Darth Vader on Harmonica (old but good!)

Yes, it’s been around for ages, but I still laugh when I watch this. Darth Vader on harmonica :)

See how Rogue One leads into A New Hope [spoilers]

First, SPOILERS AHEAD! Do not read any further if you don’t want to know the ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Still here?

Are you sure now?

Alright, here we go. Rogue One ends just before the opening scene of A New Hope. If you’ve seen A New Hope, you already know the story of Rogue One; it’s pretty much the opening crawl. While I appreciated Rogue One would fit nicely with the rest of the Star Wars canon I hadn’t realised just how much attention to detail had gone into making the two match up.

Rogue One ends (These are those spoilers, remember? One last chance to look away) with the Rebel Fleet taking a pounding from the Imperial Navy. Darth Vader makes a supremely memorable assault on the Tantive IV in an attempt to stop the Rebels escaping with the Death Star plans. We get to look inside the Tantive IV and get a brief on-screen appearance from a CGI Princess Leia.

Vimeo user Barre Fong has spliced the end of Rogue One with the opening of A New Hope, and it’s plain to see there was a great effort to make everything look just as it should. Sure, you can occasionally see the effects in A New Hope are a bit dated (after all, it did come out in 1977) but it still stands up well and you could almost believe it’s a continuation of the same movie.

Take a look at the video below and enjoy just how well Disney and Gareth Edwards made these two great movies join up (and look soon, because I have no idea if or when the video will be pulled off Vimeo).

If you would like to own Rogue One for yourself it will be released on DVD and Blu-Ray on the 10th of April.

Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016

Well, I’m sorry this post is later than I’d hoped. My flight back up home from Star Wars Celebration Europe was cancelled and wiped out the brief window of time I’d hoped to use to write the day up before going on holiday. Still, here we go now.

The weekend of 15-17th July saw the return of Star Wars Celebration to Europe; London’s Excel Centre to be precise. I was there on Friday (the first day) and for my first ever Star Wars Celebration. It. Was. Amazing.

You're a wizard, harryAfter flying into London, I immediately met up with other people going to the Celebration walking from the airport to the conference centre, a German father and son. Quite apart from the fact that meant I was less likely to get lost, it was also just nice to start the day off chatting about where we were going and sharing a joint interest.

Once we got there, my sense of humour was immediately tickled by a chap in a Starfleet uniform and slightly muddled sign! Hey, who says you have to pick between Star Wars and Star Trek?
[Read more…]

Building LEGO Star Wars First Order Battle Pack (Timelapse)

It’s Star Wars Day! So it’s quite apt that we have another LEGO Star Wars timelapse video for you. This time, it’s building the First Order Battle Pack (set 75132)… it’s a fairly small set, so the video is short, but I hope you enjoy it.

Watch on YouTube

Don’t forget we still have the Force Awakens on DVD to give away on our Facebook page. Entries close tonight at 7pm (UK time).

LEGO Star Wars – building Rey in timelapse

There’s a bit of a Star Wars theme emerging here lately… anyway, I thought you might enjoy this quick video of building the LEGO Star Wars Rey figure in timelapse. There’s another tomorrow, so don’t forget to pop back to catch that too.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens giveaway

Star Wars: The Force AwakensHi all,

Just a quick post to say we’re running a giveaway of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on DVD over on our Facebook page. If you’re interested, swing on by https://www.facebook.com/geekspeakuk/ for more details.


Did a cheeseburger really inspire the Millennium Falcon?

Millennium FalconWhen I was a teenager the story was going round that the design of Star Wars’ Millennium Falcon was inspired by a cheeseburger George Lucas was eating while thinking about how the space ships in his new movie should look.

He took the cheeseburger, stuck an olive on the side, and the Millennium Falcon was born… or at least the idea was.

I don’t know how these stories spread in a pre-Internet age but somehow that seemed to be the widely accepted understanding of how the Falcon came to be. But is it true? Michael Heilemann at Kitbashed has done some extensive research into the early stages of Star Wars’ design, and come up with an interesting alternative. He mentions the same story I heard, and then rapidly moves on to more believable versions of the Falcon’s origin story. Rather than replicate his material here, why not head on over and have a read of it on the Kitbashed site?

There’s no better source on the subject of design than one of the actual designers, and it’s great to see that Joe Johnston, visual effects pioneer and director, has given some of his own reflections into working on the design of Star Wars. You can find that on his Facebook page, and it both lends weight to some of Heilemann’s article and corrects a few things.

But back to the original question: did a cheeseburger really inspire the Millennium Falcon? Well, perhaps on a subconscious level, but not directly. It certainly doesn’t look like there was a lunch-time moment when the design crystallised. As with most things, the story is a little more complex than that.

LEGO Star Wars: Golden Brickies Award

LEGO Star Wars: Golden BrickiesYou probably know we’re fans of LEGO here at Geek-Speak, and the LEGO Star Wars range is a great mashup of building fun and sci-fi goodness. Well, the guys at LEGO have been running a competition over the last few weeks for fans, builders, budding photographers and film makers.

In honour of the Star Wars film franchise, and in anticipation of the upcoming Episode VII, LEGO asked families across the UK to participate in their Golden Brickies, which will culminate in a red carpet celebration event at LEGOLAND Windsor.

The idea is to create a LEGO Star Wars scene, whether that’s static or in movie form, for some fantastic prizes:

  • An invitation to the ceremony at LEGOLAND on 11th October
  • A chance to meed Warwick Davis (Wicket the Ewok from Return of the Jedi), and the guys behind LEGO Star Wars
  • A year’s supply of LEGO Star Wars goodies
  • An annual pass for a family of four to LEGOLAND Windsor
  • Entry to LEGOLAND Windsor after the ceremony
  • A bespoke C-3PO award

LEGO Star Wars Casting Couch

Now sadly, at this point entries are closed, but if you want to see some of the entries you should head on over to the LEGO Facebook page and specifically the Golden Brickies app to take a peek. And, of course, we’ll be very interested to see what the winning entries are once the judging and ceremony have taken place on the 11th of October.

Star Wars Stormtrooper… out of copyright?

Copyright law is an odd thing, and it seems it just got a bit more odd here in the UK. Take the iconic Star Wars films, for instance. These are protected under copyright until “70 years from the end of the calendar year in which the last principal director, author or composer dies” (reference). George Lucas is still very much with us, so it’s going to be quite some time before they enter the public domain.

StormtrooperBut what about the costumes worn by the Stormtroopers in the same films? You would think they are protected to the same degree, but a recent ruling by the UK’s Supreme Court cast a different light on this: Stormtrooper costumes are industrial objects, not works of art, and therefore only subject to a period of fifteen years’ copyright protection. I think the decision stems from the fact that the costumes allow work to be done… admittedly it’s the work of creating a movie, but they’re still just tools of a particular industry.

The reason all this came about is that the prop designer who made the original Stormtrooper armour has been selling replicas cast from the original moulds. Lucasfilm, understandably, saw this as a violation of copyright and began legal proceedings. As copyright law is different in the US, the Supreme Court did rule that Lucasfilm’s copyright has been violated there, but not according the UK law. So, in the UK at least, Stormtrooper costumes are out of copyright and the replicas can legally be sold without Lucasfilm’s permission.

While that will most likely represent a significant loss of income for Lucasfilm, I think it brings benefits to the general consumer… you and I. Once you enter the open market, innovation and price drops soon follow. I’m not quite sure how the Stormtrooper costume can be innovated upon, but you never know.

There’s more

Some cases in point would be Frank L Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories or Lewis Carroll’s The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland. All of these have entered the public domain after the requisite wait following the death of their authors, and there have been great new works based on all three stories. Tin Man reimagined what the story of Oz was all about, Sherlock on the BBC casts a modern light on the classic Holmes universe, and the there have been recent movie and television re-imaginings of Alice in Wonderland. These all add to the tapestry of material surrounding these stories.

But Stormtroopers?

OK, I’m still not sure how that will apply to Stormtrooper costumes as I’m sure the concept of the Stormtroopers will still be owned by Lucasfilm. But the point I”m trying to make is that when something passes out of copyright protection, it opens the way for people to build upon it and have fun with it. Sure, copyright is still important as it protects people’s rights to work they have carried out and the associated income, but eventually these things pass.

What do you think about this issue? Is it a good thing that the (UK) copyright has expired on Stormtrooper costumes? Will it open the floodgates for unlicensed replica props from other movies or TV shows? Should the Supreme Court have ruled that the costumes are “sculptures” and therefore still under copyright? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Post image used under creative commons. Originally by Aritee.

Star wars Galaxies due to go offline

Star Wars Galaxies, Sony’s massively multiplayer online game set in the Star Wars universe is due to close down on December 15th this year.

It was by no means the first massively multiplayer game – prior to playing galaxies I enjoyed several text-based MUDs, the cyberpunk inspired Neocron and a spell (pun intended) in the fantasy game Everquest – but when it was announced the combination of Star Wars’ popularity and the opportunity to take part in the Galactic Rebellion with other players had a definite appeal.

Players could visit several locations from the movies, and interact with characters like Jabba the Hutt, Han Solo, and even Darth Vader himself. Your actions affected which side of the rebellion you were on which, in turn, affected whether Storm Trooper patrols would attack on sight, or if Rebel recruiters would offer you missions. I have to admit I was very much on the side of the Empire.

Once Galaxies goes offline the next Star Wars MMO will be The Old Republic, set three thousand years before the rise of Darth Vader. The downside? There’s no release date for The Old Republic yet. A look at the website, however, shows plenty of promise.

Despite not having played SWG for about six years, I’m a little sad to see it going offline. Were/are you an SWG player? If so, what are your memories of the game? Or do you play other MMOs? Are you Warcraft crazy? Neocron nuts? Something altogether different? Share your tales of online gaming in the comments.