It was a big year for Star Wars: The movies got another overhaul as the long-awaited complete saga set finally appeared with the Blu-rays, Star Tours finally came out of the 80’s with a major upgrade, and the franchises’ most-hyped video game ever actually arrived. And the fans did some pretty cool stuff, too! Onward!
Rising star. Joel Edgerton has worked steadily in Hollywood since Attack of the Clones, but a big name he isn’t – yet. He’s currently in talks for a role that could change that, Vulture reports – the lead in the sequel to 300, Battle of Artemisia. (UPDATE: Vulture is now saying Edgerton is also being offered the role of Ilya in Steven Soderbergh’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E.. remake. )
Edgerton starred in September’s Warrior, last month’s The Thing and will play Tom Buchanan in next year’s high-profile adaption of The Great Gatsby alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.
Home entertainment sales up. A trade group reports that home entertainment spending has risen 5% in the third quarter – the first increase since 2008. Helping drive the rise are Blu-ray sales, up a whopping 58% from a year ago. I can think of one recent release that may have helped with that…
Science! NASA has awarded three scientists $100,000 to “study the ability to trap and move objects using laser light,” aka tractor beams. Evil overlord wannabes everywhere are plotting in joy. For inspiration, check out Gadget Review’s list of Star Wars tech that now exists.
Commercials. British electronics retailer Dixons is the latest business to borrow Darth Vader for an ad campaign. The spots will debut Saturday.
Today is the official release date for The Clone Wars season 3 on DVD and Blu-Ray. On the book front, The Complete Vader by Ryder Windham and Peter Vilmur will finally be waiting on shelves after a production-related delay of two years; Check out reviews by EUCantina and Roqoo Depot.
Also out and about is the follow-up to last year’s Visions, Star Wars Art: Comics.
Meanwhile, Wednesday will bring Knight Errant: Deluge #3 to comic shops.
NukeTheFridge.com reports that Sam Witwer, who portrayed Starkiller in The Force Unleashed series and voiced Son in the Mortis arc of The Clone Wars, is returning to the show to voice Darth Maul. The first reports of the Being Human‘s star coming back to the show came from an interview at Dragon*Con by Star Wars Report, where Witwer confirmed that he will be doing a character new to him, and recounts:
Dave Filoni calls me up, gets me on the phone, and he says, “Listen, so we want you to come back to work and we need you to play…” and he tells me the character’s name. And I almost had a car accident. And he says, “Can you do it?” And I’m like yes. And then I worried about later whether I could do it or not. But I was like yes, yes, I will do that. So it is a tremendous opportunity and I can’t wait for you guys to find out about it.
Until we get official word, it’s just a rumor that he’ll play Darth Maul, (who was previously announced as returning next spring) – but an exciting one at that.
Meanwhile, Slate has done an article for parents on how to sound intelligent when you talk to your kids about The Clone Wars. Basically, it sorts out that everything you know about Star Wars from the original trilogy has been turned on its head: Clonetroopers and the Republic are good, while the rebellious Separatists are evil. Not a whole lot on knowing who the show’s original characters are – Ahsoka barely gets mentioned, and I think Rex doesn’t even get mentioned. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably well ahead of the people who need to refer to the Slate article for help.
Always feel bummed about contests that are for US residents only? Well, here are two different chances to win Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season Three DVD and Blu-ray sets: SFX is giving away the Blu-rays and Entertainment Focus is giving away the DVDs – for people in the United Kingdom.
Even the latest controvery over changes to the original trilogy couldn’t keep the Blu-rays down. Star Wars: The Complete Saga is Blu-ray’s biggest launch yet. The nine-disc set has made more than $84 million – 515,000 sets and $38 million in the U.S. and Canada, Variety reports.
Are sales of Blu-ray players and HDTVs seeing a notable increase, too? I’d lay even money on it.
UPDATe: Check out a great ad stunt for the Blu-rays in Tokyo.
With the Blu-rays out today, the Star Wars publicity machine has been out in full force this week, the shamelessness cumulating (…perhaps) with letting three Jawas and a Stormtrooper loose in New York City. Do they double as a sitcom pitch? (Can we get Humpy in on that?) Meanwhile, London got a giant lightsaber.
We’re hearing reports that some stores are not stocking huge amounts of the discs, so if you’re picking it up today, plan accordingly. (If not, Amazon’s still pricing the set at $79.99.)
But it’s really all about the Blu-rays themselves… And as they’ve made their way into more hands, the more reports we have of the inevitable tweaks that have been made to the movies. Screenrant hits the (so-far) major notes, while DVD Active takes a more detailed look at the original trilogy changes, comparing frames from several different releases.
We’ll likely see more reviews throughout the day (check back!) but Entertainment Weekly and The Toronto Sun got a jump on things Thursday evening. Today, we have reviews from Big Shiny Robot, IGN, and GeekDad.
But of course, we all know the best way to deal with George and co. tweaking the movies yet again: Make funnies. The most popular spoof making the rounds is probably George Lucas re-edits classic movies, and maybe it’s the hour, but I couldn’t help but crack up at Conan’s take. And, of course, no controversy is complete without a ridiculous video by Taiwan’s NMA World Edition.
But of course, eventually your rage will cool, and you just have to make your peace with the fact that George doesn’t care, George doesn’t give a shit, and make your peace with it. If not, well, there’s a t-shirt for that.
But enough of that emo bullshit. Got your copy yet?
While at the 30th anniversary screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark, Steven Spielberg talked a bit about the early development of Indiana Jones by him and his friend George Lucas, their friendship, about the restoration of Raiders of the Lost Ark (for eventual Blu-ray release), and being hopeful for Indy V.
When Harrison Ford came out, he said he’s up for a fifth time as Indiana Jones, and thinks the key is expanding the audience’s understanding of the character. Also, Harrison Ford in Jurassic Park? Spielberg offered the role of Alan Grant to him.
Rounding out their coverage, the LA Times also did a retrospective on the Raiders of the Lost Ark toys from the 1980s.
EDIT: While Spielberg commented that the newly cleaned up version of Raiders of the Lost Ark that they were screening was going to be eventually used for the Blu-ray and he noted that that Blu-ray release would not have any changes from the 1981 theatrical release, Spielberg later commented that he regrets making changes to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for its 20th Anniversary DVD, saying, “I realized what I had done was I had robbed people who loved E.T. of their memories of E.T.”
He went on to say that the E.T. Blu-ray would be the original 1982 theatrical version, and not contain the unpopular 2002 revisions, such as digitally replacing police guns with walkie-talkies.
The price of the box set has been lowered to $79.99 on Amazon!
Star Wars Aficionado got a look at some of the deleted scenes from the Star Wars Blu-Rays, and details several of them.