Perhaps it is in part because of the influence of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, but it looks like finally, after decades of 100 male Star Wars action figures for every one female figure for kids to play with, times may be changing. It was sad for two generations of girls–and boys–that you could quickly list all the named women characters of Star Wars, both from the original trilogy: Leia, Aunt Beru, and Mon Mothma, and only a few more with the prequels: Padme, Shmi, Adi Gallia, Zam Wesell, Dorme–and Beru again–with even fewer made into toys that would allow kids to see themselves in Star Wars characters. Disney was surprisingly slow to integrate Daisy Ridley’s Rey into all the various toy lines early last year, but recent announcements indicate the franchise is trying to catch up. A new line of 11-inch format dolls from Hasbro looks to be a step in the right direction.
One of this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration 2017 announcements is Disney and Lucasfilm’s Forces of Destiny, a series of animated shorts highlighting the heroism of the women of Star Wars. Although it would seem adding the women of Star Wars to each of the other toy lines in the franchise also makes sense, Forces of Destiny attempts to bridge action figures and the traditional Barbie-type 11-inch doll. The release announcing the new doll line made clear that these toys aren’t about make-up, mirrors, and dresses. “Star Wars Forces of Destiny is for anyone who has been inspired by Leia’s heroism, Rey’s courage or Ahsoka’s tenacity,” said Kennedy.
The toy line is also taking a cue from a successful G.I. Joe toy series, calling the toys “Adventure Dolls,” which will feature hands that can hold weapons and feet that aren’t pointed like traditional dolls (that were intended to allow for high heels). The Forces of Destiny dolls will be anchored by a web series of animated features in July, followed by an eight-part series on the Disney Channel this Fall that will include the voices of the actual Star Wars film actresses, including Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens’ Rey), Felicity Jones (Rogue One’s Jyn Erso), Tiya Sircar (Star Wars Rebels’ Sabine), Ashley Eckstein (Star Wars Rebels’ Ahsoka) with narration by Lupita Nyong’o (The Force Awakens’ Maz Kanata).
Here is a preview for the new Star Wars Forces of Destiny:
Our annual “All the Movies You’ll Want to See…” series has been one of the most viewed of all of our entries at borg.com each year. So this year we again scoured Hollywood and its publicity machine for as many genre films coming out in 2016 as have been disclosed. Usually we select the 24 that look like the biggest hits, but we’re going all out for 2016. The result is a whopping 48 movies, many you’ll probably want to see in the theater or catch on video. We bet you’ll find a bunch below you’ve never heard of. Bookmark this now for your 2016 calendar!
Most coming out in the second half of 2016 don’t even have posters released yet, but many do. We’ve included descriptions and key cast so you can start planning accordingly.
What do we think will be the biggest hits of the year? How about Star Wars: Rogue One? Or Star Trek Beyond? You’ve heard endlessly about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but 2016 will also see Doctor Strange, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse. There’s even a handful of Westerns, with The Hateful 8, Jane Got a Gun, and another remake of The Magnificent Seven heading our way.
The Hateful Eight – January 1
Tarentino’s Western! Ennio Morricone score! Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Channing Tatum!
The 5th Wave – January 8
Chloe Grace Moretz and Liev Schreiber in an alien invasion.
400 Days – January 12
The CW’s Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, and Tom Cavanaugh in a movie about astronauts that seems to be a play on Ender’s Game.
Review by C.J. Bunce
Did J.J. Abrams earn or reject his Jar Jar badge? Did we drown in re-hashed lines from the original trilogy? Did Disney make the same mistakes as George Lucas made with his prequels?
When you get right down to it, we all had a pretty low threshold by which we were going to judge the success of the highly anticipated, overly over-marketed Star Wars: The Force Awakens. We knew it couldn’t match the original Star Wars or The Empire Strikes Back, but it was Abrams’s challenge to see how high he could position the result of his efforts among the other four films.
So how did he fare?
Is the movie better than the prequels?
Is the dialogue better than George Lucas’s in the past films?
Did he hand off the story from the old guard to the new guard successfully?
Is The Force Awakens a modern sci-fi fantasy classic, or among the best films ever made?
After the jump, I’ll walk though my spoiler-light reaction to what is going to go down as the biggest money-making film of all time.
I consider myself a big-time fan of Disney’s 1967 adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 work The Jungle Book. To me, it has always been Disney’s #1 animated movie–from the perfect George Bruns score and memorable songs by Terry Glikyson and the Sherman brothers, including The Bare Necessities, Colonel Hathi’s March, Trust in Me, and Abba Dabba Honeymoon. Back in 2012 here at borg.com I named it in my top five favorite fantasy movies. (Quick trivia: It’s even one of Clint Howard’s earliest projects). I even named one of my beautiful bear-cub looking dogs Baloo after the incredibly friendly best pal of Mowgli (and unsuccessfully petitioned the powers-that-be to name his sister after the protective panther Bagheera). Although the animation itself isn’t Disney’s best, it doesn’t take away from the fun of the movie. The animated version of The Jungle Book is a gem and a true classic.
So it was with some trepidation that I watched the first live-action adaptation of the story with Disney’s 1994 version of The Jungle Book. This time the jolly, sing-along music and talking animals were gone. But I was pleasantly surprised. Solid direction by Stephen Sommers (Catch Me If You Can, The Mummy, Van Helsing, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) plus excellent acting and faithful characterizations allowed Jason Scott Lee, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Cary Elwes, and John Cleese to make a truly enjoyable dramatic movie.
In 2016 Disney is trying again with another live-action version of The Jungle Book, this time directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man) with a different twist: voice-over actors for the animals, including Bill Murray as Baloo, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Christopher Walken as King Louie, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Giancarlo Esposito as Akela, Lupita Nyong’0 as Raksha, and young actor Neel Sethi as Mowgli. Expect this version to be heavy on special effects. How will it compare to the prior versions? One plus is that the original songs from the 1967 animated movie will be back, as hinted at the end of the first trailer just released for the movie.
Check it out here:
You probably heard it all day yesterday: May the Fourth be with you.
But this year’s annual Star Wars observance meant a whole lot more in light of the next Star Wars installment coming our way in December. We saw some new images of several new characters, some with actors we’d heard of, others as strange as those from the original Mos Eisley cantina. All thanks to Vanity Fair magazine.
The biggest news was that the slick new chrome-armored stormtrooper from the second Star Wars VII trailer (seen here) is played by Game of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie–yes, women can serve the Empire–and she’s apparently hunting down a certain AWOL trooper played by Attack the Block’s John Boyega. We’re predicting that even with a very 1930s action serial/”something George Lucas would come up with” name, this new villain, called “Captain Phasma,” could be getting primed by toymakers to be one of the highest-selling action figures of 2016.
If this seems a bit familiar it may be because Vanity Fair has previously featured fans’ first looks at the last entries in the Star Wars saga, also with Annie Leibovitz photo shoots. For those new to Annie Leibovitz, she’s one of the best known photographers of the past 40 years, with many famous shots of rock stars.