Nightline Spotlights The Groundbreaking CGI Used in ‘Rogue One’



Rumors swirled around the internet for almost a year before the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that the film would include a digital resurrection of Peter Cushing’s character Grand Moff Tarkin from original Star Wars. Given the film’s plot, the involvement of his character was essential to not only for Rogue One to make sense but also for it to seamlessly connect to A New Hope.

Last night, Nightline debuted a short special which spotlighted Chief Creative Officer and Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic and what the team went through in order to include not only Tarkin but also Princess Leia in the film. The special gives us a look at both Guy Henry and Ingvild Deila, the actor, and actress who were used on set to perform the motion capture for the characters. If you’ve seen the film, you know just how incredible of a job ILM did even if the resurrections fell into the uncanny valley for you. For me personally, I thought Tarkin looked absolutely incredible. Not only did I find his likeness to be impeccable, I was tremendously impressed by the performance that came through for Peter Cushing.

The special also includes a few glimpses at the incredible use of projection screens Gareth Edwards opted to use instead of green screens for the filming of pilots in cockpits for the climactic space battle on and over Scariff.


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Episode VIII to Explore Kylo Ren’s Humanity

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At this point, the only things known about the next chapter of the Skywalker Saga, the untitled Episode VIII, is that the film will break Star Wars tradition and rather than taking place months or years later, the film will pick up immediately where The Force Awakens left off with Rey’s plea-turned-demand for Luke to return to the galaxy with her in an effort to restore balance to the force. That and the film will include a larger role for Carrie Fisher than she had in Episode VII.

A trailer isn’t due to drop until the spring but Adam Driver has given fans a small tidbit to chew on until then. While speaking with Larry King, Driver told King fans can look forward to seeing Kylo Ren’s humanity explored in Episode VIII, or what little he has left of it:

“I think, I mean this is such a general answer, but you know, humanity. Even though it’s very much a blockbuster movie, and I’m aware of that, there was no taking that for granted in that we were forced to be general. You know, there were a lot of plot points that we knew were operating in the first one that we get to explain more in the second one that kind of make the both of them make sense. They do kind of feel kind of socially active to me. In that they’re – this is a long answer, but George Lucas originally – you know a lot of Star Wars was in response to Vietnam and I think a lot of what the, I remember talking to JJ and Ryan with this idea of terrorism and two sides kind of being morally justified to behave however they wanted to to get what they thought was absolutely correct.”

Back when Star Wars was created, the world was much simpler. Things were much more black and white than the rather gray world we live in today. As we just saw with Rogue One, Lucasfilm is doing their best to address that and have the films of this new Star Wars era represent the world as it is today. As far as Kylo Ren’s humanity goes, I don’t think he has much of it left. Some fans have speculated we’ll eventually see him redeem himself in the final chapter of the new trilogy, however. I don’t think that is possible and it’s not because he killed his father. It’s what killing his father meant. The test Kylo was facing was when he killed his father essentially the same test Vader faced in his final confrontation with Luke. It was a test to extinguish the light within himself and commit himself to the dark side for good. I don’t think there is any coming back from the dark side for Kylo.

Lucasfilm Sets Meeting to Develop a Plan for Leia After the Loss of Carrie Fisher


As Carrie Fisher’s family and Star Wars fans around the world mourn the loss of Carrie, Lucasfilm has begun to look to the future in order to develop a plan to rework the story for Episode IX due to the untimely death of the franchise’s beloved Princess.

THR reports Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow will fly to Los Angeles next week to meet with Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy to weigh out the options of how to alter the storyline in a way that not only serves the franchise best but also honors the memory of Carrie Fisher.

Insiders told THR that at least two major scenes from the upcoming films will be affected including (spoiler warning) a reunion between Princess Leia and her brother, Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and a confrontation between Leia and her son, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), over the murder of his father, Leia’s husband, Han Solo (Harrison Ford).

While It’s not something I care too much about at the moment, although I’m sure I will greatly going forward, Lucasfilm has plenty of time to come up with something that makes sense and serves the story well with Episode IX not due to start shooting for a few more months and the release of Episode VIII just under a year away. My only hope is that it doesn’t end up being something implausible like Paul Walker’s exit from the Fast franchise. Universal did they best they could mid-production of Furious 7 after the untimely loss of Walker, however. The exit of Brian O’Connor from the story doesn’t make much sense anymore with his brother-in-law, Vin Diesel, breaking bad in The Fate of the Furious.

Leia’s scenes could be reshot to work an exit for her character into the story or they could use CGI most recently seen in Rogue One to work around Carrie’s death. While it wouldn’t be unethical, my money would be on the former as the use of CGI to resurrect Fisher in order to keep her character going seems a little insensitive this close to Fisher’s death. At least in the case of Furious 7, it was really only used to exit Walker from the franchise.



Stephen Stanton Confirmed as the Voice of Ben Kenobi in ‘Star Wars Rebels’

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Just a few hours ago, the mid-season trailer for Star Wars Rebels hit the web revealing Ben Kenobi would not only appear, but come face to face with Maul, the former sith who killed his master Qui-Gon Jinn. Whether it’s through the force or an actual meeting on Tatooine remains unclear.

Lucasfilm Animation has confirmed to that the actor voicing Ben Kenobi is none other than Stephen Stanton, a veteran in Lucasfilm animation and Lucasarts. It turns out this isn’t the first time he has provided the voice for Ben Kenobi as he voiced the character in the Disney Infinity 3.0 video game Stanton has provided the voices for both Mas Amedda and Admiral Tarkin in the animated series The Clone Wars and most recently voiced Admiral Raddus in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.


When Ben Kenobi will make his Rebels debut is a mystery but based on the mid-season trailer for season two, my best guess is that it won’t be until the season (which first teased Kenobi in the premiere) culminates in the season finale.

Star Wars Rebels returns January 7, 2017, on DisneyXD.



‘Rogue One’ Model Effects Supervisor Explains How They Rebuilt The Models From ‘Star Wars’

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The second fans saw the Star Destroyer in the first official teaser for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story it was evident the franchise was going back to its roots and using models for the Empires capital ships and blending them with modern CGI.

Now Model Effects Supervisor Russ Paulfrom takes you behind the scenes, offering a fascinating and in-depth explanation of how the model effects team rebuilt models from the original Star Wars and used parts from the same model kits to assemble the U-wing and the shield gate.

SOURCE: Hollywood Life: According to NY MaGee ( via SWNN)

‘Star Wars Rebels’ Season 3 Mid-Season Trailer Will Give You Goosebumps

The back half of the third season of Star Wars Rebels is about to kick off with a two episode mid-season premiere featuring the Rebels debut of Saw Gerrera voiced by Forest Whitaker. Lucasfilm and DisneyXD have released an incredible trailer for the rest of season three and it looks astounding. While I have always enjoyed the series, much like Marvel and DC television, Rebels has felt rather limited (with the exception of the Ahsoka storyline) as to not take away from the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. That all changes now.

Star Wars Rebels returns January 7, 2017, on DisneyXD.


Woody Harrelson in Talks to Join Young Han Solo Story

Some exciting news regarding the Young Han Solo standalone feature which will begin filming next month at Pinewood studios has hit the web. THR reports Woody Harrelson is in talks with Lucasfilm to join the project. The rumor floating around is that Harrelson will play a character that serves as a mentor to the young Solo played by Alden Ehrenreich.


Harrelson would be an incredible addition to what Kathleen Kennedy has described as a western with a color palette influenced by the paintings of Frederic Remington. Ehrenreich stars alongside Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke in a role that is currently unknown.

The film will be directed by The Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller with a script penned by Lawrence Kasdan and son Jon Kasdan. With cinematographer Bradford Young on board, the film has the potential to have a bold look and feel that could strike a perfect balance between humor and drama.

The Untitled Han Solo Story is slated to hit theaters May 25, 2018, however, it’s possible the film could be shifted to Holiday 2018. claims to have a source in the theater industry that has received a release date for a Star Wars for December 13, 2018. While May was the home of Star Wars for many decades, Star Wars has become part of the holiday season in the new era and my hope is that it will continue. As a long time Star Wars fan, the return of the franchise has made my Christmas celebration even more special with my family these last two years.