Archive for J. J. Abrams

Thank You J.J. Abrams

Posted in Film, Film Making, Filmcraft, Filmmaker, Films of Meaning, Star Wars, Writing with tags , on April 4, 2020 by darkjade68

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‘Star Wars’ The Rise Of Skywalker Full Press Conference

Posted in Film, Film Making, Films of Meaning, Movie, Star Wars with tags , , on December 10, 2019 by darkjade68

Star Trek Beyond… In Review

Posted in Movie, Movie Review, Movies, Star Trek, Writing with tags , , , on January 7, 2017 by darkjade68

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Before I Say Anything Else, Let Me Start By Saying I Respect That They Dedicated This Film To Both Leonard Nimoy, And Anton Yelchin (Checkov)

Leonard Nimoy Was One Of My Favorite People On The Planet, And Spock Was My Favorite Character In The Original “Star Trek” Shows And Films

And Anton Yelchin Was One Of My Favorite, If Not My Favorite Part Of These New “Star Trek” Films. He Was Just A Very Special Talent.

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STAR TREK BEYOND… IN REVIEW

Let me start by saying that preview above, sadly, was much better than the actual Film.

When I originally saw the preview for this Film (I think it was a different preview than the one above, which is actually pretty good), I actually didn’t think that it looked like it was going to be very good… But, as time has gone by, once I saw it was orderable, I’ve kinda wanted to take a look. Partly because I liked the first two Reboot “Star Trek” Films, partly because it’s a “Star Trek” Film.

The Writing; After watching this Film last night, I knew it would be a challenge to try and explain what appeared to go wrong overall with this film. My biggest suspicion, was the Writing. Followed by possibly the Editing, and lastly the Directing.

That in mind, I thought I’d start with the Writing in determining this.

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The First And Second Reboot “Star Trek” Films were written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who appear to have been working together for a long time on such films as “Tranformers” I and II, and “Cowboys And Alians”.

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They were also joined by Damon Lindelof on the Second Reboot, “Star Trek Into Darkness”. He also worked with them on “Cowboys And Aliens”, and also was one of the writers on “World War Z”.

All of these were decent films, though their efforts in “Star Trek” Reboots were probably better.

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Writing this Third Reboot Film, “Star Trek Beyond”, was Simon Pegg (The Actor who plays Scotty in the Reboot films), and Doug Jong. Both of them have previous writing credits (Most notably “Shaun Of The Dead”, which Simon Pegg Co Wrote)

I’ve never seen any of either of their work… I’ve only heard that “Shaun Of The Dead” is funny.

All I can say is, this film felt very sloppy, and disjointed.

The Story;

Though there were some good concepts here and there, for the most part the whole thing felt like “Then this happened… Then this happened… Then this happened,” with no sense of… Solidity I guess… Still difficult to explain, lol

One very sad thing I will say is, J. J. Abrams (Along with  everyone else involved with the First Two Reboots) did a great job of reinventing the Old/Original Star Trek Characters, and making us look forward to their new Adventures.

But this third film not only took the Original 1966 Characters for granted, it also took the New 2009 Rebooted Characters for granted.

Which I gotta say, is really sad for the Actors, even more so than the fans of Star Trek.

And it makes me wonder how each of them actually felt about this film.

But that info. is probably impossible to find out there, as I guess there’s a Sequel to this latest film already planned.

The Directing; It’s difficult for me to discern how much of the issue with this Film was the Directing, how much was the Writing, and how much was the Editing.

I know they all played a part.

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The only film I’ve seen that Justin Lin Directed was “The Fast And The Furious Tokyo Drift”.

I actually liked that film. Though I admit, I really liked a couple of the actors, and I love Tokyo at night.

Still, it wasn’t bad.

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I’m curious to hear what people think in regards to how much of the problem was the Directing, and how much was the Writing in this film… But I suspect the Writing is the main problem.

Editing; All I can say is, something was off… But maybe it had to do with the Content/Shots they had to work with, or just bad Writing, or unintuitive Directing… Really hard for me to put my finger on it.

Actors; 

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What can I say, the Acting was good… Admittedly, some of them seemed a bit off sometimes… But I suspect that had to do with either the Writing, or Directing… Really hard to say… But their efforts were consistent with the First Two Reboot Films.

Characters;

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Like I say, the Acting was good, but as I mentioned above, I do feel that how well they developed the Characters in the First Two Reboots was taken for granted in this film… The Cliche’s, if you will, became multi layered… Leaving a feeling that you were only seeing the shell of these characters. Sorry to be repetitive, but Writing, and/or Writing and Directing.

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And the New Character Jaylah (Sofia Boutella), wasn’t an issue as I feared from the preview… If anything, I felt she had to kind of be in ‘neutral’ during some of the film, because either the Writing or Directing just wasn’t good enough.

In Conclusion;

It’s important in reading this article/post that you realize, I’m not Writing this to ‘Slam’ the new film, the Writers or Director… I’m just an extreme admirer of the whole “Star Trek” Franchise, and so every film, and series is important to me.

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That said, lets face it, J. J. Abrams isn’t exactly easy to replace. And though he did Produce this Third Reboot, he did not Direct it.

We all know he shifted from the “Star Trek” Franchise to the “Star Wars” Franchise, and there’s a chance that “Star Trek Beyond” may have paid the price…

Though, I’m definitely not slamming him for that… In my opinion, he has successfully Rebooted both the “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” series.

In truth, he’s such a busy, and highly demanded guy, I doubt he would have Directed the Third Film anyway…

Final Thoughts; I was terribly disappointed in this film. In fact, even the ‘hey it’s just a movie, have fun watching it’ factor wasn’t quite enough to keep me watching the whole thing… The main reason I watched the whole thing was so that I could do this post to be honest with you.

And the main reason I did this post, is because I know they can do a lot better than this film… Because I’ve seen them do it, for one.

What can I say, I’m a Writer, and I’m a Filmmaker… And this Film left me very unsettled.

One last thing, I really do want to give credit to those involved because it was obviously a behemoth of a film to Produce.

Nuff Said

5 Stars Out Of 10

Check it out, and let me know what your opinion is

DarkJade/James-

The “Star Wars” Films… Plus “The Force Awakens”… In Review

Posted in Entertainment, Film Making, Film Review, Films of Meaning, Movie, Movie Review, Star Wars, Story with tags , , on April 22, 2016 by darkjade68

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The “Star Wars” Films… Plus “Star Wars The Force Awakens”… In Review

What Star Wars Means To Me; Many of you who’ve followed me for a bit, are probably aware that the Original “Star Wars” & “The Empire Strikes Back” were the reasons I became a Filmmaker.

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In fact, way back in August 18th, 2011 I did a short Post called “Star Wars (DarkJade’s First Look), Followed by an actual Review of the Original “Star Wars“, on September 13th, 2011.

And in December 11th, 2011 I did a piece on my Filmcraft Series about “The Empire Strikes Back” (Though it looks like since then many of the Videos I linked on that post have since been blocked… Disney perhaps)

In a nutshell, the most important things to me in Film, are Story/Story Scope, And Strong Characters/Character Development… Which was at the Core of the First Two “Star Wars”.

In fact Story and Characters are so important to me, that, that is probably why I began this Blog back at the end of 2011, so I might Write a few myself.

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George Lucas; To me George Lucas epitomizes what it is to bring your Vision to life… And as it turned out, he’s a Pretty Brilliant Businessman, which doesn’t hurt, if you like to have a lot of Freedom on your Projects, which I do.

He’s one of my Heroes, along with the likes of Walt Disney (The man), Bruce Lee (The Legend), Captain America (Not the movie version, the Comic version), John Hughes (Director of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, And The Breakfast Club) & Gary Gygax (Creator and/or Co-Creator of Dungeons & Dragons).

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The Films; 

The Original “Star Wars” was mind boggling for me, and game changing for the Film Industry. Great Story Scope (Starting on Chapter IV, Brilliant), Amazing Characters (Han Solo/The Rebellious Handsome Rogue & Darth Vader/The Best Villain Ever to make his way on Film were my favorites). And…

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Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on the gantry in the reactor shaft in the Cloud City at Bespin. © Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

…”The Empire Strikes Back” was the Best Sequel ever made (Some may say God Father II Was, but I’d really need to watch those Films again to comment, lol).

For me the First Film was ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’s’ Film (Though many might say it was Luke’s Film), and “The Empire Strikes Back” was ‘Han Solo’s’ Film… His character was brilliant… I remember experiencing what felt like the Best Film ever watching it (Same feeling with the First), and then the ‘Cliffhanger’ Ending just pissing everyone off, lol

 

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Return Of The Jedi” – I loved the Scenes with Luke on the Deathstar with the Emperor & Darth Vader… Did not personally care for the Ewoks (But I was 14 Years Old, so… I think Lucas was aiming a bit younger, as I know many who loved them), and didn’t care for Endor in general. The Jaba stuff was alright… Also, ‘HATED’ the way Boba Fett Died… Terrible… So terrible. For me “Return Of The Jedi” was Luke’s Film, and he did a brilliant job.

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“Phantom Menace” – For me this Film fell way short… I liked Liam and McGregor (Above) as Jedi’s, but couldn’t stand the kid that played Anikan. Natalie Portman was good, but none of it really grabbed me. Really didn’t like Jar Jar Binks (Like Ewoks, he made the Film too silly… But once again, I believe he was aimed at a younger Audience, I was 30, lol), but have come to find out that he’s some people’s favorite character. The one Scene that did, however, ‘feel’ like “Star Wars”, was the Fight Scene towards the end between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon & Darth Maul. Though many felt Darth Maul looked too Demonic (Not the fans, more likely some Parents And/Or Religious affiliates), I thought he represented ‘true’ Evil.

Overall, because Darth Vader is my Favorite all time Villian, and “Star Wars” Character, I just couldn’t stand what Lucas did with Anikan.

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“Attack Of The Clones” – “Attack of the Clones” was Brilliant… Not the calibur of the Original Two Films, but a really Great Film. First of all, this was definitely ‘Obi-Wan’s’ Film… Starting with the scene where he and Anikan were guarding Padme, and he ‘Leaped!’ through the window Fearlessly (I knew then that Obi-Wan was the truest Jedi, more than even Luke), through to the scene where he confronts Jango Fett in the rain… Just Brilliant… Followed by that ‘Film Industry Changing’ space battle (Largely because of the Sound of Boba’s explosives from his ship)…

“Attack Of The Clones” was George Lucas’s way of saying #@@R@R YOU! To all the haters who slammed him for “Phantom Menace”…

I Loved “Attack Of The Clones”… Except… Anikan… As much as I thought that Actor was a good choice (Though I would have preferred Leonardo Dicaprio, lol)… I really felt that Anikan was a ‘whining’ wet rag… Sorry Haden, no offense… He just seemed like an annoying brat who was Hyper Active… Not the Future ‘Darth Vader’.

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“Revenge Of The Sith” – “Revenge Of The Sith” for me was like an Opera… Or what you might refer to as George Lucas’s ‘Swan Song’ (In regards to “Star Wars” anyway), or Swan Song To date… This Film was a perfect piece (Not meaning it was a perfect Film, but perfect for what it was) to end Lucas’s Series of Six Films.

For me the ‘use of music’ and ‘cinematography’ in this Film were pretty much flawless… And though, once again, Anikan never reached the kind of level I felt that Character had potential to reach, I do feel that Hayden did a better job in this Film.

And, once again, it was confirmed in my mind, and heart, that Obi-Wan, not Luke Skywalker, is, and was the ‘Truest’ of Jedi’s… More than Yoda, who I enjoyed, but always found a bit ‘demented/sarcastic’, lol via his humor… And not Mace Windu, who was strong, but a bit ‘Righteous with a dash of Ego’…

Not Obi-Wan… His Ego was completely balanced… He was, and is the Light… And though Luke Skywalker may reach his pinnacle place as a Jedi in Episode VIII (In 2017), up to this point, he has not.

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“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” In Review…

At last, my “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Review

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Let me start by saying, I am most likely one of the only people who Loves “Star Wars”, and didn’t see this Film in the Theatre…

And I have to tell you, it Wrecked me…

But, due to some Personal Issues, I never quite made it (Everything is fine, don’t worry, just never made it)

That said, we purchased a Digital Copy of it the day it became available on Itunes, and watched it that very night… And I was blown away.

Let me also say, that during the time that the Film was out, it was staggering to me how the Fans seemed to create some sort of ‘pact’ not to divulge any of the secrets of the story on Social Media…

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure there were some things out there, but for the most part, I didn’t find out ‘anything’ on Twitter nor Facebook

Part of this may have been that Mark Hamil himself was Tweeting requesting people to not give anything away… A noble act, from a very cool guy

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The Story; The story is a good one… (SPOILERS, don’t read on if you haven’t seen it, and don’t want to know things) First of all, Luke Skywalker has disappeared after working with new Jedi’s, only to have one of his pupils destroy everything. Brilliant.

And thus a search for Luke is underway… Why? Mainly because there is a new group called the First Order, who has brought the Dark Side back into play… In other words, World Domination is their initiative. This group is lead by some cool bad guys, who I won’t discuss much.

Next, a Storm Trooper decides, he can’t do the acts that the First Order wishes him to do, and thus, he switches sides to the good guys… Great concept.

And a young girl who seems to have natural abilities with the Force, but only begins to realize it, enters the Story. Girl, not a boy, which is a nice twist

I don’t want to say more than that, but all and all, lots of good Story to work with, and build upon for the next two chapters. Episode VIII & Episode IX.*

*Did I Mention Han Solo And Chewie Are Back?? Yeah, They Are, And They’re Great

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The Characters; To my utter surprise, I Love the two new Main Characters in this Film… Especially Finn, but Rey is great too.

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Finn (John Boyega); I was literally shocked how much I liked this character… But in truth, the majority credit likely belongs to the Actor, John Boyega. Not only is he a huge “Star Wars” Fan (Or so the Director says in the Behind The Scenes, the Enthusiasm was definitely there), but his Heart and Conviction in this Role, is staggering… Especially his heart, and interactions with, and about Rey.

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Rey (Daisy Ridley); Rey literally never seems to stop running… But this is done in a cool way… She actually seems more like a ‘Character’ than a person… What I mean by that is, she really seems to exist in this world that Lucas & Abrams created… Hard to explain, but it was really great… You never questioned anything about her. You just watched as she moved her way through the story. She does remind me a bit of Keira Knightley in her look, and speech, but only partly… And it’s not a bad thing… The rest just seems like they did a good job finding someone for what would, or could be a difficult/pressure filled role.

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Han & Chewie; Han & Chewie were back, and were just the same… Only Solo was a bit older, it didn’t cause a problem.

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BB-8; Was great

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Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) & Kylo Ren (Adam Driver); Both Poe & Kylo were good, but I’d like to see them more developed. Kylo’s last Scene was probably his best, but the Voice they use through the Mask is great! Poe has promise, but once again, I’d really like to see him more developed.

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Remaining Characters; The remaining characters were good, especially the use of the Storm Troopers throughout.

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Directing; The Directing Baton has been passed from Lucas to J.J. Abrams, who I thought was a perfect choice (Since they didn’t ask me, lol). His work in “Super 8” (If you haven’t seen it, do… It’s a great homage to Steven Spielberg’s type of Directing… Who I believe Produced it), and the New “Star Trek” movies, is brilliant.

And with this Film, he completely brought back that old “Star Wars” feeling from the Original two Films.

Producing; After watching the Behind the Scenes Feature Length Documentary of the making of “The Force Awakens”, I have to say my hat is off to Kathleen Kennedy, who Lucas had handed off the running of Lucas Films a while back. She was the heart and soul of this project.

The Review; For me, this Film was Great! I highly recommend it… I immediately wanted to watch it a Second Time, which rarely happens.

The way it moves, the Characters, the Story, the Effects… All Brilliant.

Here are the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) Ratings for all of the “Star Wars” Films, and my Ratings of the same Films;

“Star Wars” – IMDB = 8.7 – Mine = 9.3 (Like nothing anyone has ever seen)

“The Empire Strikes Back” – IMDB = 8.8 – Mine = 9.4 (Strong Story… Strong Characters/Character Development… Amazing Setting. Everything that I love in a Film)

“Return Of The Jedi” – IMDB = 8.4 – Mine = 7.5 (Some good, some not… But still great concepts)

“Phantom Menace” – IMDB = 6.5 – Mine = 7 (Lack luster, with a few good things)

“Attack Of The Clones” – IMDB = 6.7 – Mine = 8.5 (Great… Action with Intelligence)

“Revenge Of The Sith” – IMDB = 7.6 – Mine = 8.4 (Dramatic)

“The Force Awakens” – IMDB = 8.3 – Mine = 8.8 (Refreshing… Action filled return to the Essence that is “Star Wars”)

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Thanks For Reading/Listening

And “May the Force be with you…”

dArKjAdE-

Star Wars…

Posted in Star Wars with tags , , , on March 13, 2015 by darkjade68

Star Wars…

A Bit about what we know about this New Upcoming Era of “Star Wars”…

StarWarsRebels-900x900Starting with “Star Wars Rebels

A brave and clever ragtag starship crew stands up against the evil Empire as it tightens its grip on the galaxy and hunts down the last of the Jedi Knights.

I have not watched “Star Wars Rebels”, but it’s Rated a 7.9 out of 10 on IMDB

Which is pretty good

Lets see what Variety thinks (Original Article Posted Here)

TV Review: ‘Star Wars Rebels’

Star Wars Rebels TV Review Disney
September 29, 2014 | 07:30AM PT
TV Columnist
Brian Lowry
TV Columnist @blowryontv

Perhaps the “Star Wars” franchise’s worst-kept secret during the second-trilogy era is that its best screen depictions have come via TV animation. Inaugurating the Disney-synergy juggernaut before director J.J. Abrams can get there, “Star Wars Rebels” continues this trend, offering a sly, stylish offshoot — introducing a new lineup of characters very much in the “Clone Wars” tradition — with scads of action, beautiful animation and fidelity to the original’s spirit. Premiering on Disney Channel with a one-hour launch subtitled “Spark of Rebellion” before settling in as a series on boy-oriented Disney XD, the Force is indeed strong with this one.

Set during the period after “Revenge of the Sith” and prior to the original “Star Wars” (a.k.a. “A New Hope”), “Rebels” essentially reboots the first movie, albeit with a new small band of rebels leading an incipient fight against Imperial forces. That begins with their introduction to Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray), an inordinately resourceful teenage thief, taken in by Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.), his alien pilot Hera (Vanessa Marshall), warrior Sabine (Tiya Sircar) and the powerful Zeb (Steve Blum), a Wookiee-like creature, except he can articulate his bad attitude, which includes taking pleasure in knocking Stormtroopers’ helmeted heads together.

Ezra combines elements of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, since he’s hostile to authority and risking his neck to help others, as well as young and hotheaded. The project also showcases a sensationally striking villain known as the Inquisitor, voiced with appropriate menace by Jason Isaacs.

Though not having access to many well-known “Star Wars” figures would seem to put “Rebels” at a disadvantage relative to “The Clone Wars” (also overseen by Dave Filoni, who shares exec producer credit with “X-Men” scribe Simon Kinberg and Greg Weisman), it actually proves oddly liberating — or at least, less confining than knowing the best they can do is fight Count Dooku to a draw. Part of that has to do with the way these dense half-hours are driven by action, which in the premiere includes a way-cool fight sequence in zero gravity, as well as the expected narrow escapes and — for those who haven’t read up on the show — one very clever twist.

“Rebels” also exhibits some genuine wit, such as a second-episode rumination about Yoda-speak that should put a smile on the face of anyone who can quote freely from “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Disney, naturally, has been eager to wring value out of its Lucasfilm acquisition, which along with Marvel infuses a powerful boy- and teen-oriented element into its marketing and merchandising apparatus, complementing all those princesses and faeries. In that respect, the Disney Channel-to-Disney XD baton pass represents a shrewd way of helping establish the series, given all the mileage Cartoon Network got out of “Clone Wars.”

Viewed through the lens of the Disney empire, “Star Wars Rebels” offers a reassuring reminder that there’s plenty of room to operate within George Lucas’ far, far away galaxy. And in terms of succeeding creatively, they haven’t just tried; done it, they have.
TV Review: ‘Star Wars Rebels’
(Series; Disney Channel, Fri. Oct. 3, 8 p.m.)
Production
Produced by Lucasfilm Animation.
Crew
Executive producers, Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, Greg Weisman; supervising director, Filoni; producers, Kiri Hart, Athena Yvette Portillo; director, Filoni; writer, Weisman; editor, Joe Elwood; music, Kevin Kiner; original theme by John Williams. 60 MIN.
Cast
Voice cast: Taylor Gray, Vanessa Marshall, Freddie Prinze Jr., Tiya Sircar, Steve Blum, David Oyelowo, Jason Isaacs

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force awakensNow How About “Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens

A continuation of the saga created by George Lucas set thirty years after Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983).

RELEASE DATE 12/18/15

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Which includes Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels from the Original Films

With J. J. Abrams at the helm Directing, I imagine it will be pretty good

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STAR-WARS-ROGUE-ONEAnd Now “Star Wars Rogue One“, And “Star Wars: Episode VII“, Which We Knew Were Coming, But Were Officially Announced with some Details Yesterday

Rogue One Is the First Star Wars Stand-Alone Film, Rian Johnson to Write and Direct Star Wars: Episode VIII

The title for director Gareth Edwards’ stand-alone movie, featuring actress Felicity Jones, is revealed, and Rian Johnson is confirmed for Star Wars: Episode VIII — coming to theaters May 26, 2017.*

*Rogue One Is Set For December 16th, 2016

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As More Is Revealed I Shall Post It Forth

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