The amazing story behind the sounds of Star Wars: Episode IV

In this wonderful video, Ben Burtt, sound designer for Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, reveals the secrets behind the fantastic zaps, beeps, and growls in that first film in the series. His first task was to figure out Chewbacca's voice that, ultimately, came from a pet bear on a farm in Tehachapi, California.

Also, I distinctly remember when I was a kid hearing for the first time that Burt discovered the blaster sound during a hike when he accidentally banged his backpack on a guy-wire anchoring a radio tower. After I learned that, I hammered on any guy-wire I came across for at least a week.

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Star Wars origin story for Grand Admiral Thrawn is as wonderful as I hoped

Thrawn begins the backstory of Grand Admiral Thrawn, perhaps the most fearsome non-Force user in the Empire.

Timothy Zahn's Heir the the Empire series introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn. The blue-skinned, red-eyed, master of strategy and tactics inspired decades of speculation and debate.

Then Star Wars Rebels re-introduced Grand Admiral Thrawn as the super villain intended to crush the nascent Rebellion. I was thrilled. Sadly, Thrawn was kind of a doofus and not nearly as tough for the Rebels to get around as I'd hoped.

That said, Thrawn was still fascinating. A blue-skinned non-human who appears a peer with Darth Vader? I wanted to know more and luckily Timothy Zahn was brought back to flesh out the story.

Marooned on a deserted planet for simply suggesting a non-standard approach to solving his people's problems, Thrawn is discovered by the Empire. The blue-skinned alien who outwits dozens of Imperial Troopers is taken to Coruscant to meet the Emperor and enlisted to help subdue the dangers of the Outer-Rim.

This adventure is a fantastic story, but learning Thrawn's motivations and backstory have set me down the path of reading the entire trilogy.

Thrawn (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn via Amazon Read the rest

Streaming 2003's Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: I am a padawan

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic is one of the most beloved video games of all time.

Ride along as I miserably stumble my way through an award-winning game 16 years after its release.

There is some great Star Wars backstory left forgotten by all but the most knowing fans! We can uncover it, or just read the faq.

I have never played all the way through this game, and only recently realized it had both been "Enhanced" with updated graphics for the Xbox One X in 2018. The Darth Revan story is famous tho. Star Wars fans can bring it up as a trump card in any discussion. Now I will be able to say "Yeah, I played through on the Xbox enhanced!" This should quiet all but the folks who have played the numerous mods.

I will be able to join their ranks. I'm usually auto-leveling my characters, and I keep forgetting to be "dark" but I really do mean ill.

Tonight I am about to close out the first major level, and leave the planet Taris... once I steal a ship and escape the Sith. Then it isoff to Dantooine where I train as a padawan.

I'm sure I'll make a great padawan. The best.

The RPG from 2003 is surprisingly fun to play. I did not enjoy the most modern hit RPG Red Dead Redemption 2, but I am very happy to play through this game and looking forward to the enhanced version of KOTOR 2. Read the rest

I'm streaming a couple hours of 'Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic'

Watch me fail as a Jedi.

Considered one of the greatest videogames of all-time, Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic won game of the year in 2003.

Are you bored too? Spark a J, grab a drink, and join me in Twitch Chat. We can pick a super silly Star Wars name, pop off in every conversation, and fall to the dark side!

Seriously, KOTOR has some great Star Wars storytelling. There is an awful lot in this video game that turned up in later Star Wars media. Darth Revan is probably the most awesome Sith.

Xbox has "enhanced" versions of a number of classic games, and I'm going to be playing through a few of them over the next few weeks. Testing has shown that KOTOR looks pretty great via Twitch. Halo CE Anniversary Enhanced is a must play.

Jason's Twitch channel will be active from 8pm til who knows when.

Update: Signed off at 11:56pm. Got as far as needing to rescue the Wookie. I will absolutely pick this up again. The game is still wonderful. It hurts to sit in a chair for that long. Read the rest

Star Wars Clone Wars to return in 2019

This trailer for 12 soon-to-be-released new episodes of Star Wars long-canceled Clone Wars punched me in the gut and then gave me hope. I can not wait to see these missing chapters. Read the rest

Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge will include an animatronic Hondo Ohnaka

Weequay pirate Hondo Ohnaka, tho largely unknown to non-animated Star Wars fans, wins my vote for Star Wars universe most loveable, loveable scoundrel. I am glad to see he'll play a role in the new Star Wars area of Disneyland.

I am hopeful this will also bring us audio-animatronic Melch.

I'd take a Cad Bane feature too. Read the rest

Classic A New Hope LEGO: Tantive IV escape pod and a dewback

I can not wait to give this small LEGO Star Wars set to my daughter.

The kit includes some great minifigs: R2, C3P0, and a really nice Stormtrooper, however I'm most excited about the escape pod.

At 177 pieces this set will be a short activity for her, but for less than $20 delivered I can't pass it up.

LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope Escape Pod vs. Dewback Microfighters 75228 Building Kit via Amazon Read the rest

Trailer for Star Wars: The Whole Damn Thing

Topher Grace, creator of the famed Star Wars: Episode III.5: The Editor Strikes Back that recut the prequels into a single film, has now released a trailer that combines material from all ten Star Wars films. I'm going to send this to the two people I know who have never seen a single Star Wars movie. Not that they will bother to watch it, of course.

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Death Star waffle iron makes great looking Death Star waffles

Make awesome Death Star waffles. Read the rest

Make: an adorable crocheted AT-AT Walker

You can make your own perfectly adorable chibi crocheted AT-AT Walker with this $5.90 pattern from Polish textile artist Kamila Krawczyk, AKA Krawka. (via The Stars My Destination) Read the rest

'Toddler Star Wars Lightsaber' fight, now with Dramatic Sound

🔊Sound on! Read the rest

For Sale: (1) Santa in Carbonite

John Eldredge of St. Petersburg, Florida writes in a Facebook Marketplace listing that he made this lifesize Santa in Carbonite for a sci-fi Christmas party. But the party's over and Santa must go. $200.

Light settings are adjustable to flash at different speeds or not at all. Made with wood, clothes and a lot of hot glue! It's basically a craft and not a precision model, but looks cool. Side panels are made with cosplay foam. Unit is pretty light and stands about 6.5 ft. tall.

photo via John Eldredge/Facebook

(Nerdcore) Read the rest

Watch Yoda say "hmmm..." over and over and over

YouTube commenter Steve Kurtics-Lentinello: "They get more depressing over time.. poor Yoda :("

Hmmmm.

Video by Jason Scanlon. (via Laughing Squid) Read the rest

NASA makes cool space mission posters that reference pop culture

So, get this. For many years now, NASA has been putting out some really fun posters to bring awareness to their space missions. They reference everything from Star Trek to Star Wars and lots in-between.

Bored Panda writes:

Since the very first International Space Station mission in 2000, NASA has been creating expedition posters usually featuring a group photo of the crew. These posters were used to advertise expeditions and were also hung in NASA facilities and other government organizations. However, when astronauts got bored of the standard group photos they decided to spice things up a bit.

They call them "cringy" but I love them. I think they're fun and creative.

Here's a few of them (more here):

images via NASA, lead image cropped to fit Read the rest

Good deal on a LEGO Star Wars Porg

Amazon is offering the LEGO Star Wars Porg for $55, which usually sells for $70. Read the rest

Gorgeous retro Star Wars propaganda posters

Russell Walks' astounding and vast collection of licensed, retro-styled Star Wars propaganda posters are also available in postcard form. Read the rest

Sphero's app controlled R2D2 for $40

Sphero makes great RC style toys that teach kids programming. R2D2 is now available for $40.

R2-D2 App-Enabled Droid via Amazon Read the rest

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