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Poll: Who Do You Most Want to See in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

4 hours 37 min ago

We’re counting down the days until Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives in theaters, a day that will see the end of the Skywalker saga, and we’re excited to see what the new film has in store for Rey, Kylo Ren, and the other characters we’ve come to know through the saga. The film has teased the return of Lando Calrissian, new looks for fan-favorites like Poe Dameron and Finn, and all-new faces from fierce fighter Jannah to the diminutive droidsmith Babu Frik. While we wait to see how the story unfolds, we’d love to know: among such a formidable crew of amazing characters, who are you most excited to see on screen? Cast your vote in the StarWars.com poll below!

Tickets for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are available now.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives December 20, 2019.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheRiseofSkywalker

Funko Gives Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker the Pop! Treatment

6 hours 38 min ago

Funko Pop! bobbleheads have come a long way from the stoic sculpts and static hero poses of the brand’s earliest creations, and the collectible figures from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker continue to push the boundaries of innovation with delicate craftsmanship, hand-painted details, and even lights and sounds that help capture an individual character’s personality.

But months before these figures hit store shelves, Funko’s creative director Reis O’Brien and his team are sculpting the details for the next generation of adorable desktop décor, using reference photos provided by Lucasfilm and word association to try to capture the personalities of characters they have yet to see onscreen.

“Even if you don’t know the characters, you know the mythos,” O’Brien says, with some help from the Lucasfilm team to guide designers on their journey. Recently, StarWars.com sat down with O’Brien to talk about the latest incarnation of Funko Pops! from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, including the deeply creepy Knights of Ren, the delicate details on characters from The Mandalorian, and how the brand keeps pushing the envelope.

The joy of Jannah

Even though some characters from The Rise of Skywalker have already appeared in Pop! form — Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Rose Tico, and Lando among them — there’s no recycling old sculpts when it comes to prepping familiar characters for the new line of figures.

Rose, for example, has grown as lot from her screen debut in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so beyond her new outfit and hairstyle, the Pop! version has to exude a whole new attitude, O’Brien says. Rey, Finn, and Poe also look more determined and ready to lead in their new Funko counterparts. And Lando, ever the debonair caped hero, has been appropriately aged to match the timeline, with bands of gray highlighting his hair.

For new characters, like Jannah and Zorii Bliss, designers relied on detailed reference photos to capture everything from individual ringlets in Jannah’s gorgeous curly coif to the stitching on her cape and the specific “warm raspberry jam” hue of Zorii’s costume, who stands with blasters drawn “ready to rumble,” O’Brien says.

Lead sculptor Amanda Brock did a phenomenal job bringing Jannah to life. “The amount of care that she put into that Pop! was astounding and it shows,” O’Brien says. “The detail, the texture in her cape, is unbelievable. Her hair is killer!” he adds, a facet that alone took about two days of work to define and sculpt.

BB-8 got a whole new sculpt, and his brand-new pal D-O is making his Pop! debut. Since Funko Pops! are stylized, designers don’t worry too much about sizing to screen accuracy. “D-O in real life, he’s tiny. He’s like a Pomeranian,” O’Brien says. If they had made the figure sized down, it likely would have been the smallest Funko Pop! to date.

But there was a gang of marauders that gave the team some trouble in the design phase: the Knights of Ren. The style of the wide-eyed Funko Pop! form makes almost everything the line touches instantly adorable. Not so with these six. “The Knights of Ren are probably the scariest Pops! we’ve ever made,” O’Brien says. “They’re legit frightening….Sometimes just Pop-ifying something, it comes out cute. You can’t help it.”

Part of what makes the characters so terrifying is that their eyes are hidden behind their masks. “They’re just they’re very, very frightening characters. You don’t see their eyes. In fact, you don’t even know what’s inside those helmets.”

Like Kylo Ren, “it’s a deep, black nothingness that you’re looking into,” O’Brien says.

Lights and sound

Speaking of the Supreme Leader, the brand also recently debuted their new Lights and Sound line with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren.

Adding to the expressiveness of the figures, designers incorporated a sensor button in the neck so bobbling the heads on these figures sets off character-specific effects. For Darth Vader, the Pop! seems to breathe and ignite or disengage his red lightsaber.

For Kylo Ren, an LED illuminates his unstable lightsaber with a nefarious red glow. “That’s actually kind of innovative,” O’Brien says of the new line. “It took trial and error, but we did get it to work.”

And the vivid lights and sounds help the creators to express the personalities of key characters in a new way, O’Brien says, who handpicked the unique sounds of Kylo’s crackling lightsaber to add to the mix.

The Mandalorian and beyond

The brand also recently released a small collection of characters from The Mandalorian, and announced plans to bring the Child to the Funko Pop! line next year. “It’s grittier, grim. It’s desperate. It’s a hardscrabble life compared to some of the other movies,” O’Brien says of capturing the world of the post-Imperial series.

Hand-painted sponging, tapped on with a dry brush, helped capture a hint of something rust-like on the Mandalorian’s helmet, while IG-11’s distinct paintjob was realized with a rub-in technique.

It’s these personal touches and attention to detail, along with the drive to keep innovating, that makes the brand such a fan favorite. “There’s been an evolution in the Funko Pop! beyond the detail, the amount of personality in the poses. And that’s got to happen at the paint level, too,” O’Brien says. “Because we have long-time Star Wars collectors and I want them to go, ‘Oh man, I can’t believe Funko did this.’ I want them to be shocked. I want the people who underestimate a $9.99 collectible to not believe what they’re seeing, at least for a second.”

And they’re not done yet. “We’re just scratching the surface,” O’Brien teases. “There’s a lot of possibilities ahead of us.”

Tickets for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are available now.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives December 20, 2019.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheRiseofSkywalker

The Child from The Mandalorian is Now a Disney+ Avatar

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:00

Logging onto your Disney+ account just got a whole lot cuter. Today, Disney’s premiere streaming service launched a new avatar that pays homage to the beloved new Star Wars live-action series, The Mandalorian.

Specifically, the Child — a mysterious alien pursued by bounty hunters on behalf of Imperial interests — will be added as an avatar selection. Stake your claim to this bounty before someone else in your family gets there first!

Check back on StarWars.com for even more details on this delightful new character, including products featuring the pint-sized star.

Watch The Mandalorian, streaming now on Disney+.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian

Telling the Odds: Anthony Daniels and his Memoir I Am C-3PO

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:00

In 1975, Anthony Daniels was among the first people signed on to help George Lucas bring his vision, a serial-inspired space opera simply called The Star Wars, to life. “Threepio was the one for me,” he says of discovering the character that would define his career on the pages of the script and in Ralph McQuarrie’s concept art.

In the months that followed, Daniels was on the ground floor as sculptors and prop makers fabricated the stunning metal exoskeleton of C-3PO, human-cyborg relations, formed to precisely fit his slender frame, a 60-pound costume of metal and rubber that was secured with four screws that kept the actor entirely encased and dependent on the crew.

In those early days on set, sweltering in the Tunisian sun filming the sands of Tatooine for what would become Star Wars: A New Hope, Daniels admits he thought to himself, “What on Earth have I got into?” Between the restrictive costume, which sometimes pinched or shifted to crush his foot and was so time consuming to put on that he had to remain fully dressed and propped up beneath an umbrella between takes; the elements; and a counterpart who was completely silent on set, forcing the theatrically-trained mime to fill in the beeps and boops of R2-D2 and react accordingly, it was a challenging time. “Those first days on the set back in 1976 were difficult. Not only the suit, because nobody had ever really made a suit like that, but one of the issues of wearing it was to be so isolated from people,” Daniels says. The desert could be blistering hot or frigid, but Daniels’ costume was always the same. “You see the crew dressed up in parka jackets and I’m there in a pair of tights and some plastic knickers,” he says. “It’s not a good look. Not a warm look at all. But I am professional enough to [say] I don’t think I’ve ever walked away from a job.”

Not only did Daniels stick it out, he returned to the role for the sequel, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and again and again over the next four decades. On a recent book tour, Daniels stopped by Lucasfilm headquarters to regale his colleagues, old and new, with stories of his 43 years playing C-3PO and accept a golden statuette in his character’s likeness to thank him for his years of service. “Once I’d done the second one, it became a given that I would do the others,” he says. “I had connected with Threepio by then, I almost needed to look after him. But I did recognize that I was going into something I knew would not be that comfortable.” In his new book, I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story — which he jokes should have been titled “Telling the Odds,” a line he delivers with perfect posture and in the unmistakable voice of his on-screen counterpart — Daniels writes with wit and heart to recall the trials and tribulations of giving life to the prissy protocol droid.

StarWars.com recently sat down with the man behind the golden mask to talk about years spent peering out from Threepio’s eyes, the magic of the Star Wars in Concert series, and saying goodbye to his friend as the end of the Skywalker saga nears.

‘People are very moved’

According to Daniels, we have Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams to thank for the book’s existence. One day on set for the latest film, “He looked at me and said, ‘You should write a book. Are you?’ He’s got that kind of brain,” Daniels says. “So two days later I said, ‘Yes, I’m writing a book. Would you write the forward?’” Abrams humbly replied: “I’d be honored.”

It’s the perfect time for Daniels to look back over his long career as the iconic character. The final trailer for the forthcoming film already gave fans an emotional moment with Threepio taking one last look at his friends. “People are very moved, very questioning,” Daniels says of the reaction to the clip. “What it means, I leave to the audience to discover,” he says. “I don’t want to spoil anything.”

This isn’t the first time Daniels has said goodbye to the character he helped create — a team effort he describes in detail in his book that took Lucas’s idea, McQuarrie’s visionary concept art, the artistry of sculptor Liz Moore, and countless others to make the metal man a reality. When the original trilogy came to a close, it seemed like the end. Then the prequels were announced and Daniels returned to reprise the role. Still, his last days on set for The Rise of Skywalker were emotional ones. “I don’t believe that I’m saying goodbye to Threepio in the workplace,” Daniels says, having also provided the voice of the character in animation and for the Star Tours experience in the Walt Disney theme parks. “And I feel so good about Episode IX that it’s OK to say goodbye. It feels the right time…. Not to say that the last day on the set wasn’t a bit difficult, quite moving. But I think a lot of that was to do with the complete affection that J.J. and the crew provided. It was a very warm atmosphere on this film. One of love, affection, and respect because all of the crew have grown up with Star Wars. They just really respect what everybody has put into this, which is why it works.”

At the end, perspective

Daniels’ book takes us back to where it all began, a love letter not only to the character that defined his career but also the evolution of moviemaking magic as witnessed through his glowing eyes. From the earliest practical effects that helped define Threepio’s geisha-like walk, a necessity to keep Daniels from falling down in the constricting costume, to finally getting a pair of gloves that can actually truly grip things in the latest film, and the experience of acting with a green screen during the prequels, it’s fascinating to see the history of Star Wars unfold from Daniels’ unique perspective.

Some of the tales have been previously aired at conventions or in his Wonder Column, once a staple in the Star Wars Insider magazine. “But then of course I talk about things that nobody’s heard me say before. Feelings that I’ve maybe not let out before,” he says. “Because as we come to the end of the whole Skywalker family saga, I have perspective on things.”

In the earliest days promoting the franchise, Daniels admits to feeling a bit neglected. His character played an important role in the driving plot of the first film, but during press tours he was not regarded as one of the key players from the film, he says, the preference being to maintain the idea that the droid was in fact a droid and not an actor in a suit. “I was not allowed to be a part of it and it took me many, many years to begin to feel a part,” he says. “Now I end feeling a part. So there is a journey there, which I hadn’t recognized as I was writing.”

On-screen, C-3PO has always acted as something of an unfiltered conduit for the audience’s own emotions. Between his dramatic and vocal exclamations and his physicality, Daniels has found the humanity in a character that is no man, all machine. “He’s a slightly prim, over-educated, over-didactic, preachy character who has got this tremendous vulnerability, which is kind of why we like him, who has no sense of humor because that makes him ridiculous,” Daniels surmises. “We’re taught to dissemble, taught to not give our true feelings, and we allow him to. It’s just fascinating to see that release of tension. He has no restraint, no filter at all, whereas we are taught to filter what we say. And also I think we quite enjoy the fact that at various times, he’s persecuted or humiliated or ignored or whatever. And we all feel that as humans from time to time… So, he’s a great person to relate to.”

Daniels mastery of mime allows him to convey a range of emotions through relatively simple gestures, although he credits John Williams’ score and the acting of his fellow cast members with helping the audience intuit Threepio’s emotional responses despite a blank and unchanging mask. “For instance, if Obi-Wan Kenobi has just died, it’s a bit of a sad moment. John Williams is telling you that. The other actors are telling you this is a sad moment. So by doing very little on my part, you can read that reflected sadness.” In that scene, Daniels says it came down to the way he cocked his head. “It’s a really animal signal about what is happening from the core and the center here,” he says pointing to his abdomen, “where a lot of emotion comes from.”

It’s difficult for Daniels to truly grasp the impact Star Wars has had from his vantage point at the center of it all from the very start. But while hosting Star Wars In Concert, he says he made the connection vividly as he experienced the live score, the emotional moments on screen, and the complete adoration and awe from the captivated audience. “It does create a kind of energy field that you can sort of feel,” like the Force itself, Daniels says.

And he relishes meeting fans and recalling anecdotes from his career, occasionally breaking into C-3PO’s prim inflection. “I find it really quite rewarding and touching when I am telling an anecdote in public and I do necessarily drop into the voice that people really respond to it,” he says. “People do really get emotional remembering those early days of seeing it with their family. It’s a whole family thing, Star Wars.”

And what would C-3PO himself think of the pop culture phenomenon that Star Wars has become? “I think he would be interested. Films are about living vicariously. The audience watches the protagonist going through the motions of their lives and in a good film they can relate, hang on the coattails, and go with them. And George was very adept at making that happen from the beginning. For me it’s too big…it’s such a massive, huge, big undertaking that I’ve been in the middle of that it’s hard for me to see it from the outside. It’s just something I do. It’s sort of natural to my way of life. Not taken for granted in an offhanded way, it’s what I do.”

 

I Am C-3PO: The Inside Story is available now. And on December 20, join C-3PO as he takes one last look at his friends and we experience the final act in the Skywalker saga with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheRiseofSkywalker

How Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Connects to the Larger World of Star Wars

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 08:00

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is such a treat. An expansive, story-driven experience with lush planets to explore, it’s the sort of game you’ll want to revisit again and again, mastering your saber technique and uncovering the secrets of those lost to the dark side. Whether you’re in it for the post-Order 66 lore or the thematic parallels to Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, this is a rich, authentic new story that’s sure to deepen your understanding of the Force, the Empire, and the rest of the galaxy far, far away. Here are some of the ways Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order connects to the larger world of Star Wars.

Spoiler warning: This article discusses key plot points from the game.

The Inquisitorius

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s main villains, the Second Sister and Ninth Sister, belong to the Inquisitorious — a secret group of Jedi hunters who helped Darth Vader track down the Emperor’s foes in the early days of the Empire. A number of these lightsaber-brandishing warriors are introduced in Marvel Comics’ Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli, beginning with issue six. More Inquisitors — the Fifth Brother, Sixth Brother, Seventh Sister, Eighth Brother, and Grand Inquisitor — can also be seen in action on-screen in the first two seasons of Star Wars Rebels (now on Disney+).

Order 66 and the Fall of the Jedi

Cal Kestis’s story is that of a former Jedi Padawan in hiding, forever fearing the dark forces of the Empire. No one can find out who or what Cal truly is without endangering everyone around him and forcing him to flee his home. Once you’ve seen Order 66 play out in the tragic Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, check out Kanan: The Last Padawan on Marvel Unlimited for another tale about a lone Jedi on the run. Kanan Jarrus’s story continues in John Jackson Miller’s novel A New Dawn, which even features a the same warning message from Obi-Wan Kenobi recorded during the events of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, and seen in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars Rebels.

The Nightsisters

Dathomir, homeworld of Maul, Mother Talzin, and Savage Opress, plays a key role in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s story, introducing a pair of mysterious new characters — including Merrin, who’s quickly emerging as something of a fan favorite. There’s no shortage of great Nightsister content out there, but the perfect place to start is with three episodes of The Clone Wars: “Nightsisters,” “Monster,” and “Witches of the Mist.” And don’t miss the comic miniseries Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, or Christie Golden’s novel Dark Disciple, adapted from unproduced The Clone Wars scripts by Katie Lucas.

A Ritual on Ilum

At a crucial point in the game, Cal travels to the frozen planet of Ilum, the holy site of a centuries-old Jedi ritual called the Gathering. The world was home to an old Jedi temple as well as a vast system of caves, where younglings would seek out the one unique kyber crystal that called to them. After the fall of the Republic, the Empire stripped Ilum of its precious kyber, which it used to power the Death Star’s planet-killing weapon. The planet appears in a pair of The Clone Wars episodes — “The Gathering” and “A Test of Strength” — and in E. K. Johnston’s novel Ahsoka.

Temples of the Ancients

For over a thousand generations, the Jedi were a symbol for peace across the galaxy. But like the ancient beings of the planet Zeffo, or the Sith, their numbers eventually dwindled to the point that most thought them extinct, and they became figures of legend. If you loved Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order’s exploration of long-vanished Force users, there’s a lot more fun to be had on Disney+, current animation, and in various comic books from Marvel.

Check out Darth Bane, an ancient Sith specter voiced by Mark Hamill, in The Clone Wars — The Lost Missions episode “Sacrifice”; the Sith artifact featured in the Star Wars Resistance episode “The Relic Raider”; and Marvel’s Age of Republic: Darth Maul one-shot. And be sure to read the all-new prequel comic where we first meet Cere Junda and Eno Cordova — Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order — Dark Temple.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Forbes, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

The Clone Wars Rewatch: Here Comes “The General”

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 06:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

74: “The General” (Season Four, Episode 8)

“The path of ignorance is guided by fear.”

Synopsis:

General Krell orders Captain Rex and the clone troopers of the 501st Legion to conquer a heavily fortified Umbaran airbase, and will not accept anything less than victory. It is an almost certain suicide mission, unless the clones can use their ingenuity to defeat their new enemy.

Analysis:

While Krell watches smugly at a safe distance, overseeing the suicide mission from afar, the clones are being slaughtered.

On the frontlines we join them, an up-close look at the jarring, concussive nature of this particularly grueling battle, expertly directed so one cannot look away.

Outmatched by the Umbarans’ war machines, crushing mechanical beasts, the only way to beat them is to join them, sort of.

Outwit, outsmart, outlast is more like it. By stealing some of the enviable tech, the clones even the field and secure a victory, with some paying for it with their lives.

But to Krell, at best they’ve been lucky. And at worst? They’ve paid a fair amount of blood to take the airbase. Fair, of course, only to a general who leads from behind, preferring to fall back and wait for relative safety rather than getting out in front, shoulder to shoulder, ready to take on as much risk as he asks of the men fighting under him.

Intel:

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when unrest among the clones leads to a mutiny in “Plan of Dissent.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #CloneWarsRewatch

Watch the Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Red Carpet Live at StarWars.com

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 14:57

Long have we waited. As we celebrate this monumental moment in Star Wars film history, the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, StarWars.com will send off the Skywalker saga in style with a red carpet livestream, with moments powered on Verizon 5G.

Visit StarWars.com on December 16 at 5:30 p.m. PT for exclusive red carpet coverage and interviews as The Star Wars Show broadcasts live from the world premiere of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in Los Angeles. Join co-hosts Andi Gutierrez and Anthony Carboni for this very special event honoring the legacy of the Skywalker saga, with exciting new interviews from the talented cast and creators honored to bring this epic journey to a close.

Once again, fans watching from home can join in the fun, sharing thoughts and opinions on social with #SWSRedCarpet and #TheRiseofSkywalker, including text and video submissions that may appear on the livestream Fan Cam. There will also be interactive polls and other surprises.

The saga will end. The story lives forever.

Tickets for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are available now.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker arrives December 20, 2019.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheRiseofSkywalker

Porgs and Wookiees Galore in IDW’s Star Wars Adventures #29 – Exclusive

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 12:00

In Star Wars Adventures #29, one of Star Wars‘ greatest tag teams is back.

Chewbacca and his porg pals feature prominently in the next issue of IDW Publishing’s ongoing series, the finale of a three-part story by writer John Barber and artist Derek Charm, in which the First Order clashes with Wookiees on Kashyyyk. Plus, in a new tale by writer Michael Moreci and artist Tony Fleecs, R2-D2, C-3PO, and BB-8 team up on a top-secret spy adventure for the Resistance. Star Wars Adventures #29 arrives next Wednesday, December 18, and you can get a first look below!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #JourneyToTheRiseOfSkywalker

How Love Your Melon and Star Wars are Leading a Rebellion Built on Hope

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 10:00
In 2012, two classmates in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, formulated an idea that would change the course of their lives. Hoping to merge a business plan with meaningful social action, co-founders Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller created Love Your Melon, mixing cozy hats with a mission to help children battling cancer. It was a simple idea that has continued to grow, now providing millions of dollars to support pediatric oncology research. And they still make some pretty adorable and fully functional beanie caps. To celebrate the launch of an all-new collaboration with Love Your Melon and Star Wars, StarWars.com sat down with Quinn to talk about the Skywalker saga’s inspiring message of hope and how their simple dream to keep kids warm has driven a mission to do good in our galaxy. StarWars.com: What does it mean to you to be working with Star Wars in collaboration on the new line?  Zachary Quinn: One of my favorite toys as a kid was a blue Jedi lightsaber. Star Wars to me represents the fight between good and evil and that good will always conquer in the end. As Lucasfilm continues to release new Star Wars films, I’m excited to see the kids of today grow up with Star Wars as my generation and the generation before us did. StarWars.com: The hats are gorgeous but they’re also understated. When you and your friend Brian Keller first envisioned the company, what drew you to this classic beanie cap design that could incorporate a little bit of fun discreetly on the tag where your logo can also be added? Zachary Quinn: Our initial idea was simple: to make fashion-focused beanies good for cold weather. We also wanted to make a difference in the lives of others and landed on helping children battling cancer as we found the correlation with our beanies was perfect. The patch has become a representation of our brand and our community of people supporting those in need. The simple zig-zag stitch on the rectangular patch makes it an iconic and authentic Love Your Melon product.
StarWars.com: Let’s talk more about your mission. You and Brian were classmates when you hatched the idea of a socially-conscious brand that would provide hats to children battling cancer. What inspired this idea? Zachary Quinn: Growing up, I spent a lot of time volunteering with family and friends. One of my favorite things to do in high school and college was to round up a group of friends, go to our family restaurant and make sandwiches to fill up the back of our car. We would drive around giving them to homeless people around the city and at the shelters. My family inspired this philanthropy, so we gave our time, effort, and money to supporting our community, people, and the planet. This was instilled in me from an early age and Brian had the same determination to work on goals beyond our own self interest. Children need warm hats when they lose their hair due to cancer treatments and when we found out that only four percent of government funding for cancer research goes towards pediatric cancer, we realized we needed to help. Love Your Melon began as a “buy one, give one” model, giving a beanie to a child battling cancer with each one purchased, and it took off from there.
StarWars.com: Once you achieved your goal — 45,000 hats later — you turned your attention to charitable giving. Now 50 percent of the net profit of each hat goes to the Love Your Melon Fund. Why was it important to you to expand in this way?  Zachary Quinn: Pediatric cancer is not something that is going to go away without a fight and there is a ton of money that needs to go to research and helping these kids. Now that we’ve given a hat to every child battling cancer, we are on a mission to give as much money as we can to fight it. All of the nonprofit organizations we support work and lead in the field of pediatric oncology whether it is funding groundbreaking research initiatives, providing immediate support or creating therapeutic experiences for children and families battling cancer.

StarWars.com: Have you seen the benefits of your program in action?

Zachary Quinn: We support a variety of pediatric oncology research leaders such as DKMS, Beat Nb, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Other organizations we support, such as Make-A-Wish, and the Confetti Foundation lead the way in supporting families through their journey and help provide therapeutic experiences for children during their battle.To date, we’ve given over 185,000 beanies and $6.2 million to the fight against pediatric cancer, and this number continues to grow. StarWars.com: The Star Wars story is all about hope and perseverance even in the face of dismal odds. How do you feel that idea works in concert with the mission your brand has already set out to accomplish? Zachary Quinn: Love Your Melon is an extension of the work Brian and I wanted to do with our lives. We wanted to create beautiful and cozy products and simultaneously have an impact on those in need. The Star Wars story brings so much joy to kids lives, creates dreams for the future and represents good conquering evil. This story is similar to the one we hope to create with Love Your Melon, where the hope is that someday, we will beat pediatric cancer and that we will bring smiles to the faces of kids in need everywhere.
Shop the new Star Wars x Love Your Melon collection beginning December 20. Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them. Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Revenge Rules in Marvel’s Bounty Hunters, Set for March 2020 – Exclusive

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 09:00

Some of the most notorious gunfighters in Star Wars will soon take center stage.

StarWars.com is excited to announce Marvel’s Star Wars: Bounty Hunters, an ongoing series of scum and villainy coming March 2020 from writer Ethan Sacks and artist Paolo Villanelli. For writer Sacks, it’s a story that’s a long time coming.

“While the battle between the Rebellion and the Empire raged in the stars, the darker corners of the Star Wars universe belonged to the bounty hunters,” Sacks tells StarWars.com. “And that’s always been a facet of the saga that’s fascinated me ever since I first witnessed that glorious murderers’ row take a bounty from Darth Vader aboard the Executor in a theater as a seven-year-old in 1980. I’m channeling that wonder from The Empire Strikes Back and beyond in Bounty Hunters, which will be a high-octane action romp through the Star Wars underworld of Hutts and Fetts.”

Bounty Hunters #1, cover by Lee Bermejo.

Bounty Hunters #2, cover by Lee Bermejo.

The series follows cyborg bounty hunter Beilert Valance as he seeks revenge on mentor-turned-betrayer Nakano Lash, who has recently resurfaced under mysterious circumstances. But Valance isn’t the only mercenary looking for Lash, and he soon finds himself on a collision course with Boba Fett, Bossk, and a slew of new killers.

“We’ll get to see this world through the cybernetic eye of Valance, a bounty hunter with a rich history of his own at Marvel, and one of the few that can go toe to toe with the likes of Bossk,” Sacks says. “And rest assured that he’s going to have to be doing a lot of fighting as his jobs take him to some pretty dark places in both the Outer Rim and in his inner heart.”

Like the now famous saying goes, bounty hunting is a complicated profession.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #1 arrives March 2020.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Ben Solo’s Hate Grows in The Rise of Kylo Ren #1 – Exclusive

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 08:00

“He was training a new generation of Jedi. One boy, an apprentice, turned against him and destroyed it all.”

Han Solo’s words in Star Wars: The Force Awakens tell of the tragic fall of not just a “boy,” but his son, and how his actions led to Luke Skywalker’s self-imposed exile. Finally, we’ll see exactly what happened.

Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren #1, by writer Charles Soule and artist Will Sliney, arrives Wednesday, December 18, and will tell the full story of how Ben Solo became an agent of evil. StarWars.com is thrilled to offer an exclusive first look, which shows just what occurred following the troubled student’s clash with Luke, as seen in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Also arriving on December 18, Star Wars: Empire Ascendant #1 will bridge Marvel’s current Star Wars storytelling with the upcoming relaunch of its flagship Star Wars series, which will be set during the time of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. StarWars.com’s exclusive preview features pages from several short stories within the special issue, and features Han Solo, newly-minted death troopers, and a few surprises…

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #JourneyToTheRiseOfSkywalker

 

The Mandalorian and Kylo Ren Become ‘Legends in 3D’ Thanks to Gentle Giant Ltd.

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 12:50

Two masked icons of a galaxy far, far away will soon be immortalized via stunning collectibles.

The Mandalorian, the gunfighter with a heart of gold from the Disney+ series of the same name, and Kylo Ren, as depicted in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, are set to join the newly revitalized “Legends in 3D” line of half-scale busts from Gentle Giant Ltd. and Diamond Select Toys. Both measure approximately 10 inches tall and feature intricate detailing, from the battle damage on the Mandalorian’s armor to the fiery red cracks in Ren’s helmet.

Star Wars has a history with half-scale busts, and we wanted to capture the sense of grandeur you get in a larger scale,” Chuck Terceira, president of Gentle Giant Ltd. and Diamond Select Toys tells StarWars.com. “You can achieve so much more detail, both in sculpting and in paint, and it brings you that much closer to the feeling of being in the movie — it’s not life-size, but it’s certainly life-like. Our designer Joe Allard brings that life to each of his designs for the line, and we’re working with the best sculptors in the business.”

The Mandalorian and Kylo Ren busts are limited edition releases, with only 1,000 pieces of each produced, and are available for pre-order now. Kylo Ren arrives spring 2020, and the Mandalorian will follow in summer 2020.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #TheMandalorian

From a Certain Point of View: What’s the Best Moment in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order?

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 10:00

One of the great things about Star Wars is that it inspires endless debates and opinions on a wide array of topics. Best bounty hunter? Most powerful Jedi? Does Salacious Crumb have the best haircut in the saga? In that spirit, StarWars.com presents From a Certain Point of View: a series of point-counterpoints on some of the biggest — and most fun — Star Wars issues. To celebrate the arrival of the incredible new video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, two StarWars.com writers debate the best moment in the game!

Spoiler warning: This article discusses key plot points from Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.

Taking flight over the treetops of Kashyyyk is the best part, says Kelly.

One of my favorite moments in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order feels quintessentially Star Wars: racing through the treetops of Kashyyyk, dodging blaster bolts and whatever else the forest can throw at Cal Kestis, and ultimately taking flight.

Did I yell out loud, “Now this is podracing!” while playing? Yes. Yes, I did.

As Cal gets closer to completing his quest on the Wookiee home planet, the Ninth Sister finds him while she’s scouting the planet in her ship. She taunts him from above and then takes to the turrets to keep Cal from reaching his goal — permanently. But the nimble Jedi slides through the massive trees, jumps over obstacles, evades explosive shots fired from the ship, and finally makes it under the canopy for some welcome protection from the Inquisitor.

But it’s not over yet. Cal has to jump over man-eating plants, scale vine-covered cliffs, and dart out of reach from creeping vines without pausing to catch his breath. (Those slithering, glowing red vines give me the heebie-jeebies.)

All of this gravity-defying action is set to a soundtrack that brings to mind the escape from the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope and the asteroid field of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Add to that TIE fighters shrieking by overhead, and this is Star Wars at its finest. I dare you to play this part of the game and not grin!

Suddenly a massive shyyyo bird, native to Kashyyyk, soars over Cal’s head and takes out the Ninth Sister’s ship. The Jedi finally has a moment to breathe, but the bird’s help has come at a price, and it’s injured in the attack. After Cal treats the creature’s wound, it offers to take him on a journey very few have taken. Together they soar above the lush forests and green mountaintops of the planet.

“There’s so much the Empire hasn’t touched!” Cal says in awe as they glide among the clouds. There’s still so much to fight for.

It’s not just musical cues and flashing blaster bolts that make the game feel like the galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order captures so many of the themes that are at the heart of Star Wars, from keeping hope alive and continuing to fight in the face of dismal odds, to moving on from the past and not letting failure stop you. Take the journey with Cal and your spirit will soar as high as the shyyyo of Kashyyyk.

Cal teaming up with Nightsister Merrin is easily the best part, says Alex.

Archaeology and fallen civilizations are common tropes in video games because they give the player a mystery to solve, a reason to explore, and a feeling of believability. And in Fallen Order, while planets like Zeffo and Kashyyyk exude a sense of history, Dathomir sets the scene for the game’s greatest moment. In the aftermath of the Clone Wars — with Mother Talzin gone, along with most of the Jedi — Dathomir was left without leadership to unite its people. Taron Malicos was a Jedi Knight who survived Order 66, but after years of seclusion on Dathomir, he succumbed to the lure of the dark side.

Now, Malicos commands the Nightbrothers who remain among the Zeffonian ruins on Dathomir. He speaks ill of the Jedi, calling them “thieves and selfish liars who bring nothing but death.” For Nightsister Merrin, an angry, embittered witch you encounter late in the game, Cal Kestis is at first a nuisance — someone to blame and punish as revenge for her lost “sisters.” Merrin uses her mysterious Force abilities to raise armies of the dead, cloak herself and become invisible, and draw on the power of her fallen kin. “When you face one Nightsister of Dathomir,” she says, “you face us all.” But soon Merrin realizes Malicos has been lying to her about the Jedi having killed her sisters, and she’s inspired to win back her world — perhaps with the Padawan as her ally.

After Cal rebuilds his lightsaber and returns to Dathomir, Merrin confronts him to find out the truth about the Jedi Order once and for all. Cal explains that they were peacekeepers, and points out that he and Merrin each know what it’s like to lose everyone they’ve ever cared about to a single monstrous act of war. They’re both victims of the Sith. Merrin, at last trusting Cal, leads him into the ancient temple where Malicos awaits them. Blinded by the power of the dark side, Malicos can’t see the value in bringing back the Order, and Cal is forced to defend himself against the fallen Jedi’s scarlet blades.

As the two lock sabers, Nightsister Merrin intervenes to aid Cal until, finally, she uses her immense power to bury the wicked fallen knight alive, sealing him away. “Let him lie in the dark with his secrets,” she says. In a surprise twist, brought together by shared desperation and loneliness, the two survivors decide to team up indefinitely, and Merrin becomes an invaluable addition to the Stinger Mantis’s ragtag crew.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Alex Kane is a journalist based in west-central Illinois. He has written for Fangoria, Polygon, the website of Rolling Stone, Variety, and other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @alexjkane.

Kelly Knox is a Seattle-based freelance writer who loves creating Star Wars crafts with her daughter. You can find her on Twitter at @kelly_knox.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

The Creators of Marvel’s Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren on Ben Solo’s Turn

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 12:00

To tell the tale of Ben Solo’s fall to the dark side, the subject of the upcoming Marvel Star Wars comic The Rise of Kylo Ren, writer Charles Soule and artist Will Sliney started from a framework developed by Lucasfilm after a lengthy conversation with none other than J.J. Abrams.  The director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker had created the Knights of Ren for the first film in the sequel trilogy, and the pair knew their story had to fit between two fixed points in the Star Wars timeline: the destruction of the Jedi temple that sent Luke Skywalker into exile and the arrival of the fearsome dark warrior who appeared on Jakku at the start of The Force Awakens.

“And then it was about creating a story that felt epic and above all emotional for Ben Solo,” Soule tells StarWars.com. “Because this transition, this turn to the dark side has to be as good and stand at the same level as some of the other big turns to the dark side we see,” including the fall of Anakin Skywalker, who was transformed into the infamous Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Soule previously delved into Darth Vader’s past with another Marvel comic, Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith, an epic story that kicked off as the machine-enabled man was lurching off Emperor Palpatine’s operating table at the end of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

In The Rise of Kylo Ren, Soule has written in emotional beats by folding in quiet moments, omitting dialogue from panels to firmly place the focus on the internal struggle within Ben and allow Sliney’s art to sing. “In this book, we’re leaning towards the mask,” Sliney says. “In one of the very early moments…we kind see the two sides of Ben where you can see him emotionally hurt and then he starts to put up this shield, this outer shield. Within the course of two panels, you want to show in one instance this is a frightened boy and in the second instance he has the potential to be this really, really dark person. It’s something that has to be subtly done.”

“There’s lots of moments where you can see him thinking and waiting before he reacts,” Soule adds. “He’s a very internal person…except when he’s not, right? He’s completely under control and completely compartmentalized until sometimes all those walls break at once and he does things like smashing his helmet or slicing up a computer console with his lightsaber.”

Sliney studied Adam Driver’s portrayal of the character to quantify exactly how the character betrays his emotion in those quieter moments — sometimes with little more than the twitch of his mouth. “I’ve never seen an actor or character that gives away so much with kind of the quiver of a lip, which is something that I’m trying to get across as much as I can in the panels,” Sliney adds, which can be a challenge. “He has this almost childish pout of his bottom lip that gives away emotion, so I’m trying to bring that in there ever so slightly at different times, which is difficult to do when it’s a still image.”

Meet the Knights of Ren

An integral part of Ben Solo’s journey involves the Knights of Ren, a mysterious helmeted posse we’ve only just glimpsed in The Force Awakens, but will meet again in the upcoming film Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

But first: “You’ll learn an awful lot about the Knights of Ren very, very fast in this book,” Sliney teases.

“I think when that first page shows up in previews it’s going to land so hard,” adds Soule.

Soule was inspired by motorcycle gangs, classic Westerns, and Samurai tales as he dramatized some of the lore behind the masked marauders. “They can all use the Force, the dark side of the Force, to varying degrees,” he reveals. “They’re not as powerful as a Jedi or a Sith, but they use it when they fight…. They have some sort of a code, like a motorcycle gang, but it’s not elaborate. They’re flexible.” Like all good galactic thugs and scoundrels, they’re in it for themselves. “Mostly they’re just kind of out to live their lives the way they want to live them and take what the galaxy will give them and eat what the dark side sends,” Soule says.

The story also introduces a trio of Ben’s classmates, survivors of the Jedi temple destruction by virtue of being off-world on a mission at the time of its collapse. In the first issue, surveying the aftermath and Ben Solo standing among the wreckage, one of these students asks, “Should we call his mother?”

The answer is no. Soule says as much as he enjoys writing the character of Leia, he used her sparingly in this story. “I would like her to be in the book more than she is because I think Will draws a beautiful Leia Organa,” he says. “But ultimately this story is about Ben Solo…. I think because of what the journey is, he has to go through it by himself. And we’ve seen how attached he is to his mother in the films. If Leia was too much of a presence in it, I think his journey might not have gone the same way. And I think if you look at the larger architecture of the Star Wars galaxy around this time, I think there are a lot of things happening that are being specifically engineered to keep Leia away from Ben. Read into that what you will. Just as there is a long game being played with Anakin, I think there is a long game being played with Ben Solo as well.”

And of course, the story will include Snoke, Kylo Ren’s dark side master, although not like you’ve ever seen him before. “There’s an awesome moment towards the end of issue one where he first meets Snoke and…Snoke is very different in this book,” Soule says. “And the way he acts toward Ben and the way that Ben is with him is very different than he is in Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, which is on purpose.”

A new myth

Soule and Sliney have both been imagining their own versions of this particular tale ever since they saw The Force Awakens, although neither dared to think they might one day be part of the story’s official telling.

“It was a shock,” Soule says of getting the call from Lucasfilm Publishing. “I can’t believe that I’m the guy who gets to write that. Of course I had been thinking about it on a fan level from the minute I saw The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but the idea that I would be writing it down was never in my mind until this past summer. And then I just dug in as hard as I could to really try to make a really good Star Wars story.” The final tale takes its cues from the saga’s mythological roots while trying to answer the question on everyone’s mind: How did Ben Solo, the son of two heroes of the Rebellion and the nephew of a Jedi Master fall so far to the darkness?

“You want it to feel like the really big mythological moments feel from Star Wars whether it’s the Mustafar battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan or the throne room battle at the end of Jedi,” Soule says. “These are the moments where the fate of the Force, the fate of the galaxy, and the balance of the Force, all these things are on the scales being weighed. And this book, if we do it right, should be building and building and building to a moment where Ben makes a choice and you understand why he does it and you realize he had no choice, even though he thinks he’s making one. That’s what the story’s supposed to be. That’s what happened to Anakin. If we do our job right, it will feel utterly inevitable and also utterly preventable, which is the tragedy of the whole story.”

Preorder the first issue of Marvel’s Star Wars: The Rise of Kylo Ren now! And check back soon for an exciting preview of the series on StarWars.com.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

‘A Bathing Ape’ Infiltrates the First Order in New BAPE X Star Wars Collection

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 10:00

The first time D-O rolled out on stage at Star Wars Celebration Chicago, the artists at A Bathing Ape knew the little droid would be the perfect addition to their new collection inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The creative team at the Japanese clothing brand is filled with Star Wars fans, including Fukui, who says D-O’s personality was easy to see from that first glimpse, long before the film premiere. “I was fascinated by D-O’s unique form,” Fukui says, but even more importantly, “[I] was able to empathize with the character. From his movements, I was able to envision and understand his relationship with BB-8.”

Fukui took a closer look at still images, then used that reference to inform his designs involving the new droid. To celebrate the new BAPE x Star Wars collection, available December 21, StarWars.com recently chatted with Bathing Ape designer and Star Wars superfan Fukui, a proud member of the 501st Legion in Japan, about fusing his fandom with the new illustrations inspired by Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Designers have translated elements of Star Wars and the Skywalker saga into their own unique style, including adding in Milo, the eponymous bathing ape, adorably mugging in Kylo Ren’s helmet and trying on a stormtrooper bucket. But Fukui says it’s the inherent humanity of the Star Wars characters that make them accessible even as stylized illustrations.

From the stormtrooper hitting his head in the opening scene of Star Wars: A New Hope to FN-2187, later renamed Finn, fleeing from a Jakku battle in fear, Star Wars is populated by characters that feel real and fully realized, Fukui says. “The beauty of [George] Lucas’ work is that he never fails to incorporate the human nature in all of his characters,” Fukui says. That extends to the wonderfully absurd denizens of the Mos Eisley cantina, and other creatures and aliens. “They made it very easy to visualize their coexistence with the adorable Baby Milo,” Fukui says.

Fukui and the rest of the team created the new designs inspired by classic characters and some new additions from the upcoming film, The Rise of Skywalker, like D-O. The pint-sized droid, friend to BB-8, is represented in the new designs alongside mainstays like Darth Vader, Chewbacca, and even Jabba the Hutt and his little buddy Salacious B. Crumb.

“There are a lot of Star Wars fans on our team,” Fukui notes, who typically have a deep and abiding love for the saga that began in childhood. With that devotion, the team enjoys creating nods to atypical Star Wars characters and wraparound designs that pay homage to the worlds inhabited by them. For example, on a shirt that had Milo dressed as Han Solo and facing Greedo, the team added a second design so the cantina band could be seen printed on the back. Another design featuring a gang of Jawas had line art for a sandcrawler gracing the back of the shirt it was printed on. But Fukui was most proud to work the floating metropolis of Cloud City onto the back of design that had a playful depiction of Chewbacca escaping with C-3PO strapped to his back, and Milo as R2-D2 by their side.

As for the latest collection, Fukui is particularly fond of a design he created with Peter Mayhew, the gentle giant who first portrayed Chewbacca, in mind. Mayhew passed away earlier this year, and the design — with a stylized Chewbacca standing tall, flanked by BB-8 and D-O — is dedicated in his memory, Fukui says.

Check out some more products from the line below.

Shop the new BAPE x Star Wars collection starting December 21.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Bucket’s List Extra: 4 Fun Facts from “Kaz’s Curse” – Star Wars Resistance

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 07:55

The second season of Star Wars Resistance is here! In Season Two, pilot Kazuda “Kaz” Xiono and his friends aboard the Colossus search for the Resistance base, but the First Order is in close pursuit. Visit StarWars.com following each episode for “Bucket’s List Extra,” an expansion of our weekly fun-facts video series Bucket’s List, often featuring never-before-seen concept art and stills from the show. In this installment, we look at “Kaz’s Curse.”

1. Move over, “nerf herder.”

Leoz insults Kaz by calling him a “scrumrat,” a slang term for street urchins living on Corellia in Solo: A Star Wars Story. Other harsh names heard in this episode are “gorg-face” and “moof-milker,” the latter of which is a personal favorite of Han Solo’s, as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

2. In full Blum.

The script originally featured a Hassk pirate named Vusk placing a curse on Kaz. This was later changed to the Nikto pirate, Leoz, who came to be voiced by Steve Blum, creating a major connection to another Star Wars animated series: Blum also voiced Zeb, one of the main characters on Star Wars Rebels.

3. Counting curses.

Earlier versions of the script called it the Curse of Mavala, as well as the Curse of Aka Du. One version of the story had the curse indeed be real, but Mika found it easier to remove if she let Kaz believe it was fake!

4. Tale of the talisman.

The talisman was said, at one point, to be something Mika discovered on Mimban. Another iteration of the story had it be a toy doll that Eila was missing. Its true origins remain a mystery…

Star Wars Resistance airs Sundays at 6 p.m. ET/PT on Disney XD, Sundays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Disney Channel, and is available on the DisneyNow app.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #BucketsListExtra

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga: The Simple Magic of Hope

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:00

Lessons from the Star Wars Saga is a series exploring powerful themes in Star Wars. For more than 40 years, the epic adventures in a galaxy far, far away have also been significant explorations of the human experience in our own universe.

Last month we explored the enduring importance of faith in the Star Wars saga, but just days away from the epic conclusion of the Skywalker saga with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, there’s another incredibly important concept to discuss: Hope.

On the face of it, faith and hope seem quite similar. But while faith allows us to trust in the unseen Force and have the utmost confidence in the people and causes we believe in, hope is its more ephemeral, still intangible, but unfailingly optimistic cousin.

Often intertwined in the raging galactic war, hope is the spark that ignites the fire, while faith in the cause sustains it.

Anakin Skywalker was utterly hopeless when he turned to the dark side. Powerless to save the person he loved, completely out of control, enraged and clawing at anything that might provide solace, he lost whatever hope he once had and was consumed by the darkness.

But for his daughter, Leia Organa, hope sustained her through the darkest times. Despite the atrocities and hardships she endured — the destruction of her home planet Alderaan before her very eyes and later the loss of her son, Ben Solo, as he morphed into Kylo Ren — if her hope ever waivered, she tried not to let on. As a leader, she was keenly aware that sometimes hope was all that was left.

As Vice Admiral Holdo recalled, Leia would keep morale up among the rebel fighters serving under her with a simple reminder: “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.”

Leia sent Rey on the mission to bring Luke Skywalker back from exile with hope that he alone could help rally the cause and take a stand against the First Order. In fact, the first time Luke laid eyes on Leia, it was a message of hope sent through R2-D2, a plea to Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Hope is something of a blind belief that everything will turn out for the better even when you can’t come up with any real reason to support it. Aboard the Tantive IV, Leia was about to be captured, her entire ship infiltrated by the enemy, but her hope in a successful outcome for the Rebel Alliance did not waiver.

In Supreme Leader Snoke’s quest for total domination, he understood the damage hope could do to his regime. Luke’s continued existence provided a kernel of hope to those wishing for the return of the Jedi peacekeepers, a savior with the power of the Force on his or her side, and the inhabitants of the galaxy whose hope was buoyed by the fantastical myths and legends of his exploits as a Jedi Knight.

And it was the fiery spit of hope in Rey’s eyes, despite all evidence to the contrary, that allowed her to continue to try to fight even as she watched the Resistance transports being picked off one by one by the First Order. Hope had sustained her through years of solitude in the deserts of Jakku. And it still fueled her in Snoke’s throne room where she hoped she might reach Ben Solo, whatever remained of him inside the heart of Kylo Ren, and bring an end to the turmoil.

As Jyn Erso said, “Rebellions are built on hope.” Hope allows us to charge into the darkest of times headfirst, believing in the good we cannot see, hinging only on the feeling that we can emerge victorious despite seemingly insurmountable odds.

Hope is solace for people on the verge of losing their faith — in the mission or the leaders who deem the idea of charging into an Imperial Installation based on nothing but hope too risky. And just when your optimism begins to wane, or you fear you’re down to your last, it’s important to remember that what often seems to be our only or final hope — like Leia seeking out Obi-Wan Kenobi, or Threepio warning that the last transport from Echo Base was the only hope of survival, or even the last of the Jedi putting all of their hopes on Luke — isn’t so singular. Leia, afterall, found a new hope in Luke through her missive deployed to the sand dunes of Tatooine. And later on Hoth, the Millennium Falcon was waiting in the wings to get Leia far away from the frigid base. And now, Luke may be gone, but hope lives on in Rey and so many others.

If you can keep the idea of hope alive, you will make it through the night. And when one hope is lost, as Yoda says, there is another.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

Ahsoka Tano, Yoda, and More Icons Star on runDisney’s 2020 Star Wars Medals – Exclusive

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 08:00

Hello, what have we here?

StarWars.com is thrilled to reveal runDisney’s upcoming Star Wars Rival Run Weekend medals, all featuring beautiful character art, clever design, and a few surprises. Thanks to the “rival” themes of the races, each medal actually includes two characters or vehicles: the 5K medal features Ahsoka Tano on one side and Darth Maul on the other; Princess Leia and a stormtrooper adorn the 10K medal; Darth Vader dominates one side of the half marathon medal, while Yoda brings light with a flip of the image; the Rival Run Challenge medal features a Resistance X-wing, which can spin to instead highlight a First Order TIE fighter. So whether you’re more Jedi or Sith, Rebellion or Empire, or Resistance or First Order, your medal can show your true allegiance.

Check them all out below, including new, gorgeous medals for the Kessel Run Challenge, Virtual Half Marathon, and kids races.

Ahsoka Tano, 5K

Darth Maul, 5K

Stormtrooper & Princess Leia, 10K

Yoda, Half Marathon

Darth Vader, Half Marathon

Resistance X-wing, Rival Run Challenge

First Order TIE fighter, Rival Run Challenge

Kessel Run Challenge

Chewbacca, Virtual Half Marathon

Rebel insignia, Virtual Half Marathon

Kids Races One-Mile Run (left) and Kids Races Dashes (right)

The Star Wars Rival Run Weekend strikes back for its fifth anniversary at Walt Disney World from Thursday, April 16 to Sunday, April 19, 2020. You can sign up for the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend and Virtual Half Marathon now at runDisney.com.

For more on the event, check out StarWars.com’s interview with Ahsoka Tano voice actor and Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein, who will be attending!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #FuelYourForce

The Clone Wars Rewatch: The Shroud of “Darkness on Umbara”

Thu, 12/05/2019 - 06:00

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the all-new episodes coming thanks to #CloneWarsSaved, we’re undertaking a full chronological rewatch of the five original seasons, The Lost Missions, and the theatrical release. We’d be honored if you would join us and share your thoughts on the award-winning series.

73: “Darkness on Umbara” (Season Four, Episode 7)

“The first step toward loyalty is trust.”

Synopsis:

When Anakin is forced to temporarily turn over command of his clone troopers to the Jedi Pong Krell, tensions begin to run high as the clones are assigned to a deadly mission to take the capital of Umbara.

Analysis:

The already somber tone of this episode takes an even darker turn with the arrival of the gruff Jedi Pong Krell whose entire demeanor shifts once he’s in charge. Expertly captured in the visual aesthetic, it’s clear from the start that this will be a very dark arc.

Krell is quite the opposite of Anakin Skywalker, both in his pride in adhering to protocol and an indifference to the clones that borders on insulting (and sometimes, quite frankly, embraces the more threatening aspects of his personality with zeal).

He has no respect for the lives of his men, and shows no humility in the face of suggestions that his plan may not be the best one.

Take, for instance, the contentious interactions between Krell and Rex. Or rather CT-7567, since Krell refuses to refer to Rex by anything other than his official designation. It’s a subtle slight, not as flagrant as his other abusive tactics, but in failing to recognize and respect how Rex identifies himself, Krell is asserting dominance and ensuring that Rex knows that in Krell’s eyes, the clone is not worthy of the Jedi’s respect.

Krell sees the clones as expendable, tools to be implemented and destroyed if need be in his quest to secure the capital. Their individuality is an insult to his own perceived superiority, their opinions simple insubordination. When they require time to rest, he treats the request as weakness. When Rex pulls his forces back to save the platoon, he inspires outrage in his superior.

Rex is a seasoned soldier; he knows when to follow orders despite his own misgivings about a reckless plan of attack and he knows when to follow his own training to save the lives of his men. Not clones. Men. But there are some fighting under Krell who find the new general’s approach so demoralizing it has them questioning more than his tactics on the battlefield.

Intel:

  • You can catch a glimpse of Barriss Offee and Ahsoka Tano in this episode. The two Padawans are seen in the space battle in the opening narration.

What did you think of the episode? Tell us in the comments below and share on social with #CloneWarsRewatch!

Next up: Come back next Thursday when Krell continues his crusade in “The General.”

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Want to talk more about The Clone Wars? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you thought about today’s episode.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog, #CloneWarsRewatch

Bose Celebrates Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with Innovative Star Wars Collaboration

Wed, 12/04/2019 - 10:00

Developed by Lucasfilm, Bose, and Trigger Global, a Star Wars audio AR experience will be coming this month to the official Star Wars app, and will deliver a 360-degree audio augmented reality timeline featuring Rey’s lightsaber. Timed to complement the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the highly anticipated conclusion of the Skywalker saga, this experience is poised to be a dream-come-true for fans and audio enthusiasts alike. To put it in simpler, this-sounds-amazing terms, you’ll feel as if you’re inside Star Wars scenes involving Rey’s (formerly Anakin and Luke Skywalker’s) iconic Jedi weapon. The audio has been remixed from the ground-up for this experience to take advantage of Bose AR technology, and will feature spatialized sound for unique, gesture-driven interaction where the user can freeze a scene, move toward elements, hear new content, and listen from new angles — or, as Obi-Wan might say, “a certain point of view.” Yes, you’ll be able to experience the conflicts from the side of the villains.

“We’re working with authentic sound from the original film recordings, drawing from scenes that date all the way back to the initial 1977 movie release,” says Bose’s developer relations lead, Chuck Freedman. “We have been fortunate to collaborate with artists and engineers at Skywalker Sound, who advised us on sound placement and optimization for ideal spatialization and positioning. In addition to character dialogue and prominent sound effects like lightsaber movement, we also prioritized more subtle sounds, like wind and other environmental sounds, as well as the detailed effects created by the original Foley artists for the films.”

When the feature arrives on the Star Wars app, it will be compatible with Bose Frames, Bose Headphones 700, and Bose QC35 headphones II. The level of immersion that can be achieved sounds most impressive, particularly the ability to move around in a scene. “This was something we came up with early in the development process, and we were inspired by one of the featured scenes, the battle between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on Bespin from The Empire Strikes Back,” says Freedman. “It was amazing listening to the dialogue between the characters. We thought, ‘What if you’re Luke?’ And in the scene, you’re first approached by Vader and then start moving away from him. The angle of the sound plays out as Vader dominates — beginning with him stepping towards you, breathing, and talking to you. It’s thrilling, and also provides a great, new perspective on hearing a scene many know so well.”

Launching in conjunction with the Star Wars AR experience is Bose’s first-ever Star Wars-themed product release: limited-edition Star Wars QC35 headphones II, available exclusively on Bose.com in the US, which are also compatible with the experience. The headphones have been designed with a definite dark-side theme, sporting a sleek black-and-red color scheme as well as the newly revealed Sith insignia, which will be seen in the upcoming Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker film.

“We love the curated details and colors that define both the characters and factions in Star Wars films,” says Freedman. “The striking Sith color palette is both powerful and refined, a perfect match for the QC35 IIs. Paired with subtle Sith symbols, we love the sophisticated appearance that this collaboration brings to life.” Indeed, the headphones look like something a Sith trooper might wear while on break.

“Our design team had a blast exploring a wide variety of designs with the goal of uniquely combining the refinement of Bose technology with the excitement and symbology of Star Wars,” Freedman says.  “We modified our all-black headphone by dipping the left side of the headphone in Sith red. This asymmetric color application brings energy to the refined form and creates a look unlike anything we’ve ever created before.” Even if you’re more Jedi, it’s hard to argue with Sith style like this.

The world will soon witness the combined strength of Bose and Lucasfilm, two companies with a legacy of audio innovation. It’s a wonder it didn’t happen sooner.

“Lucasfilm, with their achievements beginning with Star Wars, is a cornerstone of sound quality in film,”says Freedman. “We have a similar desire to drive sound innovation at Bose through our products. We’re inspired by this amazing collaboration, producing something that complements the saga and its legendary storytelling, while also providing an opportunity to advance the importance and significance of sound innovation.”

To quote Obi-Wan again, “reach out with your senses.” With this experience, doing so will change the way you think of Star Wars.

Photos by Kyle Kao.

The Star Wars audio AR experience developed by Lucasfilm, Bose, and Trigger Global will be coming this month to the official Star Wars app.

Bose’s limited-edition Star Wars QC35 headphones II are available now

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

Site tags: #StarWarsBlog

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