Drew Struzan gushes about The Force Awakens

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Legendary poster artist Drew Struzan told Movie Weekly that The Force Awakens is “probably going to be the best Star Wars you’ve ever seen.” Pretty high praise, even from a guy being paid by Lucasfilm. He also talks about how J.J. Abrams called him up, how much of the film he’s seen, his process, and why the lightsaber colors on the Revenge of the Jedi poster were reversed.

Lucasfilm has trademarked new new names. They could be for The Force Awakens, Rogue One, or just about anything, really.

→ Yet more D23 video: Lupita Nyong’o on being a part of the franchise and her other Disney roles, Abrams on what fans can expect, Oscar Isaac’s favorite character, and Daisy Ridley hopes that her and John Boyega’s friendship comes through on screen.

→ Spoiler corner: A tiny bite-sized scoop of information about Poe Dameron’s squadron name.

→ On that note, a nice, if top-heavy, piece from newcomer The Star Wars Post on if Star Wars 7 News leaking the Luke Skywalker image crossed a spoiler line. I’ll just say that SW7N has never exactly been known for their sound judgement, which is why I tend to warn so profusly when linking them.

Two episodes of Rebels S2 to premiere at NYCC

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Rebels fan? Attending New York Comic Con? Then you’ll be happy to hear that Lucasfilm will be screening two episodes of the show there on Thursday, October 8. The Rebels panel, at 1:30 p.m. on the Empire Stage, will feature “special guests.” The special preview screening is in the same room at 5:30 p.m.

Both episodes feature Captain Rex, Captain Gregor and Commander Wolffe from The Clone Wars. Here’s the chatter:

As the second season of Star Wars Rebels opens, the crew of the Ghost is now considered a very real threat to the Empire and has caught the attention of Darth Vader himself. Undeterred, the rebels seek out old friends and add powerful allies to their cause, forming the beginnings of a more formidable alliance against the Empire. To stop them, Vader will dispatch new agents to hunt down their growing coalition, determined to snuff them out before they can ignite a galaxy to rebellion.

Still no word on a Disney XD premiere date, though.

Is Felicity Jones Rogue One’s Smurfette?

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Felicity Jones’ character is indeed front and center of Rogue One so far, and no one is unhappy with the racial diversity of the ensemble, but there has been some very definite pushback on yet another cast that is – at least initially – very low on women. Will we see more ladies added like we did with The Force Awakens or is this just the latest example of the Smurfette Principle in action?

→ Does Diego Luna’s mustache look familiar? From a viral @eleventhirtyate tweet to /Film in two days. And there’s more overanalysis at Rebels Report.

What the Rogue One picture tells us about what’s coming up. Might there even be… set visits? Gasp!

→ Spoiler corner: Set construction pics at Cardington.

Did we just learn part of The Force Awakens’ opening crawl?

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Amid the flood of The Force Awakens stuff being found on store shelves, a box was found that had a very specific kind of wording. Could it be movie’s opening crawl? The box images have been removed, but head over to Making Star Wars to read it.

→ Daisy Ridley revealed (via her brand-new Instagram) that she and John Boyega are featured in the September issue of Vogue. (Keep an eye out for the one with the Beyonce cover.)

→ It’s not really news, but it’s cute edition: Oscar Isaac was on Live with Kelly Jane Lynch and Michael the other day, and he talked a little about his family’s themed Star Wars parties. And J.J. Abrams talks to Entertainment Weekly about the first time he saw Star Wars.

Stop asking about Darth Plagueis already. It’s just embarrassing at this point.

→ John Boyega’s next step? He’s going to be in an adaption of Dave Eggers’ The Circle with Tom Hanks and Emma Watson.

Out this week: Star Wars #8, Kanan #5

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Out on Wednesday at your retailer of choice are two comics, both milestones for their respective titles. Star Wars #8 is the start of both a new storyline (‘Showdown on Smuggler’s Moon’) and a new artist, Stuart Immonen. Kanan #5, on the other hand, is “the final chapter of the secret origin of Star Wars Rebels’ Kanan Jarrus.” (The series will continue with a jump into the Rebels era.)

Meanwhile, Force Friday looms ever closer…

Star Wars lands coming to Disneyland and Disney World; Star Tours update, Launch Bay coming late 2015

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During Disney’s biennial D23 Expo, Bob Iger stormed the stage to the tune of John Williams’ titular Imperial March to deliver arguably the biggest news of the Worlds, Galaxies, and Universes: Live Action at The Walt Disney Studios panel: Dual, 14-acre themed Star Wars lands in Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California.

From the official press release: “I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “We are creating a jaw-dropping new world that represents our largest single themed land expansion ever. These new lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World will transport guests to a whole new Star Wars planet, including an epic Star Wars adventure that puts you in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.”

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A true collaboration between Disney Imagineering, ILM, and Lucasfilm, the Star Wars land will be a truly immersive and authentic experience. Both lands will feature two signature attractions, one of which is piloting the Millennium Falcon on a clandestine mission. Iger stressed that every element would feel as if you were a part of the world: restaurants, storefronts, and entertainment would all feature galactic characters for an authentic interactive experience.

And yes, there’s going to be a cantina.

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Later Saturday, during D23 Expo’s Parks and Resorts panel, additional details on the recently announced Star Wars Land were revealed along with more immediate changes coming to the domestic parks towards the end of this year.

Hyperspace Mountain (only at Disneyland)Season of the Force
Season of the Force will be a limited-time, seasonal event in 2016 at both Disney World and the Disneyland, bringing new Star Wars experiences to both parks. At Tomorrowland in Disneyland, guests will have an opportunity to partake of Star Wars-themed entertainment, food and beverages, and new merchandise. The popular Space Mountain coaster will be turned into Hyperspace Mountain with a temporary Star Wars layover in which you’ll get to experience a high-octane X-Wing battle. On the other side of the country, guests of Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be treated to a new fireworks spectacular set to John Williams’ memorable Star Wars scores.

Star Wars Launch Bay
Also at both parks will be the newly created Star Wars Launch Bay that will be located in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. The Launch Bay will be a hub for interactive experiences for guests that want to learn more about The Force Awakens, as well as an opportunity to purchase special merchandise and food. It’s expected to open late this year.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Tours
The ever-popular Star Tours: The Adventure Continues will see a new update later this year in both U.S. parks. (Information on the update availability coming to the international parks is currently unknown.) The anticipated updates will be include locations and characters from The Force Awakens.

At this point, the Star Wars invasion is real and it’s happening. I’ll see you all in the pit.

The Force Awakens news slim on the ground at D23 panel, but there Is a poster!

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The big Star Wars movie news out of D23 may be Colin Trevorrow and Rogue One, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything about The Force Awakens There was an exclusive poster given out featuring Drew Struzan artwork – it’s not the final theatrical poster, but it’s certainly something.

I doubt they’d hire Struzan just for a con exclusive, though, so I expect this is only a portion – or a remix – of the real thing.

We also have the return of Daisy Ridley to social media – Instagram, this time.

Present on the D23 stage were Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Lupita Nyong’o and Harrison Ford. And J.J. Abrams may have said that The Force Awakens is currently 124 minutes long… D23 being D23, and Star Wars being only a small part of the panel, so we heard a bit more out of the press room.

Head under the cut to see the full poster, direct from Struzan himself!

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Rogue One announces cast; Adds Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk

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We got our first look and additional cast and crew for Gareth Edward’s Rogue One at D23 today. In addition to Felicity Jones, who was announced previously, the Lucasfilm confirms rumors of Ben Mendelsohn, Diego Luna, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Riz Ahmed, and Forest Whitaker. They also added Hannibals’ Mads Mikkelsen and Alan Tudyk (Firefly, A Knight’s Tale) whose role is performance-capture.

Additionally, it appears that the ‘Anthology’ branding has been somewhat dropped: The official logo for the film now says “A Star Wars Story.”