I have no idea how this happened, but Mattel is putting out three Star Wars Barbies. Yes, Mattel. Yes, Barbies.
They’re fancy collectors editions that reimagine three iconic A New Hope looks through a high-fashion lens and they cost $100 each, so yes: Collectors items. But honestly, I mostly just enjoy the fact that they exist at all.
The new shorts, which revisit parts of the saga in bite-sized chunks for kids, have officially debuted on the new official Youtube channel, Star Wars Kids. There are six shorts and three “fun facts”. Watch them on StarWars.com (with commentary from producer Josh Rimes) or below the cut.
The latest set of Forces of Destiny episodes are live now on Youtube. The one with Rey and Finn begins with something very like a cut scene from The Force Awakens, but we’ve also got some offscreen The Last Jedi action with Chewbacca, Artoo and porgs. There’s also the long-awaited solo Padme adventure (set in The Phantom Menace era), and two post-Return of the Jedi Ewok adventures, including the return of the Gorax. Watch them all below.
Rian Johnson had (at least) one request for J.J. Abrams about The Force Awakens‘ ending – to have Artoo go with Rey instead of BB-8, so the classic droid could be reunited with Luke Skywalker. Luke, naturally, is central to The Last Jedi:
“Figuring out where his head was at was the very first thing I had to do when writing the movie. I had to crack this. And it had to be something for me that first and foremost made sense. Why did Luke Skywalker go off to this island?” Johnson says. “That was the starting point, and that’s what the entire movie explores.”
So Luke’s self-exile – and his reasoning – is a key factor in the film.
Kenny Baker, the actor who played Artoo, has died at the age of 81. The 3 foot, 8 inch actor was the man inside the droid for the original and prequel trilogies. He also played Paploo the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, and appeared in Time Bandits and Flash Gordon
Baker has been ill for some time. “It was expected, but it’s sad nonetheless. He had a very long and fulfilled life,” his niece, Abigail Shield, told the Guardian. “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.”
Peter Mayhew posted “a final farewell to my little friend with the giant heart” on Chewbacca.com on Monday.
“Goodbye #KennyBaker,” Mark Hamill tweeted. “A lifelong loyal friend-I loved his optimism & determination. He WAS the droid I was looking for!” Fellow actors Ewan McGregor and Warwick Davis also posted remembrances on Twitter.
George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy spoke about Baker on StarWars.com. Lucas calls him “a real gentleman” and “an incredible trooper,” while Kennedy says “There is no Star Wars without R2-D2, and Kenny defined who R2-D2 was and is. He will be greatly missed.”