Robert Rodriguez has made a throwback to his Spy Kids and The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl days. We Can Be Heroes is another Rodriguez kids’ movie full of rainbow colors, unrestrained giddiness, and childlike imagination. The original Netflix superhero movie is wish-fulfillment for children. It’s also another movie that feels hand-crafted by Rodriguez, a famously do-it-yourself filmmaker.
It’s a big month for the director, who reintroduced audiences to Boba Fett in a killer episode of The Mandalorian. Both the director’s entry in the Star Wars universe and addition to Netflix’s library bears his signature eye for playful escapism. With almost 30 years in the business, Rodriguez’s childlike wonder for filmmaking remains firmly intact.
That enthusiasm comes through on-screen and even over the phone when you interview the Austin-based director, who recently told us about the benefits of creating original properties, lessons from George Lucas and James Cameron, and his fond memories from making Alita: Battle Angel.
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Star Wars creator George Lucas has spoken before about why he made the galaxy-rattling decision to sell Lucasfilm to The Walt Disney Company back in 2012, but thanks to a forthcoming book, that topic is back in the news again. In Taschen’s The Star Wars Archives 1999-2005, author Paul Duncan includes a new interview with Lucas in which the acclaimed writer/director explains exactly why he parted ways with the cinematic franchise he built.
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Back in July 1981, few people were privy to the idea that was starting to form in George Lucas‘ mind: an origin story for the iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader. But at least three people learned the details at a story conference for Return of the Jedi, in which the Star Wars maestro revealed to Richard Marquand, Howard Kazanjian, and Lawrence Kasdan his vision of Anakin Skywalker’s origins. Lucas’ pitch for Anakin Skywalker’s original backstory, which is revealed in the new book The Star Wars Archives: 1995-2005, bears more than a few similarities to what we would eventually see onscreen in the divisive Star Wars prequels, with a few minor differences and references to real-life political figures like…Richard Nixon?
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One of the biggest revelations to come out of last weekend’s episode of The Mandalorian was the real name of Baby Yoda. His name is Grogu, and executive producer Jon Favreau has known that since the first season, but it was fellow executive producer Dave Filoni who figured out how to finally reveal it with the debut of Rosario Dawson as Ahsoka Tano.
Speaking of which, do you remember back when everyone was freaking out about Jon Favreau snapping a photo of Star Wars creator George Lucas holding Baby Yoda way back at the beginning of the year? It just so happens that Rosario Dawson was in full wardrobe and make-up as Ahsoka Tano that day, and she was there for that viral moment. Read More »
The Star Wars prequels have gained a sort of infamy amongst fans of the franchise, and some fans even suggest they “destroyed” the series. Which is what 20th Century Fox executives feared would happen — though not for the reasons you may think. In Taschen’s upcoming book The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005, it’s revealed that Fox thought George Lucas would “destroy” the franchise if he made 10-year-old Anakin Skywalker the star of the prequel films.
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Before the new Star Wars trilogy came around, the prequels were the most divisive installments of the sci-fi saga. While older Star Wars fans love the original trilogy more, those who grew up with The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith hold the movies in high esteem. So there’s plenty of interest in learning anything and everything about the making of those films with the benefit of hindsight. And a new Star Wars book has finally provided that.
The Star Wars Archives: 1999-2005 is a new book from author Paul Duncan and specialty book publishers Taschen that pulls the curtain back on the making of the prequel trilogy more than any other piece of media. With 600 pages of material, this follow-up to the previously released The Star Wars Archives: 1977-1983 digs deep into the Star Wars prequels, with some particularly fascinating insights from George Lucas himself, including a couple details on his plans for an eventual sequel trilogy that we never got to see. Read More »
Details about George Lucas‘s original unused treatments for the Star Wars sequel trilogy have been somewhat hard to come by over the years. But thanks to a new book written by Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo, we know Lucas’ plans for the new trilogy share at least two major things in common with the versions that ultimately hit screens: Luke Skywalker died in Lucas’s treatment for Episode 8, and the idea for the character of Rey was there from the start (although she had a different name when Lucas was envisioning her). Read on to get the details. Read More »
George Lucas may have sold Lucasfilm to the Walt Disney Company and taken a step back from the creative side of Star Wars, but his influence is still felt across all facets of the sci-fi universe. In the case of television, Dave Filoni brings a lot of the same perspective and storytelling style as George Lucas, almost as a shepherd of the spirit of Star Wars. It must be working too, because when it come to The Mandalorian, the executive producer says Lucas has been “very complimentary” about the series. Read More »
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Movie: American Graffiti
Where You Can Stream It: HBO Max
The Pitch: American Graffiti is a classic coming-of-age story set against the 1960s backdrop of hot rods, drive-ins and rock n’ roll. Set in Modesto, California, the film follows an ensemble of students enjoying their final night as high school seniors before they each go their separate ways and begin their journey down the path of adulthood.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: George Lucas is best known for creating the groundbreaking Star Wars, as well as the exciting adventures of Indiana Jones. But before becoming a blockbuster filmmaker, Lucas was just a young gun trying to tell stories that appealed to his age group: adults in their late 20s and early 30s who were still trying to hold onto the nostalgia of their teenage years in the 1960s. Perhaps Lucas’ most grounded and honest filmmaking effort came when he tried to recapture young life as it was in 1962 with American Graffiti. Even though the movie is was financed by Universal, Lucas maintained complete control over the movie, resulting in what is ultimately a coming-of-age indie that wouldn’t feel out of place at the Sundance Film Festival. Read More »
While I don’t know Rian Johnson personally, I think I’m safe in assuming he’s a nice guy. He would have to be – after The Last Jedi came out, Johnson’s Twitter account was bombarded with angry people bemoaning how different his Star Wars movie was. And rather than telling everyone to go pound sand – which is probably what I would’ve done – Johnson has remained polite and even respectful about the entire thing (probably because he knows deep down that he made one of the best Star Wars movies ever). Recently, Johnson kept the niceties flowing by showering some praise on the much-derided Star Wars prequels. Read More »