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Archived News
February 2005
Week 1

Saturday February 05, 2005
Clone Wars: DVD Review

TheDigitalBits has posted their review of the DVD Clone Wars, which is available March 22nd:
The video quality of Clone Wars on disc is spectacular. Presented in full anamorphic widescreen, its colors are incredibly vibrant, and both contrast and image detail are outstanding at all times. I watched this via front projection on a 100-inch screen and it's just beautiful. Note that all 20 of the original 5-minute animated episodes (composing Seasons One and Two of Clone Wars) have been edited together for this presentation into a single long film (with credits only once each at the start and finish).
Hit the link above for the full article, which not only discusses the video quality, but the audio and special features as well.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Saturday February 05, 2005
EPIII: Soundtrack News

The Official Star Wars Website has a new article about John Williams' new score for Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

As reports:

'With each Star Wars film, composer John Williams has selected a particular composition to stand apart. It's removed from the context of the film, and generally has its start or end reworked so that it becomes a standalone musical piece. In the past, these have become singles on the soundtrack, concert suites or music videos. Examples include "Main Title," "Darth Vader's Theme (Imperial March)," "The Forest Battle," "Duel of the Fates," and "Across the Stars."

For Episode III, a dramatic cue from the sixth reel gets that treatment. Called "Revenge of the Sith" -- or less colorfully, 6M9 -- it appears in the film during the thick of the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker. The first half of the second day of scoring sessions consists of capturing this piece for both inclusion in the film, and as a modified version for the soundtrack release.'

To read the rest of the article click here.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Saturday February 05, 2005
Homing Beacon #128

The latest Homing Beacon has arrived and today we get to talk about General Grievous! When General Grievous barks his orders, his minions scurry to carry out their tasks. His is a commanding presence, and his fearsome demeanor leaves no room for questions. His implacable metallic skeleton gives him the aspect of a droid, but hidden inside the armored carapace is an unwholesome, living being. To remind viewers of this inner Grievous, his words are occasionally punctuated with a hard, wet hacking cough -- suggesting that Grievous is literally rotten to the core.

Providing the voice of Grievous is Matthew Wood, whose history with Star Wars has been mostly behind-the-scenes. Though Wood is an actor, his contribution to the prequel trilogy has been primarily as Supervising Sound Editor. His access to the Episode III production process may have given him a head's up that casting was underway for the part, but the use of a pseudonym ensured that insider status didn't factor into the selection process.

On set, Duncan Young read Grievous' lines for the benefit of the actors. His voice was never intended to make it into the final film, and it was edited out of the mix early on along with much of the production audio. Ben Burtt and others supplied temporary voices on the track, all heavily modulated to be appropriate for a cyborg general.

"We put out a casting package of those modulated voices, looking for voice actors," says Wood. "Chris Scarabosio processed each one, and we would play these for George for him to evaluate. We went through a lot of different people, and on the last package we sent out, I put my own voice on there, though I didn't put my name on it."

With the pseudonym "Alan Smithee," Wood's reading of Grievous was played for Lucas without introduction, and he selected it. "It was great, but then I thought, 'should I tell him that it's me?'" recounts Wood. "When George found out, he said 'Great, let's record him tomorrow.'"

In a three-hour recording session, Wood laid down all of Grievous lines. "He's definitely an evil character. He's the leader of the droid army, but not a droid. He feels things; he feels things extremely, I would say. It's a lot of yelling, and shouting out orders, so it had a lot of drill sergeant to it."

While studying acting at American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, Wood came across a website that offered samples of various accents to help actors hear and mimic patterns of speech from around the world. "You could hear the same line of dialogue read in different accents," he says. "I liked the sound of the Eastern European and Romanian accents. Also, I had just come back from Prague, so I had that in mind for Grievous."

In the finished film, Grievous' voice will undergo some sort of processing. Currently, it is lowered in pitch and has a ring modulation to it. That may change as the audio mix is still being put together. Wood offers the caveat that everything may still change, having witnessed all the prequels being made. "But I did also record Grievous for the Episode III videogame. I did 125 lines of dialogue for that."

Posted by: Jedi Power

Friday February 04, 2005
Star Wars Artists Auction Items for Tsunami Relief

Fans wanting to help benefit the victims of the tsunami disaster, while bidding on amazing Star Wars items can now do so with a special art auction from Maverix Animation Studio.

Maverix Animation Studio along with other California filmmakers will host The Film Industry Art Auction for Tsunami Relief on Friday, February 4 at 7:00 pm to benefit the victims of the tsunami disaster. In the gallery space of Maverix Animation Studio, at 1717 Seventeenth Street, San Francisco, Calif, original paintings, comic art, animation art, and movie memorabilia from prominent contemporary artists will be up for bid. There also a select group of items for sale online. All of the money raised will go to charities working on the tsunami disaster such as UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity and The International Red Cross.

Artists and filmmakers from all over the United States have donated artwork for the event including artists from Lucasfilm, Pixar, Disney, Fox, Dreamworks, Rhythm & Hues and Wildbrain. There will be a diverse selection of original artwork ranging from comics, photography, prints, paintings, and rare movie memorabilia, including work from members of the Star Wars prequels art department like Iain McCaig, Erik Tiemens, Sang Jun Lee, Warren Fu, Derek Thompson, Benton Jew,and Alex Jaeger.

For more information on the Film Industry Art Auction for Tsunami Relief, please visit the news blog section of the Maverix Animation Studio site here.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Thursday February 03, 2005
Lego Star Wars: Official Site Launches

Gamers eager to play Eidos's Lego Star Wars still have to wait until April for the game's release, but its official Web site is now live, featuring game info, screen shots, and more.

The game, coming soon for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, and Game Boy Advance, will let players re-enact scenes from recent Star Wars films like Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Episode II - Attack of the Clones and the forthcoming Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. The game features Lego versions of Star Wars heroes, including Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda, Anakin Skywalker, and R2-D2, plus plenty of dark-side enemies. Click here to visit the official site!

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Thursday February 03, 2005
Republic Commando: Producer Interview

FileFront had a chance to sit down and talk with the producer of the upcoming Star Wars game Republic Commando:
Q: What is the story behind the game? Where does it stand in relation to the films?

A: The game takes place in the Clone Wars between Episode II and III. It acts as a bridge between the most recent film and the one that is coming out very soon. The game starts in the arena on Geonosis which was featured in Episode II and it ends on the Wookiee home planet of Kashyyyk which will play a prominent role in Episode III.

Q: Are many of the locations you will fight in the same as the films, or are they new to the game?

A: There will definitely be a nice mix of familiar and new locations in the game. You’ll fight your way down into the well known Droid Factories on Geonosis to destroy the Separatists’ droid production and then later in the game rescue a Wookiee leader on the yet to be seen planet of Kashyyyk.

Hit the link above to read the full article.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Thursday February 03, 2005
KOTORII: Designer Diary #4 - Voices

The folks at GameSpot are continuing their Design Diary series, this time with focusing on the voice acting in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. The diary is written by Will Beckman and Darragh O'Farrell, voice directors at LucasArts.
The Knights of the Old Republic series is one that is near and dear to our hearts, so we were very excited to work on Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. When we set out to do the original Knights of the Old Republic, role-playing games often had some dialogue voiced and the rest was text. We felt it was time that this convention was done away with and something more cinematic and immersive was introduced. We suggested that all the characters be voiced, even seemingly insignificant non-player characters. That's right, all of them. At first the reaction was kind of, "Well you can't do that, that's not how these games are." After the initial shock, everyone said "Well, why not?" Obviously it turned out to be well received and people seemed to realize that just because the RPG genre had been a certain way in the past didn't mean that it could not be so much more.

When we set out to cast and record The Sith Lords we knew we wanted to stick with something of a formula. We wanted to keep the same sort of genuine Star Wars feel that was so successful in the first game. Having worked together for a number of years we were pretty comfortable codirecting the project, since we tend to share the same sense of aesthetics. Voice-over was a very big part of the original game and we knew there would be a significant amount of pressure on the voice-over in The Sith Lords to match the excellence of the first game. We also learned from experience that these games were often written more like adventure game text than a film script, so we were going to need great actors to make paragraphs sound more like snappy dialogue in a feature film. We also wanted to get some fresh voices and expand beyond the usual pool of voice-over talent that has performed in most video games.

Hit the link above to read the full article.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Thursday February 03, 2005
Star Wars In High Definition

BBC News posted an article on their website talking about what Star Wars looks like on high-definition:
More clarity on screen means film makers have to make doubly sure that attention to detail is meticulous.

"When we did the first HD version of Star Wars Episode I, everybody was very sun-tanned, but that was make-up.

"In the HD version of Episode I, all these make-up lines showed up," explains Mr Dean.

The restoration of the older Star Wars episodes revealed some interesting items too.

"There are scans of a corridor [on the Death Star] and fairly plainly in one of those shots, there is a file cabinet stuck behind one of the doorways.

"You never used to be able to see it because things are just blurred enough during the pan that you just didn't see it."

Hit the link above to read the entire article, which has some pretty cool information in it.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Tuesday February 01, 2005
Hayden Christensen Interview

Hayden Christensen was recently interviewed by the UK's Times Online and spoke about his feelings on EPISODE III. Of interest to fans worried about Hayden's height as compared to the original Vader, Dave Prowse, is the mention of Hayden's 4 inch stilts that he wore while in the Vader suit.
What are your personal memories of the original Star Wars trilogy?

At 23, I'm a little young to remember when the first trilogy came out, but my older brother is 31 so he was the perfect age. He was fanatical about the films and had every action figure and item of memorabilia imaginable. I have very early memories of my brother pushing me away from his Millennium Falcon to ensure that I didn't break it.

How did it feel to be cast as the man who becomes Darth Vader?

It was really hard to grasp the concept of playing such an iconic role. I was over the moon about being offered the part, didn't hesitate for a second, and from there it was just a matter of how I was going to figure out doing it.

Click here for the entire TimesOnline exclusive interview.

Posted by: Rebel Racer

Tuesday February 01, 2005
Republic Commando Demo Released

Star Wars fans looking to get a sneak peek at the next project based on George Lucas' megafranchise don't need to camp out weeks in advance to get tickets. Gamers need only use the force of a mouse click to download the PC demo of Star Wars: Republic Commando here. The latest game set in the Star Wars universe will hit Xboxes and PCs March 1.

Star Wars: Republic Commando is a first-person squad-based shooter set during the Clone Wars. As a Republic Commando squad leader, players will control their unit both as a single entity and as individuals, depending on the situation, using the squad as a whole or drawing on each team member's strengths to complete objectives. In the demo, gamers will lead a squad of soldiers into the jungles of Kashyyyk and free a wookie leader from the reptilian trandoshens.

Posted by: Rebel Racer