Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heir to the Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition Preview: Annotation #12: It's all about that snazzy white uniform



Star Wars Books on Facebook has released the twelfth in a series of annotation previews for Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire 20th Anniversary Edition release. 
"'Admiral' would be the normal shipboard form of address ('Grand Admiral' is awkwardly long for casual conversation), but C'baoth almost invariably uses the entire rank. Not as a form of respect, of course, but as a form of sarcasm." --TZ
SOURCE: Star Wars Books on Facebook

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jon Favreau interviews Harrison Ford: What a loveable curmudgeon


Actor/Director Jon Favreau sits down with Harrison Ford  who is co-starring in his new film Cowboys and Aliens as Col. Woodrow Dolarhyde.

Ford sits down for what looks like an extended conversation that will likely appear in the bonus features of the DVD and Blu-ray release.  There is a bit of Star Wars or Indiana Jones in almost every clip. 

"As Written"


"in the story boards"


"serendipity"


"30 pages"


"Human Scale"


"No co-pilot"


"The Hat"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cover Preview: Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter Re-Release


Starwars.com has posted the cover art for the Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter novel, part of next years The Phantom Menace in 3D marketing campaign.  Lucasfilm is good at the synergy thing, not only is Darth Maul on the retail packaging for toys next year, not only is he almost certain to appear in Season 4 of The Clone Wars, but its pretty clear he will be one of the major selling points and promotional tools for Episode I. 

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter tells the tale of Lorn Pavan and his sidekick droid I-5YQ, while being pursued by Maul.  Shadow Hunter has one of my favorite closing scenes in any Star Wars novel. 

The re-release will feature a new Darth Maul short story by James Luceno as well as the 2001 short story Darth Maul: Saboteur which was previously released. 

SOURCE: Starwars.com

The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup #3 is up on The Star Wars Report

My The Clone Wars Weekly Roundup is now posted on The Star Wars Report.  Make it your one stop to catch up on all of the weeks TCW news.  Just call me Den Dhur.

This week features Season 3 home video news, some news regarding Sam Witwer, and a job opening on TCW team. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Star Wars E-DAY! Tuesday June 28th Star Wars books go digital


Tomorrow is E-DAY ladies and gentleman.  Finally the Star Wars catalog of novels is going digital.  All the adult novels will be available for purchase starting tomorrow on the various e-readers.  Most books will be in the $7.99 range, while some of the newer books that have only been released as hardcovers will be at a higher price point. 

Which SWEU book will be your first digital purchase? 

Star Wars Books on Facebook posted a trailer for the event that can be seen HERE.

SOURCE: Star Wars Books

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Princess Leah: Star Wars fans unite to help a brave little girl



Stephen Stanton and his work through social media has made me aware of this story about a brave little girl, Leah and the battle she and her family are waging against a mystery illness.

From KTLA story:

WESTWOOD, Calif. (KTLA) -- The parents of a sick, 4-month-old baby girl named "Leah" are thanking Star Wars fans for raising an estimated $15,000 to help pay for the costs of the infant's growing medical bills.

Leah has spent the majority of her short life in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA due to a "mystery illness."

"We still don't know… and I think that's the most frustrating part," says Dr. Andy Wen.

Over the past year I have become active in the Star Wars fan community and one thing that I have learned above all others is that some of the most friendly and decent people are part of this franchise.  The fans of Star Wars rally when one of their own is in trouble and organizations like the 501st Legion do incredible charity work. 

I am awed by how much Star Wars fans have given in donations to help Leah's family pay for her mounting hospital bills.  I know we can do more however, and to that effort I have installed a gadget to the Baby Leah Fund on the front page of this site. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Esquenazi family and baby Leah, we already know the Force will be with them.

For updates on Leah from her mother, please visit: The Princess Leah Diaries

To offer your support and encouragement, also visit their Facebook Page: May the Force be with the Princess LEAH

New Star Wars: Blu-ray bonus feature preview featuring John Williams and Yoda


Play.com has posted another clip from the bonus features of the Star Wars Blu-ray set, this time featuring John Williams discussing his thoughts on Yoda and Yoda's theme. 

I would assume this clip is from "A Conversation with the Masters," a 2010 retrospective on Empire Strikes Back that features George Lucas, John Williams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Irvin Kershner.



To see the clip, please visit Play.com.

Off Topic: J.K. Rowling's Pottermore Announcement


I must confess I am a little disappointed in today's Pottermore announcement.  While Rowling's idea is certainly innovative, I was hoping for new books set in the Harry Potter universe even if they included new characters.

From the reports that are available, Pottermore appears to combine elements of message boards, on-line role-playing games, and a virtual encyclopedia Potterica, including bits of information or story that Rowling used in creating her universe but which did not go into the stories of the seven books. 

Although the author made clear that she had "no plans to write another novel", the fresh Potter material – to be unveiled later this year - already stretches to 18,000 words about the novels' characters, places and objects, with more to come. From Professor McGonagall's love for a Muggle as a young woman, to how the Dursleys met (Petunia was working in an office); from new information about Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff houses, to details about wand wood, Rowling's writing will be just one part of the richly interactive, free Pottermore.com website, which is intended to bring the Harry Potter storylines to interactive life for readers.

The material will be used on the new, free Pottermore website, a collaborative project for fans set in the Harry Potter universe. "I wanted to give something back to the fans that have followed Harry so devotedly over the years, and to bring the stories to a new generation," Rowling revealed. "I hope fans and those new to Harry will have as much fun helping to shape Pottermore as I have. Just as I have contributed to the website, everyone else will be able to join in by submitting their own comments, drawings and other content in a safe and friendly environment. Pottermore has been designed as a place to share the stories with your friends as you journey through the site." The website will open first to a million users who register first on 31 July – Harry's birthday. These users will help shape the site, with its full launch to all users to take place in October.

Pottermore will also sell the long-awaited ebook versions of the Harry Potter books directly to users from October, as well as digital audiobooks. "

Its great to see this Tolkien level of depth to the Harry Potter universe, but as a Star Wars fan, I am used to new stories with the characters that I love, there is always another book on the horizon.  Hopefully someday Rowling returns to the universe of Harry Potter with more tales to entertain another generation of fans.

SOURCES: The Guardian and Pottermore

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Star Wars: The Blueprints





Unfortunately Star Wars: The Blueprints is going to be a limited edition book, because it looks incredible and would be a must have for any Star Wars fan. Star Wars: The Blue Prints is being produced by Epic Ink and they have an incredible website set up for the book.  Visit Theblueprintsbook.com for complete details and info on how to order the book.   The book will begin shipping September 15, 2011. 

Star Wars: The Blueprints
By J.W. Rinzler

Includes Star Wars: The Blueprints book, custom-made cloth case, and certificate of authenticity.

Star Wars: The Blueprints is limited to 5,000 hand-numbered English language copies, with the first 125 copies signed by the three surviving Academy-Award® winners for Best Art Direction (Star Wars, 1978): art director Norman Reynolds; art director Les Dilley; and set dresser Roger Christian.

Pricing structure for each number range:
Level One: Signed and hand-numbered copies #1-125 @ $1,000
Level Two: Hand-numbered copies #126-5,000 @ $500

Some of the blueprints included in the book are:


J.W. Rinzler is writing the book and provided a link to trailer for the book on Twitter and a little bit of information on his SW.com Blog.

So far we've announced Star Wars: The Blueprints. I'll be writing that one and it's going to be a Limited Edition given the fact that the production of the book costs so much-that is, in order to show the blueprints at a size at which they can be appreciated, the book has to be quite large. So far I can say I've had a great time interviewing the old production art department crews: Norman Reynolds, Les Dilley, Roger Christian, Alan Tomkins, Peter Childs, and others-the art directors and draftsmen from times past, whose stories have never been told.


I am heading to Home Depot tomorrow to stock up on tools and construction supplies. I just need to figure out what to use to cover a small thermal exhaust port on my battle station. 


SOURCES: IGN and J.W. Rinzler

Fate of the Jedi: Ascension Excerpt Chapter 2: Sith father knows best


Star Wars.com has posted an excerpt from the next book in the Fate of the Jedi series, Ascension by Christie Golden.  The excerpt is Chapter 2 in the book and features an intimate look at a Sith family.  Gavar Khai interacting with his wife Lahka, the parents of Vestara.

Direct Link to the PDF excerpt

Thanks to the kind folks at Random House / Del Rey, we have received an advance review copy of Ascension, look for a spoiler free review of the book shortly before its release on August 16th.

SOURCE: STARWARS.COM

Off Topic Review: Green Lantern



Warner Brothers and DC Comic's latest entry into the Superhero genre, is a fun summer movie but lacks the emotional depth of Nolan's Batman films or the recent X-Men: First Class.  It is most similar to the first Iron Man film except without the awesomeness that is Robert Downey Jr.

One of my big issues with this genre is the why they go about introducing the heroes.  The origin story often, serves multiple purposes, it is targeted at those unfamiliar with the character from the comics, it has the make the character accessible to these new viewers.  Often because it is Hollywood the origin story also has to do more then that, we usually get some combination of three elements.  (1) Tragic event, (2) introduction of a love interest, (3) how the hero got their superpowers.

This often takes a lot of screen time in many films before we jump into the action and adventure that you go into the movie looking for.  If Green Lantern does one thing well early in the film, it is the scene with Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) and how he loses his father.  The way the scene is set, it shows both Hal's fearlessness as well as the emotionally traumatic event that shapes some of his personality issues that we see in the adult Hal Jordan. 

The love story in Green Lantern focuses on Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris (Blake Lively), complete with a jealous wannabe lover in Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) . Reynolds and Ferris maybe two of the most attractive people on the planet, but their chemistry and the story line of their love felt lacking in this film.  I think it would have been better served showing the three characters as children together instead of just referencing the fact that they all grew up together. 

One of the most disappointing parts of the film was Tim Robbins performance as Senator Hammond.  It felt like he was just cashing a paycheck, but that may have been partly his fault and partly the writing. 

Mark Strong does a very good job as Sinestro, however the fate of the character in the film while not a surprise was not foreshadowed well enough through the course of the movie.

The special effects were very good and I really enjoyed the scenes in space and on the planet Oa.  I also really enjoyed Reynolds comedic touches, the lantern scene was pretty funny. 

For Star Wars fans there are a couple familiar faces.  Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison) plays Green Lantern Abin Sur and Savage Opress (Clancy Brown) provides the voice of Parallax. 

In the end, Green Lantern is a fun summer movie ride but a rather middle of the pack entry into the superhero genre of films. 

Clone Wars News & Rumors: Sam Witwer, the voice of The Son and Starkiller to return in Season 4


The San Antonio Express-News Geek Speak blog has a story about actor Sam Witwer including a brief interview.  The story also includes a little TCW news, that Witwer will be returning to TCW in S4. 

Sure, Sam Witwer owes plenty of his career to the Force. After all, he is the face and voice of Starkiller, Darth Vader’s secret apprentice in the Star Wars: The Force Unleashed video games. And he’s voiced what’s practically the very embodiment of the dark side as the evil Son in the Mortis trilogy story from last season’s Star Wars: The Clone Wars. And he’ll return to the animated series next season in an as yet undisclosed role.
SOURCE:  Geek Speak Blog

Monday, June 20, 2011

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 3 Blu-ray and DVD release October 18th


The official site has issued a press release announcing the U.S. release date for TCW S3 on Blu-ray and DVD.

The Complete Season 3 will be coming out on October 18th, 2011.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three will be available on October 18th for the suggested retail price of $44.98 for DVD and $59.99 for Blu-ray.
Special Features:
Star Wars: The Clone Wars The Complete Season Three is presented in widescreen with English, Spanish and French 5.1 DTS audio and English, French and Spanish subtitles. Bonus features include:
Featurettes

  • Creating Kamino
  • Hutts and the Underworld
  • Witches and Monsters
  • Secrets of Mortis
  • Chewbacca Returns
  • Blu-ray Exclusive -- The Jedi Temple Archives: An extensive database exploring special effects footage, early concept art, 3D character and object turnarounds, early animation and more than 30 deleted/extended scenes. The Archives is a rare look at the assets in various stages of creation for The Clone Wars, with a wealth of surprises and never-before seen moments sprinkled throughout.

StarWars.com also has two videos related to the Blu-ray/DVD release, one is an excerpt of a commentary featurette of the Nightsister Trilogy with Kilian Plunket and Dave Filoni.  The other is a trailer for the sets themselves, which features Katie Lucas who will be doing some commentary on the Nightsisters Trilogy on the sets, as revealed on Twitter (@KRLgrrl).

SOURCE: STAR WARS.com

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Off Topic: What is Pottermore?


Harry Potter author J.K Rowling has a new website up called Pottermore.



The site itself is under construction with a tantalizing "Coming Soon" tag on it.

Will Pottermore be a new series of tales in the universe of Harry Potter, a set of tales told from a different perspective, or a story about owls? 

I was a late comer to the Harry Potter phenomenon, being introduced to the movies, which as they progressed got darker and more interesting to me and gave me the motivation to go back and read the books.  J.K. Rowling provided an intensely entertaining tale and I certainly look forward to what I hope is more stories in the same universe from this talented author.

P.S. Ginny is my favorite. 

LINK: Pottermore.com

Star Wars Sundries: TV, Blu-ray, Book, and Collecting News



Lots of little tidbits that deserve attention, but not sure I want to write that many posts, so lets do them all in one major download.

Blu-ray News:

Play.com has posted what looks to be our first look at the clip of finished documentary footage from the Star Wars Complete Saga Blu-ray.  The clip features an interview with Ewan McGregor and vintage footage of Denis Lawson who played Wedge Antilles in the OT. 

Book News:

Star Wars Books on Facebook posted a mini-excerpt from author Paul S. Kemp's next book, Rip Tide.
Khedryn cleared his throat. “So, then, do you have a plan? What do we do about the escaped clones?”
“We find them,” Jaden said.
“Yeah, I figured that. I’m all ears about how.”
“First I need to speak to Grand Master Skywalker.”
Star Wars Books on Facebook also announced the artists that will be illustrating The Essential Readers Companion.
I've been busy talking and emailing with so many talented artists the past few weeks. I'm thrilled to announce that Jeff Carlisle and Chris Trevas will be illustrating Pablo Hidalgo's STAR WARS: THE ESSENTIAL READERS' COMPANION book, on sale in August 2012! (ES)

 COLLECTING:

Jedi Temple Archives has posted images and preliminary details of a new Savage Opress Maquette from Gentle Giant.  This thing looks awesome and could be a must have for collectors and TCW fans.


Television News:

On the Live-Action Series front, Den of Geek has pulled back the curtain and it appears found one of the writers that contributed to the pile of scripts sitting on George Lucas' bookshelf.

A source has revealed to us that British writer, Matthew Graham, is one of the team that Lucas recruited to the project.
Graham is best known for co-creating and co-writing Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, and we recently saw his work in Doctor Who, too, where he penned the two-parter, The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People.
We got in touch with Matthew Graham and asked him whether the news was true. All he would say to us was that he had done some work out at LucasFilm during 2008 and 2009 "on something unbelievably cool", and that his contract "had come to an end". "I hope one day I'll be able to talk about it," he told us.
Comingsoon.net has some news from the Licensing International Expo 2011 (LX11) and apparently there is going to be an animated Lego Star Wars television special in Fall 2011.  We know that TCW actors spent time lending their voices to the Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars, so I would imagine that much of those same voice actors would be used for this special.  It will be interesting to see what this special is and exactly how it fits or doesn't fit into the continuity.

Club Jade also has an interesting little tidbit from a recent interview that George Lucas did with CNN, where he is talking about another animated show, Star Wars: Detours.  The speculation being that this is the secret project that Robot Chicken creators Seth Green and Matt Senreich have been working on.


SOURCES:  Play.com, Star Wars Books on Facebook, Jedi Temple Archives, Den of Geek, ComingSoon.net, and Club Jade.

Heir to the Empire: 20th Anniversary Edition Preview: Annotation #11:


Star Wars Books on Facebook has posted another annotation to tease the upcoming release of the 20th Anniversary edition of Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire. 

Annotation #11: 
  
"'C'baoth,' incidentally, is pronounced 'SA-bay-oth,' with the first vowel pronounced like the 'a' in 'has.' If I'd realized how hard it was going to be for everyone else to figure out, I would have changed the spelling." --TZ

I hope we can get a Last Command Anniversary Edition so that I can figure out how to pronounce Luuke Skywalker. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Legoland Star Wars: A miniland tour



This nerf herder and my lovely wife recently took a fun Sunday afternoon trip up to Carlsbad, CA (north of San Diego) to visit Legoland. 

When walking into Legoland after passing through the entry way, my inner geek was astounded by the gigantic Lego Star Wars sand sculptures.

The good news about Legoland is that it is family friendly, the bad news, is that most of the rides/attractions are geared heavily to kids, including many rides not allowing two adults to ride next to each other.  But we didn't really go to Legoland for the rides.




While we made our way through the park, my lovely wife spotted a certain walking carpet on top of a small hill and directed this excited geek to Star Wars Miniland.

Star Wars Miniland is broken down into various scenes; Episode IV: Tatooine, Episode V: Battle of Hoth, Episode VI: Endor, Episode I: Naboo, Episode II: Geonosis, The Clone Wars Movie: Christophsis, and Episode III: Kashyyyk and Mustafar.

What the pictures do not do justice is just how intricate these models are, as well as the moving pieces and audio that is integrated into the display.

Episode I: Naboo


Episode II: Geonosis



The Clone Wars Movie: Christophsis

Episode III: Kashyyk and Mustafar




Episode IV: Tatooine



Episode V: Hoth



 Episode VI: Endor


VIDEOS:



For all the photos from Star Wars Mini-land at Legoland, please visit our Facebook Page. 
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