Milford Hutsell

Milford Hutsell

Mark Hamill is taking his first steps…onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The iconic actor who portrayed Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars saga — and whose incredible body of works spans movies, TV, theatre, video games, and voice-over — will receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced this week. The star will be dedicated on March 8 at 11:30 a.m. PT. in the category of Motion Pictures, in a special ceremony at 6834 Hollywood Boulevard in front of the El Capitan Theatre. Joining master of ceremonies and president & CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Leron Gubler to unveil the star will be two of Hamill’s friends from his time in a galaxy far, far away: Harrison Ford and George Lucas.

Star Wars fans will be over the moon that hearing their idol Mark Hamill is going to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame,” said Ana Martinez, producer of the Walk of Fame ceremonies. “We are proud to add this extraordinary actor on our historic Walk of Fame.” Fans can watch the event on www.walkoffame.com.

Born in Oakland, California, Hamill was discovered in a workshop musical comedy called Anthems in E-Flat Calliope the summer before becoming a theatre arts major at Los Angeles City College. For six years, he made guest appearances on multiple TV series and television movies, including a stint on General Hospital and a starring role on The Texas Wheelers.

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Next came his big screen debut: 1977’s Star Wars, and the role of Luke Skywalker, which made him a legend. Hamill reprised the part in The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), and again in the highly-anticipated sequels The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), for which he garnered great critical praise. In a lengthy discussion on his birthday last year, StarWars.com spoke with Hamill about his Star Wars journey, from acting with longtime hero Alec Guinness to what being part of Star Wars means to him today.

In addition to the Star Wars saga, Hamill’s many film credits include Corvette Summer, Samuel Fuller’s The Big Red One, Slipstream, Walking Across Egypt, Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Sushi Girl, Kingsman: The Secret Service, and last year’s Brigsby Bear. Hamill also directed and starred in the cult mockumentary Comic Book: The Movie.

A gifted voice actor, Hamill has performed across mediums. For a generation of Batman fans, he is the Joker thanks to his turn in the revolutionary Batman: The Animated Series. He reprised the role for the Arkham Asylum video game series (for which he received a BAFTA Award), the 2016 animated film, Batman: The Killing Joke, and the new series Justice League Action — in which he also, in a bit of comically meta storytelling, played himself, the Joker, and the Trickster in the same scene. 

Recently, Hamill also returned as the Trickster on CW’s live-action The Flash, a role he first played in the original CBS series. On Broadway, Hamill’s credits include The Elephant Man, Amadeus, Michael Stewart’s Harrigan n’ Hart, The Nerd, Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks, and the Roundabout Theatre production of Room Service.

Hamill will receive his star as Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives on Digital on March 13 and Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and On-Demand on March 27.

StarWars.com congratulates Mark Hamill on this well-deserved honor — it’s up there with getting a medal for destroying the Death Star.

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

The Star Wars galaxy has become a lot larger over the last few years with the release of numerous films, novels, comic books, and video games. The TV series Star Wars Rebels is a part of that expansion, and it holds a unique place in the Star Wars timeline. In many ways, Rebels is a bridge between the prequel and original trilogy films showing audiences just how connected everyone is in the galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Rebels had the difficult task of creating a group of entirely new characters for audiences to fall in love with while bringing in characters from previous Star Wars productions to continue their stories. These familiar characters serve to expand the viewpoints of Ezra, Hera, Sabine, and the rest of the Ghost crew as well as help to tie up loose ends from previous Star Wars storylines.

Star Wars Rebels begins with a familiar face — none other than Darth Vader. The conversation between Darth Vader and the Grand Inquisitor at the beginning of “Spark of the Rebellion” picks up a storyline directly from the end of Revenge of the Sith. Darth Vader makes it clear he knows there are Jedi out there who survived Order 66, as well as Force-sensitive children. He sends his Inquisitor out to hunt down these younglings and any Jedi who might train them. Enter Jedi Kanan Jarrus and Lothal youth Ezra Bridger.

Kanan, a Jedi who survived Order 66, starts to train Ezra Bridger in the ways of the Jedi at the beginning of Rebels and familiar faces are easy to spot as their journey together begins. Ezra finds a hologram of Obi-Wan Kenobi warning Jedi about Order 66 in “Spark of the Rebellion,” and the “Rise of the Old Masters” storyline revolves around an attempted rescue of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli who was last seen in Revenge of the Sith. Ezra first hears Yoda’s voice in episode 10 of Season One, “Path of the Jedi,” and Yoda interacts with Kanan and Ezra throughout the series.

In “Droids in Distress,” Ezra returns C3-PO and R2-D2 to Bail Organa, who we last saw with Obi-Wan Kenobi and the newborn Skywalker twins in Episode III. Bail Organa’s character didn’t have much screen time in the prequel films (and only briefly appeared in Rogue One) but in The Clone Wars series and now Rebels, we get to know his character much better. By the end of the first season, everyone on the Ghost knows Bail Organa is an ally of the rebels, as well as the senator from Alderaan.

Many Rebels episodes focus on Kanan trying to resolve his feelings about surviving Order 66 after his Master Depa Billaba sacrificed herself to save him. These feelings go into overdrive in the Season Two episode “The Lost Commanders,” when clone troopers from The Clone Wars TV series Captain Rex, Commander Wolffe, and Commando Gregor re-appear. Kanan and Rex’s relationship in subsequent episodes show the emotional fallout Order 66 created for both the few remaining Jedi who survived and the clone troopers who managed to not take part in the killings.

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While Kanan and Rex try to figure out a way to work together in a post-Order 66 world, another twosome reunites at the end of Season Two — Ahsoka and Anakin Skywalker. As the first Fulcrum agent, Ahsoka’s storyline brought the Ghost crew into a larger world of rebel activity just as she found out the terrible truth about her old Master. Ahsoka had an open-ended exit from The Clone Wars television series after years of Jedi training with Anakin. Her relationship to Anakin was so strong that her discovery of just how far Anakin had fallen to the dark side created one of the most emotional moments in Star Wars history.

Other Clone Wars characters that have appearances in Rebels are space pirate Hondo, Hera’s father Cham Syndulla, and Bo-Katan Kryze, the sister of the Dutchess of Mandalore Satine, who died in an episode of The Clone Wars. Throughout four seasons of Rebels, the crew of the Ghost helped piece together small groups of rebels across the galaxy and reveal to audiences just how long some of these groups have been fighting for their freedom against the Separatists and the Empire.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Maul, characters who first met all the way back in The Phantom Menace, at last find closure with each other in Star Wars Rebels. Kenobi and Maul had an epic lightsaber duel in Naboo that left Kenobi’s Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and it appeared, Maul dead. After a resurrection of sorts in The Clone Wars, Maul spent several episodes doing everything he could to destroy Kenobi, which lead to the death of Satine Kryze among others. In the Rebels episode “Twin Suns,” after much time attempting to lure Ezra into being his apprentice in previous Rebels episodes, Maul seeks his final revenge against Kenobi.

The end of “Twin Suns,” where Maul dies in Kenobi’s arms (mirroring Kenobi holding Qui-Gon Jinn in The Phantom Menace), also includes a shot of young Luke Skywalker and the voice of Aunt Beru outside their home on Tatooine. This episode ties together the beginning of current Star Wars storytelling from The Phantom Menace with the beginning of A New Hope, while also pushing Ezra Bridger’s character development forward after his interactions with both Maul and Kenobi.

By the fourth season of Rebels, the Ghost crew have found their way to Yavin 4 (complete with General Dodonna) in the rebel base later seen in Rogue One and A New Hope. Saw Gerrera and Mon Mothma’s tense relationship, referenced in Rogue One, is on full display in the Season Four episode “In the Name of the Rebellion.” Mon Mothma and Gerrera also appeared in multiple episodes of The Clone Wars, so fans of both that series and the feature films can get a feel for what motivated these characters at different points in the Star Wars timeline in their Rebels scenes.

Fans looking for appearances and backstories of some of their favorite characters from the original trilogy films are also in luck in Star Wars Rebels. R2-D2 and C3-PO show up in Rebels episodes, as does Lando Calrissian in the episodes “Idiot’s Array” and “The Siege at Lothal.” The story of how pilots Wedge Antilles and Hobbie found their way to the Rebellion is told in the Season Three episode “The Antilles Extraction,” and Wedge also plays an important role later on that season in “Double Agent Droid.”

Two icons of Star Wars are also featured in Rebels: Princess Leia Organa and Wilhuff Tarkin. Leia and Tarkin have a complicated past before the events that brought them together in Episode IV; even though they don’t appear in any of the same episodes of Rebels, their appearances add much to what we know about them and their journeys. In many ways, seeing them at this time in Rebels takes their interactions on the Death Star in A New Hope to a whole new level.

What’s your favorite Rebels appearance from a character who debuted in another Star Wars film or television series? Let us know in the comments!

Amy Richau is a writer, lifelong Star Wars geek, and diehard Denver Broncos fan. You can find her on Twitter @amyrichau and more of her writing on FANgirl Blog.

Thursday, 22 February 2018 12:37

Poll: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Showdown

We’re more excited than a porg in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon after this week’s news that Star Wars: The Last Jedi is coming to Digital on March 13 and to Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and On-Demand on March 27. To celebrate, we’re looking back at our favorite moments and characters from the film in an ol’ fashioned StarWars.com showdown poll! Vote on everything from cool vehicles and threatening weapons to cute creatures and exciting locations. Have a favorite that isn’t included? Let us know what we forgot in the comments below! And just in case it isn’t clear, spoilers ahead!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Serves 8 to 10

 

LOBSTER STOCK

Shells from 5 medium lobster tails

1 medium carrot, chopped

1 small celery rib, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 large garlic cloves, quartered

1 teaspoon canola oil

1/2 cup dry white wine

8 cups cold water

1 bay leaf

1/4 bunch parsley (stems only)

1 pinch red pepper flakes

 

TORTILLA CHIPS

3 cups canola oil (for frying)

48 (4 dozen) 6” corn tortillas

Salt in shaker

 

SEASONED BLACK BEANS

1 15-ounce can black beans

1 small bunch cilantro chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

PICO DE GALLO

5 Roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 medium red onion, diced

1/2 bunch cilantro tops, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1 serrano pepper, seeds removed, finely minced

 

SHREDDED CHEESE

1/2 pound cheddar cheese

1/2 pound Monterey jack cheese

 

ROASTED GARLIC

2 large garlic cloves

Canola oil (to cover)

CHIPOTLE CREMA

1 1/2 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce

2 roasted garlic cloves

8 ounces sour cream

3 tablespoons manufacturing cream

1 pinch ground cumin

1 pinch ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

LOBSTER CHEESE SAUCE

3 Polanco chiles, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon canola oil, divided

3 large garlic cloves

1 shallot, roughly chopped

1/4 stick butter

2 1/2 tablespoons flour

2 cups manufacturing cream

1 cup reduced lobster stock

4 ounces Oaxaca cheese, grated

2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

 

COOKED LOBSTER

4 tablespoons butter

5 medium lobster tails (meat only)

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 pinch black pepper

1 lime, juiced and zested (1 tablespoon juice and pinch of zest)

FOR LOBSTER STOCK:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Place lobster shells, carrot, celery, onion, and garlic on baking sheet with lip; coat with canola oil.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes until lightly browned.
  4. Carefully remove from oven and deglaze baking sheet with white wine.
  5. Add baking sheet ingredients with liquid to large stockpot.
  6. Add water, bay leaf, parsley, and red pepper flakes.
  7. Bring lobster stock to boil over medium-high heat, then lower to medium low heat.
  8. Let stock cook slowly until stock reduces by half, 60 to 80 minutes.
  9. Carefully strain stock, reserving 1 cup for lobster cheese sauce.
  10. Set aside. (May be made 2 days in advance, cover and refrigerate.)

FOR TORTILLA CHIPS:

  1. Preheat frying oil to 350°F.
  2. While oil is heating, cut tortillas into 6 pie-shaped pieces.
  3. Once oil is hot, add tortillas in small batches for 2 to 4 minutes (frying times will vary).
  4. Remove from fryer once chips are lightly browned, lightly season with salt.
  5. Continue until all tortillas are fried and salted.
  6. Set aside. (May be made 2 days in advance; store in sealed plastic bag.)

FOR SEASONED BLACK BEANS:

  1. Rinse beans in colander until water runs clear.
  2. Place beans in medium mixing bowl, mix in remaining ingredients until just combined.
  3. Set aside. (May be made 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate.)

FOR PICO DE GALLO:

  1. Mix all ingredients except serrano pepper in medium bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 serrano pepper, mix and taste; add additional serrano pepper until desired spiciness.
  3. Set aside. (May be made 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate.)

FOR MIXED CHEESE:

  1. Grate cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses in medium bowl and toss together. Set aside. (May be made 2 days in advance; cover and refrigerate.)

FOR ROASTED GARLIC:

  1. Remove tips from garlic cloves.
  2. Add garlic to small pot and cover with canola oil.
  3. Gently poach garlic on medium-low heat until lightly browned and soft.
  4. Remove garlic and set aside for use in chipotle crema. (Save garlic oil in refrigerator for everyday cooking.)

FOR CHIPOTLE CREMA:

  1. Purée chipotle and roasted garlic in food processor.
  2. Add purée and remaining ingredients to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour crema in squeeze bottle or plastic zip bag.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use. (May be made 2 days in advance; keep refrigerated.)

FOR LOBSTER CHEESE SAUCE:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Lightly coat Polanco peppers with 1/2 teaspoon canola oil, place on baking sheet; roast for 15 minutes.
  3. Lightly coat shallots and garlic with remaining 1/2 teaspoon canola oil, add to Polanco peppers baking sheet; roast for an additional 25 minutes until caramelized.
  4. Purée caramelized garlic, shallots, and Polanco peppers in food processor until smooth.
  5. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add flour to make a roux, stirring constantly until smooth and light golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add cream and bring to boil, stirring constantly; continue to stir and cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add reserved lobster stock and Polanco pepper purée; bring to simmer, stirring occasionally.
  9. Slowly add Oaxaca and cheddar cheeses.
  10. Stir constantly until all cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
  11. Set aside; hold warm.

FOR COOKED LOBSTER:

  1. Ensure lobster meat is cleaned and veins removed.
  2. Chop lobster in large bite-size pieces.
  3. Heat butter in large sauté pan over medium heat.
  4. Add lobster pieces, salt, pepper, lime juice, and zest to pan.
  5. Once fully cooked (145F°), remove lobster pieces with a slotted spoon.
  6. Set aside; hold warm.

TO SERVE:

  1. Preheat broiler to 500°F. Spread chips on one large or 2 medium oven-safe plates.  (Use a nice baking sheet if you do not have oven safe plates.)
  2. Layer with black beans, lobster cheese sauce, and mixed cheddar/jack cheese, ensuring to cover all chips.
  3. Broil until cheese is melted, watching carefully, 2 to 4 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove plate/sheet, add pico de gallo; top with lobster.
  5. Drizzle chipotle crema and garnish with sliced serrano peppers (optional). Serve immediately.

CHEF’S NOTES:  To cut down on preparation time, use restaurant-quality chips, pico de gallo and pre-shredded cheeses.  But, if you have time, the homemade chips are the best!

Incredicoaster Anchors Pixar Pier, Opening with Four Themed Neighborhoods During Pixar Fest at the Disneyland Resort

New Lamplight Lounge Welcomes the Entire Family with California Gastro-Pub Cuisine and Creative Storytelling

Anaheim, Ca. (Feb. 22, 2018) –The wonderful worlds of Pixar get a new home at Disney California Adventure Park when Pixar Pier opens on June 23, 2018, transforming the area that is now Paradise Pier with the thrilling, new Incredicoaster, four new imaginative neighborhoods, the new Lamplight Lounge, plus exciting entertainment, themed food and beverage, and merchandise. Guests will experience Pixar stories and characters in incredible new ways on this seaside waterfront at the Disneyland Resort.

Pixar Pier, a permanent land along the southern shore of Paradise Bay, debuts during Pixar Fest, a limited-time event that begins April 13, 2018. As a new land, Pixar Pier introduces the exciting new Incredicoaster and Lamplight Lounge.

The first-ever Pixar Fest, a celebration of friendship throughout the Disneyland Resort, begins April 13, 2018. For a limited time, guests will enjoy the new fireworks show, “Together Forever – A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular;” the return of “Pixar Play Parade,” appearing for the first time at Disneyland Park; the return of “Paint the Night,” performing this time at Disney California Adventure, and new Pixar elements added to each of those parades. The fun continues with friends from Disney•Pixar films, creatively themed food and beverage items and merchandise that’s exclusive to Pixar Fest.

At Pixar Pier, guests will enter Disney California Adventure’s newest land through a dazzling Pixar Pier marquee – topped with the iconic Pixar lamp later in the year. Beloved Pixar stories are introduced in this land through four whimsical neighborhoods. The first neighborhood is inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” which opens with the new Incredicoaster. Permanently transformed from the attraction that was California Screamin’, Incredicoaster invites guests into a mid-century-modern-style loading area where they will board vehicles with a distinctive, new look. New character moments, new scenes and special effects, and an exciting musical score connect the attraction’s story to Pixar’s “The Incredibles 2,” which opens in theaters June 15, 2018.

The neighborhood inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” includes the popular Toy Story Mania! attraction. Another new neighborhood is inspired by Disney•Pixar’s “Inside Out,” and a new “Inside Out” family-friendly attraction is scheduled to open in that neighborhood at a later date.

A fourth new neighborhood celebrates a collection of guest-favorite Pixar stories. Mickey’s Fun Wheel transforms into a newly-themed Pixar attraction, allowing guests to enjoy the beautiful sights of Pixar Pier from 24 new gondolas – each one decorated with a beloved Pixar pal. The midway games are also inspired by Pixar characters, including favorites from “A Bug’s Life,” “La Luna” and “WALL·E”.

Another exciting location opening at Pixar Pier on June 23 is the new Lamplight Lounge, an elegant yet fun gathering place for the entire family at the entrance of Pixar Pier. Lamplight Lounge will serve California casual gastro-pub cuisine that is playfully presented, along with unique signature cocktails and a guest-favorite: Lobster Nachos. The seaside lounge will contain a full bar with picturesque waterfront views of Paradise Bay from both upstairs and downstairs. At night, outdoor seating will provide views of the illuminated Pixar Pier and “World of Color.”

Lamplight Lounge celebrates the creativity, inspirations and personalities of the artists and storytellers who have brought Pixar stories to life. Guests will discover the artistic marks that Pixar “regulars” have left throughout the lounge, including concept art, a quick sketch on a napkin, knick-knacks and collectible toys of beloved Pixar characters. (Prior to its transformation, this location was Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and the Cove Bar.)

The remaining areas of the original Paradise Pier – including Paradise Gardens, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumping Jellyfish, Goofy’s Sky School, Golden Zephyr and The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – become a new land called Paradise Park.

###

About the Disneyland Resort

The Disneyland Resort features two spectacular theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure Park – plus three hotels and the Downtown Disney District, comprising unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The Resort’s hotels are the luxurious, 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which also features 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club units; the magical, 973-room Disneyland Hotel – both AAA Four Diamond properties – and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its “day-at-the-beach” theme. For information on attractions and vacations at the Disneyland Resort, visit Disneyland.com, call (866) 43-DISNEY or contact local travel agents. Located in Anaheim, Calif., the Disneyland Resort opened July 17, 1955. Open daily, yearround.

About Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. The Northern California studio has created some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3,” “Brave,” “Inside Out,” and “Coco.” Its movies have won 32 Academy Awards® and have grossed more than $11 billion at the worldwide box office to date. “Incredibles 2,” Pixar’s 20th feature, opens in theaters on June 15, 2018.

Media Contacts:
Disneyland Resort Public Relations
714-781-4500
DisneylandNews.com
DisneyParksBlog.com
Twitter.com/Disneyland

Sure, Star Wars Battlefront II has a powerful story and introduces major new characters like Iden Versio, Del Meeko, and, of course, Shriv. But it’s also filled with Easter eggs that connect it to the larger saga, referencing Star Wars films, books, comics, and more. Here are 11 of our favorites, sure to delight fans lucky enough to spot — and/or hear! — them.

1. Corona Squadron.

While navigating through the maintenance shafts as ID-10 in the prologue, keep an open ear. After sneaking around for a bit you’ll be able to overhear a few soldiers discussing the upcoming assault of the second Death Star. Alongside Admiral Ackbar and General Lando Calrissian, we hear mention of the Corona Squadron. First appearing in the novel Lost Stars, Corona Squadron was the unit responsible for discovering the construction of the second Death Star and is the unit to which Thane Kyrell is a member.

2. Operation Yellow Moon.

As Iden Versio escapes from her rebel captors, she comes across an Alliance briefing room. Surrounded by dozens of crew members is a holoprojection of Admiral Ackbar. Casually listen in on the secure transmission to decipher information about Operation Yellow Moon. If the name sounds familiar, it should — Yellow Moon was first mentioned in Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure. Don’t worry about being caught by listening in…it’s not a trap. 

3. The Sentinel of Operation Cinder.

The only thing more off-putting than Emperor Palpatine might be a droid that looks just like him. Originally seen in the Shattered Empire comics, the Sentinel droid is a posthumous messenger of the Emperor, only to be dispatched in the case of his Empire’s potential demise. Unique to Battlefront II is the levitation of the Sentinel droid — in Shattered Empire we only see them walk. Interesting to note as well is the hostile reaction the Sentinel has toward Iden. Garrick Versio was verified by way of a blood sample, and while Iden shares his blood, it was not enough to satisfy the Emperor’s phantom.

4. Luke Skywalker’s compass.

With the help of Del Meeko, Luke Skywalker enters Palpatine’s vault on Pillio. In a room filled with countless treasures, Skywalker is only interested in one — the Star Compass. In The Last Jedi, the Star Compass can be spotted in Luke’s hut on Ahch-To. Expanded upon in DK’s Star Wars: Visual Dictionary, it has been suggested that the Star Compass may have been what led Luke Skywalker to Ahch-To.

5. The N-1 fighters.

The fifth mission of the story is entitled “Outcasts.” It’s very aptly named, given Iden and Del’s newfound position in the Rebel Alliance. To stop Operation Cinder’s assault on Naboo, Iden Versio and her X-wing join a squadron of Alliance fighters. You can easily see three bright-yellow N-1 starfighters among the X-wings. This attack and those fighters will look familiar if you’ve read Shattered Empire. The N-1 starfighters are piloted by Leia Organa, Queen Soruna of Naboo, and Shara Bey, the mother of Poe Dameron. 

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6. Czerka Corporation.

As Han Solo makes his way through Maz’s castle, he bumps into Rody. An old acquaintance, the two reminisce about their time working a job connected to the Czerka Corporation. Made famous in the Knights of the Old Republic video games series, the Czerka Corporation was a weapons and arms manufacturer the player would encounter on nearly every world. It says a lot about my love for Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic that this Easter egg is my favorite of the game.

7. How about a drink?

A cantina needs drinks, and Maz’s castle is in no short supply. Progressing through the castle will trigger conversations between patrons and bartenders where you will hear about a wide variety of drinks. Three of these drinks are standouts. The first is “Port in a Storm,” a wine with an intimidating reputation introduced in the Claudia Black’s novel, Bloodline. The second is a “Huttslayer Splash.” The is the first mention of this drink, but it is very clearly named for Leia Organa following her slaying of the intergalactic crime slug, Jabba the Hutt.

The third and final drink was the most surprising to me. When Han is about to speak to the Imperial defector Palodra, you hear him mention the “Merenzane Gold.” The Merenzane Gold was a hard liquor traditionally consumed by Devarions. The reason why this drink might sound familiar is because it was featured in the classic Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina novel. Paldora also made sure to mention that it is indeed pricey, which can be expected given the second word of the drink’s name. 

8. Comms in the Battle of Jakku.

The Battle of Jakku sequence in Star Wars Battlefront II is a dream for fans of the new novels. The comms chatter going off as Iden Versio flies through the warzone is ripe with references and nods to characters and events across the Star Wars universe. The Battle of Jakku wasn’t just Iden Versio’s mission of finding closure with her father. It involved thousands of stories, each unique to the individuals involved. Thane Kyrell, Ciena Ree, Snap Wexley, Wedge Antilles, the list goes on. Battlefront II excels at making the galaxy far, far away feel connected.

9. Del Meeko: shoretrooper.

In the shocking epilogue to the main story, we see hints of Del Meeko’s past as a Scariff shoretrooper. Del was a shoretrooper long before the events of Rogue One, as he was pulled away from Scarif to work on Star Destroyers. You can learn more about Del Meeko’s past as a shoretrooper in Christie Golden’s Star Wars Battlefront II: Inferno Squad novel.  

10. The Otomok System.

The story of Iden Versio doesn’t end at the epilogue, it continues in Star Wars Battlefront II: Resurrection, December 2017’s update to the game. Iden’s journey leads her to discover the inner workings of Project Resurrection, a First Order stormtrooper recruitment program. Among the chatter, Iden mentions the Otomok System as a location in which Project Resurrection exists. This system is of note, as it is the home system of The Last Jedi’s Rose and Paige Tico. Rose mentions the presence of the First Order on her home world while she traveled through Canto Bight in The Last Jedi.

At the end of the Resurrection story, Iden Versio and Zay discover the schematics for a First Order Dreadnought. Thanks to Iden, Zay, and Shriv delivering the schematics to General Leia Organa, the Resistance has a new advantage in a possible confrontation with the First Order. From this point, General Organa relays the schematics to Captain Poe Dameron. As seen in The Last Jedi, the First Order began an assault on D’Qar that was cut short thanks to Poe’s work in destroying the Dreadnought. It is possible Iden Versio might’ve viewed this as a success, but General Organa would have surely disagreed.

11. The catalyst for the Dreadnought run.

At the end of the Resurrection story, Iden Versio and Zay discover the schematics for a First Order Dreadnought. Thanks to Iden, Zay, and Shriv delivering the schematics to General Leia Organa, the Resistance has a new advantage in a possible confrontation with the First Order. From this point, General Organa relays the schematics to Captain Poe Dameron. As seen in The Last Jedi, the First Order began an assault on D’Qar that was cut short thanks to Poe’s work in destroying the Dreadnought. It is possible Iden Versio might’ve viewed this as a success, but General Organa would have surely disagreed.

What Easter eggs have you spotted? Let us know in the comments below!

Tyler Westhause is a contributor to StarWars.com and the founder of the Star Wars Podcast Alliance. He is also an avid gamer and podcaster. Tyler is also always happy to run your ear off about why Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the greatest video game of all time. Follow him on Twitter @twesthause.

The 10th annual Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will take place this weekend at Walt Disney World Resort.

The race weekend, which has grown from 10,000 runners in 2009 to more than 53,800 expected participants this year, will include 226 “perfect” Princess runners (number of runners who will have participated in every Disney Princess Half Marathon).

The Disney Princess Half Marathon is the largest women-focused running event in the U.S., where the participants trade in ball gowns and glass slippers for running shoes.

More than 45 countries will be represented this weekend with 25,000 runners expected to participate in the half marathon, 13,500 in the 10K, 13,000 in the 5K and about 2,300 taking part in the kid’s races.

Two storylines that have emerged from this weekend’s races include:

Cara Koprowski (Longwood, Fla.), who is running the 2018 Disney Princess Half Marathon to fulfill her late friend Amy’s dream of running the race together.

Cara met Amy while working as an elementary school teacher following her family’s move to Washington state in 2007.

The pair became instant friends and Amy, a fellow teacher, was also an avid runner who inspired Cara to start running again following her recovery from back surgery. In March 2017, Amy passed away. This Sunday, Cara is running the Disney Princess Half Marathon, her first runDisney race and second long-distance run, in honor of her friend, Amy.

Carol Perry (Pewaukee, Wis.), along with friends and family, is running the Disney Princess Half Marathon to celebrate her sister Teresa’s recovery from stage III colon cancer. As a member of her local triathlon team, it came as a shock when Teresa was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. After Teresa underwent chemotherapy and radiation, as well as colon resection surgery, her sister Carol made a plan for them to participate in the Disney Princess Half Marathon with a group of 12 “princesses,” made up of friends and family – many who have never attempted a half marathon – to celebrate Teresa’s courageous fight with the disease.

The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo begins Thursday at noon. All three races – the Disney Princess 5K, the Disney Princess 10K and the Disney Princess Half Marathon — all have 5:30 a.m. start times.

All races start and finish at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort. The runDisney Health & Fitness Expo is located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

For a full schedule of the weekend’s events, see below:

runDisney Health & Fitness Expo Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Princess 5K • Epcot

Friday, 5:30 a.m. start

Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Princess 10K • Epcot

Saturday, 5:30 a.m. start

Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Disney Princess Half Marathon • Epcot

Sunday, 5:30 a.m. start

 Media interested in covering the weekend events must contact Jessica Baker a day in advance to arrange for credentials. Media must arrive at Epcot by 4:00 a.m. for live coverage of the 5K race on Friday and the 10K race on Saturday and 3:30 a.m. for the half marathon on Sunday.

Media Contacts: 

Jessica Baker, Disney Sports Public Relations, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(407) 566-5743 (office); (407) 202-3179 (cell)

Darrell Fry, Disney Sports Public Relations, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

(407) 566-5338 (office); (407) 409-1612 (cell)

 

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When Hasbro‘s Star Wars: The Black Series line arrived in 2013, it was a game-changer. Highly-detailed, highly-articulated figures in a 6-inch scale — it was something fans had wanted for years. And the line has been a joy, garnering critical acclaim while delivering everyone from X-wing pilot Luke Skywalker to fan favorites like Hera Syndulla of Star Wars Rebels. A key to the line’s success, however, is that throughout the Black Series’ run, Hasbro has always pushed forward and experimented. Black Series has introduced vehicles and creatures. Employed vintage-style cardbacks for Star Wars‘ 40th anniversary. Remade Darth Vader from the ground-up for one of the best figures of the Sith Lord ever produced.

But Hasbro’s latest experiment may be its most revolutionary: “Photo Real,” a new paint-application process that has led to stunning likenesses on the new crop of Black Series figures, including Rey, Captain Rex, DJ, and the upcoming Grand Moff Tarkin.

Poor paint apps can ruin even the most detailed action-figure face sculpt. It’s a disservice to the craftsmanship that goes into toy design and to collectors; Hasbro knew this, not just from the reality of toymaking but also from talking with fans. So they set out to do something about it.

“We’ve been making Black Series figures now for five years,” Steve Evans, design director for Star Wars at Hasbro, tells StarWars.com. “As with anything, there are variances in the standard of applying deco. When you buy one figure in one store, and you go to another one, it might not necessarily be the same. You might sometimes get little paint splat, a little off-setting. Little things, little nuances which, to the collector, are very, very important. The brain recognizes a face very quickly. We spend our whole lives looking at faces since we’re born. So any deviancy in the way we believe the face should be formed, our brain recognizes instantly.”

The problems to be solved, according to Evans, were, “How do we do faces A) better and more realistic to the characters that we’re seeing up on the screen and B) more consistently so that we can remove the variances that you get in traditional paint applications?” Enter Photo Real.

While Evans won’t divulge everything that goes into the technique, he notes that keeping figure heads steady during painting is a big component and was improved, while the process for printing likenesses onto the sculpts has also been refined.

“The response to Rey, Rex, and DJ, our first three, has been overwhelming,” Evans says. “Especially for a $19.99 price point, I think fans have been very receptive.” The Photo Real technique, Evans confirmed, will be used on all appropriate figures going forward, including several seen at Toy Fair 2018 last week. “The best reaction I’ve had was on Instagram,” Evans says. “Someone said, ‘I got out of Black Series collecting because there were just too many of them. But after seeing these, I am back in.'”

Seeing the figures in person, it’s shocking just how good they look. These are the characters’ faces and no one else’s. Which leads StarWars.com to ask: has the process for sculpting been tweaked, as well? The answer is surprising.

“Imagine you’re watching a Star Wars movie without the sound, or without [John] Williams’ soundtrack,” Evans says. “It’s not complete. It’s the same movie but it actually brings out the movie. It’s exactly the same with the paint applications. The quality of sculpts is exactly the same. It’s always been there. We’ve gone to digital sculpting since The Force Awakens, and we’ve used the same process and the same group of artists that did those in 2015. So the sculpt is still there, but it’s amazing how much the sculpt comes out when you apply the Photo Real effects.”

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In many ways, Photo Real is advancing the possibilities of what a Black Series — if not Star Wars — figure can be.

“The idea of Black Series was always to bring the character from the screen onto the shelf,” Evans says. “I think this goes a long way to doing that.”

Check out more photos of the first Photo Real figures below, along with commentary from Steve Evans.

“I was never quite 100% happy with how we portrayed Rey previously, and we owed her that,” Evans says. “We wanted to create the best Rey figure we’d ever done, which I believe we have.”

“DJ has a very distinctive face. That’s always good to sculpt,” Evans says. “It was good to bring that to life.”

“Rex is a character that we’ve always spoken about doing,” Evans says. “The Photo Real process was just being signed off and being approved for production, and he was the first one. We’d done Jango previously, and some of the registration, specifically the eyebrows, was a little bit off. So we felt that fans really wanted Rex, he was a real fan favorite, so he was a good candidate for a first test.”

“He had a special place in the collector’s heart, and he’s a main character and we hadn’t done him,” Evans says. “Tarkin had this incredible face and we felt it only wise to do.”

Photos by Amanda Jean Camarillo and Kyle Kao.

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content strategist of online, the editor of StarWars.com, and a writer. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018 07:55

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Comes Home

Rey. Kylo Ren. Finn. Rose. Luke. Leia. Poe.

And porgs, of course.

The latest film in the Star Wars saga is coming home. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive, it was announced today, on Digital (in HD and 4K Ultra HD) and via Movies Anywhere on March 13, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and On-Demand on March 27. And along with the number one movie of 2017 comes a galaxy of bonus features, including The Director and the Jedi — an intimate journey into the creation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with writer-director Rian Johnson — as well as an audio commentary and much more. The full list includes*:

  • The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.
  • Balance of the Force – Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.
  • Scene Breakdowns
Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle – Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life. Snoke and Mirrors – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain. Showdown on Crait – Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie’s final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.
  • Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.
  • Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
  • Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will come in a variety of packages, including the Multi-screen Edition (includes Blu-ray and a Digital copy), the 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition (including 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and a Digital copy), and Best Buy and Target retailer exclusives. The 4K Ultra HD version features the extraordinary color, contrast, and brightness of Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range, paired with fully immersive picture and sound with Dolby Atmos audio. Check out the packaging below:

Best Buy Exclusive Blu-ray Steelbook (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) (above and below)

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Best Buy Exclusive 4K Ultra HD Steelbook (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital) (above and below)

Target Exclusive Blu-ray (Blu-ray, DVD, Digital) (above and below) / Includes exclusive bonus feature Meet the Porgs: Take a lighthearted look at the development of the lovable creatures.

Multi-screen Edition (Blu-ray + Digital)

4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, Digital)

Get full disc specifications below, and reach out and feel the Force (with your feelings — remember Luke’s lesson!) with Star Wars: The Last Jedi again.

DISC SPECIFICATIONS:
FEATURE RUN TIME: Approximately 152 min.
RATING: PG-13 in U.S.; PG in CE; PG in CF
ASPECT RATIO: 2.39:1
AUDIO:
4K UHD (US): English 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos; English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus; English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus
4K UHD (Canada): English 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos; English 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus; English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus
Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
DVD: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio, French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
Digital 4K UHD: English Dolby Atmos (where available), English 7.1 Dolby Digital (where available), English, French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio (where available)
Digital HD: English, French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio (where available)
SUBTITLES:
UHD / BD: English SDH, French & Spanish
DVD: English SDH, French & Spanish
Digital: English SDH, English Closed Caption, French & Spanish (where available)

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

What do you do when you have more thoughts about Star Wars Rebels than you know what to do with? Make a list of your favorite moments — in no particular order, because that might fry your circuits. Welcome to Ranking Rebels.

Spoiler warning! Really, a major one! This article discusses plot details from the episode.

With an episode as powerful and emotional as “Jedi Night,” it was hard to choose only five moments, but these got to the heart of what Star Wars Rebels is really about — family. Here are my five favorite moments from the episode.

1. Kanan prepares for the mission.

Listen carefully to the voices in the beginning of this episode. There’s a lot happening there and that’s one of the things that makes this moment so perfect. As Kanan puts Ezra in charge of the mission, we see the passing of the torch from Master to Padawan, even if we don’t know it yet.

2. Hera and Thrawn.

Every time these two face off, it’s momentous, but this time, there’s so much at stake and you can feel the tension. While Thrawn thinks he has the upper hand this time, even going so far as to torment Hera with her own family history, Hera refuses to give in or surrender.

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3. Then we just…float away.

When Kanan handed off the mission to Ezra, you know part of it had to be due to Ezra’s ability to think outside the box and this glider plan certainly fits the bill. Not only is the plan both low-tech and efficient, but the entire scene is stirring and beautiful. What better way to save Hera than with wings?

4. The rescue.

It’s hard to call an entire rescue a “moment,” but this is a special circumstance. From Kanan’s initial lightsaber cut through the floor to Sabine’s hover over the fuel pod, there’s so much going on! Probe droids get eviscerated, Kanan and Rukh battle it out, Hera shows off both her shooting and flying skills (not to mention a “very exciting landing”), Sabine and Ezra steal an Imperial gunship, and Kanan even retrieves Hera’s Kalikori.

5. Kanan becomes one with the Force.

The question of whether or not Kanan Jarrus would survive the events of Rebels has been brewing since the beginning of the series when we learned he was a Jedi, and now we know — Jedi Master Jarrus gave his life to save the lives of Hera Syndulla, Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren, and the people of Lothal. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, Kanan gave his life to save others and learned that he was, indeed, more powerful than we could possibly imagine.

I’d also like to give a special mention to the moments between Hera and Kanan in this episode. Over the years, we’ve watched these two work, fight, live, and love side by side, but the words had never been said. To hear the truth spoken, even if it was at the very end, is something special. Kanan and Hera will always be one of the great loves in the Star Wars universe.

Those were my moments for this week’s episode. Tell us what your favorite moments were in the comments and may the Force be with you!

Shana is a longtime Star Wars fan and a diehard Rebels lover. She also thinks Poe Dameron’s hair has magical properties.

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