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Tag Archive: Star Wars Episode VII


Star Wars Episode VII action figures A eBay

When Star Wars: The Phantom Menace premiered sixteen years ago in 1999, action figure collectors had gone a decade without any new 3 ¾-inch action figures from the Star Wars franchise toy line.  Hasbro released updates to the original trilogy beginning in 1995 as Lucasfilm rejuvenated the toy line.  At midnight on May 3, 1999, the day of the release of the new trilogy action figures and ten days before the film’s release, Toys ‘R’ Us stores saw waiting lines similar to what we would see for the first week the movie screened in theaters.

Official May 1999 SW cert

The general public had no “first look” at the new line other than a sneak preview figure of Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu, so fans had to decide quickly upon inspecting the new figures whether they were going to jump in with both feet or ignore the line altogether.  Instantly appealing figures and characters included Qui-Gonn Jinn and Darth Maul.  Wave 1 included eight figures: Anakin in Tatooine outfit, Battle Droid, Darth Maul, Jar Jar Binks, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Naberrie, Queen Amidala in Naboo outfit, and Qui-Gonn Jinn.  Each came with a Commtech chip (Commtalk in Europe) which produced sounds from the movie if placed on a separately purchased Commtech reader.  All card backs featured the face of Darth Maul.

Captain Phasma figure   Kylo Ren figure

September 4, 2016 is the scheduled release date for the first wave of action figures from Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Somehow, the first wave of figures hit the streets this week and made it to eBay, and they reveal twelve new action figures for Hasbro’s now (again) Kenner-branded line.  Is one of these going to be the next Jar Jar Binks?

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Chewy and Han Episode VII screencap

Stop everything.  It’s another <<Day a New Star Wars Trailer is Released>>. 

The rest of the Internet can shut down for the rest of the day.  Nothing else matters.  Move along.  Or, that is, watch the trailer and then move along.  But we don’t think you can watch it only once.

And look who is featured in this second of the previews released by Abrams & Co. so far.  Luke and R2-D2, Chewy and Han.  And all those new guys from the first preview.

chrome stormtrooper Episode VII

A chrome stormtrooper?  Neat.  A downed Star Destroyer?  Also neat.  White TIE Fighters?  Oh, boy.

What circumstances would result in someone holding Darth Vader’s charred helmet?  Is some part of Anakin Skywalker still alive?  Do the Sith have a katra?  Did Abrams forget he was making a Star Wars, not a Star Trek, flick?

downed Star Destroyer

Questions, questions.  Just watch the trailer over and over after the break, and check out the new poster art floating around Twitter today, as well as how to see live streaming of this weekend’s Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim…

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Ava from Ex Machina - borg

Not to be confused with Brian K. Vaughan’s successful alternate world comic book series, a very different Ex Machina will soon be on the big screen at a theater near you.  From first-time director Alex Garland, writer of 28 Days Later and Sunshine, comes what appears to be a very incredible looking sci-fi movie with a creepy, suspense-filled twist.  And it will prep viewers for Star Wars Episode VII with two male leads who soon will star in that eagerly awaited film.

The latest borgs to be interpreted to screen conjure other recent attempts to show us our future via bipedal, human-robot beings.  We saw similar, incredibly rendered borg with Spielberg and Kubrick’s A.I., Artificial Intelligence, with Will Smith in I, Robot, and more recently in the Bruce Willis pic Surrogates and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus.  Now meet Ava, played by Alicia Vikander (The Fifth Estate), the latest wonder in sci-fi filmmaking, and the invention of reclusive CEO genius Nathan Bateman, played by Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, and Star Wars Episode VII).  

Ex Machina fembot

Bateman plucks Caleb Smith, played by Domhnall Gleeson (Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, and Star Wars Episode VII), a programmer at his company to test the humanity of Ava and we’re guessing some secret twists are hiding behind the curtain.  Will she be an emotional Replicant or a deceptive fembot?

Check out this first trailer for Ex Machina:

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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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Orphan Black Tatiana Maslany as everyone

Well it’s been one long year, with plenty to do and see, plenty of good and not-so-good to read and watch, and we’re certain we read more and reviewed more content this year than ever before.  And that in no less way was true for TV watching.  At the same time we waded through all that Hollywood had to offer and honed in on the genre films we thought were worth examining.  We went back and looked at it all and pulled together our 25 picks for our annual Best of the Best list.  Today we reveal the best content focusing on the moving image, and tomorrow we’ll run through our picks for the best in print and other media.  We hope you agree with many of these great creations of the entertainment industries, and wish everyone a great 2014!

Year’s Best Fantasy Fix — The Wizard of Oz in Theaters.  It’s a film that has been viewed on TV so many times you might take it for granted.  It’s historically been on many movie reviewers’ Top 20 movies of all time.  But when you watch The Wizard of Oz on the big screen in the middle of a year of modern blockbusters you realize how it can stand up against anything Hollywood has to offer today, even after 70 years.  Remastering the print for a new generation to see it in theaters was a highlight for movie watchers this year.

Almost Human partners

Year’s Best Sci-Fi Fix — Almost Human, Fox.  Like Continuum last year, the new series Almost Human created a future world that is believable and full of extraordinary technologies based in today’s science and touching on social issues of any day.  And even putting aside its buddy cop and police procedural brilliance, every episode plunged us into future police grappling with incredible technologies–DNA bombs criminals use to contaminate a crime scene, identity masking technology to avoid facial recognition video monitors–it was the best dose of sci-fi in 2013.

Best TV Series — Orphan Black, BBC America.  What rose above everything on TV or film this year was BBC America’s new series, the almost indescribable Orphan Black From its initial trailers that piqued our interest, to the surprise series consisting of one actress playing multiple roles that dazzled from out of nowhere, magical special effects, and a unique story of clones and X-Files-inspired intrigue propelled Orphan Black to be our clear winner for Best TV Series of 2013.

Sleepy Hollow

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Jaina and Jacen Solo

Disney has issued a casting call for November 14, 2013–this Thursday–for a 17-18 year old female and a 19-23 year old male to star in Star Wars Episode VII, to commence filming at London’s Pinewood Studios in early 2014.  The casting call will be held in Chicago, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Park West in Lincoln Park.

A similar casting call is out for Great Britain.  A call was held in Bristol November 9 & 10.  Glasgow will hold a casting session at Wasp Studios November 16 & 17.  Manchester will hold a casting session at Progress Centre November 16 & 17.  London will hold a casting session at Apiary Studios and Dublin will hold a casting session at Filmbase, both November 23 & 24.

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star-wars-episode-vii ad hoc banner

Lucasfilm announced big news this week: the top level slate of creative talent behind the first film of the next Star Wars trilogy.  Moving away from screenwriter Michael Arndt, Lucasfilm handed over writing duties to Lawrence Kasdan and director J.J. Abrams.  Kasdan had served as consultant during the pre-production phase, and they couldn’t have selected a better choice than the screenplay writer for Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Silverado (not to mention Body Heat, The Big Chill, and The Accidental Tourist) to bring his experience writing great movies to this project.

It’s a mix of young and old, with the established Kasdan working with relative newcomer J.J. Abrams, whose credits include the last two Star Trek films, along with top duties on Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Fringe, and Lost.  Yes, he’s young, but he’s no slouch.

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Once upon a time and a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, everyone lived happily ever after.  And while they were all so happy they didn’t realize they were being slowly assimilated by the evil Empire.

You might have missed it in light of coverage of Sandy today, but the big industry news is George Lucas finally is letting Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic, Skywalker Sound–the whole shebang–go, for the paltry sum of $4 billion–the same price Disney paid for Marvel Comics in 2009.  Yep, $4,000,000,000.  You can just hear that THX sound logo make a giant flushing sound.  Heck, I bet that was Lucas’s profit last year in action figure sales alone.  What’s he thinking?  The man whose kids I (OK, my parents) put through college through the purchase of ten thousand action figures, several hundred comic books, every book, soundtrack, poster, drinking glass, key ring, Halloween costume, spaceship, Hallmark ornament, giant inflatable landspeeder, talking Yoda, remote control R2-D2, and even more action figures, is calling it quits?  Say it ain’t so.   And he is selling it to who?  Disney???? Continue reading