Avoiding Star Wars Trailers

(This article does not mention any details of Star Wars: The Last Jedi that haven’t already been revealed in trailers and marketing materials.)

During a recent visit to see Blade Runner 2049 at the Seattle Cinerama, I was seated comfortably and waiting for the show to start. Moments later, the Lucasfilm logo appeared on screen, a trailer started to play, and I saw Rey’s face against the backdrop of Luke Skywalker’s mysterious planet, Ach-To. Within seconds, I’d gotten up and left to go putter around near the concessions. I did this because I have been avoiding pretty much every single piece of marketing material for Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the past year.

As I exited the theater, I was surprised to find a few other men that had also stepped out at about the same time as me. I overheard one of them saying, “Yeah, I thought I was safe, but then that music came on and it’s soooo Star Wars…” His voice trailed off and he stared off wistfully into the middle distance. I realized that these were my brethren. We were all going to save ourselves for the “pure” Star Wars experience together.

I’ve now seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi and today, many months after the first trailer debuted, and many months of scrupulously avoiding any trailers, I want to try and answer the question: Was it worth it?
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Paul Shipper Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi left me speechless and shaken. I was not prepared for the “holy shit” shocking turn of events, the underlying emotion, the laugh-out-loud humor, the occasional ballsiness, and the bonkers weirdness. With Rian Johnson at the helm, I knew it was in good hands, but I was surprised to find it might be one of the best looking Star Wars films to date. It’s bold, it’s weird, it’s excellent. There are so many instantly iconic shots and so much to chew on.

I saw the film only a few days ago, and I’m still thinking about it. I definitely need to see the movie again, but for now, here are some spoiler-free thoughts.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has a large burden on its shoulders. The 2017 film is not only the highly anticipated follow-up to J.J. Abrams’ rousing and wildly successful 2015 revival of the Star Wars franchise, The Force Awakens, it also has The Empire Strikes Back looming over its head. The 1980 film has long been held up as the high watermark of sequels, let alone the peak of the Skywalker saga. How can any new Star Wars movie hope to measure up to such a pinnacle? The answer arriving this weekend presents a self-aware mirror image of the 1980 film, and pushes its familiar characters further than ever before. The Last Jedi, amazingly, moves above and beyond its predecessor, just like The Empire Strikes Back did decades ago.

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Boba Fett movie

Writer/producer Simon Kinberg is about to make his directorial debut with X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but he could be heading to a very different galaxy in the not-too-distant future. A new rumor reignites an old story: that Kinberg is on board to produce Lucasfilm’s Boba Fett movie, a Star Wars spin-off film that’s been in development behind the scenes for years.
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Star Wars Cosplay

In certain circles, I’m sure – among those who don’t know an elf from an Ewok – cosplay is considered weird.

Even for me, a self-identified geek, the world of cosplay always seemed to be the ultimate boss level reserved for uber-nerds only. After all, I don’t possess the crafting skills necessary to construct a convincing and functional costume, and I certainly don’t have the confidence required to strut about in public in a leotard or green body paint or fake armor or alien headpieces.

But thanks to cheerful internet message boards with step-by-step instructionals and my budding patronage of Jo-Ann’s Fabric and Craft store, I realized that I’m craftier than I originally thought. As for the confidence? It turns out I had that backwards all along.

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george lucas star wars advice

It turns out that “creative consultant” is little more than a title, as George Lucas and Star Wars: The Last Jedi star Mark Hamill have learned.

When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, it turned the Star Wars franchise upside down, with the creator of that galaxy far, far away relinquishing his creative control to new filmmakers. Lucas was kept on as a “creative consultant” to Disney’s new Star Wars trilogy, which began with 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But Lucas’ close friend and collaborator Mark Hamill bemoans the fact that the director’s advice to Disney was thrown out the window.

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star wars card game

My first published piece of film criticism came on May 20, 1999, two weeks shy of my fifteenth birthday. The night before, a group of my friends had spent the entire day camped out in front of the local movie theater waiting to purchase tickets for George Lucas’ long-awaited Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. After the movie ended, a reporter from our local newspaper was there to capture everyone’s first impressions and managed to jot down my breathless praise of the film for posterity’s sake: “I don’t think I can wait two years for the next one,” this naïve young Star Wars fan gushed, noting that the movie “threw open so many doors” and “left us hanging in a big way.” It goes without saying that it took me years to live these words down within my circle of friends.

It’s easy to remember the number of breathless articles written about Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 2015 and how many fans were excited to finally experience a Star Wars movie on the big screen, but it had only been a decade since Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith hit theaters; for Star Wars fans in 1999, it had been nearly twice as long since Star Wars: Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. I had lived an entire life up to that point without a Star Wars movie to call my own, and looking back, the most formative Star Wars experience of my adolescence wasn’t waiting in line to see the prequels: it was any one of a hundred nights spent with friends playing the Star Wars Customizable Card Game, the strategy collectible series that did more to galvanize my Star Wars fandom than anything else from my childhood.

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star-wars-the-last-jedi-luke-mark-hamill

At the Star Wars: The Last Jedi junket, I was able to sit down with Mark Hamill for the first time, fulfilling a childhood dream. It’s hard asking questions about a movie you haven’t seen yet (but I’ve seen it since the interview and you won’t be disappointed), but Hamill is amazing at answering questions without giving away anything at all. But just because I hadn’t seen the film at the time doesn’t mean I didn’t ask some big questions. Is Luke Skywalker is still a hero even if he has run away from things? Who is the chosen one? And yes, we spoke about about Hamill’s disagreements with director Rian Johnson over where the script takes Luke Skywalker.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Early Buzz

The world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi happened on Saturday evening, and even though the embargo on full reviews won’t be lifted until 12pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, December 12, the first reactions from those lucky enough to be in attendance have already hit social media.

For anyone worried about spoilers, don’t worry, the Star Wars: The Last Jedi early buzz doesn’t give away any plot details or anything like that. They’re just initial reactions to the movie almost immediately after seeing it. Keep in mind that the vibe at a world premiere is very exciting, especially for a movie like Star Wars, so some of these reactions are be a bit over the top. But there are plenty of measured and thoughtful reactions as well. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Featurette

We know that the official TV spots for Star Wars: The Last Jedi are starting to show a little too much from the next sequel in the iconic sci-fi saga. But you can trust that the film’s featurettes being released through the official Star Wars channel on YouTube are keeping secrets safe and sound while also showing us some outstanding behind the scenes footage and brief snippets of clips from the movie.

A new Star Wars: The Last Jedi featurette puts a focus on the new worlds we’ll encounter, specifically the casino city of Canto Bight and the planet Crait. There are quick shots of new footage on display, but absolutely nothing that will spoil any plot points for you, so don’t worry. Read More »