You’ll be able to buy your very own Star Wars BB-8 droid

21.04.2015, 8:35

Robot soccer ball can be yours

Fans were pleasantly surprised when the BB-8 robot from Star Wars: The Force Awakens rolled out onto the stage at the Star Wars Celebration last week. Like, “That thing is real?!”


Go for it, Star Wars fans!

Naturally most people’s next thought was how badly they wanted one of their own, and luckily the company behind BB-8, Orbotix, is going to deliver.

Orbotix is the maker of the Sphero, a toy robotic ball that users control from their smartphones.

Orbotix provided the technology behind the version of BB-8 used in the new Star Wars film, and the company is also designing the toy version, reports Gizmodo.

Based on a Fat Brain Toys page that went up earlier today and was promptly deleted it seems the consumer BB-8 will launch in September for around $150 (about £100, AU$195).

That’s unconfirmed, though, and for now the only official word is a landing page with a BB-8 silhouette, the sentence “This is the droid you’re looking for,” and a form to enter your email address and receive updates.

Coincidentally – or maybe not, who knows? – a designer named Christian Poulsen revealed over the weekend that he had made his own jury-rigged BB-8 by slicing a Sphero open, inserting a magnet and putting a counter magnet inside a head made of what looks like styrofoam.

You might not have a spare Sphero lying around to experiment on, though, in which case it seems you’ll have to wait until the fall to terrorize pets and small children with your very own real life BB-8.

LEGO® Star Wars™ Microfighters | Video of the Week

05.05.2014, 9:07

The dark side of the force strikes back!

Whilst snacking in secrecy past midnight one may want to quietly walk back to sleep so no one else knows. If only there were no obstacles on the way. Yet the creaking floorboards and the barking dogs are a challenge, but even they are the least of the problems when none other than Darth Vader blocks the way!

No matter its size, Darth Vader will always win! See (and laugh – like A LOT) for yourself. ;)

Star Wars officially not being shot digitally or on IMAX

20.01.2014, 13:12

Abrams confirms he's sticking to film

If digital were a wookie it might well be making the Chewbacca growl right now, with the next Star Wars director JJ Abrams confirming what we already thought – that he’d be shooting episode 7 on film.

Nothing like a rebel pilot helmet!

Given that George Lucas was a pioneer of next-gen film technology, Abrams’ penchant for film was always going to cause some consternation, but the Star Trek and Lost man has got his way, clarifying that he would not even be going for the IMAX at the TCA press tour.

“The problem with IMAX is it’s a very loud camera,” Abrams explained. “It’s a very unreliable camera. There’s only so much film that can be in the camera. You can’t really do intimate scenes with it. It’s slow. They break down often.

“Having said that, they’re working on digital versions of these, and so there may be a version one day that we would shoot on. But we’re going to be shooting this next movie [Star Wars] on film.”

Never mind digital Chewie – Paramount is on your side…

More news bites, from a long time ago (the weekend), in a land far far away (Florida/San Fran):

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Star Wars Episode VII release date set for December 18, 2015

08.11.2013, 9:19

On a date far, far away

It’s been 30 years in the making, but seventh installment of the Star Wars saga finally has a release date.

In a far, far away galaxy…, the official source of Star Wars news, said movie goers will see Episode VII hyper-drive into theaters on December 18, 2015.

The film, which is being shot on 35mm film and not in digital, is in pre-production and shooting is pegged to start in spring 2014. J.J. Abrams, of Star Trek and other film fame, is co-writing the script and directing.

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Film is better quality than digital, says next Star Wars director

10.06.2013, 12:00

Insert a Jar Jar Binks joke in here...

JJ Abrams has insisted that digital should not replace film, with the man signed up to direct the next Star Wars film insisting that celluloid remains the ‘best quality’ option.

Speaking at the PGA Produced by Conference Abrams made it clear that he favours the old ways, despite an industry-wide move towards digital technology.

“I have not yet shot a movie digitally,” he said. “Film is the thing I am most comfortable with. If film were to go away—and digital is challenging it—than the standard for the highest, best quality would go away.”

Given the involvement in Star Wars, a film series that has been at the cutting edge of technology throughout its history, Abrams comments are particularly interesting.

George Lucas was key pioneer for visual effects in the opening trilogy, and has been an advocate for a move to a digital world. Episodes two and three of the prequels were shot digitally rather than on film.

Abrams’ current film Star Trek: Into Darkness has already illustrated the director’s love of effects and Star Wars fans will be keen to see what he can do with Lucas’ franchise when he take the reins.

But it remains to be seen if he chooses to go down a film route rather than Lucas’ favoured digital dream.

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Sky seals Disney deal, gets first dibs on new Star Wars films

21.02.2013, 14:43

Sky Movies Disney will launch at Easter

Don the mouse ears, people, Sky has announced a major content deal with Disney which will see the creation of a Sky Movies Disney channel, and hand them exclusives on some massive forthcoming films.

After the successes of its Sky Movies 007 channel, screening every Bond film – even Octopussy – Sky is now looking to Disney’s massive library.

Classic films that include Bambi and Finding Nemo will be joined by the latest releases like Monsters University and new stuff from Marvel studios.

The channel will launch on March 28, which the savvy among you will realise is perfectly timed for the Easter holidays.

And, for those of us that have a new hope that the Star Wars films will be a bit less prequel and a bit more Han shooting first, it will give Sky first pay-TV dibs on the new movies.

The deal included on demand through Sky Go and downloadable for Sky Go Plus subscribers. Last, but not least, it will be available for no extra cost to Sky Movies subscribers.

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Angry Birds Star Wars soaring in November

09.10.2012, 8:02

New game and toy line on the way

The rumors are true, as Rovio begins to pull back the curtain on their biggest partnership yet to create Angry Birds Star Wars.

Launching on Nov. 8, the game will recast the popular disgruntled flyers as “Star Wars” characters.

However, “they are not Angry Birds dressed up as Star Wars characters,” according to Paul Southern, Lucasfilm Ltd. vice president of licensing and consumer products marketing. “They are characters in their own right.”

Promo art shows Luke Skywalker taking on the role of the iconic Red Bird, along with aviary adaptations of Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, Obi-Wan Kenobi, C-3PO, and R2D2.

The pigs, of course, will transform into the stormtroopers and even Darth Vader himself, with masks and helmets giving the traditional “Star Wars” villains an appropriately pig-like snout.

The game itself will follow the mold of the recently released Angry Birds Space, as planets from the “Star Wars” universe offer their own gravitational fields and environmental hazards from the desert of Tatooine to the freezing cold of Hoth.

“We wanted this to feel like one of the biggest, if not the biggest, entertainment launches of the year,” Rovio Executive Vice President of strategic partnerships Andrew Stalbow said.

To build on top of the game’s release, Rovio partnered with Hasbro for a range of Angry Birds Star Wars toys, including figurines, plush dolls, play sets, and a new version of Jenga where players must break apart a pig-shaped Death Star.

Rovio also partnered with Rubie’s Costume Company to create four Halloween costumes based on the beaked versions of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, and a Stormtrooper.

All of the festivities begin on Nov. 8, when Angry Birds Star Wars gives new meaning to the Millennium Falcon on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Mac, PC, Windows 8, and Windows Phone 8.

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Angry Birds Star Wars reportedly on the way

08.10.2012, 8:36

Irate birds with Jedi skills? Look out Darth Pig

Just when you thought Rovio couldn’t possibly squeeze any more life out of Angry Birds, a partnership with Star Wars looks to be incoming.

The Finnish mobile gaming giant posted a teaser image on Tumblr on Friday, featuring one of its irate winged beasts donning Jedi robes and and wielding a lightsaber.

Now, the Fast Company website has ‘confirmed’ the impending franchise link-up through a representative at Lucasfilm, who added that a line of Angry Birds Star Wars toys are also on the way.

There’s no news yet on the format the game will take, but Fast Company says that Luke Skywalker will be cast as the iconic, yet weak, Red Bird in the mash-up.

A host of merchandise is set to be revealed at a special event at Toys ‘R’ Us in New York’s Times Square on Monday morning, including action figures and a re-imagined version of the board game Jenga.

Paul Southern, vice president of licensing and consumer products marketing at Lucasfilm, said: “As casual games grow as a category and mobile devices grow as an interface, it’s going to become more important for us in the future.

“Our partnership with Rovio helped us to understand a little bit more about how they achieved that success.”

The initial Fast Company post mentioned that the Angry Birds Star Wars game would arrive on October 28, but has since been updated with no mention of a new release date.

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Lucas: 3D is a better way to watch a movie

09.02.2012, 10:42

Star Wars man: Like colour v black and white

Iconic director George Lucas has insisted that the best way to watch a film is in 3D, as Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace arrives in 3D cinemas.

Although the first of the prequels is a long (long) way from being the fans’ favourite movie, there is still huge excitement at the prospect of seeing some of cinema’s most enduring characters in a new way.

With 3D still hugely divisive, many directors have thrown their weight behind the technology including Lucas who insists that it pulls movies on in the same way as colour enhanced the viewing experience.


“We’re going through a new technological revolution that is set to change everything,” he wrote in a letter to Shortlist magazine.

“Watching a movie in 3D is simply a better way to watch a movie. It’s like black and white versus colour. Watching a movie in black and white is fine, however, colour makes it look more real.

“With 3D the depth brings reality to the digital characters and you notice things in the background that actually impact on the story. It becomes a truly immersive and overpowering experience.”

Obviously some will point to Lucas’ vested interest in making people go and watch The Phantom Menace and he has already pointed out that only success will mean that 3D versions of the much loved original Star Wars trilogy are made.

But it’s still fascinating that one of the most influential of figure in Hollywood is insisting that 3D is not only good, but better than traditional 2D movie-making.

The proof of the pudding may well be in the tasting, with Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace in cinemas now.

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Acoustic Energy launches 6.1 Compact/Neo system

06.09.2011, 13:37

Perfect for Star Wars, apparently

UK speaker brand Acoustic Energy has taken inspiration from the forthcoming release of the Star Wars Saga Blu-ray boxset by announcing a 6.1 speaker package to match the sci-fi series’ remastered audio.

The £850 array, dubbed Compact/Neo 6.1, uses six of Acoustic Energy’s brand-new Compact One speakers and its long-standing Neo subwoofer.

“This is a 6.1 system rather than a more typical 5.1 set-up. It allows those with any modern AV receiver to benefit from rear-back channel processing and get the very best from discs with dedicated Dolby Digital EX, True HD and DTS HD MA 6.1 soundtracks, such as the new Star Wars Saga Blu-ray,” said Acoustic Energy.

Of course, cynics might argue the reason for offering a 6.1 package – rather than a 5.1 – is because the Compact One bookshelf speakers are boxed as pairs for stereo systems, and offering five in a setup would involve rethinking the packaging. But we’re not cynics.

Seamless sound

Another claimed benefit of the Compact/Neo 6.1 is that it uses identical speakers. This conforms to the ideals espoused by Dolby and the George Lucas-founded THX organisation, and ensures complete tonal balance throughout the 360-degree soundstage.

Put another way, when the Star Destroyer passes over your head at the beginning of A New Hope, it should sound seamless.

The new Compact One satellites are described as ‘bijou’ (we think that means ‘small’), and can be mounted on stands or attached to your wall via supplied brackets. The system comes in a Vermont Walnut finish and will be available from September 12 – the same day the Star Wars Saga arrives on Blu-ray…

Look out for a review on TechRadar soon.

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