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Tag Archive: Star Wars


George Takei Sulu in The Naked Time

If holographic television were available today, would you go right out and buy it?

We’re more than four years into the widespread availability of affordable consumer 3D television and the viewing public hasn’t embraced it yet.  My best guess is simply because they haven’t seen it yet, or they are basing their lack of interest on a poor viewing experience with 3D in a public theater.  At borg.com, we’ve got no skin in the game–we don’t work for or with the studios–we’re just after the best viewing experience possible.  And we’re completely sold on both 3D Blu-ray and the lesser discussed 2D/3D “upconversion” technology.

Distributors have been relatively slow at releasing 3D Blu-rays, the current standard for 3D home viewing.  Many films actually produced in 3D, like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit series, are very quickly released now in a 3D Blu-ray.  Other films are converted to 3D in post-production, like Star Trek Into Darkness, and they are also released on 3D Blu-ray.  Both films look far superior to standard films–you can’t even compare the quality.  The distinctions between a true 3D film and a conversion are probably not all that noticeable to the average moviegoer with normal vision.  But what we’re focusing on today is something different.

Dathon and Picard in Darmok

A different category of conversion, called 2D/3D conversion, is available on certain affordable 3D televisions today.  This is a technology available to anyone with a 3D television that includes the upconvert technology and compatible 3D glasses.  For films, TV series, or even real-time live or pre-recorded television, this technology manipulates the images to create a real 3D experience for the viewer.  Sounds like a gimmick?  It’s not.  To test it, we tried 2D/3D upconverting on an episode of each of Star Trek, the original series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.  The result?  We were blown away.  We think if you try it, you too will ask:  Why don’t we watch everything now in 3D, and why isn’t everyone talking about it?

If you’re waiting around for holographic TV, that’s pretty much what you’re getting here, too.  You can even get up and walk around without the 3D image going away.  The only thing you can’t do is walk completely around a floating object, which is what a true holographic TV experience should be.  But this is the next best thing.  We watched two acclaimed, classic Star Trek episodes, the original series episode “The Naked Time” and the NextGen series episode “Darmok” using a 3D television, a Blu-ray/DVD player and, for “The Naked Time” a remastered DVD version, and for “Darmok,” a remastered Blu-ray version.  We then applied the 3D television’s upconvert and easily adjusted the various 3D settings, such as “Standard” or “Cinema” or “Extreme,” tint, and brightness/backlighting, to create the best picture possible for the room lighting.

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Star Wars A New Dawn cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

How did the Empire power all those Star Destroyers anyway?

The new, Disney era of Star Wars story continuity begins today with the release of the novel Star Wars: A New Dawn.  Fans of the Star Wars tie-in novels shouldn’t be disappointed with this new story and completely new characters living in that galaxy, far, far away between the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.  Its primary draw for those fans willing to give the new Star Wars a chance is the introduction of a trained Jedi named Kanan Jarrus and a mysterious Twi’lek named Hera.  But its best success is in author John Jackson Miller’s world building (or galaxy building)–one with more lead female characters than male.

In the galaxy that George Lucas built, the rarest creature to be found was a woman, whether a human, a rebel, an Imperial, or an alien.  Miller does not skip a beat to redefine Star Wars from chapter one.  We meet a black female captain of a Star Destroyer named Captain Rae Sloane, a character who could be on her way to be the next Mara Jade.  She’s young but smart, and exactly the kind of leader a government led by Emperor Palpatine would need to conquer so many systems.  Unlike even the original trilogy, including its often bumbling stormtroopers and officers that fail to follow their Dark Lord’s orders, the personnel building the Empire in A New Dawn don’t make the same mistakes.

Sloane works for a typical Star Wars villain, Count Demetrius Vidian, a cyborg like Darth Vader and General Grievous, which would lend us all to believe a defining piece of Star Wars is a dark cloaked bad guy who has already been blown apart a few times.  The word survivor does fit Vidian.  He is a decisive imperialist, precise, unyielding and villainous–everything you want from your Star Wars bad guy.

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The Star Wars hardcover version Rinzler Mayhew Beredo Dark Horse bestseller

Review by C.J. Bunce

Last week Dark Horse Comics released the trade paperback and hardcover of The Star Wars—the eight-issue comic book series adapting George Lucas’s original screenplay for Star Wars from 1973, including its original three-word title.  Writer J.W. Rinzler, artist Mike Mayhew, and colorist Rain Beredo created a parallel universe for Star Wars that stands by itself as the single best Star Wars universe graphic novel ever produced.  It’s now hit #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List for Paperback Graphic Books and #3 for Hardcover Graphic Books.  If you dodge Times bestsellers because they are usually trite, banal and over-hyped, The Star Wars is certainly commercial, but it’s the exception to the rule.  You will not have read a Star Wars comic book this much fun and so brilliantly and vividly illustrated since the classic Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back

Lucas’s giant story, fleshed out over six movies via his Episodes I-VI, was concise in its infancy, and greatly right-sized and polished by Rinzler for this adaptation.  Its genius is in its essential Kurosawa-inspired story elements: last of their breed wizard-warriors versus a suffocating empire led by heartless dictators, a broken royal family saved by a band of rogues, a mix of disparate races and conflicts, and an unlikely pair of androids.

The planets and systems are not the same, yet they are entirely familiar: the desert planet Aquilae for Tatooine, a wookie battle on Yavin for Ewoks on Endor.  Some of the occupants of the story are familiar, like Han Solo and Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.  Yet here they are very different.  Annikin (not Anakin) Starkiller and brother Deak would later become the impetuous Luke Skywalker.  Obi-Wan Kenobi was far more energetic and a hands-on warrior when he was the bearded and military garbed Jedi-Bendu General Luke Skywalker.  Han Solo by every appearance was a cousin of Swamp Thing.  Princess Leia would become more dynamic and tough in the movies, but was originally more like Padme Amidala in her infatuation with her young love, Annikin Starkiller.

Deluxe The Star Wars Rinzler Mayhew Beredo Dark Horse Bestseller

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Hobbit booth Weta SDCC 2014 Azog

We thought we’d share some of the best exclusives and other offerings scheduled to be available at San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend for those of you who just can’t decide what to spend your money on.  There’s too much to be able to see everything at the big Con, so we’ve listed booth numbers so you can make sure you don’t miss out on those toys, posters, and comic books that you simply must have.

But first, how about some early SDCC reveals, like this image of Roy Harper’s new Arsenal costume from CW’s Arrow:

Arsenal reveal at SDCC 2014

and this great new SDCC 2014 exclusive poster for the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

The Hobbit Battle of Five Armies SDCC 2014 poster

And what’s better than news of a new comic book series tie-in from IDW Publishing for Orphan Black?

IDW reveal SDCC 2014 Orphan Black comic book series

Now on to the exclusives:

From the Weta Workshop (Booth #3613) you can get this Smaug scales T-shirt inspired by The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies:

Smaug scales T-shirt Weta SDCC 2014

and a pre-release copy of the new book The Art of Film Magic, signed edition:

Art of Film Magic SDCC 2014 WETA booth

From Alex Ross Art (Booth #2419) pick up original comic book art or limited prints, or this great 10-print edition portfolio of some of Alex Ross’s Marvel Comics work:

Alex Ross Art Portfolio - 10 prints

BOOM! Studios (Booth #2229) will be selling several exclusive cover variant comic books, including RoboCop #1:

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SW 18 1  Legenderry04-Cov-Benitez

It’s Wednesday again, and that means the new comic books are out for the week at your local comic book store.  We’ve got several previews for a whopping seven issues of new books that should have something for everyone.  There’s Dark Horse Comics’ great ongoing Star Wars series, which will be wrapping up this year.  Then there’s Bill Willingham’s excellent steampunk series Legenderry for Dynamite Comics, reuniting the best of classic pulp heroes with new twists, like the Six Thousand Dollar Man.  We also have previews of two issues from Archie Comics–one from Archie Comics Digest and the other from the SEGA video game universe: Sonic the Hedgehog.

SON_261-0  ARDD_251-0

Also, a new Angry Birds series begins, IDW is releasing a brief history of Godzilla comics, and a preview of the next issue of the ongoing Star Trek series is here, all from IDW Publishing.

Star Trek 34 cover  GODZILLA_IDW-ERA_FrontCov-copy

After the break, check out previews for one or all of them, courtesy of their respective comic book publishers.

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Star Wars Rebels clip A

Earlier this week Disney announced the casting for Star Wars Episode VII.  Global highlights of this year’s “May the 4th” included Star Wars themed rugby matches in Australia, Star Wars 6K runs in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico, character appearances in London, fan events in Shanghai, China and an event at the Roman Colosseum in Italy.  Through a collaboration with NASA and Space Center Houston a message from R2-D2 was delivered from International Space Station.

For the “May the 4th” worldwide Star Wars celebration Disney released its first full trailer for its new animated series Star Wars Rebels.  According to Disney the new trailer for the animated series was broadcast in more than 160 countries 439 million households worldwide.  Whether 439 million people saw it yesterday or whether it was just available to that many homes is not clear from the Disney release.

Star Wars Rebels stormtroopers

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2014 Fourth be With You Dark Horse

Tomorrow is the fourth of May, and you may hear from Star Wars fans all over the phrase “May the 4th Be With You.”  They aren’t lisping.  Star Wars fans are gathering around the world for their annual celebration of all things Star Wars.  With Episode VII just around the corner in 2015 there is plenty to discuss and speculate.  It also means you can take advantage of some great deals available tomorrow only.

Only 593 days to go

Only 593 Days To Go

Dark Horse Comics is offering 150 digital Star Wars comics for only $100–considering many had original cover prices at $3-4 each, the sixty-seven cents per book is quite a good deal.  There’s also a kids’ digital mega-bundle for only $30, and free digital starter bundles including Issues #1-4 of Star Wars Legacy, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, and Star Wars Empire.  Go to Dark Horse Digital’s website here for details.

Qui Gonn figure  Amidala figure  Wedge Antilles figure

Entertainment Earth is offering a whopping 40% off all Star Wars action figures (in-stock), also for May 4, 2014, only.  Click here to check out the selection, which includes the new Star Wars Black Series figures.  For the week of May 4 through May 10, all Star Wars statues and busts are 20% off.  Click here to see the selection of busts and the selection of statues here.

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StarWarsEpisodeVII copyright lucasfilm 2014

Does a picture tell a thousand words?

Lucasfilm released today the slate of the main cast for Star Wars: Episode VII and the above photo.  Writer/Director/Producer J.J Abrams (top center right) with (clockwise from right) Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm President and Producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan.  Defying the convention of not wearing the band shirt to the concert is our favorite gentle giant Peter Mayhew sporting a rebel-logo golf shirt.

The studio previously revealed the new film would take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, but considering nearly the entire main cast for the original trilogy is in England’s Pinewood Studios for this cast read-through, the idea that they will be trivial to the story seems to be out the window.  And after a lot of eyeball-rolling from fans across the globe, this is starting to get a bit exciting.

Maybe we were looking at this wrong.  Disney let Marvel Studios make some good movies with The Avengers, Iron Man, and Captain America, right?  And J.J. Abrams made two Star Trek movies that could easily fit in the Star Wars universe.  Heck–they could have served as auditions for getting this directorial gig.  Lawrence Kasdan is one of the best moviemakers ever, with Silverado and The Empire Strikes Back in his portfolio.  You cannot say enough about John Williams, back yet again for another score.  And George Lucas was solely responsible for the prequel trilogy. ‘Nuff said there.  But we won’t let Disney off the hook until they prove that they won’t ruin the greatest franchise of all time.

Ming the Merciless Von Sydow

But more details were released.  Max Von Sydow, Emperor Ming from the 1980s Flash Gordon, will have a key role in the film.  Recall the original Flash Gordon serials inspired Lucas’s original vision.  Von Sydow is perfect for a role here–right up there with classic Star Wars veterans Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, and Christopher Lee.  The original R2-D2 actor will be back, too: Kenny Baker will return as the guy in the droid suit, joining Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.

It’s fanboy speculation time…

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Rebel Heist Hughes cover 1

Back in the 1970s Marvel Comics released the first new entry in the Star Wars universe for the franchise which then consisted of the original movie alone.  With Star Wars Issue #7, Marvel followed Han Solo and Chewbacca beyond the movie adaptation, as they explored the seedier elements of society–the kinds of places a Corellian would roam with fellow smugglers and other dregs.  When Disney recently announced the coming continuation of Star Wars in a third trilogy, everyone knew it had to take place in the far away galaxy decades away from the events in Return of the Jedi.  Then Disney hinted at other movies in the Star Wars universe, and possibly a Han Solo story.

A Han Solo movie is intriguing.  Although the filmmakers are likely to target a younger audience with a young actor for Han Solo, I can’t help think how much fun it would be to see Firefly’s Nathan Fillion play our favorite scoundrel.  Comic book writer Matt Kindt (Mind Mgmt) is now writing one of the last of Dark Horse Comics’s Star Wars stories before Disney pulls the franchise away at year end, and Issue #1 follows Han Solo almost from the view of a modern fanboy googly-eyed as he meets Han Solo in person.  And the Han that is admired could easily be a Han played by Fillion.  Think Fillion playing Han Solo in a Blade Runner noir vibe.

Rebel Heist Adam Hughes 2 cover Hughes Rebel Heist Luke cover

Coming next Wednesday, Kindt plus penciller Marco Castiello, inker Dan Parsons, and colorist Gabe Eltaeb take us back to the days before The Empire Strikes Back with Star Wars: Rebel Heist.  After the break take a look at these preview pages from Dark Horse Comics:

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Ezra Star Wars Rebels

The first previews are out for Star Wars: Rebels, a new Disney XD animated series due out in Fall 2014.  And the first images and clips, featuring new characters from the series, are exactly what I expected to see once Disney got hold of the Star Wars franchise.

It’s Star Wars, Aladdin style.

Not to knock Aladdin.  It was a fun Disney film as Disney films go.  But this is supposed to be Star Wars.  Where the animated series Clone Wars was accessible by an adult and child audience alike, Star Wars: Rebels seems to be a bit on the silly side, the kind of antics and humor you’d expect from those sidekicks in your average big-screen, animated Disney flick.  Unlikely to be targeted at the fan base, instead opting for new, younger viewers.  But why exclude the fan base?

Judge for yourself.  After the break, check out these first clips and images from Star Wars: Rebels:

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