Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ Category

  • Happy Birthday Mr. Harrison “Hero” Ford

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    When it was officially announced that Star Wars: Episode VII was slated for release in 2015, fans’ minds immediately went to the obvious questions: would the main stars of Return of the Jedi, now the new film’s effective prequel, return to reprise their roles 30 years later? Well, unconfirmed rumor has it that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have indeed both signed on for Episode VII, and while he won’t say for sure, it’s also being widely reported that Harrison Ford will also return to his iconic role as Han Solo. Though that character will surely be at least somewhat different than the roguish heartthrob we last saw in Jedi (if only because Ford is in his early 70s now), there’s a definite sense among fans that the presence of the original actors will help make the new films better than the more recent episodes I through III with their all-new casts and shiny CGI gloss.

    And while everyone I know would love to see Ford flying the Millennium Falcon again, the funny thing is that Ford wasn’t George Lucas’ first choice for the part–not even close. Surprisingly, he was actually one of the last choices considered, since Lucas wanted to stay away from actors he had previously used in other films and Ford had just played Bob Flafa in Lucas’ American Graffiti. Actors James Caan, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro and Burt Reynolds all turned down the role, and the long list of actors auditioned to play Solo ultimately included Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Chevy Chase, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Sylvester Stallone, and John Travolta. In the end Ford began to read the part of Han Solo only as a supporting player during screen tests for other actors auditioning for the movie – essentially serving as a lowly assistant during the casting process. During these tests Lucas realized Ford was perfect for the role even though he wasn’t originally even considered.

    On set Ford played a large role in the character development of Han Solo, and many of the most memorable Han Solo moments were actually improvised by Ford. In the first film, for instance, Ford deliberately didn’t learn his lines for the intercom conversation in the Death Star cell block, so it would sound spontaneous.

    The classic exchange between Princess Leia and Han Solo in Episode V right before Han is frozen in carbonite became a defining moment for the relationship between the characters. Originally when Leia said “I love you”, the script called for Han to respond with (the uninspired line) “I love you too,” but Ford changed the line to “I know.” Fans to this day love this moment as the defining example of Solo’s loveable narcissism.

    Another moment of Ford changing the dynamic between Leia and Han came earlier in Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. In the original script, when Lando Calrissian is about to lead Han, Leia, and Chewie into the trap set by Darth Vader, Lando offers his arm to Leia, as a gesture to lead her down the hallway. Harrison Ford ad-libbed Han cutting off Lando, and offering his arm to Leia at the exact same moment to show that Han was protective, and even jealous.

    In addition to Ford’s many improvisations throughout the films, Ford also wound up changing the entire storyline of the films, at least indirectly. Unlike his co-stars Hamill and Fisher, Ford did not sign a contract for three films. Because Ford was unsure of his return to a third film, Lucas chose to freeze Han in carbonite at the end of the second film as a precautionary measure in case the character would be sitting out Jedi. This iconic cliffhanger may not have existed without Ford’s contract situation being so uncertain, and reportedly Ford actually begged Lucas to kill Han off as part of an act of heroism in saving Luke and Leia, but Lucas refused, claiming he still had big plans for Solo.
    With Harrison Ford being the biggest movie star today from the original trilogy, and Han Solo being one of most compelling characters in the Star Wars universe, there is no doubt Ford can come to the negotiating table ready to influence the use of Han Solo, and even the entire story arc of the upcoming movie. These anecdotes prove he is the only player with the combination of power, and moxie, to tangle with management.

    But, more importantly, the amazing choices he made in the original trilogy suggest he might just be the perfect creative voice to help guide future Star Wars movies. Help us Harrison Ford, you are Star Wars 7’s only hope!

    Author Bio: Spencer Blohm a television and film blogger for DirectTV who writes about everything from rumors about upcoming releases to retrospectives of forgotten sci-fi, horror, and comedy classics from the 1950s to today. He has been a Han Solo fan since the moment he saw how Han handled Greedo, and is hoping against hope that Episode VII will set the franchise right again. He lives and works in Chicago.

  • Harrison Ford (Doesn’t) Talk Star Wars

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    Was going to save this until our usual Monday post, but by then everyone will have already seen it. Plus it’s snowing to beat the band across the midwest and I thought those of us stuck in this mess could use a little pick me up. Here’s Harrison Ford getting angry and refusing to answer Star Wars questions on a popular late night take show. And while we’re at it, if you haven’t seen this bit of Star Wars commentary brilliance from Patton Oswalt, this is even more worth a look.

  • Harrison Ford Will Be Back As Han Solo

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    The headline says it all. Harrison Ford will reprise his role as Han Solo for Star Wars: Episode VII. What say you about this… exciting(?) news?

  • JJ Abrams to direct Star Wars Episode VII.

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    starwarsjj

    As reported by, well… just about everybody. Discuss.

  • Mickey Mouse owns Star Wars. Now a Star Wars: Episode 7 is on its way.

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    First of all, if you haven’t checked out Matt and Matt discussing Disney buyout of Lucasfilm on their latest Mamo Podcast, you need to go do this. They do an amazing job of speculating what this means for the future of Star Wars and what Star Wars fans can expect.

    With that said: holy shit. Disney owns Star Wars now – or more specifically, they purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. And oh, there’s more: they’re making a new Star Wars trilogy. I’m in nerd-shock. This is going to take a few days to process. Let’s start with George Lucas’s statement, courtesy of the Daily Blam:

    “For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next. It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

    Then the most interesting tidbit from the Disney press release:

    [New Lucasfilm President Kathleen] Kennedy will serve as executive producer on new Star Wars feature films, with George Lucas serving as creative consultant. Star Wars Episode 7 is targeted for release in 2015, with more feature films expected to continue the Star Wars saga and grow the franchise well into the future.

    As it said, Lucas will be on board as a creative consultant, but he will not be writing or directing this new trilogy. He leaves the universe which he created in very capable hands. Kennedy’s producing credits include of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, E.T., Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Gremlins, Schindler’s List, The Sixth Sense, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and the upcoming guaranteed box office champ Lincoln.

    Since this upcoming movie is being referred to as Episode VII, we can assume it is a continuation of the previous six films in some way rather than taking on completely new characters from within the Star Wars universe. So, who will direct? Who will write? What characters will return? Who will it follow? Will we see an aged Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford return, if only in cameos? As I lifelong original trilogy, childhood obsessed Star Wars nerd, I’m both cautious and impossibly unable to not have a little tinge of nostalgia excitement deep in the pit of my stomach. Yet, I’ve been burned already – so I do remain cautious.

    Let the speculation begin (and in the meantime, listen to Mamo discuss it!)

  • Star Wars Uncut: The Empire Strikes Back

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    A couple of years ago an experiment was held. That experiment became one of the greatest pieces of Star Wars fandom on the internet. That experiment became Star Wars: Uncut. It was Star Wars re-edited into fifteen second clips, each clip made by a different fan. The clips could be put together in any creative fashion the maker chose. So essentially what came out is Star Wars divided into a couple hundred, fifteen second “sweded” clips; from animation to live action dogs, to stop-motion legos, to CGI star ships. You name it and it was in there – Michel Gondry could not have done better himself.

    If you haven’t seen it, it’s actually quite well put together, very fun and I strongly urge you to check it out. You don’t even need to be a Star Wars enthusiast to enjoy – just a lover of art, creativity and film. In fact, it was such a huge success and loved by fans world over, the folks over at StarWarsUncut have decided a sequel is long overdue.

    That’s right. The Empire Strikes Back: Uncut is in the midst of pre-production as we speak. And you can be a part of it! If you want to be a part of Star Wars history, just head over here and claim which clip from the film you want to recreate and submit with the others. As of this writing, it looks like about half have already been claimed, so act fast! I’ve already claimed my bit, so watch for my best Chewbacca impersonation sometime in 2013 in my first full length motion picture appearance.

    You can check out the trailer for Episode V: Uncut under the seats…

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • Trailer: Star Wars Detours

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    I like Star Wars. I like making fun of the prequels. But… what… uh… um… eh… who… asked for this? Coming to Cartoon Network with the official seal of approval from LucasFilms, Star Wars: Detours looks to be the love child of Star Wars and whatever lowbrow cartoon you despise the most.

    Obi-Wan doing stand up. Leia being a Valley Girl. Organized dancing. Vader ordering lunch at a diner. Han Solo putting on the Indiana Jones fedora. I guess I just don’t get it. It probably makes sense that the people behind Robot Chicken made it, because I don’t understand that show either. I guess this is getting old. But I only imagine us old fogies who actually grew up with Star Wars and are Star Wars nerds have no interest in this. Or maybe it’s just me who is out of touch.

    What do you think?

  • RIP Ralph McQuarrie
    [1929 - 2012]

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    From all accounts Ralph McQuarrie was a really special person. Not just for his amazing talents with a paint brush, but for who he was as a person. Everyone who got to meet the man or had him as part of their lives personally all say the same thing: “He was an especially kind, sensitive, deep, modest, funny and fascinating gentleman. And as fine a role model as any one could have wished for.”

    I never got to meet the man, but there’s no doubt that in some ways he shaped me (and I suspect you too) as a lover of film, even if you don’t realize it directly. George Lucas is credited with the original Star Wars trilogy. But without McQuarrie’s imagination on the pre-production side of things, the Star Wars universe might’ve looked very very different. And likely would not have become the phenomenon it did; creating the likeness for many of the iconic characters we all know and love today, including Chewbacca, Darth Vader, C-3PO and many others. He also worked on E.T., Battlestar Galactica and won an Academy Award for his work on Coccoon.

    McQuarrie died yesterday, in his Berkeley, California home. He was 82. You’ll be missed sir, but even by those who didn’t know you directly, I can honestly say you’ll never be forgotten. Every time we pop in that scratchy old VHS copy of The Empire Strikes Back, you’ll be thought of.

     

  • Mamo #240: The Phantom Mamo

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    The Phantom Menace came out in 1999 and our podcast started in 2005, so we never really got a chance to examine its seismic impact on the world of filmmaking – to say nothing of the world of Star Wars. With the film back in theatres (in threeeeee deeeeee!) we take the opportunity to put a pin in all things Lucas, and somehow manage to escape the entire procedure without once following the word “Jar” with a second instance of the word “Jar.”

    To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo240.mp3

  • You’ve Been… Star Wars Struck

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    Probably this should wait until our usual “Monday Sucks Less” post, but dammit it’s Friday and it’s been a while (like a whole week!) since I’ve posted a Star Wars related item simply because it’s Star Wars.

    On top of that, I really really hate clips of movies on YouTube with a lame clip of rock music simply pasted over the top. I hate it when I’m trying to find a particular scene or quote, finally find it, only to realize that someone has added Nickelback over the top of it. Ya know, to add “impact” to the scene. But this seems to be an inexplicably rare case.

    I love Star Wars and I like AC/DC. The two should never meet… except that when they do, it all comes together pretty well. This isn’t particularly clever or difficult but damn if it isn’t edited nicely and for some reason it got me smiling and almost chuckling with charm this morning. Good stuff (found on G+ btw ;)

     

     

  • Star Wars Blu-ray: A Few Thoughts

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    I know I said I cancelled my Amazon order; and I did. I figured I could get the extras discs separately; which is the main reason I really wanted the set anyway. But then I read the review of the disc set and decided I better pick up the series anyway. So while I haven’t gone over the entire set of nine discs with a fine tooth comb, I have spent the better part of my waking hours this weekend exploring as much as possible. I’ve watched the entire original trilogy in its entirety and watched all of the bits and parts of the prequels I can stomach (and actually really like and appreciate). So here’s a stream of consciousness recap of the entire set – possibly the most hotly anticipated home video release of all time.

     
     

    » Read the rest of the entry..

  • It is Confirmed. I am Almost Speechless

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    If this is absolutely 100% verified, I am cancelling my pre-order of the Star Wars Blu-rays. Like I said, I’m nearly speechless, but I can hardly believe George Lucas is this much of a twat. Let’s take one of the worst and most cringe-worthy moments from a trilogy that is pretty much loathed already and insert it into one of the most beloved franchises of all time. Might as well have Jar-Jar dancing a jig in the background.

    from BadassDigest who claims this is verified on the SW Blu-rays releasing later this year…

     

    Vader cries, “NOOOOO!” when killing The Emperor:

     
     

    Obi-Wan’s screaming Krayt Dragon trick sounds like a surprised muppet on LSD:

     
     

    Again, I’m still sort of in denial over this whole thing and don’t yet believe it 100%. But as a Star Wars fan I have overlooked a lot of Lucas’ tinkering with things over the past decade or two. I even admit that I like a couple of the things he’s done. But in general, leave it alone! These two clips are not only enough to make me cancel my Amazon pre-purchase, but enough for me to finally give up on Lucas as a person. I’ll consider even skipping his ridiculous looking bi-plane movie out of general principle. I’m heartbroken today. Seriously.

     

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