Today in Rogue One: Oscar nods, Death Star knowledge drop

Rogue One nabbed two Oscar nominations today, for Visual Effects and Sound Mixing. Big Shiny Robot has a couple of statements from John Knoll and sound designer Chris Scarbosio. As for Star Wars alumni, Natalie Portman has received her third nomination, this time for lead in Jackie. She won the category for Black Swan in 2011.

Rogue One effects guy Todd Vaziri sheds some light on the Death Star’s trench run. Yes, this is mostly about A New Hope, but there are explanations (both practical and in-universe) for the equator dish schematic.

→ It’s Pablo Hidalgo on the movie’s Visual Guide! And again, this time on aliens!

→ And check out some high-res shots of Rogue One’s old-school user interfaces.

Post-Rogue One: Concept art, box office, effects, and Rebels

A couple of looks at the Rogue One concept art from io9 and Yahoo. The Art of Rogue One is on sale now.

Rogue One made $71.1M through Friday, and is still well on track for a $145-150M weekend.

→ It says sad things about the state of women’s paychecks in Hollywood that it’s actually news that Felicity Jones was by far Rogue One’s highest-paid cast member. A more bizarre wrinkle: Jones has a single sequel option in her contract. (Though I’m not sure why THR brings up “a young Luke Skywalker stand-alone” in relation to that, considering that the only speculation regarding Luke and Jyn was Jossed by the film itself.)

→ /Film takes a look at the trailer footage that was missing from the film.

→ How that one effect raises some ethical considerations. As for some of the later stuff, it wasn’t all pure digital: Some things come straight from unused A New Hope footage.

→ Phil Noto has graced us with some Erso art.

→ Did you catch all the Rebels references in Rogue One? Nerdist has the list. And a Toys R Us promo posters reveals which Rogue One character is coming to Rebels.

→ Vulture pins down Rogue One’s greatest retcon. Meanwhile, over at Wired, architects and engineers nitpick the Death Star.

→ All the crazy, convoluted ways that the Rebels stole the Death Star plans in the old Expanded Universe. They’re almost all video games, which… Okay.

Are Chirrut and Baze a couple? “I think that’s all good. Who knows? You’d have to speak to them,” Gareth Edwards says.

→ Your moment of zen: Ranking Star Wars’ “sweet space capes.”

Rumors: A closer look at the Greenham Common X-wings… And who’s flying them?

Rumors!Latino Review has dropped Da7e Gonzales’ Friday column early, and it features more (and clearer) pictures of the second X-wing, as well as a few details on how the starfighters figure in.

The ships may be real, but the plot/character stuff? I shrug. But I will note that it does sound like something (someones?) who could be primed for a spin-off.

As for the other big bombshell (so to speak) of the week, I’m already sick of the Death Star crap that’s floating around the J.J. Abrams pic from the other day. That well is dried up, thanks in no small part to Return of the Jedi. The part of me that railed against the fetish back in the days of Kevin J. Anderson is wary, but I wouldn’t count out a superweapon of some kind. But an actualfax Death Star? No matter what you believe about the Empire itself, it’s not so far-fetched that there are a ton of Star Destroyers with similar light packages and shiny floors still around.

Yes, some pockets of resistance have recently emerged to the retro-heavy looks we’ve seen thus far, but let’s give them a tad more credit than recycling an idea for the third time. Remember, we haven’t seen the full package yet, and somehow I doubt they brought in Doug Chiang and Iain McCaig just to touch up some old McQuarrie pieces.

Interview: Ryder Windham on Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual

RyderWindham-Death-StarRyder Windham has written over fifty Star Wars books, across the spectrum from comics to junior books to hefty reference books. His latest book, the Death Star Owner’s Technical Manual, came out this week as a Haynes manual, and focuses on the saga’s favorite armored space station. Windham spoke with me about the new book, illustrated by Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas, who had worked previously with Windham on the Haynes Millennium Falcon Owner’s Technical Guide which came out in 2011. Here’s the interview with Ryder Windham about the new Death Star reference book:

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The Empire responds to White House nixing Death Star construction

Construction_of_the_Death_StarWith the White House responding to the petition to research and build a Death Star, the Empire has issued its own statement on the decision by the United State not to build a giant planet-destroying space station in a post on the StarWars.com blog.

Calling Earth an unimaginatively named planet, the press statement quotes both Governor Tarkin and Admiral Motti on their views for why our world has decided against building the Death Star, and smoothing over any concern about that design flaw that was cited by the White House.

White House responds to Death Star petition

death-star-7The White House has given an official response to the online petition “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016”, which has over 34,000 signatures. In a response entitled “This isn’t the petition you’re looking for”, Paul Shawcross, Chief of the Science and Space Branch at the Office of Management and Budget, points out some of the key issues against building the not-quite-ultimate power in the universe:

  • The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We’re working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
  • The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
  • Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?

With plenty of links, Shawcross continues the response with examples of what the U.S. is doing to develop other Star Wars-esque technologies, including laser-wielding robots on other planets (Mars Rover), and fostering greater interest in STEM careers.

Probably another key consideration would be the additional security risk to prevent the Death Star plans from being stolen.