Friday, October 24, 2014

The SWU Podcast LIVE | 24/10/14

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On this episode Chris, Ben, and Dominic are joined by special guest Frank Rich from Star Wars Autograph Collection to talk about the latest Star Wars Rebels Episode 'Fighter Flight', as well as little more about New York Comic Con.  What did they think of Zeb and Ezra (or Zezra, if you will) on a mission together?  Do we need see more about the stormtroopers?  And what is it about Star Wars animation and fruit?  Plus Frank talks about meeting Ewan McGregor outside a play in New York.  Then, the guys let you in on some exclusive behind the scenes info about Episode VII.  Also, Germany's getting an all Star Wars channel this December, Dave Filoni speaks about Rebels at MIPCOM, and the latest news and rumors about Episode VII!  All this and much more!


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Thursday, October 23, 2014

DARTH DADDY's CUSTOMIZING CORNER:spudafett

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By: Darth Daddy



Devin aka spudafett is a high school science teacher with a degree in geology. Since childhood Devin has collected two things, fossils and Star Wars. More recently he has gotten involved in the art and hobby of customizing Star Wars (and other franchises) action figures, vehicles and collectibles. 



 6" Jango Fett



 3 3/4" Aurra Sing Ball jointed hips.



 Clone Wars Boba Fett






 6" Mara Jade



 Mythos Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness head)














You can view his work on Imperialshipyards.net or deviantart.com under his internet handle of Spudafett, but the best place to reach him is on his facebook page: 

https://www.facebook.com/pages/SpudaFetts-Custom-toys/275038512535165?ref=bookmarks# 





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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Daniel Radcliffe Visits Episode VII Set

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By: Dominic Jones

Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe was hanging around the Star Wars Episode VII set this week (no, this doesn't mean he's in the film).  Radcliffe spoke with iTV about what he saw on the stages at Pinewood Studios saying,
"I was so excited, 'cause I literally just watched the original Star Wars movies very recently, so I was like a new fan going on set. But I got to meet Harrison Ford and have a chat, and he was lovely. It was great.

Most people would be excited about seeing the Star Wars set but I went out because all my friends were working there 'cause it's the Potter crew, they've basically just moved onto that, so I was going to see all of them."

It's cool to hear that Radcliffe had a good experience on set.  Everything we've heard from people who've visited the set is that it's a great experience, which will hopefully translate into a great film.  It's also cool to hear that the crew that worked on the Harry Potter films are now working on the Star Wars films.  I was a huge fan of the Potter films, so I must say I was pleasantly surprised to hear that.


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Source: Episode VII Aliens Will Be Animatronic; Less CGI

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By Chris Seekell

We have just been informed by reliable sources attached to the Star Wars Episode VII project, that one move being made to make the film more realistic is the incorporation of full-size animatronic aliens and possibly droids as well. These robots will be controlled via human motion capture, which is in line with the fact that motion capture expert Andy Serkis has been confirmed as an actor for the film and has mentioned that he was doing motion capture.

"The Imaginarium is now involved in all of the performance capture on the Star Wars projects," Serkis explained, "and I’m playing a character in that. It’s extraordinary."

After doing some digging, we have found a Disney research project from a few years ago that describes the motion capture controlled robots. The above photo is from this project. The synopsis reads:

Motion capture is a good source of data for programming humanoid robots because it contains the natural styles and synergies of human behaviors. However, it is difficult to directly use captured motion data because the kinematics and dynamics of humanoid robots differ significantly from those of humans. In our previous work, we developed a controller that allows a robot to maintain balance while tracking a given reference motion that does not include contact state changes. The controller consists of a balance controller based on a simplified robot model and a tracking controller that performs local joint feedback and an optimization process to obtain the joint torques to simultaneously realize balancing and tracking. In this paper, we improve the controller to address the issues related to root position/orientation estimation, model uncertainties, and the difference between expected and actual contact forces. We implement the controller on a full-body, force-controlled humanoid robot. Experimental results demonstrate that the controller can successfully make the robot track captured human motion sequences

Our sources from the project also have suggested that actress Lupita Nyong'o will be doing motion capture work for the film. We will let you know if we find any more information corroborating that report. Nyong'o recently posted an instagram photo where she posed with a Han Solo action figure and wore an Episode VII hat.

What do you think? Is moving away from CGI characters a good decision by Lucasfilm? Sound off in the comments!

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Brent Spiner Officially Joins 'Star Wars Rebels' Cast

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By: Benjamin Hart

Fans of both "Star" franchises are in for a treat this upcoming Monday on Star Wars Rebels. Another Star Trek alum is coming to a Galaxy far, far away. Brent Spiner, who's best know as Commander Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has officially joined the cast of Rebels. It was rumored earlier this year that the actor was involved. Now we've learned that Spiner will have a minor role in the upcomng episode "Rise Of The Old Masters". Scroll down to see details about his character, but be warned, SPOILERS are ahead!

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Brent Spiner will voice Gall Trayvis(pictured above), an exiled Senator who Hera describes as "the only member of the Imperial Senate with the courage to speak out publicly against the Empire." The character does not appear in person, or via Hologram. Rather, he interrupts an Imperial Holonet broadcast and reveals that Luminara Unduli is alive, thus setting our Rebel heroes off to rescue her.

Our friends at RebelForce Radio were first to report the news. which was later confirmed by the credits for "Rise Of The Masters" which you can see below.


Be sure to tune into the episode when it airs at 9:00pm ET/PT on Disney XD! Or you can watch it on Watch Disney XD right now if you're a Disney XD subscriber. Early reviews suggest it's going to be an incredible episode!

Source: RebelForce Radio

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Rumor: Description of Episode VII Concept Art of Han and Chewie

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By: Dominic Jones

First, let's all just take a moment a reflect on how cool it  is that concept art of a scene from Star Wars Episode VII, featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca actually exists!  Our friends over at MakingStarWars.net have gotten their hands on some more concept art (that hasn't been leaked to the public...yet) of just that.  Now, as per usual, this could turn out to be false or the scene could wind up not making it into the final movie, but if you are trying to avoid all Episode VII spoilers then stop reading now!  This is your official SPOILER ALERT!  If you're cool with spoiler then, scroll down.
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 A very green mixed deciduous forest paints the background. This location is in the thick of it, that’s for sure. There is a large hole in the ground. The hole is in the shape of a hexagon. The hole is for a metallic structure of some kind, very Imperial looking, indicating an underground Imperial base. Each line of the hexagon has a pillar sticking out of it about the size of a man. These could be to give troops exiting the underground facility some cover to fight off attackers, if the pillars serve any function at all. Each line of the hexagon inside has two lights, which illuminate the underground structure we can barely see into. There appears to be a ramp inside leading to the surface.

Outside of the structure is a data terminal of some kind. It reminds me of Star Wars Galaxies in a way. But who cares about that?

Emerging from the “Imperial hole in the ground” are none other than Han Solo and the mighty Chewbacca! Han Solo wears his classic black vest and pants. His gun is raised in the air, ready to shoot first if need be! Chewbacca stands to his left, he appears to hold a big riffle type blaster, no robotic hand, and his classic bandolier over his shoulder. We can see the two heroes from an angle behind the pillars they are using for cover as they look towards the camera for any foes to attack.

So it appears Han and Chewie have a scene or sequence together in the film where it is just them.

In the concept art, they appear ready for a straight fight, but they’re still sneaking around.

Very interesting.  Really makes you wonder how Han and Chewie got into this mess.  I guess we'll have to wait until December 18, 2015 to find out!


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

New Episode VII Set Report and Pictures

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By: Dominic Jones

The team over at MakingStarWars.net have posted some new exclusive set photos from Episode VII.  These were taken at park where filming for Episode VII was taking place.  If you don't want to be spoiled for Episode VII, stop reading now.  This is your official SPOILER ALERT!  If you're cool with seeing the pics (and want to know who may have been on set), then scroll down and check it out below,
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The pictures appear to feature a jungle planet and if you look closely you can see some people that definitely look like stormtroopers.   Also, although he's not picture, Harrison Ford was apparently on set the day the photos were taken and could be heard yelling, "Run Chewie."  The folks who saw the set, Alan and Paul, described what they saw to MSW saying,
Unfortunately (the pictures are) not quite as vivid as we’d have liked, but with a bit of zooming you should definitely be able to make out the Stormtrooper. There were 4 I think in this area, running through the explosions, I think I remember another 4 or so coming from the opposite direction, but that was not all…

Amongst the ruins were signs of high technology, apparently abandoned, something which reminded me of the guns on the X-wing sticking out of the ground, antenna, and this nearly made me fall out the tree; what looked like the middle section of a TIE fighter! I don’t think that’s what it was as it was probably a bit too small. It was black with a strip around it like a window, and I’d say it looked big enough for maybe one or two people – if indeed it was a ship.

You can see the sets (and the stormtroopers) for yourself below, 




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Germany is Getting an All Star Wars TV Channel This December

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By: Dominic Jones

German Star Wars fans are getting the ultimate Christmas present this December.  Sky Deutschland announced today that from December 1st to 14th they are essentially becoming the all Star Wars network!  The channel will be playing all six films in chronological order (Episode I to VI), plus the Kevin Burns documentaries Empire of Dreams (2004) and Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed (2007) 24/7 for the first 14 days of December.  Sky Deutschland vp of programming Gary Davey told The Hollywood Reporter he hoped this would make the wait for Episode VII "a bit sweeter."

Hopefully this serves as a precursor to Disney and Lucasfilm launching all Star Wars networks worldwide!  It would be great if they also included The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series, as well as some parodies like the Robot Chicken and Phineas and Ferb specials.  There is potential for this to be the kick off of something great!  So German fans, be sure to tune to Sky Deutschland this December and know that the rest of us are very jealous!


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Monday, October 20, 2014

'Star Wars Rebels' Preview Featuring Darth Vader

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By: Dominic Jones

A new short preview for the upcoming re-broadcast of the Star Wars Rebels premier 'Spark of Rebellion" at 7pm on October 26th on ABC has hit the web today, and it features our first official glimpse at Darth Vader on Rebels.  We've seen stills from this scene before, however it's nice to get a high quality, official look at Vader.  Check out the preview below,

Now we just have to wait until the 26th to see what this scene entails and how it plays into the rest of the episode...

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New Variant Cover for 'Star Wars #1' Revealed

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By: Dominic Jones

It sounds like Marvel is planning a huge splash for their return to Galaxy Far, Far Away.  And who can blame them?  When 'Star Wars #1' hits shelves in January 2015, there will be at least two variant covers for the first issue of the on going comic book series written by Jason Aaron and drawn by John Cassaday.  The first variant was revealed several weeks ago, and now Entertainment Weekly has revealed the second, and the nostalgia is strong with this one (I am so, so sorry about that joke).  The cover features art by Alex Ross and is an homage to cover of the original 'Star Wars #1' from 1977 by Howard Chaykin.  Check it out below,


And for comparison, here's the cover from 1977,

Which cover is you favorite?  The main cover, the first variant, or this one (the second variant)?  Sound off in the comments below, tweet us @TheSWU, or join the discussion in Club SWU on Facebook!

Source: EW

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

In Case You Missed It: October 11th - 18th, 2014

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By: Benjamin Hart

Welcome back to another edition of ICYMI! Another jam packed week of awesome Star Wars news means we've got a lot to talk about, so let's get to it! More Rebels goodies, Episode VII's almost done, U-Wings, Ewoks, Palpatine's name and more! Oh, and you may notice that the format has been changing these past few weeks. We're testing out new things, so feel free to let us know what you think and leave any suggestions in the comments below!


Films

Episode VII Filming Nears Completion
Principal photography for the next big chapter in the Star Wars saga appears to finally be winding down.

Warwick Davis Will Appear In Episode VII
Wicket the Ewok himself has joined the cast of Episode VII!

Massive Amount of Episode VII Concept Art Leaked
Whoa! J.J.'s mystery box has a crack in it! Check out this breathtaking collection of artwork from the upcoming film,

Lupita Nyong'o Spotted Wearing Episode VII Hat
The Academy Award winner appears to be now working on Star Wars!


Television

Star Wars Rebels 'Droids In Distress' Episode Guide Released
The first regular episode of Rebels has premiered, and along with it we were treated an episode guide, featuring trivia, concept art, music and a video featurette.

'This Season On Star Wars Rebels' Teaser Released
This cool mini trailer give us some sneak peeks at what's coming up in future episodes of Rebels.

'Star Wars Rebels' Season One Episodes 7-10 Titles Revealed
Star Wars Insider revealed some very intriguing titles for some upcoming Rebels episodes.

'Star Wars Rebels: Fighter Flight' Episode Preview Released
The next episode of Rebels appears to be focused on Zeb and Ezra on a mission to get... fruit?

First Look At Darth Vader in 'Star Wars Rebels'
It has been revealed that the Dark Lord of the Sith himself will be appearing in the series. We now what he will look like thanks to a new preview clip!

Dave Filoni Talks 'Rebels' At MIPCOM
The executive producer discussed working with George Lucas on The Clone Wars and carrying on his legacy in Rebels.


Literature

Palpatine's First Name Revealed
Yup, it's official; the Emperor has a new name and it's.... what?

'Star Wars: Tarkin' Mini Excerpts
The infamous Grand Moff is getting his own novel soon, and we've got two excerpts from the book!


Gaming

Battlefront 3 Beta/Alpha May Be Available
It may not be long before we're playing the next Battlefront game.


Rumors

Episode VII's 'U-Wing' Starfighter Description
Keeping with the trend of letter inspired ships, this new one sounds interesting.

Harrison Ford Completes Filming for Episode VII
All of Han Solo's scenes have been filmed!


Also check out...

Our New York Comic Con 2014 Documentary where Chris, Dominic & Lillian do a phenomenal job hitting the convention floor getting some awesome footage with celebrity and fan interviews!

The Latest SWU Podcast where we break down everything that happened at New York Comic, plus listen for our review of the latest Rebels episode, Episode VII news/rumors, Palpy's first name & more!

Dominic's Spoiler Free Review Of 'Rise Of The Old Masters'the 4th Star Wars Rebels episode screened at New York Comic Con.

Darth Daddy's Latest 'Customizing Corner'featuring the talents of localgotal.


What was your favorite piece of news this week? Let us know in the comments below!


Jump To

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Rumor: Harrison Ford Completes Filming for Episode VII

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By: Jake Damon

According to an article from Daily Mail, our very own Harrison Ford (reprising his role as smuggler Han Solo) has completed filming scenes for Episode VII. The report goes as follows:

"The star has now wrapped his scenes for Star Wars: Episode VII, the first film to be made by the franchise's new owner Disney. However, don't expect the cast to open up about the plot anytime soon - director JJ Abrams put up posters around the set at Pinewood Studios warning everyone involved in the top secret project to keep schtum."

Sounds like ole' J.J. is adamant that the cast and crew keep it on the down-low! We can't wait for the day when it's all revealed.

Ford joins Anthony Daniels (C-3P0) and new addition to the franchise Oscar Isaacs, in completion of filming scenes for the upcoming film.

Source: Jedi News

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Lupita Nyong'o Spotted Wearing Episode VII Hat

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By: Benjamin Hart

We recently heard filming on Star Wars Episode VII would be wrapping up in a few weeks, but that doesn't appear to be stopping Lupita Nyong'o. The Academy Award winning actress posted a photo to her Instagram where she poses with a giant Han Solo action figure while wearing a hat with a yellow "VII" on it. You can check it out below:

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Geeking out! #SWVII

We know little to nothing about who, or what, Lupita is playing in Episode VII, but it's certainly awesome to see she's now working on the film! Episode VII hits theaters December 18th, 2015.

And I don't know about you, but I want that hat!

Source: Instagram

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Battlefront 3 Beta/Alpha May Be Available

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By: Jake Damon

It's no secret that a new installment is being released in the ever-popular Star Wars: Battlefront video game franchise, with some referring to it as "Battlefront 3" and others looking at it as more of a reboot. Given that it's been nearly ten years since the most recent game, we can understand the confusion! But despite how you want to look at it, it has simply been titled Star Wars: Battlefront, and according to one of the developers of the soundtrack to the game, Viktor Lundberg, we may already be able to get a taste of gameplay with a rumored beta AND alpha said to be available internally (within the developer's network) and also rumored to be online, but no specific website or source has been confirmed. Perhaps sometime very soon we will be able try it for ourselves before the actual release! But for now, we can only wait for more substantial news about the beta before anything is set in stone.

In the meantime, if you haven't seen them already, here are a few videos. The first is a sort of teaser for the game featuring some very familiar blaster noises and ominous heavy metal footsteps on the surface of the ice planet Hoth. This one gave me chills!


The second one is a short featurette with a "behind the scenes" feel, highlighting DICE Studios and their team developing the game. It shows us some early in-game footage which proves to be visually stunning and impressive. Enjoy!


Who else is stoked for this game after watching these clips? Were/are you a fan of the older Battlefront games? What do you hope they change/keep the same in this new one? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Star Wars: Battlefront is slated to be available on Playstation 4, Microsoft Windows and Xbox One in mid-2015.

Sources: Jedi Newskpopstarz, YouTube

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'Star Wars: Tarkin' Mini Excerpts

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By: Benjamin Hart

The next big canon novel coming our way is Star Wars: Tarkin, written by James Luceno. The awesome folks at the Del Rey have treated us to a few mini excerpts from the book, the first being the "opening crawl" of the novel. More recently they have shared two mini excerpts from it, which you can read below:


Mini Excerpt #1:

"He turned his clean-shaven face to both sides and lifted his chin. He folded his arms across his chest, then stood with his hands clasped behind his back, and finally posed akimbo, with his fists planted on his hips. Drawing himself up to his full height, which was just above human average, he adopted a serious expression, cradling his chin in his right hand.

There were few beings to whom he needed to offer salute, though there was one to whom he was obliged to bow, and so he did, straight-backed but not so low as to appear sycophantic.

“Eliminate the top line collars on the boots, and lower the heels,” he told the droid.

“Of course, sir. Standard duranium shank and toes for the boots?”

Tarkin nodded.

Stepping down from the platform, out from inside the cage of laser tracers, he began to walk circles around the hologram, appraising it from all sides. During the war, the belted tunic, when closed, had extended across the chest on one side and across the midsection on the other; now the line was vertical, which appealed to Tarkin’s taste for symmetry. Just below each shoulder were narrow pockets designed to accommodate short cylinders that contained coded information about the wearer. A rank insignia plaque made up of two rows of small colored squares was affixed to the tunic’s left breast."



Mini excerpt #2:

"Tarkin shook his head in aggravation. In part, the deep-space mobile battle station was meant to put an end to harassments of any sort, whether driven by greed, political dissent, or revenge for acts committed during the Clone Wars or since. Once everyone in the galaxy grasped the weapon’s capabilities, once the fear of Imperial reprisal took hold, discontent would cease to be a problem.

But just now—and notwithstanding the covert nature of the Geonosis project—the Imperial Security Bureau and Naval Intelligence were continually trying to quash rumors and prevent information leaks. In the three years Tarkin had been commanding Sentinel and hundreds of nearby supply and sentry outposts, as well as administering a vast slice of the Outer Rim, no group had been successful in penetrating Geonosis space.

The chance that that could change shook him to the core."


Star Wars: Tarkin hits bookstores everywhere November 4th! Be sure to click here to pre-order your copy in paperback, or any other format.

Source: Star Wars Books(Facebook)

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