Star Wars Insider #159

If you’re not a subscriber, SW Insider is on newsstands in the U.S. today. (If you are one, you probably already have it.)

I neglected to mention the last issue had a nice article by Bryan Young about Jar Jar Binks. If you missed it, you can order a back issue from Titan’s website.

This issue has an article about midichlorians by Dan Zehr featuring some familiar names, a short story that’s a companion piece to the Clone Wars novel “Dark Disciple,” and an article about the appeal of Asajj Ventress. Good for the Insider!

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34 Responses to “Star Wars Insider #159”

  1. mes520 Says:

    I’m not a subscriber, but awesome!

  2. Brian47 Says:

    I usually grab my copy on the newsstand, but as of this issue I am now a subscriber and looking forward to this issue.

  3. Stefan Kraft Says:

    Makingstarwars.net has an article (full of spoilers, I have only skimmed through it!) about CGI in TFA.
    “Get it? Most of the space shots are CGI sequences. The film does not really seem to have any CGI sequences involving the main heroes physically. Of course Maz and Snoke are CGI-based creatures and there is no delineation for that in the information I’ve been privy to. I believe this is because these characters might be somewhat practical on set and augmented with motion capture technology.”
    “Locations mostly rely on plate shots to create the look of the environment. … There are about 23 of this style of shots in the film. I assume these plate shots can be enhanced by CG elements. So ultimately they probably add to the CG count considerably but not necessarily.”
    http://makingstarwars.net/2015/07/how-many-shots-in-star-wars-the-force-awakens-are-cgi/
    A summary is also available on furiousfanboys.com:
    http://furiousfanboys.com/2015/07/the-force-awakens-appears-to-be-filled-with-cgi/
    You could therefore say that there are “less” scenes involving CGI where the actors can be seen than there were in the Prequels. These had some scenes where the actors were on a digital set.
    Make out of it what you want. You could argue that you may seem less CGI in TFA when the actors are in a scene than in some comparable scenes in the PT (where there were probably good reasons to use blue screens, however). And the reasoning above does not change the fact that the Prequels were far more than a CGI fest as some haters claim.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Anyway, even if you could somehow argue that the Prequels used “more” CGI than TFA will, it is everything but a black and white discussion. Unfortunately, that’s what you normally read.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        And even if you read something more nuanced, it will probably rather downplay the achievements of the PT.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      If anyone wonders about my comments here – the main comment is awaiting moderation.

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      “seem” = see

    • Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

      I haven’t read past the intro because of spoilers, but my question is how could these people possibly know exactly what happens in an unfinished, unreleased film?

      • lazypadawan Says:

        People close to production talk. Though who knows just how accurate these spoilers are.

  4. piccolojr1138 Says:

    I laughed at this. And this is just the beginning. The purist position will be too hard to resist for these people.

    http://whatculture.com/film/star-wars-the-force-awakens-6-niggling-concerns-no-fan-wants-to-admit.php

    • Simon Maxwell Says:

      “Given how terrible the prequel movies were in general”

      Well, that put me off reading the rest of the article right there.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Well, they make two or three good (or at least decent) points. They even dare to criticize Hamill, Fisher, and Ford… You do not have to agree, but at least they do not seem to come up with the usual “if it sucks, it is GL’s fault (somehow).”

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Yeah, of course they bring up the old CGI argument. They just forget the entire Marvel movies they love so much where CGI was used even more than they could possibly imagine…

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Enough rambling – the stuff I think is not that intelligent on that list was obvious to me the moment I clicked on the link, unfortunately.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Should’ve been titled “6 Niggling Concerns I Have About TFA.” I will grant that having the OT3 live up to their own legend is an expectation as scary as being the Most Anticipated Movie Ever.

      • M. Marshall Says:

        My 6 Niggling Concerns About TFA:

        6. The Trailers Didn’t Impress Me
        5. No “Sneak Peak” Merchandise Has Been Released By Now
        4. I Agree With Article’s Author About The Acting Skills of The OT3
        3. We Already Had Stories About Life After Episode 6 Even If They Weren’t Canon
        2. We Still Don’t Have A Clue As To What the Story’s About
        and
        1. It Feels Like a Rehash of the Original Trilogy

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        Hmmm…
        6. I agree in parts. The first teaser was rather random. The second teaser had a great opening and was well done overall, but I am not sure whether it did not overplay nostalgia.
        5. I don’t care for merchandise, but it is important to promote a movie… And since we have not seen much by now, I am not sure whether the whole marketing machinery is going as it should.
        4. Actually, I do not expect an oscar-worthy performance to enjoy the movie (if I will enjoy it). However, how good the OT3 can play their characters after 30 years remains to be seen.
        3. The EU – well, depends on your taste. I understand that EU fans were more than disappointed by the change of it to “Legends.”
        2. That’s indeed a good point. I want to know a bit more what the new trio will do.
        1. My main problem with the teasers: “oh look, we took a large amount of design from the OT and modernized it a bit. Don’t worry that too much will change, everything is at it was back in 1977.” I hope that this is just marketing, but you never know.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      My problem is I can imagine “we’ve nudged George Lucas out of the production” to be an inestimable advantage, such that with the groundwork carefully laid, people will shift straight from “look at all the stuff on-set!” to “now it’s ‘well-done’ effects, no matter how it might have been done,” and basically filter everything through relentless positivity. Perhaps there, though, I’m projecting my own approach to the currently existing movies…

    • piccolojr1138 Says:

      The prequel hate will not weaken, but some of these guys will hate The Force Awakens too. You can already tell that by the criticism about ******’s cameo in the forums.

      Some people really think that the three old heroes will be the great saviors at the end of the movie, although the two teasers have evidently put the young ones forward.

      I think that the reuse of the old designs isn’t just laziness, it’s also a way to avoid an excessive uproar (they’ll say “look, you didn’t like the movie but you have to admit it looks like the real Star Wars”)

      You can prepare yourself to hear “We’ve waited 32 years for that ?” on December 18th.

    • Nick Skywalker Says:

      I’m interested in seeing how much money this movie will make. I feel that it’s not going to make nearly as much Disney is expecting and needs it to make. A billion? Probably. 1.5 billion? Far fetched but slightly possible. 2 billion? Out of the question. A lot is riding on TFA’s success and I have a bad feeling that it might not deliver.

      Disney needs to step up the marketing game if they want to beat Universal’s monstrous year, which even if they won’t say it out loud, they’re green with envy about. Jurassic World and Minions were heavily promoted early on and continued to be promoted every which way and it’s exactly why JW is 3 on the highest grossing films list and Minions had the second biggest animated opening. TFA is less than 6 months away and we still know nothing. Both trailers were meh and were really just for nostalgia sake. All they’ve done is kiss up to the 40-50 something fanboys who basically want ANH 2.0 and TESB 2.0. Heck, even JW proved that you can have a completely new cast and still make money with a good story.

      This may be me rambling at this point but I truly believe Disney and the media is overrating SW’s popularity. It is and always will be a pop culture fixture but I just don’t think it’s as popular at the moment, especially with mainstream audiences which is JUST as, if not more important than fandoms. I go into any store and the merchandise is full stock collecting dust and it probably doesn’t help that the movies are never on tv and hardly in most big chain stores. Most people don’t want to see old Luke, Leia, and Han because well where’s the fun in that? And people are just over all the constant reboots, remakes, and sequels anyway. It CAN reach high water levels again if they actually promote the movie and not just “hey we got the old trio back!!!”

      • lazypadawan Says:

        You need regular Joes and Janes to make a movie a success. Fan bases alone don’t do it (see: “Serenity”).

        My prediction is TFA will not do better than Jurassic World. I know, blasphemy, but TFA is going to have to either convince audiences paying $8 to see it in 2D isn’t as good as paying $20 to see it in 3D IMAX or convince audiences it’s absolutely worth seeing 15 times in the theater, even though it will likely be on Blu-Ray and on streaming services by Easter. Or TFA will have to draw huge numbers of people who never or rarely go to the movies. That’s not likely to occur since that only happens when you have a movie that’s a novelty (ANH, E.T., Titanic, Avatar).

        Not to say TFA won’t make money. It definitely will. Yet the hype now isn’t a patch on the pre-release hype prior to TPM. Occasionally it flares up when something happens, i.e. the Comic Con panel and the release of the trailer back in April. But then it dies down just like that. They don’t know how to keep the mojo going. Keeping it all too much under wraps is IMO a problem. They should be building on the existing Star Wars legend and giving us some idea of how TFA is taking it all forward instead of making it all a big secret.

      • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

        Disney and the media overrating Star Wars’ popularity?

        Again, this is a generational thing. To Millennials, Star Wars is just another franchise. To a generation that grew up with Raimi’s Spider-man, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, LOTR, Dark Knight, X-men, Iron Man, Narnia, Fast and the Furious, Pirates of the Caribbean, Men in Black…Star Wars must seem like just another franchise amongst many.

        Most people don’t want to see old Luke, Leia and Han? Well, then why watch old Obi-Wan, Anakin, Owen Lars, Mon Mothma, Tarkin, and Palps in the original trilogy?

        Star Wars has always been multi-generational. I assume you’re very young, so you can only see things from the teen or twenty somethings point of view. Well, your youth only lasts a short time, and life doesn’t end at 30 or 40; people don’t stop being interesting past that age, they actually become much more interesting. While you may not interact with any “old” people, many young people do. Seeing an older generation interact with the younger generations is fascinating, in film and in life. And that’s always been a big part of this story.

        And contrary to popular belief, people over 34 do go to the movies. Hollywood just usually chooses to ignore them. Don’t worry though, they keep hiring mostly young, inexperienced directors so young people your age will show up. Do you think they hired the Lego Movie directors for 40-50 year olds? Really?

        If people saw Jurassic World in 3D and IMAX, then why wouldn’t they see TFA in those formats? JW wasn’t filmed with 3D cameras either.

        Nobody predicted JW would make nearly as much as it has, domestic or worldwide. You really can’t predict how much these monster break out films will do.

        Keeping the audience in the dark about the nature of the story may come to backfire, simply because there are so many reboots, remakes and spin-offs these days. The audience right now may be confused about it being a traditional sequel or not. But, that most likely will be clear by December.

        Nobody really knew anything about ET, prior to its release. While it may go against contemporary marketing wisdom, I am intruiged by not knowing the whole story before going in the theater.

        Episode I made nearly as much as ESB and ROTJ, despite being one of the most maligned films ever. The original trilogy is as popular as ever, so the only expectations for TFA are….there are no expectations!

        Unlearn what you have learned!

      • lazypadawan Says:

        There are many things to explain JW’s success, some of which are helpful to SW some of which are still kind of up in the air.

        I think people wanted to pay more to see a 35-foot dinosaur lunge at them in 3D, something you don’t get at home or even at Ye Olde Sticky Floor Multiplex. That puts it into thrill attraction category. Will TFA deliver something like that? Maybe, maybe not.

      • madmediaman Says:

        TFA’s success all depends on general audiences, and I’ve yet to see any indication among average filmgoers, or kids that they are desperate for Star Wars. Right now the hype train is being run by nerds, and media outlets that are dominated by nerds.

        I’ve heard fans suggest that because of the amount of Youtube views of the trailer that TFA will be the biggest release ever, but when you point out to the same fan that prior to the release of Jurassic World, the trialer had only been viewed 25 million times.

        I think the film does well domestically… just above $400 million domestically and $1.2-1.3 billion worldwide. But I think people are really overestimating the genral audience’s need to go back to that Galaxy Far, Far Away.

        It will do well, but I think fans will be shocked at the end of TFA’s run when Jurassic World is still the biggest money maker of the year.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I’ve personally seen a lot of ignorance about what’s going on with SW amongst “regular people”. My sister and her friends had no idea that George Lucas wasn’t making this new trilogy, for instance. I’ve even run into hardcore comics fans and geeky types who had no idea that Disney had bought the franchise. Simply put, not everybody’s paying attention to this stuff. That can either work out well or very, very poorly for Disney.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        I think most of us do not want this movie to fail just because it is not done by GL – but we want that it respects the whole universe established by him.

        Estimating the box office is tricky. I think that jarjarbacktattooguy makes some good points, but I also think that madmediaman is everything but wrong. It’s hard to tell what the average audience expects of this movie or whether they are really fired up for it. We probably will not see a record-breaking first weekend because it is the holiday season.

        Regardless of the box office success, brace yourself for a load of “this movie is everything that the prequels should have been” reviews. I think I will simply refuse to read any review except of two or three on some blogs.

      • jarjarbacktattooguy Says:

        Jurassic World was essentially a soft reboot. That franchise was always very episodic anyway, and not serialized like Star Wars. There wasn’t the type of anticipation for the continuation of that story as there is with SW. JW made it’s money simply because everyone (of all generations) loved the first one so much, and this one hit enough of the notes that the original did.

        Star Wars was always advertised as a nine story arch. Lucas eventually went back on that (around the time of Episode III, IIRC), but had loosely stuck with the “three trilogy” concept through the 80s and 90s.

        So the sequel trilogy will be viewed as the conclusion to the epic saga, and not as just another sequel or reboot like JW. This is why it will make more.

        Is there the type of anticipation that there was in 99 for Episode I? No, because SW was *the* franchise for all Gen Xers and younger Boomers. We didn’t have 15 successful different sci fi/fantasy film franchises the way kids today do. Nothing came close to the popularity of Star Wars in the 70s and 80s. Maybe ET and Raiders, but no franchise. Star Trek was always a cult thing, the box office would always die out after the geeks saw it the first week.

        But, movies do much better at the box office than they did in 99, both domestic and foreign. So it doesn’t need the kind of hype that a movie did back then. There is no way half of today’s mega hits are hits back in the 90s. No China, no Russia. Different world.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        The foreign market has definitely expanded over the past 20 years, to the point where Hollywood probably cares more about international gross than domestic, but the reasons why box office totals are higher domestically is because ticket prices are higher! For a 3D IMAX showing a single ticket can be as high as $20. I didn’t pay more than $10 for a single viewing of any of the prequel films, including non-matinee shows. I remember when people thought theaters charging $6 to see ROTJ was highway robbery. When I was 11 or 12, a matinee was $1.50.

      • Bob Clark Says:

        I think without Lucas at the helm, you really lose a big portion of the Saga credibility– even when people were whining about his direction, people took the series semi-seriously as a single story told by a single creator. Now that it’s in Disney’s hands, you lose the artistic merit of it in lieu of the expectations of commercial instincts. When more people realize this isn’t Lucas’ baby anymore, I think you’ll see more people getting truly cynical about Disney’s milking of the franchise.

  5. Jacobesico Says:

    It was thanks to the Star Wars Insider that I was made aware of this site.

    I love their articles on the Prequels.

  6. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I suspect that “THE FORCE AWAKENS” will become a monster hit, regardless of whether the critics like or not . . . or whether we like it not. In fact, I suspect it will become a bigger hit than “JURASSIC WORLD”.

    By the way, I was reading all of that action in that recap. What is the movie’s plot?

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