Millennium Falcon cockpit

There’s lots of Star Wars Episode VII rumor and speculation, along with merchandising and original trilogy memories, in this edition of Star Wars Bits. Below, read about the following:

  • The Episode VII Millennium Falcon dice were reportedly bought for $37 on eBay
  • Daisy Ridley comments on her role in Star Wars Episode VII.
  • John Boyega tweets about Star Wars character names.
  • More rumored details leak about sets being built at Pinewood for Episode VII.
  • Star Wars Rebels producer Dave Filoni seemingly confirms a Comic-Con appearance.
  • Watch John Ratzenberger talk about his role in The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Multiple new licensing partners will be making Star Wars merchandise.
  • How many Lightsabers are bought per year?

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Pixar gives up new footage from its latest sequel in this trailer for Monsters University. Starting off with a classic bit of “arriving at college” footage, we’re introduced to the institution in which Mike and Sully meet, form a rivalry, and eventually become friends. It doesn’t look quite as warm and fuzzy as the original film was, but there’s enough of Pixar’s gorgeous animation to make it a treat to look at.

The new and returning cast includes John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, Kelsey Grammer, Frank Oz, Ken Jeong, John Ratzenberger and J.B. Smoove, and you’ll hear many of them here, along with an unexpected blast of rock from 1989. Read More »

Pixar’s Brave is set in what appears to be some part of Scotland, many years ago. Well before the existence of pickup trucks, at least. So while we knew that actor John Ratzenberger was cast — he being a member of every Pixar voice cast to date — there was reason to wonder whether or not the practice of animating easter eggs from previous Pixar films had continued.

We’ve rundown these references in the past for other films, but those familiar with every detail of Pixar’s output have probably already wondered how, for example, the Toy Story Pizza Planet truck will end up in the film. A pizza cart, maybe? (Let’s not talk about what the Scottish equivalent of pizza might be, a hundred or more years ago. That scares me.)

Ratzenberger isn’t the only continuing tradition in the film, however. Director Mark Andrews says that all the small touches Pixar fans have come to expect from the company’s films will be in Brave, too. Read More »

‘Cars 2’ Trailer #4

Just on the off chance that you’d overlooked the fact that a sequel to Cars is being released this summer, Disney and Pixar have released another full-length trailer (after a unleashing a legion of clips and TV spots) for Cars 2. The Disney/Pixar channel on YouTube calls this trailer #4, and who am I to argue? There is some new footage here, and the trailer is cut well, but at this point either you’re on board for Cars 2 or you’re not. If by some chance you’re new to the fact that the film exists, hit the break for the new trailer, or check it out if you can’t wait for the film to open on June 24. Read More »

Exclusive: Toy Story 3 Hamm Character Poster

Hamm top

Disney will release the movie trailer for Pixar’s Toy Story 3 online on Monday October 12th 9:00am pacific time, and to celebrate they are releasing a series of new character banners. Disney has given /Film an exclusive look at the character banner for Hamm, who you might remember is voiced by John Ratzenberger. Check out the full poster after the jump, along with a preview of the Rex character banner.

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Easter Eggs in Pixar’s Up


Pixar loves to hide Easter eggs in their films, little references to movies and characters from the animation studio’s past and future. Last year we put together a compilation of WALL-E easter eggs, so I thought we’d do the same thing for Pixar’s new film Up. If you haven’t seen the film, be warned that this article references scenes from the film which may be considered spoilers.

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WALL-E Easter Eggs

Pixar is known to fill their films with fun easter eggs and WALL-E is no different. Here are some of the things you probably missed:

The Pizza Planet Truck: The truck has appeared in every Pixar movie since Toy Story (although its pretty hard to find in The Incredibles as its pretty much a blur in a car sequence). “The Pizza Planet actually has a very obvious shot, it’s just probably so quick people aren’t paying attention to it.” The truck can be found in the first 20-minutes of the film as EVE scans the truck as part of her “directive”. It’s really big, almost the full frame on screen.

Hammy: The character John Ratzenberger voiced in Toy Story appeats in WALL-E’s truck. See the photo below, Hammy can be found right to the left of EVE’s head.

A113: What started as an inside joke of CalArts alumni (a reference to the classroom number that was used by Animation students) has been present in not only every Pixar film, but Disney movies, Iron Giant, The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Powerpuffgirls and Tinytoon Adventures. “A-113 is obvious in this film,” Stanton told /Film. “It’s the most obvious we’ve ever made it.” In Wall-E, A-113 is actually part of Auto Pilot’s “directive” outlined by BuyNLarge CEO Shelby Forthright’s (Fred Willard) video recording. “Directive A-113” is also one of the tracks composed by Thomas Newman for the WALL-E soundtrack.

Auto Pilot is an obvious homage to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

John Ratzenberger: Pixar considers the actor to be a “good luck charm”, and Pixar actually has a rule stating that Ratzenberger must be in all of the studio’s films. “John Ratzenberger is probably pretty obvious,” Stanton told /Film. And he is. John Ratzenberger voices one of the few human characters in the film, not so coincidentally named “John”.

Apple: Pixar’s history with Apple is a long one. Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar) from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division in 1986, and served as CEO until Pixar was acquired by Disney in 2006. Apple has been featured in previous Pixar productions like on the hood of one of the race cars in Cars. There are several references to Apple in WALL-E, the most obvious is when WALL-E watches Hello Dolly on an older video iPod. Also, when WALL-E is done charging he makes the Mac startup chime.

Eve was actually designed by Apple’s behind-the-scenes design guru Johnny Ive, the guy responsible for the design of the iPod. Andrew Stanton told Fortune: “I wanted Eve to be high-end technology – no expense spared – and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.” Auto’s voice is the creation of MacTalk, Apple’s text-to-speach program. An old mac keyboard can also be found in WALL-E’s truck (photo below)

Button: A BuyNLarge advertising jingle can be found at the conclusion of the credits, right after the Walt Disney Pictures logo is displayed.

Orange Caution Cones: The Orange Cones from Toy Story can be found all over abandoned earth, and inside WALL-E’s truck. See photo below.

Skinner’s Scooter: The scooter Skinner used in Ratatouille can be found in the trashpile early in the film. See photo above.

BURN-E: The DVD release of WALL-E will include a short film would be “very connected to WALL-E.” Pixar has done this in past releases with Mike’s Car on Monster’s Inc, Jack Jack Attack on The Incredibles, Mater and The Ghostlight with Cars, and Your Friend The Rat on Ratatouille. The short film on WALL-E will be titled BURN-E. In the feature film there is a sequence where Eve and WALL-E fly around the Axiom Starliner, and enter through a door locking a poor welder bot on the outside of the ship. The bot bangs his fists against the door after he realizes that he has been locked out. You can watch a clip of the sequence here. Apparently the welder bot is actually named BURN-E, complete with a logo on the side of his head. If I were to guess, I would say the short film will follow BURN-E on his journey to break back into the Axiom.

Hidden Mickey: A subtle formation of a silhouette of the head of Mickey Mouse and his two ears can be found in many Disney films. In The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible was launched off the airplane to the island, several trees on top of a hill form a hidden Mickey. In WALL-E, a hidden Mickey can be found in the background of a scene on earth (seen above on the upper left corner)

Crush the Turtle: Finding Nemo’s Crush the Turtle can be seen in the animated credit sequence.

Incredible Humans?: /Film reader T-Mack writes: “During one of the introductions to the sedentary humans, there is a Sigurney Weaver voice-over detailing cool new fashions – where a quick shot of a billboard featuring three thin models in red jumpsuits appears. The models are uncannily done in a style similar to The Incredibles, with one of the models looking very much like Mr. Incredible.”

Rex: /Film reader Alex saw the Rex the dinosaur toy from Toy Story can be seen in WALL-E’s truck. /Film reader RageTreb confirms “He’s pretty obvious– seen on one of the first shelves seen in WALL-E’s truck at the beginning of the movie. He’s behind few other items, but it’s a close-up so he’s hard to miss.”

Bird from Bug’s Life: Alex from FirstShowing says the bird from A Bug’s Life appears in the animated ending credit sequence.

And these are only the easter eggs that we have found so far. Find any WALL-E easter eggs? Post them in the comments!


Big news on the Disney/Pixar front, the mouse house has revealed Pixar’s future animation slate:

Pixar's Up

May 29th 2009: From the Academy Award®-nominated team of director Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc.) and co-director Bob Peterson comes Up, a comedic adventure taking off (and lifting spirits). Here is a brand new plot synopsis direct from the studio: Carl Fredricksen (voiced by Ed Asner) spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell) gives him a new lease on life. Up takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures. When seeking adventure next summer – look Up. Christopher Plummer voices the villian. Up will be released in Disney Digital 3-D™.

October 2nd, 2009: TOY STORY in 3-D

February 12th, 2010: TOY STORY 2 in 3-D

Toy Story 3

June 18th, 2010: The creators of the beloved Toy Story films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in Toy Story 3. All we know is that Andy grows up and is leaving for college. Lee Unkrich, co-director of Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo) directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of Little Miss Sunshine, brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings. The voice talent confirmed includes: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, Estelle Harris, John Ratzenberger, Ned Beatty. Composer Randy Newman returns.

pixar's newt

Summer 2011: newt marks the directing debut of multiple Academy Award winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who made his Pixar debut with the short film Lifted, which premiered in front of Ratatouille. What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other? Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science. Will be released in Disney Digital 3-Dâ„¢.

The Bear and the Bow

Christmas 2011: The Bear and the Bow is Pixar’s first fairy tale, from acclaimed filmmaker/writer Brenda Chapman (The Prince of Egypt). Chapman began as an additional animation artist on Who Framed Roger Rabbit and contributed story for The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Fantasia 2000, Chicken Run and Cars. A rugged and mythic Scotland is the setting for Pixar’s action-adventure “The Bear and the Bow.” The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father’s kingdom and her mother’s life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right. Director Brenda Chapman and the storytelling wizards of Pixar conjure humor, fantasy and excitement in this rich Highland tale. Will be released in Disney Digital 3-Dâ„¢.

Cars 2 Logo

2012: Cars 2 will be directed by Brad Lewis, the producer of Ratatouille and Antz. All the world’s a racetrack as racing superstar Lightning McQueen zooms back into action, with his best friend Mater in tow, to take on the globe’s fastest and finest in this thrilling high-octane new installment of the “Cars” saga. Mater and McQueen will need their passports as they find themselves in a new world of intrigue, thrills and fast-paced comedic escapades around the globe. Will be released in Disney Digital 3-Dâ„¢.

The big news is that all of the announced future Pixar releases will get the Digital Disney 3-D treatment. I remember the days when Brad Bird was preaching that Pixar would only do 3D if it complimented the story. But I understand that 3D is the newest trend, and the result is bigger box office, so Pixar must go with the flow. I just wonder if Pixar would have made this choice if they weren’t owned by Disney. Bird also said that Sequels aren’t in the Pixar business plan and they also just announced Cars 2, the second sequel to be released by the studio in the next four years. The other big news is that it appears that Pixar will now be taking on two films per year starting in 2009. I hope this doesn’t result in a loss of quality. The Bear and the Bow and Newt sound, at least on the surface, more like films that Disney would make. But We’ll have to wait and see.


It’s no secret that the film I’m most anticipating in 2008 is Pixar’s WALL-E. I fell in love with the movie when I saw the first teaser trailer and have been closely following the film ever since.

Andrew Stanton, the Academy Award winning director of Finding Nemo, came across the bridge to San Francisco to premiere five video clips from WALL-E.

Partly inspired by Luxo Jr, the idea was created machine first, character second. Stanton said the idea was born at an A’s game (the audience booed), Stanton quickly added “rooting for the Red Soxs” (the audience cheered). He spent an entire inning playing with binoculars. Able to get a whole personality just from that simple design. The rest of his look came directly out of the functionality he was supposed to have.

“I wanted to believe that a robot is really there. I wanted to believe he is really a robot and not just a human in a robot shell.”

An audience member asked if Short Circuit partly inspired the design. It seemed like a question Stanton is already tired of hearing. He said that it might be possible that he was subconsciously inspired by Johnny 5 but probably not. The bionoculars served more to inspire WALL-E’s eyes. Stanton also admitted that he had seen Short Circuit only once, long ago.

Stanton talked about his formative years, and growing up in the golden age of sci-fi films. He really missed the feel of that genre of films. He said the biggest improvement to the technology behind this film involved the filming techniques. He wanted to capture the look and feel of the 70mm sci-fi films from his youth, and tech has attempted to emulate things like barrel distortion and lens flares, but not accurately. He says that some of it might not be noticeable to most.

Stanton set up the footage explaining that somewhere in the future, over commercialism has left earth covered in trash. The Human race took off on a space cruise, leaving robots to clean up the mess. All the robots broke, except one, and the humans mysteriously never returned.

The first video clip begins with WALL-E turning on after a full solar charge. He is on the trashed brown looking earth we have seen in the trailers. WALL-E gathers his BuyNLarge cooler with a few human artifacts. While leaving his truck, WALL-E almost runs over a roach he has befriended. He compounds some trash, examines a bra and collects some more human artifacts including a fire extinguisher which gives him a quick scare.

Stanton sets up the second clip by explaining that a probe droid named Eve is sent down. Wall-E “falls head over heels.” They finally meet and Walle shows Eve his home, which is decorated with some of the more interesting human artifacts he has collected. He shows her a sheet of bubble wrap and teaches her the fun of popping the bubbles. Eve pops all the bubbles in machine gun like speed. Wall-E shows Eve a light bulb, which she is able to light up. And Eve solves a rubix cube in record time. Wall-E pops a tape in and a musical comes on an old television. WALL-E begins dancing. Eve tries but shakes the whole truck, spins, throwing Wall-E into the wall.

“Their relationship gets more complicated. It’s a love story.”

In the third clip, WALL-E stows away on the outside of Eve’s spaceship. We see a sad shot of WALL-E’s roach friend looking sadly up as the ship rockets into space. WALL-E quickly discovers zero G and almost floats away from the ship, but grabs hold. They fly by the moon, which has a holographic billboard from years ago. Traveling by the sun, WALL-E recharges. And traveling by Saturn, he trues to grab some of the rock particles that make up the planet’s ring. The ship approaches the starliner, parked way out in space. Thomas Newman’s score sounds very reminiscent of John Williams’ Star Wars. Some of the footage was unfinished, but I really couldn’t tell. Andrew apologized to the audience about some “overblown or dark shots”.

In the fourth clip, WALL-E had made things worse for EVE, who is trying to usher WALL-E aboard a pod ship which would send him back to Earth. WALL-E keeps trying to impress Eve and doesn’t understand why she is trying to get rid of him. Suddenly a third robot shows up and delivers a boot with a plant growing out of it into the pod. I assume that this was probably an item that Eve had collected, but they were unaware it had life growing in it, so they were sending it away so it can’t contaminate the starliner. Again, this is just my speculation. It’s not made clear in the clip. Reguardless, WALL-E enters the pod to give the plant to Eve. The door seals and the pod rockets off with 20 seconds to self destruct. WALL-E is traying everything to stop the self destruction sequence, but to no avail. Cut to Eve’s POV where the podship explodes. Eve looks visibly sad, until then never having shown any sign of emotion. A few seonds later WALL-E comes flying towards Eve. He used his fire extinguisher to rocket away from the pod.

Someone asked during the question and answer session if WALL-E would be released in  Disney Digital 3D. Stanton nervously replied “Its hard to say, we’re not planning for 3D, but you never know. It can always be done in the post process.” I think WALL-E is the perfect movie for the 3D treatment. And from what I understand, minimal effort is required since the film is created in a 3D computer space.

Stanton also revealed that John Ratzenberger will be featured in WALL-E as a character named John.

“John Ratzenberger will always be in all of our films, don’t worry!”

Someone asked if the Pizza Planet Truck will make a cameo in the film. Stanton told the audience to pay attention during the first 20 minutes of the film.

The footage shown today was the most extensive and most impressive shown thus far. It has become immediately clear that the interaction between WALL-E and Eve is key to this story. Stanton insists that while this is a sci-fi film, that it’s a lvoe story at heart. I think that when America sees some of this interaction they will all come on board for the ride.

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New Ratatouille Photos


Disney has released a bunch of new character stills from Pixar’s presentation of Ratatouille. Check them out below:

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