R2-D2 derby

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You know, for your Star Wars/Mary Poppins mashup theme wedding! $550 from Etsy seller The Blonde Swan, who makes them to order, and will also do you a BB-8 bowler (same price) if that's your thing. (via Geeks Are Sexy) Read the rest

R2-D2 anglepoise lamp

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They're $60 at Thinkgeek. (via Geeky Merch) Read the rest

Rogue One: a Star Wars spy movie

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The teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is out.

Perhaps we'll be presented with a story where patricide is not the solution to all the problems in the galaxy, and the path to great power. Read the rest

Inside Industrial Light & Magic's virtual reality lab

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Industrial Light & Magic’s Experience Lab (ILMxLAB) is a newly-formed supergroup of artists, engineers, sound designers, and storytellers prototyping the future of interactive, immersive cinema for Lucasfilm. Over at Bloomberg Businessweek, I wrote about my visit to the xLAB where The Force is quite strong:

"The way we do technology development here is really hand-in-hand with the creative goals,” says (Lucasfilm CTO Rob) Bredow. “The R&D is always in service to the story.”

For example, to port the Millennium Falcon from the Star Wars film universe into the interactive realm, the Advanced Development Group engineers first had to figure out how the VR hardware could render the massive 3D model in just milliseconds, compared with hours or days for a film shot. Then Skywalker Sound built a surround system that realistically rumbles and whooshes as a Corellian starship should. Meanwhile, game designers and the storytellers hashed out the most compelling way for a Jedi-in-training (you) to battle an army of Stormtroopers with a lightsaber.

"THE SUPERGROUP REMAKING STAR WARS AND JURASSIC WORLD IN VR" (Bloomberg Businessweek) Read the rest

Erik Bauersfeld, voice of Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortuna, RIP

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Erik Bauersfeld who voiced Admiral Ackbar's famous line "It's a trap!" from Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi, died on Sunday. He was 93. Bauersfeld also portrayed Jabba the Hutt's majordomo Bib Fortuna.

From the site for Bauersfeld's nonprofit Bay Area Radio Drama (BARD) Read the rest

Inspired Haunted Mansion stretch gallery/Star Wars mashup

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Karen Hallion, a frustrated Disney animator, has updated her brilliant Princess Leia/Haunted Mansion mashup from 2014 with an inspired, complete set of Star Wars inspired Haunted Mansion stretch-gallery portraits. Read the rest

The journey of Anakin's lightsaber

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I used to think Star Wars was the story of C3P0 and R2D2, but The Force Awakens suggests Anakin's lightsaber may be the talisman that ties the room together. This fantastic video by youtuber Christopher Sherwood shows us that iconic weapon from inspiration up to its place in the current story.

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Attack of the Journal – Part journal part sketchbook and a great companion to the Star Wars Jedi Academy series

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

When an author who writes books for grown-ups is successful at translating his voice into books for kids it’s a win-win. Jeffrey Brown, author of graphic novels such as Clumsy and Funny Misshapen Body has done just that with his series Star Wars Jedi Academy. These graphic novels follow Roan, a young Jedi fumbling his way through middle school’s version of the Jedi Arts. This latest installation, Attack of the Journal, is part activity book part sketchbook and a great accompaniment to the series. It features familiar characters from the books, but you don’t need to have read the actual novels to enjoy the journal. Unlike many character-based activity books for children, Attack of the Journal gives the reins over to the reader. Instead of preprinted mazes and simple seek and finds, Brown’s activities are open-ended and challenge readers to try drawing new things and to write their own stories.

The book is great for elementary-aged kids, but even younger can have fun with the “Draw Your Friends As Aliens” page or attempt a self-portrait. I found it’s a great way to practice letters and words with kids in a way that is fun for everyone. Even the fact that it’s a hardback makes whatever you create inside feel more important. Jeffrey Brown’s sense of humor and kind encouragement are felt in the journal activities, helping young authors and illustrators not take it too seriously if their “Create your own Lightsaber” page looks more like a Wookie. Read the rest

Bake: homemade Jabba the Hutt peeps

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The perfect accompaniment to your home-made poop emoji peeps: a marshmallow Jabba the Hutt. Read the rest

Death Star Skull tee

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Fanfreak's Space Skull tee is $20 at the Neatoshop; how is it that I've never seen this design concept before? Read the rest

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' concept art revealed by ILM

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ILM has just revealed 45 concept illustrations from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. What secrets will they contain?

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Darth Vader and Son gives us a funny peek at Vader's hypothetical daddy side

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See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Darth Vader and Son is cute, and perfect for the little Star Wars fan in your life. It playfully posits the question “What if Darth Vader had actually raised Luke?” Author and illustrator Jeffrey Brown turns run-of-the-mill parenting activities into fun moments full of Star Wars references.

This book isn’t so much a story as it is a peek into the hypothetical everyday life of Vader and Luke. Every page of the book tells its own complete story of sorts. Some pages are miniature comics while others are full-page illustrations. Brown does an incredible job of telling his story in these single images. I imagine this book would be great for children just learning to read, similar to how the Owly books help develop a sense of story without the need for lines and lines of text. If you have a child that enjoys books but isn’t yet able to read longer children’s books with more words, Darth Vader and Son is a great compromise. At 64 pages it is long enough to be engaging for an extended period of time, but you can basically jump in and out of the book at any point.

Brown’s art style is colorful and light, reminiscent of childhood crayon drawings. Darth Vader always looks slightly goofy, which goes a long way to establish the tone of the book. The drawings include a number of visual references to the Star Wars films that will delight anyone with the eye to catch them (and there’s something on almost every page, so have fun looking for everything). Read the rest

Return of the Jedi creature designer's LSD trip report

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VFX pioneer Phil Tippett, creator of Jabba the Hutt's pet Rancor, dropped acid during the production of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi:

“I took LSD when I was working on Return of the Jedi. I could communicate with my cat Brian, and Brian took me on a journey.

“I crawled into this cupboard with Brian the cat and we went to the centre of the Earth for like three billion years and I was just in this world of molecules. It was fine, it was very calming.

“I decided to go back to work and I was at ILM (Industrial Light & Magic) and I walked into the blue screen stage and it’s huge - everything’s just super illuminated bright blue - and it was just like ‘Aaaah, I took like way too much.’’

More in this VICE video: "My Life in Monsters" (via The Independent)

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Imperial March in "major key"

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If Star Wars were directed by Paul Verhoeven: what the stormtroopers actually march to, far from John Williams' anti-Imperial minor key propaganda. Read the rest

Chewbacca screaming like a teenage girl in a horror movie

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By Tal Prints. See below for "Chebacca screaming like a grown man in a torture porn movie." [via Kotaku]

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Scan of original 1977 35mm print of Star Wars released online

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A restored high-definition digital scan, taken from 35mm prints of the original, unmolested version of Star Wars, is now available online to those who are looking. May the celluloid be with you. Always.
While this isn't the first time that attempts have been made to restore Star Wars to its original theatrical version—that's the one without the much-maligned CGI effects and edits of later "special" editions—it is the first to have been based entirely on a single 35mm print of the film, rather than cut together from various sources.

Here's a post from the team who located usable prints and spent years working on their restoration.

Despite having access to the original source, and to all the cleaned footage as the project progressed, I was still completely blown away by the final version. I had no idea it could look so good! Honestly! Way back at the start I had created a comparison clip with the 2006 Bonus DVD on top and the raw scan of LPP on the bottom, in order to see which frames (if any) were missing from the print, and I remember being rather alarmed that it made the GOUT look good!:

Creator George Lucas said, in disowning his original work, that all the copies of it were destroyed. "The only issue with Team Negative 1's version of the film," reports Mark Walton, "is that it isn't exactly legal."

Here it is, compared to the official Blu-Ray:

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Fans de-Lucas original Star Wars, post a digitized 1977 35mm theatrical print

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Team Negative 1, an all-volunteer Star Wars nerd squad, have spent thousands to source, digitize and restore an original 1977 theatrical print of Star Wars (known in contemporary canon as "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope"). Read the rest

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