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Archived News
September 2004
Week 3

Saturday September 18, 2004
FAO Schwartz Strikes Back

After 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 [purple] 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.

Posted by: Gingitsune

Saturday September 18, 2004
Homing Beacon #119

The 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 interesting."

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 interview."

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.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Friday September 17, 2004
Q&A with George Lucas

George 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 three films.

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 only
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 "Star Wars."

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 DVD?

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 "Star Wars"?

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.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Thursday September 16, 2004
Sound & Vision's Exclusive Interview with George Lucas

Shavonne Harding just recently sent in a great news report featuring a George Lucas interview. Great find Shavonne and many thanks!


-- 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 --

As 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.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Wednesday September 15, 2004
VH1's When Star Wars Ruled The World

Few 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 you."

-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 Central PM!

Posted by: Jedi Power

Tuesday September 14, 2004
Clone Wars Micro-Series Wins Emmy Award

The 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 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.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Tuesday September 14, 2004
Lorne Peterson Chat Tomorrow

The 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.

Posted by: Jedi Power

Tuesday September 14, 2004
Release Dates Confirmed

LucasArts 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."

Posted by: Jedi Power