‘Raiding the Lost Ark’ – A Filmumentary by Jamie Benning

This is too good not to repost (via ForeverGeek).  Raiding the Lost Ark is a fan-made, in-depth documentary / commentary on Raiders of the Lost Ark by Jamie Benning.  It shows the entirety of the film with custom curated commentary from the makers and stars, intercut with clips of the making of the film.  Watch it while you can: Benning’s prior “filmumentaries” on the Star Wars trilogy were forcibly removed from YouTube due to alleged copyright infringement.

Lucas: Han always shot first

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, George Lucas recently commented on the “Who shot first?” issue in Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope:

The controversy over who shot first, Greedo or Han Solo, in Episode IV, what I did was try to clean up the confusion, but obviously it upset people because they wanted Solo [who seemed to be the one who shot first in the original] to be a cold-blooded killer, but he actually isn’t. It had been done in all close-ups and it was confusing about who did what to whom. I put a little wider shot in there that made it clear that Greedo is the one who shot first, but everyone wanted to think that Han shot first, because they wanted to think that he actually just gunned him down.
Via io9 and slashfilm.

Right, George.  Riiiight.  Even if this is true, it just proves that Lucas’s conception of the Han Solo character isn’t as interesting as what actually appeared on screen in the original cut of the film.  It’s not that Solo’s a “cold-blooded killer,” it’s that he’s a criminal who has only survived this long by not taking any chances with other criminals.  It was clear from the original cut that Solo knew Greedo had every intention of shooting him, and when Greedo confirmed it (“Over my dead body.” “That’s the idea.”), Solo shot first.  A pre-emptive attack.  Bush style.  It cemented his status as a rogue, a daring spacer who was not to be trifled with.  Changing the scene and making it out like Solo always had a perfect heart of gold and only acted purely defensively just dumbs down the character arc.  Not to mention the fact that if Han wasn’t the type to shoot first, he almost certainly would have been dead before the story opened.  You can’t always count on your opponent missing.

Will the Star Wars Live Action TV Show be Called Star Wars: Underworld?

The last major update on the Star Wars live action TV show that George Lucas announced following the premiere of Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith in 2005 came in 2010, when Lucas announced that, despite having 50 episodes and a “movie-of-the-week” scripted, they were placing the project on hold due to budgetary concerns (at the time, Lucas announced, perhaps a bit jokingly, that they couldn’t figure out a way to do it for less than $50 million an episode).

Rick McCallum, producer of the special editions and the prequel trilogy and longtime Lucas confidant, recently revealed some details about the current status of the project, not the least being the fact that the working title of the series is “Underworld”:

[Read more…]

‘The Jedi Path’: The Perfect Holiday Gift for the Star Wars Fan in Your Life

The holidays make me think of my favorite books and movies, for some reason; maybe it’s the magic in the air, or maybe it’s a necessary bit of escapism during a hectic season, but there’s nothing I enjoy more during the Christmas season than sitting down with a good fantasy book or a great sci-fi movie.

My wife and I are expecting our first child, and despite the fact that it’s probably too early to be doing a ton of book shopping, we couldn’t help but pick up a few books for the baby recently.  Wandering through the children’s book section of our local bookshop, I came across The Jedi Path, written by an uncredited Daniel Wallace.  The book’s subtitle, “A Manual for Students of the Force,” is accurate: it’s a fictional textbook for students of the Jedi Order.  Even better, it’s intended to be an old, used textbook of the Jedi Order, and is filled with colorful inscriptions from all of its past owners, including Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin, Luke, Ahsoka, and more.  The book succeeds because it takes itself seriously: it presents the tenets of the Jedi calling with respect and reverence, and doesn’t pull any punches.  It will be years before my son’s old enough for any of it to really make sense to him, but I look forward to reading him to sleep with it.

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the Star Wars fan in your life, young or old (it doesn’t write down to children), and the deluxe “Vault” edition would take a place of honor under the tree (or menorah, or Festivus pole, etc.).  Give your family the gift of the Force this holiday season.

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