18 items from 2016
Ricky Church reviews Star Wars: Ahsoka…
In 2008, the Star Wars: The Clone Wars film introduced fans to Ahsoka Tano, a character who polarized viewers nearly as much as Jar Jar Binks did. Unlike the annoying Gungan though, Ahsoka eventually gained a large fanbase. Over the course of the series, gone were the mentions of ‘Sky-Guy’ as Ahsoka grew and matured as she became a promising Jedi until the Council threw her under the bus, forcing her to leave the Jedi Order in what was, at the time, the series finale.
Despite her resurgence in Star Wars Rebels and executive producer Dave Filoni’s various comments, very little is known about her actions between Revenge of the Sith and Rebels. Emily Kate Johnston takes up the huge task of filling in some of the gaps of Ahsoka’s journey from exiled Jedi to Rebel leader in Star Wars: Ahsoka. »
- Ricky Church
In this edition of Star Wars Bits: Donald Glover deftly dodges a question about playing a young Lando Calrissian. The Bb-8 theory so preposterous that it actually makes perfect sense. A new trailer for Star Wars Rebels season 3. Dave Filoni talks about Dark Vader, Ahsoka Tano, and their ongoing dynamic. Voice actress Ashley Eckstein weighs in […]
- Jacob Hall
Star Wars Rebels is an almost bizarrely solid, animated series, and the second season took a show that was already good, and upped the game in almost every way.
The story started out with our band simply setting out to disrupt the Empire’s plans (with newcomer Ezra in tow) whenever they could, but with the show’s setting being at a point so “prequel” to the original Star Wars film, the connection to any unified opposition was decidedly loose. Such an opposition barely exists to be connected to anyway.
The show pulled in viewers by throwing in small side stories that might not truly relate to the overall conflict at all, but are instead like thought experiments about what the everyday people in the universe might be going through, and these are effectively built into character development opportunities for our leads.
Of course, there’s only so much grief you can cause The Empire, »
- Marc Eastman
The best part about Star Wars is how vast it is. Even with several decades of the Expanded Universe cast into the realm of Legends, the best-known galaxy far, far away has a lot left to explore. Fans can pick how deep they want to go down the rabbit hole. You don’t have to read the Darth Vader comics to enjoy the original trilogy. You don’t have to watch The Clone Wars cartoon to grasp how Anakin changed between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. You don’t have to read Bloodlines to know General Leia is a force to be reckoned with in The Force Awakens. But you can if you want to. One of the best parts about the new Star Wars canon? Star Wars Rebels on Disney Xd. I’ll be honest. At first, the animation style of Rebels turned me off to the show. »
- Donna Dickens
Having a luck dragon with you is the only way to go on a quest, and it’s apparently the way to win the fan award at a geek couture fashion show. A dress inspired by NeverEnding Story’s Falkor graced the runway at The Her Universe Fashion Show last month. Falkor was crowed the third winner for Her Universe’s 2016 show this afternoon, following the announcement of the other two winners at Comic-Con directly after the show. In the fashion show’s first two years, two designers walked home winners, one chosen by the judges, one chosen by the audience. This year, with all the geeky, glitzy runway walks airing on new VOD network Comic-Con HQ, a third winner was declared, chosen by fans watching the show at home. The Falkor dress was designed by Jesse Thaxton, pictured below with her model. Thaxton, along with her two fellow winners, »
- Emily Rome
Tomorrow is the last day for the public to vote for a winner in the Her Universe fashion show that I was fortunate to see live at the San Diego Comic Con (and that you can watch as the finale of its own docu-series on the new on-demand streaming network Comic Con HQ). So what better time for my fashion show recap?
But first, a little background. The fashion show, now in its third year, was started by Ashley Eckstein of the women’s geek fashion company Her Universe to bring true haute couture to geek fashion. The show is very professionally done, with video clips of the designers talking about their inspiration and works-in-progress; models (who may also be the outfit’s designer, and who are of all different body types, which is cool) strutting their stuff on the catwalk; and a DJ to keep the party going. It »
- Emily S. Whitten
Her Universe has been on a roll lately. First, they announced their collaboration with Kohl’s for a line of Marvel-themed workout gear. Now they’re teaming up with Hot Topic — one of their favorite partners — for a line of women’s fashion based on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The new nine-piece collection features the winning designs from last year’s Her Universe “Geek Couture” fashion show and competition at San Diego Comic-Con. Designers Leetal Platt and Kelly Cercone won with their original concepts and snagged the grand prize: the opportunity to co-design a line of clothing with Her Universe founder (and voice of Star Wars’ Ahsoka) Ashley Eckstein. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is that collection. “We had so much fun watching Kelly Cercone and Leetal Platt, two young and extremely talented designers, win the Geek Couture fashion show at Sdcc 2015,” commented Cindy Levitt, Senior Vice President of »
- Donna Dickens
San Diego Comic-Con will be on the small screen 365 days a year?
Give it to us.
Comic-Con International and Lionsgate unveiled last week to launch Comic-Con HQ, a subscription video-on-demand service to archive Comic-Con activities, to offer new programming shows and to offer daily discussions on comic books, movies and television.
Former G4’s names like Adam Sessler (X-play) and Kevin Pereira (Attack Of The Show) will create daily and weekly programs as pop culture news and a late night talk show, including roundtable discussions.
There will also be unique series from Supernatural stars Richard Speight and Rob Benedict; science entertainment from world champion illusionist Jason Latimer (Impossible Science) and an unscripted series from Ashley Eckstein, founder of Her Universe clothing fashion company, showcasing geek fashion and the Comic-Con fashion show this July.
In addition, archived materials from several Comic-Con panels and floor access will be available, including bonuses and behind-the-scenes footages. »
- Gig Patta
Star Wars Rebels Season 2 comes to an epic and spectacular conclusion in Twilight of the Apprentice. I can say without exaggeration, and having seen every episode of Star Wars animation since The Clone Wars micro series, that this finale is arguably the best. Season two promised a darker turn with the introduction of Darth Vader (James Earl Jones) and Ezra Bridger's (Taylor Gray) flirtations with the Dark Side of the Force. Twilight of the Apprentice brings both of their journeys to a thundering climax of lightsaber battles. Old foes are revealed, masks are shattered, and gained. The long awaited, sorrowful showdown of an apprentice against her former master finally happens. Complete spoilers follow.
Star Wars Rebels: Twilight of the Apprentice begins with Ahsoka Tano (Ashley Eckstein), Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), and Ezra on the Phantom in hyperspace. They are heading to the forbidden planet of Malachor, as instructed »
First Lucasfilm and now parent Disney have been clever about using animation as a means to keep the “Star Wars” franchise alive between movies. But as the dazzling, action-packed one-hour finale of “Star Wars Rebels” – the series set between the movie chapters titled “Revenge of the Sith” and “A New Hope” – made clear, the producers of those programs harbor higher creative aspirations than merely killing time or reminding kids to ask mom and dad for action figures.
Operating with the equivalent of a gloved hand tied behind its back, “Rebels” (and before that “Clone Wars,” also under the stewardship of Dave Filoni, who directed the finale) has deftly interwoven key elements and characters into the narrative while establishing its own core cast. That all built toward a showdown in the March 30 episode (and Spoiler Alert if you haven’t watched) that not only significantly incorporated the character of Darth Maul »
- Brian Lowry
Star Wars Rebels season 2 will conclude on Wednesday 30th March. Here’s a lengthy trailer, teasing the battle between Anakin and Ahsoka…
The season 2 finale of Rebels will bring Ashoka head-to-head with her former master, now known as the evil Imperial enforcer Darth Vader. Here’s a lengthy trailer, recapping their previous encounters and teasing the battle ahead…
Twilight Of The Apprentice – Star Wars Rebels’ season 2 finale – will air on Disney Xd on Wednesday the 30th of March.
More Star Wars news as we hear it
Fight evil robots and create your own robot friends in Automatron, the first add-on for Fallout 4, and check out the trailer for this expansion after the jump. Also: a South by Southwest poster for Pet, details on Comic-Con HQ, release info / trailers for Decay and The Horror, and lastly, QuakeCon 2016 information.
Fallout 4: Automatron: Press Release: “Automatron will be available for download across Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on Tuesday, March 22nd, and will cost $9.99 in North America.
In Automatron, the mysterious Mechanist has unleashed a horde of evil robots into the Commonwealth, including the devious Robobrain. Hunt them down and harvest their parts to build and mod your own custom robot companions. Choose from hundreds of mods; mixing limbs, armor, abilities, and weapons such as the all-new lightning chain gun. Even customize their paint schemes and choose their voices! (For characters level 15 or higher.)
Automatron marks the first add-on release for Fallout 4. In April, »
- Tamika Jones
A new streaming service is coming over the summer, when Lionsgate and the people behind Comic-Con join forces to create Cchq! The result sounds a lot like a former cable TV channel. Come inside for more details.
For those of you new to the cable scene, there was once a TV channel dedicated to nerds. It was known as G4. G4 housed a plethora of amazing shows like the original Japanese Ninja Warrior, X Play, and Attack of the Show. After some epic years, the channel was cancelled and changed to Esquire, which is still a good channel but anywhere near as great as G4. Now, it seems like Lionsgate and Comic-con are coming together to form something very similar.
Below is the complete Press Release of the service!
Comic-Con International and Lionsgate (NYSE:lgf) today unveiled launch plans for Comic-Con HQ, their newly named subscription video-on-demand (Svod) platform debuting shortly »
- email@example.com (Matt Malliaros)
Comic-Con International and Lionsgate today unveiled launch plans for Comic-Con HQ, their newly named subscription video-on-demand platform debuting shortly before San Diego Comic-Con this Summer. Comic-Con HQ will launch with free beta access on May 7 with its official premiere in June leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego in July.
The ad-free streaming service will feature an evolving slate of programming including original scripted and unscripted series, recurring daily and weekly entertainment commentary, plus unique access to a growing library of live and archival programming from their world-class events, a highly-curated selection of film and TV genre titles, and behind-the-scenes access and bonus features from genre titles that defy and define pop culture.
Seth Laderman, Evp and General Manager for Comic-Con HQ said:
"For nearly half a century, Comic-Con has served as the definitive common ground where the fans of genre entertainment come together to express their passion for comics and pop culture. »
- Kellvin Chavez
Comic-Con International and Lionsgate have set May 7 as the launch date for Comic-Con HQ, their newly named subscription video-on-demand platform.
The companies had announced plans in April for the ad-free service, which will include original scripted and unscripted series, recurring daily and weekly entertainment commentary, live and archival programming, film and TV genre titles, and behind-the-scenes access and bonus features from genre titles.
Comic-Con HQ will launch with free beta access on May 7 — which is Free Comic-Book Day this year — with its official premiere in June leading up to Comic-Con International: San Diego on July 21-24. The price for the channel has not yet been set.
“For nearly half a century, Comic-Con has served as the definitive common ground where the fans of genre entertainment come together to express their passion for comics and pop culture,” said Seth Laderman, exec VP and general manager for Comic-Con HQ.
“Comic-Con HQ aspires »
- Dave McNary
Serious Ghibli fans have been well aware for quite sometime now that, in spite of the studio’s widespread recognition and devout following, there are several films in their catalogue that have never been widely available for Western viewers. Among those selected unlucky titles a couple belong to the company’s co-founder Isao Takahata, whose artistic talent is on pair with that of Miyazaki but is less of a household name, and have never enjoyed a proper release in North America.
Trying to prevent these marvelous works from fading into obscurity, independent animation distributor Gkids, which has distributed Ghibli films such as Takahata’s Oscar-nominated “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya,” “From Up on Poppy Hill,” and current Academy Award-nominee “When Marnie Was There,” has stepped in and is opening Takahata’s 1991 masterpiece “Only Yesterday” theatrically for the first time in the U.S with the first-ever English dub of the film starring "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" star Daisy Ridley and
Dev Patel ("Slumdog Millionaire"). This fantastic new version comes 25 years after its original Japanese release and will probably be the first of many similar ventures. Lesser-known titles such as “Ocean Waves” and Takahata's pre-Ghibli feature “Gauche the Cellist” still remain unavailable and undubbed - but hopefully not for long.
Ahead of the film’s release across the U.S. on February 26, Gkids, appeal retailer Hot Topic and Ashley Eckstein's Her Universe, hosted a special screening of the film this week to celebrate the team that made the new dubbed iteration of this touching tale about growing up possible. Following the film’s presentation, chief of the international division at Studio Ghibli and producer Geoffrey Wexler, David Freedman, who was in charge of the English-language screenplay, and casting director Jamie Simone, joined Eckstein for a lively Q&A where they discussed the intricacies behind this project. Wexler, who is outspoken about his ardent love for the film, had the most insightful anecdotes that evidently show his passion for bringing “Only Yesterday” to a wider audience despite years of continuous hurdles.
Here are some highlights from the animated conversation.
On his decision to specifically push for an English-dub of Takahata's "Only Yesterday"
Geoffrey Wexler: I joined the studio about four or five years ago, and this was one of my most favorite films. I was taking stock of what the studio had done and I was surprised to find that this film had never been dubbed. We were creating Blu-ray discs for all the films and I was watching it with my colleagues. We were checking the subtitles and we were updating some of them here and there. I think the third or fourth time we watched it my colleagues and I all said the same word in Japanese, “mottainai,” which means “what a shame “or “what a waste.” This is a beautiful film, but if you don’t speak Japanese you can only read the subtitles. A lot of people don’t want to do that and you really can’t watch it. Every frame is hand-painted and every frame is hand-drawn. We don’t get that much anymore. We decided to figure how to do it and I was told it was “undubbable,” which I didn’t know was a word. I decided that it wasn’t a word and I wasn’t going to accept it.
On the uphill battle he faced to make this new release a reality
Geoffrey Wexler: Through persistence, stubbornness, arrogance on my part and even pride, I wasn’t going to give up. Three or four budgets later and three or four rejections later, I gave up - but not really. I threw a fit and said, “I’m never asking again.” I send a one-line email to my boss that said “Never!” [Laughs]. Bu just as David, Jamie and I had finished the dub for “When Marnie Was There,” we were sitting at dinner and I said “I’m going to look at my phone,” which I never usually do at dinner. There was a note from my boss that said, “Make your dub.” I still don’t know what the trigger was, but I think I just wore him down.
The background of all that is that I saw a beautiful film with a terrific story that would transcend borders, ages, and that doesn’t get old and doesn’t look old. It looks different than films that we are used to today like Pixar or "Avengers" and obviously the pacing is a little mellower and the action is slow-paced, but I still thought it was a beautiful film so I wanted to give it a try. I test screened it a few years ago after I had finished another dub at Skywalker sound in Marin County and it got a good reception. That was really encouraging. We showed it to our distributors, Gkids, of course, to our friends at StudioCanal in England, and our friends at Madman in Australia, and they all said they would chip in. Several budgets later we made it. I think it’s still relevant and I think it’s still beautiful. It’s kind of my baby.
On "Only Yesterday" being undubbable and his guess on why Disney never released the film
For me “undubbable” meant a litany of excuses that didn’t make any sense. A different studio than Gkids had the rights to distribute it and they never distributed it. When I joined Ghibli and I talked to them I said, “Are you guys ever going to release this?” and they said, “We can’t release it.” I said, "Can it have it back then?" and they said, ”Yes.” I think the discussion of the girls having their periods may have been a problem. A lot of people squirm about that in North America, but in other countries they don’t. It wasn’t a problem in some countries. I think also the pacing was hard for North America. Also there were some legal issues around some of the sound. The moment when she sings in Japanese for the first time I was told, “You can’t do anything about that. It’s going to have to stay that way.” I said, “It’ll stay that way and then a few minutes later they’ll talk about the song." One by one I just chipped away this façade of it being “undubbable.”
On the process from translating the Japanese screenplay to bringing the cast together
Geoffrey Wexler: We had a Japanese script obviously and we had to work on the subtitles, so there is a fellow in Tokyo who is one of my translators and he translated the script from Japanese to English but straight across. At first we don’t worry about how long the lines are, or if it's going to be easy for people to understand, or if it's going to be a direct translation. We polish that up and then I gave it to David.
This is the fifth one I’ve done. These scripts sync so well that the only real changes we are making is when the actor has a new take on it. If I’ve done my job well I have very little to do in the studio by the time we get there. Not counting the four years to get the budget approved. We started between February and March of last year, David got it in May, we started working on the casting around June, we were in the studio in August and then back in Tokyo in September to put it all together. Invariably there are always some things you don’t anticipate. We finished at the end of September.
One of the hardest things is we had Daisy Ridley and Dev Patel, who are very busy, there are other actors in many places, and then we have lots of actors who are here in L.A. Scheduling is really tough. If they are on a big film, I don’t know like a space movie, they may go away for months and months or perhaps and we only grab them for a few days. Actors always tell me how much they love doing this. No hair, no make up, no light, no camera. They are in front of a mic acting and that’s what they love to do.
On his personal connection to "Only Yesterday" and why it merits multiple viewings
Geoffrey: I started watching it in the early 90s, and it’s changed for me as I watch it. So if you watch it again in 10 years, and I hope you will, you’ll see a different film because you’ll change. That’s really something the film is very much about, about how Taeko’s changed. What it means to me is that it reminds me that most people are presenting themselves quite honestly.
I’m always moved at how much what happens in your youth affects you. We all have random moments when you are walking down the street and you remember something that happened when you were young and you might even physically cringe. A lot of things stick with us no matter how important they are and then they affect us later. You don’t stop growing. She is talking about how at 27 she is going to have this other growth. It happens over and over.
- Carlos Aguilar
Earlier this week, Disney Xd debuted a new preview for the second half of Star Wars Rebels Season 2, which revealed that Princess Leia will make her debut on the beloved animated series. With less than one week left until the Star Wars Rebels mid-season premiere, Disney Xd has released a new three-minute trailer, which features another look at Leia, while teasing the return of Darth Vader and Yoda. Perhaps the most interesting part of this footage is an intriguing connection to the current blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Towards the end of this footage, Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray) is seen wielding a new lightsaber that has the same crossguard design as Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) lightsaber from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It isn't the exact same weapon, though, since the blades on Ezra's saber are green and Kylo's is red, but the fact that it has the same design is certainly intriguing. »
An aide to Bail Organa (Princess Leia Organa) is sent to Lothal with ships for the rebel fleet, but an Imperial lockdown forces the rebels to create a new plan to steal the vehicles. Princess Leia, the unstoppable Rebel hero featured in both the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the recent Star Wars: The Force Awakens, makes her Star Wars Rebels debut when an all-new episode of Star Wars Rebels airs Wednesday, January 20 (9:00 p.m., Et/Pt) on Disney Xd. The network has released a new clip from the episode, entitled The Princess on Lothal, along with photos that offer our first look at this iconic character on the animated series.
Taking place three years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, Leia is introduced as a young leader on her way to becoming the strong, more resolute character portrayed in the original trilogy. »
18 items from 2016
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