Star Wars

Donald Glover Cast As Young Lando Calrissian In Upcoming Star Wars Movie

Woah.

Donald Glover, the star of the hit comedy series Atlanta will be playing one of the most beloved characters in the history of the Star Wars universe.

It was announced today that Glover will play a young Lando Calrissian in a upcoming Star Wars movie.

According to StarWars.com, Glover will be featured in the still unnamed Han Solo movie that is being directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller.

“We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us,” Lord and Miller said in a joint statement. “These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.”

Outside of his work in Atlanta, Glover also stared in all four seasons of the NBC comedy Community, and had a Grammy-nominated album titled Because the Internet.

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Cover Photo Credit: femme run/ flickr (CC By 2.0)

Why Star Wars Proves There Is Success In Diversity In The Movie Industry

By Kelsey D’Auben

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has become one of the most successful films in modern movie history.

It had the most successful opening weekend in history, grossing over $200 million in box office sales worldwide. This past week the highly anticipated Star Wars sequel broke yet another box office record, passing both Jurassic World and Titanic to become the second most grossing film of all time. And with this after only 19 days of being in theaters, Star Wars is also expected to pass James Cameron’s Avatar and claim the number one spot shortly.

A new trilogy means one sure thing in the Star Wars world- a new trio set to save the galaxy from the dark side.

First came Luke, Leia, and Han Solo in episodes IIV, X, and XI, then Obi Wan, Anakin, and Padame in episodes I, II, and III.

In The Force Awakens we are introduced to the new team- Rey, Finn, and Poe.

This new group of leading characters is much different than the ones before them. They are made up of a Black man, a Hispanic man, and a woman. This is a significantly more diverse cast than the saga’s previous films that had casts that were nearly all white.

Not to say that this film doesn’t have a largely white cast as well. Rey, the female lead of the film, is white and so are Leia and Han Solo, previous lead characters brought back from the original saga.

Star Wars has always been sure to include strong, kick ass, fighter women in their films.

But this time the role wasn’t of the girl who fell for the Jedi, or the princess who needed saving.

Rey isn’t either of those tropes. Rey is (spoiler alert) the young Jedi discovering her powers – a role traditionally only given to the white male characters.

This kind of representation is a crucial aspect of film and television that often is ignored, especially in big budget blockbuster movies. Nearly every other film on the most-grossing films list alongside Star Wars have all-white, mostly male casts.

Titanic, Jurassic World, and Avengers to name a few. For films that are meant to make money and sell a lot of tickets, they seem to only be marketing towards a select few.

That is one reason why Star Wars is gaining more success over it’s competitors. A wider and more diverse cast is more attractive to wider and more diverse audiences.

More people will be willing to go to the movies and spend $15 dollars on a ticket because they see there is a character there for them, someone they can watch and relate to.

This representation is even more important to younger audiences. Seeing a hero who looks like you, up on the big screen, can mean the world to a child. It gives them someone they can look up to.

Star Wars is the first in what will hopefully become a new wave of representation in television and film, opening doors for new actors and audiences of all genders and colors and creating an industry where everyone is represented and welcome.

Cover Photo Credit: DAVID HOLT/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

No, Star Wars Is Not Racist

By Chris Beacham

MSNBC anchor Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturday insinuated that she had issues with the Star Wars series because of, in her view, racially motivated subtext related to the character of Darth Vader.

Harris-Perry said:

“While he was black he was terrible and bad, awful and used to cut off white men’s hands, and didn’t actually claim his son. But as soon as he claims his son, goes over to the good, takes off his mask and he is white — yes, I have many feelings about that.”

WATCH:


Harris-Perry also said that the fact that actor James Earl Jones voiced the character, and is black, is important for framing her views as well. As a casual Star Wars fan, I can testify that Ms. Perry has no real understanding of the mythology she is so offended by.

Perry also seemed to feel that wookies, like Chewbacca, are black. This is nuts.

First of all, the moment she is referencing where Vader is unmasked is from Return of the Jedi, the third film in the original trilogy and the sixth episode of the saga.

If one were to analyze the films in the order they were released, the second film of the originals, The Empire Strikes Back, is when it was first revealed that Darth Vader is really Luke Skywalker’s father.

In the chronological order, the audience would know from the prequels that Darth Vader is truly Anakin Skywalker, the father of Luke and Leia Skywalker.

Darth Vader claims Luke as his son in The Empire Strikes Back, in which he is not unmasked. This makes Perry’s claim that the moment Vader claims his son he “becomes white” completely false. One can also assume Vader wanted to claim his son throughout, but did not have the opportunity to confront Luke until this moment in the story.

It is also important to look at diversity throughout all six films. Using Perry’s twisted views on color, race, and implicit meanings in storytelling, we can use multiple instances that prove her views to be false.

Throughout the original three films, every person who works for the empire is white. For one, the stormtroopers, soldiers of the evil fascist empire, have white suits and masks. Darth Sidious, the true mastermind behind the rise of the empire, who Vader also answers to, is white.

Darth Sidious was once Chancellor Palpatine, a corrupt politician in the galactic senate, and he was white then, too. Although there is a minor skin tone change once he becomes Sidious, he is still caucasian, and arguably more evil than Vader. Yes, Vader does cut off a hand, but so does the evil Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones, and he is white.

The character Lando Calrissian, who originally betrays Han Solo and Princess Leia as part of a deal with Vader, develops a guilty conscience and assists in saving Han Solo from his imprisonment from carbon freeze in Jabba the Huts lair is black. He also aids in destroying the second Death Star. Lando stands out as one of the great heroes of the original films.

“The facts do not support her views. Dark and light representing good versus evil are established storytelling motifs that have been around for centuries.”

In the prequel films, arguably the coolest and most powerful Jedi is Mace Windu, played by none other than Samuel L. Jackson. Mace Windu fights valiantly in the Clone Wars, kills the evil bounty hunter Jengo Fett, and is the first Jedi to confront Palpatine about his corrupt intentions.

It is also worth mentioning that he is one of the few Jedi who is suspicious of Anakin Skywalker and his future allegiance to the Republic. In my opinion, this makes him one of the most intelligent Jedi. Windu’s demise is at the hands of (the white) Palpatine and (the also white) Anakin Skywalker, as he fights for justice and the Republic.

Last but not least, Anakin Skywalker turns to the dark side before he becomes Darth Vader. With this, he is not wearing a black suit or mask. Even with the Vader suit, since we know beneath it is the father of Luke and Leia, we know that he is white.

The Star Wars films, which George Lucas has admitted were originally made for children, is about as pure as you can get (even for those of us who believe Gredo did not shoot first).

To state that there are malicious racial intentions with this story, which is about morality and good versus evil, continues this ridiculous trend in this country to be offended by as much as possible. It is unfortunate that our culture is so politically correct and hyper-sensitive that people seem to be insulted by everything.

One can respond: “It’s her opinion. It’s how she sees it and she can be offended”. I disagree.

There is no valid justification to be offended by something as pure and child-like as Star Wars, especially now with one of the heroes of the new film The Force Awakens being a black character.

The facts do not support her views. Dark and light representing good versus evil are established storytelling motifs that have been around for centuries. The PC police needs to leave this one alone.

As for Chewbacca being a black guy, just give me a break.

Cover Photo Credit: JD Hancock/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Man Who Asked To See Star Wars Film Early Has Died At 32

Daniel Fleetwood, the terminally ill man who asked to see the upcoming film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” early has died at the age of 32.

Fleetwood’s wife Ashley made the announcement on Facebook:

Daniel put up an amazing fight to the very end. He is now one with God and with the force. He passed in his sleep and in peace. He will always be my idol and my hero. Please hug uncle Marc for me and give Lucy lots of kisses. Rest in peace my love. This was the last selfie we ever took together.”

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Photo Credit: Ashley Fleetwood/ Facebook

Fleetwood, a major Star Wars fan since childhood according to Entertainment Weekly, “had been diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma, a connective tissue cancer, and did not expect to live until The Force Awakens’ Dec. 18 release date.”

After a few news articles were published about Fleetwood, a social media campaign under the banner of #ForceForDaniel went viral and eventually reached director JJ Abrams who allowed for Fleetwood to see an unfinished cut of the film.

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Cover Photo Credit: Ashley Fleetwood/ Facebook

10 Reasons Why Luke Skywalker Is Actually Kylo Ren

By Daniel Mirolli (originally published on Medium)

Before people begin lobbing thermal detonators my way I’ve actually thought long and hard about this and tonight’s trailer release simply confirms my suspicions. Yes, much of this is speculation. Duh! None of us have seen the film and I’m not privy to any information that isn’t available to everyone.

So if you’re reading this before the release and I turn out to be right then, SERIOUS MIDICHLORIAN-SHATTERING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

If not then the odds you’ve wasted a few minutes listening to a member of your fandom unsuccessfully navigate a trailer release are approximately 3,720 to 1.

So, here’s 10 reasons why Luke is to Kylo as Finkle is to Einhorn.

1. The Poster

You know, this poster. The poster everyone flipped their Force about because Luke isn’t in it.

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But he IS in it. I know that’s a “he said, she said” game but let’s do a head count.

Rey, Finn, and Poe? Check.

Han & Leia? Check.

C-3PO & Chewie? Check.

R2 & BB8? *beep* *boop* *whir*

Luke? …Luke? ….Beuler?

Be honest, does it make any sense to not have Mark Hamill in your poster for a movie that will cause box office records to pull an Alderaan (too soon)? Abrams and the rest of the Disney / Lucas Film studio aren’t thinking, well…

There’s more to this but for now let’s move on to —

2. The Cowl

We’re dealing with two ancient and opposing, albeit evidenced, religions in the Star Wars universe; Jedi vs Sith. Mysticism, symbolism, and color are very important. There’s a “reason” Jedi fight in bathrobes instead of a more combat ready, blaster repelling, MJOLNIR Mark VI armour (sweet Cortana, someone please create that side fiction) and it’s, “our Jedi Order says so”. Everything is to align itself with the ideas and mythos of their side of the force.

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Taken from the second trailer released for the upcoming film there’s little doubt that this is Luke and his trusty companion R2-D2 — the mechanical right hand is a dead giveaway for that. But look at the cowl the character is wearing.

Remember in Episode VI when Luke faced off against Vader in the final fight? He wore an all black outfit (actually throughout the entire film). Why this shouldn’t give us pause, let’s go back to Episode III.

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As Anakin progress in his use of the Force and his eventual awakening to the dark side his outfit begins to incorporate more black. I’m sure another fan will correct me on this but none of the Jedi Counsel, with the exception of Shaak Ti (and sometimes Kit Fisto) who is a certifiable badass, wear black.

The Jedi gravitate towards browns, tans, and whites; unassuming colors to help combat the pride that leads to comparison, anger, hate, suffering, and Yoda-speak. In The Return of The Jedi we see Luke wearing all black, facing off against his father, and being told to give into his hatred. Despite Luke’s dismissal of the Emperor’s offer there is a part of him intrigued by the dark side of the force — at the very least the desire to get shit done on his own (see: leaving the Ewok enclave to confront Vader mano y mano). Which leads us to

3. The Timeline

We know from the trailer that many years have passed between VI and VII. Luke changing sides is not something that would happen over night. Like his father, he needs time to strike out on his own and attempt to establish real change in the galaxy by defeating the Empire and establishing the Alliance (like Anakin initially did in the Clone Wars). But the Alliance is just that, an alliance! It requires the independent choice of a multitude of people, a change that takes much longer to realize than the bending of galactic will to a particular vision.

But that is a more effective route and it provides Luke more control. Remember when Luke was training on Degoba what Yoda says to him?

Luke is Anakin’s son. He has the same rebellious, assertive, Type-A tendencies. Now imagine, you’ve just defeated the Empire. The Rebel Alliance is in shambles but victorious. The Empire still has the more fire power. Coruscant is a distant legend. There is sudden peace and no clear leader. Chaos ensues with the Outer Rim warlords seizing the power vacuum left by the Empire. You have to try to remake the galaxy into the prosperous and functioning system it was before there was war, all without using the Force for attack, or a clone army and armada that you quite literally just inherited.

How long before you’d convince yourself you’d get more good done by using this once evil force to unite every world under a single banner? How long before you then had to rely on the Force for attack? How long before Yoda’s admonition for control became validation for your desire to control whole worlds?

4. Mark’s Age

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Back to practicality, Mark Hamill is old. Yes, Harrison Ford is older but that’s like comparing Achilles and Hector. We know from Abrams’ behind the scenes videos that he’s a fan of analog and puppetry over CGI. We also know that the force affords its practitioners sustained mobility in old age. To me, that means that while we know Mark did suffer an injury on set, it would behove Abrams to have a stunt double option for Mark readily available for all action scenes and that’s much easier if your old actor chooses to wear a mask.

5. Kylo Ren

So what do we actually know about this guy? According to the Star Wars Wiki, Kylo Ren was born sometime after the Battle of Endor. And while initial assumptions are that he was physically born after the Battle of Endor we also know one very important thing:

Kylo Ren is a title.

Leaked concept art.

Leaked concept art.

We also know that, while serving under Snoke in the Knights of Ren he was obsessed with Vader and is believed to have modeled his look and behavior after him. It is not a stretch to imagine Luke recognizing the frustration his father saw in establishing a new order and following in his footsteps.

6. Yin and Yang Film Cycle

If you haven’t caught on to this yet, the Star Wars franchise oscillates between a Sith and Jedi dominated story line, influenced by the Yin and Yang culture which the originally story was likely plagiarized from (The Hidden Fortress).

Odd Episodes = Sith Wins

Even Episodes = Jedi Wins

Episode VII will be a win for the Sith. And while there’s no guarantee that the new Disney/Lucas Films mashup will stop printing money at Episode IX the franchise does operate on a trilogy cycle. Which means that either Episode IX has to end with the Sith winning or something really interesting has to happen. But how does this all come together?

Queue Star Wars Magic:

7. The Pledge

Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary but of course… it probably isn’t.

Despite how new the 3rd trailer looked, we’ve been here before. New characters are introduced (Rey, Poe, BB8), someone discovers they can use the force (Finn), a baddie is revealed (Kylo), and we “rediscover” a wise mentor (He-Who-Shoots-First Han). This is identical to Episode I and IV.

From what I can gather, Force Awakens begins with the First Order beginning to fill the power vacuum left by the fighting through a unified assault (using Empire weapons and armada). The Jedi are viewed as a myth as evidenced by Han needing to affirm that all the stories actually took place. It’s true. The Dark Side. The Jedi.

In Force Awakens, Han plays the role of Yoda in Episode V — he knows about the past and a crucial detail to the present (one that he doesn’t reveal). And that’s fine, because we’re still meeting the new characters and learning how the world works. We’re establishing assumptions based on what we can glean from the plot until —

8. The Turn

The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know. You want to be fooled.

Episode II, V, VIII. Anakin turns, Vader is Luke’s father, Kylo is Luke. This is a far more compelling story line that simply a new bad guy is bad and Luke is absently being a hermit because Obi Wan.

Imagine walking out of the theatre on December 18th. You’ve just witnessed the First Order run train on the free world(s). Poe is a funny pilot. Finn is the most relatable and powerful character you’ve seen in a while. And Rey is a badass testament to Feminism (and ultimately Humanism) everywhere.

And while Han has been able to provide great intel on Kylo Ren and the First Order no one seems to be asking where this guy came from or what really happened to Luke.

But Han remembers. He remembers how he and Luke had initially set off to rebuild the galaxy together. How they had become frustrated after years of seeing little progress, already exhausted from their fight against the Empire. He remembers how Luke would disappear on missions, dressed in all black, saying that because he could use the Force he was better suited for single stealth missions. He remembers the unease Leia felt whenever she was around Luke. He remembers the first time he found the mask, in the floorboards of Luke’s X-Wing, and wondered who it belonged to.

Han knows who Kylo Ren is. He’s the sacrifice of principles for ambition. He’s the abandonment of freedom for control. He’s a friend turned an enemy — born out of the Battle of Endor. He’s Luke Skywalker.

9. The Prestige

But you wouldn’t clap yet. Because making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”

Episode I, III, VI, IX. The birth of a chosen one, the hope of new life, the redemption of a father, the redemption of a son. Luke being Kylo affords the franchise an incredible opportunity; conversion. Remember the pattern of film victors? We’re set up to have the Sith win in XI. While that might make sense to usher in another three films, it’s entirely possible it ends with IX.

Episode IX allows for Luke to look himself in the mirror. Who knows what traumatic event this will be? Perhaps Leia will die? Or another pivotal character? The point here is that we get to see why Luke is like his father and, hopefully, better than Vader. Anakin died as Vader but Luke could still die as Luke. Remember, the battle of Jedi vs Sith is at base a religious conflict over the use of the Force. This is a battle won with ideas more than brute strength. If Luke destroys the idea of Kylo and the Sith, the Jedi (and by extension the Alliance it established and protected) win.

Because let’s be honest, this battle looks like it’s only going to go one way…

10. Abrams — The Easter Egg King

Photo Credit: Joi Ito/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Joi Ito/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Let’s face it, the guy loves leaving gotcha clues throughout his movies. As a fan I enjoy this. But, remember that poster from the beginning? The masked Kylo Ren ominously looming over everyone makes me wonder if Abrams didn’t purposefully request that poster to be able to point fans back to at the end of Episode VIII. Just a thought.

Alternative Theory — Clones!!!

I have to give my roommate credit for this one as he’s actually read the Timothy Zahn series of VII-IX. He pointed out that the final installment of that series, The Last Command, sees Luke encounter a clone of himself.

“Yes, Jedi Skywalker,” C’baoth said quietly from behind him. “He is you. Luuke Skywalker, created from the hand you left behind in the Cloud City on Bespin. Wielding the lightsaber you lost there.”

And what did we see in the released trailer tonight? Luke’s original lightsaber — lost on Cloud City during his battle with its former master.

1*js_bIA-Oyirb-gUC-buPjAThis story was originally published on Medium.  

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news. Have a news tip? (No matter how big or small!) Send it to us- editor@risenews.net. 

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