I’ll let you make your own jokes.
With all the movie and TV news coming out, it’s easy to get caught up in the future. Because the future, as a wise man once said, is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. But if you’ve got an even passing interest in the past, you should definitely check out Kitbashed.
Writer and designer Michael Heilemann has been on our radar for years, but with Kitbashed he’s delving deep into the origins of Star Wars – not the saga, not the franchise, but the movie. Heilemann connects Star Wars to everything from famous documentaries to Star Trek to a baffling magazine ad. He’s also especially good at analyzing George Lucas’ student films and early works.
Even when his observations are relatively familiar, Heilemann presents them in a novel way. For example, don’t miss his spellbinding video on the war movies which influenced the Death Star trench run. Citations are included for further reading, and the site itself is gloriously easy on the eyes, clean and straightforward and uncluttered. Kitbashed is an absolute joy.
Episodes IV and VI are both celebrating birthdays today; 35 for Star Wars and 29 for Return of the Jedi. Per usual, the Tumblr is locked and loaded and will be flooding your dashboard with plenty of relevant content (mostly pictures, honestly; I’m visual like that.) But the entire internet is getting on the action, so check back here for updates.
Over at the Huffington Post, Jon Favreau, Jon Favreau, Gary Ross and many other filmmakers talk about how Star Wars and George Lucas influenced them.
At Underwire, they profile visual effects guru Phil Tippett, talk to Ben Burtt about sound, and in an opinion piece, y Cade Metz bemoans how digital effects let Star Wars down. Plus, the 35 greatest tributes.
At 2:00 p.m., Mashable will be holding a live blog to celebrate. What will happen? Who will show up? We’ll be there… Or just hear about it later, probably.
Also: A different take on the Slave Leia outfit from author Olivia Waite.
Michael Heilemann takes to the archival footage and shooting screenplay to see if there’s evidence for George Lucas’ claim that Greedo always shot first.
The Phantom Menace is coming upon us yet again, and the press has been piling up. We’ll have more of a roundup tomorrow, but for this afternoon let’s start off with The Hollywood Reporter’s feature on Star Wars George Lucas. In it, we learn the franchise raked in $3 billion in licensing revenue last year. (That’s a lot of lightsabers – in the accompanying photo gallery, they say the franchise has raked in $20B in licensed goods alone.) Overall though, the feature doesn’t hold much for informed fans – merchandising rights, The Clone Wars, etc. So what’s really making waves among the geeky internet is a Q&A sidebar, where Lucas talks reaction to his Star Wars tweaks (“…when I make the slightest change, everybody thinks it’s the end of the world.”) and Han not shooting first:
Well, it’s not a religious event. I hate to tell people that. It’s a movie, just a movie. 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.
He also talks about CGI Yoda, Martin Scorsese’s Hugo and SOPA, but you know what’s getting passed around the internet for the rest of the evening…
Oprah.com has posted several clips up from last night’s episode of Oprah’s Last Chapter, including: On directing Star Wars and how he never got to see it with the rest of the world. (You might recognize that from the preview clip.) He also discusses Red Tails, his visionary process, his career, the George Lucas Educational Foundation, his relationship with Mellody Hobson and his near-death experience. There’s also a clip where Oprah sits down with Red Tails actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Terrence Howard.