Monday, November 30, 2015

Gwendoline Christie Poses in Captain Phasma Inspired Gown for Vanity Fair

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By: Dominic Jones

One character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens who has already made a major impact on fans, despite limited screen time in the trailers and TV spots is Captain Phasma.  Already being called the Boba Fett of the sequel trilogy, Phasma is the Chrome-armor clad First Order stormtrooper captain played in the film by Gwendoline Chirstie (Game of Thrones).  Among the many people the character had an impact on was designer Giles Deacon, who was inspired to make a Captain Phasma-themed gown.  Vanity Fair released a new video and slideshow today from a photo shoot of Gwendoline Christie in the Phasma gown (complete with Phasma's blaster).  Check it out below,

Christie and Deacon


I think it's really cool to see the design of the new films inspiring people like Deacon to create unique works of art like this.  It's also really cool that they were able to get Christie to take part in the shoot.


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Daisy Ridley Talks About Her First Day on Set of 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley spoke about her difficult first day on the set of the film in the recent issue of Glamour magazine.  Ridley recalled receiving some constructive criticism from director JJ Abrams that was a little hard to hear for the relatively inexperienced star.  Ridley told Glamour,
"JJ… probably doesn’t remember telling me that my performance was wooden. This was the first day! And I honestly wanted to die. I thought I was gonna cry. I couldn’t breathe. And there was so many crew there, because obviously all the creatures [had stand-ins], and there were loads of extra crew making sure everyone was safe because it was so hot. It was awful."

To be fair, I don't think JJ Abrams was doing anything wrong by saying this to her, he was just doing his job (directing).  That being said, I totally empathize with Ridley.  It's her first day on set of one of the biggest movies of all time (the biggest, if you ask Steven Spielberg), in a less than hospitable environment (the heat in Abu Dhabi), and the boss says you need to do better.  It would be a tough situation for anyone.  Now, based on what Abrams has said about Ridley since then, it sounds like she took his advice to heart and was able to change/improve her performance to reflect that.


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'Star Wars Rebels: The Future of the Force' Preview

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By: Dominic Jones

We learned earlier today that Star Wars Rebels had been renewed for a third season, but before we get to Season Three we've got a long way to go in Season Two.  Season Two picks up on Wednesday with a new episode titled "The Future of the Force".  The clip features the return of the two Inquisitors, The Fifth Brother and The Seventh Sister, from earlier this season and teases a showdown between the Inquisitors and Kanan.  Check it out below,

Star Wars Rebels: The Future of the Force airs Wednesday night at 9:30pm on Disney XD.


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Steven Spielberg Has High Praise for 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

Steven Spielberg may never have directed a Star Wars film (though he did direct some pre-viz work for Revenge of the Sith) but he's connected to the franchise through his friends since the beginning.  He's close friends with creator George Lucas, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, and The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams.  Through connections he's always had a unique insight into the franchise, and he's one of the few people who have seen The Force Awakens (three times!)  He spoke with the French news website RTL about the new film, saying,

"I think The Force Awakens could be the biggest movie of all time."

That's pretty high praise from one of the greatest directors today.  Spielberg has always been excited about Star Wars, so if he likes fans will probably be pretty happy with it.


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R2-KT Will Appear In 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Benjamin Hart

We're just mere days away from the premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, but it appears we have at least one more casting confirmation to talk about. While this new cast member may not be Human, her inclusion in The Force Awakens is very significant on several different levels. Albin Johnson, founder of 501st Legion, recently confirmed that the R2-KT, an Astromech Droid created and named in honor of his late daughter Katie, will indeed be appearing in the upcoming film.


The Droid came to be over 10 years ago when Katie Johnson was diagnosed with a brain Tumor and Albin and fellow family members came up with the idea to have a R2-KT watch over the girl as she slept. Unfortunately Katie passed away before the Droid could be fully realized. But that didn't stop R2-KT from making a difference as she went on to participate in various 501st fundraising events and visit other hospitalized children. In 2008 R2-KT was immortalized in CGI animation and made her big screen debut in the theatrical Star Wars: The Clone Wars film alongside another infamous Astromech Droid; R2-D2. She also appeared in a handful of episode of the subsequent animated series of the same name, as well as the Clone Wars Adventures video game and two Lego Star Wars productions.


Last week Albin Johnson released a statement announcing that R2-KT will have a cameo in The Force Awakens, and noted that she appeared briefly in the behind the scenes reel shown at San Diego Comic Con(above) earlier this year. Johnson also spoke with our friends at Geeks Speak and explained how KT landed the role:

“Mary Franklin of Lucasfilm asked me to pitch the idea to Kathleen Kennedy (Lucasfilm President), and after hearing the story of our pink ambassador of hope Lucasfilm requested we ship her off to London early last year. Quick repairs were made and off she went for six months.”

In a statement on Facebook, Johnson also added:

"We've been sitting on the news for over a year, and it was hard work getting her to London. But the excitement over JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy believing in the story behind KT is a huge endorsement to how much the new guard believes in the fans and the true magic behind Star Wars."

It is indeed awesome that the filmmakers behind The Force Awakens were willing to allow R2-KT to live on in live action form. Her cameo will be among the things we will be looking forward to when the film premieres on December 18th!


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'The Force Awakens' Cast Members Slated to Appear on 'LIVE With Kelly & Michael'

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By: Dominic Jones

LIVE With Kelly & Michael is the latest talk show to announce their slate of guests from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  Five members of the cast will be appearing on the show over the next few weeks.  The schedule is,

12/1 – HARRISON FORD
12/3 – CARRIE FISHER
12/8 – DAISY RIDLEY
12/9 – JOHN BOYEGA
12/14 – GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE

LIVE With Kelly & Michael airs Monday through Friady at 9am EST on NBC.


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JJ Abrams Talks Luke Skywalker and More on Good Morning America

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By: Dominic Jones

Good Morning America had their first of several guests from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens this morning and it was director JJ Abrams.  Abrams spoke about a variety of topics including the cast, his hopes for the reaction to the film, and Luke Skywalker.  Check out the interview below,


I think it's really interesting what Abrams says about Luke being a myth in the sequel era.  I never liked the way Legends turned Luke, Han, and Leia into celebrities following the fall of the Empire, so I'm really looking forward to this new story.

Harrison Ford is slated to appear on GMA tomorrow, with John Boyega and Daisy Ridley appearing on Wednesday.  

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theatres on December 18th.

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Gameplay Trailer for 'Star Wars Battlefront: The Battle of Jakku'

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By: Dominic Jones

The Star Wars Battlefront DLC, "The Battle of Jakku" drops on December 8th and EA has released a gameplay trailer for "The Battle of Jakku".  The battle is set about a year after Endor and the planet Jakku will feature prominently in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Check out the trailer below,


The description for the video reads,
Experience the Battle of Jakku, the pivotal moment when the New Republic confronted key Imperial holdouts on a remote desert planet. Taking place in the aftermath of the Rebel victory in the Battle of Endor, players will experience the events that created the massive, battle-scarred landscape of Jakku shown in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Star Wars Battlefront The Battle of Jakku is available December 8th on PS4, PC and Xbox One.

Are you looking forward to playing "The Battle of Jakku"?  Let us know in the comments!


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'Star Wars Rebels' Renewed For a Third Season

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars Rebels will be on the air for at least one more Season once Season Two wraps up next spring.  TV Insider confirmed today that Disney XD had renewed the animated series for a third Season, which will air in 2016.  

TV Insider also teased some major upcoming storylines for Season Two of Rebels, which continues Wednesday night at 9:30pm on Disney XD.  They spoke with Taylor Gray who teased what's in store for Ezra saying,

“He’s accomplished a lot over the course of the first season and has found his own family with the rebel group,” the actor continues. “The one question that’s still unanswered for him is: What happened to his parents?” The answer to that, Gray hints, “will determine what Ezra’s fate is.”

Series Executive Producer Dave Filoni also spoke with TV Insider and teased a major reveal coming in the mid-season finale airing on December 12th,
“I’m driving everybody nuts with that on the crew,” he says, adding that “only a select group of people have actually gotten to see” the episode’s highly guarded (and apparently epic) final minutes. “The actors don't even know what happens!”

As a huge fan of Rebels, I'm really excited to hear that we'll be getting another season of action with the cre of The Ghost.  I'm also very intrigued to see what Filoni is talking about.  Could it be related in some way to The Force Awakens?  I wouldn't hold my breath for that, but I wouldn't rule it out either.  Regardless, Rebels fans are in for a treat.

  
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George Lucas Talks Greedo Shooting First, New Era of Star Wars, and More

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By: Dominic Jones

Although he's not involved in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as we race towards the film's December 18th release everyone wants to talk to Star Wars creator George Lucas.  The Washington Post sat down with Lucas recently and talked to him about a variety of topics including his relationship with the new films, the status of The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, and the controversial "Who shot first" debate.

“I call it like a divorce,” Lucas says candidly. He always knew that at some point he’d have to part with “Star Wars” in order for the franchise to go on living.

“There is no such thing as working over someone’s shoulder,” he says. “You’re either the dictator or you’re not. And to do that would never work, so I said ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ . . . I knew that I couldn’t be involved. All I’d do is make them miserable. I’d make myself miserable. It would probably ruin a vision — J.J. has a vision, and it’s his vision.”

As recently as a couple weeks ago, with fans going ape over tidbits and new trailers for “The Force Awakens,” Lucas had still not seen the film. Not a frame.

He expected that he would soon see it here at the ranch (“I’ve got the best theater in the world,” he notes), perhaps even with Abrams and Lucasfilm Ltd. President Kathleen Kennedy (a longtime Lucas collaborator) in the room, watching him watch it. What then?

“Now I’m faced with this awkward reality, which is fine,” Lucas says. Extending the metaphor, he says it’s like when a grown child gets married. “I gotta go to the wedding. My ex will be there, my new wife will be there, but I’m going to have to take a very deep breath and be a good person and sit through it and just enjoy the moment, because it is what it is and it’s a conscious decision that I made.”

About The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, which Lucas is working on opening in Chicago, Lucas said,
“The great thing about art is that you get a feeling about something, you get knowledge about something, but you don’t know why. Describe the Sistine Chapel — it’s very hard. ‘It made me feel spiritual feelings and thoughts I’d never had before.’ Well, what do you mean? ‘I don’t know what I mean — you’ll have to just go and see it.’ ‘Star Wars’ was like that. People couldn’t describe it; they just kept saying, you gotta go see it, you gotta go see it, you gotta go see it. Now we’re like that with [the Broadway hit musical] ‘Hamilton’ — you gotta go see it. Why? . . . To try to describe these things is very hard.”

Lucas also addressed Greedo shooting first in the 1997 Special Edition of Star Wars: A New Hope.  He explained the change, saying,
“Han Solo was going to marry Leia, and you look back and say, ‘Should he be a cold-blooded killer?’  Because I was thinking mythologically — should he be a cowboy, should he be John Wayne? And I said, ‘Yeah, he should be John Wayne.’ And when you’re John Wayne, you don’t shoot people [first] — you let them have the first shot. It’s a mythological reality that we hope our society pays attention to.”

I think that's a very interesting response from Lucas.  For the record, I've never had a problem with Lucas' changes.  Some I like, some I don't, but I firmly believe that Lucas had the right to do what he wanted to do with his film.  Greedo shooting first never bothered me, but I understand why it did some people.  But I like Lucas' thinking on this, it makes sense.  Han's still a killer, he shows no remorse.  Having Greedo shoot first doesn't put him "on the side of the angels", but it does give him a bit a code.  And again, that code doesn't make him a good guy, he's not doing a good thing because he waits to kill Greedo until Greedo shoots first.  He's still killing people without thinking twice about it and was ready to kill Greedo the moment he took blaster out of its holster.  

I really think the rage about Han shooting first and the changes in general has been way overblown, because they have so little effect on the films themselves.  Star Wars has remained popular since the changes, with many new fans joining the club, so to speak, since 1997.  Even if you say this is in spite of the changes, it just goes to show how unimportant they really are.  They don't affect the overall mythology in a significant way and they don't affect the enjoyment of new viewers.  It's a real shame that these debates have become such a feature of Star Wars fandom, because they really don't matter.

Source: The Washington Post

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Two New 'The Force Awakens' TV Spots

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By: Dominic Jones

Lucasfilm has released two new TV spots for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  They are mostly made up of footage we've seen before but there are a few new shots.  The first spot features lots of new "dialogue" from BB-8, giving a good listen to what his "voice" sounds like.  Check it out below,


This is also the first time that any of the trailers or TV spots confirm that film is rated PG-13.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18th.

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

New Disney Channel 'The Force Awakens' Featurette Focuses on Finn

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By: Dominic Jones

Disney Channel has released another featurette promoting the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  Last week we got a featurette focusing on Rey and this week we've got one focused on Finn, including several new shots from the film, lots of behind the scenes footage, and an interview with John Boyega.  Check it out below,
NEW TFA VIDEO: Finn Featurette from the Disney Channel. #StarWars
Posted by Rebel Force Radio on Sunday, November 29, 2015
There's some interesting new shots of Finnn removing his stormtrooper gear on Jakku in there, as well as of the TIE fighter escaping the First Order and the Millennium Falcon crashing on an ice planet.  Plus, the behind the scenes stuff really makes it look like they had a lot of fun shooting this movie!


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Daisy Ridley Talks About Flying the Millennium Falcon in New Interview

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By: Dominic Jones

The German YouTube Channel Movie Maniacs interviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley (Rey) recently about training for the film, flying the Millennium Falcon, and her friendship with her co-star John Boyega (Finn).  Check it out below,

You can see Ridley on the Millennium Falcon gimbal she talks about in the interview in the behind the scenes reel which debuted at San Diego Comic Con earlier this year.


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Saturday, November 28, 2015

New Image of Billie Lourd in 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

We've known for a while now that Carrie Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd (Scream Queens) would be appearing in Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, and eagle eyed viewers were able to spot her in a recent TV spot, but we've never gotten a good look at her character.  Until now.  Our pals over at MakingStarWars.net came across a Tweet from Twitter user @SGaviri who got their hands on a magazine featuring an image of Lourd's character standing next to the droid PZ-4CO in a Resistance war room.  Check it out below,
This appears to be the same location you can see Lourd in in the TV spot (at around 0:47) below,

I don't expect Lourd to have a large role, but it's still nice to see Star Wars staying in the family for Carrie and Billie.


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The Force Awakens Cast Set to Appear on 'The Tonight Show' & 'Good Morning America' This Week

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By: Dominic Jones

After the success of last week's special The Force Awakens episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, the cast of the film is set to continue their press tour next week making stops at two major talk shows, Good Morning America and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.  Unlike their appearance on Kimmel, however, the cast will be appearing separately across several days on the talk shows this week.  The break down is as follows,

On The Tonight Show,
Monday, November 30th: J.J. Abrams
Tuesday, December 1st: Harrison Ford
Wednesday, December 2nd: Adam Driver
Thursday, December 3rd: Daisy Ridley

On Good Morning America,
Monday November 30th: J.J. Abrams
Tuesday December 1st: Harrison Ford
Wednesday December 2nd: Daisy Ridley and John Boyega!
Our pal Jason Ward over at MakingStarWars.net has also heard from his sources that Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, and Carrie Fisher are also slated to appear on Good Morning America at some point.

Sounds like it should be a good week of television for Star Wars fans!  Make sure to tune in live or set your DVR.


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New Lego Sets Feature Looks at New 'The Force Awakens' Locations and Ships

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By: Dominic Jones


Some new images of sets from the next wave of Lego Star Wars sets from The Force Awakens were released this weekend by the online toy retailer The Entertainer.  They are "Resistance Troop Transport" and "The Battle on Takodana".  Check out the images below,



The Resistance Troop Transport set appears to come with minifigures of General Leia, Admiral Ackbar, and a couple of Resistance troopers.  The ship looks great!  It definitely appears to have been inspired by the B-Wing, which especially cool since we just saw the origin of the B-Wing on Star Wars Rebels a few weeks ago.

The Battle on Takodana set looks cool as well, if a bit small.  I think this is the first product we've seen that features both Finn with a lightsaber, Kylo Ren with a removable mask, or Maz Kanata at all.  It also seems to confirm that Maz Kanata's castle is on Takodana. 

No word yet when the sets are slated release, but I would speculate that early 2016 is likely.

Source: The Entertainer

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New Disney Channel Behind the Scenes Feature on Rey

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By: Dominic Jones

A new behind the scenes feature about Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens aired on Disney Channel recently.  The feature focused on Rey and included an interview with Daisy Ridley as well as several new shots from the film.  Check it out below,

As you saw, we got a few new shots from Jakku, including from the chase of the Millennium Falcon through the starship graveyard, as well as some new shots from what appears to be Maz's castle, and from a new sequence involving Rey and Finn crawling through an unknown location.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres December 18th

Source: YouTube

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Review: Star Wars Saga Blu-ray Steelbooks

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By: Dominic Jones

Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox re-released the blu-rays of the Star Wars saga last week, just in time for fans who want to revisit the classic films, or introduce them to new fans, before The Force Awakens opens on December 18th.  This new set features new steelbook cases for the each of the films.

The films themselves look spectacular on blu-ray.  The discs included in the steelbooks are a repackage of the 2011 release of the saga, with the same disc art, menus, and commentaries.  All of which are still nice features, it just would have been nice to see one or two new bonus features included.  The archival commentary track, which is made up of a collection of press interviews members of the cast and crew have done over the years, is especially fun as you get a wide variety of commentators from various moments in time since the film's release.


The main appeal behind the steelbook release is the new packaging, which is awesome.  The covers look great and it's cool to have an individual case for each film (which I believe is a first for Star Wars on blu-ray).  A nice surprise was that the film's theatrical poster is featured on the back of the case.  It is a little odd that the back of the case is tinted to match the character on the front (which you can see in the video above).  This works fine for most of the films, especially for The Phantom Menace and Return of the Jedi where the tint of the character matches the natural tint of the poster, however for Attack of the Clones (which features Yoda on the cover) the poster is tinted green which just looks strange.  That being said, overall the steelbooks look great and would make a nice addition to one's DVD/Blu-ray shelf.

One warning though, the steelbooks are somewhat fragile.  In a move that can only be described as Jar Jar-esque, I accidentally dropped my copy of The Phantom Menace and the case split in two along the spine.  Obviously, the solution here is to not drop your steelbooks!  So learn from my mistake and be extra careful with your copies.

Overall this is a solid, if bare bones, release of the Star Wars saga on blu-ray.  The steelbooks look fantastic and would make an fine addition to any collection (just be careful with them!)  This release is also perfect for introducing new people to the saga before Episode VII hits theatres next month or to give someone the gift of Star Wars this holiday season.

Score: 7.5/10

A photo posted by Dominic Jones (@dominicj25) on

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25

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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Thursday, November 26, 2015

The SWU Podcast LIVE | 27/11/15

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On this episode Chris, Ben, and Dominic break down the latest Star Wars news and rumors!  They discuss the first full clip from The Force Awakens as well as the new TV spots.  They also look a recent comments by George Lucas about his involvement, or lack thereof, in the new films, what impact might they have and how did we get to this point.  Plus, Ben gives his review of the Jakku experience on Star Tours, the cast of The Force Awakens appears on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and a Force for Change update.  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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Rumor: The Force Awakens Soundtrack Listing Revealed

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By: Dominic Jones

The music of Star Wars has always played a major role in the series and is some of the most iconic film scores of all time.  Fans rejoiced when it was announced back in summer 2013 that John Williams would be returning to write the music for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  Since then we've heard little snippets of Williams new work in trailers and TV spots, with the full soundtrack slated for a December 18th release.  Amazon France now appears to have a complete track list for the music that will be released on the album.  Fans fearing that there may another "Qui-Gon's Noble End" incident can rest easy, there's nothing that bad.  But if you are trying to avoid all The Force Awakens spoilers stop reading now.  This is your SPOILER ALERT!
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Here is the track listings
1. Main Title and the Attack on the Jakku Village

2. The Scavenger

3. I Can Fly Anything

4. Rey Meets BB-8

5. Follow Me

6. Rey’s Theme

7. The Falcon

8. That Girl with the Staff

9. The Rathtars!

10. Finn’s Confession

11. Maz’s Counsel

12. The Starkiller

13. Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle

14. The Abduction

15. Han and Leia

16. March of the Resistance

17. Snoke

18. On the Inside

19. Torn Apart

20. The Ways of the Force

21. Scherzo for X-Wings

22. Farewell and the Trip

23. The Jedi Steps and Finale
 
There you have it.  If you've been following along with the spoilers, you'll know this seems to confirm at least one major plot point.  Seeing as this comes from Amazon we have no reason to doubt it, but we're still classifying this as a rumor until it's confirmed or denied by Lucasfilm or Disney.

Source: Amazon (France)
 
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Galactic Map From 'The Force Awakens' Era Revealed

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By: Dominic Jones

Empire Magazine revealed the names of several new planets from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens on their website, but their magazine had even more details including a map of the galaxy from the era.  Check it out below,

The map includes the new planets from The Force Awakens, including those revealed earlier today.  Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo confirmed that the map was created for the upcoming book The Force Awakens: Visual Dictionary.
The map has led to some interesting speculation about Starkiller Base from The Force Awakens, specifically that it was once the planet Ilum (the ice planet where Kyber/lightsaber crystal were found on The Clone Wars).  Our pal Pete Morrison from Rebels Report points out that Starkiller Base is located in a similar location to where Ilum was located in Legends.

It's definitely an interesting theory.  We've seen an ice planet in The Force Awakens trailers and TV spots, which is believed to be Starkiller Base.  It definitely seems plausible, though it bears keeping in mind that Pablo stated that the map is not comprehensive and is more of a sampling of the galaxy,

Regardless, it's a cool theory and would be a nice nod to fans of The Clone Wars and Legends in the new film.


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Rebels Review: "Stealth Strike"

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars Rebels continued its string of solid episodes this week with "Stealth Strike".  "Stealth Strike" picked up on the relationship between Kanan and Captain Rex, something that had been put to the back burner for the past few weeks.  The episode saw Kanan and Rex going undercover to rescue Ezra, Sato and other members of Phoenix Squadron and, in doing so, helping them move on in their relationship.

In a season that has been largely devoid of an overarching plot line, the Kanan and Rex relationship is one of the few aspects that can be traced over multiple episodes.  When this week’s episode begins, the initial tension we saw between them in the season opening two-parter has not subsided and Kanan still has difficulty trusting Rex.  Rex, for his part, works to gain the trust of Kanan and his self sacrifice in this episode seems to do just that.

Rex's decision to surrender himself to the Empire was a good way to reinforce his commitment to the Rebellion.  Though fans of The Clone Wars may trust Rex implicitly, it's important to remember that the characters in the show (and new fans to Star Wars animation) may not.  The line between Clone Trooper and Stormtrooper became very blurred when the Republic fell and the Empire rose, and the average person in the galaxy likely doesn't know the difference.  By having Rex reject an offer to return to a life in the white armor, the show is sending a strong message to the characters, and the audience, that he can be trusted.

The scene at the end of the episode where Kanan and Rex salute each other seems to indicate a mutual trust established and a turning point in their relationship.  Kanan going back for Rex and seeing him flatly reject the Imperial Officer's deal, offered enough proof to Kanan that he could finally count on Rex.  But now the question is what will their relationship become?  While the distrust is gone, I wouldn't expect (or want) the banter between them to go away any time soon.  Kanan and Rex still disagree fundamentally on major issues surrounding military procedure and the Rebellion as a whole, even if the animosity that had existed early this season has dissipated.

Ezra was also given a chance to shine this week, though he was definitely secondary to Rex and Kanan.  "Stealth Strike" gave us a chance to see just how far Ezra has come in his Jedi training, both from a purely technical standpoint, in the way he takes down stormtroopers, and from an ethical standpoint, avoiding killing troopers when he doesn't have to.  Gone are the days of Ezra accidentally tapping into the Dark Side of the Force as we saw early in Season One.  We now see a young Jedi who is a significant asset to the Rebellion.

It was a fun move having Ezra call himself "Jabba the Hutt" any time he was captured be the giveaway of his true identity, and it's interesting to see how much notoriety our Rebels have within the Empire.  The episode also did a much better job at handling Ezra’s need to get away from Rex and Kanan than "Brothers of the Broken Horn" did a few weeks back, by having him go on a mission with Commander Sato rather than just taking off.

"Stealth Strike" was also the best use of Chopper in recent weeks.  Chopper was still his usual, funny self--showing the recording of Ezra stunning them to Rex and Kanan after they woke up was a laugh out loud moment, in addition to making a key contribution to the story.  What worked so well about Chopper is that his antics never overshadowed the drama of the episode and only broke the tension of the story when necessary.

By introducing Brom Titus, a new Imperial Officer, the series is able to take some pressure off Agent Kallus.  Kallus has been a challenge for the show this season, as the creators seem to be unsure what to do with him.  But introducing characters like Brom Titus, although he was a pretty bland character, the show no longer needs to have Kallus facing off against the Rebels every week.  When Kallus was losing to our heroes on a weekly basis it was hard to take him seriously.  By having other Imperial Officers face off against the Rebels, the show can work to re-establish Kallus as a credible threat.  Space between Kallus encounters ensures that when he does meet the Rebels he will be better prepared and allows him to appear as an intimidating outsider who is above other Imperials.

Overall "Stealth Strike" was a strong instalment of Star Wars Rebels.  It concluded the Kanan/Rex mistrust arc in a satisfactory way and gave us a good look at how far Ezra has come over the course of the series. The action was solid, the banter worked well, and for the first time in a while the episode felt like it was building on something that had been set up earlier in the season.

Score: 9/10

You can follow me on Twitter: @DominicJ25

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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Empire Reveals New Planet Names From 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars has brought us many iconic new worlds over the past 38 years, and in just 21 days The Force Awakens is set to add a few more.  We learned about the new desert planet of Jakku back in April at Celebration and since then we heard about Takodana, the sight of a significant battle in the film.  Empire confirmed Takodona today and revealed the names of two more planet from the film, D'Qar and Hosnian Prime.

According to Empire
"Takodana will, if LEGO’s tie-in kits are to be believed, be the site of a major battle in the movie, while rumours have D’Qar as a resistance base. Hosnian Prime? Well, that’s a mystery to all.

Also out there, lurking in the galaxy’s darker recesses, is the Starkiller Base, home of the First Order. The map pinpoints its origin point in the Unknown Regions. Expect it to move somewhere more happening."

It is believed that Takodana is the forest planet from the trailers and the site of Maz Kanata's castle.  We can assume based on Empire's report that D'Qar is the planet where the resistance base that was shot on location at Greenham Common last summer. 


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New Extended 'The Force Awakens' TV Spot, With New Footage and Dialogue

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By: Dominic Jones

The official Star Wars Facebook Page just released a brand new 60 second TV spot for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens.  The spot focuses on the villains of the film, and there are new shots of the First Order stormtroopers, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Poe Dameron, and the ship battle seen in previous trailers. It also features new dialogue from Andy Serkis' Supreme Leader Snoke.  Check it out below,

We will face them. December 18, 2015.
Another awesome TV spot!  For me, the dialogue was the most interesting aspect of the spot.  You have to wonder what Snoke is sensing that him leads to tell Kylo that "even you have never faced such a test".  Is it the Force awakening within Rey?  Finn?  Or something else?  We'll find out in just a few short weeks!


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Entertainment Weekly Takes Us Behind the Scenes of BB-8 in New Video

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By: Dominic Jones

Entertainment Weekly released a new video featuring Anthony Breznican, who has been behind most of the EW Star Wars scoops over the past two years.  The video features Breznican discussing the droid BB-8, including how BB-8 was designed, some of BB-8's hidden features, and whether or not BB-8 is a he or a she.  Check it out below,

The video is pretty interesting, though it's mostly just a rehash of a lot we've already read on EW.  Regardless, it's nice to know that there are more secrets left to be revealed about BB-8 in Episode VIII and beyond.  It's also been interesting to see the discussion surrounding whether or not BB-8 is a male or female.  The fact that the droid's gender changed between the design phase and now is also interesting.  Club Jade has an excellent write up about this that I would recommend checking out.


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Disney Infinity 'The Force Awakens' Play Set Trailer

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By: Dominic Jones


The Disney Infinity play set featuring characters and situations from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens hits shelves on December 18th, same day as the film.  Today, Disney Interactive released a trailer for the play set.  Check it out below,


Disney previously announced that there would be figures of the characters Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren, all of whom will be playable characters in the game.  Judging by the trailer, it looks like a The Force Awakens era Han Solo figure may be in our future.  


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JJ Abrams and 'The Force Awakens' Cast Release New 'Force For Change' Promotional Video

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By: Dominic Jones

Last week Harrison Ford and Omaze announced a new "Force for Change" initiative, where fans can enter to win a trip for four to the premier of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens in LA or London.  Today, Lucasfilm released a new video featuring JJ Abrams promoting the new campaign and members of The Force Awakens cast revealing what Charities the campaign will be supporting.  Check it out below,

The cast and filmmakers of Star Wars: The Force Awakens are teaming up with Omaze to support 15 incredible causes!...

I think it's great to see Lucasfilm supporting so many great charities.  Plus its fun to see JJ Abrams joking about the fan reaction to lack of Luke Skywalker in the promotional material for the film.  I can't wait to see what they have in store next week.



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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

John Boyega Talks About High Expectations for 'The Force Awakens'

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By: Dominic Jones

There's no denying the expectations for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens are high.  Deadline caught up with John Boyega, who plays Finn in The Force Awakens, at the 2016 Film Independent Indie Spirit Awards nominee announcement and asked him about it.  Boyega told them, 

“I think for now, based on what I saw, and based on my experiences on the set, I just don’t know,” Boyega said, throwing his hands up. “This is a discussion I was having with J.J. [Abrams] yesterday and I was just like ‘How are people going to react to this movie?’ But there’s going to be a reaction for sure.” He continued, “I’m going to try to see it as many times as possible with different audiences just to gauge everyone’s opinions of it.”

There has been some negative reaction to this quote, which I think is unfounded.  I don't think Boyega is saying the film is bad, as some have suggested.  I think he's referring to certain twists and turns the story might take that may be different from what some fans expected going into the film (if you've been following the spoilers, you know what I mean).  That being said, with film this huge and with so many expectations it will be impossible to please everybody.  So people won't be happy with it no matter what.  

Source: Deadline

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'The Force Awakens' Rating Officially Confirmed as PG-13

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By: Dominic Jones

Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens is officially the second film in the franchise to be rated PG-13.  FilmRatings.com released the official rating from the MPAA, confirming what most speculated when tickets went on sale, that the film is rated PG-13 for Sci-fi action violence.  The only other Star Wars film to be rated PG-13 was 2005's Revenge of the Sith.



Source: FilmRatings.com
Via: MakingStarWars.net

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New Image of Poe Dameron From 'The Force Awakens' Revealed

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By: Dominic Jones

Empire Magazine just revealed a new image from Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens of Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).  The image features Poe being walked down a very-Imperial/First Order looking hallway by a stormtrooper.  Check it out below,

The image looks to be from the same scene that we saw in the SDCC behind the scenes reel.  I wonder who's beneath the stormtrooper helmet....

Source: Empire

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Highlights From 'The Force Awakens' Episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live

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By: Dominic Jones

Jimmy Kimmel Live aired a special The Force Awakens episode last night, featuring interviews with director JJ Abrams as well as cast members John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, and Carrie Fisher.  It also featured the end of the long standing feud between Harrison Ford and Chewbacca on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Check out highlights from the episode below,


























The episode was a lot of fun, it was great to see the cast all together on Jimmy Kimmel Live. I think it's fair to say that this is the kick off for the talk show circuit for the cast of The Force Awakens. Abrams also showed the clip from the film that debuted the night before during the AMAs (with a few frames added at the beginning).

Source: Jimmy Kimmel Live (YouTube)

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Live From Lothal | "Blood Sisters"

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Better late than never, Live From Lothal returns to discuss the episode "Blood Sisters".  Dominic and Chris are joined by Ciaran from The Clone Wars Strikes Back and Xpression FM and Zac Arnold from the Intergalactic Peace Coalition.  They explore Sabine's backstory, discuss the new character of Ketsu Onyo, go on a tangent about Hutts, and discuss the potential for other villains than the Empire.  All this and much more!
Right click here and select save link as to Download MP3. 
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Email: swunderworld@gmail.com
Voicemail: 1-410-989-1138
Listen live Thursdays at 9pm EST on Channel 1138
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