The Star Wars Campfire

Even more great news from  D23, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced that writer-director Colin Trevorrow will direct Star Wars: Episode IX, which is set for release in 2019.

Colin Trevorrow had this great statement to say about the Star Wars gig he’d just got assigned to…

“This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had—a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.”

While production won’t begin for a few years, Trevorrow is heading to Lucasfilm this year to begin working with artists and his fellow Star Wars directors.

Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy had this to say about him

“Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw Safety Not Guaranteed,” . “The power of that film paired with the enormous success of Jurassic World speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.”

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Rogue One : The Cast

The Mission has begun

I know it may be hard to pay attention to any other Star Wars movie when The Force Awakens is so near and getting us to almost fever pitch with excitement, but I’ve got say I absolutely love the feel of this first official photo from Star Wars Rogue One, the characters give off such a cool vibe, they look like a real ragtag group of badass rebels who will give the Empire some serious shit!

Kathleen Kennedy had this to say about the story:

“Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe. It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essential Star Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for Rogue One.”

Disney’s Statement

Lucasfilm announced today that their first film in the new standalone Anthology Star Wars stories series, Rogue One, has begun principal photography. Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) is directing Rogue One, which tells the story of resistance fighters who have united to steal plans to the dreaded Death Star. The film is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and is slated for a December 16, 2016 release.

The Cast

The filmmakers have assembled a stellar cast, including Felicity Jones, nominated for an Academy Award for her leading role in The Theory of Everything; Diego Luna, who was featured in 2008’s Oscar-winning Milk and 2013’s Elysium; Ben Mendelsohn, recently nominated for an Emmy for his leading role in Bloodline and co-starring in the upcoming Mississippi Grind; Donnie Yen, Hong Kong action star and martial artist who starred in Ip Man and Blade II; Jiang Wen, who co-wrote, produced , directed and starred in the award-winning Let the Bullets Fly and Devils on the Doorstep; Forest Whitaker, recently featured in the critically-acclaimed Lee Daniels’ The Butler and winner of an Academy Award for his leading role in 2006’s The Last King of Scotland; Mads Mikkelsen, who starred in The Hunt and was the memorable villain from 2006’s Casino Royale; Alan Tudyk, who plays a performance-capture character in Rogue One, stars in the soon-to-be-released Con Man series and Trumbo, which releases this November; and Riz Ahmed, who was recently featured in Nightcrawler and starred in the BAFTA-winning film Four Lions.

Rogue One takes place before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and will be a departure from the saga films but have elements that are familiar to the Star Wars universe,” says Kathleen Kennedy. “It goes into new territory, exploring the galactic struggle from a ground-war perspective while maintaining that essentialStar Wars feel that fans have come to know. Gareth is such an innovative director and I’m so excited to be working with him and the extraordinary ensemble cast he’s selected for ‘Rogue One.’”

Veteran ILM visual effects supervisor John Knoll, who shares a long history with the Star Wars movies, dating back to the mid-1990s, originated the idea for the movie. Allison Shearmur (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Cinderella), John Knoll, Simon Emanuel (The Dark Knight Rises, Fast & Furious 6) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) are executive producers. Kiri Hart and John Swartz (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) are co-producers.

To create the lived-in, realistic feel of Rogue One, Edwards chose Greig Fraser (Zero Dark Thirty, Foxcatcher) to be his director of photography and Neil Corbould (Black Hawk Down, Gladiator, Saving Private Ryan) to be his special effects supervisor. Star Wars and Lucasfilm veteran Doug Chiang (Star Wars: Episodes I-II, Forrest Gump) and Neil Lamont (supervising art director for the Harry Potter series, Edge of Tomorrow) will be the production designers. Additional crew members will include stunt coordinator Rob Inch (World War Z, Marvel’s Captain America: The First Avenger), creature effects supervisor Neal Scanlan (Prometheus) and co-costume designers Dave Crossman (costume supervisor for the Harry Potter series, Saving Private Ryan) and Glyn Dillon (costume concept artist for Kingsman: The Secret Service, Jupiter Ascending).

Hyperspace Mountain

Following on the exciting news about Star Wars Land coming to Disney Parks, the current Star Wars experiences at Walt Disney World Resort will be enhanced in Florida and Disneyland Resort in California later this year.

There’s the Star Wars Launch Bay – Opening later this year, this interactive experience will take guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland park in California into the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the first six films in the Star Wars saga.

Disney Quote: Season of the Force – This new seasonal event, beginning early 2016, brings new experiences to both coasts. In Tomorrowland at Disneyland park, guests will explore the Star Wars galaxy with special entertainment, themed food locations and Hyperspace Mountain – a reimagining of the classic Space Mountain attraction in which guests will join an X-wing starfighter battle. Disney’s Hollywood Studios will feature a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic score of the Star Wars movies on weekend nights.

Even the classic Star Tours which I’ve been on quite a few times, (that’s me below on the speederbike in Florida) will include a new adventure featuring locations and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

MilnersBlog at Star Tours Florida

Finn the Jedi?

It seems Disney’s D23 Expo has been a plethora of new Star Wars information, the lucky attendees got their hands on a new promotional/teaser poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The poster was created by the renowned ‘Film Poster’ artist Drew Struzan, whose famous style has graced posters for many of the other films in the Star Wars saga as well as the Indiana Jones films. While Struzan created this poster, it is not the primary poster he’ll make for the film.

While it’s great to see this new poster, also gives us a big plot reveal…or is it?. John Boyega’s character, Finn is seen wielding Luke Skywalker’s old blue lightsaber, will he be a Jedi ?—There have been many teases of his connection to this weapon on the Forum’s, but now we get to see a full-fledged pose, and he certainly looks like a force to be reckoned with. Are we seeing the official confirmation that the character will be using the weapon at some point during the film (and maybe even be a Jedi?, or is this an intentional plot leak to throw us off guard, we could be just seeing him in something like the Han Solo ‘esque’ Tauntaun scene?

…More questions

Star Wars Land

At Disney’s D23 Expo, CEO Bob Iger made a huge announcement: the company is creating an enormous Star Wars-themed land for its parks. He told an audience of more than 7,500 fans that Star Wars themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, California and Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, allowing us Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away…Oh YES!!

You can book my ticket in less than 12 parsecs for one of the parks main attractions, which allow us to board the Millennium Falcon and fly what is described as a “secret mission.” The other ride is a battle that pits us between the New Order and the Resistance from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The parks will be populated by characters from the new movies as well as the classic Star Wars trilogy, and it sounds like quite a few fan favorites will be included. “You’d expect to find a cantina,” Iger said, “and there will be one.”

Disney’s Official Announcement 

Ambitious plans to bring Star Wars to life in the two parks include creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

“I am thrilled to announce the next chapter in the long and exciting history between Disney Parks and Star Wars,” said Iger. “Through each new attraction and new land we create, we push the boundaries of what is possible. And as you can imagine, with Star Wars, we are taking that to a whole new level, with a whole galaxy to explore.”

These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.