One of the most exciting Star Wars projects in years is almost arriving for fans — and no, before checking the calendar, it's not The Rise of Skywalker.
It’s Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, the upcoming video game introducing Padawan Cal Kestis into the canon, and which sends Kestis and his droid pal BD-1 around the galaxy in the wake of the Jedi-targeting Order 66. The action-RPG, out Nov. 15, has released its launch trailer just in case Force users needed any more reason to board the game.
Incorporating early hype for the game into the trailer, which features voiceover from Debra Wilson’s Jedi, Cere Junda, the final Fallen Order preview showcases Jedi killers, Purge Troopers, and AT-STs alongside gorgeous environments including new planets Zeffo and Bogano. The RPG elements are downplayed in this action-centric trailer, which prioritizes the platforming and lightsaber elements more than anything — and what Star Wars fan could turn those down?
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order arrives on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on Nov. 15.
Next, Nicolas Cage is headed to a haunted amusement park because of course he is. Cage has had a streak of well-received genre films that all leaned into the actor's ability to truly push the boundaries of human behavior. Now, thanks to Wally’s Wonderland, he'll keep the theme (park) alive.
According to Deadline, the film — from director Kevin Lewis — would see Cage's janitor character stuck in a terrifying amusement park overnight. Animatronic characters come alive in full Five Nights at Freddy's fashion, with the unwitting custodian needing to battle his way through the monsters until morning.
“For me there was always one actor and one actor only who could make this movie work,” said Lewis, per Deadline, “and that actor is Nic Cage. I’m thrilled to be working with him and can’t wait to see him go up against Wally and his gang of psychopathic misfits. I see this movie as Pale Rider vs. Killer Klowns from Outer Space.”
Wally’s Wonderland is scripted by G.O. Parson and does not yet have a production date.
Finally, one of the year’s most technically proficient animated films has spilled some details on how it was able to innovate all while keeping its content familiar to fans. The Lion King remake from director Jon Favreau went photorealistic, taking the classic Disney film to new technological heights while maintaining fidelity to the original ... so much so that some were wondering why they even bothered remaking it in the first place. But to achieve that level of realism, those behind The Lion King used some unexpected tech: virtual reality.
In a new featurette from The Lion King home-video release — simply titled “Magic” — Favreau and company explain how in order to shoot the movie, they had to first create a game. That started by constructing a VR environment that, after donning a headset, Favreau and his creative team could enter and plan shots inside of. But the way the environment worked was just like a game, though "instead of cars and guns and points being scored, we've got cameras and lights and lions," according to producer Jeffrey Silver.
While conventional gaming controllers were sometimes used along with the VR helmets in order to plan shots or indicate who was referencing what inside this virtual savannah, the game was also adapted to work with camera sensors strapped to dollies, Steadicams, cranes, and drones. These were used inside a seemingly empty room called "The Volume," that held VR sensors and could feature actors needing a greater sense of camaraderie within their scenes — like the hyenas. In The Volume, camera operators would use their equipment like normal ... just without the cameras. The analog results returned data (camera angles, lenses, positioning, and timing) that could be transferred into the animation workflow.
In the moment, the information returned to those supervising the shoot was all recorded in the game engine — making the process seem more like a souped-up Source Filmmaker than a AAA-movie shoot. However, that innovation paid off, as the technical elements of the film have been nothing but lauded since its release.
The Lion King is out on Blu-ray and digital now.