September 18, 2004
Schwartz Strikes Back
FAO Schwartz lapsed into bankruptcy, few expected the famous toy
store to survive the trauma. However, with all of its outlets
closed, FAO Schwartz has made a comeback as an exclusive toy
store-its headquarters in Blairs, VA.
Where does Star Wars come in? Well, when I picked up the catalog
this morning, I wasn't too surprised to see two whole pages
dedicated to replicas of Star Wars Trilogy items and people. Below
is a list of what you can get from their "Star Wars
Collection" - that is, if you have the bucks to spare.
A - Limited Edition AT-AT Walker
Stands a dominating 18.5" tall-larger than average replicas.
it was recreated from a direct study of the original model in the
Lucasfilm archives. Collectible release date December. Ages 8 and
up. 832390 $1200
B - Limited Edition X-Wing
Brought to life by Code 3 Collectibles sculptors who recreated
every detail of this legendary Star Wars vehicle. Has seven
movable parts, and removable panels that expose the cockpit,
hyperdrive and engine. Comes with removable R2D2.
13"x11.5". Ages 8 and up. 830070 $360
C - Millennium Falcon
In precision die-cast metal, each detail is hand-sculpted to
capture each feature of this unique vessel. Removable panels
reveal the inner workings; boarding ramp opens and closes.
Includes resin display base with glass top and pewter plaque,
Rebel Alliance Patch and Certificate of Authenticity.
13"x9.5". Ages 8 and up. 830069 $360
D-F - Force FX Lightsabers
Authentic reproductions of the weapons used in the time. With
significant heft, polished metal and glowing electro-luminescent
blade. Ages 8 and up. D - Darth Vader [red]. 830491 $125
E - Luke Skywalker [blue] 824539 $125 F - Mace Windu
830892 $125 Available in October.
G - Stormtrooper Model
This model features two interchangeable heads: a classic
stormtrooper and Luke Skywalker. Crafted of soft vinyl and posed
in a window box. 11"h. Ages 8 and up. 832437 $100
H - Darth Vader Model Kit
With his billowing cape and lightsaber at the ready, this model
captures Darth Vader in a classic stance from Episodes 4 through
6. Crafted entirely of soft vinyl, this model comes posed in a
window box. 13"h. Ages 8 and up. 832426 $100
J - Boba Fett Model
This highly detailed model depicts a favorite Star Wars character
holding his blaster and ready for battle. Stands 13"h.
Crafted of soft vinyl and posed in a window box. Collectible
release date October. Ages 8 and up. 832438 $100
K - Yoda Maquette
Depicts Yoda as he appears in "Star Wars: The Clone
Wars" on the Cartoon Network. Designed by series creator
Genndy Tartakovsky, Yoda stands 3.5" tall. This is the first
maquette in a series of five. Collectible release date October.
Ages 8 and up. 832144 $55
If you would like to purchase one of these items, you can call FAO
Schwartz at 1-800-426-8697.
September 18, 2004
latest Homing Beacon has arrived, and today we get to talk about
the Empire of Dreams. When documentary filmmaker and producer
Kevin Burns began tackling the gargantuan task of interviewing
over 40 actors, special effects experts, editors, journalists,
friends and George Lucas himself for the 2 1/2-hour Star Wars
Trilogy DVD documentary Empire of Dreams, he wanted to give fans
more than the typical rehashed back story.
"I really cringe when someone says that Empire of Dreams is
merely a 'making of' documentary," Burns says. "Even
with all the shows ('Backstory,' 'Biography,' etc.) that I've done
in the last 10 years through my company at Fox, I really try not
to do a typical 'making of' documentary. I'm not interested in how
many reels of films were shot on Day 13. I'm concerned with the
human story behind the making of a film. And what agony and
struggle and curve balls people have to deal with in order to go
through the process of making a film. That to me is what's
He wasn't alone in his thinking. One of the main reasons Burns was
able to secure hard-to-come by interviews with such heavyweights
as Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher had to do with his
unique vision behind the documentary.
"Those are the people who have spent 27 years answering the
same 40 questions and have been hounded to death about the
films," Burns says. "They weren't hostile... they were
simply weary and wary of being involved in another Star Wars
retrospective." Burns and Hamill had known each other for
quite sometime before he was set to interview the actor about his
legendary role as Luke Skywalker, however during their friendship,
the Force wasn't exactly a topic of casual conversation.
"We had been friends for 16 years, but in the time I've known
him we had never sat down and asked him about Star Wars,"
Burns admits. "So it was really odd to sit there with my
friend for three hours and conduct a huge cathartic kind of
therapy session with him. It turned out to be a great
Another reluctant interview involved an actor who's character not
only spans the original trilogy, but all three prequels as well.
"Anthony Daniels didn't want to do the interviews until he
spoke to me about his concerns," Burns recalls. "Daniels
had said, 'I don't know you and you don't know me, but I want to
tell you right now - I will not do this interview if I'm asked yet
again, 'What was it like to be C-3PO' or 'How did it feel to be in
Star Wars?' So please don't ask me something so inane. I hope to
have a level of discourse at a higher intellectual plane than
that.' And for that I immediately had respect for him."
A&E will air a special 90-minute version of Empire of Dreams
throughout the month, including this Sunday. Check local listings
for times. The full 2 1/2-hour version can only be found on the
Star Wars Trilogy DVD set.
September 17, 2004
with George Lucas
Lucas never figured on a 30-year career as a space pilot. Once
"Star Wars" shot into hyperspace, though, he found it
hard to come back down to Earth.
Making its DVD debut Tuesday, Lucas' original sci-fi trilogy --
"Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and
"Return of the Jedi" -- began as an experimental foray
into old-time studio moviemaking for Lucas, whose first two films
had been far removed from usual Hollywood sensibilities.
Lucas' sci-fi satire "THX 1138" had been a commercial
dud, but the energetic "American Graffiti" with its
driving soundtrack and multi-character point of view scored with
audiences, giving the director clout to try something bigger that
had been on his mind.
"I'd already started this other idea, which was to do a kind
of a classic action adventure film using sets," Lucas said
over lunch at his 2,600-acre Skywalker Ranch. "I'd never
worked on a set, I'd never worked at a studio. Never made a
traditional movie. So I said, `I'm going to do this once, just to
see what it's like, what it's like to actually design everything,
work on a soundstage, do an old-fashioned 1930s movie.
"And, I'll do it in that mode from the 1930s Saturday matinee
serials, using kind of 1930s and '40s sensibilities, and I'll base
it on sort of mythological motifs and icons. I'll just put it
together in a modern form, and I'll have fun. That's how I got
into that. I did it because it was an interesting move into an
area that I thought I'd never go into."
Three decades later, Lucas is preparing to launch the last of his
six "Star Wars" films. Next summer brings "Star
Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith," completing the
prequel trilogy that tells the story of young Anakin Skywalker's
metamorphosis into the villainous Darth Vader of the original
Fans have eagerly awaited the first three "Star Wars"
films on DVD, a release Lucas initially intended to delay until he
finished "Episode III."
Some will be miffed that the original theatrical versions are not
included in the "Star Wars" boxed set, which features
the special-edition versions Lucas issued in the late 1990s, with
added effects and footage, including a scene between Harrison
Ford's Han Solo and crime lord Jabba the Hutt in the first
AP: Why did you change your mind and decide to put the original
three movies out on DVD now?
Lucas: Just because the market has shifted so dramatically. A lot
of people are getting very worried about piracy. That has really
eaten dramatically into the sales. It really just came down to,
there may not be a market when I wanted to bring it out, which was
like, three years from now. So rather than just sit by and watch
the whole thing fall apart, better to bring it out early and get
it over with.
AP: Why did you rework the original trilogy into the
special-edition versions in the late 1990s?
Lucas: To me, the special edition ones are the films I wanted to
make. Anybody that makes films knows the film is never finished.
It's abandoned or it's ripped out of your hands, and it's thrown
into the marketplace, never finished. It's a very rare experience
where you find a filmmaker who says, "That's exactly what I
wanted. I got everything I needed. I made it just perfect. I'm
going to put it out there." And even most artists, most
painters, even composers would want to come back and redo their
work now. They've got a new perspective on it, they've got more
resources, they have better technology, and they can fix or finish
the things that were never done. ... I wanted to actually finish
the film the way it was meant to be when I was originally doing
it. At the beginning, people went, "Don't you like it?"
I said, "Well, the film only came out to be 25 or 30 percent
of what I wanted it to be." They said, "What are you
talking about?" So finally, I stopped saying that, but if you
read any interviews for about an eight- or nine-year period there,
it was all about how disappointed I was and how unhappy I was and
what a dismal experience it was. You know, it's too bad you need
to get kind of half a job done and never get to finish it. So this
was my chance to finish it.
AP: Why not release both the originals and special editions on
Lucas: The special edition, that's the one I wanted out there. The
other movie, it's on VHS, if anybody wants it. ... I'm not going
to spend the, we're talking millions of dollars here, the money
and the time to refurbish that, because to me, it doesn't really
exist anymore. It's like this is the movie I wanted it to be, and
I'm sorry you saw half a completed film and fell in love with it.
But I want it to be the way I want it to be. I'm the one who has
to take responsibility for it. I'm the one who has to have
everybody throw rocks at me all the time, so at least if they're
going to throw rocks at me, they're going to throw rocks at me for
something I love rather than something I think is not very good,
or at least something I think is not finished.
AP: Do you pay much attention to fan reactions to your choices?
Lucas: Not really. The movies are what the movies are. ... The
thing about science-fiction fans and "Star Wars" fans is
they're very independent-thinking people. They all think outside
the box, but they all have very strong ideas about what should
happen, and they think it should be their way. Which is fine,
except I'm making the movies, so I should have it my way.
AP: After "Episode III," will you ever revisit
Lucas: Ultimately, I'm going to probably move it into television
and let other people take it. I'm sort of preserving the feature
film part for what has happened and never go there again, but I
can go off into various offshoots and things. You know, I've got
offshoot novels, I've got offshoot comics. So it's very easy to
say, "Well, OK, that's that genre, and I'll find a really
talented person to take it and create it." Just like the
comic books and the novels are somebody else's way of doing it. I
don't mind that. Some of it might turn out to be pretty good. If I
get the right people involved, it could be interesting.
September 16, 2004
& Vision's Exclusive Interview with George Lucas
Harding just recently sent in a great news report featuring a
George Lucas interview. Great find Shavonne and many thanks!
& VISION'S OCTOBER ISSUE FEATURES AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH
STAR WARS DIRECTOR GEORGE LUCAS CONDUCTED BY CARRIE FISHER AS STAR
WARS TRILOGY DVD HITS SHELVES
-- Lucas Opens Up About the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD, The Future
of Movies, Piracy and Digital Projection in the Magazine that
Speaks to His Passions --
Star Wars fever escalates with the upcoming DVD release of the
Star Wars Trilogy, Sound & Vision's October issue provides an
exclusive interview with legendary Star Wars Director George Lucas
conducted by his favorite princess Carrie Fisher. Lucas, the first
person to show a major motion picture digitally and the inventor
of the THX program, has always been at the forefront of digital
technology and he reveals his thoughts about digital projection,
movie theaters, home theater systems and piracy. The
interview is a personal exchange between the normally private
Lucas and Fisher, who have been close friends since working
together on the first Star Wars feature, and this marks the first
time she has interviewed him for a magazine. The article is
filled with her irreverent personality, drawing out a side of
Lucas that fans rarely see. The issue just hit nationwide
newsstands on September 14, 2004.
September 15, 2004
When Star Wars Ruled The World
movies have reached the iconic status of the original Star Wars
trilogy. A long-shot science fiction project that was rejected by
multiple Hollywood studios, Star Wars (and its creator George
Lucas) defied the skeptics and became one of the biggest pop
culture phenomena of all time. Now VH1 is working with Lucasfilm
to produce the ultimate oral history of the Star Wars years, When
Star Wars Ruled the World. Timed to coincide with the DVD release
of the original trilogy on September 21, 2004, this hour-long
documentary will take viewers back to those rapturous moments when
the whole world wanted to wield a light saber.
The show begins in the mid-1970s as George Lucas struggles to find
a way to make his dream project a reality. Relive the incredible
and unlikely impact of the first Star Wars movie, the sudden fame
of unknowns like Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, and
the way fans around the world fell in love, first with the movie
and then with the action figures, pillow cases, C-3PO cereal and
everything else they could - and did - line up to buy.
Manufacturers could hardly keep up with the demand for anything
and everything Star Wars (swamped by clamoring fans, the official
Star Wars toymaker, Kenner, at one point had to settle for selling
vouchers for yet-to-be-made action figures.)
The show will also chronicle the immense anticipation for the
first Star Wars sequel, The Empire Strikes Back and the build-up
to the climactic Return of the Jedi that had fans traveling
hundreds of miles to visit the gates of the movie's set. Along the
way, we will highlight the cultural impression made on millions of
fans by Star Wars icons like Darth Vader, Ewoks, and Yoda, and
lines like "I am your father," "That's no moon.
It's a space station," and, "May the force be with
-Mark Hamill - Luke Skywalker
-Carrie Fisher - Princess Leia
-Harrison Ford - Han Solo
-Anthony Daniels - C-3P0
-Kenny Baker - R2-D2
-Peter Mayhew - Chewbacca
-Billy Dee Williams - Lando Calrissian
-John Williams - Composer
-Gary Kurtz - Producer on first two Star Wars movies
-Kevin Smith - Director / Superfan
-Frank Oz - Yoda
-Ming-Na - Superfan
-Ken Ralston - Visual Effects
-Alan Ladd Jr. - Fmr. President, 20th Century Fox
-Irvin Kershner - Director, Empire Strikes Back
-Jeremy Bulloch - Boba Fett
-Warwick Davis - Wicket the Ewok
-Daphne Zuniga - Actress, Spaceballs
-Nicole Miyamoto - Superfan
-William Miyamoto - Superfan
-Mike Schiffbauer - Superfan
-Ben Burtt - Sound
Be sure to check this out on Saturday September 18 at 10 EST 9
September 14, 2004
Wars Micro-Series Wins Emmy Award
Official Star Wars Site has announced that the Clone Wars
Micro-Series Wins an Emmy Award! It won for its fresh visuals,
epic storytelling and cinematic drama, the Star Wars: Clone Wars
micro-series was the recipient of an Emmy award for Outstanding
Animated Program (For Programming One Hour Or More).
Congratulations to Genndy Tartakovsky (producer, story,
director, animation director) Brian A. Miller (executive
producer), Claudia Katz (executive producer), Geraldine Symon
(producer), Jennifer Pelphrey (supervising producer), Bryan
Andrews (story), Mark Andrews (story), Darrick Bachman (story),
Paul Rudish (story), Scott Vanzo (director of computer animation),
Yu Mun Jeong (animation director) and Robert Alvarez (sheet timer)
for this prestigious award.
The Clone Wars continue next year, with five new expanded
chapters beginning on March 21, 2005. These new installments will
be 12 minutes long, and lead directly into the events that begin
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith The first 20 chapters
of the micro-series are coming to DVD next spring. Keep checking
starwars.com for details.
The 56th Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held this past weekend
at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. They will be telecast on
September 18th on E! network. Check local listings for details.
September 14, 2004
Peterson Chat Tomorrow
Official Star Wars Site has announced another Hyperspace chat
for tomorrow! As the original Star Wars Trilogy returns to the
spotlight with its long-awaited release on DVD on September 21,
Hyperspace members are invited a series of online chats with the
talented people that made the amazing visuals of those landmark
films a reality.
This week, Industrial Light & Magic veteran Lorne Peterson
logs on to chat with Fan Club members. Peterson is one of the
original members of ILM, having been hired by George Lucas to
create the models for Star Wars. In 1978, Peterson was invited by
Lucas to move to northern California to oversee the production of
models for The Empire Strikes Back. Since that time, he has worked
on most of Lucas' films, as well as those of Steven Spielberg.
Peterson's modelmaker credits include the entire Star Wars
saga, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (for which he received
an Academy Award and British Academy Award), the Ewok movies, Star
Tours, Willow, Jurassic Park, Men in Black, Galaxy Quest, and most
recently, Van Helsing.
Lorne Peterson will be online this Wednesday, September 15 at
2:30 p.m. U.S. Pacific time (5:30 p.m. U.S. Eastern time) for a
Hyperspace chat. Please note that last minute schedule changes may
happen, and that although hundreds of questions are often
submitted, not all can be answered. These online chats are held in
the Online Chats and Schedule Forum, available only to members of
Hyperspace: The Official Star Wars Fan Club.
September 14, 2004
has confirmed a December 2004 release date for the Xbox
version of Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith
Lords. As originally announced the PC platform and international
versions will launch in February 2005.
“We were hoping we could bring the Xbox platform into
December but didn’t want to make the formal announcement until
we knew an earlier ship date would not compromise the quality of
The Sith Lords,” says Producer Mike Gallo. “We recently
completed a very important milestone which confirmed we can
confidently do this."