Star Wars announces 'The High Republic'

Marijuana legalization sweeps a galaxy far, far away? No! A new series set 200 years before the Jedi let shit fall apart. Read the rest

Nerding out over sci-fi spaceship designs at the Spacedock

When I was a teen devourer of sci-fi, I was obsessed with the spaceship designs on paperback book covers. I would buy any novel or short story collection, however sketchy the contents seemed, if I dug the ship on the cover. Conversely, I would pass over well-regarded books if I thought the spaceship art was crappy. Sometimes, the covers would make a more lasting impression on me than the contents.

I can't imagine how high over the moon teenage me would be for YouTube channels like Spacedock. This excellently-produced channel is a collection of deep-nerdings over the minutia of spaceship designs found in sci-fi media. Episodes look at categories of ships across different sci-fi universes or they are deep dives into a specific class of ship from a world, or a single, iconic ship from a series.

The opinions are definitely those of the creator of the channel, and I don't always agree with them, but current me and teenage me are in love with the nerdiness of it all.

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How The Mandalorian was shot on a virtual stage using the Unreal Engine

Until I bumped into the first video below on YouTube this morning, I had no idea that a lot of The Mandalorian was shot on a virtual set using the Unreal Engine.

Over 50 percent of The Mandalorian Season 1 was filmed using this ground-breaking new methodology, eliminating the need for location shoots entirely. Instead, actors in The Mandalorian performed in an immersive and massive 20’ high by 270-degree semicircular LED video wall and ceiling with a 75’-diameter performance space, where the practical set pieces were combined with digital extensions on the screens. Digital 3D environments created by ILM played back interactively on the LED walls, edited in real-time during the shoot, which allowed for pixel-accurate tracking and perspective-correct 3D imagery rendered at high resolution via systems powered by NVIDIA GPUs. The environments were lit and rendered from the perspective of the camera to provide parallax in real-time, as if the camera were really capturing the physical environment with accurate interactive light on the actors and practical sets, giving showrunner Jon Favreau, executive producer and director Dave Filoni, visual effects supervisor Richard Bluff, and cinematographers Greig Frazier and Barry Baz Idoine, and the episodic directors the ability to make concrete creative choices for visual effects-driven work during photography and achieve real-time in-camera composites on set.

Here is an article about it on the Unreal Engine's website.

Image: YouTube Read the rest

The history of the Darksaber as explained by Starwars.com

The season finale of the Mandalorian is certainly not the first time Star Wars has introduced 'the Darksaber.' Created by the first Mandalorian jedi, Tarre Vizsla, this laser sword has a long history...

Star Wars

...The Darksaber goes back to the time of Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to become a Jedi Knight. He created a one-of-a-kind lightsaber with a flat blade of dark, swirling energy. In the Star Wars Rebels episode “Trials of the Darksaber,” Fenn Rau shared more of the Mandalorian folklore surrounding the weapon.

“Legend tells that it was created over 1,000 years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian ever inducted into the Jedi Order,” Rau told Kanan Jarrus. “After his passing, the Jedi kept the saber in their temple. That was, until members of House Vizsla snuck in and liberated it.”

While not much is known about Tarre Vizsla, we do know he is a revered figure on Mandalore who later became one of its rulers. His legacy was so well-respected that the Darksaber became a symbol of power the Mandalorians rallied behind as they supported the leader wielding it.

“[House Vizsla] used the saber to unify the people and strike down those that would oppose them. At one time, they ruled all of Mandalore wielding this blade,” said Rau...

What is the Darksaber/StarWars.com Read the rest

LEGO Star Wars: Obi-wan's Tatooine hideout

LEGO calls this Obi-wan's Hut but he is way cooler than that.

Build the hut where Ol' Ben first tells Luke about more elegant weaponry and lies to him about his father.

This 200 piece set comes with R2D2, Obi-Wan, Luke and a Tusken Raider minifig.

Yoda lived in a hut, Obi-wan had a hideout or at the least a jedicave.

LEGO Star Wars: A New Hope OBI-Wan’s Hut Read the rest

Breathtaking image of a red giant star swallowing another star

Astronomers captured this incredible image of a double-star system where a red giant star appears to have "engulfed the other (star) which, in turn, spiraled towards its partner provoking it into shedding its outer layers." The scientists spotted this astounding event using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) radio telescope in the Chilean Andes. From the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) announcement:

Thanks to new observations with ALMA, complemented by data from the ESO-operated Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX), Olofsson and his team now know that what happened in the double-star system HD101584 was akin to a stellar fight. As the main star puffed up into a red giant, it grew large enough to swallow its lower-mass partner. In response, the smaller star spiralled in towards the giant’s core but didn’t collide with it. Rather, this manoeuvre triggered the larger star into an outburst, leaving its gas layers dramatically scattered and its core exposed.

The team says the complex structure of the gas in the HD101584 nebula is due to the smaller star’s spiralling towards the red giant, as well as to the jets of gas that formed in this process. As a deadly blow to the already defeated gas layers, these jets blasted through the previously ejected material, forming the rings of gas and the bright bluish and reddish blobs seen in the nebula.

A silver lining of a stellar fight is that it helps astronomers to better understand the final evolution of stars like the Sun.

Here's the scientific paper: HD 101584: circumstellar characteristics and evolutionary status (Astronomy Astrophysics) Read the rest

Some data on your chances to ride Disneyland's 'Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance'

I missed the opening of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance by a few weeks. Star Wars Galaxys Edge is wonderful.

OC Register:

On most days, the backup boarding group threshold tends to be in the 80 to 83 range, meaning visitors with boarding groups below that number are expected to get on the ride. The backup boarding group threshold has been as low as 42 — which happened on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when the park was closing early for an 80s Nite after-hours party.

Disneyland has been able to accommodate some backup boarding groups on most days. The park made it all the way to boarding group 122 on Jan. 27, one of the best operational days yet for Rise of the Resistance. On the flip side, the park only made it to boarding group 81 on Jan. 19 and 26. On most days, Rise of the Resistance reaches backup boarding groups in the 105 to 115 range.

Back-to-back downtimes hurt the most — and Rise of the Resistance has had its share of them during the first two weeks of operation. The ride had back-to-back breakdowns that stretched for approximately two hours or more on Jan. 22, 23 and 25, according to Touring Plans.

But those weren’t the worst days by far. Back-to-back breakdowns stretched for approximately 4 hours on Jan. 19, according to Touring Plans. On Jan. 26, Rise of the Resistance went down three times in a row over the course of an 8-hour period, resulting in no backup boarding groups being called, Touring Plans data shows.

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Test footage emerges of "Star Wars: Underworld," a TV series that never came to light

Footage from George Lucas’ abandoned 2010 Star Wars TV series, "Star Wars: Underworld," has surfaced on YouTube.

Released test footage from 2010 of the cancelled Star Wars TV show "Underworld," which was to take place in the lower levels of Coruscant. The series was set after the events of Order 66. The video game "1313" was to be a tie-in of this series. Due to the immense cost of shooting the series, as well as the selling of Lucasfilm to Disney, "Underworld" was delayed and eventually cancelled.

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Gorgeous handmade Tiffany-style R2-D2 table lamp

Fight the Dark Side with this Tiffany-style R2-D2 head dome table lamp. Read the rest

Is an updated Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic in the works?

Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic isn't just the best Star Wars game of all time, it is one of the best video games of all time! I still play it today and I would play the hell out of a remake.

The recent Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order is the first game to come close to this wonderful playstyle and storytelling. They could almost port the story into this the Fallen Order platform.

Fallen Order is well worth playing and is just beautiful. This is in stark contrast to every other recent videogame in the Star Wars universe except maybe Beat Saber.

Comicbook.com

According to a new report, Electronic Arts is planning on bringing back a classic Star Wars game in the remake form. More specifically, a remake of BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is currently and allegedly in development. The report comes way of Cinelinx, which claims that it as been told by two independent sources -- one of which has been reliable in the past -- that EA is currently working on reviving the classic game. Now, one source claims it's a straight up a remake, while the other says it's more of a sequel that would take elements from the game and its follow-up and combine then into one single game. Meanwhile, it would also make the game canon. In other words, it would be more of a reboot or reimagining than a straight remake.

I am ready to pre-order! Read the rest

LEGO step-by-step build: Ultimate Millennium Falcon

Oh this is gloriously satisfying. Read the rest

A powerful trailer for the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

This is the bringing-tears to my eyes type Star Wars stuff we need!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is arguably the best storytelling in the Star Wars canon universe.

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Teach a kid to code with the LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander

The awesome LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander set lets you build and program Star Wars droids.

A big hit over the holiday season was this LEGO droid building kit. Having started with LEGO Mindstorms decades ago, I am thrilled with how LEGO's learn to code using our toys program has come along.

This kit comes with 3 build-able droids and whole lot of coding challenges to help you and your children learn to manage R2D2.

LEGO Star Wars Boost Droid Commander Read the rest

Play 'Star Wars Battlefront II' as a lightsaber swinging Pope John Paul II

Do not be afraid to take a chance on peace, to teach peace, to live peace…Peace will be the last word of history. --Pope John Paul II

This may be the ONLY reason I've heard to consider buying Star Wars Battlefront II.

The excellent mod by xD0IT turns Kylo Ren into a buffed out Pope John Paul II who is one with the Force... or Jesus, I'm not really sure how that stuff expresses in a religion not my own.

During his time as pontiff, JPII was clearly a man of peace and love. As a Jedi decked out with a cruciform lightsaber? Try he will not.

Alternatively, Star Wars: Fallen Order is a great game. Read the rest

I really enjoy DJ R3X's 'Playlist #1' from Oga's Cantina at Disneyland

My daughter and I finally made it to Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge. It was wonderful. Read the rest

The Mandalorian as a spaghetti western

Disney's The Mandalorian is the contemporary Star Wars production people actually like and has already wriggled deep into the folds of pop culture. Much of the meme-orializing centers on "Baby Yoda", of course, but the show pays tribute to westerns in depth and that's what's honored in this handsome edit by Kingkida.

Now that the amazing first season of The Mandalorian is complete, I decided to go back and update my Sergio Leone inspired trailer. Thanks for all the feedback on the last one. I incorporated a lot of your suggestions, but I'm sure I butchered more Italian in this pass as well!

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Jeremy of Black Magic Craft builds a gorgeous Mandalorian diorama

On Black Magic Craft, Jeremy usually builds scenery for tabletop fantasy and sci-fi gaming. But, inspired by his new 3D resin printer, he decided to create something just for fun.

Given the Nerdisphere's current obsession with The Mandalorian, he settled on a Mandalorian and baby Yoda diorama. The results are impressive, one of the coolest things I've ever seen Jeremy build.

The video contains lots of great build tips that can be applied to tabletop gaming terrain, dioramas, or any type of hobby modeling. Good stuff. Read the rest

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