Star Wars Episode IX Title And Teaser Revealed

After a nice long gap, we are getting a new Star Wars film, the final part in the saga and the last one for quite a while. Episode IX, which is due to be released on December 20th, 2019, now has a name. JJ Abrams has returned to direct after Colin Trevorrow was given the boot for that classic reason: creative differences. The name of the new Star Wars film is The Rise of Skywalker

The third part in the latest trilogy is said to be a fitting end to the Saga with Mark Hamill returning (from the dead? ZOMBIE LUKE!) as well as Billy Dee Williams reprising his role as Lando Calrissian and Carrie Fisher making an appearance using archive footage. Walt Disney CEO, Bob Iger has said that after Episode IX, Star Wars will take a break. He says, “We have not announced any specific plans for movies thereafter. There are movies in development, but we have not announced them.” During the Star Wars Celebration event in Chicago, Stephen Colbert presented the Episode IX panel which included JJ Abrams, Anthony Daniels, Kathleen Kennedy, Billy Dee Williams R2D2, Oscar Issac, John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Naomi Ackie, Joonas, Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran and BB8. During the discussion, they spoke of their previous experience in and outside of Star Wars as well as the current film, whilst new images of the characters appeared on the screen behind them. Some we know well, some we will get to know. We also received the first teaser trailer which shows how the previous Jedis have passed on all that they know to the current generation. We see Rey, Finn, Poe, C3PO, BB8 as they all do battle with Kylo and the dark side. Lando comes back to fly his Millennium Falcon, as we are told no one is ever really gone. Besides Luke, who else will return?

John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o and Domhnall Gleeson all return for the final go in the Skywalker Saga. The Rise of Skywalker has been written by Abrams and Chris Terrio, with Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly getting co-writing credits. After this film, we know that there is The Mandalorian TV series by Jon Favreau, with episodes being directed by Deborah Chow, Dave Filoni, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard and Taika Waititi but that’s about it for now. A break makes sense after Star Wars fatigue did seem to settle in after the release of Solo just a few months after The Last Jedi. We’ll see how long this break is but I’m extremely excited for the final chapter on this 42 year old Saga.

Keep. It. Reel.

Billy Dee Williams Is Returning As Lando Calrissian In Episode IX 

When the Force Awakens was released in 2015, one of the questions it raised was where is Lando?? Well it seems JJ Abrams would like to answer that for you since it’s been announced that Billy Dee Williams is making a comeback as Lando Calrissian. After Donald Glover’s turn as the charismatic character, it seems they want to keep him around. It’ll be interesting to see where he’s been.

How he will fit into the film is anyone’s guess but at least he’s in it. At the moment Keri Russell is in talks to join the eleventh live action Star Wars film as the cast list grows. Whilst he may have been away for a while and only appeared in two films, Williams has voiced the character on other occasions including The Lego Movie as well as Star Wars Rebels.

Joining Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver and Lupita Nyong’o, the film due for release in December 2019 with Abrams working the script with writer Chris Terrio who has previously written Argo and Justice League. 

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Boba Fett Stand Alone Film Confirmed 

It seems Lucasfilm and Disney are eager to keep the Star Wars fandom alive with the news coming out regarding a new stand alone film this time about bounty hunter, Boba Fett. Yes this was rumoured quite some time ago but only now have they revealed it is officially going ahead with James Mangold in the directors chair as well as taking up writing duties. 

As you’d expect details are scarce with this breaking just a day after Solo: A Star Wars story has hit the cinemas. It seems they are confident with their spin-off films being primarily about one main character, with Solo, Boba and a possible Obi-Wan project in the making with Stephen Daldry in negotiations to direct.

Now, I’m a big Star Wars fan. I’ve loved the franchise for years despite its mistakes. Yes I’m looking at you, shitty prequels. However, with the release of Solo less than 6 months since The Last Jedi (don’t groan, it was excellent and did more for Star Wars than most of its films have ever done) as well as Rian Johnson’s new trilogy, Jon Favreau’s live action series and yet another animated series in production, it’s become overkill. The Disney takeover was an exciting adventure into a galaxy far far away. We left it for a while then it came back roaring with the sound of a thousand TIE fighters but now it’s become too much, as if being weighed down by Jabba the Hutt.

The fact that the filmmakers themselves have been kind of varied (besides the poor decision to bring back JJ Abrams for Episode IX) might mean that these projects are good however by now you’d expect there to be some diversity and not only be helmed by white men. The Last Jedi showed us a wider universe with men and women of different ethnicities and backgrounds but it seems that whilst it’s looking good in front of the camera behind it is a whole other story.

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Star Wars exhibition at Harrods

If you’ve not heard of the Stars Wars exhibition currently taking place at Harrods, I don’t blame you. The publicity has been kept to a minimum, apparently to primarily target those who want to buy any of the items on the display. Yes, ANY OF THEM.

From Propshop comes a collection of replicas from The Force Awakens as well as some really beautiful artwork that goes well with several items on display. You can buy BB8 (I WANT! I WANT! I WANT!), Kylo Ren’s helmet, the blood-stained Stormtrooper helmet, even the Millennium Falcon, it’s remarkable. As are the prices, that BB8 will set you back £10,000 and the Millennium Falcon? Well, it costs so much that I was not even privy to that information. The mind wanders…

With a very knowledgeable guide to take you round, some fantastic things to see, being able to sit in the parts of the Millennium Falcon and being in Harrods which is always nice, makes this a really worthwhile geekfest to go to. There’s the opportunity to make a personalised maquette which is 50cm tall. You can have the own action figure made to look just like you, choose from a Stormtrooper, TIE Fighter or Rebel Pilot. However, it will set you back £1595. Tempting. It’s on now until August 21st.

This is a free exhibition in London, of Stars Wars props, it’s very cool and really worth going to. If you want to check it out (why wouldn’t you?!) then book your timeslot here: http://www.harrods.com/content/misc/boutiques/star-wars

Keep. It. Reel.

 

Star Wars. Episode VII: The Force awakens, review

Back in 2012, when Disney bought the rights for Star Wars from Lucas Film, they immediately announced a new movie for 2015. It was met with fear, trepidation and excitement which is understandable, due to the previous trilogy having been a huge disappointment to all Star Wars fans. It’s hard to believe that Episodes I through III came from the same universe as Han Solo, the Millennium Falcon, and the Death Star. J.J. Abrams understands the legacy the original trilogy still has and he knows first, how to play on the nostalgia without going over the top and second how to create a brand new story whilst linking it to the initial movies.

Set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) is missing and there are a lot of people looking for him. The First Order, who have risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire, are on the hunt for a map that will lead them to Skywalker. During a reconnaissance mission they capture Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac), a pilot for the Resistance, who has hidden the map in the impossibly adorable BB-8, a one of a kind droid. Not unlike Leia using R2D2 to send a message to Obi Wan Kenobi. After meeting Poe, we are introduced to Finn (John Boyega) a Stormtrooper who has a crisis of identity and defects onto the side of the Resistance after the village they are searching in is put to death. The droid makes his way (BB-8’s gender was confirmed back in November) to the planet Jakku where he finds Rey, a scavenger who makes a living by hunting through old wreckages for parts to sell. She’s unwillingly dragged into the story after a moment of sympathy from the hard-shelled outcast.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: BB-8 and Rey (Daisy Ridley)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Finn and Rey are a couple of brave new characters who fit into the Stars Wars world well. She’s rough, tough and knowledgeable. He is a part brave, part nervous hero who comes to the aide of Rey after spotting BB-8. Finn is unsure of who he is exactly whilst he wants to leave The First Order, he’s a reluctant hero, initially. His nervous and ever so slightly awkward manner holds him back and creates some funny moments. Rey has been alone for a long time and manages to form an attachment to BB-8 and an unwanted one to Finn. The two immediately have on-screen chemistry that’s hard to fake with their lines bouncing off of one another and gelling so well, especially during a sequence when they are being chased.

Amongst the newcomers we have Poe Dameron, a Resistance pilot with a confident cocky personality, but not so much that you hate him. Think of a young Han Solo with a bit more attitude. Clearly a born leader, his dry sense of humour is consistent through any situation he finds himself in. He shares some early and enjoyable screen time with Finn, who he seems to take under his wing. Then there’s the Yoda-like Maz Kanata voiced by Lupita Nyong’o, who offers her wisdom and guidance to those looking to fight against Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). It’s difficult to believe that some of her scenes were allegedly cut as this was a note perfect performance from one of the best characters in the entire film.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Finn (John Boyega)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Finn (John Boyega)..Ph: Film Frame..? 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

With Star Wars, comes a certain amount of nostalgia, but it’s not too heavy handed. Han Solo along with Chewie (who hasn’t aged at all!) make a welcome return when they appear on the Millennium Falcon. Solo still has his confident cockiness  and whilst he’s still a culprit for trouble, he’s mellowed ever so slightly with age. Whilst BB-8 is impossibly cute, we will always have a special place in our hearts for R2D2 and C3PO, who both have relatively brief but important roles to play. And of course the renamed Princess Leia who goes by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) shows off her leadership skills when leading the Resistance into battle and doing what she needs to do in order to protect the galaxy.

The atmosphere of the original trilogy can be felt throughout, with the TIE fighters battling against X-Wing Fighters, the simplified yet beautiful lightsaber battles and the story of good vs. evil, being told in a way that relates back to friendship and family. They have also involved the Stormtroopers more than ever before which was a stroke of genius, getting them to interact in scenes when, in previous films, they have mostly been in the background. Even their suits have had a modern upgrade.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)..Ph: David James..?Lucasfilm 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)..Ph: David James..?Lucasfilm 2015

The primary antagonist is Kylo Ren, a man in dark clothing and a mask which disguises his voice as much as it does his face. He idolises Darth Vader, at one point speaking to his extremely damaged helmet. He’s in charge of locating a piece of evidence that will lead him to Skywalker, killing all those who come in his way. His techniques are brutal; slaughtering an entire village, using the Force to torture his victims and pulling out his lightsaber sword for the smallest provocation. He is comparable to Vader however Driver has brought an emotion to this role that makes it feel even more personal. With his emotion, comes naivety, you get the sense that he still has much to learn. He is joined by General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), whom he butts heads with several times. It seems these two are on the same level when addressing Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), the less said about him the better. Gleeson’s performance comes across as a fearless and ruthless dictator, there is almost something of the Third Reich in his delivery, perfect to put the fear of The First Order in you.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) ..Ph: David James..?Lucasfilm 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens..L to R: Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) ..Ph: David James..?Lucasfilm 2015

The final lightsaber battle is one we have been wanting to see ever since the disappointing over the top versions in the prequel trilogies. Gone are the unnecessary flips and various somersaults, replaced by a duel that can easily be compared to those in Episodes IV, V and VI. With its use of the force, a sword-like lightsaber and brutal scars, the magic of an old school lightsaber duel is back.

The very first spoken words are “This will start to make things right” and you get the sense that this is more for the audience. As if this film is an apology for what fans had to endure from 1999 to 2005, that this will restore the faith in all Star Wars fans everywhere and take away the memory of the much hated prequels. J.J. Abrams has managed to bring back what we really loved about these films and he has created a galaxy that no longer feels far far away, it’s right here and it’s now.

5 out of 5

Keep. It. Reel.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Well well, Mr Abrams has FINALLY given us a fat piece of Star Wars news to chew on. We have a beautiful new name, a huge hint has been dropped in The Force Awakens.

I personally love this name, it’s a smart move and it’s given fans a lot to go on. The Force Awakens, to me, says that the Force in some has been dormant for quite some time and something may have happened to wake it up once more. But I have NO idea if that’s accurate, I’m not going to read too much about this film until next year.

star wars 7

Now, I may sound a tad naive, but I want to avoid all plot revelations and spoilers until the trailers start to roll out. This should happen at the start of 2015 now that filming has ended. Recently a photo was released of a card given to all cast and crew along with an official crew hat which had the VII logo emblazoned on which signified the end of filming a couple of days ago.

star-wars-episode-vii-thank-you-600x600

 

There’s been a lot which has been released but never to this level. The end of filming and the new name gives fans more to look into and more to look forward to. I cannot wait for the first trailer. Hurry up JJ!

Here’s a couple more images of the read through and JJ Abrams standing next to something very exciting 😉

episode-vii-cast-read-through-star-wars

jj abrams

 

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Home Cinema

Just over 10 years ago, George Clooney made the move from TV to film. From ER to Hollywood hunk, as he is referred to constantly. He went from the very popular and sexy E.R to movies such as Three Kings, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Ocean’s Eleven working with big name directors Steven Soderbergh, the Coen brothers and David O Russell. It was the natural move for someone who has considered a good actor, charming, good looking and a delight to work with. Since his success, several others have made this natural progression such as Colin Farrell, James McAvoy, Zooey Deschanel and Will Smith

George Clooney in ER

These are household names with their film careers firmly intact and nailed down. They aren’t going anywhere but up in their careers. However, there has been a huge shift in more recent years with the big Hollywood A lister (as some are frustratingly referred to as) crossing over from the silver screen to the small screen. Where many actors began, it has become the medium of great love and respect amongst the writers, producers, directors and of course actors. With companies such as the unstoppable HBO producing shows which include Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Wire, Band of Brothers, Boardwalk Empire, Bored to Death and Game of Thrones, it’s not hard to see why Claire Danes, Justin Long, Alec Baldwin and Steve Buschemi are flocking to what used to be a stepping stone but is now a step up.

Homeland

The calibre of television has gone through a huge change over the past few years, with the introduction to sharper writers, new effects, gritty storylines that cut through to the bone, larger budgets and fresh ideas, it can really compete with the big screen. There are several similarities that make moving from film to television a no brainer. Similarities such as the writers not only work on television, those such as JJ Abrams developing his TV career as well as working on Mission: Impossible III and Super 8. The influences of which can been seen to bleed through into his television work in Lost with the action scenes and paranormal phenomena.

30 Rock

All of these actors have made something of themselves, starting from the bottom and working their way to super stardom. But maybe their fame shouldn’t be as celebrated as it is, they have gone one way, the way people seem to be shunning. It seems well-established actors as turning their back on films and flocking to HBO. Flocking to television. Flocking from the silver screen to the small screen. So many shows have come out in recent years which have the same high budgets Hollywood uses on a daily basis.

Bored To Death

For those of you who love these shows and enjoy seeing your favourite actors on a weekly basis, the best is yet to come. More and more actors are shunning Hollywood to forge a television career such as Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer who are currently starring in The Newsroom. The evolution of television has allowed actors to develop their characters further and act in a way like never before. They have these chances on the big screen on but not on the small screen. Not until now. Now we can have a well-rounded viewing experience with everything from the make-up (just take a look at those “walkers” In The Walking Dead) to the well-oiled dialogue. To me, it’s a real tribute in a way to how talented the writers are that lures the huge names to TV, you can’t have anything but respect for. The budgets, the talents and especially those such as Mark Whalberg and Steven Speilberg producing TV shows prove that television is the new black.

The Walking Dead

The Newsroom