To celebrate the latest instalment of the Star Wars story, the UK’s Royal Mail has announced a special set of Star Wars stamps and other collectibles based on characters from The Last Jedi. The stamps depict Maz Kanata, Chewbacca, Supreme Leader Snoke, Porgs (whatever they are!) and the droids BB-8, R2-D2, C-3PO and K-2SO who was previously seen in Rogue One.
Available in the UK from 12 October, the eight 1st class stamps are designed by Malcolm Tween who has a serious track record in Star Wars illustration. Plus, the droid stamps have secret details that only appear under UV light.
Since Lucasfilm sold the Star Wars franchise to Disney, the new owners of the Star Wars brand have been busy producing new media across the spectrum of movies, television, novels, comic books, and video games. The first big post-Disney video game based in the Star Wars universe was Star Wars: Battlefront, a game that allows players to experience a number of team-based combat scenarios based on events depicted in the Star Wars films.
The original Battlefront was a massive success, prompting the development of a sequel, Battlefront II. One of the big features fans felt was missing from the first Battlefront was a single-player story mode. A trailer for Battlefront II that recently leaked online will make those story-mode missing fans very happy. The trailer (which has since been taken down) appears to show a playable female character, believed to be a downed Imperial pilot. The implication of the short dialog snippet included in the trailer is that Battlefront II will cover this character’s story. It’s also believed that the events depicted in the game take place in the Star Wars timeline after Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and before Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
No release date for Battlefront II has been announced. The first Battlefront game was released in November, 2015, just ahead of the release of The Force Awakens. It’s likely that Battlefront II will see a similar release window, as the next Star Wars movie, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, will be released in December, 2017.
One of my favorite things on the Internet is this chart, created by DeviantART user DirkLoechel. The chart contains a large selection of spaceships from a multitude of different science-fiction themed TV, movie, and video game franchises. The chart itself measures in at a whopping 4268×6890 pixels and it gives one “real-world” meter to each pixel, allowing you to get an idea of just how large different ships are in comparison to each other.
For example, the U.S.S. Enterprise from the original Star Trek TV show measures in at 289 meters, which feels like a pretty impressive number. But compared to the 15,000-meter long Imperial Star Dreadnaught from Star Wars, the Enterprise seems miniscule.
The chart also provides interesting comparison opportunities such as the original 1978 Galactica vs. the 2003 version. To really put things into perspective, the International Space Station, coming in at a scant 100 meters, is shown at the top of the chart. If humanity is ever going to truly build the spacecraft of our sci-fi dreams, we’ve got a lot long way to go!
The next official full-length Star Wars film, Episode VII: The Force Awakens, is scheduled to hit theaters in December. Leading up to that release, the Disney/Lucasfilm hype machine has been running at full speed. One facet of this promotional juggernaut is a film called Star Wars: Rogue One, the first part of an ongoing Anthology Series that will compliment major Star Wars releases in the future. Rogue One tells the story of brave Rebellion fighters who capture the secret plans for the first Death Star, ultimately leading to the destruction of that space station in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope. Given how close Rogue One and Episode IV are in the Star Wars timeline, it would be necessary for some characters to cross over. But there’s a logistical problem here because Episode IV was released almost forty years ago, in 1977. Of course, some characters could be recast with contemporary actors who look/sound enough like their Episode IV counterparts. But in one case, the producers of Rogue One are doing something else.
Even the most casual of Star Wars fans will remember the character of Grand Moff Tarkin, portrayed stoically by famed British actor Peter Cushing in Episode IV. Tarkin was the commander of the first Death Star and one of Darth Vader’s most trusted allies. He was only seen on screen a handful of times, but the character has endured as a fan favorite. (In fact, a recent Star Wars novel is dedicated to the telling of Tarkin’s backstory.) Peter Cushing died in 1994 at the age of 81. There’s no way he can reprise the role of Grand Moff Tarkin. But Cushing’s likeness will appear in Rogue One thanks to modern CGI techniques.
It has been said that this type of special effect is like “bringing dead actors back to life,” and it is somewhat eerie to consider. If Cushing can be replicated thru CGI now, then in theory, any person whose ever appeared on film could be resurrected in the same way. In the case of Tarkin, the character is arguably more integral to the Star Wars franchise than the actor who originally portrayed him. The mind begins to reel at the possibilities within future Star Wars films alone. Why not make a new movie based around Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia, but instead of using the actors that portrayed those characters as they appear today, using CGI-rendered versions of the actors as they looked forty years ago? I guess the fan reaction to computer-generated Peter Cushing will be a good gauge for how far Star Wars producers can stretch this idea in the future. But it seems likely that this is the first step in that direction.
Forget Kim Kardashian’s butt breaking the internet. Star Wars mania has officially arrived. (Was it ever really gone?) The first shots of the new film hit the internets this morning at 7:15a (PST). Initially I couldn’t get the iTunes Trailer page to load (go figure) but found it on the official Star Wars YouTube page. And after watching it about 50 times, I’m excited.
Here are a few things I’ve noticed:
– JJ Abrams promised us 88 seconds of footage, but minus all the black transitions, the 11 seconds of sand-nothing at the beginning and titles at the end, we’ve only got about 42 seconds of actual movie footage. Which also works out to 2163 frames. Remove the ratings logo, the empty sand wasteland from the beginning, the black transitions, and the end titles we’re left with 670 frames of actual new stuff. Stormtrooper guy at the beginning got 100, chick on fudgecicle speeder got 73. X-Wing Pilot 26. Creepy guy in the woods, 136.
– No shots of anything actually happening in the “stars” (space)
– We saw things we already knew about, either by leaks or “leaks” (Falcon, the villain, trooper helmets, actors)
– Right off the bat we are reminded that there are also non-white-male characters in this movie. (there was a big deal made of that after the first photo of the cast was released)
– Dear god, please don’t let the volleyball droid be the “comic relief” in this movie.
– I also noticed that THIS ship is in a few of the concept art images that are up over at Nuke The Fridge. The Fudgecicle speeder and stormtrooper designs are also holding true to the concept images:
Possible spoiler concept images:
Those aren’t complaints, by the way. I can’t wait to see what the next trailer looks like!
Mat “Langley” Luschek, Eric “Retweet” Rice, and “Starman” Michael Gaines bring you this week’s geek topics including: Langley’s San Diego Comic Con recap, Nintendo – Xbox – PS4, Star Wars news, Westworld news, new Primus and more!
Below are some photos from SDCC by Jeff Zimmerman:
More photos San Diego Comic Con 2014 photos (by Mat Luschek) here: