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EPISODE IX WRAPS PRODUCTION
J.J. Abrams announced on Twitter late last week that the as-yet-unnamed Star Wars: Episode IX had finished shooting. With the update came the first real look at the trio of main characters from the final installment of the Skywalker saga.
To my eyes, the most striking thing about this photograph is the barely restrained emotion on Oscar Isaac's face. Are these tears of loss, commemorating the end of his Star Wars journey? Or is it something from the film itself, left over from some emotional take they'd just completed filming?
More questions are raised by the picture, as well. Is this a scene from the end of the film? The beginning? Somewhere in the middle?
It almost doesn't matter. Seeing the three of them there, to borrow the words of Master Yoda, "brings warm feelings to my heart."
Episode IX premieres in theaters on December 20.
THE PHANTOM MENACE 20TH ANNIVERSARY PANEL
The only thing that gives me even warmer feelings than the heartfelt ending of shooting the Skywalker saga is a celebration of its underrated beginning.
It was announced that on Monday, April 15, Star Wars: The Phantom Menace will get its proper due with a special panel at Star Wars Celebration in Chicago.
What surprises might this panel hold? Only time will tell. I wouldn't be surprised if there were appearances by cast and crew from the film. Rick McCallum would be one of the guests I'd be most delighted to see. At the very first Star Wars Celebration, he riled the crowd up with the most hilarious and vulgar descriptions of how good The Phantom Menace was and was just a joy to hear speak.
No telling if we'll get any solid details about this panel until we're in the room, though.
FRENCH LIGHTSABER DUELING
It's one giant leap this week for fans of lightsaber dueling. The French Fencing Federation announced that they will recognize lightsaber dueling as an actual competitive sport.
This move is partially in an attempt to attract younger people to fencing and lead more active lifestyles. It seemed like a logical step forward to get kids to be less sedentary. Who isn't wowed by the allure of lightsaber dueling? They've also created rules for the bouts that make the flourishing strokes of lightsaber combat more common rather than the quick pokes in fencing.
There's been a lot to do this week about a whole lot of talk about rumored Star Wars television series for the upcoming Disney+ service. There's a lot of great ideas flying around and a lot of crap, too.
The thing to remember is this: If Disney is looking to produce more content for Disney+, it's probably taking pitches from anyone and everyone who has an idea for a series. I wouldn't pay too much attention to all of these headlines. It reminds me a lot of the time when every filmmaker in the galaxy was pitching ideas to Lucasfilm. That's when rumors of Zack Snyder's Seven Samurai Star Wars film came out and many others. They were just pitching ideas and there was no guarantee any of them would happen. It's like an open audition.
This is just a normal part of the process. Any of these could happen or none of them could. But it's almost not worth paying attention to the rumors.
A MUSICAL ABOUT STAR WARS
An off-Broadway production is about to begin that might be of interest to Star Wars fans. It's A Musical About Star Wars and it's about a pair of friends who meet in a Blockbuster Video store and sing about their mutual love of Star Wars.
Naturally, it opens May 4.
THE MAKING OF STAR TOURS
I'll leave you this week with a video from Yesterworld Entertainment. They put together a really great, in-depth look at the creation of the original Star Tours attraction at Disneyland.
It's a must for anyone interested in the history of Star Wars and the crossovers it's had with Disney parks.
Until next week: May the Force be with you!