Category Archives: Star Wars

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.

The First Order Assembles

The newly released TV Spot shown on the new Star Wars Korean YouTube Channel has a 30-second clip contains Supreme Leader Snoke’s (Andy Serkis) same voiceover from the first teaser, with much of the footage recycled from the second. There’s actually only one new shot: A sweeping look at The First Order (above), and it looks like quite the force to be reckoned with. It also looks like Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and possibly General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) looking out over all those stormtroopers from the platform.

Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, a cruel leader of The First Order who craves to show the galaxy his might. (This image was briefly shown at Comic-Con but never released in detail until now on the Star Wars Facebook page)

Inside this shimmering armor is a warrior for The First Order, Captain Phasma (played by Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones). Her character’s name has an unexpected origin…so JJ says

Kylo Ren (played by Adam Driver) strikes a pose with his homemade lightsaber. It turns out, his true identity has been masked from us in more ways than one …he’s also part of The Knights of Ren

Kylo Ren amongst the smoldering ruins of a Jakku Village

They’ve even released some new shot of our old friends, but in a new time and place. R2-D2 seems to have hardly changed, but C-3PO (still played by Anthony Daniels) now sports an unexplained red arm.

Also the shot of Poe Dameron that was shown at Comic-Con, which shows his Black X-Wing and more importantly Gonk is BACK...Hurrah!!! …But there’s a reason the X-Wing fighter is black, but J.J. Abrams wants to keep that a mystery for now. Stealth tech?

Some new images from the Star Wars Facebook account, the best one is the stormtrooper taking aim at Ray & Finn…no bets on if his misses 🙂

The Knights of Ren

So we now have some captivating new information concerning the main villain in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that was teased by J.J Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly. They’ve said Kylo Ren, who is played by Adam Driver isn’t his real, but instead he’s named in the same way in which Vader is called a Darth like many other Darth names in the Star Wars universe. The Darth name is often thought to be a combination of letters from the title Dark Lord of the Sith, a theory which is only officially alluded to in Jedi vs. Sith: The Essential Guide to the Force, but many other theories exist like, Darth may also be a portmanteau of dark and death. Instead for Kylo he’s now part of The Knights of the Ren.

So what is this group called Ren’s and what does it stand for? Is it Knights of the Renegade?  Is he linked to Luke? Who knows?

But whilst talking to EW, director Abrams confirmed that Ren is someone who’s aware of the events that took place during the original Star Wars trilogy and that his appeal is Ren’s intentional nod to Darth Vader.

Kylo The Knights of the Ren

“The movie explains the origins of the mask and where it’s from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask. [Ren] is well aware of what’s come before, and that’s very much a part of the story of the film.”

Abrams also revealed that Kylo’s weapon of choice, the infamous crossguard lightsaber that he wields is something he built himself, and “is as dangerous and as fierce and as ragged as the character.” Not only that, but apparently the character sees himself as the hero of the story. The director explained

The famous crossguard lightsaber The Force Awakens

“As you see in the best of storytelling, and no doubt the best of Star Wars, these are tales in which an every person has to step up. And I think that what makes Ren so unique is that he isn’t as fully formed as when we meet a character such as Darth Vader. And I think that there are two sides to the Force. Both sides, arguably, would see themselves as the hero of their story, and I think that applies here.”

“Kylo Ren won’t be the only “Ren.” The title of “Ren” is something that someone has to earn.” Abrams said,

“He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren. He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.”

Lawrence Kasdan also waded in with his input on the character and also talked about Driver’s performance in the movie:

JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasden discuss Kylon Ren on the set of the Starkiller Base

“I’ve written four Star Wars movies now, and there’s never been a character quite like the one that Adam plays. I think you’re going to see something that’s brand new to the saga.  He’s full of emotion. No matter how we express ourselves in the world, whether we hide it and act very calm or whether we’re very out there and demonstrative, everybody’s roiling with emotion. And you want your characters to be that way, too. Then they have to deal with their emotions as best they can, with what they are. (Kasdan pauses as if he is on the verge of saying too much)…  I’d say that is as far as I’d go”.

So after learning all this ‘new’ information, how does this character fits into the saga? Is Ren in some way related to the Skywalker family. With his knowledge of the events that took place in the original trilogy and his obsession with Darth Vader.  Is he this inverse of Luke? Is Ren perhaps not the villain but the hero  who comes from no means, who rises from obscurity and yet still manages to cause tremendous upheaval in the force…is he the new chosen one?

 “Noooo! I’ll never join you!” That’s what Luke Skywalker cried out when Darth Vader asked him to cross over to the Dark Side and rule the galaxy alongside him, and J.J Abrams basically said the same thing to Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy when she first reached out to ask if he’d sign on to help launch the first in a new assemblage of Star Wars films.

Kennedy persuaded him to helm the film by asking him one simple question, one with the potential to upend our core beliefs about the galaxy far, far away. “In the context of talking about story and laying out what we were thinking, I said one thing to him,” Kennedy recalls. “‘Who is Luke Skywalker?’”

Abrams, decided he needed to know the answer, even if he had to devise it himself. “He said, ‘Oh my God, I just got the chills. I’m in,’” Kennedy says. “I mean, it really was almost that quickly.”

It would definitely make The Force Awakens a more dramatic film if Kylo Ren was related to the Skywalker family.

One last ’put it out there idea’ like with the Sith, “Always two there are, a master and an apprentice.” Who is Ren’s master …Luke?

One final final bit…The latest released image which shows Kylo flanked by First Order stormtroopers, striding with intense purpose through the smoldering ruins of a once peaceful village on Jakku..

The Drake Strikes Back

…Or does he!?

If I’m honest!…Craig Drake‘s: Solo Show 2 doesn’t live up to the sequel standards I was expecting, maybe I was hoping it would be his Empire Strikes Back to Star Wars, …why!? you may ask for such a talented guy who uses his minimal ‘Nagel’ style of detail to bring this geek culture-inspired art to life, and one I’ve championed for many years. Maybe we’ve been spoilt with his recent work for the Star Wars Celebration.

For my taste though, there seemed to be a bit of repetition with the Kill Bill, Akira and Tron elevational treatments, which don’t offer anything more to his already classic dynamism of his early versions of those subjects.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it was all negative, as he showed some true flashes of his brilliance with the huge Empire Strikes Back prints he did of Darth Vader from the “No, I am your father.” scene and the ‘almost’ full size Han Solo in Carbonite, which looks amazing on the foil print.

And then there’s the true pièce de résistance of the show, the Back to the Future DeLorean which is a ‘Hidden’ print that he’s only revealed on his Facebook page at the moment, but he does describe it as Part 1 of 2 set, which could mean the DeLorean for Back to the Future Part 2 with the Mr Fusion on the back…I do hope so, as the one above looks to have some sumptuous detailing on the engine and the those ’88 miles per hour’ sparks at the front look

What was also good to see, and something we should have seen more of was the venture in other Geekologie genres, with the new additions of Sherlock and the impressive ‘Live Long and Prosper’ Spock.

Even his first ‘live’ showing of Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a welcome addition…lets have more of these.

Also the sexy ‘Nagel’ style was rekindled with his Mononoke and Mia prints.

A recent addition after the show his Batman: The Dark Knight.

“…Jessicaaaaaaa” – Killgrave | Jessica Jones Mondo Art

His Solo II show is on at the Hero Complex Gallery, the art will be on display at the gallery through the month of July, and it’s located at 2020 South Robertson Blvd. Studio D, Los Angeles, CA. If you want to purchase any of these prints, click here. You also a great impression of the scale of his work from this photo below from the gallery.

One final thing, he did a great promo giveaway for the VIP opening event with these branded boxes of chocolates

All work is Copyright Craig Drake 2015

UPDATE: 
On reflection, now I’ve seen the newly released DeLorean print, his Solo Show II is on equal par to his first show and I take back what I’ve said in the opening two paragraphs.

Leibovitz shoots The Force Awakens

Today (Star Wars Day) Vanity Fair have given us a unique behind-the-scenes look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The magazine has released six new photos from the film that were taken by none other than the legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The images include an official reveal of Adam Driver playing the dark-cloaked Sith villain Kylo Ren, as well as actress Lupita Nyong’o playing her motion capture character, who is a pirate by the name of Maz Kanata. Then, of course there are Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, a group of various alien creatures, and members of the film crew, such as director J.J. Abrams.

Dashing Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) stands alongside his trusty X-wing fighter

Star Wars The Force Awakens Vanity Fair Front Cover

J. J. Abrams directs Actress Daisy Ridley for a scene in which her character, the young heroine Rey, pilots her speeder through a bustling marketplace on the planet Jakku

A small galaxy’s worth of tracking dots affixed to Lupita Nyong’o’s face allowed artists at Industrial Light & Magic to transform her into the C.G.I. character Maz Kanata

Galactic travelers, smugglers, and other assorted riffraff fill the main hall of pirate Maz Kanata’s castle

Next-generation bad guy Kylo Ren Adam Driver commands snowtroopers loyal to the evil First Order on the frozen plains of their secret base

Members of the brains behind The Force Awakens composer John Williams, producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, co- writer Lawrence Kasdan, and director and co-writer J.J. Abrams, who also gave a glowing report on Harrison Ford to Vanity Fair…

But the magic of Star Wars isn’t all about the creatures; the best effect in the wildly popular new trailer (88 million views and counting!) may have been Harrison Ford, slipping seamlessly back into Han Solo’s classic slow grin. Abrams himself was surprised by the performance and said that Ford “was excited to get back in those shoes again, which was really interesting because I thought he hadn’t been a fan. I kept hearing those rumors when I was a kid.” Abrams did have one specific note for the veteran actor: “I knew that he had done in some movies a kind of more growly thing, and I didn’t want Han to be growly.” Whatever Abrams said must have worked because, as the director himself put it, “There was a fire in his eyes that you see in the movie.”

We also got our first look at Gwendoline Christie’s character Captain Phasma.

UPDATE:

Star Wars.com have just released details and photos of Andy Serkis character in  The Force Awakens… Supreme Leader Snoke 

Photograph by Annie Leibovitz | Courtesy of Vanity Fair | Copyright 2015