Category Archives: Movies

Force Awakens Character Film Posters

Check out these new Star Wars: The Force Awakens posters which Lucasfilm and Disney have just released, it’s a fantastic series of new character posters which feature Han Solo, Princess Leia, Rey, Finn, and Kylo Ren. The one of Han Solo with the old man stubble is so authentic of the character, and the Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia is pretty awesome…“When 59 years old, I reach… Look as good, will not.” she looks so radiant.

Having said all that, if they had just released a single character poster of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, can you imagine the hype they would have created.

The symmetry in all the posters is also a lovely touch, especially Rey, Finn and Kylo’s

…which one’s your favourite?



The Spacecraft of The Force Awakens

The Finalizer | First Order Star Destroyer

You’ve got to admire the Galatic Empire when it comes to the sheer size of a their spaceships, nothing really comes close to what they can produce, and even though the Death Star was perhaps their largest piece of weaponry, the Star Destroyer and Super Star Destroyer was in a class of space ships all on own, even from that iconic opening scene from Star Wars A New Hope, it was the sheer physical size and length of those ships that was so incredible. Now it seems The First Order has returned with its own Super Star Destroyer…The Finalizer, which is essentially another floating empire cruising craft travelling around space carrying around the First Order’s equipment, personnel, weapons, fighters, including Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle and his army of ruthless Stormtroopers. Although the Finalizer may not look to be very nimble, don’t let its massive size fool you. On close inspection of this new Hi-Res image, it shows it’s covered with a vast battery of cannons that will annihilate any incoming resistance enemy craft  before they can get close enough to even take a pot shot. This looks to be one spaceship that will require more than brute force to eliminate.

First Order Special Forces TIE Fighter

Like the X-Wing Starfighter was the main staple craft for the Rebel Alliance’s army, so was the TIE Fighter in the Empire’s army. So it seems assumed that the First Order is quite well equipt with this new Special Forces version of the TIE Fighter, and with many upgrades, although It’s unknown exactly what those upgrades will be, but speculation includes the addition of more armor, better laser cannons and increased maneuverability to make this ship more powerful and therefore on par to go one-on-one with the new T-70 X-Wing Starfighter which we talk about later.

Kylo Ren’s Command Shuttle

One of the newest, and arguably the coolest-looking bad guys in the Star Wars Universe is Kylo Ren. It’s clear he has some background with The Force with him being part of the Knights of Ren. However, it’s obvious while he’s wielding his cross-guard lightsaber that he intends to destroy all the Resistance in his path and perhaps his actions are guided by the Supreme Leader Snoke.

Regardless, like most vehicles in the Galactic Empire’s arsenal, Ren’s shuttle is dark and menacing, with many sharp angular edges making up its form, as opposed to the smoother look of the other ships in the universe. When someone in the galaxy sees one of these ships approaching, they know that no good can come from it.

Poe Dameron’s Black Squadron T-70 X-Wing

What a beautiful sleek design this ship is, it was Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept to have a ‘split’ dual engine X-Wing, and although not much is known about Poe Dameron, this highly skilled fighter pilot for The Resistance and leader of these elite squadron of T-70 X-Wing fighters called the “Black Squadron,” …rest assured this new X-Wing fighter will do the job nicely, especially with the new astromech droid BB-8 onboard as Poe’s X-Wing copilot.

McQuarrie’s designs developed from the twin to into the quad engine T-65 X-Wing Starfighter as we know it, which were the main ships used by the Rebel Alliance’s army in the first trilogy, and a ship so important to the story that without one, Luke wouldn’t have been able to take down the Death Star, so it’s no surprise to see this classic ship returns in Episode 7 as the upgraded T-70, and from some of the promotional material, it’s packs some added missile firepower, also with the reduction in engine size will make the aesthetics of this new ship very different to dog-fight against.

Jakku Sunset

My favourite mondo artist of film culture, Craig Drake…which you’ll already know I’m a massive fan of his Patrick Nagel ‘Pop Culture’ style of visualisation, has at last entered the realm of Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens with this rendition of the character Rey and her speeder. Rey is played by 23-year-old Daisy Ridley, who is a scavenger and desert rat on the Planet Jakku…although Craig has initially called the artwork Tatooine Sunset, since Jakku was only recently announced as her home planet at Star Wars Celebration.

His recent artwork was also the main official ‘visual theme’ for the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim in California, which he also attended signing prints of ‘The Bounty Hunter‘ and ‘The Stormtrooper‘ shown below…both of which are still available at Dark Ink Art.

Even the legendary Boba Fett actor Jeremy Bulloch turned up to meet Craig Drake to grab his own personal copy of Proto Fett, which was featured on Milner’s Blog earlier.

Part of his Star Wars Celebration ‘Official’ Artwork was also the creation of the ID Badges for the event, some of which I’ve already feature in my Art of Star Wars blog, but this montage shows the full set of characters he created.

He’s also recently dabbled into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the rendition of Black Widow for the Avengers: Age of Ultron exhibition at the Hero Complex Gallery.

What’s next for Craig!…More Force Awakens mondo art I hope, especially his Solo Show II at Hero Complex Gallery, on 2020 South Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, California on the 22 May 2015…watch this space for a Milner’s Blog report on the event.


The Real BB8

One of the fundamental principles from Disney, the new Lucasfilm owners of Star Wars and the creative team behind The Force Awakens, ‘which gives me so much joy’, was their desire for less CGI (which sadly Lucas has canon splattered throughout the prequels) but now gone for more of the physical sets and practical characters that we saw in the original trilogy. Little did we know that they had taken this creative principle to whole new technological level with the so-called ‘Football Droid’ BB8 from the first teaser trailer, that we all thought was CGI…But in fact we witnessed at the launch of the amazing 2nd Force Awakens Teaser Trailer at Star Wars Celebration, a fully functional BB8 appeared on stage that was freaking REAL! …But how?

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens MilnersBlog New Star Wars Football Droid
New Star Wars Football Droid

You see Bob Iger, the CEO of Disney is credited with discovering this little known company called Sphero who are responsible for the BB8,s character’s movement. It turns out that this startup, headed by Paul Berberian, was selected for Disney’s accelerator program last year. According to Disney’s website, the three-month-long program picks tech startups who want to “make an impact on the world of media and entertainment,” giving them upwards of $120,000 in investment capital. It also gives each start-up a mentor from within Disney’s executive ranks…guess who was Sphero’s mentor? You guessed it: Bobby Iger, who’s now at the helm of Star Wars Empire, and saw at first hand Sphero’s technology in action, and then realized the potential of a Sphero style BB-8 droid and then connected with the creative imagineers working on the Star Wars Force Awakens characters.

Bob Iger,  has a great track record when it comes to acquiring companies and letting them continue in their creative freedom, and none more so when the Disney media empire bought the creators Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion in 2012, and although he’s kept a low profile, he was one of the fans sitting right in the front row at the massive Star Wars Celebration auditorium where a star-studded panel of J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and stars of past, present and future appeared on stage to premiere the 2nd Force Awakens trailer, but I’m sure he had a wry smile not just for the trailer, but when that fully functional and operational BB8 appeared on stage. I’m sure he also had a bigger smile 24 hours later when the Disney empire stock had risen by 2 BILLION Dollars, that’s almost as much as Avatar made, and half he paid for LucasFilm…just from a Teaser Trailer…Nice work JJ, Iger did say to you this was a $4 Billion movie, you just passed half way point. 🙂

Star Wars BB8 Ball Droid

What is also more interesting Disney are working on a Star Wars-themed fully functional BB-8 toy with Sphero…who wouldn’t want their own app controlled BB8 at Christmas 2015 rolling around their home…count me in!!…But Stop the Press, Industrial Designer Christian Poulsen has already done it…check it out.

As for Iger’s involvement in this much-loved film franchise he has stayed been behind the scenes, and so far has protected our Star Wars world from any overt “Disneyfication.” and managed to assuage the fears of this apprehensive Star Wars geek.