20 items from 2016
Bear with me once again as we step into the “borrowed” Wabac machine to visit another era – one fraught with its own cultural peccadillos, its own world-view, and its own sensibilities.
You’ve probably heard that WB is extending their never-ending line of direct-to-disc DC-based animated features this fall to include a new, original, and undoubtedly awesome story set in the world of the 1966 Batman teevee show. In order to do this effectively they needed to procure the services of the sadly few surviving series stars, so they wisely put Adam West, Burt Ward, and Julie Newmar in a recording studio to belt out their performances as Batman, Robin and Catwoman-the-first, respectively.
None found this a new experience. West has been voicing all sorts of stuff – most notably, Family Guy, although he returned to Gotham City in several of the subsequent animated Batman teevee series. Ward voiced Robin in numerous animated shows, »
- Mike Gold
Goodbye Kenny Baker A lifelong loyal friend I loved his optimism determination He Was the droid I was looking for pic.twitter.com/rd94OEYaHi
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) August 13, 2016
Kenny Baker, the actor who portrayed the character of R2-D2 in the original Star Wars trilogy as well as the trilogy of prequels, sadly died at the weekend following a short illness. Baker, who at just 1.12 metres tall, was universally loved in the role of R2-d@ and a firm favourite on the convention circuit around the world. As well as being in the Star Wars movies, Baker also roles in Time Bandits, Amadeus and Flash Gordon.
In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, Baker’s niece, Abigail Shield, paid tribute to her uncle.
“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime”.
She added that “when he was a child, »
- Paul Heath
Friends, fans and loved ones mourned Kenny Baker on Saturday, with “Star Wars” co-star Mark Hamill writing of the man who played R2-D2, “He Was the droid I was looking for!” As Guillermo del Toro put it: “Like Napoleon, his stature was measured not from head-to-ground but head-to-sky.” Baker, who stood was 83 years old and 3’ 8”, also appeared in “Time Bandits,” “Labyrinth,” “Willow,” “Flash Gordon” and other projects. Also Read: Kenny Baker, R2-D2 in 'Star Wars,' Dies at 83 Baker — who appeared in the original “Star Wars” trilogy and prequels as well as documentaries relating to them — had problems »
- Rosemary Rossi
Kenny Baker as adventurer and thief Fidget in Time Bandits
Kenny Baker, the much loved actor who played Star Wars' R2D2, has died at the age of 81. The Birmingham-born star, who also had memorable roles in Time Bandits and Amadeus, is understood to have been ill for some time.
Baker, who began his acting career on the stage in 1950, had a particular love of fantasy and science fiction films, starring in popular favourites like Flash Gordon, Labyrinth, Willow and, more recently, The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Voyage Of The Dawn Treader. He also appeared in dramatic roles in the likes of Mona Lisa and The Elephant Man.
Tributes to Baker have been pouring in from friends and co-stars. Mark Hamill described him as a lifelong friend and Ewan McGregor said it had been lovely to work with him. He will be much missed by fans, having spent his later years travelling around. »
- Jennie Kermode
After battling a long unnamed illness, Kenny Baker has reportedly died. The actor, who originated the role of R2-D2 in George Lucas' Star Wars franchise, was just two weeks shy of his 82nd birthday when he passed away, his family confirmed to the BBC. His agent Johnny Mans told the BBC that the actor had been ill for a couple of years, and had been cared for by his nephew. Born in Birmingham, England, Baker lived in Preston. A father of two, his wife, Eileen, died in 1993. She was also an actress, co-starring with him in the 1997 film Wombling Free. »
- Dave Quinn, @NineDaves
The entire galaxy is in mourning today as one beloved member of the original Star Wars universe has passed away. Kenny Baker, perhaps best known as the man inside R2-D2, succumbed to a lengthy illness. He was 83 years old at the time of his passing. Baker's niece Abigail Shield was the first to report the news, telling this to The Guardian.
"It was expected, but it's sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life."
Standing at 3-foot, 8-inches, Kenny Baker was one of the few actors capable of fitting inside the body of droid R2-D2, which needed someone to bring the practical character to life back in 1977. He was fully credited as one of the main cast members in the original movie Star Wars: A New Hope, and would return for the next two installments in the first trilogy, 1980's Empire Strikes Back and 1983's Return of the Jedi, »
The Guardian reports that British actor Kenny Baker has passed away at the age of 83. Over the course of his career Baker appeared in movies such as Time Bandits, Flash Gordon and Willow, but he will be best remembered for playing lovable droid R2-D2 in the first 6 Star Wars movies. “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless," said Baker's niece, Abigail Shield, of her uncle's passing. "He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.” Rest in peace Mister Baker, and may the force be with you. »
Kenny Baker, the British actor who portrayed the fan-favorite “Star Wars” character R2-D2, has died at the age of 81 after a long illness.
“It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” his niece Abigail Shield told The Guardian. “He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
Baker wasn’t expected to survive puberty, Shield added: “Being a little person in those times, they didn’t have a very good life expectancy. He did extremely well in his life. He was very ill for the last few years so we had been expecting it. He had been looked after by one of his nephews, who found him on Saturday morning.”
Read More: Kenny Baker Death: Friends and ‘Star Wars’ Co-Stars Mourn
- Liz Calvario
I'm saddened to report today that Star Wars actor Kenny Baker, best known for playing R2-D2, has passed away. The Guardian reported the actor "has died at the age of 81 after a long illness." [Update: The Guardian previously stated he was 83] Baker, who also played Paploo the Ewok in the Star Wars franchise, also had roles in Labyrinth, Time Bandits, and Flash Gordon. His niece Abigail Shield told the Guardian, “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.” Baker's wife Eileen passed away in 1993, they had two children. R2-D2 was created by George Lucas, designed by Ralph McQuarrie, co-developed by John Stears, built by Tony Dyson, and had vocal effects from Ben Burtt. Baker was »
- Jill Pantozzi
Kenny Baker, the man who brought the iconic “Star Wars” character R2-D2 to life, has died. He was 81.
The Guardian, which confirmed the death, issued a statement from Baker’s niece, Abigail Shield: “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless,” she said. “He had a very long and fulfilled life. He brought lots of happiness to people and we’ll be celebrating the fact that he was well loved throughout the world. We’re all very proud of what he achieved in his lifetime.”
The British actor met his wife, Eileen, when she wrote him a letter after seeing him on the U. »
- Variety Staff
Some sad news today, with the announcement that British actor Kenny Baker – famed for portraying the lovable droid R2-D2 in the Star Wars saga – has passed away aged 81 after a long illness.
The 3 ft 8 in actor began his showbusiness career as part of a theatrical group of dwarves, and also spent time working in the circus and as part of the comedy act the Minitones before being cast as the man inside R2-D2 in Star Wars.
Baker returned as R2-D2 in The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi (where he also portrayed the Ewok Paploo) and all three prequel films, while he was also credited as a consultant on Star Wars: The Force Awakens after handing over the role of Artoo to Jimmy Vee.
- Gary Collinson
The British actor who played R2-D2 in the Star Wars films has died at the age of 83 after a long illness.
Kenny Baker, who was 3ft 8in tall, shot to fame in 1977 when he first played the robot character.
Continue reading »
- Nicola Slawson
William Shatner, Karl Urban, Alan Tudyk, Alex Kingston, Jack Gleeson, and Charlie Cox lead a long list of television and movie stars coming to Atlanta to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Dragon Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy, science fiction, and gaming convention.
Brian Henson, puppeteer and son of the late Jim Henson, will be among the top puppetry guests. Henson will talk about the 30th anniversary ofLabyrinth, the fantasy movie featuring David Bowie, Jennifer Connolly, and a large cast of Jim Henson’s creations. »
- Michael Connally
According to reports, a popular 'genre' director has agreed to develop a sex/violence update of "Flash Gordon", based on the 1930's newspaper comics hero by Alex Raymond, that inspired the creation of "Star Wars" by George Lucas.
According to actor Sam Jones, who played 'Flash Gordon' in a 1980 feature, "Matthew Reilly, VP of production at Fox Studios, acquired the screenplay rights to 'Flash Gordon' last year, and he hired John Davis and his staff to write the script. They’re looking to bring out a sequel...
"I met with Matt and we are in talks about that. I’m very excited. A lot of people over the years, including Stephen Sommers and Neil H Moritz, have acquired the screenplay rights, but for whatever reason they did not »
- Michael Stevens
Looking back now – three decades later – it’s hard to believe that the idea of an archaeologist as The go-to film hero was, oftentimes, a guarantee to bring in the punters and create a big-money blockbuster movie! Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, King Solomon’s Mines, etc. all graced the big screen to varying degrees of success during the mid-80s; and yes, it was Spielberg’s film that reignited the genre but it took Cannon Films – the purveyors of low-budget, high-concept big screen bonanzas – to really put the fun into this now-buried treasure of a genre.
- Phil Wheat
Directed by J. Lee Thompson.
A pair of hapless adventurers take on a job to find priceless Aztec gold but are pursued by a vengeful spirit who will stop at nothing to protect it.
Back in the mid-1980s there was a brief moment when ripping off Indiana Jones movies was a thing and, as was the norm, it was the legendary Cannon Films who were the masterminds behind many of those low-budget gems. Whilst the mainstream responded to Harrison Ford’s archaeological adventures with the likes of the slick Michael Douglas-led romp Romancing the Stone, Cannon gave us the lacklustre King Solomon’s Mines and its sequel Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (both of which featured a young Sharon Stone alongside Richard Chamberlain in the lead role »
- Amie Cranswick
There are many mysteries in the world, but there are two that we find particularly vexing. One is how the endlessly entertaining and Mike Hodges-directed Flash Gordon film never got a sequel in the 1980s. The other is how we have gone well over 30 years without a proper live-action Flash Gordon movie (the Syfy series from a few years ago doesn't count).
Protosevich comes on board after a previous draft had been written by J D Payne and Patrick McKay. Things had been quiet on the Flash Gordon front since word came around last year that Matthew Vaughn was in talks to direct. »
Rumblings of a Flash Gordon reboot first stirred two years ago – when Star Trek Beyond‘s scribes were linked to the project – and last year made headlines when Kingsman: The Secret Service helmer Matthew Vaughn entered talks to direct. Since then things have been remarkably quiet on the blonde-haired hero front – until now. I Am Legend and Thor screenwriter Mark Protosevich has signed on to rewrite the screenplay, earlier versions of which were completed by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay.
The scribe hit up Facebook (via Hitfix) to announce the gig, dropping just enough hints to prompt much excitement – and of course, oodles of speculation:
“I can’t wait to get started and if you’re curious about the take? I’m not saying a word. All I’ll say is this – it will be nothing like any version of Flash Gordon you’ve seen.”
With Protosevich now tapping away at the keys, »
- Gem Seddon
Episode VIII is due out in time for the Star Wars 40th anniversary. Here's what we know so far, plus a bit of speculation about its events.
Nb: The following contains potential spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and speculation about Episode VIII.
Disney may have had a lot riding on Star Wars: The Force Awakens - essentially, the future of an entire franchise - but next year's Episode VIII brings potentially nail-biting risks of its own. It will, after all, have to follow on from the success of The Force Awakens - currently the third biggest film of all time in terms of ticket sales - and will also draw »
20 items from 2016
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