Friday STAR WARS (including pics)
Harrison Ford On The Star Wars Holiday Special
We recently reported about Harrison Ford being on the Conan O'Brien show and his reaction when asked about the Star Wars Holiday Special.
Well Conan shows a clip and Harrison's reaction is priceless! Thank god for the internet because here's that clip, enjoy!
EDITOR'S NOTE: NEXT UP, A SALES PITCH.
Wanted: The Next Star Wars Fan Club President!
It could be you! EDITOR'S NOTE: AND BY 'YOU', THEY MEAN ME, NATCH.
In the spirit of the Official Star Wars Fan Club Recruiting Contest from the original Star Wars Fan Club back in the 1970s and 80s, the publisher of Star Wars Insider magazine, IDG Entertainment, is pleased to present an all-new contest for you "Rebel Recruiters".
Here's the deal... recruit more new Hyperspace / Insider subscribers than anyone else, and you'll become President of the Official Star Wars Fan Club.
Among the perks of the Presidency are:
the title of President of The Official Star Wars Fan Club for one year
an expense-paid trip to San Diego Comic-Con International in July 2006 and participation in Star Wars events at the convention (includes airfare, hotel, and full event admission) EDITORS' NOTE: I ALREADY HAVE A LOVELY TITLE...QOTD. SO LET'S FACE IT...THIS IS WHAT I'M CRUISIN FOR!
a guest-editor position for an issue of Star Wars Insider magazine EDITOR'S NOTE: OK...THIS WOULD BE NICE TOO.
a personal profile printed in Star Wars Insider magazine
VIP status on starwars.com
a Star Wars collectibles gift package
Even if you don't win, you still win! Recruit five or more new Hyperspace / Insider subscribers, and you'll receive an exclusive Lucasfilm-designed limited-edition bounty hunter-themed t-shirt as walking proof you know how to bring in your bounty.
The contest kicks-off on February 21, 2006 and closes April 14, 2006, so start recruiting today!
EDITOR'S NOTE: PLUS...HYPERSPACE IS FUN, AND THE STAR WARS MAG ROCKS. SO SIGN UP TODAY, AND GIVE YOUR QOTD CREDIT! (I HAVEN'T PULLED QUEENLY RANK ON ANY OF YOU EVER, HAVE I? AND MOST ROYALTY DEMAND CONSTANT FEALTY AND GIFTS!)
During a recent visit to WonderCon, MovieWeb got to go one-on-one with head of Lucasfilm fan relations, Steve Sansweet, to talk about the company's plans for the upcoming Star Wars TV series in the works.
There were rumors that Kevin Smith would be attached to the Star Wars TV show. Today, he said no.
Steve Sansweet: I can say no too. Kevin's a huge Star Wars fan and it's great to have Kevin as a Star Wars partisan. He's been really nice to us, he mixed the sound of almost all his movies, including the new one, Clerks 2. So no, Kevin's a great guy, but he's not involved in any current Star Wars project. Maybe someday in the future?
Speaking of the future, you said the Star Wars TV show is years away...
Steve Sansweet: We're doing it in two phases. The first is Star Wars animation, which is CG 3-dimensional animation, like a Toy Story, that takes place during the period of the Clone Wars that takes place between Episodes 2 and 3. And that we're setting for Fall of 2007.
Preproduction is underway, we're doing animation test, people are working on initial scripts. So we're well under way on that. And George is very much taking hand and is very much part of the whole process. I know some people thought maybe he would just hey "hey, go do it," but George is Star Wars and he's always gonna be very closely involved in this.
The other project is live action, and the live action is going to take place between Episode 3 and Episode 4. We're looking at a 1 hour show and [Producer] Rick McCallum has said the ideal would be to come up with 100 hours to really get into the story line and characters, and that's the direction we're going in. So that is really targeted more towards the end of the decade.EDITOR'S NOTE: 100 HOURS GOOD. END OF DECADE???!!! SNIFFLE.
Speaking of characters, we hear it's not going to be the main characters...
Steve Sansweet: Correct. That's what George has said. For the most part, it's going to be characters you've seen a little of or seen some of, and they will be the central figures. But of course the plot lines will have to take into account what is happening in the rest of the galaxy, so you'll hear the names Luke and Han and Darth and things like that.
So we will have a core group of heros, it won't be episodic with a new hero each episode?
Steve Sansweet: I think there will probably be story arcs where we'll have some very familiar kinds of character continuity. Ya, I think you need to do that to do it like a movie. For most movies, not like Star Wars, but most movies where every movie you do it's a different group of characters. No I don't think that's what Star Wars fans want or expect.EDITOR'S NOTE: NO, NO WE DON'T. CONTINUITY IS GOD!
This sounds like possibly one of the most ambitious televisions projects EVER. How is it going to happen?
Steve Sansweet: Somebody has to buy it first, you know what I mean? You can produce lots of TV and unless it's very compelling, nobody's going to want to put it on their channel. But there's so many channels of distribution. You turn around and every 6 months there's something new. There's ipod downloads, there's premium sites, there's through-the-telephone. You just don't know what's going to be here in a couple of years. In 3 years, what's going to be the hot new way of distributing? So I think that's always a possibility. Clearly you want to do something that's going to get to as many fans as possible that's as wide as possible. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND MAYBE IN 3 YEARS THERE'LL EVEN BE A CABLE CHANNEL DEVOTED TO SCIENCE FICTION! (SNORFLE.....)
Do you think it's possible to see failure with the foundation of the Star Wars universe, the merchandise, the movies, the DVD's.
Steve Sansweet: If you're always concerned with failure, you're never going to go out there and take any risk at all. Star Wars itself was a huge risk from the very beginning. Even Empire Strikes Back. As successful as Star Wars was, the bank that was lending George money to make the movie independently cut off his credit line. Nothing is a sure thing. I think there's every indication that we're going to do things that people are going to like and there's the sort of way you head.
Would it be too early to speculate on new villains? A new Grievous/Darth Maul type?
Steve Sansweet: I think in the Clone Wars animation, I think it's possible that we're going to see villains that we already know, like Grievous. I think it's way to early to speculate what's going to happen in the TV show. I think George has an idea of what he wants to do, where he wants to go with it, what kinds of characters he wants in it, but that's something...he's working on the animation right now...that he'll explore later.
How come Jar Jar didn't die in Episode 3??? EDITOR'S NOTE: COLD, MAN. COLD.
Steve Sansweet: You shouldn't assume things... I'm not saying he did, but all kinds of things happened off screen in different areas of the universe. I didn't see him in the funeral procession for Padme. But you never know the future of Jar Jar, there's a lot of years to go into with Star Wars. You don't know what happened between 3 and 4. That's a 19 year period, lots of stuff can happen.EDITOR'S NOTE: SO JAR JAR MIGHT HAVE DIED? (NO REALLY....I CARE). OF COURSE, THESE FOLKS WOULD ONLY BE HAPPY IF HE DIED ON-SCREEN. PAINFULLY. SLOWLY.
As for the new TV show: There's so much dynamic action in the movies, can that possibly be duplicated for a TV show?
Steve Sansweet: Ya, I really think you can do that in episodic TV now. It's interesting because a lot of the techniques that Geroge used in Episode 1, for example, were things that he developed in "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles." Some of the special fx techniques of crowd, doubling, tripling, quadrupling the size. With computer animation and storage and rendering getting faster and faster, I think you'll be able to see some of the things you see in the movies be transfered to the TV. Look at some of the shows like Galactica and some of the other shows that have amazing special Fx."
Any idea on the music?
Steve Sansweet: Of course we used John Williams music in The Clone Wars, the cartoons on Cartoon Network. I don't know if any specific decision on that has been made.
3D Star wars, what can you tell us about that? EDITOR'S NOTE: WAIT...HAVE TO WIPE THE DROOL OFF MY SHIRT.....
Steve Sansweet: Well, the technique exists. George and Rick McCallum are very excited about it, but you need to do a digital projection of the movie. That's how this system works. Look, there's like 90 screens in the US that have digital projections, the same number they had back in 1999, that's clearly not going to do it. You need at least 1,000 or a couple of thousand theaters in order to spend the kind of money it takes to convert the film to 3D. Late in 2005 and and this year, a lot of theaters are announcing that they are going to switch to digital projection. People have come up with a standard for the projection and they're coming up with schemes in order to finance it. It's just a matter of time. If there will be enough theaters by 2007 or if we'll have to wait a little bit longer. But it's going to happen, and it's going to happen in the near future.
Ya, we have James Cameron, Robert Rodreguiz...
Steve Sansweet: Ya, a lot of people are going digital. The thing with digital is, it's just a transmission method. It can look like film. You can make it do whatever you want to do. It's just an easier kind of thing to use.
Steve Sansweet: We're all hoping. We have our fingers crossed. There's a script that's been done. We just need to get the buy-off of three very independent men: Harrison Ford, Steven Speilberg and George Lucas. And were all hoping that there is an agreement and that we can go ahead and film Indy 4 sometime this year, late this year.
Any details you can give up?
Steve Sansweet: George knows, Harrison knows and Steven knows, and they are keeping a very closed mouth about it. I don't know, that's for sure.
Any last comments you wanna throw in there?
Steve Sansweet: It's so great to see the fans out there supporting us. And they know, as we've been saying, "Star Wars is forever." We really mean it and that's because the fans have been so supportive. They want more and we're going to give them more. As long as they want it, we're going to have it for them. EDITOR'S NOTE: BLESS YOU MR. SANSWEET. CAUSE I'D HATE TO HAVE TO GET A ....SHUDDER....LIFE OR ANYTHING.
Mustafar has become one of the most spectacular sites in the galaxy. A world of jagged obsidian cut through by searing rivers of lava, the hellish landscape became the perfect setting for the tragic finale of Revenge of the Sith. It's not a world of comforts, and neither was bringing it to life at Industrial Light & Magic.
"We used a series of fairly large miniatures to create the immediate landscape," explains Visual Effects Supervisor Roger Guyett. "Outside of that, we used digital technology, using textures from the models themselves to extend them out. Then even further, we used a lot of moving 3-D matte paintings and HD footage of actual volcanoes. It's really an elaborate tapestry of pieces."
The heat blasted facility perched atop a blackened cliff face was a digital model, but the rocky landscape and much of the lava flow was captured practically. "We ended up with a 30-by-40-foot set of the seemingly uninhabitable topography of Mustafar," says Brian Gernand, Practical Model Supervisor. "It was a rock-like environment with a four-foot wide and approximately 40-foot long path of lava coming down. Included with that were tributaries, waterfalls, all kinds of other inlets and glowing hot spots around this environment."
To give the viscous lava the illusion of self-illuminating heat, the 15,000 gallons of Methylcel needed to be penetrated by a light source. The bottom of the river beds were actually transparent, with powerful lights shining through the thick goop. "I think, in the end, there was a calculation of something like 250,000 watts of light under the set that were being blasted through," says Gernand. "That's what made the stage environment such a difficult place to be -- it was about 110 degrees on that stage!" EDITOR'S NOTE: EEK.
Guyett concurs that the stage conditions for the Mustafarian lava flow miniature was hardly heavenly. "It's one of my favorite moments from working on Star Wars," he says. "The guys start shooting the model and they're all in shorts, there's smoke on the set... It's like actually working on a volcanic planet. I would just turn up for 10 minutes and say, 'Things look beautiful here.' (But) I would think, "... I'm glad I'm not doing this all day long!"
The Grand Experiment (Digital Cinema from beta-testing to finale)
With the completion of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, George Lucas and his crew have taken digital cinema from its shaky infancy to visionary heights with the Revenge of the Sith finale.
"In order to do something like Episode I, II or III, I had to create worlds in ways that I couldn't do in the old fashion way," says Lucas. "I couldn't build sets that big, I couldn't have that many extras, I couldn't create that many costumes."
During some of the earliest interviews about this trilogy, Lucas had expressed that one of his greatest concerns about the future Star Wars films was expense. "It will be unbelievably expensive," he said at the 1989 opening of the Disney/MGM Studios, where he broke the news that Star Wars would return in the '90s. "And that's one of the things holding it up. If there was a way of doing them less expensively, it could make it easier to go ahead and do more. But there are just huge, huge amounts of money involved."
The decade that followed saw huge investments of time and creativity in digital experimentation. In 2005, Lucas reiterated the concern of what it would take to bring these new Star Wars epics on the screen using traditional methods.
"Financially, I'm a little tiny company -- I'm not like these big studios here, and for me, doing a $100 million movie is a really big deal. That's as much money as I can pull together. I couldn't possibly produce a $300 million movie; it's just not possible for me to do that. So, I have to be able to create a big world for a very small price." EDITOR'S NOTE: MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T BEAT UP ON UNCLE GEORGE QUITE SO MUCH FOR ALL HIS DIGITAL STUFF. MAYBE HE'S JUST BEING FRUGAL.
It began by creating big worlds for a small screen: namely, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. Were it not for the early ventures in digital backlot, crowd replication, set extensions, and other visual tricks practiced in the critically acclaimed television series, the new Star Wars movies may not have happened. The other breakthrough was the commitment to leaving film behind and shooting entirely on HD video.
"We were designing cameras three years before Episode I, but we didn't get it finished for [principal photography]," says Lucas. "We did get it finished for shooting our delay unit, which is a two-week shoot we do a year after. We shot two weeks of it digitally with a real big, huge, funny prototype camera. It sort of looked like an old Technicolor camera with cables all over the place."
When it came time for Episode II, the digital cameras weren't finalized and delivered until just weeks before principal photography began.
"It was real Beta-testing movie making," says Lucas. "We were experimenting; we hadn't quite done this before. We were learning as we went along and made Episode II. The great thing about Episode III is that I used the same crew, same cast, same equipment, same everything and we all knew what we were doing. It took me one movie to figure it out. And we pushed it much further because on the first film we had maybe 25% digital sets; the second movie, we had maybe 50% digital sets and in Episode III, I'd say there's 85% digital sets. We were able to push the limits of what we needed and it allows you a whole different kind of flexibility from what people were used to in making movies."
EDITOR'S NOTE: AND NOW, A FEW ITEMS FROM THE EU (EXPANDED UNIVERSE, NATCH)
Timothy Zahn: Outbound Flight Arrival
Back to the Past
Author Timothy Zahn's unique mix of espionage, political gamesmanship, and deadly interstellar combat breathes electrifying life into a Star Wars legend. The fabled Outbound Flight project, the focus (and title) of the newest Star Wars novel, is finally explored after years of speculation and rumor.
It began as the ultimate voyage of discovery -- only to become the stuff of lost Republic legend and a dark chapter in Jedi history. The Clone Wars have yet to erupt when Jedi Master Jorus C'baoth petitions the Senate for support of a singularly ambitious undertaking. Six Jedi Masters, twelve Jedi Knights, and fifty thousand men, women, and children will embark aboard a gargantuan vessel, equipped for years of travel, on a mission to contact intelligent life and colonize undiscovered worlds beyond the known galaxy. Unknown to the famed Jedi Master, the successful launch of the mission is secretly being orchestrated by an unlikely ally: the evil Sith Lord, Darth Sidious, who has his own reasons for wanting Outbound Flight to move forward... and, ultimately, to fail.
Yet Darth Sidious is not the mission's most dangerous challenge. Once underway, the starship crosses paths at the edge of Unknown Space with the forces of the alien Chiss Ascendancy and the brilliant mastermind best known as "Thrawn." Even Jedi Knight Obi-Wan Kenobi, aboard Outbound Flight with his young Padawan student, Anakin Skywalker, cannot help avert disaster. Thus what begins as a peaceful Jedi mission is violently transformed into an all-out war for survival against staggering odds and the most diabolical of adversaries.
Star Wars: Outbound Flight is now available in hardcover from Del Rey Books. Author Timothy Zahn is embarking on a booksigning tour, but for those who wish to purchase an autographed copy online, go to SignedPage.com. EDITOR'S NOTE: THIS IS A COOL DEAL. IT DOESN'T COST ANY MORE (I DON'T THINK) THAN THE REGULAR BOOK, AND YOU GET IT SIGNED.
What follows is a brief question-and-answer session with Zahn about this eagerly awaited Star Wars novel.
How did you first came up with the idea for Outbound Flight -- not the book, but the mission that's become such a legendary part of Star Wars lore? Ironically enough, Outbound Flight began life basically as a throwaway line. It was a way to confirm for the readers in Heir to the Empire that Joruus C'baoth was indeed a clone and not the original Jorus, as well as to provide another reference to Grand Admiral Thrawn's military skills. It also seemed like something Palpatine might reasonably have done: create something else to distract the Jedi and perhaps prune away some of the troublemakers in advance of his full extermination scheme.
If I'd known that I'd eventually write two books dealing with the project, I'd have definitely tried to come up with a classier name.
Though it's long been a part of the Star Wars universe, mentioned in novels by you and others, and featured in your book Survivor's Quest, it's only now that you've actually written the story of the Outbound Flight mission itself. Why did it take so long?
Actually, the original impetus came from Lucasfilm, not me. A few years ago my editor, Shelly Shapiro, informed me that Sue Rostoni had expressed interest in having Outbound Flight's story told and asked if I would be interested in writing it. It took me about three seconds to make up my mind ("I get to write another Thrawn story?! Cool!"), and I said yes.
Originally, the plan was to publish it in 2002 just before the release of Attack of the Clones, which would have put it in its proper chronological place. However, for unknown reasons all that was changed and the book ended up being rescheduled for November 2005. Throw in one more scheduling shuffle, and we arrive at January 2006.What did it feel like to finally close this chapter in your career -- if indeed it is closed? Are there more revelations to come about Outbound Flight?
I think that between this book and Survivor's Quest, I've said pretty much all I have to say about Outbound Flight. And yes, it did rather feel like closing a chapter in Star Wars history.
And as always, it was immensely fun to play tactics with Thrawn.
Why so much time between publication of Survivor's Quest and Outbound Flight?
Again, there originally wasn't supposed to be quite this much time between the two books, but the scheduling just worked out that way.
For that matter, the books weren't originally intended to be linked at all. After I'd signed for Outbound Flight, and we'd done the scheduling change, Lucasfilm and Del Rey came to me and asked if I'd like to do a Luke/Mara book as a sort of parallel to the Han/Leia book (Tatooine Ghost) already in the works. Again, the deliberation process took all of three seconds ("I get to write another Mara Jade story?! Cool!").
It was as I was working on the outline for the story that it occurred to me that since Survivor's Quest would be coming out before Outbound Flight, I could pull the same trick George Lucas himself was doing, prequel-wise, and have Survivor's Quest tell the end of the Outbound Flight story before the readers actually got to see the beginning. It made the process a little trickier, as I was outlining two books at the same time for Del Rey and Lucasfilm, but making the books into a sort of backwards-order-and-separated-in-time duology was definitely worth the extra intricacy.
Thrawn: Servant or Master?
Your original Thrawn trilogy (Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command) is widely credited with reviving interest in Star Wars, and your name is always mentioned when fans discuss their favorite Star Wars writers. Clearly, you're doing something right! What do you think makes your work so popular?
To be honest, I really don't know. I did the best I could with those three books, of course, but then I do that with everything else I write, too. Through some combination of story and character and chemistry, it all simply came together better than anything else I've ever published. Having vibrant, well-loved characters like Luke, Han, and Leia already at hand, of course, just added that much extra to the mix.
Though you're best known for your Star Wars work, most of your published novels and stories are set in universes of your own creation. How do you decide, when you get an idea for a story or book, whether to keep it for yourself or use it in Star Wars? I don't think I've ever had a problem with that. When I'm plotting or writing a Star Wars book, I'm in that particular universe's mindset, and only come up with ideas that I think will fit into that universe. (Though of course not everyone necessarily agrees with what I think fits the Star Wars universe. Remind me to tell you sometime about the flap over Luke's hot chocolate...)
Who is your favorite among the characters you've created for Star Wars, and why?
Top places go to Mara Jade and Grand Admiral Thrawn. Mara, with her attitude and her Jedi skills, is just plain fun to write, especially when she's in opposition -- or in partnership -- with Luke. Thrawn, in contrast, provides the intellectual challenge of trying to come up with new, clever, and (hopefully) workable tactics and strategies.
Thrawn's character in Outbound Flight is surprising. He seems too smart and basically decent to become the servant of Palpatine that he later becomes.
Ah, but is he really Palpatine's servant? My sense has always been that he was manipulating Palpatine just as much as Palpatine is manipulating him. After all, he only came to the Empire so that he could gain command rank, collect all the military hardware Palpatine was willing to give him, and then get himself kicked back out to the Unknown Regions where he could start his long-term preparations for the coming war against the Yuuzhan Vong.
Not that Palpatine was fooled, of course. I'm sure he knew perfectly well what was going on and figured he was getting as much out of the deal as Thrawn was. Possibly a little more. EDITOR'S NOTE: AND MAKING HIM AS SMART AND DECENT AS HE WAS IS WHAT MAKES HIM SUCH AN INTRIGUING CHARACTER. HE'S ONLY PERCEIVED AS A 'BAD GUY' BECAUSE HE ALIGNED HIMSELF WITH THE EMPIRE, BUT THE GIFT ZAHN BRINGS TO THE SW UNIVERSE IS IN NOT PAINTING THESE ALLIGIENCES IN COMPLETE BLACK-AND-WHITE.
What is it about Jorus C'baoth's character that makes him susceptible to the dark side, and why doesn't Palpatine/Sidious turn him and use him for his own purposes, as he later does with Count Dooku?
I don't think C'baoth would be good Sith material. He wants to stretch and extend Jedi power and authority, but he hasn't rejected the overall Jedi philosophy the way the Sith have. However, his arrogance and self-confidence definitely make him someone Palpatine can manipulate and use in more subtle ways.
Are you working on anything else in the Star Wars universe?
Exclusive Stormtrooper Cover for iPod Nano
Our Price: $24.95
StarWarsShop now has two exclusive new iPod covers to offer, including this stunning Stormtrooper edition for the Nano. With artwork by Tsuneo Sanda, this cool accessory should become standard issue for trooper enthusiasts and fans alike.
The Iconz Nano cover offer play-through control for the Click Wheel and built-in screen protection.
Exclusive Iconz iPod Video 30GB Cover Featuring Star Wars Artwork
Our Price: $29.95
StarWarsShop now has two exclusive new iPod covers to offer, including this fantastic concert edition featuring artwork by Hugh Fleming for the video iPod. Originally devised for a fan club exclusive poster in the '90s, this artwork translates perfectly to the cover of your video iPod.
Battle of Coruscant Figure Preview
Here is a full preview of the "Battle of Coruscant"-inspired line-up coming to retailers everywhere this spring. Each comes with a base and a randomly-selected bonus hologram figure.
Miniatures of the statues that watch over all those who enter the Jedi Temple.
A look at the landed configuration of the Imperial Theta-class shuttle used by Palpatine.
Initially, the Imperial assault on Hoth was to be carried out by tanks, since the thought was existing ground vehicles could be redressed to become Star Wars craft. Ralph McQuarrie illustrates some possible vehicles here.
Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) finds himself at the mercy of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) aboard the Trade Federation Cruiser.
This illustration, attributed to Norman Reynolds, describes a rather nasty torture device to use against multi-limbed droids in Jabba's palace.
Director Irvin Kershner discusses a scene with Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) while Harrison Ford (Han Solo) stands at his mark.
Joe Johnston illustrates the all-important Death Star thermal exhaust port, in this sketch dated April 19th, 1976.
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) holds on to Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) as they quickly decide how to avoid death by elevator. EDITOR'S NOTE: I LEFT THIS ONE FOR LAST, BECAUSE I KNEW (MUCH AS I WISH I DIDN'T) THAT SOME OF YOU WOULD NEED EXTRA TIME ALONE WITH IT.