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WIRE Buzz: Star Wars' Build My Droid contest; X-Files mobile game; Avatar avoids HFR

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Oct 22, 2019, 7:10 PM EDT (Updated)

Star Wars is piggybacking on the final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker with the hope of helping young robotics enthusiasts enter the world. A team-up between charitable STEM organization Star Wars: Force for Change and robotics community FIRST is launching a new contest that asks fans to come up with their own droid... with the winning droid set to enter the Star Wars universe.

If fans are over 16 and ready to design (in the form of a sketch, drawing, or painting), the Build My Droid Contest will allow them to submit the droid of their dreams. A video featuring Star Wars actors Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, and Daisy Ridley (along with BB-8 and D-0) explains all the details.

Judges for the contest include Star Wars Creature and Special Make-up Effects Supervisor Neal Scanlan; Lucasfilm Vice President, Creative Producer John Swartz; Lucasfilm Senior Creative Executive Pablo Hidalgo; neuroscientist and The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik; and FIRST founder Dean Kamen.

The judging will take place in time for the winning designer to go to the December premiere of The Rise of Skywalker, where their droid will debut to the public on the red carpet. “The ingenuity and creativity of Star Wars fans has always amazed me,” Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “When FIRST teamed up with Force for Change, we saw a great opportunity to both highlight their incredible talent and reaffirm the importance of STEM programs. I can’t wait to see what designs they come up with.”

The Build My Droid Contest begins today, Oct. 22.

Next, the truth is out there. And by truth, we mean a new mobile game set in the world of The X-Files.

FoxNext Games, the company behind MARVEL Strike Force, released Storyscape today. Written by Eisner-winning comic and game writer Sean Kelley McKeever (Star Wars: The Old Republic), the free narrative game places fans in control of two young FBI agents working under genre icons Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, according to a release.

Source: FoxNext Games

Under their tutelage, players can help solve paranormal cases and run into all kinds of otherworldly fare, murderous monsters included.

Gamers’ choices will affect how the stories play out in this world and others, as Storyscape will also feature original stories in addition to familiar IP, like a new story based in the world of James Cameron’s Titanic.

Finally, the technological advancements made by Ang Lee's Gemini Man may find themselves roadblocked when it comes to another cinematic innovator. James Cameron — who pushed stereoscopic, motion capture, and 3D tech with Avatar — will reportedly not be using high frame rate techniques as anything other than a tool in the upcoming sequels to the box office smash.

Speaking with Collider, the filmmaker explained that he views the tech as a way to make his own view of the future of cinema — 3D — more palatable. “I mean, I have a personal philosophy around high frame rate, which is that it is a specific solution to specific problems having to do with 3D,” said Cameron. “And when you get the strobing and the jutter of certain shots that pan or certain lateral movement across frame, it’s distracting in 3D. And to me, it’s just a solution for those shots. I don’t think it’s a format.”

Gemini Man and Lee's previous film Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk were both shot at 120 frames per second — far more than the typical 24 FPS used by standard fare. But while the Avatar sequels have been listed as using HFR, they won't be using it as a full-on style choice like Lee. "I’ll be using it sparingly throughout the Avatar films, but they won’t be in high frame rate," Cameron confirmed. That's partially because the aesthetic rubs him the wrong way.

“To me, the more mundane the subject, two people talking in the kitchen, the worse it works, because you feel like you’re in a set of a kitchen with actors in makeup,” Cameron said. “That’s how real it is, you know? But I think when you’ve got extraordinary subjects that are being shot for real, or even through CG, that hyper-reality actually works in your favor. So to me, it’s a wand that you wave in certain moments and use when you need it. It’s an authoring tool.”

Avatar 2 is planned to hit theaters Dec. 17, 2021.