Tag Archives: Kathleen Kennedy

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).

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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.