Creature and Special Make-up Effects Creative Supervisor Neal Scanlan began his career working on films such as Walt Disney’s Return to Oz, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth and the 1986 Oscar-nominated Little Shop of Horrors. A founding member of the Jim Henson Creature Shop, Neal was involved in projects such as WitchesBabe (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects), 101 DalmatiansThe English Patient, and more.

In 2011, Scanlan was asked to head up the Creature and Make-Up FX department for the new series of Star Wars movies. He has worked on every film of the Disney era: The Force Awakens, Rogue One, The Last Jedi, Solo, and the final episode of the nine-part Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker.

With The Rise of Skywalker now available on Digital HD and hitting 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 31st, I recently got the chance to speak to Scanlan about his work on the film. He discussed the process of creating creatures for the saga, the origins of Babu Frik, and some tantalizing details on a character we didn’t see: The Eye of Webbish Bog.

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Kathleen Kennedy Lucasfilm Deal

Never believe what you hear on YouTube. Despite swirling rumors in the wake of the box office disappointment of Solo: A Star Wars Story, Kathleen Kennedy has just re-upped her deal to remain President of Lucasfilm for at least three more years. Kennedy will remain in charge of all-things-Star Wars through 2021, and she will help expand the Star Wars galaxy into television.

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Solo Behind The Scenes

We’re getting close to the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story. The film looks great and marketing is going smoothly, but still, the specter of the film’s troubled production lingers. People want to know: just how much of the film did Ron Howard shoot compared to what fired directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller filmed? We’ve heard different reports, but now we might have an answer.

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Marvel release dates

Disney already made waves this afternoon when the studio moved Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War up by a week. But that was just an appetizer compared to today’s main course: the studio has announced more than two dozen new release dates from now until 2023, including Marvel release dates all the way through 2022. Let’s see if we can figure out what some of these are. Read More »

Star Wars women

Lucasfilm has taken some flak for almost exclusively hiring white men to shepherd the Star Wars franchise, but is that era coming to an end at the studio? A new rumor indicates that the company has secretly hired women and people of color to shape the future of a galaxy far, far away. Read on to learn more about the potential Star Wars women and non-white guys who could provide a new perspective for the franchise. Read More »

The Empire Strikes Back - Han Solo

We knew all about the clashing of approaches between producer Kathleen Kennedy and original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller regarding Lucasfilm’s Han Solo spin-off film, but ever since Ron Howard took over the director’s chair, we’ve been wondering a lot about the film’s tone. Now, thanks to a new interview with one of its stars, we’ve learned that Solo may end up being one of the funnier Star Wars movies we’ve seen so far.

And speaking of Lord and Miller, we take a look at the Directors Guild of America rule that explains the timing of why they were fired with only three weeks left in principal photography.
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Lord and Miller Han Solo

After a chaotic flurry of news earlier this week, the details are finally starting to come into focus: directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired from directing the Han Solo standalone project because they clashed with Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy’s vision for the film, and this morning, they were officially replaced by The Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard.

But the directing duo had been attached to this film for two years, and had already filmed for four and a half months when they were let go. Will they receive Han Solo director credits on the final movie, or will this officially become “a Ron Howard film”? Find out the latest info about this entire fiasco.
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Phil Lord and Chris Miller

Huge news from a galaxy far, far away: 21 Jump Street and The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have stepped down from directing Lucasfilm’s Han Solo film with only a few weeks left in the production. If you just sensed a great disturbance in the Force, this is why. Read about how Lord and Miller not directing Han Solo will impact Lucasfilm’s movie below.
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Star Wars Episode 9

I’ll be up front with you right at the top: Star Wars: Episode 9 director Colin Trevorrow doesn’t reveal any breathtaking bombshells about his plans for the Star Wars universe in the interview we examine here. But honestly, how could he divulge plot details when the main saga movie before his, Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi, is itself still shrouded in so much mystery?

Instead, the Jurassic World filmmaker provides a small window into his thought processes for how he’s approaching his portion of this epic sci-fi story, and part of that approach involves – you guessed it! – the reactions of children. (The “you guessed it” thing was a joke. I doubt anyone would have guessed that.)
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Star Wars The Last Jedi poster

Everyone is going nuts over the new trailer for Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi that was unveiled at Star Wars Celebration earlier today, but Disney and Lucasfilm also dropped the first real poster for the film at the same time. So while you’re coming down off the high of watching the trailer, join us in a deep dive into that poster to see if we can learn anything else about the movie.
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