Posts Tagged ‘Saga’

Joseph Fiennes Was Almost Obi-Wan?

May 25, 2017

The current star of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” told The Wrap that he was a finalist in the contest to play the younger incarnation of Obi-Wan.  Sort of:

While Fiennes played coy at first, the actor let out enough information to source the film to Star Wars.

“I auditioned for a great director,” Fiennes started. “It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with.”

The Wrap independently confirmed Fiennes and McGregor were classmates as Guildhall School of Music and Drama way back when. The Londoners went on to pursue their acting careers, but the pair apparently reunited under the guise of Star Wars.

Fiennes went on to say he moved forward with audition levels until he got to do a test in front of a director and Robin Gurland, a casting director. After finishing, Fiennes went to meet George Lucas and his daughter.

“I auditioned for a great director,” Fiennes said as he began his story. “It was whittled down after many auditions to myself and another fine actor who I was at that time at drama school with.”

However, the encounter would up being a pitfall for Fiennes. “His daughter turned around and said ‘I don’t like this guy. He’s weird. I don’t like him.’ And that’s how my audition went,” Fiennes recalled.

Oh well! Read the rest here.

Where It All Started

May 25, 2017

For me anyway, nearly 40 years ago…the long-gone Valley Circle theater in San Diego:

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I didn’t go opening day; I saw ANH in early June.  The lines were hellacious from day one, especially on the weekends.  They wrapped around the building and down the parking lot.  My mom and dad pulled my brother and me out of school figuring our chances were better on a weekday (no Fandango in 1977…you had to buy tickets that day at the box office).  We did get in but not before waiting hours in line out in the parking lot.  It was like a carnival:  hawkers selling buttons and stuff, a lady scouting for kids to cast in an unrelated commercial, moviegoers sitting in lawn chairs, and the McDonalds that used to be next door doing boffo business.  My dad even found a co-worker playing hooky in the same line.  Once we got inside, I remember seeing the lobby photos on the wall and going into a packed theater.  I’d been at the same theater before to see previous blockbusters like “King Kong” (1976) and “Futureworld,” but this time every seat was filled.  It was nuts!

That was the beginning of a life sentence without parole, heh heh.  Without which I would not be working on this site today.  So a happy 40th to ANH (and a happy 34th to ROTJ).

Prequels Rock Pandora

May 5, 2017

A couple of years ago, Spotify released its list of the most streamed Star Wars tracks.   This year for May the 4th, Pandora released its own list of the most streamed tracks on its service.  Mind you this is after soundtracks for two more movies have been released.  And yet, Spotify’s most popular Star Wars track is also Pandora’s most popular track:  “Duel of the Fates.”

In fact tracks from the prequels are all over Pandora’s top 10:

1. “Duel of the Fates” (Episode I): 10.6 million plays

2. “The Imperial March” (Episode V): 6.7 million plays

3. “Battle of the Heroes” (Episode III): 4.1 million plays

4. “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” (Episode III): 3.6 million plays

5. “Star Wars and the Revenge of the Sith” (Episode III): 3.4 million plays

6. “Anakin’s Betrayal” (Episode III): 2.7 million plays

7. “Across the Stars” (Episode II): 2.3 million plays

8. “Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious” (Episode III): 2.1 million plays

9. “Enter Lord Vader” (Episode III): 2 million plays

10. “Imperial Attack” (Episode IV): 1.8 million plays

A surprise to be sure, but a welcome one.

15 Years of AOTC: Fun Parallels/Homages

May 2, 2017

I’ve written before about Bollywood’s influence on AOTC and maybe one day I’ll get around to “Blade Runner”‘s influence on the film, but I haven’t had much time today to write out a long piece.  Fortunately, Mike Klimo of Ring Theory fame has been on fire lately posting cool shots recalling other films or other points in the saga.  (Go follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.  Seriously!)  Originally I’d embedded the pictures but of course none of them came up (curse you, WordPress). One of my favorites was that Lucas had Drew Struzan design the poster to mimic the poster for Dr. Zhivago; in another Zhivago reference in AOTC, the house by the lake was “Varykino.”

Check them out on Klimo’s Instagram.

Tidbits From SLCC FanX Panels

April 28, 2017

Salt Lake City Comic Con FanX, held back in March, was a little lower on the radar than SWCO but it had some interesting commentary at various Star Wars panels .  Rhett Wilkinson attended the panels and took notes.  I’ve limited it to some of the more prequel-centric stuff:

*The Interconnected Star Wars panel with Bryan Young and Lucasfilm’s Matt Martin discussed the story group and continuity.  Mentioned was AOTC’s Poggle the Lesser’s appearances in the pre-Rogue One book “Catalyst” and “Rebels” to explain why the Death Star plans were moved from Geonosis, because Saw Generra was becoming “too close” to the whole thing.  Genndy Tartakovsky’s “Clone Wars” shorts don’t fit into the same timeline as the series; it’s basically “Legends” too.  If a really good story justified bringing back a deceased character like Mace Windu, then it would happen.

*The Full of Sith panel seemed more  a live version of the podcast where Young and Holly Frey discuss favorite costumes (Young likes Padmé’s black corset dress, Frey had a “religious experience” seeing Queen Amidala’s red gown on exhibit in Washington, D.C.), various questions about canon, and answering “why do we tend to gravitate to certain Star Wars (trilogies)?” (the questioner’s remark that prequels are “my Star Wars” and that as some folks don’t like the prequels, children like the Disney Star Wars and not the prequels or originals.) “We attach a lot of nostalgia to childhood, so things you see first are probably your favorite,” Frey said. “you feel (films) were made for you when you were sort of an empty vessel receiving this wonderful universe for the first time.”

To read the whole thing, including details on a panel about Rogue One with Gary Whitta, Coffee With Kenobi will have it up soon.

A Few Interesting Reads

April 20, 2017

SyFy’s Stuff We Love series featured a scene from AOTC that forever changed the audience’s view of the Jedi, when Dooku tries to get a captured Obi-Wan on his side.  The only downside is the author’s assumption “most fans” didn’t like the movie.  Really, Carol?  Get with the program.  Otherwise not a bad piece.

Furious Fanboys says SWCO was a big moment for the prequels.

Finally, here are two more installments in Matril’s Star Words series:

Part V

Part VI

 

 

Challenging “Plot Holes”

April 19, 2017

The latest installment of Power To The Prequels challenges the idea that the Star Wars films have plot holes (PT and OT):

You want to hear a secret? Come closer, I have good news. There are no such things as Star Wars plot holes.

I realize that you’ve probably heard otherwise. There’s a contingency of the fan community that delights in pointing out logical inconsistencies or continuity errors to disparage beloved films. The “plot hole” accusation is the most prevalent, and the reason why is simple. Logic speaks to an objective truth, and there is this illusion that when talking about art, we can categorize it, rank it, attribute a particular quality number to it… with decimal points no less!

The actual truth is that all art is subjective. That’s the point of it. You can’t measure feelings. You can’t empirically test emotional resonance. And what affects one person will have no effect on another. Which is probably why one man’s Film-Breaking Plot Hole is another’s “eh, it didn’t bother me.”

Open Thread: TLJ Trailer, Teaser Poster Drop & Other SWCO Shenanigans

April 14, 2017

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LOL at everyone who thought they were going to black the screen for those watching at home.

I’ve watched it twice and while I caution that Disney has gone the “fake trailer” route lately (*cough*Luke’s meaningless narrative in the first TFA teaser, *cough*a fake TIE added to a Rogue One trailer), I have to say this looks better than TFA. The cinematography is beautiful and while it has some familiar trappings, it also looks like it’s own thing. Anyone catch the vehicles that look vaguely like pod racers? Or the Jedi symbol?

The teaser poster is all right; the Anakin/Vader shadow poster for TPM still reigns as the best teaser ever.

Chick Stuff

April 13, 2017

Lucasfilm announced today a new cartoon/book series called Forces Of Destiny, which is better than “Star Wars Babes” or “Star Wars Gurlzzz” or something because it’s all about the females of Star Wars.

There will be eight animated shorts, each starring a Star Wars heroine:  Rey, Jyn Erso, Leia (duh), Padmé (surprise!), Ahsoka (duh), Hera, and Sabine.  Some in the same era might meet.  Maz Kanata narrates.

Interestingly enough, Disney wrote a big enough checkbook to get Daisy Ridley, Felicity Jones, and Lupita Nyong’o to reprise their roles along with the respective voice actresses from Rebels.  But not big enough to bring in La Nat, so it’ll be Catherine Taber playing Padmé again.  Shelby Young will be voicing Leia.

Episodes will appear on YouTube in July and more will air on the Disney Channel this fall.  Hasbro is going to make a 12″ line to go with the series but I don’t see a Padmé in that bunch.  Grr…

SWCO 40th Anniversary Panel Notes & Thoughts

April 13, 2017

It would be an understatement to say this panel pushed every possible long-term fan button and delivered surprises galore.  It was one of those things that was almost as exciting to watch from home online as it was to be there in person.  At least until the streaming started hiccuping around toward the end.  Maybe when you figure you didn’t have to pay to get in, book a flight and hotel, or sleep on the sidewalk for three days, it wasn’t a bad tradeoff.  It sucks more to have done all that and STILL not make it inside.

Highlights:

* THE MAKER!!!!!  I figured there was a good chance Lucas would show up and show up he did in his trademark checked shirt and jeans.  He stayed for the entire program.  My favorite thing he said was SW at its core was a film made for 12-year-olds.  Sadly he did not say he was coming out of retirement.

*Warwick Davis…he’s always been funny and charming.  Nice job MC’ing.

*Dave Filoni…the master reunites with the apprentice.

* The Dark Side Rockstars.  Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen appeared to chat about their involvement in the prequel era with George Lucas to big cheers.  Who knew the Emperor had such a great sense of humor?  This was Hayden’s first con appearance since Celebration II in 2002 and he said it was great to be back.  They mentioned the opera house scene had one of if not the longest stretch of dialogue in the entire saga.  Ian praised Hayden and Ewan’s work on the lightsaber duel from ROTS and thought they should’ve done a roadshow demonstrating their fighting skill.  Hayden talked about how hard it was to film without making the lightsaber noises.

*The OT reunion minus the alumni who have left us, which was kind of sad.  Which leads us to…

*The long and touching tribute to Carrie Fisher.  I know this sounds super hokey and I’m not the Long Island Medium, but it really felt like she was there in spirit among her fans, friends, family, and former co-stars.  This included some first glimpes of Leia in TLJ.

*Thank God on the livestream we were spared the pre-show hype man.

Surprises:

*JOHN FREAKIN’ WILLIAMS!!!  His first Celebration appearance ever with a local orchestra for a great closing program of music, at first in tribute to Fisher then to SW in general.

*HARRISON FORD!!!  Also his first Celebration appearance, with many plane jokes to go around.  I have to say this was the most coherent I’ve ever seen Ford in a live interview; he usually seems drunk or really nervous.  Here he seemed relaxed, present, and genuinely happy to be there.  He expressed his gratitude to Lucas and to the fans.

*Video howdys from Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson!!!  Neeson sent his regrets from the set of something he’s shooting in the Canadian rockies and looked a little beat up.  He joked that it was about Jar Jar going to the dark side.  He spoke of how honored he was to play Qui-Gon.  Jackson kicked off his Bring Back Mace Windu campaign by mentioning how many other characters have been killed only to return stronger than ever with cybernetics.

*Billie Lourd!!!  I was so ticked off when the streaming went wonky just after her speech started.  Since this was her first public appearance since her mother’s and grandmother’s deaths, I imagine every celebrity news and gossip site jumped on the feed immediately.  I’ve read/seen bits and pieces of her speech, where she capped it off by reciting from memory Leia’s your my only hope part from ANH.  The Leia-inspired dress she wore was custom-designed by Tom Ford.  Because I care about stuff like that.

*No Disney kids?  I kind of thought this would be a crash-bang journey through all four decades of SW-ness with some of the ST or Rogue One cast dropping by but I guess with a panel tomorrow and a separate RO panel with Forest Whittaker and Felicity Jones, it would be kind of redundant.  This panel was about George Lucas’s classic SW (PT, OT, a little bit of Clone Wars).

Lowlights:

*The flow of the panel felt a little disjointed until they got to the Fisher tribute.  I can’t put my finger on why.

*The streaming going wonky at one of the panel’s emotional highlights.  Your service sucks, Verizon!  It’s really going to be a nightmare tomorrow with the TLJ panel.

*Hey, Kenny Baker passed too.  Remember him?

*While I’m glad this is the most acknowledgment of the prequels I’ve seen at any Celebration since 2005, what happened to Ewan and Natalie?  What, are they training with SEAL Team Six in South Korea as we speak?  In all seriousness, I know Ewan is filming “Fargo” and Natalie is the very tired mom of two including a newborn daughter.  But they couldn’t drop a quick hello on Skype?