Thursday, 22 March 2018
Where there's a young hotshot Han Solo, there's got to be a young Lando Calrissian too, and who better to bring him to life for this prequel adventure - Solo: A Star Wars Story - than rising star talent actor/writer Donald Glover, who, from the early teaser looks a confident and comfortable fit in the role originally brought to suave and heroic life by Billy Dee Williams. In these early days of his charismatic life of adventure, we'll see him as the original owner of the Millennium Falcon (certainly a much cleaner and fully repaired version than the one we'll see with Han years later), working alongside his trusty droid, L3-37.
Glover talks about becoming, and inheriting the legacy, of Lando Calrissian:
Before the film gets released, look out for Lando as one of the main characters of the upcoming Han Solo all-new prequel adventure novel: Last Shot, out April 18th in the UK, from Century. His visage bares the book's alternate collector's hardcover jacket, which, like Lando, is very cool.
Get Last Shot here:
Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Distracted and awed by all the glitz, glamour and opulent wealth seemingly on tap within the Canto Bight casino on Cantonica, Finn will soon be introduced by Rose to the harsh reality behind the decadent facade, in this great image from The Last Jedi.
John Boyega and Kelly Marie Tran voice their characters for the latest Forces of Destiny animated short, this one linked to their journey to Canto Bight:
Tuesday, 20 March 2018
|A time for destiny and balance is at hand, for The Last Jedi.|
Despite the expansive entertainment world in which we live, a few of its notable and special realms have been brought to life by but just a small and exclusively select group of lucky people. Examples: only six people so far have officially portrayed James Bond, only thirteen people have been the TV Time Lord Doctor Who across fifty plus years. And, in the realms of adapting the cinematic adventures of the STAR WARS saga, long-time franchise author Jason Fry is now a very lucky man indeed, joining that very unique and elite club of talented scribes making their best seller publishing mark within a truly 'official' part of the saga's history and life blood, to deliver the all-important novelisation of writer/director Rian Johnson's unique entry into the new modern sequel saga - the ambitious and at times quite dark The Last Jedi, whose prose transformation is out now in UK hardback 'Expanded Edition', via CENTURY. Fry delivers a thoughtful novelisation as enjoyable and worthwhile to read on the page as viewing the story in its cinematic form, expanding its plot and characters further via all-new original material (which he makes a commendable mark with), as well as incorporating further official Lucasfilm/Johnson input.
|The mystery of Luke on Ahch-To continues... Art by Brian Rood.|
Clearly learnt and stealing (in the nicest of ways) from the best of the previous SW film adaptors, most notably the original trilogy scribes of Alan Dean Foster (yet to beaten in his film-to-book conversion skills), Donald F. Glut and James Kahn, Fry delivers well-structured storytelling and a zippy, straightforward prose. Though the film has some occasional pacing problems, The Last Jedi's novelisation has none of that baggage potentially weighing it down, of which the (perhaps) over-hyped new material enjoyably adds further depth and dimensions to the main characters (whilst also clearing up a few now noticeable plot holes) during the book's opening chapters, leading to the oncoming, officially out of the shadows threat of the First Order against the retreating and decimated-in-numbers Resistance at D'Qar, plus a chance for a grieving General Leia Organa to say goodbye to her murdered husband Han Solo, and the legacy he leaves behind to her, the son who ultimately killed him, and the future of the galaxy now seemingly without any kind of Jedi protectorate.
|Down but not out- General Leia Organa.|
Of Leia's Awol Jedi brother, there's an inspired prologue of a Luke Skywalker that could have been had he not gotten originally involved with the Rebels after seeing the brief hologram message/plea from Leia, of which Fry's description of the farmboy/man's alternate life on the desert world of Tatooine, alongside a well known deleted scene female, proves both fun and interesting to read, reminding me of those great, back-in-the-day Star Wars: Infinities tales, amidst a portent of change for the self-exiled Jedi Master on Ahch-To, whether he wants it or not.
|The nature of the Force, and the building powers of it within Rey and Kylo Ren, is given further depth.|
Beyond Luke, Fry further excels with the remainder of the Classic Trilogy heroes, giving them some fine character nuances that feel right, and Fry should know all about these icons- having written for and about them for so long, whilst also successfully getting us into the mindsets of the all-new young and passing-the-torch sequel trilogy heroes with some broad canvas stroke detailing- Rey's brave spirit to win over Luke Skywalker, and, later, her mistaken belief that Kylo Ren could turn to the light and destroy the First Order (of which he has become such an important part), being well represented. Former Stormtrooper Finn also has much more to do here- great news as this reviewer thought that he was a little shortchanged in the story arcs since being separated from Rey, and after his injuries at the destroyed Starkiller Base. Meanwhile, space spitfire pilot Poe Dameron learns more about the cost of reckless leadership from both Leia and quirkily charismatic newcomer Admiral Holdo. Many of the film's deleted scenes (now released on Blu-ray) linked to these main character arcs developed by Fry are also worthily included in the book's 316 pages.
|It's a race against time for BB-8, Finn and Rose as they head to Canto Bight.|
Of further interest to the dedicated fanbase: more development of the seemingly inseparable-from-birth Tico sisters as they escape the First Order occupation of their world to join the Resistance, and the eventual tragedy that will on split them apart forever. Interestingly, Rose comes across much more spiky and bitter in novel form before the final third changes things- its a testament to Kelly Marie Tran for making the character much more likeable on screen. In the reverse of that, the hit-or-miss scenes linked to Rose, Finn and BB-8 on the casino world of Canto Bight work better on the printed page than they did on screen- a case of fun intentions showcasing the film's fine creature and effects teams that didn't quite gel with audiences.
|The malignancy of Supreme Leader Snoke continues.|
And as light rises to meet darkness in the depths of space, there's more tantalizing hints emerge about the malevolent Supreme Leader Snoke's corruption of the all-too-powerful Ben Solo prior to his Jedi training, as well as titillating subtle past connections/manipulations of the Skywalker family. Here's hoping the full and no doubt compelling history of the evil doer's involvement with that troubled family lineage finally comes to novel reality after the event of EPISODE IX - it should be right up James Luceno's street!.
Finally, a special mention and commendation to one of the very best moments in the book, not written by Johnson but Fry- at the end, when our heroes are gathered escaping Crait in the Millennium Falcon, there's a scene where Leia, subtly separated from the main group, tells an emotional Chewie of the loss of Luke Skywalker. It's a true tear in the eye, lump in the throat moment between these two important and iconic characters that I wish had been in the film, especially after the mistake made on screen in The Force Awakens where Leia wasn't seen comforting her old friend Chewie on the death of Han. For this special new scene alone, the purchase of The Last Jedi - Expanded Edition proves essential.
AFICIONADO RATING: A solid page-turner adaptation. Oh, and I liked that 'Cosmic Force' referencing too, Jason! 3.5 out of 5
|The red of rebellion, and revenge!|
Get hold of the book here:
Jason Fry talks about the book and his personal goal to fuse the film adaptation with other aspects of the novels and comics forming the current iteration of the official Expanded Universe:
Monday, 19 March 2018
A lovely and emotional moment in The Last Jedi, utilizing original 1976 shot footage at Elstree Studios, acting as both a poignant celebration of the original Star Wars in last year's 40th Anniversary, and a celebration of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia Organa.
|Early unused footage of Carrie Fisher as Leia for the Hologram message scene.|
Sunday, 18 March 2018
|All that glitters... Supreme Leader Snoke in The Last Jedi.|
He brought the fragmented and in-retreat remnants of the Galactic Empire's fleet under his ruthless and inspiring control, alongside much of the mysterious Outer Regions, going on to build an immense new war machine - the First Order - against the New Republic. Now, as The Last Jedi begins, Supreme Leader Snoke, and his powers in the Force, are more dangerous and unpredictable than ever, in a live action/motion capture performance from Andy Serkis that would prove chillingly effective and consistently impressive.
|When Snoke met Rey!|
How Snoke was brought to cinematic lfe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69Ld3phO1V0
The newly released film novelisation 'Expanded Edition' from CENTURY sheds new light on Snoke and his manipulating connection to Luke Skywalker:
|Andy Serkis on set at Pinewood Studios.|
Andy Serkis on playing Snoke:
|Serkis and friends in a fun on-set image.|
Saturday, 17 March 2018
|Finn gets a look over from an intrigued Stormtrooper (Tom Hardy), in a deleted scene from The Last Jedi.|
There's a reason they're called 'Deleted Scenes' by the film editors, but when it comes to that special thing called STAR WARS, then its a whole different story, with everyone fascinated by the unused material that never quite made it to the finished movies they adore. Here's a selection of images of what UK fans can expect appearing within the home entertainment release of The Last Jedi on 9th April, 2018- the set's hand-picked selection of deleted material, both short and long, by writer/director Rian Johnson.
Official site extras sneak-peek:
Blu-ray preview and film review:
|Paige fights the TIE fighters swarming the Resistance bombers.|
|Poe proves he's not a sewing expert.|
|A reminder of friendship from BB-8.|
|New visitors to the island on Ahch-To...|
|... but are they friend or foe?|
|Rey gets a surprise discovery with the Caretakers!|
|Chewbacca and R2 enjoy the celebrations!|
|Things get a little crowded for Finn, Rose and DJ.|
|Rose bites back!|
|Finn is cornered by Phasma and her troops.|
|How long can Phasma retain her troops loyalty?|
|Escaping the Supremacy.|
|Avoiding intense fire ahead from the First Order, in a brief moment of humour.|
A further look at the key deleted scenes:
Critics call it the 'Jumping the Shark' moment of the Indiana Jones saga, but the idea of what Indy does to escape the nuclear blast test in Nevada has apparently been proved reasonably sound by selected science teachers! Let's face it, when hasn't there been the odd preposterous action moment in any of the Indy films, from filmmakers whose aim has always been to celebrate the old and classic cliffhanger movie serials of the past with fun and enthusiasm.
Friday, 16 March 2018
With an army of immense AT-M6 'Walkers' at his disposal, plus aerial brutality from a squadron of TIE fighters, the full power for evil of Kylo Ren's attack force comes to bear on the Resistance's last hideout and its defensive facilities, located on the salt/sand world of Crait, during the climactic events of The Last Jedi.
ILM showcase of the scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TolPxaXrCfU
The practical side of filming at Pinewood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=99&v=lv3MLVFpFSg
More on the AT-MT6: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsI_-j3ItVY
Thursday, 15 March 2018
|Latest international poster for Solo: A Star Wars Story.|
"As I live and breathe," Jessa scoffed. "Have we finally seen Han Solo doing something unselfish? Are you going soft? Who knows, you may even pick up a little morality one day, if you ever wake up and get wise to yourself."
Han stopped, his leer gone. He glared at her for a moment, then said, "I already know all about morality, Jess. A friend of mine made a decision once, thought he was doing the moral thing. Hell, he was. But he'd been conned. He lost his career, his girl, everything. This friend of mine, he ended up standing there, whilst they ripped the rank and insignia off his tunic.The people who didn't want him put against a wall and shot were laughing at him. A whole planet. He shipped out of there and never went back."
She watched his face become ugly. "Wouldn't anyone testify for your friend?" she asked softly.
He laughed sourly. "His commanding officer committed perjury against him. There was only witness in his defense, and who's going to believe a Wookiee?"
An intriguing backstory from the beginning of the STAR WARS Expanded Universe created by Brian Daley (with Lucasfilm) for the still-great Han Solo at Stars' End, back in 1979- the first of a trilogy of then all-new original adventures. Now, nearly twenty years later, we're getting our first solo Han Solo cinematic adventure, and we're all looking forward to seeing it. Let's hope some of those intriguing elements from 1979 might make it to the screen's official history for everyone's favourite star smuggler, and his quirky and loyal first mate, when Solo: A Star Wars Story debuts this Summer.
|On set at Pinewood: Rian Johnson and Msrk Hamill|
The Adventures of Luke Skywalker certainly took a different (and fan divisive) journey than many of The Last Jedi's viewers had expected, literally from the character's first scene on from the end of The Force Awakens, right up the last moments of the Battle of Crait. Mark Hamill was equally shocked and surprised by developments conceived by writer/director Rian Johnson when reading TLJ's script, events and character evolution that went beyond what he expected (a situation that wasn't the first time/experience for the actor, either - remember Return of the Jedi during 1981/82, and his unrealized hopes for an almost Dark Side-turned Luke?). Thankfully, once filming had begun in London and Ireland by 2016, the actor would become more comfortable of the thoughtful and emotional scenario crafted for the character, and ultimately accepting of Luke's path ahead, within a different style of franchise to the one first conceived by George Lucas.
|Luke Skywalker receives a visitation.|
Let's hope that both Hamill and Luke Skywalker eventually return somewhere, somehow for the upcoming story/sequel trilogy closing events of IX...
Hamill talks Luke:
|Non retouched background publicity image of Mark Hamill as Luke.|
Rian Johnson talks about VIII, more on the upcoming deleted scenes, Rey's journey on Ahch-To, and her still shady origins...
|Ready to help the Resistance. Luke Skywalker on Crait.|