Star Wars: The Force Awakens
May 05, 2015 | 7:00 a.m.
Aliens, droids, dark lords and pilots — all captured by the camera of legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz. That’s what the latest issue of Vanity Fair has on display, featuring key interviews and revealing exclusive on-set images of the J.J. Abrams-directed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Watch the video at the top of the post for a behind-the-scenes peek at Leibovitz’s shoot. Here are some of the juiciest tidbits for fans dying to know more about the mysteries of “The Force Awakens”: — Abrams promises that “Episode VII” will “return to the franchise’s roots with a newfound commitment to practical effects,” including a Millennium Falcon set that inspired tears of joy from the crew and an actual working X-Wing (OK, maybe it doesn’t really fly, but it looks as if it could). — Among the film’s potential practical elements? Jar Jar Binks’ bones. His […]
April 19, 2015 | 8:37 a.m.
Mark Hamill, who portrayed young Jedi Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy of “Star Wars” films, offered a chilling alternate timeline for this December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the seventh film in core space fantasy saga. What if he said no? Speaking Saturday night at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, Hamill regaled a packed auditorium with tales of “Star Wars” past and present. Hamill spoke of how “Star Wars” creator George Lucas first broached the subject of a new trilogy of films, shared details about the difficulty of working with a Jedi Master puppet in Yoda and said he initially viewed “The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams with a hint of suspicion. The talk brought to a close the the third day of the four-day fan expo, one that over the course of the weekend has featured droid races, speed dating, costume […]
April 18, 2015 | 7:15 p.m.
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 16, 2015 | 3:30 p.m.
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 […]
April 16, 2015 | 2:12 p.m.
J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy made bold promises for the “Star Wars” universe on Thursday morning, speaking to thousands of the most dedicated fans of the sci-fi franchise at the Star Wars Celebration expo in Anaheim. Asked how he can possibly please all “Star Wars” fans with his upcoming film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Abrams hunched his shoulders and said, simply, “Well, we will.” Judging by the reaction of the 2,700 attendees inside the showcase auditorium at the Anaheim Convention Center, the director is hitting the right notes. A second teaser for the December film was unveiled near the end of an hour-long panel — which started the four-day convention — featuring Abrams, Kennedy and multiple generations of “Star Wars” cast members. The new clip featured some old favorites such as Han Solo (Harrison Ford), a voice-over from Luke […]
April 16, 2015 | 12:30 p.m.
This weekend’s Star Wars Celebration is the place to be for fans of all things related to the galaxy far, far away and a long, long time ago, but you don’t have to go to the Anaheim Convention Center to get an inside look at the fan expo. The convention, which kicked off Thursday morning with a presentation from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy, is being live-streamed for the enjoyment of “Star Wars” fans across the globe. Click on the video above to stay in the loop. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview So far, key moments at Star Wars Celebration include the unveiling of the first full-length trailer for “The Force Awakens”; a Q&A with “Star Wars” cast members, including newcomers John Boyega, […]
April 16, 2015 | 11:25 a.m.
The first full-length trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was unveiled Thursday morning, offering fans an extended look at what is perhaps this year’s most anticipated film. Director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy introduced the two-minute trailer during the Star Wars Celebration fan expo in Anaheim. The trailer begins with narration from Mark Hamill, who plays Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of the original “Star Wars” trilogy. Star Wars Celebration: Trailer unveiled | Watch the live stream | Fans gather | Preview “The Force is strong in my family,” he says. “My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power too.” It’s unclear whether he is addressing a member of the Skywalker family or another character altogether. The trailer shows scenes from Jakku, a desert planet not unlike Tatooine, where the wreckage of […]
March 12, 2015 | 10:42 a.m.
Mark you calendars. “Star Wars: Episode VIII” will open May 26, 2017. Walt Disney Co. Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Iger revealed the news at the company’s annual shareholder meeting Thursday in San Francisco. “Episode VIII” will be directed by Rian Johnson (“Looper”), who will take the reins of the saga from J.J. Abrams — Abrams’ film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set to open Dec. 18 and will see stars of the landmark original trilogy reprise their iconic roles alongside a large ensemble of newcomers including John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac. Johnson’s previous films include the high-school noir “Brick” and the caper comedy “The Brothers Bloom,” and he’s best known for the mind-bending time-travel thriller “Looper,” starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis. The 2012 movie grossed $176 million at the worldwide box office. Iger also said that the first […]
Feb. 05, 2015 | 5:00 a.m.
Mark Hamill might not have a lot of screen time in director Matthew Vaughn’s new film, “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but what he has is certainly memorable. In the opening sequence, which arrives in theaters Feb. 13, Hamill watches an operatically violent tussle unfold inside the remote chalet where his character, a kidnapped professor, is being held. The blood-spattered action sets the tone for the gleefully violent R-rated sendup/love-letter to classic spy flicks. The scene likely will ring familiar to comic readers who know the Mark Millar-Dave Gibbons title that inspired the film (notably, the comic was co-created by Vaughn), though it does play out a bit differently on the big screen. Hamill is not, as he was in the comic, appearing as himself, nor is he listening to complaints about the inferior quality of the “Star Wars” prequels. In […]
Dec. 26, 2014 | 9:00 a.m.
Chris Taylor headed to San Francisco’s AMC Metreon 15 on Black Friday for a 10 a.m. screening of “Fury,” but it wasn’t just the Brad Pitt tank drama that he’d come to see. Taylor was among the throngs of fans who made their way to 30 theaters across the country that day to be among the first to watch the trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which will return the legendary space opera to the big screen in 2015. “There’s one guy in the theater in the back row already watching the trailer over and over again on his iPhone,” recalled Taylor, the author of the new book “How Star Wars Conquered the Universe.” Also, he said, “there were stormtroopers in the audience.” Nor was the excitement confined to cinemas; online, the clip was reportedly viewed more than 20 […]