luke-skywalker-binary-sunset-screencap

Years ago, when the American Film Institute released its list of the 100 greatest movie heroes and villains, three Star Wars characters made the cut: Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. There is no disputing Darth Vader. He’s a pop culture icon. As a movie star, Harrison Ford is an icon, too – he also gave us Indiana Jones, the #2 hero on that list. And Sir Alec Guinness is just a legend, plain and simple.

So those are the winners of the high school popularity contest. Those are the Star Wars characters who show up in the senior superlatives section of the yearbook, boasting titles such as “Most Likely to Receive a Spin-Off.” But while I love Darth Vader, Han Solo, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, and have been equally charmed by new characters like Rey and Finn, I would argue that there is an even greater Star Wars character, one who is — with the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi — about to make his return on-screen as a speaking character for the first time in 34 years. That character is Luke Skywalker, the greatest hero that no one seems to give the time of day.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Opening Line

During my conversation with Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson at the film’s junket a few weeks back, I asked him why he decided not to come back for Star Wars: Episode 9 and he shared the story of how his new Star Wars trilogy came about. You might be surprised to learn that Disney and Lucasfilm committed to his new trilogy without a story in place.

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George Lucas Star Wars The Last Jedi Reaction

Star Wars: The Last Jedi now has the ringing endorsement of the franchise’s creator, George Lucas. Though the director stepped away from the sci-fi series after Lucasfilm was acquired by Disney, Lucas is far from divorced from the series that has dominated so much of his life for the past 40 years.

Lucas saw The Last Jedi shortly after its Saturday night premiere and, like the hundreds of critics raving about Rian Johnson‘s film, he loved it.

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annihilation trailer

Annihilation is one of the smartest and creepiest science fiction books I’ve ever read. Ex Machina is one of the smartest and creepiest science fiction films I’ve ever seen. So naturally writer/director Alex Garland feels like a natural match for a film adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel, a haunting and cerebral tale of an expedition gone terribly wrong. Natalie Portman, always wonderful in everything, taking on the lead role is another promising sign.

The new Annihilation trailer has arrived and it’s beautiful and unsettling and…looks and feels nothing like the source material. A trick of the marketing or a sign of an adaptation that wasn’t precious about the book it’s adapting? We shall see.

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Return of the Jedi Honest Trailer

This weekend brings the next installment of the Star Wars saga with Mark Hamill returning to the role he originated for the first time over 40 years ago. But before that, let’s flashback to the time Mark Hamill returned as Luke Skywalker in 1983, as a full blown Jedi.

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi is the third chapter in the original Star Wars trilogy, and while there’s a lot to like, there’s also a lot to be upset about. The folks at Honest Trailers lean into the goofy, family friendly nonsense that George Lucas inserted into the franchise and continued with when he returned to Star Wars with the prequel trilogy.

Watch the Return of the Jedi Honest Trailer below. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Steven Spielberg Saved Gizmo

Steven Spielberg shows no signs of slowing down. The 70-year-old filmmaker will be delivering the excellent The Post to theaters this month and releasing his pop culture extravaganza Ready Player One in 2018. But just because Spielberg seems to be constantly plowing ahead into the future, that doesn’t mean we can’t stop and reflect on his past. Two new revealing bits of info from the director’s past detail revelations from former projects, including the time he saved Gremlins and when he got yelled at by Kathleen Kennedy on the set of E.T.  Read More »

Star-Wars-The-Last-Jedi-Poe-poster

In this edition of Star Wars Bits:

  • The secret evolution of the Porgs
  • A new look at Rose’s sister, Resistance fighter Paige Tico
  • Meet a few more Resistance fighters
  • The cast of Star Wars: The Last Jedi struggles to avoid spoilers
  • And more!

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Luc Besson interview

The making of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was a long journey for writer and director Luc Besson, who started reading the work of comic book writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières when he was 10 years old. He brought the comic and its two galaxy-saving agents, Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), to life with a giddy, exuberant race-against-the-clock sci-fi adventure earlier this year. Besson’s dreams (and his hard work) shows in every one of the film’s environments, which shine bright with the sort of color absent in most of today’s blockbusters.

While Valerian didn’t catch on with American audiences when it was released over the summer, Besson appears hopeful that more people will come around to his movie, which he believes is best on the second watch. We recently spoke to Besson at a press day for the Blu-Ray release of Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, where he discussed the reaction to the movie, that big market sequence, and much more.

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star wars the last jedi box office

Even a half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder could predict that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will make a ton of money. It’s the highly anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which shattered box office records as the highest-grossing movie in U.S. theaters.

Whether The Last Jedi can beat those records is another question. But box office tracking for Rian Johnson‘s film estimates that The Last Jedi could open to massive numbers worldwide.

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Star Wars The Last Jedi reviews

After a two year wait, Star Wars: The Last Jedi finally arrives in theaters this week. How does writer/director Rian Johnson‘s sequel measure up to what’s come before in a galaxy far, far away? You can read our review from Josh Spiegel right here, Peter Sciretta wrote his own extended spoiler-free review, and Chris Evangelista has a spoiler review coming soon, but in the meantime, check out our huge round-up of Star Wars The Last Jedi reviews to find out what the rest of the critical community thinks. Read More »