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As a member of the (very small) social media team here at Lucasfilm, I have the honor of reading, responding to, laughing at, loving, and sharing all of your Star Wars conversations every day. Our fans are creative, passionate, funny, and very active across the Internet; every Friday, I’ll share my favorite social media posts from the week in the Social Scanner, so show me what you’ve got!

the squad posting up | homemade everything for the inaugural star wars half marathon. #starwarshalf #rundisney #maythecoursebewithyou #starwars

A photo posted by t.h.  (@thomastakuya) on Jan 18, 2015 at 9:37pm PST

This is just one example of the “most impressive” costumes we saw using the course in the runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon weekend.

In The Force Awakens excitement (because there’s a ton)…

Don’t bother asking. He signed the NDA.

I imagine the Cantina scene would have gone drastically differently if this lineup had been hired that night.

Any day that you can talk about Ponda Baba’s severed arm is a good day in my book.

I haven’t bought a lot of things for our small human during this lengthy construction phase, but you can’t question my priorities. #starwars #nerdmom

A photo posted by Skye Carrette (@darthhamlet) on Jan 22, 2015 at 4:15pm PST

Took my Ewok along for a session @bigalstattoos today . #starwars #starwarstattoo #ewok #tattoo #tattoos

A photo posted by Mark (@markcashman95) on Jan 20, 2015 at 6:27am PST

This is a solid reminder that the official Star Wars Celebration Tattoo Pavilion will be back in Anaheim! Keep your eyes open for a list of artists and booking information coming soon.

Sorry. (Not really.)

Andi Gutierrez is the Star Wars social media correspondent and host of Rebels Recon. You can follow her on Twitter

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/social-scanner-january-23-2015-2

After abandoning their base on Dantooine, the Rebel Alliance established a new HQ in the ruins of the eerie Massassi Temples on Yavin 4. The Great Temple housed several levels of Alliance activity, including a hangar for the starfighters and a majestic audience chamber. After finally procuring the Death Star plans from Princess Leia Organa, General Dodonna spearheaded a search for a tactical weakness in the battle station’s construction. When the Death Star approached Yavin 4, a valiant attack with little chance of victory was launched. However, a new hope was given to the galaxy when Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star against all odds. Let’s meet the brave Rebels who were stationed at Base One during the Battle of Yavin!

High Command

General Jan Dodonna was the military leader of Base One. This Clone Wars veteran from Commenor devised the tactical plan to direct the assault on a small, vulnerable thermal exhaust port. The seasoned Alderaanian General Vanden Willard was relieved to see Princess Leia alive after the destruction of their homeplanet. Willard was a former spy of House Organa and responsible for Base One’s planetary defenses. Other experienced Commanders were Bob Hudsol, a Corellian with connections in Bothan Space, and Evram Lajaie, whose expertise helped the Alliance to uncover the flaw in the Death Star’s design. Also present at Base One was Pashna Starkiller, a former Imperial General.

Yavin 4 Rebels 1

Colonel Feyn Gospic worked in the strategy center during the Battle of Yavin as one of Dodonna’s main strategic advisers. A bunch of officers were seen during the ceremony after the destruction of the Death Star. Among them was Major Arhul Hextrophon, a Master Historian for Alliance High Command who carried the Medals of Bravery in a box. Hextrophon was assisted by Lieutenant Voren Na’al, a young historian who served under him. Na’al handed out the medals to Dodonna during the ceremony. Other officers seen at the ceremony were Colonel Anj Zavor, Major Tyr Taskeen, Major Duron Veertag, Captain Deacon Eso and Captain Morts Werl.

Pilots of Red and Gold

General Dodonna had analyzed that the defenses of the Death Star were arranged around a large scale assault. The Imperials counted 30 Rebel ships during the battle, most of them were a part of Red or Gold Squadron. Red Squadron consisted of T-65 X-wing starfighters and was led by the veteran Garven Dreis (Red Leader), sometimes nicknamed “Dave” or “Boss”. Dreis had confidence in Luke’s skills since he had once met Luke’s father during the Clone Wars. Dreis and R5-K6 performed an unsuccessful trench run and were ultimately shot down by Darth Vader. Wedge Antilles (Red 2) was skeptical about the tactical plan at first, but fought bravely, and the young Corellian only had to abandon the final trench run when he got hit by a TIE fighter. Biggs Darklighter (Red 3) had been Luke’s best friend on Tatooine. When Biggs encountered Luke on Yavin 4, he almost couldn’t believe that “the shooting stars” had been reunited. In the final trench run, Biggs and R2-Q2 covered Luke, but despite his flying skills, Biggs couldn’t evade Vader’s deadly lasers that ended his life. John D. Branon (Red 4) was a native of Dalandae and was shot down when the TIE fighters entered the battle.

Yavin 4 Rebels 2

Yavin 4 Rebels 3

Luke Skywalker (Red 5) was a rookie pilot and the best bush pilot in the Outer Rim, according to Biggs. Assisted by R2-D2 and by a mystical energy field, Luke easily grew accustomed to the controls of the T-65 that were similar to the ones of the T-16 Skyhopper he had owned on Tatooine. Lieutenant Jek Tono Porkins (Red 6) was a native of the ocean world Bestine IV. Porkins couldn’t eject in time when his X-wing got hit. R5-D8 was destroyed in the blast as well. Elyhek Rue (Red 7) from Brentaal IV was present during Dodonna’s briefing. Bren Quersey (Red 8) from Lantillies had been trained by Wedge Antilles. Nozzo Naytaan (Red 9) hasn’t (yet) been properly identified in A New Hope though he’s credited by saying the line: “It’s a hit!” Theron Nett (Red 10) from Ord Mantell considered Dreis his mentor. Together with R2-X2 Nett took part in the first X-wing trench run, but was killed by Vader. Lieutenant Wenton Chan (Red 11) from Corulag led Red Squadron’s third flight. Puck Naeco (Red 12) got transferred from the Independence to Yavin 4 where he covered Dreis in the failed trench run until his own demise.

Yavin 4 Rebels 4

Gold Squadron consisted of BTL-A4 Y-wing starfighters and was led by Jon “Dutch” Vander (Gold Leader). Together with Gold 2 and Gold 5 Vander performed the first trench run, but the Y-wings were no match for Vader and his wingmen. Tiree (Gold 2) was shot down by Vader during the aforementioned trench run. Ryle Torsyn (Gold 3) was recruited by Dreis and discovered an Imperial homing beacon on the Dantooine base. Lieutenant Lepira (Gold 4) was present at Dodonna’s briefing, and the young pilot entered the battle with his Astromech R5-F7. Veteran Davish ‘Pops’ Krail (Gold 5) told Vander to stay on target during their failed run. Krail had been a friend of Garven Dreis. Hol Okand (Gold 6) had seen action on Kashyyyk before he was killed at Yavin. Rookie pilot Keyan Farlander (Gold 7) was one of the few pilots to survive the battle.

Miscellaneous crew

Corporal Osleo Prennert was the sentry on duty when the Millennium Falcon landed on Yavin 4. Corellian musician Grondorn Muse joined the Alliance when the Empire blacklisted his songs. Muse was present during Dodonna’s briefing. Engineer Firin Morett had final launch authority in the hangar of Base One, a working place that he shared with R4-D6. Del Goren, an expert of communications and sensor jamming, followed the battle with other members of Alliance High Command. He warned the pilots for incoming enemy starfighters. Alderaanian Rebel Honor Guard Galen Torg and Chief Caf Treblanc were both present during the ceremony.

Throne Room

Tim Veekhoven (Sompeetalay) from Belgium is president and co founder of TeeKay-421, the Belgian Star Wars fanclub. He has contributed to Star Wars Insider (Rogues Gallery) and has written four character back stories for “What’s the Story?”.

Sources:

A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (1984)

CCG (Decipher)

Galaxy Guide 1: A New Hope (1989)

Razor’s Edge (2013)

Scramble on Yavin Battle Pack Hasbro (2009)

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope novelization (1976)

Star Wars Insider 92 (Refresher Reading)

Star Wars Insider 133 (Rogues Gallery: Celebrating a Rebel Victory!)

The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia (2008)

The Essential Guide to Warfare (2011)

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/yavin-4-rebels-guardians-of-the-hidden-fortress

UPDATE:

Hello, what have we here? Three new Star Wars games are available on GOG.com today, including two digital debuts:

  • Star Wars: Rogue Squadron 3D (digital distribution premiere)
  • Star Wars Rebellion (digital distribution premiere)
  • Star Wars Empire at War: Gold Pack

And on January 27, three more classics will be available!

  • Star Wars Republic Commando
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II
  • Star Wars Starfighter

These releases bring the Lucasfilm catalog on GOG.com to a total of 18 games, spanning the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Monkey Island, and Sam Max franchises — with more to come.  This deal is getting better all the time!

ORIGINAL STORY

Attention Star Wars gamers: you now have reason to party, Ewok-style!

X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter on GOG.com

Disney Interactive and Lucasfilm announced today that the critically-acclaimed X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter and several other classic games are coming to GOG.com — with many available digitally for the first time! Starting today, six fan-favorite titles — worthy of recognition in the Jedi Archives — strike back on GOG.com, including:

  • Star Wars: X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (digital distribution premiere)
  • Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance (digital distribution premiere)
  • Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds (digital distribution premiere)
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Star Wars: Dark Forces
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

These releases complete the Star Wars: X-Wing series on GOG.com, allowing players to experience (or re-experience) one of the most loved and influential flight-simulator series of all time. Star Wars Battlefront II, Star Wars: Dark Forces, and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords show different but equally essential sides of Star Wars gaming, from first-person shooters to RPGs.

But this isn’t the end of classics on GOG.com. Other titles are set to return, more powerful than you can possibly imagine: GOG.com will release six more games from a galaxy far, far away for the next 10 days. This will be a day long remembered, indeed!

Stay tuned to StarWars.com for more of Star Wars gaming!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/x-wing-vs-tie-fighter-and-more-strike-back-on-gog-com

Check your calendars. Yes, it’s 2015 and that means the arrival of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the continuation of Season One of Star Wars Rebels and a glut of other new and exciting Star Wars ventures. But it’s also a big anniversary year. Not only is it 35 years since the arrival of The Empire Strikes Back but this year also marks the 10th anniversary of Revenge of the Sith, the episode which — until the announcement of a sequel trilogy in late October 2012 — marked the final chapter in the six film Star Wars cycle.

Produced on an estimated budget of $113 million, the film arrived on May 19, 2005 with an opening day haul of $50,013,859 from an estimated 9,400 screens at 3,661 locations, for what was then the biggest single days take in movie history. A colossal North American first weekend gross of $108,435,841 on 3,663 screens followed, with a final domestic tally of $380,270,577 and a mammoth $848,754,768 worldwide. Wowing fans of the saga, it brought the prequel trilogy home in bombastic fashion, showing the tragic events which led to the creation of Darth Vader, the fall of the Jedi, and the formation of the Galactic Empire. The circle was now complete, but how did the film fare when it came to the critical opinions of the wider film press?

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Joshua Tyler at Cinemablend, writing on May 19, 2005, was certainly enamored by the scale and grandeur of the film, highlighting the connections it made to the beloved first trilogy and the importance of George Lucas.

“I still remember the first time I really became aware of George Lucas. We swarmed to anything that had his name on it, ate up every Ewok Adventure or Star Wars Christmas Special because we knew George Lucas had created it. We didn’t just love Star Wars, we loved the mythos of George Lucas, a man who somehow seemed magical.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith begins at a torrid pace and never lets up. Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) appear in the midst of a stunning space battle, on a mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) being held prisoner aboard Count Dooku’s (Christopher Lee) ship. There’s no need to pause for character development, as Lucas’s exceptionally well crafted script melds deeper growth and personality right in with the action. He establishes the strong friendship between Anakin and Obi Wan immediately, in a way that was never evidenced in Attack of the Clones. This was always one of the great strengths of the original Star Wars movies, an uncanny ability to tell us volumes about its characters while in the middle of a wild ride through a meteor shower, or rescuing a princess from her torture chamber. Writer/Director Lucas has finally recaptured that here, and the film absolutely soars because of it.

Revenge of the Sith isn’t just a great Star Wars movie, it’s a flat out great film. Yes it’s technically proficient and yes it’s visually beautiful. Those things are a given. What hasn’t been is how solidly the film is constructed. Revenge of the Sith is a powerful, big budget experience. Yet it is the way that it fits so wonderfully into the existing Star Wars mythos that best sells it, the way it nestles so nicely into 1977’s Episode IV: A New Hope that makes it special. The real beauty is that you could easily toss out the previous two awkward attempts, watch only this in sequence with the original films, and come out completely satisfied. Attack of the Clones and The Phantom Menace are best forgotten. Lucas’s real miscalculation was in not making this movie right from the start. He tried to stretch the story when all we needed was Vader’s rise in its purest form. Star Wars fans have finally been rewarded for their patience. George has made another masterpiece.”

Here in the UK on Friday, May 13, 2005, Peter Bradshaw writing for The Guardian had little good to say about the film, citing the stock and clichéd complaints about the film — too much spectacle, not enough heart.

Revenge of the Sith has some almost decent things. Yoda is good value as ever, though his character is never allowed to breathe in the airless galaxy Lucas creates, and there is a good sequence at the end showing the “birth” of Darth Vader while Princess Amidala is delivered of her twins. It has what the rest of the film so conspicuously lacks: a spark of real dramatic life. But it comes far too late and it is over immediately. How depressing to compare any of this with the fun and gusto of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in the first movie. As for the elephantine trilogy as a whole, it was all too clearly a product of George Lucas’s overweening production giant Industrial Light and Magic. No magic, little light, but an awful lot of heavy industry.”

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Writing in the New York Times on May 16, A.O. Scott wondered if the film would satisfy a list of requirements he had amassed.

“Would my grown-up longing for a return to the wide-eyed enthusiasm of my own moviegoing boyhood — and my undiminished hunger for entertainment with sweep and power as well as noise and dazzle — be satisfied by “Revenge of the Sith“?

The answer is yeth.

This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed. That’s right (and my inner 11-year-old shudders as I type this): it’s better than “Star Wars.”

Revenge of the Sith,” which had its premiere here yesterday at the Cannes International Film Festival, ranks with “The Empire Strikes Back” (directed by Irvin Kershner in 1980) as the richest and most challenging movie in the cycle. It comes closer than any of the other episodes to realizing Mr. Lucas’s frequently reiterated dream of bringing the combination of vigorous spectacle and mythic resonance he found in the films of Akira Kurosawa into American commercial cinema.

But of course the rise of the Empire and the perdition of Anakin Skywalker are not the end of the story, and the inverted chronology turns out to be the most profound thing about the “Star Wars” epic. Taken together, and watched in the order they were made, the films reveal the cyclical nature of history, which seems to repeat itself even as it moves forward. Democracies swell into empires, empires are toppled by revolutions, fathers abandon their sons and sons find their fathers. Movies end. Life goes on.”

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Owen Glieberman at Entertainment Weekly, writing on May 18, notes that with the completion of the — then — final film, the previous two films had succeeded in their mission to set up the grand finale.

“Having spent two scattershot blockbusters whetting our appetite for the fall of Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), George Lucas makes it easy to experience Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith as a rush of deliverance.

Unlike The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith unfolds with a fury of consequence. There are rousing lightsaber duels, like the one in which the skull-faced General Grievous wields four sabers at once. Yoda, with his twinkly scowl of purpose, has become such a crowd-pleasing action figure that when he coughs up solemn syntactical howlers like ”A prophecy that misread could have been” — well, forgive him almost you can. The madly detailed cityscapes raise eye candy to a dimension of comic-book awe, though I confess I miss the nearly tactile thrills generated by the original Star Wars films. Lucas’ digital imagery allows for whizzy, swirling layers of technological hyperactivity, yet its lacquered gleam is just artificial enough that when a panoramic window gets smashed during a battle in the Jedi chamber, my reaction was to think, ”Gee, how will they find replacement glass that big?”

Kirk Honneycutt, writing on May 6 in The Hollywood Reporter was effusive in his enjoyment of the film, going so far as to request an immediate repeat viewing.

“The final episode of George Lucas’ cinematic epic Star Wars ends the six-movie series on such a high note that one feels like yelling out, “Rewind!” Yes, rewind through more than 13 hours of bravery, treachery, new worlds, odd creatures and human frailty. The first two episodes of Lucas’ second trilogy — The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002) — caused more than a few fans of the original trilogy to wonder whether this prequel was worth it. The answer is a qualified yes. It did take a lot of weighty expositions, stiffly played scenes and less-than-magical creatures to get to Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith. But what a ride Lucas and company have in store!

Needless to say, international box office will register in the hundreds of millions. The real question is how much money the entire series, now ready for packaging and repackaging for all sorts of formats and media, will eventually take in. Let’s just say a lot.”

And Honeycutt underlines just how far digital cinema and visual effects had come under the guiding hand of George Lucas.

“Now completely at home with digital filmmaking, Lucas can blaze a pioneering path as no one else. Shooting on soundstages in Australia and Britain with additional photography in China, Thailand, Switzerland, Italy and Tunisia, Lucas thrusts viewers into pitched battles in looming caverns and giant spaceships or a lightsaber duel on a river of molten lava. Combining choreographic action aesthetics that are American, Chinese and otherwordly, Lucas has redefined fantasy filmmaking with Star Wars while teaching a generation of filmmakers to accept no limitations.

Yes, by all means, rewind!

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Peter Travers at Rolling Stone, a magazine closely associated with the saga over the years, was less than impressed on May 19. Indeed, his polarized opinions highlight the love it/hate it nature of the prequel trilogy. No one ever sat on the fence when it came to these three movies.

“In this heretic’s opinion, Sith is a stiff. I kept thinking how much better Sith would play as a silent film, with only Chewbacca allowed to do his Wookiee growl and John Williams to trumpet his recycled score and yet, Revenge of the Sith is the movie that will do more business (my guess is $400 million-plus), sell more popcorn and brainwash more audiences than any blockbuster this summer. There are reasons: Sith is the last time Lucas will ever skywalk with the Skywalkers on the big screen (talk persists of a TV spinoff). There is enormous goodwill built up by the original series Lucas began in 1977 with Wars: A New Hope, continued in 1980 with The Empire Strikes Back and ended in 1983 with Return of the Jedi.

Lucas almost pulls the plot out of the fire in the film’s final section, showing Obi-Wan hacking away at Anakin with his light-saber on the lava planet of Mustafar. Lucas even drops a hint that Anakin thinks Padme and Obi-Wan may have been getting it on. As we watch Anakin nearly melt in the lava, only to be put together, Frankenstein style, in a lab while Lucas intercuts scenes of Padme giving birth to the twins Luke and Leia, a link to genuine feeling is established at last.

On May 6, Harry Knowles, a lifelong admirer of the saga wrote his review at Aint It Cool and started his piece with what was –then — a stark fact of truth.

“I have watched my last new STAR WARS film.

The imagery in REVENGE OF THE SITH — The turning of Anakin, the annihilation of the Jedi, the expulsion of Yoda, Obi-Wan vs Anakin, Palpatine revealed, the birth of the twins, Alderran, the adoption of Luke, what became of the droids… These are all near religious iconography in the minds of children raised in the ways of the Force. I’ve spent a quarter of a century discussing these things, speculating on what it’d look like, how it’d play out… I’ve seen it in countless dreams, but never with my eyes open. Never George’s dream of what it was. Till now.

I’m having a really hard time writing about this one. It’s just so damn big. So full of literally everything that I wanted to see in all the prequels – but crammed all into this one. This really is the big Michael Corleone episode of STAR WARS… It’s where all the traps are sprung, all the cards are laid on the table, where everybody dies, all is lost and evil rules the galaxy.

REVENGE OF THE SITH is a masterpiece. The final piece of the puzzle Lucas first presented me at age 6. 27 years later, the Jigsaw is complete and damn if it isn’t just damn near the most tragically cool thing I’ve ever seen put to film. We won’t see another like this. This is it.

We’ll see enormous sci-fantasy told, with more focus and even grander visions in our lifetime… but we’ll never care as much about a story like this one. For our generation, Star Wars is our mythology. The big story we lived to see told the first time. For those of you that were kids in lines in 1977 through to the coming weeks… I have to say, it has been an absolute ******* honor to do this with y’all.

Remember – this isn’t a Star Wars movie to cheer for, to erupt into applause and call cool. If you really love STAR WARS – this one is heart ache. Not only is it the end of a nearly 30 year journey for us… It really is the story of how things got so bad, that the good guys had to be a rebellion, where the Jedi had to hide and how evil ruled the galaxy. Wow, I’ve seen my last new Star Wars film.”

Over at the BBC Paul Arendt wrote on May 20, and explained that Revenge of the Sith satisfied almost all the questions the fans needed answering.

“Good news first: George Lucas has delivered the film Star Wars fans have been praying for. Yes, it’s true: Revenge Of The Sith kicks geek botty. The final episode of the prequels completes the cycle begun in 1977. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is reborn with the familiar face furniture and bondage leathers of Darth Vader, the Emperor (a splendid Ian McDiarmid) reveals his nefarious plot, and we discover the true origins of Leia, Luke, Yoda and a certain walking carpet.

Revenge Of The Sith strings a complex plot onto a framework of practically non-stop action. The first 20 minutes — a breathtaking rollercoaster of space battles, lightsaber duels, explosions and acrobatics — rivals anything we’ve seen in the series. There’s an impressive new villain, the Dickensian cyborg General Grievous, a galactic holiday brochure of new locations and, as Anakin succumbs to the dark side, a bleak, bloody atmosphere that’s shocking and occasionally even moving.

“WHAT WE WANTED ALL ALONG”

But, lapses aside, Revenge Of The Sith is what we wanted all along: a chunky, funky space opera spectacular.”

Yoda vs Sidious

Ken Tucker in New York Mag seemed less overtly impressed, although did have good things to say about the movie.

“(T)his final edition does have its pleasures—all of them, as usual, on its surface. Big spaceships, narrow-bladed lightsabers, and the freshly CGI-animated, martial-arts-leaping Yoda make our eyes feel happy. Someone at Skywalker Ranch apparently decided to remedy complaints about the earlier movies’ dourness, and so Hayden Christensen burbles, “This is where the fun begins!” before engaging in a zippy air battle, and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi gives us some sly grins and ingratiating winks. (As affable as they are, neither is any Han Solo, whom we can now definitively proclaim the best human character in the Star Wars series, thanks to Harrison Ford’s slow-burn charisma.) And as Star Wars’ most engaging villain, General Grievous is fab: a menacing clickety-clack meanie who wheezes and groans, sprouts new praying-mantis-style appendages with which to wield extra light-sabers, and provides the series with its best one-on-one tussle, against Obi-Wan.

Let’s end with the legendary Roger Ebert, writing on May 19, who had plenty of positives to highlight from the film, as he always had throughout the two trilogies.

“George Lucas comes full circle in more ways than one in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” which is the sixth — and allegedly but not necessarily the last — of the “Star Wars” movies. After “Episode II” got so bogged down in politics that it played like the Republic covered by C-Span, “Episode III” is a return to the classic space opera style that launched the series. Because the story leads up to where the original “Star Wars” began, we get to use the immemorial movie phrase, “This is where we came in.”

And Ebert compares the techniques used to make the original trilogy to the new ways in which the prequels were crafted.

“The lesson, I think, is that special effects should be judged not by their complexity but by the degree that they stimulate the imagination, and “Episode III” is distinguished not by how well the effects are done, but by how amazingly they are imagined. A climactic duel on a blazing volcanic planet is as impressive, in its line, as anything in “Lord of the Rings.” And Yoda, who began life as a Muppet but is now completely animated (like about 70 percent of what we see onscreen), was to begin with and still is the most lifelike of the non-humanoid “Star Wars” characters. If he got bogged down in solemnity and theory in “Episode II: Attack of the Clones,” the Force is in a jollier mood this time, and “Revenge of the Sith” is a great entertainment.”

And he had a perceptive point to make about future Star Wars movies.

“Note: I said this is not necessarily the last of the “Star Wars” movies. Although Lucas has absolutely said he is finished with the series, it is inconceivable to me that 20th Century-Fox will willingly abandon the franchise, especially as Lucas has hinted that parts VII, VIII and IX exist at least in his mind. There will be enormous pressure for them to be made, if not by him, then by his deputies.”

How true.

Mark is a long-time contributor to Star Wars Insider, the co-owner of Jedi News, a regular contributor to the UK’s biggest free newspaper The Metro and co-host of RebelForce Radio’s UK-centric RADIO 1138 podcast. When he’s not talking or writing about Star Wars, he can usually be found sleeping, where he’ll most likely be dreaming about Star Wars.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/critical-opinion-revenge-of-the-sith-original-reviews

Marvel’s Star Wars #1 arrived last week, officially ushering in a new age of Star Wars comics. Set right after the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, the issue features Han and Leia at their flirting-meets-bickering and Imperial-blasting best, Chewbacca as a sniper (!), and a thrilling cliffhanger ending. In short, it’s Star Wars to the core, it feels like a fresh start, and it’s fantastic.

In celebration of Star Wars #1’s release, StarWars.com spoke with the landmark comic’s creators, writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday, for some Bothan-spy-worthy behind-the-scenes secrets.

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1. Star Wars #1 may have some Easter Eggs. Obi-Wan once said, “Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them.” But in this case, ignore the Jedi Master’s advice. “I won’t go into specifics,” says Cassaday, “but between the fact that we’re in an Imperial weapons factory and the rest of the moon is an intergalactic junkyard, I’d suggest that there may just be a few fun bits hidden beyond the shadows…”

2. When it came to the writing, one character proved surprisingly difficult to capture. All of Star Wars‘ heroes and villains — from braggadocios scoundrels to evil Sith Lords — are unique in terms of personality. But for Aaron, writing a talkative droid was the most challenging aspect of the entire script. “The hardest part was getting C-3PO’s voice right,” he says, “because it’s very distinctive. But it’s also probably the most fun, because he’s the guy spends most of those movies insulting everybody and arguing.” Thankfully, Aaron had the tools to figure it out. “It helps being the perfect age,” he says. “Being a kid who grew up on Star Wars, you have those voices in your head. We were all, as kids, running around in our backyards, swinging sticks and pretending to be Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, or Princess Leia. You’re acting out those characters. So, basically, my childhood was good research for my current job.”

Star Wars #1 interior page

3. Luke and Leia’s outfits serve character-driven purposes. At the end of A New Hope, Luke wears a new getup in the brief medal ceremony scene: striking yellow jacket, black shirt, brown pants, and black boots. He never wears it in The Empire Strikes Back, but Cassaday felt it was right for the new series. “That was my call and luckily no one objected,” he says. “I always loved that outfit. The jacket is based on a British rally jacket (possibly store-bought) and the pants are in the style of what Han wears in the next two films… Just a great mishmash. It always struck me as a reflection of Luke graduating from outer-rim farm boy to the Flash Gordon-type swashbuckling defender of the universe!”

Leia, however, sports an all-new look. Cassaday, like he did for Luke, looked to reflect the princess’ personality and arc in her attire. “I played up the middle ground between her regal robes and mission-appropriate action gear,” he says, “but always in white and a bit sexy. Y’know, Princess Leia! You’ll see her in different variations and hairstyles as we go, depending on the occasion.” The ultimate goal with the characters’ appearances, however, was for the book to truly feel like Star Wars.

“I think we all agreed coming into this,” Aaron says, “that we wanted this to look like a direct continuation of the original film. So, we didn’t want to see people wearing something that was jarringly different than what we’d seen before. It doesn’t mean they had to be dressed exactly the same, but we wanted it to feel like an easy segue from that movie into this.”

Star Wars #1 interior page

4. The issue’s aliens are not digital effects. In the original films, masks and costumes were hand-made. In order to maintain a visual continuity with those movies, Cassaday followed the rules of practical effects. “The key approach to design on this book,” Cassaday says, “is very much in touch with the original trilogy and the technology, make-up, and costuming of the time. No intricate CGI or mo-cap. When I design a new character or alien, I think of it as an actor wearing a rubber mask, prosthetics, or possibly a puppet, and I try to work within those given boundaries.”

5. One type of alien makes a cameo for a specific reason. When you’re writing Star Wars #1 and you have a favorite alien, it gets in the comic. “I love the Hammerhead guy in the cantina, in the original film,” says Aaron. “I remember having that figure. I’ve still got it somewhere. So, I’ve always liked those guys, so we see several of them in issue #1. I don’t know why, but they’re probably my favorite.”

Star Wars #1 interior page

6. You should think of Star Wars #1 as the opening scene of a new movie. As Marvel’s Star Wars picks up where A New Hope leaves off, the book’s creators went into this project looking to create a cinematic experience — and to honor the spirit of the original films. “I wanted to capture what made me fall in love with Star Wars as a kid,” Aaron says. “I wanted to see that entire cast of characters, together, getting involved in the same sort of situations that we’d seen them involved in in the films. You know, I wanted this to feel like we were doing another movie set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. We’re just doing a movie on paper, in comic-book form.” And while both Aaron and Cassaday were extremely excited to create their own Star Wars movie-as-comic, that excitement has not dissipated with the release of issue #1.

“These characters and stories are an important part of my creative building blocks,” says Cassaday. “I must say that getting to reach back and live inside that mythology for a bit is a special thing that will live on for me.” Aaron concurs — and is looking forward to the future of the series.

“I’m still just as happy as I sit down to write issue 6 as I was when I wrote the first one,” says Aaron. “This is not a job that’s going to get boring anytime soon. I feel like we’re just getting started and just scratching the surface.”

Dan Brooks is Lucasfilm’s senior content writer, and spends his days writing stuff for and around StarWars.com. He loves Star Wars, ELO, and the New York Rangers, Jets, and Yankees. Follow him on Twitter @dan_brooks where he rants about all these things.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/6-things-you-dont-know-about-star-wars-1

1939 is considered by many to be one of the best years in film that Hollywood has ever had, and so after Gunga Din, we go back there to see the influence the Best Picture winner that year had on Star Wars. At first blush, it might not seem like Gone With the Wind has much to do with Star Wars.

I mean, Star Wars, tells the story of two generations of Skywalkers and their struggles through a Civil War across the galaxy, and Gone With the Wind is about the O’Haras and their struggles through the Civil War of the United States.

Okay, maybe they’re a little more alike than we’d have guessed. For those who don’t know, Gone With the Wind is the story of a young girl named Scarlet O’Hara, played by Vivien Leigh. She’s a perfect southern belle in the waning days of the South, but the Civil War breaks out and she’s forced to do a lot of things to survive. The film is equal parts comedy, romance, action, and a document of a time on that is now only “a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind.”

Star Wars is very much in that vein of film that is every sort of movie, where the action, adventure, romance, and comedy blend into one thrilling melting pot. It’s no coincidence that both films feature charming rogues in the form of Rhett Butler and Han Solo. And strong women willing to stand up for what they believe in and what they need to do in Scarlett O’Hara and Princess Leia. Han and Rhett are both quick-witted scoundrels, smugglers, and ne’r-do-wells. Rhett made his fortune as a blockade runner and found himself with a heart of gold, but Han Solo is a smuggler looking to finally make a fortune. Han himself finds that he can be a hero.

Rhett and Scarlett have very much the same sort of relationship that Han and Leia do. It’s impossible to ignore the tone between the would-be lovers set by Gone With the Wind and followed brilliantly in The Empire Strikes Back. In fact, think of the scene where Han and Leia first kiss aboard the Millennium Falcon, and compare that to the scene where Rhett is telling Scarlett, “No, I don’t think I will kiss you. Although you need kissing badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often and by someone who knows how.”

And Scarlett is able to follow that up by calling Rhett a “conceited, blackhearted varmint.” And you can’t hear her say that without hearing Leia saying, “half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herder.”

It would come then as no surprise to find that there was a film poster made for The Empire Strikes Back that is really just a blue, Hoth version of Han and Leia about to kiss that’s patterned after the red and yellow Gone With the Wind poster of Atlanta burning with Rhett about to kiss Scarlett in exactly the same pose. It’s even referred to as “the Gone With the Wind poster.”

There are many more similarities that can be found. One could argue that the loss of Scarlett’s family’s homestead, Tara, could be analogous to Leia’s loss of Alderaan. Others still could argue that Luke Skywalker is the Ashley Wilkes character, finishing off the trifecta of the love triangle and the romance with the female lead that can never be.

But perhaps the biggest similarity between the Star Wars films and Gone With the Wind is that they’re both incredible special-effects pictures, both pushing the envelope for what was possible for filmed stories from their respective eras. The film compositing and matte painting techniques used in color for the almost the first time on Gone With the Wind were perfected for Star Wars. They both pushed boundaries and were overseen by driven men (David O. Selznick and George Lucas) determined to tell stories in their way.

For those of you interested in watching Gone With the Wind, I’d suggest setting aside at least five hours over a Saturday afternoon, or splitting it at the intermission over two nights. It’s a movie that holds up well, and it’s surprising how well it does. The jokes still work, the dialogue is still tight and the story still cleverly constructed, even by today’s standards. And it’s a heartbreaking film in places as well. Hattie McDaniel’s speech in the second half hits me as hard every time I watch it as Order 66.

For kids watching with you, I’d recommend the two-night viewing. It is rated by the MPAA as G as appropriate for all ages, but I’d be prepared to talk to them about the Civil War, slavery, and racism. If they’re capable of sitting through the running time, the film will be a rewarding experience for you and them. It’s something I’ve watched with my kids and have enjoyed both the film and the conversations with them that it’s spawned.

And there’s a reason that, when you adjust for inflation, it’s the highest grossing film of all time, beating Star Wars by almost $200,000. It’s just a great film.

Bryan Young is an author, a filmmakerjournalist, and the editor in chief of BigShinyRobot.com! He’s also the co-host of the Star Wars podcast, Full of Sith.

You can also follow him on Twitter.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/the-cinema-behind-star-wars-gone-with-the-wind

If you’re looking to finally get that Rebel Alliance insignia tattoo, find that special someone who knows all the words to “Yub Nub,” and/or see a Navajo-language version of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope, well, you’re in luck. Star Wars Celebration 2015 in Anaheim (April 16-19) will feature an official Star Wars Tattoo Pavilion, speed dating, and a screening of the first Star Wars film dubbed in Navajo. Check out the full details below!

Get your ink on in the Star Wars Tattoo Pavilion at Celebration

At the Star Wars Tattoo pavilion at Celebration Anaheim, some of the best tattoo artists in the world will perform their craft live at the show, all weekend long. Sign up in advance for an appointment with the artists, or stop by the pavilion to book your time for the ultimate Star Wars souvenir! Whether you already have a Star Wars tattoo, or get a new one at the show, you can sign up for the Star Wars Celebration Tattoo Competition, scheduled for Sunday, April 19.

Body art enthusiasts and Star Wars fans will find the long-anticipated sequel to The Force in The Flesh book by Shane Turgeon in the Celebration Tattoo Pavilion, as well as limited-edition Star Wars Ink Fusion tattoo T-shirts. There will be free giveaway items every day of the show, as well as surprise special guests.

To reserve a tattoo appointment at Celebration in advance of the show, look for the list of artists to be posted soon on www.starwarscelebration.com. Many will have links to their websites, where you will be able to book an appointment.

Tattooed fans interested in participating in the Star Wars Tattoo Competition at Celebration must pre-register for the event at the Force in the Flesh booth in the Tattoo Pavilion during Celebration Exhibit Hall hours. Registrants may enter in one of five categories: small/medium color, large color, small/medium black and grey, large black and grey and tattoo of the weekend! A panel of special celebrity judges will be on hand to determine the best and present the winners with exclusive awards created especially for this event.

The Star Wars Tattoo Pavilion at Celebration is organized and hosted by Marc Draven and Shane Turgeon. Draven is a professional tattoo artist from Florida, who has been tattooing for more than 20 years. Ten years ago he created Ink Fusion, where the “worlds of tattooing and pop culture collide.”

Turgeon is a business owner, event promoter, writer, appraiser, and collector of tattoos, toys, and art. Contrary to popular belief, he is not a tattoo artist. Turgeon is based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where he owns Shades of Grey, a tattoo, toy, and comic book shop and where he co-founded and operates the Edmonton Comic and Entertainment Expo. In 2007 Shane published The Force in the Flesh, a coffee table book dedicated to Star Wars tattoos. Turgeon organized the very first Star Wars tattoo show at Star Wars Celebration III in 2005, and has been a vital part of the fan experience at Celebrations ever since. He will once again be producing the Star Wars Tattoo Competition on Sunday.

Nerd Nite Speed Dating: Star Wars Celebration Edition

The smart-yet-fun folks of Nerd Nite are bringing Speed Dating back to Star Wars Celebration! Register online for one of our special Celebration sessions of 20 three-minute dates. You’ll no longer have to look for love in a galaxy far far away. Choose from one of five hetero speed dating sessions or one for LGBT. If the Rebels can blow up the Death Star in eleven minutes, let’s see if you can make a love connection in only three.

There’s a history of successful Speed Dating at Star Wars Celebrations, with long-term couples, engagements and marriages now among the alumni. Sign up and see what might be in store for you.

Celebration Speed Dating Schedule, Room 212B (subject to change):

  • Thursday, April 16: 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Hetero)
  • Friday, April 17: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. (Hetero)
  • Friday, April 17: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Hetero)
  • Saturday, April 18: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Hetero)
  • Saturday, April 18: 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (LGBT)
  • Saturday, April 18: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Hetero)

The fine print: Advanced online registration is required (walk-ups will be based on availability). Costumes welcome. Must be 18 years of age or older.

Rare Navajo Screening of Star Wars: A New Hope at Celebration

Star Wars: A New Hope was the first mainstream movie to be dubbed into the Navajo language, and fans at Celebration can see a behind-the-scenes documentary on how that came to be, created especially for the event.

Following the never-before-seen documentary footage, and a QA session with key players from the Navajo Nation and the film industry, Star Wars: A New Hope will be screened in the Navajo dub — a treat for Star Wars movie fans, and fans of languages, and of course for anyone who speaks Navajo!

Presenting the documentary and available to answer questions before the screening will be Manuelito Wheeler, Shana Priesz, and Michael Kohn.

Stay tuned to StarWars.com for more on Star Wars Celebration 2015!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

 

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-celebration-2015-tattoo-pavilion-more-confirmed

Luke Skywalker would have you believe Tatooine is the farthest planet from the bright center of the universe, but the Star Wars galaxy is a packed place. Plenty of teenagers on other planets probably say the same thing. There are several Outer Rim locales tarnished with an unappealing sheen, Core planets filled with luxuries and promise, and everything in between. A handful of locations are featured as Star Tours attraction destinations at Disney parks, and though the virtual experience is better than nothing, we’re itching to get our feet on the ground in the galaxy far, far away and explore. These planets are at the top of our list:

 Coruscant

It’s a city and a planet; how could you not want to visit Coruscant? From Dex’s Diner to the Jedi Temple, the planet offers endless sights and activities. It’s recognized as the center of power and culture in the galaxy and home to billions of citizens that live in layer upon layers of buildings.

Areas to avoid: The undercity

Coruscant

 Tatooine

The desert planet may be covered in uncomfortable granules of sand (we know, Anakin, we know), but Tatooine offers sweeping vistas and beautiful dunes. You could tour sites such as the remains of the Lars homestead, go on a krayt dragon-viewing safari, and attend the Boonta Eve Classic.

Areas to avoid: Jabba’s Palace, sarlacc pits, Tusken Raider camps — wait, why are we considering visiting this planet?

Tatooine

Felucia

Felucia is made for the inner naturalist within all of us. The planet is covered in colorful plants and translucent life-forms and visiting it would be the equivalent of going to the Galapagos Islands. You’d need to be careful to tread lightly and leave no trace.

Areas to avoid: Anywhere with carnivorous plants

Felucia

Hoth

Don’t be turned off by the bitter chill of Hoth. This is an ideal planet for an adventurous vacation. Put on the warmest clothes you own or just all of your clothes at once, pack food in, and make camp in the remains of Echo Base. From there, it’s all about snowshoeing and looking for pet tauntauns.

Areas to avoid: Wampa caves, the insides of tauntauns

Hoth

Naboo

Nothing says romance like visiting Naboo’s Lake Country where Anakin and Padmé were married — just don’t think about all the heartache that followed their wedding. Relax in the elegant capital city of Theed and see the Festival of Light or explore the planet’s hills and plains.

Areas to avoid: Theed Generator Complex

Naboo

Serenno

Count Dooku’s home planet is nothing to sneeze at. Those looking for a place to hideaway from it all for a while might put Serenno at the top of the list. The mountains and cliff-side homes offer seclusion and privacy in a lovely setting. Plan a long stay, pack some books, and disconnect from the HoloNet.

Areas to avoid: Anywhere Count Dooku has been spotted

Serenno

Learn more about these planets in the Databank!

Where in the vast Star Wars universe would you like to go? Tell us in the comments!

Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with all things Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. You can follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek and keep up with all things geeky at her blog.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/star-wars-planets-wed-like-to-visit

The inaugural runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is complete and thousands of runners from around the world have crossed the finish line in three amazing races through the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. After all of my own training, it was finally time to put my running skills to the test. But for all my preparation, I never expected what happened to me on the course this weekend.

cole_runs

When I started this fitness journey a month and a half ago, I hadn’t run in years. I was out of shape, uninspired, and unfocused. Star Wars was the only thing in this galaxy that could interest me in running, but I was still uncertain how I would fare. When I took up the challenge of running the 5k and 10k races, I was simply hoping to finish, not looking to be competitive. But I underestimated just how motivating a runDisney event could be.

The excitement of running through the Disneyland Resort, the Star Wars atmosphere at nearly every point along the way, and the crowds of cheering people made all the difference. I not only finished, but to my surprise I had the two best runs of my life, including a 10k finish among the top third of all runners.  To quote a surprised C-3PO, “I didn’t know I had it in me.”

My final 10K time was 1:14:23, well ahead of my target pace of 1:26. Somewhere around mile three, I realized that all of this training in the snow, all of the healthy eating, running through painful shin splints, flying to California, and getting up at 4 a.m. had all come down to these final three miles. With this in mind, I found the energy to run the second half of the race even faster than the first.

cole_horton_before_and_after

Cole Horton, before and after his training.

All of this running has paid off personal dividends as well. As you can tell in my before and after photos, I managed to not only shed about seven pounds, but gained an untold amount of muscle mass and tone. I’m breathing easier, sleeping better, and have more energy through the day. Most unlikely of all, I actually feel the urge to stay active and run…for fun.

The course was full of surprises. At points along the race, Star Wars characters were taking photos with runners. It was motivating to move into the next stage of each course and discover new surprises waiting. I was thrilled to hear the sound of Darth Vader breathing as we entered a tunnel along the race course. Star Wars music played throughout the course, sometimes in unexpected places; a favorite of mine was the Ewok theme in A Bug’s Land. Even Star Tours was open for a quick ride in the middle of the course.

Along the way, the course was filled with runners in Star Wars costumes. From simple T-shirts and tutus to amazing (and often awkward) creations, I loved the creativity shown by the runDisney community. It was inspiring to see people run great distances in these costumes, many running the half marathon or even multiple races in well-crafted costumes. A personal favorite were the running duo dressed as BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Their giant costumes actually spun as they weaved their way through the crowds in the 5k.

finish

The finish line celebration.

As a Star Wars fan, the whole event reminded me of Star Wars Weekends in Florida. After each race, you could walk through the parks and see other fans wearing Star Wars gear or their race medals. It was also nice to see friends that I otherwise wouldn’t see until Star Wars Celebration in April. The atmosphere around the resort made the days and evenings even more fun.

If you are a runner or just a fan looking for a reason to get healthy, I encourage you to take part in any of the upcoming runDisney races. No matter your experience or fitness level, these races are accessible to almost anyone. Whether you are young or old, big or small, a runner or a walker, there are thousands of other participants just like you. Most importantly, the races are built around a community of the most compassionate, positive, and encouraging people you will ever meet.

Rebel Pilots lend a hand to a fellow runner in need

Rebel pilots lend a hand to a fellow runner in need.

The second Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is already on the calendar for January 14-17, 2016. If you want to take part, be sure to sign up as soon as registration opens. These events sell out fast and now I understand why!

IMG_7574

Until the next runDisney Star Wars race, enjoy my gallery of favorite shots from the weekend (and view more at the official Star Wars flickr). And may the course be with you, always!

Let the Wookiee run

Let the Wookiee run

LEGO runners

LEGO runners

Tink Troopers!

Tink Troopers!

Stay on the leader...

Stay on the leader…

The 5k was a great family event

The 5k was a great family event

Teamwork

Teamwork

signs

That's no moon, that's an umbrella

That’s no moon, that’s an umbrella

Elsa Fett

Elsa Fett

finish_line

pilot_tutu

goofy_runner

Stay on target...

Stay on target…

skywalking_crew

A_Rebel

Cole Horton is a historian and pop culture geek featured on StarWars.com, Marvel.com, and at Star Wars Celebration. You can find him on Twitter @ColeHorton.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/rundisney-star-wars-the-trench-run-with-photos

School is back in session in a galaxy far, far away.

Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully, the third book in writer/artist Jeffrey Brown’s New York Times bestselling series, continues the story of middle-school life for a young Jedi — and StarWars.com has your first look at the cover!

Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully

Featuring Brown’s trademark cartoon-meets-storybook art style and humor, the cover finds that for all a Jedi’s powers, loose-leaf paper is still a great threat. In addition, there’s the pressure of having Yoda and a Zabrak for teachers! But who is the phantom bully…? Here’s the official summary of the upcoming book:

It’s hard to believe this is Roan’s last year at Jedi Academy. He’s been busier than ever learning to fly (and wash) starships, swimming in the Lake Country on Naboo, studying for the Jedi obstacle course exam, and tracking down dozens of vorpak clones — don’t ask. But now, someone is setting him up to get in trouble with everyone at school, including Yoda. If he doesn’t find out who it is, and fast, he may get kicked out of school! Why can’t middle school just be easy. . .

This incredible, original story captures all of the humor, awkwardness, fun, and frustrations of middle school — all told through one boy’s comics, journal entries, letters, sketches, e-mails, and more.

Stay tuned to StarWars.com for more on Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully!

StarWars.com. All Star Wars, all the time.

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Article source: http://www.starwars.com/news/jedi-academy-the-phantom-bully-by-jeffrey-brown-exclusive-cover-reveal