“The ultimate Star Wars 40th anniversary fan art” by James Raiz

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From io9:

“We’ve all seen a lot of Star Wars fan art over the years, yes? Well, you’ve never seen anything like this. This is basically all of it put together in one big, beautiful image.

What you see above is just a piece of a 15-foot Star Wars mural by artist James Raiz. It combines all the characters from the first seven episodes of the Star Wars saga, as well as Rogue One, and took 450 hours spread over seven months to create. Here are a few other looks.

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[…] Want to see more? Raiz also created a few videos to get into the making of the piece, as well as its details. ”

 

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WIRED says George Lucas ‘failed’ to bring women and POC into Star Wars as ‘fully-developed characters’

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From ‘The WIRED Guide to Star Wars‘:

“The Disney-era plans for the overall brand come at a fraught time, culturally. [Kathleen] Kennedy explicitly set out to bring women and people of color into the franchise as fully-developed characters, something people rightly criticized [George] Lucas for failing at.”


Can WIRED introduce us to the people who think Leia Organa, Lando Calrissian, Padmé Amidala, Schmi Skywalker or Mace Windu are minor characters?

George Lucas decided the Stormtroopers weren’t clones during the development of the live-action TV series

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From StarWars.com:

“[…] Now, veteran writers Ryder Windham and Adam Bray take us all-troopers all-the-time with Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor.

Released last October, this in-depth guide, produced by becker&mayer! and published by Harper Design, traces the real world history of each iteration of stormtrooper and clone trooper (and many of their related military personnel and equipment) from concept to filming costume to in-universe background and beyond. […]

StarWars.com: By documenting the total story of troopers as a story element in the saga, and as an icon of Star Wars in our world, you also are giving a history of Star Wars moviemaking, merchandising, and cultural impact, from the original trilogy through the prequels, TV series, and into the Disney era with the sequels and standalones. What in this overall history really stands out for you? What cool tidbits of information really amazed you?

Adam Bray: I was surprised how much influence Hasbro has had on recent Star Wars animation, from initiating Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars series, to the classic Kenner action figures as inspiration for the character designs in Star Wars Rebels. I was also fascinated how George Lucas’ ideas about who stormtroopers were actually changed over time. It wasn’t until he began conceptualizing a Star Wars TV show that Lucas decided the stormtroopers would be normal humans rather than clones.

George Lucas’ artistic choices about how to portray the militaries of the Republic and Empire were also fascinating. The diversity in personalities within the clone army versus the uniformity of troopers and officers within the Empire (despite no longer being clones) is quite a contrast. The Republic valued diversity, and so the clones were allowed freedom of personal expression. The Empire, on the other hand, was a repressive regime that demanded order through conformity, or sameness. […]”


Reminder from Wookieepedia:

“Star Wars: Underworld is the working title of a proposed live-action television series that would be set during the timespan between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope. George Lucas first announced the series at 2005’s Celebration III. Over the next few years, a variety of writers were hired, over fifty scripts were written and art designers worked on visualizing Lucas’ ideas. However, in 2010, Lucas announced that the series was on hold due to budget constraints. […]”

ComicBook.com: The Special Editions brought ‘many positive changes to the saga’

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From Comicbook.com:

“In the mid-’90s, Star Wars creator George Lucas embarked on an ambitious project, as he revisited the films that earned him his legacy and made a variety of changes to them. 20 years later, these “Special Edition” versions of the Star Wars trilogy are still highly debated pieces of film history, as fans contest the decisions Lucas made with his films […]

Many fans may dismiss the Special Edition trilogy, but these updated versions of the film brought along with it many positive changes to the saga.

Check out why we think it’s important to honor the tweaks George Lucas made to the original Star Wars for its Special Edition!

SLIDE 1/7 – CULTURAL RELEVANCE

The original films were events that captured the attention of almost the whole world, creating a global sensation whose effects are still felt today. For audiences who grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, the only way to witness the films was on the small scale. […]

Lucasfilm was so aware of this fact, that the first teasers for the Special Edition featured ships flying out of a television set to showcase how much more effective the film is on the big screen.

Additionally, the release of the Special Editions helped reignite interest in the series two years prior to The Phantom Menace landing in theaters, building the anticipation for that film.

SLIDE 2/7 – BOX OFFICE DOMINATION

[…] Over the course of its run, the Star Wars Special Edition ended up taking in nearly $140 million domestically, helping it earn the film a domestic grand total of over $460 million.

The film might not have enjoyed its reign as the top-grossing domestic release for too long, as 1997’s Titanic would eventually go on to earn over $600 million domestically, but the Special Editions helped show that audiences were just as interested as ever to head to the theater for a Star Wars film.

SLIDE 3/7 – DELETED SCENES
[…] Lucas’ incorporation of deleted scenes showed audiences our first glimpses of new footage since the original films’ debut, which helped satiate our anticipation for the upcoming prequels.

One of the deleted scenes that was edited back into the Special Edition of Star Wars featured Luke reuniting with his old friend Biggs, which helped pay off Luke’s complaints earlier in the film about all of his friends leaving home to become pilots. The brief interaction helped remind audiences that Luke never anticipated he’d get thrown into the Rebellion, but merely felt a calling that couldn’t be ignored.

Another deleted scene featured Han interacting with Jabba the Hutt, which was filmed before Jabba was fully conceptualized. The scene establishes the connection between the two characters and, while not pertinent to enjoy Return of the Jedi, the scene serves as an example of how a filmmaker’s ideas for a character can change over the years.

SLIDE 4/7 – SCOPE OF THE STORY

When the film was originally created, digital effects were incredibly rudimentary, with Lucas’ work helping pave the way for other filmmakers, effectively revolutionizing cinema. Despite the advanced ’70s techniques, CGI had evolved drastically in 20 years, allowing Lucas to expand the scale of the saga.

A notable change to the Star Wars Special Edition was the establishing shots of Mos Eisley as Obi-Wan and Luke departed on their mission. The updated film showed off a variety of new creatures and vehicles, as well as show off the size of Mos Eisley and the spaceport’s bizarre architecture.

Much of the film features interior locations, whether it be various rooms on the Death Star, cockpits or cantinas, making the film feel somewhat contained, with these new establishing shots helping show off how large this universe was. […]

SLIDE 6/7 – LUKE’S LANDSPEEDER

While it’s easy to look back fondly at the original Star Wars and romanticize many of the film’s components, we often overlook that there are distracting shortcomings due to lack of technical solutions.

To convey a speeder that hovered across the terrain with ease, the film took an incredibly lo-fi approach to removing the speeder’s wheels by merely smearing vaseline over the camera’s lens. After knowing this detail, you can’t help but watch that original footage and acknowledge that the scene merely looks like someone smeared vaseline over the lens.

This poor quality effect doesn’t ruin the movie, but the transparency of cockpits in Snowspeeders in The Empire Strikes Back also help remind audiences that the effects in the film are far from perfect, sometimes to a distracting degree.

SLIDE 7/7 – BATTLE OF YAVIN
Erasing the vaseline from Luke’s speeder was only the beginning of how the original film’s effects could get an upgrade, with the Battle of Yavin elevating to an all-new level thanks to advanced special effects techniques.
The sequence may have only featured a handful of new shots, but the overhaul of the film’s already impressive effects helped solidify these final scenes in the film as some of the most exciting moments in the entire saga, even maintaining their status as some of the best aerial battles ever put to film.

To cap off the sequence, the explosion of the Death Star was amplified, helping create a much larger sense of scale compared to the original, fiery explosion.”

310 babies were named Anakin in 2016 in the USA

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From HuffPost:

“The “Star Wars” universe has officially influenced parents’ baby name choices.

The Social Security Administration revealed in 2017 that Kylo was the fastest-growing baby name for boys, following the character Kylo Ren’s introduction in the 2015 movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And after “Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace” hit theaters in 1999, the name Anakin increased in popularity by more than 400 percent: It was chosen for 114 baby boys born in 1999, up from 26 in 1998. That number had gone up even more by 2016, when the name was given to 303 baby boys and seven baby girls.

HuffPost looked at more SSA data to identify other “Star Wars”-inspired names appearing on birth certificates of babies in the U.S. […]

Here are 30 “Star Wars”-related names parents are giving their babies, plus the number of kids born in 2016 who had each name:

Leia (1,005 girls)

Kylo (238 boys, seven girls)

Jedi (32 boys)

Anakin (303 boys, seven girls)

Rey (254 boys, 63 girls)

Ahsoka (five girls)

Padme (16 girls)

Obi (seven boys)  […]

Aayla (36 girls)

Mace (64 boys) […]

Zam (six boys)  […]

Rebels mid-season 4 trailer and key art released; Emperor Palpatine is voiced by Ian McDiarmid

From StarWars.com:

Star Wars Rebels strikes back on Monday, February 19 (9:00 p.m. EDT), on Disney XD, kicking off a string of brand-new episodes, all building toward its grand series finale. The final episodes of the series will unfold over three weeks with two back-to-back episodes premiering every Monday night on Disney XD until its epic 90-minute conclusion on Monday, March 5 (8:30 p.m. EDT). The official key art for the final installments is below — a striking image of the Ghost crew facing the might of the Empire.

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In addition, one of Star Wars‘ greatest villains will make his series debut in these final episodes. As teased in a new Star Wars Rebels trailer (which you can view below), Emperor Palpatine will appear for the first time in the show’s history, voiced by actor Ian McDiarmid, who reprises his iconic role from the Star Warslive-action films. Star Wars Rebels is set prior to the original trilogy, when the Emperor reigned and continued to tighten his grip on the galaxy. […]”