to its finish with Luke delivering the devastating line, “I only know one truth: it’s time for the Jedi to end.” There’s a myriad of possibilities for what this could actually mean – balance in the Force means the destruction of Light and Dark, Luke is a gray Jedi, Luke is becoming like Bendu, Luke’s gone to the Dark Side, Luke accepts organized structures are fundamentally flawed – but one’s thing’s for certain; the Star Wars galaxy will never be the same.

His declaration plays out over a shot of Skywalker stood at the entrance of what at first appears to be a cave on Ahch-To, but is in fact the Jedi tree seen earlier in the trailer. Brightening the image reveals Rey’s staff to the side of entrance, suggesting he’s just sent his apprentice into its depths, possibly to see a vision – the teaser may be going full circle, with this experience being what caused her to fall to the ground.

POST-TITLE MUSIC

The teaser comes to an end with an epic rescoring of the main Star Wars theme over the film’s logo, really hammering home that this story is darker and more serious than what we’ve seen before. What’s of real interest in the music, however, is what comes after that main burst.

As the date card comes up, the music fades into a dark, choral drone, almost underscoring everything we’ve seen with a true foreboding sense. Whether this is a reference to Snoke, the legacy of the Emperor or something else is unclear, but it’s a galaxy away from the teasing lightsaber ignition of The Force Awakens‘ first teaser.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, 2017.

The Last Jedi Trailer comparisons

Source: ScreenRant

The arrival of the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Friday was met with tremendous excitement amid the hysteria at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. At last, the world had caught a glimpse of Rian Johnson’s vision for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, the continuation of Rey’s journey, the re-emergence of a long-exiled Luke Skywalker, the return of Finn and Poe and Kylo Ren and BB-8.

Fans immediately started breaking down the teaser in search of clues about the new movie’s still-mysterious plot. In amongst all the analysis, some fans noticed something else about the teaser: its striking similarities to the second teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The Last Jedi’s Trailer is the same as The Force Awakens

Observant YouTube user James VanFleet fired up his editing tools and put together a side-by-side comparison of the Last Jedi and Force Awakens teasers, and it turns out they are more-or-less identical in format. Each teaser runs down the same checklist of elements: setting up new-trilogy characters with a particular emphasis on Rey, bringing in voice-over that sets a certain mood, calling back to original trilogy characters, reminding the world that Star Wars owns the Christmas release window, teasing action and space battles, and then one last blast of nostalgia courtesy of an original character speaking dialog on-screen. Music, editing, shot selection all uncannily mirror each other, as VanFleet’s clip shows.

At the very end of the clip, VanFleet drives home the point of how closely the Last Jedi teaser adheres to the formula laid down by the teasers for The Force Awakens: he shows the slow fade-in that leads to our first, somewhat startling look at Rey in the Last Jedi teaser along with the now-famous “boo” moment from the very first Force Awakens teaser when we saw the desert of Jakku and then suddenly Finn appeared. The two images sync up perfectly, highlighting these parallels as likely intentional.

The Last Jedi Teaser compared to clips from The Force Awakens Trailers

Source: Mashable

Another YouTube user, Morphin Bad, noticed that The Last Jedi Teaser has shots look familiar with scenes in the trailers for The Force Awakens and made an exhausting but incredible editing work putting shots from trailers of TFA side-by-side with the The Last Jedi Teaser. The result is awesome.

As The Last Jedi trailer unspools on the right, clips mostly taken from The Force Awakens‘ teasers and trailers (with a handful of exceptions taken straight from the film), have been edited together and presented on the left. While it’s not exactly a one-to-one comparison, it’s still a gentle reminder of why this new trailer feels familiar — almost certainly on purpose — and why we feel very, very excited and please December just get here already.

Of course, it’s no surprise that Disney, a company committed to maximizing the value of an incredibly important asset, would adopt a strict “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” policy when it comes to marketing. There’s no denying the effectiveness of the marketing for The Force Awakens, and it makes sense that Disney would stick to that template, even going so far as to copy the first movie’s teasers beat-for-beat.

The Last Jedi Teaser matches Man of Steel’s perfectly

Source: ScreenRant

From the moment Star Wars: Episode 8 – The Last Jedi‘s trailer dropped, fans spotted a few images eerily similar to Zack Snyder’s own Man of Steel marketing. The truth is… fans had no idea just how right they were. It was hard for comic book fans to miss the obvious parallels between the two films and trailers, with Rey’s hand most noticeably causing tiny pebbles to float in the exact fashion of Henry Cavill’s Superman origin story. But when you dig deeper and actually play the two trailers side by side… the results are downright spooky. And no, we’re not exaggerating.

We’ve gone to the trouble of laying the audio of Man of Steel‘s second trailer over the first Star Wars: The Last Jedi trailer, so fans eager to see the results won’t need to struggle with the synchronizing themselves. The fusion of audio and video works far better than one would ever think, and shows that director Rian Johnson’s own visual style in the galaxy far, far away comes from a similar school as Snyder’s, if not paying outright homage. And as good as the Last Jedi trailer is, once you’ve seen this video, it may be hard to ever see it – or hear it – the same.

For clarification, the Man of Steel audio and that of The Last Jedi trailer are synchronized from the start at exact zero, which makes the eerie parallels and double meanings so startling (not to mention the synchronized cuts to black). We have made just a single edit, due to the Man of Steel trailer running approximately twenty seconds longer than The Last Jedi‘s. There’s no forced trickery, though: we simply cut the additional time prior to the point at which Man of Steel‘s own musical crescendo kicks off, so that it matches the same moment in John Williams’s Last Jedi score.

To reiterate: the Man of Steel audio up to the point of Rey’s lightsaber training is completely untouched, as is what follows, exactly as presented in the official Man of Steel Trailer #2. Even before our single edit, the paired trailers reveal the following mindbending, heartbreaking, and utterly confounding moments:

  • Martha Kent’s (Diane Lane) line, “Focus on my voice. Pretend it’s an island, out in the ocean” as The Last Jedi reveals exactly that, Luke Skywalker’s home on Ahch-To.
  • The question of “what Clark did,” as Rey shows off her power to manipulate matter around her, as Clark later can.
  • Young Clark asking if keeping his powers secret truly means letting those die whom he could save… as the Last Jedi reveals General Leia observing a starship’s control console, played by the late Carrie Fisher.
  • Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) wondering in response if letting some die for a greater good actually would be best… as Kylo Ren’s smashed helmet lies smoking.
  • Clark (Henry Cavill) stating “I have so many questions…” as a beam of light illuminates what we believes to be Luke Skywalker’s prized Jedi books of wisdom, which he will use to teach Rey the ways of The Force.
  • Clark asking “where do I come from?” as a hand, believed to be Luke’s, reaches out to touch the ancient symbol of the first Jedi, suggesting this book may actually be ‘The Journal of The Whills,’ an ancient book literally explaining where the Jedi came from.

At that point comes our edit, which we state once again, isn’t intending to artificially force any parallels. The rising change in Hans Zimmer’s Man of Steel score is simply aligned with the “This Christmas” title card, which in the trailer is likewise aligned to John Williams’s own score for the same purposes. Even if some will point to that as manipulation, the music is unedited from there. The explosions punctuating the music, and the final dialogue of Clark Kent’s question, Luke’s proclamation that the Jedi must end, and the soaring title are the product of Man of Steel‘s trailer score, to its own conclusion.

While the similar imagery, be it Rey’s hand pulling stones from the ground as Superman’s did, or even the familiar shot of a hand reaching out to touch the character’s origins – for Clark, a childhood photo, and for Luke, the aforementioned Journal of the Whills. On one hand, they’re both evocative for the same reasons… on the other, Man of Steel fans may point to the different reactions Zack Snyder tends to receive with the early excitement and praise for Rian Johnson’s work. It’s hard to dispute that there is a difference by now, but more than anything, this mash-up shows just how much artistry as well as science goes in to cutting a blockbuster trailer.

The slow opening, use of blackness to punctuate the setting or broad ideas, before the music builds to meet a coming montage of action and spectacle. All closing in to one somber thought, the final word of a pivotal character, and the theme audiences should be left considering and, in the case of these two films, searching for an answer of their own to the questions the film will raise.

Still, the presentation of an island in the middle of the ocean as Martha Kent describes one boggles the mind, as does the reference to the late Carrie Fisher (and, presumably, General Leia before Episode 9). The pursuit of the knowledge needed to know oneself in both trailers suggests this can’t be a coincidence, and the synchronization of Man of Steel‘s music to the Star Wars visuals now give audiences TWO incredible composers to choose between.