Skywalker Rises! Stream all  STAR WARS movies on Disney+ from May 2020.

The time has come. After more than 40 years, the nine films that make up the core Star Wars Skywalker saga will be together at last. With so many people responsibly spending their days in social isolation at the moment, this is the perfect time to indulge in a marathon Star Wars session, culminating in a May the Fourth release day celebration. In the meantime, this website intends to keep your hankering for Star Wars-related news, anecdotes, gags and video updates well satisfied. Jump in, and enjoy!

Skywalker Rises on Disney+ This May the Fourth

Star Wars - The Rise of Skywalker

It’s unclear as to whether this was always Disney’s plan, or its release to the streaming platform has been accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the final installment of the Skywalker saga, Star Wars Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker, is set to arrive on Disney+ from 4 May, 2020. Yes, Star Wars Day, May the Fourth is finally coinciding with a major release.

Disney+ has been a boon for fans of the Star Wars Universe, with the other eight episodes of the Skywalker saga already available there, along with Rogue One, Solo, a new season of the Clone Wars animated series and the brilliant debut season of The Mandalorian. The arrival of The Rise of Skywalker is icing on the cake, however, as it brings together all nine episodes in a convenient format in most global territories.

Now, even if most of us remain stuck in isolation as protection from a real-world threat to civilization, we have an excuse to take a mental break from the doom-and-gloom and to embrace the escape to an incomparable creative universe.

While you wait, the launch announcement video from Disney is available below, to help set the scene. Or, of course, you can start your movie marathon right now, so that you complete The Last Jedi by May the Third, in anticipation of what is to come. May the force be with you… always.

Incredible fan film: Star Wars Downunder

Star Wars fan films are a dime a dozen. There are plenty that have been created and while it’s easy to admire the effort that has been injected into the process, most are lacking that special magic that separates professional-quality films from passion projects. Star Wars Downunder, however, is an entirely different case.

This ‘short’ film, which actually clocks in at just over 30 minutes, is a work of brilliance. It’s a tribute to the style, culture and aesthetic of Star Wars, but does two things differently from most fan films. The first of these is that it has infused the script, performances, character design, machine design and locations with an overtly Australian cultural twang. The second factor is that the quality of the writing, effects, stunt work and 3D animation is of a standard that is fully professional. How this was produced on an indie budget, I do not know, but it’s something special.

When it comes to the Australian-isms, you’ll be treated to a barrage of Aussie slang throughout. If you are Australian, you’ll follow the entire script. Others may struggle with some of the terms, but will probably recognise phrases such as “stone the flamin’ crows”, “cheers love”, “she’ll be right mate”, and a vocabulary that includes references such as: cobber, g’day, strewth, too right, larrikins, righty-o, mate, sweet, ripper and knackered. Character names include Bluey, Burko, Nugget and Bushwacka. Troopers are designed to resemble Australian bush ranger Ned Kelly and their arsenal includes kyber crystal-powered boomerangs. Walkers have been replaced by kangaroo-inspired “leapers”, and the big bad is one Darth Drongo (Aussie slang for ‘idiot’), who at one point invites the hero to bite his bum.

There are liberal references to beer, and our hero even uses his force pull to attract a cold can to his hand at one point. His droid’s initials feature the letters “VB”, which is short for Victoria Bitter, a popular brand of beer, and one of the end credits gives recognition to the production’s “Keg Operator.” It’s clear that those involved were having plenty of fun with the source material and in sending up Australian colloquialisms.

Outside of the fun script and character design, you’ll find a visually mesmerising film. The entire production is free to stream below.

How impressive was that? Comment below.

Why does so much hate surround The Last Jedi?

SPOILERS FOLLOW. Please don’t read until after you have seen The Last Jedi.

—–

Even as a lifelong Star Wars fan, I absolutely adored The Last Jedi. Its pace, self-reflective humor, incredible action set pieces, evolved performances and the surprising fates of Snoke, Luke and ‘broom boy’ were all rewarding in their unexpected nature, which hint at new directions while freshly transitioning away from the legacy that came before. I had issue with moments such as Leia’s Mary Poppins revelation and some of the Finn/Rose journey, but overall appreciate how the first recognises Leia’s innate force sensitivity and the latter helped to establish the ‘class war’ nature of the battle that is sure to take place in Episode IX. Other long-time fans, however, appear to have been deeply offended by how Rian Johnson and team handled Luke’s personality, Rey’s rapid force mastery, Snoke’s identity, Rey’s parentage, Rose’s role and other aspects of the film. While it’s fine to be critical, many have expressed their anger with a sense of vitriol.

Why is it that some fans have responded this way, and driven the Rotten Tomatoes’ fan score for the film into territory that differs so greatly from the ultra-fresh score it acquired from film critics? The video below attempts to uncover what elements of the film triggered such an emotive, divisive fan response, and looks into whether this was fully justified, or could be indicative of an early over-reaction.

What will happen to Star Wars after 1983?

The following news report provides a beautifully whimsical insight into the buzz surrounding the original release of Return of the Jedi, and what Lawrence Kasdan and George Lucas had revealed at that point about their future plans for the saga. As someone who was lucky enough to attend a 1983 screening of the third (at that point, possibly the final) Star Wars film, I recall the palpable excitement that precipitated the film’s release. Now part of a well-oiled marketing machine, the merchandising, supporting stories and media buzz about the film was something rarely experienced at the time and it truly felt as though fans were part of a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

A number of interesting sights and tidbits appear within this report, including Harrison Ford suggesting that he was happy to permanently hang up Han Solo’s outfit, an uber-fan queuing up in a rare “Revenge of the Jedi” t-shirt, other fans hinting at the desire for prequel films and early talk about the nine-film story arc that had been drafted in rough form by that stage.

This is a lovely flashback, that will take older fans back to their childhoods and provide newer fans with some understanding as to how significant the Original Trilogy was in the popular culture of its time.

Star Wars actors take ‘What Star Wars Character Are You?’ quiz

Without meaning to come across as a promotion for Buzzfeed, I wanted to share this video with you, as it includes a few touching moments (look out for Mark Hamill’s result), and some beautiful banter between the lead actors of The Last Jedi.

You’ve all seen those rather pointless, but often entertaining, online quizzes that ask you a series of questions to determine which one of the Friends you are, which Disney princess you should marry, whether you should be on Team Swift or Team Kanye, etc. Buzzfeed created a quiz to find out which character from The Last Jedi best matches your personality. Where this becomes interesting is that they then brought in the stars of the film and had them work through the quiz themselves.

Now, actors are by nature performing when they step on set. As such, you  wouldn’t necessarily expect Daisy Ridley, Gwendoline Christie, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and crew to psychometrically align with the characters that they play, but some of the surprises that pop up throughout this process are great value. Gwen, in particular, reveals quite a lot about herself and her desires.

See what you think: