Movies


April 18, 2015 | 7:15 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: ‘The Force Awakens’ is a ‘transference of generations’

Harrison Ford, right, as Han Solo with Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." (Lucasfilm / Disney)
Forget the shiny digital gloss that marked the three “Star Wars” prequels. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the upcoming seventh episode in the space fantasy saga, drew its primary inspiration from the late 70s and early ’80s look of the original trilogy, said key members of the new film’s visual effects team on Saturday at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim. Speaking on a panel on the third day of the four-day fan expo, the effects wizards assured fans that “The Force Awakens” emphasizes characters over digital magic. “It’s almost liked ratcheting it down,” said Christian Alzmann, part of the production team for “The Force Awakens.” Alzmann, who worked on “Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” was asked how the J.J. Abrams-directed film would distinguish itself amid today’s landscape of effects-heavy genre films. “To me, there’s almost like […]
April 18, 2015 | 9:10 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Anthony Daniels praises J.J. Abrams

Anthony Daniels
If C-3P0 brings a little comic relief to the “Star Wars” saga, then the man who inhabits the robot, Anthony Daniels, is the one who brought the humor to Star Wars Celebration. While fans may have wanted dirt on the upcoming J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Daniels instead wanted to dish on unfortunate product placement and the uncomfortable places sand can find itself in a robot suit. Daniels treated his hourlong discussion Friday night at Celebration as if it were a variety show, playfully flirting with an audience member dressed as C-3P0’s robot companion, R2-D2, and interjecting numerous jokes into his tales of “Star Wars” past. The conversation brought to a close the second day of panels and discussions at the four-day fan expo, one that had earlier hosted lively conversations with the likes of Carrie Fisher and Ray Park. A […]
April 17, 2015 | 6:14 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Carrie Fisher takes fans on a racy date with a princess

"Star Wars" actress Carrie Fisher, joined by her dog Gary, talks onstage during her presentation at Star Wars Celebration on April 17 at the Anaheim Convention Center. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
If Carrie Fisher has anything in common with Princess Leia, the forceful character she made famous in the “Star Wars” films, it might be her impulsive attitude. In her Friday afternoon Star Wars Celebration presentation, Fisher, 58, told racy jokes, autographed the host’s shoes, took pictures with fans and even planted a long, wet kiss on a member of the audience. What she didn’t do was talk much about “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the upcoming seventh installment in the space opera and a main focus of the fan expo, which runs through Sunday at the Anaheim Convention Center. Fisher reprises her Leia role in the new film, due out in December, but said she couldn’t “figure out what I was supposed to not tell.” “I think they keep me away from stuff because they know that I have an […]
April 17, 2015 | 5:18 p.m.

‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ trailer released early after online leak

'Batman v Superman' trailer
The wait is over early for Batman and Superman fans. The new “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” trailer was officially released Friday in advance of the announced IMAX screenings set for Monday. The trailer offers viewers a glimpse into the gritty world that exists after the events of 2013’s “Man of Steel” that exposed the populace to Superman. “Is it really surprising that the most powerful man in the world should be a figure of controversy?” asks a mysterious voice as various scenes featuring Superman, played by Henry Cavill, flash across the screen. As the trailer jumps between more scenes featuring the Man of Steel, various voices are heard discussing saviors, aliens, hope, power and corruption before focusing on a desecrated statue of the extraterrestrial superhero. Fans who have been anticipating more looks at Ben Affleck as the titular […]
April 17, 2015 | 4:45 p.m.

Paycheck Friday: Celebrate ‘Star Wars’ with a collection of your own

Dressed as "Star Wars" character Oola, Moe Hunt of Chicago poses with Roxy the Rancor during the 2015 Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Welcome to a special “Star Wars” edition of Paycheck Friday, a roundup of some of Hero Complex’s favorite toys, books, games and other merchandise. In honor of Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim this weekend, this week’s paycheck goes to expanding (or starting) the “Star Wars”-themed shelf in your geek cave. Included are picks for items available outside the confines of the Anaheim Convention Center, as well as some exclusives from the expo. First up we have the Lego Slave I set. When building a collection, it’s quite apropos to have a trophy that also displays your building skills. What better way to celebrate the “Star Wars” franchise than with a model of a ship that appears in films from the original trilogy and the prequel series? The Lego Slave I set also includes figures for Boba Fett and a carbonite-sealed […]
April 17, 2015 | 7:53 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: Emperor Palpatine actor Ian McDiarmid recalls ‘Return of the Jedi’

"Star Wars" actor Ian McDiarmid, pictured at Skywalker Ranch in San Rafael, Calif., on May 4, 2005. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
“And I thought you hated me,” actor Ian McDiarmid quipped as he took the stage to raucous applause for a Q&A at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention Thursday in Anaheim. Granted, McDiarmid played the most purely evil character in the entire “Star Wars” universe: Emperor Palpatine, the gravelly voiced Sith lord who corrupted Jedi knight Anakin Skywalker and turned him to the dark side of the Force. But at a love-fest like Celebration, all is forgiven, and fans were happy to hear the 70-year-old McDiarmid reminisce for an hour about his work on 1983’s “The Return of the Jedi” and the three prequels that later followed. The Scottish McDiarmid, who has spent the greater portion of his career acting on the stage, recounted the story of how he was first cast in the role more than 30 years ago. […]
April 17, 2015 | 4:30 a.m.

Star Wars Celebration: ‘The Force Awakens’ has fans feeling like kids again

Fans attend Star Wars Celebration 2015 on April 16n Anaheim, California.  (Jesse Grant / Getty Images for Disney)
Thousands of die-hard “Star Wars” fans — more than a few bearing lightsabers and clad in homemade costumes — came into the opening panel at the Star Wars Celebration fan convention in Anaheim with three big questions. Would J.J. Abrams, director of the highly anticipated “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens,” show a new trailer? Would Harrison Ford — still recovering from injuries sustained in a plane crash last month — make his first-ever appearance at a “Star Wars” convention? And would fresh plot details about the new film — not hitting theaters until Dec. 18, an excruciatingly long wait for the faithful — finally be unveiled? The answers were yes, no and, as Yoda might say, “Patience, young Skywalker.” In a presentation Thursday morning at the Anaheim Convention Center that was heavy on nostalgia for the much-loved nearly […]
April 16, 2015 | 5:26 p.m.

Throwback Thursday: Remembering ‘Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back’ 35 years later

Yoda, Mark Hamill and Gary Kurts on the set of "The Empire Strikes Back." (Lucasfilm)
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Hero Complex’s new Throwback Thursday series. In this series, Hero Complex will guide you through the rich history of science fiction, fantasy, horror and comic book entertainment. With the Star Wars Celebration fan expo underway at the Anaheim Convention Center, it’s only fitting that this week’s Throwback Thursday honors one of the films in George Lucas’ groundbreaking “Star Wars” trilogy — “The Empire Strikes Back,” which celebrates its 35th anniversary this year. The film, which was later renamed “Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back,” was met with fan anticipation and critical acclaim when it opened in theaters May 21, 1980. In his review, Times film critic Charles Champlin had nothing but praise for the film, calling it “richly imaginative, engrossing and spectacular.” As the followup to 1977’s “Star Wars,” which was […]
April 16, 2015 | 4:24 p.m.

Star Wars Celebration images: The Force is strong with convention-goers in Anaheim

"Star Wars" fans Sharon Jackson, left, dressed as Mission Vao, of Las Vegas, and Kyle Jackson, dressed as Chewbacca, pose for pictures during the 2015 Star Wars Celebration at the Anaheim Convention Center on April 16. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Some 60,000 “Star Wars” fans, many dressed as Jedi, Stormtroopers and Sith, are converging on the Anaheim Convention Center this weekend for Star Wars Celebration — a pop culture expo devoted to the sci-fi franchise. The convention kicked off Thursday with a presentation devoted to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the much anticipated seventh installment in the space opera. Director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy debuted the first full-length trailer for the film after an on-stage Q&A with cast members Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), as well as newcomers Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). The convention, which runs through Sunday, will also feature panels spotlighting veteran “Star Wars” actors, the hit animated series “Star Wars Rebels,” and plenty of fan-focused events on the […]
April 16, 2015 | 3:30 p.m.

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer: Darth Vader’s charred helmet ignites a theory

Darth Vader's helmet
Among the familiar faces that appear in the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” teaser that debuted during the panel for the film at the Star Wars Celebration fan expo, perhaps the most surprising visage from films past was not an actual face but a certain charred helmet. Fans will remember that near the end of “Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi,” Darth Vader sacrificed himself to save Luke Skywalker, who was being attacked by the Emperor with Force lightning. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview Vader threw his master down the reactor shaft of the second Death Star, but during this rescue, Vader himself was struck by the Emperor’s lightning. With this final act of redemption, Vader, once again Anakin Skywalker, dies in his son Luke’s arms. Later, Luke […]
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