As you are no doubt aware, the next installment in the latest Star Wars trilogy, The Last Jedi (Episode VIII), is opening in theaters nationwide this Thursday, December 14th at midnight. Whether or not it will be a frame-by-frame remake of The Empire Strikes Back (1980), like The Force Awakens and A New Hope (1977), has yet to be seen, but fans will undoubtedly be packing theaters to capacity from Friday until well into the New Year. If you already have a ticket for opening weekend, then let us know what you think. If not, however, you can still get your Star Wars fix by taking a brief (and by brief, I mean roughly 12-14 hours) refresher course with watching the series in “Machete Order.” Let me explain.
The Machete Order was first suggested by a fan of the series named Rob Hilton in preparation for the release of 2015’s The Force Awakens. According to Hilton, the machete order is a more effective way of watching the previous films, particularly for young viewers who are not familiar with the series. Obviously, with seven feature-length films and an eighth coming out this week, knowing where to start to get the full experience can be an overwhelming ordeal. Should you begin with the original trilogy and work your way up, or should you start with 1999’s The Phantom Menace and proceed chronologically? Continue reading →
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Abrams also did a great job of resurrecting the original Star Wars universe by bringing back a lot of the old designs and symbols representing the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Star Fleet. I also have no complaints regarding the new lineup of actors. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega had a perfect chemistry between them, and Oscar Isaac did great as the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. Adam Driver, however, as both the bad guy AND Han Solo and Leia’s son, was not necessarily bad, he was simply miscast, and Abrams didn’t do him any favors by taking off his helmet and showing his face. And if you are wondering about Luke Skywalker, he was pretty much absent the entire movie. He literally showed up for a few seconds at the very end, having evidently pulled a “Yoda” and gone into hiding after Han’s son decided to pull an “Anakin” and join the Dark Side. Needless to say we won’t really know what Luke’s deal is until the next movie in 2017, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original release in 1977. All in all, it was a great movie and gave us some glimpses into the upcoming films and how the characters will continue to develop. Some stories were closed, but many more were opened, and now we have to wait another two years to find out what happens next. Stay tuned.
Director J.J. Abrams is currently working behind the camera on Star Wars: Episode 7 with original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher. While that’s happening in the studio, Disney and LucasFilm are in the process of finding directors for their Star Wars spin-off movies that are set to be released after Episode 7 in 2015. Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters) is set to direct the first project, which is due out in December 2016 and Chronicle director Josh Trank will be directing a second project. These films are not the continuation story of the Star Wars movies, but instead follow individual characters within the Star Wars universe with separate storylines, very much like X-Men Origins. Although we are not sure what characters will be covered by these new movies, they could include anyone from any of the six Star Wars films, ranging from Master Yoda, Lando Calrissian, and even R2-D2, but we’ll have to wait for further details to come out.
Director J.J. Abrams is doing a pretty good job keeping Hollywood waiting on the edge for news of the new Star Wars sequel that will follow the original Star Wars trilogy from writer/director George Lucas, and while there is still not much to report on the matter, we do have a bit of good news if you’re a fan of old-school filmmaking! Actor Peter Mayhew, who portrayed the Wookie, Chewbacca, in the original Star Wars films, will be returning to the production to reprise the character. It had been rumored that the filmmakers were considering digitally creating Chewbacca for the new movie, as was the case for Yoda in the recent installments, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. We have yet to hear whether or not any other original cast members will actually be making an appearance, but if Mayhew is back I can’t imagine there will at least be a few others. Anthony Daniels has to come back to play C-3PO (there really is no appropriate substitute!) and Kenny Baker, who has rode around unseen in the body of R2-D2 for all of the Star Wars movies, should come back just for the hell of it. This is all just speculation of course. Director Abrams, who has confirmed that he has completed the screenplay with The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan, has started shooting some background shots in Iceland, but the movie is not scheduled to be in full production until next month, so we’ll look for the big announcement of the official cast. May the Force be with you!!