Cast Confirmed For “Final Installment Of The Skywalker Saga” Star Wars: Episode IX

Lucasfilm have this evening announced the new and returning cast members for the next installment of Star WarsEpisode IX

Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Joonas Suotamo, and Billie Lourd are all returning to their respective roles. Also confirmed to return is Bill Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian, Anthony Daniels as C3-P0, and Mark Hamill as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker!

In a surprising move, the late Carrie Fisher’s General Leia Organa will appear in Episode IX, with J J Abrams using previously unseen footage that was shot during The Force Awakens

“Finding a truly satisfying conclusion to the Skywalker saga without her eluded us. We were never going to recast, or use a CG character. With the support and blessing from her daughter, Billie, we have found a way to honor Carrie’s legacy and role as Leia in Episode IX by using unseen footage we shot together in Episode VII.” – J J Abrams

Richard E. Grant and Naomi Ackie will be two new faces in a galaxy far far away as they join the cast for Episode IX. Legendary composer John Williams will return to score the film too!

Filming will begin August 1st and the wait begins until December 2019 for the film’s release!

Who are you most excited to see in Episode IX?

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Year: 2017
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Starring: Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Carrie Fisher, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro.

WRITTEN BY CHRIS GELDERD

This 2017 American sci-fi fantasy is written and directed by Rian Johnson and is the sequel to 2015s ‘The Force Awakens’, the second of the New Trilogy and ninth in the overall Star Wars saga.

Following the destruction of Starkiller Base at the hands of the Resistance led by General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), the brave heroes find themselves mercilessly hunted by the First Order under the command of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

As the Resistance attempts to survive the First Order, young Jedi in training Rey (Daisy Ridley) seeks the help of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) to join the fight and defeat Snoke and his powerful apprentice, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

Emotions will be pushed to breaking point as Rey discovers shocking truths about key fighters in the Resistance and First Order, and Luke Skywalker himself, which will force everyone to question just where their destiny lies within the galaxy and which side of the fight they are truly on…

I’m going to say it from the off here – I walked out of the midnight showing of ‘The Force Awakens’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ a little disappointed. Not for J.J. Abrams’ thrill ride, but for the new episode from writer/director Rian Johnson. ‘The Last Jedi’ is a blend of all that works from the prequels and original trilogy, but sadly lots that doesn’t. The result is a film that delivers on the most part, but stumbles along the way and gives, I think, little payoff for a film that should offer more resolutions than headaches.

Maybe I will feel different on the second viewing with a clearer head? Or maybe that’s me as an avid Star Wars fan desperate to find more in this blockbuster than I originally found.

We are catapulted into the fall-out from ‘The Force Awakens’ in a typical Star-Warsy narrative that is tried and tested; a number of stories running parallel that converge at the end. The late Carrie Fisher has far more to do this time around leading the Resistance again as General Leia Organa. Oscar Isaac is back as passionate pilot Poe along with John Boyega as Finn and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran as Rose, a maintenance worker for the Resistance. It is this group, along with Laura Dern as the ‘is she good / is she bad?’ Admiral Holdo, that are the ones scrabbling around trying to simultaneously fight against and flee from the First Order.

On the other hand, we have Daisy Ridley’s Rey and Mark Hamill’s Luke Skywalker seeking to understand each other, the Force and the state of the galaxy at war. On the OTHER other hand, Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren and Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux ham it up for all it’s worth as the brash, short-fused, volatile but merciless First Order agents.

As you can see, it’s a busy narrative with lots of new and old characters, new planets, species and technology. And as you suspect, there is a lot of waste and a lot of back and forth that messes up the flow. The Resistance has a lazy plot that revolves around breaking a secret code on-board the biggest Star Destroyer in the First Order fleet to allow their ships to flee. So much time is spent on this task that is made out to be much easier to do than it really should be, giving Boyega, Tran and co. reasons to forge relationships and run around on the very prequel-esque digital world of Cantonica and Canto Bight. It detracts from the main flow of the story and is very digital, compared to the practical worlds of Takodana and Jakku from ‘The Force Awakens.’

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The CGI here and throughout is very noticeable. It’s not 100% polished, but because there is so much it’s far easier to spot. From Snoke’s digital body to dozens of new alien species and much more gravity/physics defying action, it reminded me more of the flamboyant CGI of the prequels than the restrained, minimal CGI J.J. Abrams introduced us to. As I said, some of the prequel material worked, much didn’t. ‘The Last Jedi’ plays out like a new modern entry wrapped up in a prequel skin.

It’s a busy film, and the secondary narrative detracts from what we are here to see – the return of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker and his relationship with Rey. We get this and more, and it’s wonderful. A highlight of the film is seeing the two bicker, argue try to understand each other, exploring lore from the past and touching on the future. Hamill is not the Jedi we last saw on Endor, but a world-weary, scared and bitter hermit questioning his own existence and the Force itself. He draws us into his story and the spark between him and Ridley grips you, wondering just who is right and who is wrong.

And on the subject of Luke; his Porgs. Not as annoying as you’d expect, and rather amusing in a restrained way. They are NOT the new Ewoks, believe me, and the best of the various digital creatures we have here (the Canto Bight ones truly pointless if you ask me).

But with constant interjections from a slightly boring Resistance story, it becomes frustrating being drip-fed so much about Luke, Rey and Kylo that while it is electric to watch, Johnson doesn’t offer clear resolutions to questions raised in 2015. I felt short-changed by many outcomes, and annoyed at what seemed to be a waste of established material. To be honest, at times I didn’t know if I was watching the middle of a trilogy or the end of one. As both stories crank up to converge, my mind’s eye saw ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ blended with ‘Return Of The Jedi’ in a mish-mash of sequences that, while hitting the humour, emotion and action just right, were just too rushed and hap-hazard to take in. Even the Battle Of Hoth-esque finale  (spot the Gareth Edwards solider cameo!) is pretty boring, un-eventful and jammed with digital creations that I was turning off even when a certain character brushed his shoulder off. It felt too much, too late.

I was seeing things I didn’t want to see happen. Outcomes I didn’t want to witness. Characters go when I couldn’t see a reason for.  The film itself is immersive, don’t get me wrong. There are some really beautiful shots and really tender, well executed moments developing our heroes and villains. I just felt the outcomes were either cheap or rushed.  Even the score by John Williams is devoid of anything standout, and the only motifs that roused me were ones recycled from the Original Trilogy for a truly sentimental impact.

You can see, I am torn, and I’m annoyed that a Star Wars film has made me feel like this especially following such a blistering opening chapter.

As I said, I felt the trilogy was wrapping up towards the end of this. It was strange. Where will they go from here? J.J. Abrams needs to really add something new to ‘Episode IX’ because questions and motives are still clouded and over-looked all for dramatic effect, and opportunities have been missed. While I buy into this new galaxy and always will be an avid fan, I need more to invest in for this current battle between good and evil to give me chills the way that all closing chapters should. Because to me it feels Johnson has peaked the trilogy far too soon.

CHRIS’ RATING: 5.0/10.

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Darkness Rises In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ TV Spot

“In Lucasfilm’s ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of ‘The Force Awakens’ join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past”

Directed By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Billi Lourd
Release Date: 14th December 2017

Rey and Kylo Ren Take Centre Stage In Brand New ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trailer

“Luke Skywalker’s peaceful and solitary existence gets upended when he meets Rey, a young woman who shows strong signs of the Force.”

Direct By: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, Laura Dern, Benicio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie
Release Date: 14th December 2017

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The Adventures Of Luke Starkiller as Taken From The Journal Of The Whills: Saga One: Star Wars

Written by Chris Gelderd

Every great idea comes from your imagination, or rather; your imagination that has been inspired by something or someone else to give you said great idea.

George Walton Lucas Jr, the founder of small production company Lucasfilm since the 1960s, had a great idea for a movie in 1974; a Flash Gordon adventure. This was encouraged by his love of the Flash Gordon serials and the works of visionary director Akira Kurosawa. Before the seed was planted however, George Lucas had successful graduated from the University of Southern California and been turned down by the United States Army due to his diabetes. So, the only course that beckoned was his love for film.

After a few low-budget films under his belt like the panned ‘Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB’ in 1971 the well-received ‘American Graffiti’ in 1973, Lucas set his sights on buying the rights to Flash Gordon to make his own epic adventure film for the big screen. However, even with the help of his friend Francis Ford Coppola, George failed to acquire the rights and his vision was crushed

But this was a man with a dream, and one way or another he was going to achieve it! So, after ‘American Graffiti’ performed well, George began writing his own sci-fi adventure with a synopsis entitled ‘Journal of the Whills’. And so over the course of the next year, a vision started to come together that fused inspiration from world cinema, various genres and even his pet dog Indiana. Multiple drafts were done, and he threw ideas around trying to think what audiences would want to see; visions of a fantastical future, or adventures of a mystical past? Characters started to come together like General Annikin Starkiller, a large green smuggler with gills called Han Solo and mysterious villains known as Sith.

It became a classic story of good v evil, heroes and villains. A fantastical quest across the stars taken by a band of heroes to save the day, and a damsel in distress, held by evil villains as they try to conquer the galaxy. With conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie helping George turn his ideas of spaceships, sprawling planets, huge control rooms, armoured villains and roguish heroes into reality, by the time the fourth and final draft was complete, the story of Luke Starkiller, Jedi Knight, was ready to go. Securing a budget of $8.5m and the backing of 20th Century Fox, George laid the foundations through 1975

Forming his own visual effects company called ‘Industrial Light & Magic’, George began hiring the talent to bring his story to life. Visual effects engineer John Dykstra. Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor. Producer Gary Kurtz. Composer John Williams. Editor Paul Hirsch. Location scouting took place across America, North Africa and Europe to seek out locations ripe for turning into desert worlds and bustling cities, and Elstree Studios in London was hired for the more focused and controlled shooting.

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Young actor Mark Hamill was cast as Luke Skywalker – formally Starkiller – and with little experience to his name, George felt he was the perfect unknown face to become a young, naïve farm boy thrust into a galactic adventure.

Carrie Fisher, following a debut opposite Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn in ‘Shampoo’, took the role of Princess Leia, a member of the Galactic Senate and royal family, beating off competition from Jodie Foster, Karen Allen and Amy Irving to bag the role.

For the smuggler Han Solo, George Lucas wanted a new face for the role and so initially rejected young carpenter Harrison Ford, whom had worked with Lucas before on ‘American Graffiti’. It was only when Ford read lines for the auditions that his delivery actually won him the part, beating off competition from Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, Jack Nicholson, Steve Martin and Billy Dee Williams to name but a few.

To counter his cast of unknown faces, Gary Kurtz made it clear that George needed some established actors to give the film credibility. For that, veteran actors Peter Cushing and Alec Guinness were cast as Governor Tarkin and Obi-Wan Kenobi respectively to add depth and a gravitas to their roles and importance to the story.

Theatre and radio actor Anthony Daniels was cast as protocol droid C-3PO who would act with his voice and body alone behind a full costume. Kenny Baker, standing at just 3ft 8 was cast as astromech droid R2-D2 to help control and operate the droid from inside. Rounding out the aliens and droids was Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca, a 7ft gentle Wookiee with fierce loyalty to the heroes of the piece.

The physically imposing bit-part actor David Prowse was cast as Sith Lord Darth Vader, our villain clad in black. Due to his West Country accent, his physical stance was all that was needed. Orson Welles was wanted to voice Vader, but due to him being too well known, George cast American actor James Earl Jones for his deep and menacing voice as Vader, recorded in post-production to help create a villain full of mystery and danger.

With many more British and American talent filling out the rest of the cast of good guys and bad guys, ranging from farmers to pilots to aliens and soldiers, the shoot commenced in March 1976.

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It initially became more surreal as it went on. Cast and crew injected their passion and professionalism into the shoot for a film that seemed to be nothing but a “children’s film”. The harsh climate of Tunisia hampered external shots and proved difficult for Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker to work in, confined to their robotic suits, let alone the armoured clad Stormtroopers on set. The sets on Elstree were difficult to fit out and light correctly with their dark and brooding black and gray colours. Furthermore, director George was a very quiet and introverted man on set. Focused, serious and adamant to battle on to get his dream to the big screen, he was difficult to work with at times and many of the cast tried to crack his serious shell.

Even the actors, having as much fun as possible, found it one big joke. Harrison Ford lauded the script – “you can type this shit George but you sure can’t say it” – and production design – “there’s a princess with weird buns in her hair”. Kenny Baker felt the film was going to be a flop. Alec Guinness at times felt the film was mindless and had no real direction.

George was diagnosed wish exhaustion and hypertension by the end of shooting. Post-production was also a tough time in getting the visual effects right, working to a tight deadline that pushed a Christmas 1976 release back to summer 1977. Convincing studio execs and peers to have faith in the film was also tricky. It was a tough film from start to finish, and the budget expanded by $3m to a total of $11m taking in re-shoots and added effects. Composer John Williams recorded the soundtrack in March 1977 with the London Symphony Orchestra to help tell the story with music, not just words.

With little faith and marketing from Fox, only 40 theatres ordered the final cut of the film.

On Wednesday May 25th 1977, George Lucas’s dream of a small scale sci-fi space saga was finally released to low expectations.

It was called ‘Star Wars’.

40 years to that day, the rest, as they say, is history…

Grab Your Lightsabers! The First Trailer for Stars Wars: The Last Jedi Has Landed!

The trailer for the 8th episode of the ‘Star Wars’ saga was shown during the ‘The Last Jedi’ panel at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. It’s fair to say that this was the main event that many Star Wars fans were waiting for this week, and now it’s finally here!

Rian Johnson enthusiasm really shined during ‘The Last Jedi’ panel this afternoon, so much so that he showed the trailer twice to the audience because he wanted to watch it with them again. He has so much love for the films and the franchise as a whole that I have 100% faith he will deliver a film that Star Wars fans will love. 

From the trailer it looks like we can expect a much darker film, compared to ‘The Force Awakens’. From some of the casts comments over the period of the ‘Star Wars Celebration’ this week, this also leads me to believe the characters are going to face a lot of personal challenges, as well as facing the threat of the First Order, who Rian Johnson says “aren’t  just sitting on their hands” following the destruction of the Starkiller base. 

Like most fans, I’ve had the trailer on repeat since it’s arrival and each shot is stunning and full of mystery. We can see Rey training and Luke watching over her, a brief but amazingly awesome shot of Kylo Ren wielding his lightsaber, Finn looks as though he’s still recovering in some sort of pod, Captain Phasma leading her troops, and the demise of Luke’s Jedi Academy. 

December cannot come quick enough! 

JumpCut Writer’s Reactions: 

Rhys (@RuhBuhJuh): This trailer has me more hyped right now than after I watched the Force Awakens trailer. Incredible time to be a Star Wars fan!

Chris (@GelNerd): Light. Darkness. A balance. The Last Jedi has ruined me and I literally can’t comprehend what I’m seeing or what it means.

Noah (@movieswhynotm8): The word orgasmic comes to mind. 

Fiona (@FionaUnderhill)I’m SO excited about seeing Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo-Ren again.

and I’ll finish this piece with Sarah’s reaction, which I think we can all relate to right now… 

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ comes to a cinema not so far, far away December 15th 2017

Written by Tom Sheffield
 

Lucasfilm Release Official Statement Addressing Rumours Of Plans To Use CGI Carrie Fisher In Future Films

Lucasfilm have posted a statement on their website to address rumours that have spread across the internet over the past couple of weeks. These rumours suggested that Lucasfilm was in talks with Carrie Fisher’s family to get the rights to her likeness so they could use a CGI’d Fisher in future Star Wars films. Lucasfilm have responded to the rumours saying  that they have “no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa”.

After Carrie heartbreakingly passed away last December, fans expressed their worry that Lucasfilm would use CGI to continue to using her character, General Leia Organa, in future Star Wars films  – just like they did with Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in ‘Rogue One’. Peter Cushing died in 1994 and with consent from his family, he returned to our screens in the first Star Wars spin-off last year in CGI form. Digitally bringing the late actor back to life has divided opinions of fans as some don’t agree with the notion of bringing back characters who are played by actors who have passed away,. 

Carrie is said to have a much larger role in Episodes VIII, which wrapped filming last year, and was intended to heavily feature in Episode IV too which is why these rumours started circulating. As we know nothing about Episode IV, we don’t know what General Organa’s involvement would of lead to – but we hope that, now digitally recreating her is out of the question, she receives a fitting explanation for her absence. 

The official statement from Lucasfilm is as follows:

“We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.”

Written by Tom Sheffield

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens Trailer

It’s here. It’s finally here. This is our last look at the upcoming Star Wars film before it’s release in December, and as far as we’re concerned, the next 2 months are going to be absolute torture. We simply can’t wait to see this new instalment of cinema’s most successful franchise. 

This new trailer contains lots of new footage and raises lots of new questions, but thankfully it doesn’t give any of the answers, a trait that trailers are becoming more and more guilty of. All of the returning cast are there, with the exception of Luke – bringing with it a whole new wave of fan theories. We also get a proper look at the film’s probable villain, Kylo Ren as well as a look at our protagonists in Rey and Finn. Despite all this new footage, there are still loads of characters that we are yet to see. Andy Serkis is reportedly playing a motion-capture villain of some description (makes sense) and we are yet to see anything new of Lupita N’yongo, Domhnall Gleeson, Simon Pegg and of course Mark Hamill. 

The excitement surrounding this latest trip to outer space is unprecedented as people around the world have already have been buying tickets in their millions meaning that cinemas are selling out everywhere. This is certain to be the biggest cinematic event of recent memory, and we’re well and truly on board with the hype.