Celebration Reel of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

August 26, 2016 – The weekend is (almost) here and would normally be a perfect time to watch some great movies at your local theater. Except 2016 has witnessed quite a few movie failures.

The cinematic bombs include the Ghostbusters remake (guesstimated global net loss: $200M); the Ben-Hur remake (the $100M production took in only $11M the first weekend); Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; Disney’s Alice through the Looking Glass; Zoolander 2; and many more.

Despite 2016’s many flops, Rogue One might turn out to be one of the few high notes in an otherwise dismal year at the box office. The following behind-the-scenes reel, which was first shown at Star Wars Celebration in London last month, gives us great hope. The movie premieres Dec. 16th.

September 30th Is Rogue One Force Friday

ForceFriday-RogueOneAugust 25, 2016 – September is right around the corner, and the warm days of summer (if you live in the northern hemisphere) are about to retreat. For the second year in a row, September is scheduled to have another Force Friday.

On September 30th, at 12:00 AM, major retailers will open their store doors and online vendors will unleash all manner of Star Wars Rogue One action figures, Legos, vehicles, books, helmets, lightsabers and more.

Over the last week, somewhat grainy leaked images of Force Friday products have appeared across the web. Fortunately, the Facebook page of Jedi Temple Archives has managed to obtain some hi-res photos of some of the embargoed products.

Rebel U-Wing Fighter from Rogue One

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TIE Striker from Rogue One

RogueOne-TIE Striker

RogueOne-TIE Striker2 Footnote: TIE is an acronym for Twin Ion Engines, in case someone challenges you at a beer-drinking trivia game. But you already knew that.

3.75″ Action Figures from Rogue One

Rebel Commando Pao and Imperial Death Trooper

Rebel Commando Pao and Imperial Death Trooper

RogueOne-RebelCdrPao2

Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader and Moroff

Scarif Stormtrooper Squad Leader and Moroff

The all-new Moroff creature, which fights for the Rebels, appears to be a cross between a Wampa (the Yeti-like furry snow creature from Hoth) and Chewbacca. Scarif is the name of the tropical planet we have seen in the Rogue One trailers. The secluded planet hosts an Imperial military installation.

RogueOne-ScarifStormTpr2

New Wave of 3.75″ Action Figures (not Rogue One)

Snowtrooper Officer and Poe Dameron (though we don't remember seeing him wear this uniform in The Force Awakens)

Snowtrooper Officer and Poe Dameron (though we don’t remember seeing him wear this uniform in The Force Awakens)

No official prices have been announced yet.

Star Wars Black Series: Previews & Leaks Galore

Felicity Jones holds aloft her own action figure (Jyn Erso) at Star Wars Celebration Europe (July 2016; Photo Credit: Lucasfilm)

Felicity Jones holds aloft her own action figure (Jyn Erso) at Star Wars Celebration Europe (July 2016; Photo Credit: Lucasfilm)


August 20, 2016 – The first Rogue One action figure, Jyn Erso, was publicly revealed on July 15th at Star Wars Celebration in London. The 6-inch Black Series figure quickly sold out at the San Diego Comic Con a week later.

While Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will not premiere until December 16th, a flood of merchandise will hit retail stores and online vendors a full 2 1/2 months earlier.

All new Rogue One products will launch globally beginning September 30th.

Despite the global embargo, several leaks (video and still images) have occurred in recent days. A viewer in the Philippines has already posted what may be the first video reviews of three new 6-inch Black Series figures from Rogue One. They include #23 Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu), #24 K-2SO, and #25 Imperial Death Trooper.

K-2SO:

Captain Cassian Andor (Eadu):


Imperial Death Trooper
:

Meanwhile, Amazon may have accidentally published images of not-yet-fully-described action figures and vehicles – and maybe even a Rogue One playset – on its website. However, all the links have since been taken down.

Amazon briefly publicized a possible "vehicle playset" for $49.99. But the link is now inactive.

Amazon briefly publicized a possible “vehicle playset” for $49.99. But the link is now inactive.

Rumors are that the following vehicles will be sold: Krennic’s Shuttle (retailer code name “Blackbird”); U-wing (“Unicorn”); the Death Star (“Owl”); TIE Striker (“Raven”); and Imperial Cargo Shuttle (“Vulture”).

JediTempleArchives.com also reports that a possible AT-ACT vehicle (All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport) was listed on Amazon with a MSRP of $279.99. Beyond the ridiculously high price for the nerf-firing vehicle, the Amazon link has since been taken down.

In a separate leak, idlehands1.blogspot.com has posted images of a Rebel U-Wing Fighter and a TIE Striker.

The U-Wing appears to come with a 3.75" Captain Cassian Andor.

The U-Wing appears to come with a 3.75″ Captain Cassian Andor.

According to a leaked page from Rogue One: The Official Visual Story Guide (see pic below), the U-Wing is much bigger than an X-Wing or a Y-Wing. In fact, it’s not a starfighter. The U-Wing is a combination gunship and troop transport. U-Wing Guide Leak

The TIE Striker has its own 3.75" TIE Striker Pilot.

The TIE Striker has its own 3.75″ TIE Striker Pilot.

The inclusion of the Nerf-blaster on both vehicles is unfortunate and a repeat of the disastrous error that was the Nerf-firing Millenium Falcon toy, which came out after The Force Awakens hit theaters. According to rumors, the unsightly Nerf bits can be removed. No MSRP has been announced for either vehicle, though some are speculating a price of $50.00 each.

Pentatonix Sings Star Wars

August 20, 2016 – If you thought the various Star Wars themes could not be sung, Pentatonix shows you how it’s done.

Harrison Ford introduced the five-member Texas-based a cappella group at the 2015 American Music Awards on November 22nd, 2015.



If the Star Wars tribute wasn’t energetic enough for you, listen to PTX’s Daft Punk vocal explosion:

James Earl Jones: No Longer Signing Autographs

August 19, 2016 – James Earl Jones, who has given life to Darth Vader with his sonorous voice, has long been a fan favorite. With a career spanning 60 years, the 85-year-old actor has garnered a Tony Award, Golden Globe Award, three Emmy Awards, an Honorary Academy Award, and many other honors.

For fans in the know, James Earl Jones has willingly signed, for free, most items that fans have sent him: postcards, photos of Vader, DVD covers of The Lion King (he voiced Musafa), art work, autobiographical pictures, and more. The only requirements had been that you send a written Letter of Request, a SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope using U.S. stamps), and the item(s) you wished him to sign.

A lucky fan reported on Fanmail.biz that he/she mailed the above three items on 08.28.15. All were signed and received on 04.14.16 - 8 1/2 months later.

A lucky fan reported on Fanmail.biz that he/she mailed the above three items on 08.28.15. All were signed and received on 04.14.16 – 8 1/2 months later.

For several years, fans who mailed his New York address (or whichever stage theater he was performing at), would patiently wait. Sometimes two months. More often eight months. In one instance, 18 months. But then the magic day would arrive, and the autographed photo would arrive in the mail.

Well, it looks like those gravy days are over. Starting sometime in February, 2016, some fans have been reporting on Fanmail.biz that their unsigned photographs are being mailed back RTS (return to sender), or that their SASE is used with a note that says, apologetically:

Unfortunately, I am returning your item(s) unsigned. As you can imagine, James Earl Jones is overwhelmed with requests. With his very busy schedule, he just doesn’t have enough time to get to them all. He is very touched and wants to thank you for being such a fan. May the Force Be With You.”

JamesEarlJones-Autograph-2

Despite the February cut-off date (give or take), an occasional fan has successfully received an autograph. However, this may reflect the fact that submissions were mailed last year and that James Earl Jones is simply clearing up the backlog of requests.

In this photo, the fan writes that he received an autograph on June 20, 2016. But note that the request was mailed on October 17, 2015 - eight months earlier. The backlog of requests is being cleared away.

In this photo, the fan writes that he received an autograph on June 20, 2016. But note that the request was mailed on October 17, 2015 – eight months earlier. The backlog of requests is being cleared away.

It should probably come as no surprise that the 85-year-old actor is seeking a break from signing. More importantly, he is reprising his voice-over role, yet again, as Lord Vader in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

The producers have not said who will physically portray Darth Vader in his helmet and cape, but so far, it doesn’t sound like 80-year-old David Prowse will be returning. Health issues and a rumored fallout between Prowse and George Lucas/Lucasfilm preclude his return.

Star Wars 360° Mouse Droid Game

August 18, 2016 – Here’s a short, fun 360° virtual reality game you can play on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

MouseDroid-YouTube

The video is on YouTube, where you play the part of the mouse droid onboard the Death Star. The goal is to find four hidden objects: R2-D2, a gonk droid, the Rebel Alliance insignia, and a piece of popcorn (or in Portuguese, “pipoca”).

To rotate the screen 360°, use your cursor (for tablets, laptops and PC’s) or move your phone around. But hurry, you have less than 90 seconds to complete play before a certain bounty hunter kicks you over.

The graphics are a bit primitive. But we are still in the early stages of 360° VR video. And if you give up and can’t find all four objects, the answers are in the YouTube comments.

By the way, if you were around in the 1980’s/early 1990’s playing video games, you might enjoy this retro-style video, “Star Wars Deaths” – complete with old-school midi music. Look how far we’ve come!

Star Wars Celebration Europe: A Final Look at Some Costumed Fans

August 17, 2016 – Star Wars Celebration Europe may have come and gone in the blink of an eye (or, more exactly, one month ago), but the memories live on.

Here are some photos of fans in their creative glory showing their love for that galaxy far, far away.

BB-8 was popular this year, whether in the form of a spiffy dress, or as a BB-8 inspired pilot (cool helmet!)

The third season of Star Wars Rebels begins on Sept. 24th, which might explain the absence of Chopper and Sabine from this lineup (or maybe they’re still parking the car). Star Wars Rebels

We all love a good prequel – and a shiny glowing orb. Queen Amidala

You don’t have to be rich like Queen Amidala, above, to dress up for Star Wars. “Chewbacca on a Dime” wins my vote for Most Frugal Costume. Actually made me laugh. Brilliant!

Imperial Officer: “Hey! No parking here!”
Han Solo: “We’re just passing through.”

So who’s going to clean up after that dirty Taun Taun of yours? Why, it’s Matt the Radar Technician. (See YouTube if you have no idea who this is.)

I’ve always liked Salacious Crumb. The rodent with the attitude.

Lord Vader and his minions.

Some costumes and make-up jobs were dead-on accurate, as if you had stepped into the original movie.

Others made me look at Ewoks in a different way for the very first time.

Hasbro messing up the packaging again.

This father gets my vote for “Coolest Dad of the Year Award”. Not only did he take his son to Celebration, but they dressed identically in Return of the Jedi Luke costumes. Hope his son cherishes the memories!

Twi’leks – in any hue – are the height of feminine pulchritude. (There, I just expanded your vocabulary.)

Two points if you know who this is. (Answer: Sidon Ithano. He’s probably still hanging on a store peg at your local Walmart or ToysRUs somewhere.)

Pink-bacca: There’s so much going on in this picture, I don’t even know where to begin.

At the end of the day, even mortal enemies can kick back and enjoy a beer together.

And, finally, let us pray that this is not hiding under your bed tonight. SquidHead-071616

Thank you to all the costumed fans for putting in the extra effort and for making Celebration Europe that much more enjoyable. If you recognize someone in these photos (or if it’s you), please comment below.