Dooku has a mission for Asajj Ventress in Star Wars Dooku: Jedi Lost audio excerpt

From StarWars.com:

“Little has been revealed of Count Dooku prior to his time as a Sith. Until now.

The upcoming audio drama, Dooku: Jedi Lost by Cavan Scott, will take us back to Dooku’s training of Asajj Ventress in the ways of the dark side — and will explore the Sith Lord’s mysterious past. In this exclusive excerpt, Dooku (Euan Morton) sends his apprentice (Orlagh Cassidy) on a surprisingly personal mission to his homeworld…

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Narrated by a full cast, the recording promises to deliver an epic exploration of a new chapter in Dooku’s story.

Dooku: Jedi Lost arrives April 30 and is available for pre-order now.”

 

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Mustafarian culture will be explored in Vader Immortal VR game

From StarWars.com:

“Darth Vader has chosen you.

When ILMxLAB’s Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series debuts on Oculus Quest headsets this spring, fans will get the chance to sneak through the halls of Vader’s castle on Mustafar and even meet some of the native aliens that inhabit the treacherous lava planet.

On Friday [12], David S. Goyer, writer and executive producer, was joined by Ben Snow, director, Mohen Leo, narrative designer, Lucasfilm Story Group Creative Executive Matt Martin, and Colum Slevin, Head of Media, AR/VR Experiences Group at Oculus,”, to give fans at Star Wars Celebration Chicago a first look at a new trailer for the experience and insights into the creation and story we’ll soon get to experience. Here are seven things we learned at the panel, hosted by Amy Ratcliffe. […]

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5. You’ll get to interact with Mustafarians! Although we’ve glimpsed these aliens before, exploring their culture is new to Star Wars, “which is always exciting,” said Martin.

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6. You’ll be let in on some of Vader’s secrets. “On one hand it’s an Imperial base, but it is also very much Vader’s home,” Leo said. In the game, you play a smuggler who gets taken in by Imperial Forces and taken to Vader’s castle for a very important mission. “The story is about why Vader has chosen you,” Goyer said. It also explores the man behind the mask. “There’s a mournfulness, a sadness beneath the helmet,” he added, and players will get to see that side of the Dark Lord in an intimate and surprisingly emotional way, the creators promise. […]

Fans attending the panel also got to take home an exclusive new poster – check it out below!

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Meet some champions of Star Wars cosplay from Celebration Chicago

From StarWars.com:

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” […] Jango Fett, Samurai warrior

Frank Wehrkamp, who won for Best Armor, styled his Jango Fett cosplay off the Samurai-inspired Bandai collectible figure. When he was deployed in Afghanistan last year, he used his downtime to begin programming the build and then 3-D printed 60 percent of the cosplay this fall, “as soon as I got home,” he said.

He had previously crafted a stormtrooper in the same style, but Jango Fett has always been his favorite character, he said. The costume creation required “a lot of resin, a lot of paint, a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.” But when it was done, his helmet didn’t fit into any of his luggage.

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“Funny story,” he said. On the plane ride to Chicago, “I carried it in my lap.” But for takeoff and landing, he couldn’t keep it there “and I couldn’t stick it under the seat, so I had to wear it in flight all the way here from Las Vegas.” That’s dedication.

“Just to pull off a win was amazing,” he added. The night before the competition, he and his family had to run out and buy sandpaper to mend some parts that broke in transit. “I mean, I brought an emergency kit, but no sandpaper,” he said. “Next time.”

And not only did he get the judges’ vote, several fans at the Bandai booth were smitten with his life-size interpretation of the collectible, he said. “The attention we got was just insane.”

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Stitching fit for a queen (or a senator)

Jennifer Catania got her start in theatrical and period costuming, so the historical influences of the prequel trilogy came through in her interpretation of Padmé Amidala’s dinner gown from the lake retreat. The painstakingly detailed creation won for Best Stitching.

Catania had already been on an elegant dress kick when she discovered the lace for the skirt in a shop, which inspired her to the begin the project. “The rule with Star Wars costuming is that if you see fabric that is anywhere close to screen accurate, you have to buy twice as much as you think you’ll need,” she said.

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The gown — with a skirt sewn specifically so she can wear flats underneath to keep her comfortable and get her closer to Natalie Portman’s actual height in the scene — could almost be worn to a black-tie gala in this galaxy.

Catania put almost 120 hours of stitching into the look, with about half of that dedicated to hand beading the black velvet choker and the long beaded fringe at the front. Some of the beads were actually leftover plastic bits from a stormtrooper costume she had built, she noted.

For the cape, she used 13 yards of feather trim laid out in 10 distinct rows. The black pleather corset beneath was modified from a late 1800s corset pattern she custom drafted a few years prior.

“I think the best part of the contest was getting to hang out with all those amazing costumers,” she said afterward. Catania, a teacher by day, loves to cite sources and problem solve her different cosplay creations and share them with the community of builders and crafters. “That’s the reason I entered in the first place,” she said. And she was not disappointed, getting the chance to talk shop with cosplayers she follows on Instagram or had previously interacted with online. […]”

Fantha Tracks: “Moments where The Phantom Menace was better than The Original Trilogy”

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From Fantha Tracks:

Although The Phantom Menace received a lot of negative reviews from critics and fans alike back in 1999 many of us enjoyed the movie.  Fantha Trackers have got together to point out moments where The Phantom Menace was better than any Star Wars movie that came before.*

Richard Hutchinson

[…]  I’m going to go with  the lightsaber battles.

The lightsaber fights in two of the original trilogy movies are largely unsatisfying for me now.  Vader v Ben is little more than saber rattling and in Empire, Vader uses the force to throw objects at Luke as he doesn’t want to hurt him.  The second part of the duel in Jedi is fantastic but I think is just edged out by the Maul v Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan epic.  John Williams cannot be given enough credit for the excitement and the set is astonishing.  Three athletes at their peak condition spinning and kicking, I’d have loved to see Luke battle a Sith in a post Jedi movie sing this level of theatrics.  One of the things robbed from us in the sequel trilogy thus far.

Johanna Nybelius

The Phantom Menace made me a Star Wars costumer. I never wanted to be a stormtrooper, and Leia was a cool character but her dresses were not exciting enough to make me want to recreate them. The design of The Phantom Menace is in a league of its own. It is the blending of space, history and ethnic influences that turned it into a masterpiece. The details of the costumes worn by the characters, and not only the main ones, were extraordinary and it made me want to recreate them all, not just Queen Amidala or her handmaidens.

This brings me to another point where The Phantom Menace is better than the original films and it is the number of women on screen. If you count the female characters with lines in just The Phantom Menace you come up with many times the number of women in the whole original trilogy.

Amidala maybe was not treated the best as a character in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, but in The Phantom Menace she was the queen in control, and she was not alone. She was supported by Sabé, Rabé, Eirtaé, Yané, Saché, Bravo 5 and Bravo 7 when it was time to fight the Trade Federation and free Naboo. […]

Mark Newbold

There are plenty of people who appreciate the prequels for what they did so very well – shine a light on a different era of the galaxy, before the scourge of the sith returned to throw the citizens of the galaxy into darkness. While the original trilogy had plenty of scope, flinging us from Tatooine in the Arkanis sector of the Outer Rim right up to Alderaan in the Alderaan sector of the Core Worlds and back to Endor in the Moddell sector of the Outer Rim, the prequels expanded that scope tremendously, hurling us around the galaxy at lightspeed and showing us the gradual slide – the creeping fear – that engulfed the galaxy.

The original trilogy and the sequel trilogy focus very much on the central characters of their respective films, and while the prequels have at their core the relationships between Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, and Anakin and Padme, the broader scope – the politics, the rot within the senate, the cloud blinding the Jedi to the approaching evil – is what sets these films apart. It’s a very different approach, presenting far less of the snappy humour of the original trilogy and substituting it for a more formal, sometimes regal approach that saw the central characters police the galaxy. They may have been fiddlers while Rome burned, but as observers to the impending fall we had the very best view. […]

Martin Keeler

Hands down I have to say its all about the Podracing for me.  The whole of that section of the film is just stunning.  The fact that not only do you get a great piece of action but you also get character development of the racers and it genuinely moves the story forward is incredible.  I could watch that scene over and over again (and I have) as it has so much going on and for me I don’t think anything that tries to emulate it would ever come close.

Brian Cameron

Kor-ah, Mah-tah, Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. 
Kor-ah, Rah-tah-mah. Yood-hah, Kor-ah. 
Kor-ah, Syahd-ho. Rah-tah-mah, Daan-yah. 
Kor-ah, Kee-lah, Daan-yah.

I mean daaaaaaamn.  How amazing was that choral element, the way it elevated the moment, and instantly made that lightsaber scene not just a  moment, but a cinematic moment.  I heard the soundtrack before I saw the film, and was spoiled by its titles like everyone else.

When I first heard Duel of the Fates I was not sure if I liked it.  Choral music didn’t belong in Star Wars, at least not in 1999.  I just didn’t see how it would fit.  But seeing, and hearing that moment in the movie – I was on my feet, Pepsi and popcorn went flying.

THIS was Star Wars.

This was my childhood not only recaptured but thrown into the stratosphere and giving me Star Wars like I had never seen, and only dreamed of. The Nick Gillard designed fight sequence, the aggression of Ewan, Liam and Ray in the roles (and their stunt doubles).  The incredible set design.

The genius direction of Lucas, with those silent, paused moments that just added to the tension.  As Star Wars moments go, I don’t think you get better.  Now, Then, Forever.”

 

The Mandalorian actor Giancarlo Esposito says George Lucas helped to create the show

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From Collider:

The Mandalorian is already primed and ready to be special given that it’s the first-ever live-action Star Wars TV show, but in a manner fitting a franchise as huge and iconic as Star Wars, it sounds like the approach to creating the upcoming Disney+ series was anything but ordinary.

The show was created by The Jungle Book and Iron Man filmmaker Jon Favreau and takes place five years after the events of Return of the Jedi. Actor Pedro Pascal plays the titular Mandalorian, a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy, far from the authority of the New Republic

We still know very little about the story of the series, but when Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke with actor Giancarlo Esposito about his role in the upcoming film Stuck, he shed some light on the cutting-edge technology that was used to bring the series to life. […]

“I’ve got a great costume. We got great set pieces. I’m not giving anything away because [Jon Favreau] is an artist, truly an artist. [He was] working with George Lucas on this particular piece and making it a piece that we can really relate to now in our world that we’re in. […]

Additionally, in praising Favreau for handing directing reins over to other filmmakers with diverse points of view, Esposito appears to reveal that Favreau worked with George Lucas to create the series in the first place:

“Well you know what’s cool about Mandalorian is you figure a guy who wrote it, who figured it out with George Lucas, would direct every episode. That would be all ego, right? He has amassed some incredible directors from different parts of the planet to give their take on an episode. […]

Lucas was famously developing a live-action Star Wars TV series after the prequels, before he sold Lucasfilm to Disney, and he even had dozens of scripts written and ready to go. The hurdle at that time was budget, as no network was willing to spend the money necessary to make a Star Wars live-action TV show a reality. The whole thing was scrapped after the Disney sale, but one wonders if some of the ideas hatched during that time have made their way into The Mandalorian given that Lucas was consulted.

Then again, it’s possible Favreau simply used Lucas as a guide, consulting to make sure he was heading in the right direction and keeping with the spirit of Lucas’s vision for the Star Wars universe.  […]

The series debuts on Disney+ on November 12th.”

Star Wars: Master & Apprentice author talks about Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan’s relationship

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From StarWars.com:

“It’s been twenty years since we first met Qui-Gon Jinn and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, but there’s still more to be explored in the story of Jedi and Padawan.

To celebrate the arrival of Star Wars: Master & Apprentice, the new novel out now, StarWars.com recently sat down with bestselling author Claudia Gray to get a glimpse at what this novel has in store for readers, from the Padawan problems of their early relationship to a deeper look at the treasured lore at the heart of the Star Wars saga.

Note: This interview does not contain detailed spoilers regarding the plot of Master & Apprentice, but it does shed light on its characters. Tread carefully! […]

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StarWars.com: Up until this point you had written stories in the original and sequel trilogy eras. Princess Leia was a central character in a number of your stories. Now you were moving into the prequel era with Qui-Gon. Is he a close second to Leia as your favorite character?

Claudia Gray: Well it’s all very hotly contested! Qui-Gon is certainly one of my favorites. We get so little of him in the films. It seemed there was so much more to tell with this idea of a Jedi who was not in lockstep with the Jedi Council. As the events of the prequel trilogy go on, we realize that the Jedi have sort of lost their way. Where does that leave Qui-Gon? It was a fascinating viewpoint to try and portray, if we could do it.

StarWars.com: Readers spend a lot of time with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan together. What was it like exploring the ups and downs of their relationship?

Claudia Gray: It was one of the things I wanted to get into the most. It’s interesting to see Obi-Wan when he doesn’t have it all together yet. In the films he is much surer of himself. But what does that look like when you’re 17? He and Qui-Gon have different ways of doing things. It’s not a natural fit, and they have to work on it. Yoda reminds Qui-Gon that if he wasn’t having trouble with his Padawan then something would be wrong. Taking an adolescent through these big life changes is a little rocky. But that rocky patch has gone on a bit too long with Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan and their relationship is in peril.

StarWars.com: How did your understanding of these characters evolve throughout your writing process?

Claudia Gray: Young Obi-Wan does things by the book. Some people interpret that as a lack of courage or originality. But of course that isn’t the Obi-Wan Kenobi we all know. So what beliefs drive him in that way when he’s young? He follows the rules because he’s convinced they’re the right thing and represent real wisdom. They’re valuable teachings that are both procedural and spiritual.

With Qui-Gon, I became interested in his self-doubt about whether he was failing Obi-Wan. It’s his role to teach him. Qui-Gon is someone who takes that responsibility and wouldn’t blame the student. He’d look for the answer in himself first.

StarWars.com: This reminds me of the moment in The Phantom Menace when Obi-Wan apologizes for his forwardness, to which Qui-Gon responds that his Padawan is a “much wiser man” than himself.

Claudia Gray: This book was an opportunity to layer in more depth around those brief moments we see in The Phantom Menace.

StarWars.com: The issues of slavery in the galaxy have a major role in the story. How did this topic come to be included?

Claudia Gray: In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon is both very compassionate and at the same time can tell Shmi Skywalker, “I didn’t actually come here to free slaves.” The Jedi have a mandate to follow. They work within parameters. With the kind of power they have, to rule directly is too dangerous. So we wanted to see Qui-Gon dealing with his feelings about slavery. He questions why the Republic hasn’t done much about policing it. It’s a question that I myself ask, too. At this point the Republic is past its prime, and from The Phantom Menace on those cracks will start to show. […]

StarWars.com: It’s the 20th anniversary of The Phantom Menace this year. This book is among other new stories that point to the prequel trilogy era. How does it feel to contribute to this era?

Claudia Gray: If readers are able to see more layers in The Phantom Menace, more depth in the characters and their interactions, then I’ve done my job. I just want to add things, but at the same time make the additions feel like they could’ve always been there. Hopefully it feels like a natural part of Qui-Gon’s journey.”

Academy Museum’s Gift From George Lucas Foundation Will Allow Kids To Visit For Free

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From Deadline:

“The George Lucas Family Foundation has provided what the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences calls a “transformative grant” in support of the Academy Museum’s educational mission.

Kerry Brougher, Director of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, did not reveal the amount of the Star Wars creator’s donation but said the funds will be used to create an endowment underwriting free admission to the museum in perpetuity for visitors ages 17 and younger.

He added that the George Lucas Family Foundation established the grant in honor of Sid Ganis, former president and current VP of the Academy’s Board of Governors and Chair of its Museum Committee.

The museum is “committed to helping educate our youngest visitors: the children and teens who will be the next generation of filmmakers, writers, and visual artists,” Brougher said. “To succeed, though, we must break down the financial barriers that make it difficult for families, students and teens to visit cultural institutions. … Although not every child who visits the Academy Museum will embark on a career in filmmaking, each young person deserves to be inspired by the new perspectives and ideas that come through their exposure to the arts.”

Said Ganis: “I could not be more honored and humbled by George’s gift to young movie lovers around the world. Education has always been a primary goal of George’s storytelling. Now through his incredible generosity young people from everywhere can experience and learn about the art and the techniques of filmmaking.” […]”