Star Words Part 19

July 21, 2017

The latest installment in Matril’s series brings us inside the Senate chamber in TPM:

We see now why someone as young and comparatively inexperienced as Padmé managed to get herself elected ruler of an entire planet. Her gifts are on full display here; her eloquence (clearly not planned beforehand, as she’s being compelled to speak extemporaneously), her passion, her ability to cut through all the political bickering straight to the heart of the problem. Her people are in peril of their lives and the Senate might be willing to form a committee to talk about it. Maybe. Well, she’s not having it. The momentum of her resolve will carry her all the way back to Naboo, where she will reclaim her planet without any help from an ineffectual government.

Because I’m Too Tired…

July 21, 2017

The irony of being at a con is that you have less time to report on what’s happening at the con than the people who are 2500 miles away at home or at work.

I didn’t go to the Star Wars publishing panel, but Naboo News nicely summarized some upcoming prequel releases from Star Wars.com’s announcements.  Keep an eye out for the upcoming Mace Windu comics series from Marvel (Mace Windu:  Jedi of the Republic), “Tales of Hope & Courage” from the Forces of Destiny line, some kids-related stuff in the “Journey to The Last Jedi” line, and “Star Wars:  Creatures and Aliens” from Abrams.

By the way, if you’re keeping up with the Star Wars Little Golden Books, the new wave (stuff like “I Am A Pilot” and “I Am A Princess”) features prequel stuff galore.

Hasbro also unveiled some new products in the pipeline, including the Padmé doll from the Forces of Destiny line and a 6″ Black Series Captain Rex:

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Upcoming Anakin Skywalker Sixth Scale Figure

July 19, 2017

Sideshow Collectibles previewed Hot Toys’ upcoming Anakin Skywalker Sixth Scale figure at SDCC:

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No word on when it’ll be available but previous Hot Toys offerings were around $250. I’ll be taking a look at it in person tomorrow!

A Communications Disruption: Commentary

July 19, 2017

Former Lucasfilm employee and author J.W. Rinzler recently started blogging a popular series called “The Rise And Fall of Star Wars” on his personal website.  The entries were going to cover his time at Lucasfilm 2001-2015 where he worked in publishing and got a great deal of access, especially while working on his series of behind the scenes books for ROTS, the OT, and TFA, which was unpublished.  Up until July 14 2017, he had published twelve entries with vivid descriptions of life at Skywalker Ranch and Big Rock Ranch and anecdotes about various personalities like George Lucas, Rick McCallum, Lucasfilm execs, ILM players, the prequels cast, etc..  Shortly after his twelfth entry was posted, he edited it a couple of times, then the blog completely disappeared.  He abruptly canceled an appearance (“indefinitely”) on the Star Wars Junk podcast that was supposed to happen July 17.  He then posted on Twitter that he has had to discontinue his blog, with no further explanation given.  This tells me Rinzler was ordered to stop blogging and to take down all of his entries immediately through a cease and desist letter from Lucasfilm.  It’s likely they are alleging the blog violates a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that I’m certain Rinzler had to sign while an employee.

The July 14 entry was about his time on the set of ROTS in 2003 and he had noted that 1) Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman were “likely” affected by years of prequel bashing and weren’t terribly cooperative with his efforts 2) McGregor loudly and rudely rebuffed Rinzler after getting the green light to interview him;  McCallum allegedly said the actor was on “an emotional rollercoaster” and the crew claimed he’d changed since working on TPM 3) the difference between the way McGregor and Hayden Christensen took direction versus old pro Jimmy Smits and 4) Christensen talking about how Lucas wanted Anakin to be more understated than he wanted.  Given that Rinzler had been blogging away for weeks, even getting comments from former and current Lucasfilm employees as well as fans, there was something about this entry that made Lucasfilm uncomfortable enough to cry havoc and unleash the legal dogs of war.

 Now, let’s get one thing straight.  Lucasfilm doesn’t give a crap that you now know Ewan McGregor may have had a hissy fit on a movie set fourteen years ago.  Lucasfilm got nervous because of what Rinzler knows about a whole host of other things:  Lucas’s failed battle to build a studio at Grady Rock Ranch, when Lucas got the bug to do another Star Wars trilogy and why, what were originally Lucas’s ideas for the sequel trilogy, the sale to Disney, the decision to pull the plug on Clone Wars, the decision to cancel re-releases of the prequel trilogy, rebooting the spinoff material of books and comics, any falling out between Lucas and his former allies at Lucasfilm, the decision to dump Michael Arndt for Larry Kasdan and J.J. Abrams, what happened on the set of TFA, why Lucasfilm didn’t publish his book about TFA, and why he was let go shortly after TFA’s release.   If Rinzler wasn’t afraid to talk about cranky actors, he sure wasn’t going to be afraid to give his perspective on a lot of other things.  Maybe it wasn’t all sweetness and light on the set of TFA; maybe there was far more to the story of Harrison Ford’s injuries than what we’ve been told.  There were after all criminal charges filed against the production company.

The old Lucasfilm was more than happy to delve behind the scenes.  The new Lucasfilm seems to regard, beyond a few PR-friendly reels for cons and home viewing, Star Wars films the same as sausage:  you don’t want to know how they are made.  A book about the making of “Rogue One” was supposed to be published this year and that was abruptly cancelled.  Fans suspect it was because of the re-shoot drama late in the film’s production.

The old Lucasfilm had NDAs all along but let people like David Prowse, Gary Kurtz, Charlie Lippencott, etc. talk all they wanted even if what they had to say was score-settling along with the inside skinny of making Eps IV-VI; Prowse eventually got banned from official events but nobody has ever shut him up.  A former employee named Michael Rubin wrote “Droidmaker” several years ago that gave an insider’s view at Lucasfilm, American Zoetrope, and the early days of Pixar.  Today’s Lucasfilm will use NDAs to make sure nobody says anything to anybody ever.  There might be people who will shrug off or even defend this action but this means what we learn about Star Wars and about Lucasfilm now  will only be through tightly-controlled PR or from the Supershadows of the world.  Either way, you don’t get the truth.

They won’t be able to keep everyone quiet forever though.  There will be others coming forward to give their .02 as they leave the business and aren’t worried about burning any bridges.  Somebody will fight draconian interpretations of NDAs, consequences be damned.

In the meantime, we’ve lost a valuable time capsule capturing a part of Star Wars history that doesn’t get a lot of coverage.  It’s truly a shame.

Clone Wars Conversations With The Original Saw Gerrera

July 19, 2017

James Arnold Taylor sits down with the actor who originally played Saw Gerrera on The Clone Wars, Andrew Kishino:

New Tees At Target

July 17, 2017

A reader tipped off a new tee from Target featuring PT and OT characters in a “Star Wars” alphabet, only $12.99.

Then while browsing I spotted this one, also for $12.99, featuring everyone’s favorite villains.

Ahmed Best Talks To Wired

July 15, 2017

If you ever want to remind yourself of what went horribly wrong with “geek” culture and fandom, and why Disney today unveiled a crapload of  remakes, reboots, and projects based off of popular attractions (I for one cannot wait for “FastPass:  The Movie”), just read Wired’s new interview with Ahmed Best.

Wired is of course just as guilty as the rest of the pig pile of persecutors and it doesn’t sound like the author is much of a fan though he begrudgingly admits TPM isn’t the childhood rapist it was made out to be.  I have to say the change in tone though is in no small part in response to the rise of /r/prequelmemes and fans of the prequels making themselves known.

Plus, Best sounds like a smart, interesting guy.

Her Universe Debuts Naboo-Inspired Wear

July 14, 2017

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Her Universe dropped pictures of a ton of new items available next week at SDCC and online, including a cardigan with Padmé’s royal signet and a skirt with a Naboo print. Someone found the cardigan already available at a Box Lunch store.

Star Words and One Woman Star Wars

July 13, 2017

Matril’s latest projects are an update to her Star Words series and a video, “One Woman The Phantom Menace,” where she acts out the film all by her lonesome:

You’ve Got To Read J.W. Rinzler’s Blog

July 13, 2017

The author of “The Making of Revenge Of The Sith,” “The Making of (the OT),” and other books is now recounting his days at Lucasfilm 2001-2015 at his blog.  It’s a fascinating insider’s account at what it was like working there during the last decade or so of it being George Lucas’s company.  It’s honest and no-holds-barred without being mean, gossipy, or bitter. Get the inside skinny on the good and bad of an almost idyllic work environment, how certain projects came to be, and his impressions of folks like Lucas or prequels producer Rick McCallum (with many more to come, I’m sure).  I have a feeling that the closer the blog gets to the Disney era, the juicier it will get.

The entries (The Rise and Fall of Star Wars) are updated Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

Update #1: The blog went 404 sometime yesterday evening my time and as of yet isn’t back up. The rest of the site is still there. Rinzler has as of yet not addressed the issue, whether it’s a technical/server problem or if he was asked to take his entries down.

Naboo News has summaries and excerpts from prequel-related posts from Rinzler’s blog in case you missed them.

Update #2:  Rinzler suddenly cancelled an appearance scheduled for tomorrow on the Star Wars Junk podcast.  It seems to me somebody told him to stop blogging.

Update #3:  Get this cached link to all 12 of the original entries and save them, quick!