Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Joins Cartoon Network's Toonami Programing Block


It was announced via Toonami's Tumblr page that The Clone Wars would be joining The Cartoon Networks' Saturday night programming block.

It isn't clear if this is a continuation of the previous contract for The Clone Wars distribution, if there are some continued rights for Cartoon Network to air the series in perpetuity or if this is a new distribution contract.


"Star Wars: The Clone Wars begins airing on Toonami on August 17th, replacing Eureka 7 (full schedule to come)."



It is also not clear exactly what time the series will air within the Toonami block.  Stay tuned to this blog for continued coverage of The Clone Wars.

SOURCES: Tumblr and TheOuthousers.com

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Upcoming Star Wars Specials on Disney XD: 7/30 and 8/1



Star Wars programming is beginning to show up across the Disney Television platforms.

This coming week on Disney XD a three day event showcasing various Disney owned properties will transform Disney XD into Disney Fandom.

During this event two Star Wars specials will be aired

TUESDAY, JULY 30 
11:00 P.M. - "Star Wars Tech"A documentary about the technical aspects of Star Wars - from Darth Vader's robotic limbs to the light saber,  to how X-wings compare to modern jets. 

THURSDAY, AUGUST 1
8:00 P.M. - Live Well Network's "My Family Recipe Rocks - Star Wars" Special Edition (Disney Fandom premiere)
Host Joey Fatone visits the world's largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia showcased in a museum on the 'Ranch Obi Wan' near Skywalker Ranch and cooks a Star Wars themed breakfast from the Star Wars Cookbook.

Since Star Wars fans are often also Marvel fans, it should be noted that the event running from 8 p.m. - 1 a.m. Tuesday through Thursday will also feature looks at upcoming Disney film projects.

Fans will also get a sneak peek at Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including Marvel's "Thor: The Dark World," Marvel's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and Marvel's "Guardians of the Galaxy," along with Disney's "Frozen," "Planes," and ABC's "Once Upon a Time in Wonderland."  

Hopefully this is just the beginning of more Star Wars content on Disney entertainment platforms.

SOURCE: Disney XD and Disney Fandom

Star Wars Rebels News & Rumors: Taking A Closer Look At The Main Character's Ship: Ghost

Among the concept art for Star Wars Rebels that was revealed at Star Wars Celebration Europe II was the concept art for a new ship that will feature prominently in the series.

May I present the Ghost.


This will be the main character's ship and Filoni mentioned that he wanted it to feel like a home, much like the Millennium Falcon was in the Original Trilogy.

If you look a the cockpit you will notice a significant difference between the Ghost and the Falcon.



This is a much different cockpit design then the Falcon, notice the distinct lack of passenger room. It is not clear from the images shown, but if you notice the double-bubble cockpit in the Ghost, it appear that the side-view shot is actually the nose-gunner's seat and not the pilot's seat. Based on the presumption of a need for one pilot and two gunners to man the front and top-side laser canons, it implies that the Ghost would carry a standard crew of three.

Two pilot seats and two passenger seats in the cockpit. 





Design wise this certainly looks to be heavily influenced by the Falcon.  Notice the starboard and port airlocks. To my eyes it looks like a ship influenced by the Corellian Engineering Corporations (CEC) XS stock light frieghter, the CEC YT-1000, but with a more angular and less rounded astetic, possibily influenced by the Delta-7 and 7b Jedi starfighters.

XS Freighter

YT-1000
Ahsoka's Delta 7-B

Some other notes about the shape of Ghost.


You will notice two symbols that are present on the craft.  One is the same one that was made into a button and given to those who attended the Celebration Rebels panel. The other symbol is not yet identified.


Note that the button cuts off the bottom portion of the "Y" shaped black mark at the bottom of the symbol.
In the description below it mentions that the Ghost contains a turret (top mounted), airlocks (starboard and port), a ramp (not seen lowered), a fighter dock, and cargo pod clamps.



The Falcon had a single boarding ramp on the starboard side below the airlock.  If you look at the bottom right concept art their  is a darker grey area below so the Ghost may have it's boarding ramp on the port side. Some YT-1300's had multiple boarding ramps, so it is possible that Ghost has more then one. It is also possible that the square area below the nose gun is a boarding ramp.

The Ghost features three landing gear and four cylindrical engines. The engines are different than the 'wide bar' engine that the YT-1300 possessed. Interestingly according to the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner's Workshop Manual, the wide bar engine "generates greater thrust and has multiple steering flaps that allow for unprecedented maneuverability for a YT, but because some pilots were unable or unwilling to adapt to the more controlled engine system, CEC offered cylindrical engines as an alternative." (pg. 17)

The Manual further notes that, "interestingly, most pilots who preferred cylindrical engines on the YT-1300 also preferred a central-mounted cockpit.

The size and the number of engines makes it look like Ghost is going to be a very fast ship, but with relatively light weaponry.

It is not readily visible where the cargo clamps are on the vessel and where the fighter dock is.  The mandibles on the front of Ghost do not appear to extend past the bubble cockpit, so using those to dock or as clamps would seem to be problematic before even talking about the line of sight issues it could create.

A close reading of the top right image on the concept art layout appears to say in part, "Please see 'Ghost Ext (Notes)' for additional notes on how the fighter connects to the ship and details on the docking area." It also has a yellow arrow pointing to the port side of the ship.

UPDATE: 

A detailed schematic and translation provided to us by Bothan spies over at Rebel Forces Radio gives us more insight into the ship.


Facebook User Gergely Hangodi provides the following Aurebesh translation:

Modified VCX-100 light freighter
Corellian Engineering Corporation
Metrics: length: 43.9 meters, width: 34.2 meters, height: 14.5 meters
1. Nose turret's gunner position
2. Forward floodlights
3. Main cockpit
4. Crew quarters
5. Port docking ring
6. Starboard docking ring
7. Dorsal laser cannon turret
8. Main cargo hold
9. Engine assembly

So we now know the ships classification as part of the VCX series. We have confirmation that like the Millennium Falcon, this is a CEC produced ship.  Does this mean we will see Corellians or Corellia in the series? I hope so.

We also get confirmation that the concept art side-shot we have above is actually the "nose turret's gunner position" which sits directly below and in front of the main cockpit.

The co-author of The Essential Guide to Warfare chimes in on Twitter with the following comment regarding the Ghost.


That is all we know about the Ghost, one thing is for sure, this is no Consular ship.

SOURCES: Starwars.com, StarWarsBlog and Youtube

The Next Star Wars Celebration (VII) Announced: Anaheim 2015


At today's closing ceremonies for Celebration Europe II, it was announced the date for the next Star Wars Celebration.

Star Wars Celebration (VII) will be held in Anaheim, California on April 16th-19th, 2015.

The obvious location is the Anaheim Convention Center which is located approximately one-half mile away from Disneyland.


Anaheim Convention Center Specifications Overview
Total acreage: 53
Total facility: 1.6 million square feet
Exhibit space: 813,000 square feet
Seating space: Anaheim Arena seating for 7,500
Meeting rooms: 51
Meeting space: 130,000 square feet
Main Ballroom: 38,000 square feet
Pre-function lobby space: 200,000 square feet
Outdoor Event Space: More than 200,000 square feet
Over 40 years of history and service to the event industry





For more on the next Celebration visit ReedPop and for more on the Anaheim Convention Center visit it's website.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Bounty Hunter Code: From the Files of Boba Fett Deluxe Edition Book Trailer



I love book trailers and the one for the forthcoming The Bounty Hunter Code book is pretty great.



SOURCE: Youtube via Amazon.com

Star Wars Celebration Europe News: Star Wars Rebels Concept Art and News

UPDATE: VIDEO FROM THE PANEL

Youtube User TheHuskyDog7 posted video from the panel including the question and answer session.



Star Wars Celebration host Warwick Davis had Dave Filoni up on stage this morning discussing Star Wars Rebels.  At the panel Dave revealed the Rebels' official logo, gave us a production update and a peak behind the curtain at concept art from the series.

Official Logo:



Concept Art:

The first two images below are official concept art released via StarWars.com, the remainder are images captured by fans at Celebration Europe.  

Image Source: Official Blog

Image Source: Official Blog

Image Source: @DeathStarNews

Image Source: @MarkNewbold1971
Image Source: @RebellRadion

Image Source: @InfiniteEarths
Image Source: @InfiniteEarths

Production Update:

On the animation style and production:

12:59: Filoni says they opened the archives and looked at all of Filoni’s originals, to see texture and details. They were often slightly different from what made it to film, which was perfect. “We wanted to create a look for this part of Star Wars that precedes A New Hope by just a little bit.” He adds “We have created a set of digital brushes that replicate McQuarrie’s style…We’re going for something that’s much more an illustrative look.”
13:05: No animation has really been created yet, but Filoni shows off some Star Wars Rebels concept art, including an Imperial interior! He talks about very specific color schemes. The Empire is always glossy and silver. Luke wears browns and sandy colors. Han is multi-colored. Leia wore white because she was in the Imperial Senate.

It is interesting that they have not done any animation on the show yet, but not surprising.  Also we received no casting or character information on the series yet, except for a hint at what type of character the main character may be by way of a ship. 

On the main character and a featured ship: 

13:14: Now showing the Ghost, a new ship from the show, which will be central. Filoni says he wanted it to feel like a home, the way the Falcon did. They’re also working hard studying the original films, hoping it will match the look of classic Star Wars.
Ghost as the name of the main characters ship is certainly an interesting choice. It could have multiple meanings. The ship could have some stealth capabilities, or it could imply that the main character is themselves a "ghost" or a person that the Empire thinks is dead. 

I'll be taking a more in-depth look at the ship in another post. 

Stay tuned for more Star Wars Rebels news as it develops. 

SOURCES: Star Wars Blog,  StarWars.com and various Twitter Feeds linked above. 


Star Wars Celebration Europe News: Episode VII Update from Kathleen Kennedy: John Williams to Score Episode VII



This year's Star Wars Celebration marks the debut of new Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy at the company's official fan convention.  

Kennedy was joined on stage by Celebration host Warwick Davis and while we didn't get a ton of news out of the panel we did get an update on the process and production plans for Episode VII and an announcement about a composer to work on the film.

John Williams is returning to a galaxy far, far away and has agreed to score Episode VII.  I am really happy about this because music is very important to the Star Wars films and having an auditory continuity through the three trilogies will help to link them in spite of the visual differences. The language of Kennedy's announcement is important however, it doesn't specify that Williams is under contract (which is likely a mere formality at this point) or more importantly that he is committed to any other Star Wars films beyond Episode VII.
Image Source: Star Tribune

From the Official Star Wars Blog Coverage:
11:19: Is there something you can tell us about Episode VII, Davis asks… “I had breakfast with someone very important to the Star Wars family last Friday, and he has committed to working on [Episode VII]. And that is Mr. John Williams.” HUGE ovation!
11:21: Video interview with John Williams now playing. He says Kennedy and Abrams are “perfect” choices to carry on Star Wars. “You couldn’t find better candidates.”

We also learned that they are very much conscious of the need to mix CG with real sets and practical effects to give the films a feel more like the Original Trilogy.  If there is one major knock on the Prequel Trilogy for me it was an over reliance on CG and green screens.

10:55: “Much like many of you, looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feeling in what the early films did in combination with real locations and special effects — that’s something we’re looking very seriously at. We’re going to find some really cool locations for Ep VII. We’re going to use ever tool in the toolbox for this movie.”
10:56: “It’s using artwork that you can touch and feel in combination with CG effects.”
Kennedy also describes what her typical day is like, which makes it sound like they are very much still refining the script for Episode VII as they begin casting and looking for shooting locations.

11:10: Typical day? Kennedy spends part of her time at Lucasfilm, then the rest of the week with Abrams and the writing team at Bad Robot. They do a lot of Skyping and sit in long, lengthy story meetings. “Great stuff is coming out of those discussions.” At the Presidio office of Lucasfilm, she is in Lucas’ old office. Lucas is still at Skywalker Ranch.
Stay tuned for more Episode VII news out of Celebration Europe, the Hamill and Fisher panels still remain and we may get some news out of those or at the closing ceremonies.

SOURCE: Star Wars Blog

Star Wars Celebration Europe News: Star Wars Rebels Logo Revealed



Revealed today at the Star Wars Rebels panel was the Disney XD show's official logo.


SOURCE: Star Wars Rebels Facebook

Friday, July 26, 2013

Star Wars Celebration Europe News: The Clone Wars Season 5, The Complete Series Box Set, and Bonus Content Update


 Friday's "Secrets of Star Wars: The Clone Wars" panel at Celebration Europe featured Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo.  The fan site The Star Wars Underworld live-tweeted the panel and has a recap posted.

At the panel we got some insight on what might have been in a Season Six, the status of the bonus content and release date and information on the Season Five and a Season 1-5 Box Set home video releases.

On what might have been:

There was going to be a Yoda arc featuring the Wookiees, a dramatic resolution for Ventress, scenes dealing with Ahsoka's choice, and an appearance of a Sith Temple. In the bonus content we shall see Cad Bane get a new ship and the return of former Chancellor Valorum.


On the bonus content: 

"Hidalgo says they are still working on how to distribute Bonus Content, may be outside the box, could include unfinished animation."


For a complete collection of tweets check out SWU's recap of the panel.


On the Season Five and Season 1-5 Box Set Releases:

It was also announced that October 15th will be the release date for both The Complete Season Five Blu-ray and DVD sets as well as "Seasons 1-5 Box Set."

Caveat emptor applies with the Season 1-5 Box Set, I sense that based on the title there will be a further home video release down the road that will likely include the bonus content and other bonus materials.

It is cool to see that there are two books included in the Season 1-5 sets, the "Episode Guide" and the box set exclusive "The Art of Star Wars: The Clone Wars."

I am very curious about the dimensions on the "Art of" book because it looks to be pretty tiny, which while a cool inclusion doesn't really fit with the coffee table size of the traditional Star Wars "Art of" books.


No prices have been announced but my guess would be $59.99 for Season Five and between $99.99-$139.99 for the Season 1-5 Collection.

Season Five and Season 1-5 Box Set Trailer:




SOURCE: SWU

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Star Wars Celebration Europe II: What May Be Announced and When?

Gruga Hall, location of Celebration Stage

Star Wars Celebration Europe II is right around the corner. On July 26th-28th legions of Star Wars fans will invade Messe Essen, Germany.  As a preview for those attending and those not attending, let's take a look at what could be officially announced at this Celebration.

Below is my speculation based on publicly announced schedule and guests. Some things to note with CEII is that a great number of the panels and screenings (except the special guest panels) repeat throughout the weekend.

Publishing:

While we know that Lucasfilm/LucasBooks Senior Editor Jennifer Heddle will be present for the convention, the U.S. novel publisher Del Rey will not have a presence at the convention.  Dark Horse Comics will have a minor presence with Editor Randly Stradley being present for "The Art of Star Wars Comics With Panini" panel on Friday from 12:00 pm -1:00 pm on the Behind-The-Scenes Stage.

Until we get further along in development on Episode VII it seems like the novel and comic publishing licensees are in a bit of a holding pattern.  We may get some tidbits of news out of Leland Chee's panel, "The Holocron 101 with Lucasfilm’s Leland Chee" on Saturday, July 27 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm on the Behind-The-Scenes Stage. Any news out of this panel will likely be regarding continuity and possibly hints at what is coming in the future of publishing, but if we do get news I wouldn't expect much.

The non-fiction book The Making of Return of the Jedi by J.W. Rinzler will get a panel hosted by Leland Chee and featuring Rinzler called "Lost Secrets from Return of the Jedi." This panel will take place on Sunday on the Digital stage from 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm.

Other than that we may get some news about short fiction at the Star Wars Insider Magazine, "Star Wars Insider" panel on Saturday, July 27 from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Star Wars University stage.

It seems clear that from a storytelling point of view the focus of this celebration is going to be Episode VII, Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. So I expect no major publishing announcements at Celebration Europe II.

Films:

There will be special screenings of Return of the Jedi and Attack of the Clones at the convention.  The Return of the Jedi screening will be a special outdoor event from 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm on Friday night, because of the nature of the event and it's location there aren't likely to be any announcements made then.

Repeated on the Digital Stage once per day during the convention will be a special screening of Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones in 3D. While the previously planned release of all six Star Wars films in 3D conversions is on hold, fans will get a chance to see Episode II in what we assume is a completed conversion.  Once again I wouldn't expect any major announcements on this, except perhaps that they are going to continue the 3D conversion process on the other films with the eye towards a future release after the sequel trilogy.

We have two tiers of film related panels based on the likelihood of theatrical news.

Lower Likelihood Tier

On Sunday at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm on the Celebration stage there is the panel, "The Fett-Tastic Four." This panel features Jeremy Bulloch, Daniel Logan, Dickey Beer and John Morton, discussing Fett.  If there is a spin-off film that focuses on a young Han or young Boba Fett we may get some news out of this panel.

The supporting character fun continues on the Celebration stage on Sunday from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm, as "The Jabba's Palace Reunion" panel takes place featuring Tim Rose, Mike Edmonds, Femi Taylor, Toby Philpott, Gerald Home, Sean Crawford, and Tim Dry.

Higher Likelihood Tier

"The Golden Hour (Or Maybe 45 Minutes) with Anthony Daniels," will take place on Friday, July 26 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm on the Celebration Stage. The likelihood of C-3PO appearing in the Sequel Trilogy seems high, so perhaps with some proper etiquette and protocol we can get some news out of Sir Anthony.

Following Anthony Daneils on the Celebration stage will be, "Evening With the Emperor: Ian McDiarmid" at 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm.  Fans can ask questions to both Anthony Daniels and Ian McDiarmid via Twitter by using the hashtags, #AskC3PO and  #AskPalpatine.

Luke and Leia will be making their appearances at the convention.  Carrie Fisher will be featured on "Straight Talk From a Princess: Carrie Fisher" Saturday, July 27 from 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm on the Celebration stage. Mark Hamill takes center stage in "Mark Hamill: The Jedi Returns" on  Sunday, July 28 from 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm.  Fans can submit questions for Mark Hamill by using the hashtage #AskJedi.

You never know that Carrie Fisher may say and it certainly would make sense for both Carrie and Mark to talk up Episode VII.

Preceding both Carrie and Mark's panels will be the Celebration debut of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. "Kathleen Kennedy: Her Celebration Premiere!" will be held on the Celebration stage on Saturday, July 27 from 10:30 am - 11:30 am. Fans can submit questions by tweeting #AskKathy.  If I were placing bets on a big Episode VII or spin-off film announcement it will be at this panel.

I  think we will get a few announcements at Kennedy's panel. I think we get the official confirmation of the return of Original Trilogy cast members, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Anthony Daniels to the Sequel Trilogy.  I also think we get the official announcement of the subtitle for the film.  Finally I think we get official confirmation of the subject and possibly title of the first spin-off film.

Kennedy's panel seems likely to feature a drop in by Hamill and Fisher and perhaps a surprise appearance by Harrison Ford.


Television:

We have two major things to look forward to from the television perspective for Celebration Europe II. Announcements regarding the future of Star Wars: The Clone Wars' bonus content and announcements and a sneak peak at Star Wars Rebels.

The Clone Wars:

For The Clone Wars we have special screenings of the theatrical cut of the Season Five Darth Maul/Mandalore story arc featuring episodes “Revival,” “Eminence,” “Shades of Reason,” and “The Lawless."  These screenings will be held introduced by Dave Filoni.  The presence of Filoni could allow for him giving attending fans some news regarding the series' bonus content.

There are two panels that aren't especially Clone Wars focused but may let some information slip.  Ashley Eckstein the actress who portrayed Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars will take part in the "The Women of Star Wars" panel on Sunday, July 28 from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm on the Digital stage. Dave Filoni will also host a fan question and answer with guests Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee, "Masters’ Challenge: Dave Filoni with Pablo Hidalgo and Leland Chee on Saturday," July 27 at 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm on the Behind-The-Scenes stage.

The biggest Clone Wars news will likely drop at the "Secrets of Star Wars: The Clone Wars" panel on Friday, July 26 from 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm on the Behind-The-Scenes stage. This panel will feature Dave Filoni and Pablo Hidalgo and potentially some fan questions as well.  From this panel I can expect we would get a release date and cover art for the Season 5 Blu-ray and DVD release.  I also think we will get announcements regarding the "bonus content" including a distribution channel, release date, possibly titles and a new trailer.

Star Wars Rebels

While it is possible and even likely that Kathleen Kennedy will mention Star Wars Rebels during her Saturday morning panel, we are early enough in the production process on the show that what little news we will get of the series will likely all come out of the one dedicated panel at the convention.  Kennedy will probably mention the series in passing not to steal the thunder from the Rebels panel which occurs after her panel.

The panel "First Look: Star Wars Rebels" will occur on  Saturday, July 27 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm on the Celebration stage.
"Exclusive for Celebration Europe, a first glimpse into the production of Star Wars Rebels, an exciting, all-new animated television series slated for release in 2014. Rebels executive producer Dave Filoni, who was supervising director of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, will discuss the inspiration for the new series. Rebels is set between the events of Episodes III and IV, an era spanning almost two decades of Star Wars stories that have not yet been explored on screen. Details about the show are a closely-guarded secret at this point, but fans at Celebration Europe can catch a first look into production. Tweet using #AskFiloni and your question may be asked during the panel!"
I expect we may see some character concept art, perhaps some storyboards, but I would be surprised if they are far enough on in production to give us a proper trailer for the show.

Closing Ceremonies:

Finally at the Closing Ceremonies we should get an announcement about the next Celebration and perhaps Fan Days events. The Closing Ceremonies will take place on the Celebration stage on Sunday from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm.



For a complete printable schedule of Celebration Europe II, click HERE.

SOURCE: StarWarsCelebration.EU

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Lucasfilm Animated Feature Update: Possible Production Timeline


We know that Lucasfilm is producing an animated feature film, while not yet officially announced Brenda Chapman (Brave) revealed that the project is being directed by Pixar and Skywalker Sound veteran Gary Rystrom.

There are some job posting on Lucasfilm's recruiting website that may give us a rough idea when production or at least a significant part of production may be finished on this new animated feature.

Lucasfilm is hiring for a Storyboard Artist at Big Rock Ranch:
"The Storyboard Artist works with the Story Supervisor and Director to develop expressive and entertaining storyboards for an animated feature film. He/She translates either unfinished ideas or script pages into full scenes." 
More interesting Lucasfilm and ILM Singapore are hiring for a bunch of temporary positions that end in either April or May of 2014.

ILM Singapore Positions:


Lighting Technical Director (Short-Term Contract) (Jan-May 2014)
"Lighting Technical Directors (TD) work with direction from the CG Supervisors and Digital Artist Supervisors to create the look of computer generated objects and scenes. They are responsible for lighting, shading, rendering, and some compositing." 
FX Technical Director (Short Term) (Jan-May 2014)
"FX Technical Directors are responsible for generating FX animation, procedural simulation, dynamic simulation, particle and fluid systems for feature film visual effects. Responsibilities also include the lighting, rendering and basic compositing of those FX elements."
ILM Singapore - Compositor (Short-Term) (Jan-May 2014)
"The Compositor combines and oversees others who combine live action and computer generated elements into visual effects shots that realize the vision and creative direction of the client and visual effects supervisor."  

Lucasfilm Singapore Positions:


Feature Animation - Senior Animator (Aug 2013-April 2014)
"The Senior Animator’s primary responsibility is to create high quality motion of computer graphics creatures and objects within a shot, using a variety of animation software programs, and working under the general supervision of the Animation Supervisor and Lead Animator.
Responsible for the successful animation of a series of shots on for the CG Feature Project."
Feature Animation - Lighting Technical Director (Short Term) (Nov 2013-May 2014)
"The Lighting Technical Director primary responsibility is to create the design and implement lighting and look for animated feature work, including shading, lighting, rendering, and compositing. Research, develop, and implement techniques when necessary."
Feature Animation - Creature Technical Director (Short Term) (Nov 2013-April 2014)
"Creature TDs are responsible for setting up and running flesh-surface, hair, cloth, rigid body simulations as well as able to wrangle rigging and creature pipeline issues proficiently under the direction and guidance of their supervisors."
Feature Animation - Compositor (Short Term) (Oct 2013-April 2014)
"The Compositor combines and oversees others who combine live action and computer generated elements into visual effects shots that realize the vision and creative direction of the client and visual effects supervisor." 
Feature Animation - Animator (Short Term) (Oct 2013-Jan 2014)
"The Animator’s primary responsibility is to create high quality motion of computer graphics creatures and objects within a shot, using a variety of animation software programs, and working under the general supervision of the Animation Supervisor and Lead Animator.
Responsible for the successful animation of a series of shots on a for the CG Feature Project."

Assuming production of the animated feature wraps up in Spring of 2014 perhaps they are looking at a Summer 2014 or Fall 2014 release for this as yet unnamed animated feature.


SOURCE: Lucasfilm Recruiting

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Television Review: Orange is the New Black, A Netflix Original


 If you like television and you like interesting characters, then I highly suggest checking out Netflix's original series, Orange is the New Black.  This serious is definitely for a mature audience and not for the kids or the easily offended.

Orange is the New Black (OitNB) is a comedic drama set in a federal woman's prison. It features a heavy dose of dark comedy, drama and absurdity.  There is violence, nudity and language that makes it a show that is definitely TV-MA.

Netflix's description of the show:
"Orange is the New Black" follows engaged Brooklynite Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), whose decade-old relationship with drug-runner Alex (Laura Prepon) results in her arrest and 15-month long detention in a federal penitentiary. To pay her debt to society, Piper must trade her comfortable New York life with fiance Larry (Jason Biggs) for an orange prison jumpsuit and a baffling prison culture where she is forced to question everything she believes and form unexpected new alliances with a group of eccentric and outspoken inmates. The series' diverse ensemble also includes Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Pablo Schreiber, Danielle Brooks, Laverne Cox and Taryn Manning.

The show was created and produced by Jenji Kohan (Weeds) and is based on a memoir by the same title by author Piper Kerman.  With directors Michael Trim, Andrew McCarthy, and Matthew Penn and writers Piper Kerman, Jenji Kohan, Sian Heder, Sara Hess, Nick Jones, Lauren Morelli, and Marco Ramirez. It  is interesting to note that OitNB is a very female heavy writers room, with the show runner and five of the seven writers being females.

OitNB is a joint effort from Netflix and Lionsgate Television and features a 13 episode first season.  Like all of the Netflix originals so far, an entire seasons worth of episodes is added to Netflix's instant streaming services at the same time.  This is perfect for binge watching.  OitNB has already been picked up for a second season to debut in 2014 and production on the new episodes starts this summer.

The 13-episode first season of OitNB introduces follows a fairly linear plot where we are introduced to Piper, her family and friends and follow her as she enters prison and slowly learns how to survive as she navigates a land mine field of inmates, guards and prison staff. Without abandoning the season long arc the show makes extensive use of flashbacks to further the story along. While Piper is the focal character of the series, some episodes also focus on other inmates and showing us pieces of these women's lives before they entered prison.

Taylor Schilling stars as Piper and gives a very good performance with wide emotional swings throughout the series.  Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager)  as Red chews up scenery as the prison's no-nonsense inmate head chef. OitNB is like some twisted mash-up of Survivor, Mean Girls and Supertroopers. The correctional officers are just as crazy as the inmates and it seems like everyone is just trying to figure out how to survive in the environment of this prison.  The prisoners break into factions which often clash and sometimes intersect in curious ways and the plot takes a twist when Piper discovers that her former lover and the woman she believes gave her name to the Feds, Alex played by Lauro Prepon (That 70's Show) is an inmate in the same prison.  In Piper's new prison home every action and every word is under a microscope and has a disproportionate effect on how others in the prison view and treat her.  Piper may have thought she was prepared for the realities of a 15-month sentence, but the emotional strain of prison life quickly changes everything.

OitNB does a very good job of playing emotional notes, hope and small moments of joy occasionally burst through what is often a dour and depressing reality.  There is a strong sense of inevitability with some of the characters but it won't stop you for rooting for some of them to break the cycles of choices that leads them to their fates.

It is extremely well written and compelling storytelling with a large ensemble cast. While the content of the series won't appeal to everyone, the characters are so diverse and interestingly crafted that it becomes hard to turn the show off.


SOURCE: Netflix, IMDB 



Monday, July 15, 2013

Exclusive Interview: Troy Denning on Star Wars: Crucible and More


Image via Troy Denning's Goodreads Page
I recently had the pleasure to talk to author Troy Denning in conjunction with the release of his new Star Wars novel.  It is a fun and I think informative discussion that goes in a few different directions. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I enjoyed talking to him.


Lightsaber Rattling (LR): Your new novel Crucible is billed as a last hurrah for the Big Three heroes of Star Wars. It seems like throughout the Expanded Universe we have spent a great deal of time with Han, Luke and Leia, but not all three of them on adventures a lot. What was the appeal of writing Crucible to you and focusing on these three characters on an adventure together?

Troy Denning (TROY): One of the real appeals was the chance to write them together. One of the things I struggled with in the plot was how to bring them together as much as I possibly could. Eventually I had to realize that I coudn’t have all three together in every scene — or even the majority of scenes — because that just didn't work. When you try to push things into a story that just don’t fit, the story won’t end up feeling natural.

Coincidentally, the only other standalone I wrote for Star Wars was Tatooine Ghost. That was my first chance to use Chewbacca, and the first time he had been used in a book since Vector Prime. So I wrote my first draft and had Chewbacca in every scene. I was way over-using him, to the point that when my wife read it, she looked at me and said, ‘You know what; the family furball doesn't have to be in the room every time Han and Leia are.’ So I kind of learned my lesson from that.

LR: You mention Tatooine Ghost, How do you approach writing a story differently when you are writing a stand-alone book differently versus when it is part of larger series or is part of your own Trilogy (like you’re Dark Nest Trilogy)?

TROY: The biggest difference is the brain storming. When you work on a series, you are brainstorming with a lot of other people. You often get together in a room start tossing ideas around. Enthusiasm builds, and you build on each other’s ideas. You have a lot of fun, coming up with ideas and laughing.

That is really truly a treasure for any writer, because we spend so much time alone.

When you are doing a standalone, you need to do all of that brainstorming yourself. So it feels a little more like serious work.

LR: When you are doing a stand-alone book, how much of the story and plotting do you bounce off the editors before you submit a manuscript?

TROY: Basically, it works about the same, whether it is a standalone or a series. The process is just a little bit different. You start by coming up with an idea and writing the editor an email — which is ideally short and succinct, but rarely actually is. This email describes the idea and says, ‘Hey, this is what I am thinking of doing, what do you think?'

It allows the editor to have a reaction to the kernel of an idea before you spend two to three weeks working on an outline. Once you come up with a kernel that works for everyone, you go back and write an outline and go through the same process again.

Once you write the outline, then you write the manuscript. While you are writing the manuscript, new ideas occur to you and ideas don't work that you thought were great. So, as you’re writing, you stay in touch with the editor, and say ‘this is working, this isn't working, and I’ve got this idea.’ Bounce it off the editor and the team at Lucasfilm and make sure you don't surprise anybody with anything that is going to be a big problem to undo. Just so everyone stays on the same page through the whole process.

My rule of thumb about what I bounce off them while writing is: `Can I undo it in half an hour?’ So if I have an idea and it is something that is going to change three or four chapters, I'll bounce it off of them. If it's something I put out there and can undo with a "change all" or deleting a few lines here and there, then I let them read it fresh the first time.

LR: I have read a previous interview you did for StarWars.com years ago in which you discussed your writing process and the concept of a "character cross." For our readers I wonder if you could describe the process a bit and perhaps take a character from Crucible as an example.

TROY: Basically, it's a simplified version of how I set up the skeleton of a character. I approach designing a character from the basic idea that every character has two sets of basic attributes. They have a primary strength and a primary weakness, and they have a primary desire and a moral "do not cross" line (a statement of what a character would refuse to do to achieve his goals). For example, would they murder somebody? If they would, that tells you a lot about the character — and if they wouldn't, that tells you a lot about the character, too.

I set it up so that I know what a character is capable of physically, mentally and emotionally — and how far he is willing to go to get what he wants. Usually, I'll actually write it on a sheet of paper, with strength at the top of the vertical axis and weakness at the bottom, with goals on the horizontal axis and the moral line on the other.
Let's take Han, because he is one of my favorite characters and he is a pretty obvious case. Han's strength is his resourcefulness; he can keep up with the Jedi even without the Force. He is a clever and quick witted guy. His weakness is he is pretty impulsive. He goes off half cocked a lot of the time. His primary desire can change from story to story, but usually it has something to do with protecting someone or something he loves. His moral line concerns loyalty. He would never betray a friend or a loved one. That's really a pretty simplified version of how I design a character. Once I have that I start to write the character, and the actual writing of the character is what fleshes everything out. This gives me some idea of who they are to begin with.

LR: Looking back at your Star Wars books in particular, I'm not sure if you drew the short straw or you go the meaty assignments where you got to kill off two of the Solo sons, Anakin in Star by Star and Jacen in Invincible. Do you have some Qreph like vendetta against Han Solo, I know you said he was one of your favorite characters?

TROY: Well, you know the old folk saying —you hurt most the ones who you love the best. But, joking aside, I think it’s really just a matter of proximity. I’m always writing about Han and Leia, so that means that the bad things that need to happen in a story are happening to them. It’s the curse of being my favorite characters, I guess.

LR: On a serious note did you ever experience the sort of fan backlash that R.A. Salvatore did after the death of Chewbacca in Vector Prime?

TROY: Sure, that happens. But there are hundreds of thousands of Star Wars readers out there, people who just want to read the books and have fun. If one or two of them are disturbed enough to send menacing notes over a character death, it can be pretty unnerving, but it’s not all that surprising — not when you’re dealing with a population that large. To some extent, it goes with the territory. You just have to deal with it and try not to take it too personally.

LR: For the most part have fan reactions to your works been pretty positive?

TROY: For the most part, pretty positive. But I would be insincere if I didn't acknowledge that I can be a polarizing author for Star Wars. Some of that is due to things I’ve done of my own volition, and some of it’s just due to the assignment I drew. But you have to write from your heart and write what you think is true to the story. That's what I always try to do. On the few occasions where I’ve been asked to do something I didn’t I feel I could make work, the editors and everybody else have proven to be very reasonable, and we’ve arrived at solutions that worked for everybody.

And it's good to work that way, because if you’re working at alone (as most authors do), it’s easy to grow very myopic very quickly. A good example would be the Jaina-Zekk-Jag love triangle of the LotF series. I kept thinking that Jaina and Zekk ought to end up together, but Aaron and a couple of editors seemed to prefer Jag. So we went back and forth about that in emails and story meetings, and eventually ended up resolving the issues I had -- which were that I didn't want to see Jaina going off to live with Jag somewhere other than the Jedi Temple, because I didn't want to lose her as a character.

In my view, Jaina is a vital character to the future of the whole EU, and whenever anyone said she should be with Jag, I kept having images of her being ripped from my writing life forever. I guess I was identifying with Han Solo a bit too much there. 'You're not going to take my daughter away. She's going to live here in my Jedi Temple forever.’

But once we worked out a way to bring Jag to her and make him a part of the Jedi Order, I was very happy to see Zekk move on and write Jaina and Jag’s wedding at the end of Apocalypse.

LR: I know in the past we have heard about George Lucas setting certain story boundaries regarding characters and character deaths. When plotting Crucible did Lucasfilm or Del Rey give you any directions on whether or not you could kill off Han, Luke, Leia, or Lando? And did you even want to?

TROY: Basically, when you are asked to write a story or given the opportunity to write a story, they will give you a goal. That goal can be something very simple, like with Dark Nest: `write three books set sometime in this time period (Post-NJO) and tell us what you're think you’d like to do.’ Or it can be something very complex, like it was with Star By Star: `we want you to write a book set in the middle of this huge series. Here’s a list of plot points, give us an outline that accomplishes them.’

Once you have a goal, they give you the parameters — what you’re allowed to do and what you’re not allowed to do. Sometimes you just kind of know it, but sometimes it is spelled out pretty explicitly. For instance, in Star by Star you couldn't violate anything that was going on in the bible (the series’ story bible), anything that had come before, or anything they intended to follow. So there were a lot of parameters there.

With Crucible, the parameters were basically: we don't want to kill the big three. That was established from the beginning. And I'm not sure that if someone had asked me to kill Han or Leia Solo, that I'd have been able to do it. I've killed my fair share of Solos. So even if that had been in the cards, I don’t that I would have agreed to do it.

LR: It seems like you come pretty close to killing them?

TROY: You know I do. I definitely put people through the ringer. That’s because I don’t think the violence should come easily in a story, that minimizes the horror of it. It needs to hurt a little bit, there needs to be consequences.

LR: In Crucible we see Leia dealing with some darker emotions than we traditionally get from her. Do you think this speaks to a jadedness that her character has acquired after all of the loses she has suffered or does it speak to the intensity of her passion and love for Han and the thought of his pain and loss? Or both?

TROY: I think it's her passion and intensity for Han, though it's a bit of both. She has had so much ripped from her. She has sacrificed two children and an untold number of friends to the good of the galaxy. When she starts to fear that she’s going to lose Han, I think she goes down to a darker place than Leia has ever gone before.

I'm saying dark for Leia — which is nowhere near Jacen-dark. She is willing to go with a little more grit and gray morality than she usually is. I know when I wrote it, it felt very natural. It was a function of just how much she loved Han, and just how much she didn't want to lose him.

The title of the book is Crucible and one of the goals was to put them through a crucible on every level. That is kind of her emotional crucible: what she thinks is going to happen to Han.

LR: Speaking of the crucible some critics of the book will dwell on the scenes of extreme physical damage and torture that you put the main characters through. Can you talk about the purpose that these scenes serve?

TROY: Well as you pointed out, it is a crucible. I wanted to put them through a physical crucible, an emotional crucible and a spiritual crucible. The damage they take is pretty much the physical crucible. Throughout their careers, these characters have taken a lot of physical damage, but they’ve also had the resources to be healed from that damage. Luke and Leia have the Force, in Han's case we have all kinds of medicine like Bacta that just aren't available to us. So they take a lot of damage and can heal from it.

What I was trying to get across here was the idea that even after your injuries heal, the damage still takes a toll. I know in college I played Division III football and I could recover from a sprained ankle in a week. But when I turned 35 and was doing Judo and Kyuki-do and would sprain an ankle, it would seem like three weeks to recover. So as you get older, even though you recover, it takes a little more out of you. I wanted to show that.
I also wanted to show them coming to the realization that they needed to slow down and enjoy life, before their old injuries really leave them hurting – before they have so much arthritis that going for a hike just won’t be any fun.

LR: You wrote the concluding the last series Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse. Towards the end of that book you set up a variety of plot threads for future use, some of which you picked up in Crucible. I am curious to know how close from when Apocalypse was written to when Crucible was announced did you know you would be writing Crucible?

TROY: I think I was asked to write Crucible after I finished Apocalypse. So I pretty much wrote Apocalypse as a wrap to that series, without any idea of what book I would be writing next — or even if I would be writing a book next. On this level, every Star Wars book you write could be your last. So I always approach it that way, especially at the end of a series.

My goal with Apocalypse was to open up the number of story possibilities, as wide as I could. I wanted whoever was writing in the EU next to be able to write any kind of story they wanted and have it fit. So they wouldn't be hamstrung by having the Jedi tied to the government of the Galactic Alliance, so they would have more freedom to do the kinds of stories that would feel more natural for an order of monks or commandos, or whatever your own personal view of the Jedi Order is.

LR: One of the coolest concepts that I think you introduced was the Quest Knights and the search for Mortis. Where was the inspiration for that, is it Arthurian?

TROY: It was basically an Arthurian inspiration. That was one of the story seeds I wanted to plant. I was thinking it might make a really neat series of books. Now we will see.

LR: Regarding Mortis and the explanation given on the TV show, did they give the authors more information than we got as the audience?

TROY: They gave us a little bit of information before I wrote Crucible, while I was plotting it. We had a few more exchanges with Dave Filoni, in which I learned a little bit more about the nature of Mortis and the nature of Monoliths in general. Crucible reflects what he said.

By the way, in my acknowledgements, my handwriting must have been bad, because the typesetter put Dave Eidoni instead of Dave Filoni. So it really is Dave Filoni I am thanking for the information on monoliths. My apologies to Dave.

LR: Of the various plot threads or characters you have spilled into the universe are there any you would be itching to tackle in a future novels if you got the chance?

TROY: There are plenty of them I would love to tackle. In the beginning of Crucible I tossed off like three story ideas, I would love to tackle any one of them.

I would like to write some of Jaina's generation of Knights, Tahiri and so forth, as they come into their own as leaders of the next generation of the Jedi Order. I just think there is going to be a whole golden era of Jedi Knight stories coming in the EU, and I would love to be part of that, if it comes to pass. That of course is a big if with Episode VII. We will just have to wait and see.

LR: You bring up Tahiri, and she is one of my favorite characters coming out of the New Jedi Order. In your portrayal of her she seems to have really turned the psychological corner. Do you think she ever gets a happy ending? And might it be with a certain asteroid tug captain?

TROY: Ha! In my mind she and Omad were definitely having a little bit of a flirt. So I think that’s within the realm of possibility. Part of the goal of this novel was a passing of the torch. As part of that I wanted to show Tahiri being ready to pick up her part, being ready to take a leading role in the next generation. So that was one of the reasons I wanted to bring her in as a supporting character, over anyone else. To have a chance to show her as finally being recovered from what had happened to her in the NJO and Legacy of the Force.

LR: Going back to the big three for a second, Can we talk about Luke's wound for a second? Is the reader to interpret that slow healing nature of the wound and the fact that we at one point see an eye popping out of Luke's insides represents the fact that a piece of Abeloth is still alive inside of Luke and should we expect an alien-esque explosion scene at some point?

TROY: I don't think we are going to get Aliensfrom it. No, Abeloth isn't physically inside him, I didn't mean to imply that at all. Spiritually she is. I don't think Luke is really going to be whole, until or unless the Dagger (Dagger of Mortis) is found and Abeloth is permanently dealt with. The battle in Apocalypse really did wound him on a spiritual level.

It took everything out of him. When you think about that wound, we need to remember Abeloth is a very important part of the Balance. What does dealing with her permanently, ridding the Balance of her renewing chaos actually mean for Luke and for the galaxy? That is one of the stories that I was thinking might be told in the post-Apocalypse future.

LR: When you speak of the balance, do you mean what it means when you eliminate one side of the balance or as Abeloth as the personification of evil?

TROY: Abeloth isn't really a personification of evil, she is a personification of chaos and renewal. If you want to think of her in terms of Hindu mythology, the goddess Kali would be a lot closer to who she is. She is the one that destroys life so life can be reborn. The question for the dagger story, then, would concern what happens when you interrupt that saga. By preventing things from being destroyed, do you also prevent them from growing?

So, that’s the question for Luke. You know he is still wounded by his struggle with her, and he will be until he comes to terms with what interrupting that cycle means. That's really what the wound is about.

LR: In Crucible you introduce a character named Savara Raine, who you pretty quickly reveal is actually Vestara Khai. Can you talk about why you made the revelation so early in the story instead of holding it off for a later reveal?

TROY: That was actually a question that one of the editors brought up. If you’re a careful reader of previous books, in this one you are tipped off to Savara’s true identity just about the first time that someone sees her physically. We talked about whether we wanted to hold that secret back, and my ultimate feeling was that it would be unfair. I hate nothing worse than reading a mystery novel where the author holds back a crucial clue — just doesn't put it out there — until it’s is convenient for the story.

In this case, we had a character looking at Savara and describing her physically, and the little scar in the corner of her mouth is one of the big giveaways of who she is. I felt that if I just failed to mention that, I would be playing unfair, cheating in my attempt to use her. Then, once I decided to put that in her description, I didn't feel like artificially pretending that most readers wouldn't know who she was. When I write and when I play poker, I try not to hold any cards up my sleeve.

LR: As a fan I am curious about your thoughts on the announcement that we will be getting a new Star Wars trilogy as well as new stand alone Star Wars movies.

TROY: I was astonished, because I found out the same way as everybody else. I was delighted we are going to get three new movies, and it sounds like we are going to get even more. Pretty quickly it began to sink in that this means that a whole bunch of issues that are crucial and central to my life are going to be put on hold. Then I realized I would just have to be patient and accept that there probably wasn’t going to be a whole lot of new material for a while.

LR: How do you feel thinking that Crucible could represent one of the last or one of the last significant chapters in the Expanded Universe as it exists now?
TROY: That’s a question that is hard to answer because we just don't know what the EU is going to end up being. When I was writing Crucible, it was with the idea that it would be passing the torch to the next generation of Jedi. Then of course, the (Disney) purchase goes through, and all of the sudden we don't know exactly what ‘passing the torch’ means. My first instinct was to over think everything. To sit down and try to figure out what was going to happen, and how I could adjust for it. What does this mean for the ending of the book, should I try to link into it? I did everything. I read the scuttlebutt. I analyzed. I got out my Ouija board. Ultimately, I realized — and Shelly Shapiro helped me realize — we just can't know. We just write the book we intended.

I don't think I ever really contemplated it being the end cap of the EU, or the possible end cap of the EU, until it was published and people started to talk about that. I’m in as much suspense as everyone else as to whether that will actually end up being its function. But if it is I will be flattered and privileged. It is always a privilege to write any Star Wars book.

LR: As an author, going forward do you think that the Star Wars franchise would benefit from a reboot of the Expanded Universe, or do you think there is room for an Alternate Universe where the current continuity can exist separately from the continuity that is changed by the new Star Wars films?

TROY: I don't know that we can even go there until we know what Episode VII brings. We are over thinking the situation, trying to plan for contingencies we just can't plan for.

My first and foremost priority is that the movie people have the freedom to write a damn good movie. That's my primary goal, I want to see great movies. I think ultimately that is going to be the thing that strengthens the Star Wars universe and readership the most.

Whatever they need to do to achieve that is fine with me.

There are plenty of things in the EU that they could draw from, and I would be delighted to see that. I think most fans would be delighted to see that. But I don't want the movie people to be hamstrung. The EU is huge. Even when writing a novel, there are so many things you need to dance around, and sometimes that is a bit to the story’s detriment. I don't want to see them having to do that with the movies. I want to see them write the best dang movies they can. Whatever that ends up being, I'll be happy with it.

If that means the EU continues as it is now, I'll be great with that. If they write a movie that means we have to make some modifications to the EU, I'd be happy with that. If they write a movie that means, we need to start over and produce an new EU, then I’ll support them in that.

I am not sure about doing an alternate universe. I don't know that I would automatically think that was the best thing. I don't want to see the readership splintered. I think that might ultimately weaken the franchise rather than strengthen it. But the movie might change my opinion on that. The movie could come out and do something that makes an AU a natural thing to do.

LR: Do you think Han, Luke, Leia can ever stay retired?

TROY: I think that they may not be in charge of things, but they will be having fun no matter what they are doing. Han gets into trouble at the drop of a hat, Leia can't resist trying to make the galaxy a better place, and Luke still has a lot of things he needs to deal with. In my own mind, they are going to be off having adventures of a more personal nature. but whether those end up being adventures people write books about, I don't know. But I doubt they’ll be running the Jedi Order again — they really have passed the reins off to the next generation.

LR: In addition to Crucible do you have any other projects Star Wars or otherwise that you would like to mention to fans who appreciate your Star Wars works?

TROY: I am returning to the Forgotten Realms, where I wrote my first book ,Waterdeep, to do a very special project called The Sundering. Two other Star Wars authors are involved in that, Bob Salvatore with The Companions, which kicks it off, and Paul Kemp, who follows him with the second book in the series, The Godborn. I am writing the fifth book, called The Sentinel. That is a very special project that I just couldn't say no to, because of who is involved. Bob has been one of my oldest friends, and Paul I have worked with and enjoyed very much in Star Wars. Ed Greenwood is involved and I've known him forever, and there are a couple of new faces I have just met: Richard Lee Byers and Erin M. Evans. So it’s a blast, and I am having a lot of fun with that.
Characters from The Sundering series
For more information on Star Wars: Crucible please visit RandomHouse.com's Crucible page, for more on Troy Denning visit Goodreads and to pre-order his The Sundering: The Sentinel visit Amazon.com.

Author's Note:  A special thanks to Random House's publicity department for facilitating this interview.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Adam Savage Builds Han Solo's DL-44 Blaster Pistol: It's a thing of beauty



I don't have words to describe how jealous I am right now or how I wish I paid closer attention in shop class.

May I present the video and the source material:



The Replica Prop Forum "ANH Hero DL-44" Thread and it's 97 pages and counting of awesomeness.
FYI guys my birthday is coming up, in case you needed an idea of what to get me.

SOURCE: Tested.com and RPF

Monday, July 8, 2013

Star Wars: Episode VII Projected for $1.2 Billion Box Office Haul

Buried in an interesting Variety piece looking at the state of Disney's big budget film flops and successes is an interesting forecast of how Star Wars: Episode VII will do at the box office.
Credit Suisse’s Michael Senno expects Disney to generate around $733 million in profits from the seventh “Star Wars,” out in summer 2015. Film is expected to generate around $1.2 billion in global theatrical receipts, and more from consumer products and other revenue, Senno said. As a result, Senno set a new target price of $74 for Disney’s stock to eventually reach, helping boost shares on Monday.
“The “Star Wars” franchise should drive strong profit growth and mitigate risk at the studio with fewer risky high budget films,” Senno said.

SOURCE: Variety
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