John Powers (of Star Wars: A New Heap) writes The Future of Art: Rosalind Krauss is a Jedi - "If Krauss is Leia, Le Corbusier is a pretty great candidate for General Tarkin." Star Wars Semiotics - "At HiLobrow we’re wary of structuralist heuristic devices. But we do enjoy tinkering with them — and we’ve noticed that the logical expansion of binary oppositions does help stimulate the imagination. However… does Powers’ square function properly?" A Crisis in Criticism: Star Wars is not Literature, it is an Object. - "Glenn's post is good natured and whip smart - but he's dead wrong. While he is no doubt the superior semiotician ... and I can't hope to outsmart the guy, mine is the better diagram." Star Wars Highbrow: Thesis Antithesis Synthesis - "In addition to describing the square above Glenn's original post also discussed his choices for the cardinal points at some length in terms of a "highbrow-lowbrow-middlebrow-nobrow-hilobrow schema." It is a scheme he has charted elsewhere, admitting that "aesthetic and lifestyle choices aren't entirely independent of social class."" [more inside]
Red Letter Media drunkenly reviews the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special as part of their Best of the Worst series. [more inside]
In 1978, the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back was penned by a writer named Leigh Brackett. She passed away shortly thereafter and the script underwent a number of changes, first by George Lucas, before Lawrence Kasdan developed the final and more well-known screenplay. Brackett's initial draft is available for download here. The blog at starwarz.com highlights some of the more notable changes, such as Darth Vader not being Luke's father (though Luke's father appears as a character as a ghost Jedi on Dagoba), and a distinct lack of Boba Fett and carbon freezing. (Empire recently on the Blue) [more inside]
What's the intersection between Star Wars and the Muppets? Chances are you'll think of Yoda. Maybe you knew that Jim Henson & his creature-makers had nothing to do with the original Star Wars movie. And sure, you probably knew that some of the Star Wars cast were featured on the Muppet Show (watch on YouTube). But wait, there's more. [more inside]
In a suprise move, a "bombshell" even, Disney and Lucasfilms have announced that Rian Johnson will write and direct the next two films in the Star Wars franchise, Episodes VIII and IX, taking the reins from JJ Abrams after Episode VII. Copious previously. Johnson has previously directed Brick, Looper, and three episodes of Breaking Bad. Johnson responded thusly on Twitter.
In honor of May the Fourth, I present to you more information about Ewoks than you ever cared to know: The Return of the Subaltern (Part One and Part Two)
As a thank you gift for his work on "Star Wars", George Lucas gave art director Roger Christian 25,000 pounds in 1979 to make a short film. Christian used the money to shoot a 25 minute medieval fantasy titled "Black Angel". Lucas liked the film so much that he had it precede theatrical showings of "Empire Strikes Back" in the UK, Australia and Scandinavia. In the intervening years, the film was thought lost until a negative was discovered at Universal Studios in 2011. The film was restored and given a premiere at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County last October. It will be shown again later this month at the Glasgow Film Festival and will eventually find its way to a streaming services like Netflix later this year. The BBC recently talked to Christian about the film and its rediscovery.
THE FRIEND ZONE: STAR WARS EPISODE 2. Anakin Skywalker is a Nice Guy™, stuck in the zone, but at least Obi-Wan has some some dope bass. Related: Dance of the Fates. (Auralnauts previously.) Language NSFW.
Freiheit the first, student, film of one George Lucas (staring Randal Kleiser, who later went on to direct Grease) (slyt)
"[Lucas] understood the nature of play—and games—but we didn't have the time with him that we needed," said one person familiar with high-level meetings at LucasArts. “It never felt like people at the top cared about making great games,” said another person connected to LucasArts. “A lot of awesome projects never went anywhere because, ‘it’s not gonna make enough money.’”How LucasArts Fell Apart (SLKotaku article) [more inside]
...Though the poster contained no painted imagery, it did introduce a new logo to the campaign, one that had been designed originally for the cover of a Fox brochure sent to theater owners….Suzy Rice, who had just been hired as an art director, remembers the job well. She recalls that the design directive given by Lucas was that the logo should look “very fascist.” (via)
Joseph Campbell was well-known for his exploration of the monomyth, or the hero's journey, which posits that worldwide myths that have survived for thousands of years all share a fundamental structure. Campbell's work inspired George Lucas to create the first Star Wars trilogy. In the mid-1980s, Bill Moyers spent many hours interviewing Campbell at Skywalker Ranch. The result was a now famous documentary called "The Power of Myth." The series has been available on DVD since 2001, but Moyers has just made the full series available for streaming and download on his site.
The Best Of Star Wars: Clone Wars - The CGI Star Wars spin off that made the franchise fun again for young and old reached it's 100th episode today.
Disney has purchased LucasFilm, including the Star Wars movies, for a shade over four billion dollars in cash and stock. Also in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Spike Lee on New York, Obama, film, Hollywood, reality teevee, marriage equality, Taylor Lautner, and so forth.
"It is with great sadness that Skywalker Properties has decided to pull its application to build a studio facility on the old Grady Ranch." (PDF) George Lucas' neighbors don't want him building a movie studio on his Marin property; after fighting for years, he's working with the Marin Community Foundation to develop low-income housing.
“probably the best possible edit of the Star Wars prequels given the footage released and available”
Topher Grace Edited The ‘Star Wars’ Prequels Into One 85-Minute Movie and We Saw It Grace’s Star Wars III.5: The Editor Strikes Back still manages to tell a complete, surprisingly moving story of Anakin Skywalker’s rise and fall even while making some severe cuts [more inside]
The correct viewing order for the Star Wars movies. Aka Machete order.
George Lucas sits down with The Hollywood Reporter: "The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down." [more inside]
George Lucas on his retirement, Red Tails, and future pursuits (in love and film). SLNYT
So you've come to terms with it: George Lucas doesn't give a shit about you. Maybe it was the minor edits to the re-releases, like Han shooting second, or one of the recent Blu-Ray additions with Darth Vader shouting Nooooo at the end of Return Of The Jedi, or maybe you liked the movies, except for silly characters like the Ewoks or Jar Jar Binks. However it happened, you are pining for the early version of Star Wars you remembered before all those changes, or maybe you're dreaming of a version without some of the schmaltzy stuff. Dream no more, the Fan Preservers and Fan Editors are making your wishes real. [more inside]
Many would agree that the advent of CGI has made movies worse, not better. Blogger Gin and Tacos makes the argument eloquently: "The fundamental problem is that CGI, rather that being a tool that allows directors to explore new creative possibilities, just enables laziness."
George Lucas Strikes Back the truth behind the prequels at last (SLYT)
The five stages of Star Wars fandom grief. [Slate.com]
Star Wars Begins. Fan documentarian Jambe Davdar has completed has completed his third documentary about the original Star Wars trilogy. He's re-cut all three films, editing in alternate takes, deleted scenes, original audio, with quotes from various interviews and commentaries and recordings playing over the footage like the ultimate DVD commentary. [via] [more inside]
Travis Stevens has created the ultimate guitar for Star Wars fans. While the Cargo Bay shows an impressive list of Star Wars-inspired musical gear manufactured by Fernandes Guitars, Stevens' one-of-a-kind instrument is... slightly different. [more inside]
Just in time for the 30th anniversary of the movie's release, The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back chronicles the complete tale—from pre-release to blockbuster success — of what’s become the fan favorite of the Star Wars series. Vanity Fair presents an excerpt from the book: rarely seen photographs from the Empire Strikes Back set, annotated with behind-the-scenes details. They also have interviews with the book’s author, J. W. Rinzler, and the man behind Boba Fett’s mask, actor Jeremy Bulloch." On a lighter note, how about a Wampa Throw Rug, new from the folks at ThinkGeek?
Though George Lucas said Chewbacca was based on his dog, an intrepid fan tracked down a different origin story. [more inside]
Historically famous men and their use of pocket notebooks (spread over two pages).
Did 'Star Wars' become a toy story? Producer Gary Kurtz looks back “The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It’s a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It’s natural to make decisions that protect the toy business, but that’s not the best thing for making quality films.” He added: “The first film and ‘Empire’ were about story and character, but I could see that George’s priorities were changing.” (via) [more inside]
You know that real-life Light Saber you always fantasized about getting as a kid? Good news! It's finally here! Sort of. And for only $299 USD. Oh, wait, no--turns out, it's not a light saber at all and any resemblance is purely coincidental. No, this thing is actually more like a sharp-pointed laser stick for poking people's eyes out and setting things on fire from as much as a mile away. [more inside]
Impressive. Most impressive. Thirty years ago today, one of the most popular films of all time was released to theatres. Often described as "dark" and "moving," it has had its own cultural impact from commonly-misquoted quotes to introducing an entire generation of moviegoers to the concept of a plot twist That film? The Shining. [more inside]
Lucasfilm Animation is currently developing an all-new animated Star Wars series. Not that one, a new series. And no relation to the holiday special (1978) or Ewoks, the animated series (1985), or even Droids: The Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO (1985). The new new series is set to feature creative involvement from Seth Green and Matthew Senreich, creators and executive producers Robot Chicken, writing from The Daily Show's Brendan Hay, produced by Jennifer Hill (The Backyardigans), and directed by Todd Grimes (Back at the Barnyard). Unlike the Clone Wars animated series, the latest venture into animation will be one more humorous in tone and aimed at younger kids. Pre-School to Kindergarten aged kids young, and the working title is believed to be "Squishies" (or not).
"George Lucas made "Star Wars"; but it was the fans who turned it into a seemingly undying worldwide phenomenon. So I thought it appropriate to give them a prominent voice in the documentary." The People vs. George Lucas premiered at this year's SXSW. Official Site. FB page. More.
The Architects' Journal (home of British architecture) has recently listed their top 10 architectural features of Star Wars. The article cites the Sandcrawler of Tatooine (possibly inspired by the Hôtel du lac in Tunisia, and in turn may have influenced Casa da Música [virtual tour, requires Quicktime] ), gave Bright Tree Village an honorary rating of BREEAM Excellent (top marks for environment-friendliness and sustainability), then embrace the Ecumenopolis that is Coruscant. This is not the first discussion of the architectural styles of the Star Wars universe. George Lucas once said "I'm basically a Victorian person," referring to his love of "all kinds of old things," including sort of Art Deco or Art Moderne-type. The retro-futuristic styles of Star Wars has gone on to inspire others.
“Until the recent Great Rebellion, the Jedi Bendu were the most feared warriors in the universe. For one hundred thousand years, generations of Jedi perfected their art as the personal bodyguards of the emperor. They were the chief architects of the invincible Imperial Space Force which expanded the Empire across the galaxy, from the celestial equator to the farthest reaches of the Great Rift. Now these legendary warriors are all but extinct. One by one they have been hunted down and destroyed as enemies of the New Empire by a ferocious and sinister rival warrior sect, the Knights of Sith.” - The first draft of Star Wars... was awful.
Star Wars Influence Map. Thank God Jar Jar Binks led to nowhere . . .
Watch The Skies! Directors Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Ridley Scott and James Cameron discuss the science fiction movies of the 1950s that influenced them. 1::2::3::4::5::6:: 1 hour.
The "Raiders" Story Conference In 1978 George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, and Lawrence Kasdan spent five consecutive nine-hour days hashing out the characters and plot for Raiders of the Lost Ark. The 125-page transcript of their meetings, unreleased before now, details their insane talent and techniques for populist storytelling. (It also makes one wonder what happened to George Lucas, a man who once had a math formula for exciting cinema.) via Ain't It Cool News, unfortunately
A look at the (likely terrible) CGI Star Wars prequel hitting theaters this autumn. The "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" movie is expected to run around 100 minutes and pick up between episode II and III. Anakin Skywalker is not yet Darth Vader. The story will then continue in 30-minute smallscreen installments.
Keys to the Kingdom. Vanity Fair profiles George Lucas and Steven Spielberg and previews Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull [minor spoiler on page 5]; Q&A with Spielberg and Lucas. [more inside]
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