Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe, and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga. “The Last Jedi” is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski. (synopsis via Coming Soon)
Behold my long time ago in a galaxy far, far away fanatics, there is another trailer full of mystery and wonder and details over which to obsess and minutely examine should you be so inclined (and I’m glad for the people that are since they pick up on so much cool stuff that I’ve missed).
In the second of the trailers for the hotly-anticipated next chapter in the Star Wars saga, The Last Jedi, there is a lot of detail thrown into the mix, including our first glimpse of the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke who does his best megalomaniacal bad guy ranting about unfettered power, Kylo Ren dealing with some substantial mummy issues – speaking of which we see the much-missed Carrie Fisher in her final performance as Princess Leia; we are assured she will be given a fitting farewell – and coming into her Force-ful own.
It’s looking epically captivating and enthralling, and on the 40th anniversary of the first Star Wars film I, or anyone else for that matter, saw, it looks like the perfect way to make this most momentous of dates.
May the Force be with you – especially when it comes to getting pre-release tickets for the first week of sessions.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi releases 14 December in Australia and 15 December USA.
If you’re a diehard Star Wars fan, and frankly even if you’re not – I fall somewhere into the nebulous spot between, having seen Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977 on first release, no less – you’ll be aware that Rogue One, which tells the story of the rebels who stole the first death star plans, and A New Hope are inextricably, narratively joined together.
However watching the end of the first film and the beginning of the second has involved, until now, a quick switching between DVDs, Blu-Ray, download or your viewing method of choice.
Thankfully, Vimeo contributor Barre Fong has made things considerably easier for everyone by seamlessly weaving together the two movies into one quite satisfying whole; well at least the very end of one and the very start of another so don’t put those DVDs away in their cases just yet.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens left audiences desperate to know WWLS? (What Will Luke Say?) But fans will be waiting quite some time to find out. The new film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opens in Australia on December 15, does not continue the trilogy begun last year.
Rogue One is, instead, the first of Disney and Lucasfilms’ standalone Star Wars movies. The main Star Wars saga will continue as a trilogy – with a film released every two years – which means fans will have to wait until 2017 to learn about the fates of Rey and Finn. Standalone films, meanwhile, are planned for every other year through to 2020.
Although Rogue One is being touted as independent of the main Star Wars story (dedicated to following the fortunes of the Skywalker family), it does fit within the franchise’s broader arc. The first Star Wars in 1977 began with Princess Leia attempting to smuggle stolen plans to the Death Star so her rebel allies could plan an attack on a planet-destroying space station. Rogue One jumps back in time from this point, telling the story of a desperate mission by a ragtag crew to steal those plans from the Galactic Empire and deliver them to Leia.
Still, prequels are a potentially risky move for Star Wars. As viewers, we already know the outcomes of much of the story. In the case of Rogue One, we already know that the mission will be successful and the plans will, after some unexpected detours, be delivered to the rebel alliance.
What we do not know at this stage is who, if anyone, amongst the team sent to retrieve the plans will survive. The lure of Rogue One for audiences must therefore be in experiencing the thrill of the journey to a known end rather than anticipating the shock of the unexpected.
From what little the trailers have revealed so far, it seems that Rogue One will follow a fairly standard Dirty Dozen style narrative formula. Disparate misfits are assembled to undertake a suicide mission that will likely send them to their deaths – but also promise redemption from past sins. (It does, however, have the added bonus of an appearance by Darth Vader and an extremely menacing Ben Mendelsohn playing imperial officer Director Orson Krennic.)
Perhaps of most appeal to audiences of a certain age may be the opportunity to once again delve into the aesthetic of the original trilogy. Since Rogue One takes place in the same time period, costumes and equipment will be designs familiar from the earliest films such as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
In fact, the early teaser trailer for Rogue One earned the admiration of fans when it was revealed the movie featured giant ATAT walkers, huge mechanized assault vehicles that tower above the battlefield on stilt-like legs. The walkers – a fan favourite – have not been seen in action since the Hoth battle sequence in The Empire Strikes Back.
It remains to be seen just how well audiences will respond to Rogue One, and whether they will be confused by the non-sequential narrative. As Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez learned through their unsuccessful double-feature experiment Grindhouse (2007) not everyone is paying attention to your press releases.
Grindhouse gave audiences two features for the price of a single – one each from Rodriguez and Tarantino – with a selection of fictitious movie trailers separating them. Unfortunately for the filmmakers, in spite of months of hype and fanboy expectation, casual audiences were confused by the film and many were reportedly leaving the cinema during the faux trailers after seeing only half the show.
Most moviegoers are casual fans who expect all necessary information to be provided by the movie they are seeing. This could be a problem for Rogue One, if rumours of another controversial choice are true. Rogue One, it is said, will be the first Star Wars movie to begin without a title crawl.
Since 1977, seven Star Wars movies have begun with the now iconic yellow crawling text. It established just enough backstory to set up the action about to burst onto the screen.
Of course, all of this is simply conjecture. And in the coming years we will see just how much Star Wars the world can stomach. New standalone films in 2018 and 2020 will feature respectively a young Han Solo (to be played by relative newcomer Alden Ehrenreich) and, perhaps not coincidentally, a young version of Boba Fett, the bounty hunter who captured Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. Originally intended as a homage to Flash Gordon serials from the 1930s, the title crawl, in this case, would have been the perfect opportunity to warn audiences that Rogue One is not what they were expecting to see (ie an update on Rey, Finn and Luke).
Rogue One tells an established story but will do so with largely unknown characters. However recasting Han Solo in a stand alone film is a bold and risky move. Harrison Ford is one of the most beloved actors of the franchise – replacing him has sparked some extreme reactions from fans.
And while Boba Fett became an unexpected favourite after his brief appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, sometimes the mystery of a character appeals most. Do we really need or want to know everything about him?
The immense cultural standing of Darth Vader – once the greatest movie villains of all time – was severely undermined by the existence of the prequel series as we saw Anakin Skywalker shift from irritatingly precocious child hero to brooding, angsty teenager (and the butt of memes) before eventually becoming Darth Vader.
Here’s hoping that as Disney and Lucasfilm move forward by looking backward they do so without making similar mistakes.
Since 2011 when EA’s Stars Wars: The Old Republic was released, players in this Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) game, and according to MAXIM, it is massive indeed, have been able to imagine themselves in the roles of Jedi Knight, Sith Lord, Bounty and Smuggler with the added bonus of being able to earn their own Wookie companion along the way.
Its been riotously successful likely because it gives everyone what they secretly, and possibly not-so-secretly want, which is to immerse themselves into the galaxy “far, far way” and a “long time ago” as if they live there.
It’s an exciting concept which is about to be become even more so with the addition of an appropriately gigantic expansion pack later this year.
To announce the existence of said expansion pack to the game’s many enthusiastic adherents, EA has created a lavishly cinematic trailer Knights of the Eternal Throne which is quite rightly described by MAXIM as “the best Star Wars movie you’ve never seen”.
In just six all-too-short minutes, you are immersed into the utterly engrossing of a young Padawan named Vaylin who finds the lines between the competing sides of the Force more malleable than she expected. It is such a compelling and dramatically and emotionally-redolent narrative, that you’ll wish it was coming out as an additional movie in the ever-burgeoning Star Wars Canon.
Speaking of new Star Wars movies, a new trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been released and it is every bit as epic as you might expect.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story releases 15 December in Australia and 16 December in USA.
Tempting though it might be to dismiss an entire movie told via emoji you should open your mind to the wonder and delight that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens rendered in galactically-approved ideograms.
Created by Disney, this 3 minute re-telling of last year’s supremely successful newest instalment in the iconic sci-fi saga works beautifully.
Cute yes – c’mon how could it not be?! – but a highly-effective form of storytelling that conveys all the narrative twists-and-turns (they even have SPOILER ALERTS!), all the emotions and the sense of grandeur and majesty of the original.
OK well may not completely but they come ridiculously close, proof that used well, emojis can be far more than just a text or tweeting accessory.
And as Collider notes, this short, pictographic gem covers a lot of ground in its all-too-short running time:
“It begins with an appropriately text-messaged opening title sequence and proceeds to the meeting of BB-8 and Rey, Finn and Rey on the run from Kylo Ren’s forces into the arms of Han Solo, the drama in Maz Kanata’s Cantina-esque establishment, and more.
“The most creative moments came with the firing of the First Order’s not-so-secret weapon (which played out as a lot of bomb emojis), the GIF of FN-2199 (the Stormtrooper that make meme history by shouting “traitor!”), and the mental interrogation of Kylo Ren (which included a Force match over the iPhone’s setting gage). It all ends with a wonderful segment of emoji John Williams conducting an orchestra of emoji Stormtroopers.”
Lots to see and enjoy and a galaxy to save. You’d better get cracking Emoji-Won Kenobi! (Yeah sorry for that #notsorry)
The No. 1 LEGO® series triumphantly returns with a fun-filled, humorous journey based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The game also features exclusive playable content that bridges the story gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. (official synopsis via Laughing Squid)
Let’s face it – while Star Wars: The Force Awakens has way more humour in it than you might expect (thank you Finn and BB-8 for the most part), it is not really a comedic tour de force.
Fair enough. It was never meant to be, what with the dark side of the Force rising up again, a villain way more layered, unstable and hence more scary than Darth Vader in the offing, and all sorts of dramatic goings-on that cannot be revealed lest the Spoiler Police come and fetch me.
But that doesn’t mean to say you can’t have SOME fun with it, and fun is most definitely what LEGO has, throwing in all sorts of visual gags in the trailer for the new LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens video game.
The trailer is quite simply a Millenium Falcon-sized hoot and half featuring everything from BB-8 coming a-cropper on the sand and Rey speeding into town on a landspeeder with a “BB-8 onboard sticker” slapped to the side.
It’s an hilarious parody of the first trailer released for the film, proving that while the movie itself is deservedly a largely serious business, that it is possible to have some fun with it all too.
LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases 28 June 2016 on all major platforms.
Returning to your childhood, especially when it comes to the movies and TV shows the defined it, can be a fraught activity.
There is an excitement certainly, how can there not be, but there’s also a sense that this nostalgic excursion may not be quite the enjoyable embrace with an old friend that you were expecting.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens spectacularly banishes any such fears far into the Outer Rim from the word go when the majestic John Williams fanfare sounds and we are treated, as always, to the setting of the story to come with the iconic giant yellow text scrolling up the screen.
Like Bond, Star Wars has a look and feel, and it faithfully employs this, providing not simply a quick recitation of the narrative’s starting point, but also a grand sense of occasion, the feeling that you are about to witness something epic and overpoweringly immersive.
It was there in 1977 when Star Wars: A New Hope began the franchise’s venerated saga, one tarnished only a little by the flawed prequels, and it is there most certainly with the J. J. Abrams directed The Force Awakens.
But even though they make use of the talents of Lawrence Kasdan – who penned the screenplay along with Abrams and Michael Arndt – one of the writers of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, they are not utterly enthralled to the past, content to use iconic touchstones when needed but happy to move the franchise along to new and boldly exciting places.
For instance, while the story begins on a backwater desert planet (Jakku, not Tatooine) with an old man (Lor San Tekka played by Max Von Sydow, not Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan Kenobi) imparting valuable information to an eager young man, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), The Force Awakens takes those elements and runs with them, or blasts far out into space as the case may be, and fashions something altogether different with them.
This may look like the Star Wars from your childhood, and in many ways it is in ways that the prequels can never hope to be, but it does not simply repeat the energy and spirit of the original trilogy in the hope audiences will stick around out of nostalgia alone.
Rather, we are dramatically shown in ways big and small that the universe has moved on, and while we are treated to the return of Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and of course Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) and C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), they have been affected by the passage of time, and the victories of the past do not guarantee success in a wholly different though familiar present.
For the Empire, now known as the First Order and led by the Emperor-like Supereme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in its vanguard, is on the ascendant taking the fight back to the resistance who is nominally in control but stretched thin and struggling to rein in a sprawling galaxy with a mind of its own.
And as is often the way when two sides line up for battle, people with no experience of machinations beyond their own daily struggle for survival such as the main protagonist Rey (Daisy Ridley) who comes across BB-8, containing an important message that cannot fall into the hands of the First Order are drawn into the battle, their lives irrevocably as they discover a destiny far different than anything they might have imagined.
While others at the heart of the sparring groups such as disillusioned stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) who joins forces with Rey to get BB-8 to safety find themselves asking hard questions about who they are and where their allegiances lie.
The stage is set, and on the vast and expansive scale that only Star Wars seems to pull off to great effect, for a titanic battle once again between good and evil that for all its impressive sweep never loses sight of the humanity at its heart.
But this time, the violence, perhaps taking a leaf out of franchises like Game of Thrones and the far more visceral modern action and fantasy movies, has a far more modern sensibility, a willingness to show people being hurt, attacked and even killed in ways the original trilogy didn’t countenance.
But less you think this means some sort of anti-idealistic bloodbath of the sort that George Lucas would never have entertained, all this inclination to show the true colours of the violence that erupts when evil steps forward and those that oppose must take it on simply brings forth the battle for hearts and minds that was always at the heart of the original trilogy.
People struggled with which side of the Force they would embrace, innocents became caught dangerously in the middle and the fate of the universe hung in the balance; this is all still very much in place in The Force Awakens but with an added air of real malevolence, any idea that it is not a life and death struggle banished to the margins in favour of real, gritty action that shares the stage with some tender heartfelt moments without dropping one iota of impact.
The nods to the past but eye fixed firmly on the present is noticeable too in the visual aesthetic that pervades the film.
The ships, the planets, the people all recall the look and feel of the films that went before, a ’70s sensibility very much in place, but now everything comes with an added sleek muscularity – the stormtroopers for instance look the same but the lines are curvier, the armour less clunky, the ships less tinny and far more dark and dangerous, the urban settings every bit as exotic but far more real, and more lived-in.
The most glorious thing for anyone who loves the films of the Star Wars universe, and this matters whether you first saw the first movie in 1977 or just recently on Blu-Ray, is that the soaring sense that you are witnessing a marvellous, otherworldly spectacle is still very much in place.
So pronounced is it in fact that it’s hard not to feel like an excitable kid again, to feel like cinema is a grand thing once again and not simply sitting in a darkened room with the occasional cell phone blipping and people talking.
In fact, the buzz around the cinema was palpable, the sense that we were witnessing some far beyond ordinary cinema profoundly in evidence in ways that even frequent moviegoers would be hard pressed to find at any other blockbuster.
The good news is that the hype and expectation are more than justified with The Force Awakens giving us richly-wrought characters in a compelling, engrossing narrative set against the backdrop of worlds and stars far beyond our own, the sense of giddy, uplifting adventure, of goodies versus baddies on a galactic scale still very much in place.
But it’s also not a creature of its past, confined to repeating the tropes of the past; they’re there of course with nods to everything from the famous Mos Eisley Cantina scene, the trench run along the Death Star and even the Death Star itself (sort of) most firmly in place and hard to miss.
But they are part of a new whole, one that respects and captures the spirit and gee whiz energy of the original films while setting a course to a bold and exciting future that will no doubt keep people coming back to the cinema in droves, eager to experience once again what it feels like to be part of something much larger and more magnificent (and still all too relatably human) than yourself.
Seriously love it – watching it for the first time in a small wooden cinema in Ballina, NSW, Australia back in 1977 (yes I’m that old; I saw it in the cinema the first time around when it was just plain old Star Wars) completely changed my life.
But I am one of those people who, even when I love something utterly and completely can still enjoy poking some fun at it because let’s be fair, not even the things we love are completely perfect (I sense a great disturbance in the Fan Force as if millions of voices suddenly cried out “WTF?!”).
And so it is with great pleasure, and endless giggles that I present Screen Junkies Honest Movie Trailer on Star Wars (they refuse to use the tacked-on bit of the title which is totally fair) which has all kinds of fun with the unintentional sexual innuendo scattered through the film’s, ahem climactic scene and takes a shot – Screen Junkies shot first! They totally did! – at all the dodgy special effects added in years after the iconic film’s release by an over-tinkering George Lucas.
Unless you are stuck on a rock, or under it, floating somewhere in the far reaches of the galaxy, you’d have no doubt heard there’s a new Star Wars movie in the offing.
Oh hell, I’m sure that even in the remotest parts of the Outer Rim Territories moviegoers must know that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming in December (yes, I am seeing it opening day; and yes, I’m crazy keen) and is set to dominate cinema in a way no other film has this year, or even this decade.
It’s a Big Deal and every day brings announcements of new plot points (pretty much all guessed at since the director J. J. Abrams runs a tight, spoiler-free ship), new tie-in products and all kinds of other goodies.
The latest pieces of nostalgia-stoking wonder are the just-released characters posters, many of them sent out into the big, wide Star Wars-hungry world by the likes of Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn).
No doubt they will be dissected like crazy for any hint of what’s on offer in the film, but frankly it’s enough for me, a fan boy since 1977 when my mum took me to see what is now the 4th film, A New Hope, to just glory in these screen-filling, beautifully-realised posters.
The Force is indeed strong with the poster designers.
Oh, and yep, still no sign of Luke who remains tantalisingly M.I.A.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens 17 December in Australia and on 18 December in USA.
I learnt a long time ago how powerful imagination can be.
A budding writer from the moment I realised two words could come together with devastatingly brilliant effect, leaving wonderment, thrills, excitement, fear, adventure and a whole host of other authentically real human emotional reactions in their wake, I have been enthralled with the places my imagination can take me.
But even I, budding Hemingway that I have been most of my life, refused to sit at my desk all the time, and many a summer evening in the 1970s found me running around my backyard, either alone or with my sister, fighting imaginary enemies, holed in my imaginary castle (in reality a tall, low hanging bush) and surveying my kingdom, armed with little more than a stick and a cardboard box shield.
Our games were reasonably conventional – Kings and Queens, Cowboys and Indians, nameless adventurers across lands both Earthbound and in space – until one day in 1977 when my mother took me to a small one theatre wooden cinema in the main street of Ballina, NSW to see a small film called Star Wars and my world, my imagination, every game I’d ever played and wanted to play, every story I longed to write, was utterly and forever transformed.
Suddenly I wanted to be Luke or Han swashbuckling my way across the Death Star to rescue a Princess Leia, or C-3PO and R2-D2 slipping in under the nose of the evil Imperial forces and playing havoc with technology, or Obi-Wan guiding Luke to a whole new life on the hot, harsh sands of Tatooine not long after his old one had violently gone forever.
It was intoxicatingly wonderful, and now Craig Davison, who has magically combined scenes of children at play with iconic characters and images from Star Wars has taken me back to those heady, euphoric days in 1977 when everything seemed marvellously possible, and magically far far away from my small backyard where it was entirely likely Sand People and Gredo lurked in places I had yet to explore.
And yes you can buy his prints and turn your home once again into that same imagination-stoking world you once inhabited with carefree fun and imagination as a child.