Tuesday 24 December 2019
Rolling into Christmas with full seasonal aplomb, our loveable astro droid friend BB-8 is the life and soul of the party and the sequel trilogy, in this memorable festive art by Sabrina RG Raven.
Check out her site here: https://sabrinargraven.storenvy.com/
HAPPY CHRISTMAS! and A PROSPEROUS 2020 to all STAR WARS AFICIONADO readers worldwide!
Wednesday 18 December 2019
|The recently released US IMAX poster for EPISODE IX. Art by Paul Shipper. All images: Lucasfilm/Disney.|
POTENTIAL VERY MILD SPOILERS AHEAD...
Thrilling and superbly executed for the most part, The Rise of Skywalker is a very satisfying conclusion not only to the new sequel trilogy but most of the iconic saga that preceeded it. The film gets off to a great start with an exciting scene-setting title crawl and the genuinely creepy haunted house-like return of the Nosferatu-esque Palpatine, once more superbly played - with some new character facets - by Ian McDiarmid. On the other side of the galaxy, the Resistance responds, as our three main heroes and buddies - Rey, Finn and Poe, finally reunited and sparring well together, react to Palpatine's seemingly omnipotent return, getting started on an epic adventure to stop the Empire and First Order over a wide range of new planets, whilst also picking up lots of new help along the way- both capable (Naomi Ackie's Jannah and Kerri Russell as Zorri Bliss) and cute (the hilarious miniature technician Babu Frik). It's great to see John Boyega get more of the heroics pie this time out as Resistance hero Finn, whilst the arc for Daisy Ridley's Rey is well thought out and successfully closed in many ways.
|The gang's all here.|
|And Lando's back too!|
The return of the saga's legacy characters is equally well handled- the use of deleted footage of the the late Carrie Fisher proves remarkably integrated into the film, whilst Billy Dee Williams returns to Lando as if putting back on a familiar pair of comfortable shows- it's really great to see him. Special plaudits to for Anthony Daniels as Threepio, who has some great dialogue, despite his character (alongside Artoo) still not having enough to do in the story telling. Joonas Suotamo delivers a performance as the mighty Chewbacca that's a wonderful tribute to the late Peter Mayhew. Plus, a few surprise returning characters make great cameo appearances that will have audiences cheering with delight.
|Adam Driver impresses as Kylo Ren, notably in the film's first half.|
As for Rey's nemesis, in dark side 'monster' Kylo Ren, Adam Driver continues to deliver a complex and satisfying character turn- his scenes with Daisy Ridley as electric as ever. But how his arc ultimately turns out will likely prove debatable with fans for years to come. In support, Richard E. Grant figures well in the film as the First Order's thinly-sketched but capable and sneery baddie Allegiant General Pryde, whilst Domnhall Gleeson has a couple of great laugh-out moments as General Hux.
|The spirited and emotional adventure continues...|
Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams build on what was established with The Force Awakens, and build on, yet cleverly side stepping at the same time, many of this issues that had been a thorn in the side to fans with The Last Jedi. With such an ambitious journey, a few loose ends and the odd not fully explained sequence loiter expectantly here and there, too. As for the ending... prepare for action and danger, joy and tears- one sequence in particular certainly had me leaking cheek water thanks to the marvellous and emotional performance of one specific actor. You will need a hankie or two, so be ready.
|The Resistance makes its last stand.|
Its time has come - buckle up and get ready for the (supposed) end of the Skywalker saga. Though the Sequel Trilogy will never equal the incredible accomplishments made by George Lucas with the Original Trilogy, and there is a sense here of mild fan/box office pandering in critical storytelling decisions, EPISODE IX is certainly deserving of your time and hard-earned money, requiring at least two or three viewings to take in the hugeness of it all. May the Force Be With You always at the cinema this Holiday Season for which this film is so perfectly primed, as we equally send a hearty congratulations to J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm for their accomplishments...
With thanks to Disney UK for allowing STAR WARS AFICIONADO to attend their advance screening.
Tuesday 17 December 2019
Enjoy the world premiere via STARWARS.COM:
UK European premiere review:
Stars attend Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker's London premiere | Daily Mail Online
The players for good and for evil are assembled, as the nightmare of tyrannical evil returns with the threat of the First Order against the weak-willed New Republic, and a potential new Jedi generation is revealed. The Force Awakens celebrates its fourth anniversary in the UK today. A rare composite publicity image showcased by TOPPS.
Monday 16 December 2019
|Art by Paul Mann.|
Courage under fire, and more so, for the inspiring figure of rebellious Jyn Erso and her mismatched but dedicated band of heroes out to steal the plans for the top secret Imperial Death Star space station. As popular as ever, the gritty and genuinely emotional Rogue One: A Star Wars Story celebrates its Third UK Anniversary today.
Though I hear the sequel to this is even better...
|A publicity image of Ian McDiarmid as Darth Sidious from EPISODE III.|
Thought he was destroyed at the Battle of Endor? Well, think again, as the dreaded Emperor Palpatine, aka Darth Sidious, aka 'Evil Incarnate', returns to inflict fear, terror and dark side power on the Resistance struggling to restore good for the last time in The Rise of Skywalker. Always an audience favourite, any opportunity to bring back to the saga that excellent actor portraying him with such cunning intellect and frightening menace, Ian McDiarmid, is most welcome...
|Ian McDiarmid on the IX set. Note some familiar background objects that Expanded Universe fans may potentially recognise...|
Ian McDiarmid talks EPISODE IX:
|A classic moment from EPISODE III that won acclaim from critics and fans. Could past revelations pertain to EPISODE IX?|
Sunday 15 December 2019
He's been away from the live-action Star Wars universe for far too long, now Billy Dee Williams returns to the role he was always born to play- suave businessman, savvy Sabaac player, all-round ladies man and top pilot, Lando Calrissian, for The Rise of Skywalker. And, in a nice link to Donald Glover's younger portrayal of Lando from Solo: A Star Wars Story, wearing the same yellow/black costume. The cape is back too, with an added walking stick adding to the character and actor's refined distinction- still the 'old smoothy'!
|Back in his beloved Millennium Falcon.|
Saturday 14 December 2019
It remains a divisive entry for fans, but EPISODE VIII nonetheless has a striking big budget movie debut from writer/director Rian Johnson, who gives us a film that has its own unique style as well as some superb camera work. The Last Jedi celebrates its second anniversary UK release today as part of the Star Wars universe, its action and characters well captured in this great TOPPS Cards composition.
Original UK press conference:
|Hugh Fleming's exclusive poster art for EPISODE IX's Australian release.|
Barely a week to go until The Rise of Skywalker concludes the story of our Star Wars heroes and their epic and emotional battle against the ultimate evil...
Here's the latest clips, trailer footage and interviews to enjoy in this final lead-up to release...
New Trailer 4:
Clip: Kylo Ren meets an old foe:
TV spot: 'She':
Amazon 'Special Look':
All TV spots:
|Cast and crew in the Asian leg of the EPISODE IX worldwide promotional tour.|
New 'The Star Wars Show' cast interviews:
Josh Gad and Daisy Ridley:
J.J. Abrams interviews:
|New TROS poster homage to the 1977 teaser.|
Press interviews various:
Other online material:
Inside The Writing of 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' - Rolling Stone
Returning one last time to the musical galaxy he has created so gloriously for George Lucas's saga from 1977 onwards, the magical maestro that is John Williams gives us the rousing epic, character theme rich finale that is The Rise of Skywalker, available on soundtrack CD from Walt Disney Records this month in the UK from December 20th, 2019 onwards...
EPISODE IX interview:
Behind the scenes of EPISODE IX (including Williams conducting):
Here's the official publicity info:
|The legend that is John Williams.|
STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK FROM OSCAR®-WINNING COMPOSER JOHN WILLIAMS
DIGITAL SOUNDTRACK SET FOR RELEASE DECEMBER 18
PHYSICAL ALBUM AVAILABLE DECEMBER 20
PRE-ORDER AVAILABLE NOW
BURBANK, Calif., Dec. 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Walt Disney Records is set to release the original motion picture soundtrack for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. The album features a new score conducted and composed by five-time Academy Award®-winning composer John Williams. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker digital soundtrack is set for release on December 18 and the physical album will be available on December 20 as the film opens in U.S. theaters nationwide.
From the physical album’s liner notes, director J.J. Abrams said, “Once again, John has come up with an utterly stunning soundtrack, creating brand new, gorgeous, frightening, mysterious, epic and intimate themes while also revisiting some of his greatest, classic melodies. My gratitude toward John Williams cannot be overstated — not just for elevating every scene in this film, but for providing us all with soundtracks that elevate our lives.”
John Williams stated in the album’s liner notes, “More than 40 years ago, George Lucas introduced to the world his singular imagination, his ingenuity and his creative genius. He also gave me an opportunity never before enjoyed by an operatic or film composer…the chance to work continually for four decades on a single project, and with each film, to add to a collection of musical themes which I hope will be seen as parts of a singular, organic whole.”
“This experience has been one of the highlights of my professional life, bringing me so much joy in working with some of the world’s greatest orchestras and musicians. I stand before the now completed nine Star Wars films with pride and gratitude for the gift of this extraordinary journey.”
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Original Motion Picture soundtrack will be available to stream and download on December 18. The physical album will be available on December 20 and is now available for pre-order.
About John Williams
Legendary composer Williams is well known for scoring all nine of the Star Wars saga films to date, beginning with 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Original Score. His scores for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: The Last Jedi were each nominated for Best Original Score.
Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Emmys and 24 Grammy Awards. With 51 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the Academy’s most nominated living person and the second most-nominated individual in history, after Walt Disney. In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams’ score to 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope as the greatest American film score of all time. The soundtrack to A New Hope also was preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry, for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and he received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004, the National Medal of Arts in 2009, and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams has composed the scores for eight of the top 20 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation).
About “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams join forces once again to take viewers on an epic journey to a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the riveting conclusion of the seminal Skywalker saga, where new legends will be born and the final battle for freedom is yet to come.
The film stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Anthony Daniels, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong‘o, Keri Russell, Joonas Suotamo, Kelly Marie Tran, with Ian McDiarmid and Billy Dee Williams.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is directed by J.J. Abrams and produced by Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams and Michelle Rejwan. Callum Greene, Tommy Gormley and Jason McGatlin serve as executive producers. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio & J.J. Abrams and the story is by Derek Connolly & Colin Trevorrow and J.J. Abrams & Chris Terrio, based on characters created by George Lucas. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in U.S. theaters on December 20.
Enjoy Star Wars with the official Star Wars radio on Apple Music Radio now. All Star Wars music on repeat, 24 hours day: http://smarturl.it/
For more information on Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, please visit http://www.starwars.com/. For more information on Walt Disney Records’ releases, like us on Facebook.com/disneymusic, follow us at Twitter.com/disneymusic and Instagram @disneymusic For more information on Disney Music Emporium, please visit,DisneyMusicEmporium.com, become a fan atFacebook.com/
SOURCE Walt Disney Records
Get it here:
Friday 13 December 2019
|Image: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm/Disney.|
Following in the Jedi traditions, Rey refines her growing powers in the Force, training with a bolt-firing seeker drone ball within the jungle regions of an unknown world, to be seen in the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker.
More on Rey in the film:
Jimmy Fallon Star Wars saga rap:
Various Daisy Ridley TV publicity interviews:
Thursday 12 December 2019
|Image: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm/Disney.|
The sequel films have been blessed with some of the best and brightest young British acting talents in key roles, forefront most notably Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. Now, Naomi Ackie joins that special roll-call for The Rise of Skywalker, playing the so far origins-shrouded survivor, soon Resistance fighter and spirited heroine Jannah, joining our regular heroes (proving especially well-teamed with Finn) by the adventure's all-out finale.
More on Jannah:
|Finn and Jannah witness a tense scenario playing out.|
|Naomi Ackie the fashionista, at the April 2019 Star Wars Celebration event. Image: STARWARS.COM|
|Posing with her unique costume at the recent EPISODE IX US press conference. Image: STARWARS.COM|
Wednesday 11 December 2019
One of the deadly Knights of Ren is the cover star to the all-new Pablo Hidalgo written The Visual Dictionary for the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker. Once more, another must-have title linked to this exciting film's release, as the latest Star Wars publishing cycle from the stalwarts at DK BOOKS begins this December 20th, 2019.
Here's the official low down on the three key all-new books for readers of all ages to enjoy:
An authoritative companion to the climactic final chapter in the new Star Wars trilogy, this essential visual guide to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker explores the world of Episode IX in unparalleled detail.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary features the fascinating characters, planets, vehicles, and aliens that the heroes of the Resistance will encounter in their battle to defeat the First Order. Produced in close collaboration with Lucasfilm, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Visual Dictionary delves into the backgrounds of the new characters seen in the movie, as well as providing in-depth, updated character profiles of beloved Star Wars heroes, such as Rey, Poe, and Finn. The book also contains a handy visual recap of the events of Episodes VII and VIII, and stunning cross-section artworks of key vehicles!Get it here: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker The Visual Dictionary: With Exclusive Cross-Sections: Amazon.co.uk: Pablo Hidalgo: 9780241357699: Books
This fun-filled Star Wars sticker book contains more than 300 colourful stickers, and is packed full of fun facts from the new Star Wars movie, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Kids will love joining Rey, Poe, Finn, and the Resistance for many thrilling adventures. Meet many new Star Wars characters, complete fun sticker jigsaws, and create amazing sticker scenes of your own. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Amazing Sticker Adventures is illustrated with action-packed images from the movie, accompanied by fun, easy-to-read reference text. Join the heroes and villains as they plan missions, explore new planets, perform daring escapes, and battle the evil First Order.
Get it here: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker Amazing Sticker Adventures: Amazon.co.uk: David Fentiman, DK: Books
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: The Galactic Guide is a 96-page informative guide to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker for younger fans, revealing the characters, creatures, droids, locations, and technology from the new film. Packed with images and information, it's the perfect companion for those who want to relive the movie outside of the theatre.
Get it here: Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker The Galactic Guide Star Wars the Rise of Skywalkr: Amazon.co.uk: Matt Jones, DK: Books
Tuesday 10 December 2019
From Jakku to Takodana, from Ahch-To to Crait, the Millennium Falcon has certainly been a busy planet-hopper during the sequel trilogy. A fact that continues with The Rise of Skywalker, as the desert world of Pasaana is added to the visiting list, as seen in this scene from a recent trailer.
Monday 9 December 2019
On the storm-battered exterior wreck of the second Death Star, the complex villain that is Kylo Ren prepares to do battle once more with his counterpoint in the Force, Rey, in an action-packed sequence from The Rise of Skywalker...
More on Adam Driver/EPISODE IX
Sunday 8 December 2019
|Lovely good versus evil character merchandising poster art.|
New behind the scenes official featurette - 'Friendship':
(12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | Friendship Featurette - YouTube
Cast and crew US press conference for EPISODE IX:
|The cast with fans at a publicity launch in Brazil. Image: StarWars.com|
More TV spots with additional footage:
(12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | “Fate” TV Spot - YouTube (12) Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker | "Forever" TV Spot - YouTube
(12) STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker TV Spot "SITH DAGGER" (NEW FOOTAGE) - YouTube
(12) Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker TV Spot Trailers 21 - 24 - YouTube
(12) Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker TV Spot Trailers 25 - 26 - YouTube
Other Saga official featurette:
(12) Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker | Featurette - YouTube
Not yet enemies, Jedi Padawans Ahsoka Tano and Barriss Offee are at the spearhead of space battle against enemy forces in this cool image from The Clone Wars Season Four image, Darkness on Umbara.
Saturday 7 December 2019
|With Rey at the Resistance's new hideout.|
Now heavily involved in coordinating Resistance activity galaxy-wide, and later in the forefront of battle against the First Order, Rose Tico, once more played with cute strength by Kelly Marie Tran, will surely be very active in the events of The Rise of Skywalker.
|Rose the soldier!|
|As seen at the Celebration 2019 event. Image: StarWars.com|
Various EPISODE IX related interview clips:
When unique past and present adventurers meet: the Arthurian Knight (Robert Eddison) charged with keeping the secret of the Holy Grail, and the archeologist on the most personal of quests to find it, in a charming moment of 'strangely dressed' crusaders at the near climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and the end of STAR WARS AFICIONADO's celebration of the film's Thirtieth Anniversary in 2019.
Friday 6 December 2019
|Courage under fire for our sequel heroes, as Resistance Reborn arrives in UK hardback.|
Having been initiated successfully with the second prequel movie, the idea of publishing an all-new lead-in adventure to every Star Wars cinematic tale before its release has continued with both the sequel trilogy and the one-off movies, but to only varying degrees of success. The latest tie-in, Resistance Reborn, from newcomer author to the saga Rebecca Roanhorse (published in the UK by Century), is importantly charged with detailing the critical events that happened in the start of the year's gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker, as the battle-weary General Leia Organa and her few surviving rag-tag heroes aboard the Millennium Falcon begin the long and dangerous road back to recruiting new leaders and fighters in their continuing conflict against the more universally dominant, thoroughly evil First Order. With help from old friends, including the iconic Rogue Squadron pilot Wedge Antilles, the heroes must liberate a group of captured influential names (one an important figure from Leia's pre-EPISODE VII senatorial past), secure a list of wanted suspects from the underworld on the legendary industry realms of Corellia, and steal as many decommissioned ships as possible from a far-off planet. All this whilst Leia is trying to set up a new secret base with the people of Ryloth, a deservedly bitter and suspecting race who are no strangers to fighting military threats since the days of The Clone Wars.
Though already an experienced speculative fiction author, Miss Roanhose's love of Star Wars is more important than ever in such a novel so eagerly-awaited by fans. And that love shines through in Resistance Reborn- clearly knowing how to write for the existing characters, giving Poe Dameron in particular more to do as the successor to a busy but physically withering Leia Organa. Sadly, new Jedi-to-be Rey and the dedicated-to-the-cause Finn, though also present in the story, ultimately feel sidelined from doing anything truly worthwhile, their destinies locked in 'hover mode' before J.J. Abrams gives them their final cinematic bow. Fans of the Expanded Universe post 2014, however, will be pleased with certain characters and referencing carefully included in this galaxy-spanning tale (mostly linked to Chuck Wendig's Aftermath trilogy and Claudia Gray's Bloodline), and there's some fair use of the aforementioned Antilles (Denis Lawson's character supposedly making a cameo for IX, too).
As for the overall story? Well, its plot reads great in the advance blurb but ultimately didn't win my full enthusiasm as a page-turner, lacking the kind of bold imagination and stirring action I thought was needed in this special case movie lead-in, to a film of such saga-ending significance as IX. It all felt to me that there was too much of a similar ilk done already in various storytelling media.
Ultimately, Resistance Reborn is perfectly readable stuff, and a solid effort. Yet, despite the author's commendably unabashed enthusiasm, it's certainly not the essential SW book collection purchase that it should have been, and deserved to be.
AFICIONADO RATING: 3 out of 5
Get it here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Star-Wars-Resistance-Rebecca-Roanhorse/dp/1780899920/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=resistance+reborn&qid=1575630195&sr=8-1
Revealing a rarely seen tender side to her nature, Val snuggles up to her man Beckett, and enjoy a warm fire against the chill of a Vandor night, as scoundrels talk life lessons and dreams of a rich plunder, during a nicely written and acted scene from Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Thursday 5 December 2019
Traversing the choppy waves of one of the expansive oceans on Endor, in some kind of flying powered air sled, our heroes head towards the stormy environs surrounding the ominous wreckage of the second Death Star, in this intriguing shot from The Rise of Skywalker.
Vice Admiral Holdo takes swift and accurate aim against her Resistance captors in the main cruiser hangar deck, during critical events of The Last Jedi. The behind the scenes stories of actress Laura Dern's making blaster sounds during the filming of this scene have now become infamous!
Wednesday 4 December 2019
Their original onscreen involvement in the Battle of Endor for Return of the Jedi may have been curtailed by model filming problems at ILM in 1982, but that won't be the case for the upcoming The Rise of Skywalker, as fans will finally get to see the flexible fighting ships in full CGI action, and hopefully in the way they were originally intended to be seen...
|In action for The Rise of Skywalker.|
In the wild beauty of Iceland, Gareth Edwards and his crew capture to celluloid the unwanted arrival of Orson Krennic and his Deathtroopers squad on the far-off realm of Lah'mu, in a memorable start to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Tuesday 3 December 2019
Finally, the Skywalker lineage is fully represented on this lovely movie poster art promoting The Rise of Skywalker's upcoming arrival in IMAX.
STARWARS.COM official cast Q and A:
People TV celebrates:
NEW: 'Adventure' TV spot:
New 'Celebrate' TV spot:
New 'Hold On' TV spot:
|Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, holding Luke's repaired lightsaber, as seen in the new EPISODE IX trailer.|