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


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.


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



Lucasfilm didn’t want Star Wars veteran sound designer Ben Burtt to work on Rogue One and The Last Jedi


From Vanity Fair:

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi is strewn with the sounds conceived and concocted 40 years ago by sound designer Ben Burtt. Now 69 and working in Lucas Valley, California, at a company named for Luke Skywalker, Burtt spends his days holed up in his dimly lit office, surrounded by movie memorabilia, mostly souvenirs of his years behind the scenes of the Star Wars films.

But his name is nowhere to be found in the credits for The Last Jedi. Like George Lucas, the Star Wars visionary who sold his company and faded from view, Burtt is both omnipresent in the new Star Wars and conspicuously absent from it.

In an August conversation, I mentioned that I had been advised to steer clear of speaking about the new movies. “You can talk about the new movies,” he said with a smile, a shrug, and then a pause. “I haven’t seen the new movies, so . . .” […]

Burtt worked on the sound design for this year’s animated Star Wars micro-series Forces of Destiny, plus a Star Wars video game that has since been suspended. But after contributing sound design on The Force Awakens, Burtt did not work on last year’s Rogue One or The Last Jedi, the first Star Wars films to be made without Burtt’s direct involvement. “On The Force Awakens we had veterans from previous Star Wars films work with the new generation of talent and in many cases the new talent then took the baton and ran with it on The Last Jedi,” a Skywalker Sound representative said in a statement. “Ben will always be a treasure at Lucasfilm but we also want to give the new generation of talent an opportunity to shine as well.”

Early on in my conversation with Burtt, we’re interrupted by a mechanical rattle emanating from something on his desk. Nice sound, I say. “Those are my rejected sounds for BB-8,” says Burtt, referring to the painfully adorable spherical droid who rolled into the hearts of audiences in The Force Awakens. “I use them as ringtones.” […]

Burtt tends to speak about his career in past tense. At the moment, he’s developing a documentary on movie sound-design history, and a documentary on his other love, the space program. He’s also “looking for feature-film work, but nothing’s come my way.”

Cinematic tastes have evolved: today’s frenetic blockbusters, he says, have little need for his meticulously orchestrated sound design. But mostly, there’s no patience—and no allocation in production budgets—for his preferred mode of peripatetic sound-searching and experimentation.

“I don’t see that happening at all today. Not just with Star Wars, but in general,” he says. Burtt’s original Star Wars sound-collecting was so comprehensive, it turns out, that he may have contributed to his own redundancy. “They know there are big libraries”—created in part by Burtt—“that people can just click and drag things out of and make a lot of noise.”

First contacted in 2015 about a story on Burtt, Disney ultimately declined to assist in arrangements for this interview. I asked Burtt himself if there’s bad blood between them since his work on The Force Awakens.

“I don’t know if there’s bad blood,” he answered. “Nobody . . . I was just never consulted or hired to do any of them. No one’s ever told me why. No, I was told—on the new regime, I was just told, ‘Just stay in your room and make sounds and just send stuff to us. We’ll decide what to do.’” It was a change in philosophy that, Burtt thought, would “doom the whole process.”

It was a considerable demotion as well. Burtt was deeply involved in Lucas’s prequel trilogy, working as an editor and second-unit director in addition to his usual role in the sound department. “I had a lot of influence on all that,” he said. “It wasn’t always easy working with George, but at least it was one voice. And you could get his attention and have your say and present something and get a yes or a no. But it was just one person you had to get past. Not banks of different people who want to have a say.”

Burtt has a model plane, a Nieuport fighter aircraft, dangling from the ceiling; there’s a miniature cutout of Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams standing in it, waving anachronistically from the cockpit. “Matt [Wood] put that there to torment me. I came in one day and he’s flying my plane.” Burtt laughed. “Anyways. That’s reality.” He also explained his decision not to use any Star Wars footage in a sound-design class he taught earlier in the year: “Then I’d have to deal with Disney.” […]

With the extra time on his hands, Burtt is now at work trying to persuade the decision-makers at Skywalker Sound to turn his accumulation of physical artifacts and curiosities into a museum.

“You know that line in Indiana Jones, ‘It belongs in a museum’?” he says. “That’s me. I’m a museum piece.””

ILMxLAB and The VOID’s Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire trailer and details revealed


From StarWars.com:

“Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB, and The VOID have pulled back the curtain on Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, a groundbreaking hyper-reality experience that promises to immerse fans in a galaxy far, far away. An official trailer (check it out below!) made its debut today, offering a first look at what to expect, and story details have also been revealed — the rebellion needs you, your family, and your friends for a secret mission.

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will send teams of four, under the orders of the budding rebellion, to the lava planet Mustafar. The mission: to recover Imperial intelligence vital to the rebellion’s survival. You and your squad must navigate an enemy facility disguised as stormtroopers, with Rogue One‘s K-2SO at your side. You’ll grab your blaster, solve puzzles, and fight giant lava monsters in an effort to fulfill the rebellion’s orders.

The VOID also announced that Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will debut at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando on December 16 and Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim on January 5. Tickets are on sale now at thevoid.com; admission for both the Anaheim and Orlando locations is $29.95 per person plus applicable fees, and Parks admission is not required. […]”

Cassian meets K-2SO in Rogue One Prequel Comic

“StarWars.com is excited to announce Star Wars: Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special #1, coming in August from Marvel. Written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Fernando Blanco, the 40-page one-shot will reveal how Cassian, one of the top intelligence officers of the Rebel Alliance, met K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial security droid. Check out the cover below by Julian Totino Tedesco, which finds the duo back-to-back, ready for battle.”


Source: StarWars.com

Rogue One: the U-wing’s design was partly inspired by Count Dooku’s solar sailer and Zam Wesell’s ship


“4. The 80/20 rule. With Rogue One butting right up against A New Hope, there was a need to make sure the two halves of the original saga blended together seamlessly. “We knew that 80% of the film would need to rely on the classic designs,” Chiang said, “but that gave us 20% to play with.”

According to Chiang, they wanted to start big and the challenge was to make that 80% of their designs feel as though George Lucas had created them and built them and simply didn’t use them. The other 20% would come from blending the prequel designs with a more handcrafted look.

To design the U-wing (which went through 781 different drawings!), Chiang took Gareth Edwards up to the Lucasfilm archives to show him some of the designs they’d come up with for previous films. Edwards gravitated toward the looks based on an F1 Hydroplane, which shared design elements with Count Dooku’s solar sailer and Zam Wesell’s ship, helping bridge the looks between the dark times.”

Read the whole article at StarWars.com.


Doug Chiang: “We’re grounding everything in the universe and worlds that George Lucas built”


“George Lucas may not have dreamt up the story for Rogue One, but the characters inhabiting the standalone Star Wars tale are ones that live in his ongoing universe.

“The playground is still George’s,” says Doug Chiang, who serves as vice president and executive creative director at Lucasfilm, the Disney-owned company that creates Star Wars movies.

Lucas, who sold his Star Wars empire to Disney in 2012 for more than $4 billion, doesn’t contribute directly to the new movies, but Chiang says his influence lives on.

“We’re grounding everything in the universe and worlds that George built,” he says in an interview to promote the release of Rogue One on Blu-ray. “But, we’re pushing the boundaries of how far we can go. In the previous years, when I worked with George, he was the guide. He could tell us. Now, we’re trying to figure that out ourselves. I love working on the edge like that.”

After working on the effects for Forrest Gump and Terminator 2, just to name a few, Chiang joined Lucasfilm in 1995 and helped lead the art department on some of the prequel films, beginning with 1999’s Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Now, he’s the driving force behind the visual design in the upcoming Skywalker Saga films (a.k.a. Episode VIII and IX) as well as the standalone anthology films, which include Rogue One and next year’s young Han Solo entry.

“Our path now, in the absence of George’s input, is knowing that he built this very elaborate universe over decades. So the questions we ask ourselves are: How do we protect that and how do we push the boundaries of (the new films) so that it fits in the Star Wars universe and adds something new? […]”

Read more at Toronto Sun.