Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: 'Lords of the Sith'

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By: Dominic Jones

Warning: Contains Mild Spoilers


The fourth novel of the "new" Star Wars canon hit shelves earlier this week, though some of us were able to pick up a copy a week and a half early during Star Wars Celebration.  The novel is written by Paul S. Kemp and takes place between Episodes III and IV (between the novels Tarkin and A New Dawn if you wan to get really specific) and tells the tale of a failed assassination attempt on Darth Vader and The Emperor, aka Darth Sidious. 

The novel is cover-to-cover action, with little down time, though it is that down time that makes the novel so compelling.  The novel gives us a brief insight into the relationship between Vader and Sidious.  Kemp paints the picture of a relationship built on distrust, as most Sith relationships are.  Sidious clearly understands how the rule of two works and knows that eventually Vader will plot to overthrow him.  Throughout the novel we see him constantly reminder Vader that he is the more powerful of the two.  Sidious also seems to be testing Vader's loyalty to the Sith.   

Vader, on the other hand, hasn't quite reached the point of wanting to overthrow Sidious and the idea is mentioned only in passing and without much detail.  This, to me, suggests just how badly Obi-Wan broke Vader's spirit in Revenge of the Sith.  Having lost to Obi-Wan clearly changed just how powerful Vader thought he was.  Prior to that duel Anakin was making grand claims to Padme about being able to over throw Sidious, now eight years later he can barely bring himself to think of the idea.  It is implied in the novel, and I love this concept, that Vader believes he won't truly be able to overthrow Sidious until he kills Obi-Wan.  And if we look at the Original Trilogy it is after he kill Obi-Wan aboard the Death Star that he begins to have ideas about killing Sidious.  Three years after his "defeat" of Obi-Wan he is desperately seeking out "the young rebel who destroyed the Death Star" in the belief that this Force sensitive kid could help him bring down the Emperor, as he reveals to Luke at the end of the film. 

And all this, comes from one single line in the book.  This is what I love about Star Wars, and Star Wars novels.  One simple line that could easily be taken as throwaway dialogue is causing me to reconsider the films that I have seen countless times. 

Though the novel is titled Lords of the Sith, it could very easily be argued that the main character is Cham Syndulla.  Cham first appeared in the Season Episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Liberty on Ryloth" and later reappeared in the Season Three episode "Supply Lines."  Though we didn't know it back in 2009 when we were first introduced to Cham it seems he will be an important player in this era of Star Wars.  Not only does he star in this novel, but his daughter Hera in one of the principle characters on Star Wars Rebels.  Hera is not seen in the novel and is mentioned only once, however by witnessing Cham's struggle we can begin to understand how Hera became the character we met in A New Dawn and watch on Rebels

In Cham we see someone who is has been fighting for his entire life and is beginning to tire of it.  In The Clone Wars it was implied that he had been fighting for a long time and we get the sense in Lords of the Sith that he hasn't stopped fighting since then.  We also see how much he has lost.  Don't let the Disney logo on the back fool you, Lords of the Sith is a blood bath with seemingly important characters being killed off in an instant.  Kemp does a great job of making the reader feel every death, even when its minor characters.  This gives the reader an insight into how Cham must feel every time one of his soldiers is killed.

My one criticism of the book is that there is a creature attack on our heroes late in the book that seems unnecessary.  The intent of the sequence was likely to impress on the reader just how dangerous the terrain on Ryloth is.  However, after the first two-thirds or so of the novel were spent showing how credible a threat Vader, Sidous, and the Empire as a whole were, the Ryloth wilderness felt like child's play and out of place this late in the story.

I feel I also must touch on the character of Moff Delian Mors, due to the news that got out about her character before the novel's release.  Allow me to state very clearly that I am in favor of more diversity, of all kinds (race, gender, sexuality, etc.) in Star Wars and was very pleased when I heard this news.  I applaud Kemp for including this.  It was a subtle, blink-and-you-miss-it reveal late in the novel but it added a nice layer to Mors character.  It is not crucial to the story by any means, but it helps make the universe a more diverse place and more reflective of the world and Star Wars fandom.  And, as I've stated before, having more diversity in Star Wars makes it more accessible to more people which means more people will become fans and we will get to share our passion with more people and that can only be a good thing.

Finally, a couple of other quick observations about the novel.  I loved the way The Clone Wars was referenced throughout the novel, not only by Cham but more so by Vader and Sidious.  It was also interesting to see Sidious slip back into the benevolent Palpatine guise he utilized throughout the prequels during a sequence late in the novel.  Another nice touch is that, even though the novel doesn't necessarily tie directly into anything, it fits nicely with the tone established by previous novels and Rebels for this era.  The Empire is all powerful, Palpatine is keeping a his Sith powers a secret from the public, Vader is mysterious and almost more of a legend to the outside galaxy, and any Rebel movements are small and locally based, though there is a sense of something bigger on the horizon.  It is really nice to see such consistency across all platforms.

All in all Lords of the Sith is chilling story, that shows the tough side of a Rebellion.  In the films and TV series (thus far) we have mostly seen the major victories (the Battle of Hoth being the exception).  In Lords of the Sith, we follow a Rebel cell whose greatest achievement doesn't make a dent in the Empire.  We see the cost of rebelling, both in death toll but also in the mental state of Cham.  We see how difficult it must have been to begin a galaxy wide Rebellion.  And we get to see the true nature of the evil the rebellion must fight.  And to top it off, it's a great read

Score: 9/10

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25
 
Read my review of A New Dawn here
 

This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.

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Star Wars Rebels: Season Two To Premiere June 20th

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By: Benjamin Hart

Good news Star Wars Rebels fans! IGN is reporting that the second season of the critically acclaimed animated series will be premiering on Saturday, June 20th at 9:00pm on Disney XD! The hour long premiere episode, titled "The Siege Of Lothal", was screened a few weeks ago at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. With the cast and crew present, Lucasfilm revealed a great deal about the ongoing story, but did not give us a release date. Thankfully we now know when we can expect to see Kanan, Hera, Ezra and all our old favorites return to our TV screens alongside some new but familiar characters, such as Ahsoka Tano, Clone Captain Rex and Darth Vader. This season has been confirmed to have 22 episodes. After the premiere, regular episodes of season two will begin airing in the Fall.

Also, for this Monday, May the 4th, Disney XD will be hosting an awesome Star Wars marathon to celebrate "Star Wars Day" in style, including:

  • "Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide," a half-hour special recapping the entire first season of "Star Wars Rebels" will debut Monday, May 4 (8:00 p.m., ET/PT)
  • Marathons of "Star Wars Rebels" season one and "LEGO Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles."
  • Sneak peek at "LEGO Star Wars: Droid Tales," an all-new series of event specials that will premiere on Disney XD this summer.
  • Star Wars-inspired episodes of "Phineas and Ferb," "Kickin' It" and "Lab Rats."

As someone who was fortunate enough to see the premiere at Celebration, I must say, season two is going to be amazing! The first episode continues the momentum that began at the end of season one builds on it. The stakes are raised even higher, and the fear for our heroes intensifies as a they face the greatest foe in the Galaxy. Check out the trailer below to get a taste of what's coming on June 20th!



Source: IGN

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UGG Announces Star Wars Line to Launch on May the 4th

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By: Dominic Jones

The footwear company UGG has announced that they will be launching a line of Star Wars inspired footwear to coincide with this year's Star Wars Day, aka May the 4th Be With You.  The boots being released are meant to honor the look of Darth Vader and will be available at select locations (see below) around the world with prices ranging from $100 to $225.

Check out some images of the products below,

Women's:





Men's:




Kids:
 

Via the official press release,
NEW YORK (April 30, 2015) – On May 4th the UGG® brand, a division of Deckers Brands (NYSE:DECK), in collaboration with Disney Consumer Products, will be launching the limited edition Star Wars by UGG® collection. Available at select locations worldwide, the collection celebrates the passion, imagination, emotional connection and multi-generational appeal of two iconic brands. Star Wars by UGG® will honor the characters that have captured the hearts and minds of millions of fans around the world. Ranging in price from $100 to $225, the first series in the collection features eight styles for men, women and kids honoring Darth Vader of the original Star Wars trilogy.

“We are thrilled to work with Disney Consumer Products and to be a part of the cultural phenomenon that is Star Wars,” said Vice President Creative Director for the UGG® brand, Leah Larson.  “We are proud to be a part of the Star Wars universe, and much like the UGG® brand, Star Wars has grown to be a part of our lives and families since the seventies.”

Thoughtful details are abundant in each collection and will appeal to the UGG® brand loyalist or avid Star Wars fan as each style includes a custom, inner-woven label featuring famed Star Wars quotes, original storyboard tissue paper and a custom Star Wars by UGG® box.

Both brands continue to evolve and innovate, adding new legions of fans to become a part of something that feels like nothing else. The Darth Vader line marks the first run of a three part series within the Star Wars by UGG® collection that will honor the iconic characters of the original films throughout the year, including the holiday season. This May, the collections can be purchased at the following North American UGG® brand stores, on www.uggaustralia.com and at select global locations:

  • Madison Avenue – New York, NY
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki – Honolulu, HI
  • The Grove – Los Angeles, CA
  • Union Square - San Francisco, CA
  • Fashion Valley Mall - San Diego, CA
  • South Coast Plaza – Costa Mesa, CA
  • Rush Street – Chicago, IL
  • The Forum Shops, Las Vegas, NV
  • Aventura Mall - Aventura, FL
  • Mall of America – Bloomington, MN
  •  Robson Street - Vancouver, BC
  • Yorkdale Shopping Centre - Toronto, ON
Looks like some pretty cool products are hitting the shelves to celebrate Star Wars Day!

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Report: Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Revealed

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By: Benjamin Hart

After many months of speculation and rumors, it seems the popular sandbox game Disney Infinity will be getting a long awaited Star Wars themed expansion. Dis Kingdom is reporting that German retailer Saturn has made the Disney Infinity 3.0 Star Wars Starter Set available for pre-order. The set includes Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano figures with Yoda, Darth Vader, Obi-Wan, Princess Leia and others featured prominently on the box art. It's set to be released in Germany on August 20th on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3 and PS4. Prices ranged from €59.99 for PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U to €69.99 for Xbox One and PS4.

Star Wars characters and more will be joining an assortment of other characters and universes already a part of the Infinity system, including Pixar, Marvel and Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to confirm this news, but they likely will soon. We will provide further updates on this story as it develops.

Source: Dis Kingdom

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Video Highlights From Kathleen Kennedy and Daisy Ridley's 'The Force Awakens' Press Conference

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By: Dominic Jones

Yesterday we heard about a press conference taking place in Japan featuring Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy and actor Daisy Ridley (Rey) promoting Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  Though there were no major reveals, as expected, and for the most part it was a reiteration of stuff that was stated earlier this month at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim.  Regardless, it's always fun to hear from those two and the Japanese website Asahi has some video highlights from the event.  The questions are asked in Japanese but the answers are in English.  


 
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Report: AMC to Host Star Wars Marathon to lead into 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

In the build up to release of any major movie that is the latest installment in a franchise, movie theaters have begun a new trend of hosting movie marathons, showing all the prior films in the series before the premiere of the next installment.  I attended one of these of the The Dark Knight Rises in 2012 where Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were screened leading up to the screening of the new film at midnight, and just about every Marvel Studios movie that comes out gets one as well (with the largest in scale taking place recently over two days showing all the films since Iron Man [2008] leading up to Avengers: Age of Ultron). 

Now, it seems, Star Wars will follow that trend.  Arnie from Star Wars Action News is reporting that an AMC theaters manager told that AMC will be hosting a Star Wars movie marathon leading up to the release of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens this December 18th.  Lucasfilm/Disney have not yet commented on this story.

Schedule your time off work now. AMC manager just confirmed for me there will be a STAR WARS MOVIE MARATHON for the release of THE FORCE AWAKENS in December!!! -Arnie
Posted by Star Wars Action News on Thursday, April 30, 2015
Seeing as The Force Awakens is being released in 3D, does this mean the prequels will be screened in 3D as part of this movie marathon as well?  That seems a bit unlikely.  I doubt the theaters would want to give up one of their 3D theaters (or projectors) to one audience for an entire day (or half a day) when they could be showing other current 3D movies and bringing in more money that way.  Which is a shame really, Revenge of the Sith especially looks great in 3D and it would be a nice gesture to fans were disappointed by the cancellation of the 3D re-releases.  All that being said, what I really hope, and assuming this is, is that this is a complete saga marathon and NOT just an Original Trilogy marathon.  As much as I would love to see the OT up on the big screen, I hope that Lucasfilm will respect the prequels as part of the saga and the fans who love those films too.  And for the most part Lucasfilm has done an excellent job of honoring all aspects of the saga (Battlefront being the one glaring exception).  Hopefully that will continue and we will see all seven films on screen during these movie marathons this December.


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DICE GM Discusses Battlefront's Canon Status

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By: Dominic Jones

Lucasfilm has been making a big push since the announcement of new films and the decision to re brand the existing Expanded Universe "Legends" (as non-canon) to have all of its stories fit together as one cohesive canon.  However, this does raise some questions about the status of the upcoming video game Star Wars Battlefront, which does not have a campaign/story, in terms of canon.  IGN caught up with DICE GM Patrick Bach, and asked him this very question.  Bach responded with, "It's complicated."

What Bach goes on to tell IGN is that while the battles players play out in Battlefront are not canon, however other elements of the game are considered canon, such as locations.  The example Bach uses is the planet Sullust.  Battlefront will be the first on screen appearance of Sullust, meaning that the look of Sullust we see in the game, will be the look that is used for all other appearances Sullust may make in other mediums (films, TV shows, books, comics, etc.).

While this all makes a lot of sense to me, it does raise one more interesting question.  What about the game's first DLC "The Battle of Jakku," which will take place after Return of the Jedi and explain the opening shot from the new trailer for The Force Awakens.  How does that fit into canon?  Will there be more of a story to that?  Unfortunately Bach didn't answer that, so we're left wondering about it until the DLC is released this December (or somebody clears it up before then).

Ultimately, I don't think canon really matters when it comes to a game like Battlefront.  During the "One Big Story: Working Within Star Wars Canon" panel at Celebration Anaheim, Lucasfilm Story Group member Pablo Hidalgo explained the difference between something being canon and something being authentic.  If something is canon it is part of the story, but if something is authentic it should feel like Star Wars even if it isn't officially part of the larger story.  And that to me is exactly what Battlefront is about, getting immersed in the Star Wars galaxy and living out the dream of taking part in epic Star Wars battles.

Star Wars Battlefront hits shelves on November 17th and the "Battle of Jakku" DLC will be available to all players on December 7th.


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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Watch: 'The Clone Wars' Panels From Celebration Anaheim

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By: Dominic Jones

Today has been a good day for Star Wars: The Clone Wars fans.  Not only did we see the release of the 'Bad Batch Arc' Story Reels, but also the release of two the panels from Star Wars Celebration about The Clone Wars.  Lucasfilm released both "The Untold Clone Wars" panel featuring Dave Filoni (Supervising Director) and Pablo Hidalgo (Lucasfilm Story Group member) from Thursday, and the Q&A following the "Bad Batch Arc" screening (just make sure you watch the arc first), which featured Filoni with actor Dee Bradley Baker (all the Clones), and writers Brent Friedman and Matt Michnovetz that took place on Friday.  Both panels were hosted by David Collins.

The Untold Clone Wars panel,

The 'Bad Batch Arc' Q&A,

These were phenomenal panels to see in person and I'm very happy that Lucasfilm has released them so that everyone can see them.  Hopefully Lucasfilm continues to have panels celebrating The Clone Wars at future Star Wars Celebrations!


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'The Force Awakens' Press Conference to be Held April 30th in Tokyo

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 By: Dominic Jones

May the 4th, aka Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you - get it?), is just around the corner and naturally people are wondering if we'll be seeing or hearing anything new about the upcoming film, Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  It seems there is at the very least some news incoming over the next few days.  Yahoo Japan is reporting that Lucasfilm president and The Force Awakens producer Kathleen Kennedy and Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the film, will be holding a press conference in Tokyo on April 30th.  While this is a few days before the "holiday" it could be the kick off for some reveal.  No word on when during the day the conference will be held, but seeing as it is already 9:00am in Tokyo, news could drop at any moment. 

As for what the announcement might be, well I'm not holding my breath for much.  We just got a new trailer less than two weeks ago at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California.  At most, I think we could get some sort of teaser poster (that's more than just the logo).  I expect, however, that we will most likely just see Ridley and Kennedy discussing how exciting the movie is, reiterating some stuff from Celebration, and perhaps telling a behind the scenes story or two (like how Ridley got the part or something along those lines).

Hopefully this is just the first of these sorts of press conferences we will be seeing around the world in the coming months as the Lucasfilm and Disney promotional machine really get going as we race towards the films release on December 18th, 2015.

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'The Force Awakens' Poster Spotted at US Movie Theater

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By: Dominic Jones

As we race towards the December 18the release date of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, we are starting to see the first signs of the promotional campaign (other than trailers, of course).  Musician, podcaster and Star Wars fans Darren Hayes spotted what has to be among the first posters for The Force Awakens at an LA-area movie theater.  Hayes tweeted an image of the poster, check it out below,
While this is far from the most exciting Star Wars poster (it's just the logo!) it's still exciting to see another reminder that Star Wars is in fact heading back to theaters later this year!


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'The Clone Wars Legacy: Bad Batch Arc' Story Reels Released!

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By: Dominic Jones

Good new for fans of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars, especially those who weren't able to attend the screening of the unfinished "Bad Batch" arc story reels at Star Wars Celebration earlier this month!  The four episodes, 'Bad Batch', 'A distant Echo', 'On the Wings of Keedaks', and 'Unfinished Business', are now available for streaming on StarWars.com.  In addition, the Q&A from the screening, featuring Supervising Director Dave Filoni, the voice of the Clones Dee Bradley Baker, and writers Brent Friedman and Matt Michnovetz, is also available.

This story arc introduces us to the "Bad Batch," a squad of unique clones, who join forces with Anakin and Captain Rex on a mission to find the ARC trooper Echo, who was presumed to have died during Season Three's "Citaldel Trilogy."  The arc is presented in its unfinished animation form (like the Crystal Crisis on Utapau arc that was released in late 2014), however it does feature a complete vocal performances by the stars of the series including Baker, James Arnold Taylor, Matt Lanter, and TC Carson.


And be sure to tune into the SWU Podcast this week to hear our thoughts on these episodes!


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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rumor: Millennium Falcon Action Sequence Description

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By: Dominic Jones

Our friends over at MakingStarWars.net have posted some very intriguing details about an action sequence (as well as the lead up to it) that takes place just before the climax of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.  As usual there is a chance that this may turn out to be false, but if your are trying to avoid all The Force Awakens spoilers then stop reading now.  And if you do choose to read on, be aware that there are people trying to avoid spoilers and don't go sharing this with people who don't want to know.  This is your official SPOILER ALERT!
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According to MakingStarWars.net the following is a break down of what happens between the time our heroes leave their base (aka the Greenham Common shooting location) and before their final confrontation with Kylo Ren.  Here's how it will play out,

EXTERIOR DAY RESISTANCE BASE BAY (MILLENNIUM FALCON) Leia gives Finn the lightsaber. Han promises to hurry back to Leia.

EXTERIOR DAY RESISTANCE BASE BAY (MILLENNIUM FALCON) wide shot as Millennium Falcon takes off on the mission.

INTERIOR DAY FIRST ORDER CASTLE – DUNGEON Rey uses some “special skills” to convince Stormtroopers to leave their post.

CG EXTERIOR NIGHT OUTSIDE / MILLENNIUM FALCON Millennium Falcon races fast towards its target.

PLATE EXTERIOR DAY RESISTANCE BASE Plate shots/landscapes as required for Millennium Falcon departure.

INTERIOR NIGHT MILLENNIUM FALCON – FALCON COCKPIT (GIMBAL) About to arrive, Han reveals his crazy plan to stop.

PLATE EXTERIOR DAY EVIL CASTLE / MILLENNIUM FALCON Plates required for Millennium Falcon’s emergency stop.

INTERIOR DAY MILLENNIUM FALCON – FALCON COCKPIT (GIMBAL) Han, Chewie, Finn screaming at sudden arrival.

PLATE EXTERIOR DAY FIRST ORDER CASTLE / MILLENNIUM FALCON Plates required for Millennium Falcon crashing through trees.

INTERIOR DAY MILLENNIUM FALCON – FALCON COCKPIT (GIMBAL) Han reacts to Millennium Falcon slamming through trees.

PLATE EXTERIOR DAY FIRST ORDER CASTLE / MILLENNIUM FALCON Plates required for Millennium Falcon coming to a standstill.

INTERIOR DAY MILLENNIUM FALCON – FALCON COCKPIT (GIMBAL) Standstill. Han shook up. Finn consoles him regarding Kylo Ren.

Basically it sounds like Han Solo will be bringing the Millennium Falcon to a quick stop in order to avoid any Imperial (or First Order) entanglements as they approach the snow planet seen in the trailers where the final confrontation will take place.  Also interesting to note is that we see more evidence of Rey being Force sensitive (though it seems to be all but confirmed both she and Finn will be) as it would appear she uses a Jedi Mind Trick.  

Finn consoling Han about Kylo Ren is also interesting.  It would be understandable, assuming Ren is Han's kid, that Han would feel great guilt over what is happening.  Han fought alongside the Rebels to bring down the Empire so to have his son be the new leader must be a crippling blow to him.  Any interaction between these two could also give us some insight into Finn's back story which seems shrouded in mystery at the moment.

As always this is just a rumor until confirmed or denied by Lucasfilm or Disney.

 
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More Ralph McQuarrie Influence Discovered In 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Benjamin Hart

Some of the most iconic Star Wars imagery ever comes from the legendary Ralph McQuarrie. The late concept artist established the look of the Galaxy far, far away before anything was even filmed, and his artwork continues to be used as inspiration for designs in new Star Wars stories. Most are aware of the McQuarrie influence that has existed in the new animated series Star Wars Rebels, but another new Star Wars production has also been paying homage to the artist in less than obvious ways.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is slated for release on December 18th, and over the course of it's production, through set photos and trailers, we have uncovered several instances of Ralph McQuarrie's artwork influencing the new film, some very recently.

First off we have concept art for an archway that was created for Jabba's Palace in Return Of The Jedi. It ended up appearing on the Planet Jakku in The Force Awakens in leaked set photos and subsequently in the first teaser trailer:


Also spotted in the teaser was Rey's costume, which bares a striking resemblance to early concept sketches for Luke:


BB-8's design also appears to draw inspiration from an early concept for R2-D2:


And just yesterday the folks at The Replica Prop Forum appear to have uncovered another link to the past in some new Episode VII designs. A few weeks back at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Lucasfilm revealed a collection of costumes and props at a special exhibit. In it, fans were able to get up close looks at Finn, Rey and Kylo's Ren's costume, and officially revealed brand new armor for a Snowtrooper and Flametrooper. The Snowtrooper in particular featured an insignia that is directly taken from a some Ralph McQuarrie concept art for Hoth:


It's also worth noting that the Snowtrooper's backpack also looks similar to the one in the concept art:


It's very awesome to see Ralph McQuarrie's art live on in this manner! It's comforting to know that new Star Wars creators are still looking to the past for inspiration. Have you noticed any McQuarrie influence in The Force Awakens aside from the instances listed here? Please let us know in the comments below!

Source: The Replica Prop Forum

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Monday, April 27, 2015

'The Clone Wars' Star Jim Cummings to Attend 80s Toy Expo 2015

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By: Dominic Jones

Jim Cummings, the voice of the fan favorite pirate Hondo Ohnaka on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, will be attending a very cool event in Mississauga, Ontario (just outside Toronto) this weekend.   Cummings, along with WWE Hall of Famer “The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, is headlining the 80's Toy Expo being held this Sunday, May 3rd, 2015 at the Hilton Mississauga/Meadowvale (6750 Mississauga Road, Mississauga, Ontario).

Cummings first portrayed Hondo back in the Season One episode "Dooku Captured" and instantly became a fan favorite appearing in episodes in Seasons Two and Five.  Cummings is set to reprise the role in the upcoming second season of Star Wars Rebels which will debut on Disney XD this summer.

The show will be a great to meet Cummings and also fill some holes in your collection!


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Mark Hamill Extended Interview From Celebration Anaheim

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By: Benjamin Hart

At Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, James Arnold Taylor sat down with Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, at a panel aptly titled "The Return Of The Jedi". Since Celebration ended the good folks at StarWars.com have been working to bring us tons of awesome videos from the convention. One such video features an extended backstage interview with Mark Hamill. In it, Mark discusses his family, his son Nathan, his return as Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens and dealing with his now infamous beard. Watch it here:



Be sure to head over to StarWars.com now to check out a gallery of photos from Hamill's personal collection, including some never before seen looks behind the scenes of Return Of The Jedi.

Source: YouTube

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Star Wars Fans Send X-Wing Model into Space

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By: Dominic Jones

There's a new viral video floating around made by the team at Project Helium Tears.  The guys behind Project Helium Tears, Matt Kingsnorth and Phil St Pier, are huge Star Wars fans and they want to go to the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  So to get the attention of director JJ Abrams they launched a model X-Wing fighter into the stratosphere.  They attached the x-Wing to a weather balloon and launched it, along with a GoPro camera which they used to beam video of the X-Wing back to Earth.

You can check out the video below,

This is some really cool stuff!  Kudos to the team at Project Helium, hopefully they'll get their wish!


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'X-Men: Apocalypse' Set Photo Reveals Star Wars Reference

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By: Benjamin Hart

When watching other things besides Star Wars, it's always a treat to see references to our favorite Galaxy far, far away in other media. Now it seems that one film in particular, which hasn't even been released yet, will feature a cool Star Wars Easter Egg. X-Men: Apocalypse, which is slated to be released on May 27th, 2016, began filming today. Simon Kinberg, who is one of the screenwriters for the film, tweeted a photo from the set of the film confirmed the news with something extra. The caption reads; "Day 1 of the Apocalypse.... Back to the 80s." The photo shows a theater Marquee announcing "Now playing: Return Of The Jedi". You can check it out below:


The previous X-Men film Days Of Future Past was set in the 1970's. This photo confirms that the film will be set at least on or after May 25th, 1983, when Jedi was released. We can assume that this reference happened thanks Kinberg himself who is heavily involved with the Star Wars Saga as co-executive producer on Star Wars Rebels and a creative consultant on Episode VII: The Force Awakens. In addition, Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens will also be portraying the titular character in Apocalypse. This will definitely be something to look for when it hits theaters next year!

Source: Twitter

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Hallmark Will Have Two 'The Force Awakens' Ornaments This Year

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Image via: Jedi News
By: Dominic Jones

Hallmark released their 2015 "Keepsake Ornament Dreambook" today, previewing all of the new ornaments they will release this Christmas.  Of course there will be several Star Wars releases, including two from the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  The first will be available in October and will cost $17.99 (US) and the second will hit shelves in November and will cost $19.99 (US).

Also being released are a Zeb ornament from Star Wars Rebels, a Y-Wing, a Luke with Yoda on Dagobah, and a C-3PO and R2-D2.  No word yet on what the The Force Awakens ornaments will be, but based on the trailers I would guess a BB-8 and a Rey's Speeder would be strong candidates, but that's just speculation on my part.

 
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Video: 'The Force Awakens' Cast & Crew Interviews At Celebration Anaheim

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By: Benjamin Hart

Lucasfilm made a huge splash last week at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim during The Force Awakens panel that kicked off the event. A large portion of the cast & crew were on stage to talk about their roles in the upcoming film, and a brand new teaser trailer was premiered soon after. Afterward the panelists went backstage to talk about their experiences.

The folks at Flicks and the City provided us with several fascinating video interviews with producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, director J.J. Abrams, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels, as well as the newest faces in the Star Wars universe; Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac. Check them all out below:









We can't wait to see the fruits of their labor on December 18th!

Source: Flicks and the City

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Kathleen Kennedy Gives an Update on 'The Force Awakens' Production

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By: Dominic Jones

Lucasfilm President and The Force Awakens producer Kathleen Kennedy chatted with the BBC during Star Wars Celebration last weekend, where she gave an update on the status of the production.  She told the BBC,

"JJ [Abrams, the director] is editing the third act as we speak. We'll probably take a look at the film early summer. We've been working on effects as we've been moving along. We'll score the movie a little bit in June, and then throughout the summer. So it'll be a process as it comes together. But everything I've seen has been fantastic. I mean it just gets better and better and better as it all comes together."

She also discussed the casting process, specifically about finding the film's leads Daisy Ridley (Rey) and John Boyega (Finn), saying, 

"Daisy Ridley was a product of a massive search that we went on for months and months and months. But when she came into the room I would say almost instantaneously she just lit up and was so obviously the right person that we were looking for. She really claimed the role.

And John Boyega was somebody we'd known of because of Attack the Block. And we'd been sort of putting him on the top of our list right from the beginning. But, then again, we went on a massive search just to see who was out there, and we kept coming back to realizing that John would be the perfect Finn."

During the big kick off The Force Awakens preview panel on Thursday at Celebration, Kennedy promised that we would be seeing more strong female roles in the new Star Wars films.  She expanded on this to the BBC saying,

"We're putting women in strong roles.  We're just changing things up a bit so that the characters inside the Star Wars universe reflect the audience. And that's what I think in general most movies should do, and why not Star Wars."

We've already seen some evidence of this in the casting of Ridley as well as Gwendoline Christie and Lupita Nyong'o in The Force Awakens, and the casting of Oscar nominee Felicity Jones in the first Star Wars Anthology film Rogue One.  And, for one, couldn't be happier that Kennedy and Lucasfilm are taking this approach.  I think she nailed it in her answer, Star Wars should reflect its audience and the world around it.  This way more people will become fans, which just means more people to share our passion with.  And that can only be a good thing.

 
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Daisy Ridley Talks 'The Force Awakens' With EW

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By: Benjamin Hart

Over the course of The Force Awakens' production, we've heard from many members of the cast & crew, including Director J.J. Abrams, Oscar Isaac(Poe Dameron) and Mark Hamill(Luke Skywalker). But there's one actress in particular that has been remarkably silent over the past year, until now. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the film, made her first major public appearance at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim last week alongside her co-stars Oscar Isaac and John Boyega, who plays Finn. Amidst the festivities Ridley took time out to sit down with Entertainment Weekly to talk about what will no doubt be the breakout role for the previously unknown actress.

First off, Ridley discussed her high school which, interestingly enough, can be seen in the ballet scene in Avengers: Age Of Ultron:

"I went to a school called Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. I went because initially I was very naughty, and my mom thought if I was busy, I’d be better. And I didn’t really do acting until later on in the school, with an amazing teacher. I left, went traveling, came back. And then it all kind of went from there."

She also confirmed where exactly she's from, especially in relation to her co-star John Boyega:

"London. And somebody did ask me if me and John got on because we’re from the same place. We’re not from the same place. [Laughs.] He’s from South London, I’m from West."

About her family:

"I’ve got sisters. I’m the youngest of actually five. We have been watching the movies again, and my middle sister is super excited. Last year when we were filming, everyone came round and we had dinner and watched Episode IV, A New Hope, which was super cool."

And on working with Original Trilogy actors:

"It was weird, in hindsight, going back to watching the film after having seen it, and then having worked with them, and then going to watch it again, it was a weird thing."

On her favorite filming location:

"Weirdly enough, probably Abu Dhabi, even though it was so hot, it was like you literally can’t imagine that heat. The feeling of stepping onto a real set for the first time, it genuinely was a baptism of fire. To see creatures walking around and speeders chilling in the sand, that was amazing, and because I was shooting there, it was like everything had built up to that moment. So a few days in, I was like, OK. I’m getting my groove now."

And on her experience at Celebration:

"I didn’t think of it like that until dinner last night when somebody mentioned how many people might be watching. [Laughs.] It was so cool to be part of a film that is loved so much, and then to be able to launch in that sphere with just fans and people who love what we’re doing and are so excited about what’s going to come in December, that was the best way to come out, as it were."

Be sure to head over to Entertainment Weekly and read the full interview where she reveals more about her family and her acting heritage, why an acting reel dissapeared from her web site, and what's she's doing in the wake of The Force Awakens.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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Oscar Isaac Talks Poe Dameron, New Trailer, BB-8, and More

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By: Dominic Jones

Oscar Isaac, who plays Poe Dameron in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, sat down with IGN this week and chatted about his role in the new film, as well as the character BB-8, his experience of working on the film, and more.  Check out the video interview below:


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Hasbro Will Have a Star Wars Exclusive at SDCC

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By: Dominic Jones

Despite not having one for last week's Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, Hasbro is promising there will be one this July at San Diego Comic Con.  MakingStarWars.net chatted with Hasbro's Joe Ninivaggi at Celebration and asked about the lack of an exclusive, here's what Ninivaggi had to say,

"Yeah you know…next time we definitely will.  We’re going to have an exclusive at San Diego for sure.  You know, it’s just the time – what we can and can’t do, what we can and can’t show – we’re really ramping up for the fall.  We just opted not to, but I think in the future we will for sure."

As for what the SDCC exlcusive will be, Ninivaggi isn't quite sure yet.  He told MSW
"I don’t know yet.  I’m not sure.  We’re still working on what our reveal plans will be but stay tuned it will be out soon.  San Diego is around the corner!"

Could the SDCC exclusive be our first The Force Awakens figure?  I doubt it.  It still seems rather early for something like that.  And while it was somewhat disappointing not to see a Hasbro exclusive at Celebration, it does make sense.  Episode VII is still so far out that Hasbro is probably still in the early stages of working on the figures.  As Ninivaggi said, the fall seems to be the time when The Force Awakens merchandise will hit shelves.  SDCC may be close enough to that that perhaps Hasbro will make its big reveals there.

Plus, it sounds like we'll be getting a Hasbro exclusive at Celebration Europe in 2016!


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Friday, April 24, 2015

Celebration Anaheim: The SWU Podcast VIDEO

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It's the Star Wars Underworld Podcast live from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim. On Saturday morning, Chris, Ben, and Dominic made SWU history and recorded in front of a live audience on the podcast stage at Celebration Anaheim! First they chatted with John Morton (Dak and Bespin Boba in The Empire Strikes Back) about Star Wars fandom as well as John's theory about what happened to Dak. Then, they turn things over to the audience to to share some stories about their experience at Celebration. And to wrap it up they speculate a little about the new The Force Awakens teaser. Plus a BBQ related surprise! All this and much more!




Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.    
Website:  www.starwarsunderworld.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/swunderworld
Twitter: @TheSWU
Subscribe and Review on iTunes
Email: swunderworld@gmail.com
Voicemail: 1-410-989-1138
Listen live Thursdays at 9pm EST on Channel 1138

   

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The SWU Podcast LIVE | 24/04/15

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On this episode Chris, Ben, and Dominic are back from Star Wars Celebration and kick off their wrap up of the biggest party in the galaxy by discussing what wen down on Thursday (and Wednesday).  From the overnight line to parties to everything in between they share some of their fondest memories.  Then they break down the teaser trailer for The Force Awakens in a (mostly) spoiler free fashion.  They also recap the phenomenal "The Untold Clone Wars" panel, and share their thoughts on what might have been.  Plus, they report on the The Force Awakens exhibit from Celebration and try to connect the new trailer to some old spoiler reports.  All this and much more!


Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3.   
Website:  www.starwarsunderworld.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/swunderworld
Twitter: @TheSWU
Subscribe and Review on iTunes
Email: swunderworld@gmail.com
Voicemail: 1-410-989-1138
Listen live Thursdays at 9pm EST on Channel 1138  

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Rumor: Riz Ahmed & Sam Claflin Being Considered For Roles In 'Rogue One'

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By: Benjamin Hart

Now that The Force Awakens is in post-production, news & rumors about the next Star Wars film are beginning to heat up. So far we know that Gareth Edwards is directing Rogue One, with Felicity Jones starring as a "Rebel soldier" and a story centered on a mission to steal the Death Star plans prior to A New Hope. Now, thanks to Variety, we have a new potential cast member for the 2016 film. Riz Ahmed, who's best know for his roles in Nightcrawler(2014) and Four Lions(2010), is reportedly being eyed to star alongside Jones in the first Star Wars Anthology film. Variety could not confirm the role in question, but note that he will most likely play a Rebel soldier as well. They add that Ahmed was one of several actors who met with Edwards last week, and his chemistry with Felicity Jones earned him a spot at the top of the casting list. It's unclear if Ahmed is vying for the same role that we heard Ben Mendelsohn was being considered for last month, or this is a new character. Variety claims that Mendelsohn has been cast as the main villain of the Rogue One.

Badass Digest corroborated this news. They add that the film will have a large cast and is being compared to The Dirty Dozen and The Magnificent Seven.

The Wrap also chimed in, reporting that Sam Claflin, of The Hunger Games and Pirates Of The Caribbean, is in the running for a "substantial" role in Rogue One.

Although coming from reliable sources, nothing is official until it's confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney. Take this as a rumor for the time being! Star Wars: Rogue One opens in theaters December 16th, 2016. The official synopsis reads: "A rogue band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans and bring new hope to the Galaxy."

Sources: Variety, Badass Digest, The Wrap

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Recap Of 'The Untold Clone Wars' Panel At Celebration Anaheim

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By: Benjamin Hart

Last week at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim we learned a huge amount about the Star Wars Saga! But it wasn't all focused on the future of the story with panels devoted to The Force Awakens and Star Wars Rebels, Dave Filoni and several members of his talented crew, who are currently hard at work on Rebels. brought with them to Celebration a collection of clips, concept art, and tons of info from yet unreleased episodes of the now canceled animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The reveals took place during two awesome panels, the first being one held on the first day of the convention, titled "The Untold Clone Wars". Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo appeared on the Digital Stage along with stage host David Collins to discussed several story arcs in detail that would have made up seasons seven and beyond. The Star Wars Underworld team was in attendance and we we're determined to relay what was said and shown and the panel to those of you who could not be in the room. Dominic Jones, our head writer, live tweeted the panel. StarWars.com was kind enough to provide us with a collection of concept art that was shown at the panel. We also included some of our own photos from the panel. Be sure to check out everything below:









































Be sure to check out the full gallery of art on StarWars.com!


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