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Here at Geek Girl Cantina we’ll be wrapping up the week in Star Wars news. Casting, comments and more fill this week’s news so shotgun that blue milk and let’s get into it.

Woody Harrelson Cast in Han Solo Movie

Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images

Photo by Matt Carr/Getty Images

Last week we reported that Harrelson was in talks with Lucasfilm to join the cast of the Han Solo spinoff film. It appears those talks were pretty much done already cause Harrelson has joined the crew. He will be Han Solo’s mentor. Again, we still don’t know how large the role will be or how he will fit into the story but more casting news is still fun! You can see our coverage of it here. In addition to the director’s comments, Harrelson was in a Facebook live chat with Mashable and he made a brief comment.

I’m a mentor to Han, but I’m also a bit of a criminal. I don’t think I should say much more than that because the Force is not allowing me.

Welcome to the galaxy far, far away, Mr Harrelson!

Rogue One in Effect

In a terrible play on words there, there are two stories regarding the special effects in Rogue One. For one, a big congratulations to the effects team as they were nominated for 7 VES’s (Visual Effects Society) and 2 BAFTAs! Well done!! In addition, io9 spoke with visual effects director John Knoll and covered the 2 ships from Rebels that made their live action debut in the film.

I was chatting with [Rebels executive producer] Dave Filoni. [I asked] ‘How would you feel about having the Ghost show up somewhere in Rogue One?’ They were all excited about the idea. 

In addition to a cameo in the film for Ghost, one of the ships had a much larger role. Knoll wanted a ship for the climatic space battle, so he approached the story group.

[They said] ‘Well, they could have the Hammerhead Corvette’ and they showed me some images from Rebels. So that prompted me to grab the model and make a movie version of it. And we had that underway as a background ship when we were fleshing out some of the story beats of what happens in the space battle. Suddenly I needed a ship that could act as a tugboat and I thought, ‘Well, let’s use the Hammerhead for that.’

One of the fun things about the film is that it was able to tie to their current property Rebels. It’s really fun watching pieces fall together! There was also mystery surrounding the Hammerhead Crew, whether they got out in time or not. Knoll spoke with EW to clear the air.

There was some talk about, ‘Hey, is this a suicide mission? Are all these guys going down with the Star Destroyers?’ I started pushing for this idea that maybe in one of the shots we could have all these lifeboats, the escape pods, shoot out of it. Picture this: As the mid-sized Rebel starship smashes the two Imperial goliaths together, driving them toward the planet below, a plume of small objects erupt from its undercarriage. We did an animation of that, but Gareth [Edwards, the director] thought it was a little distracting, so we turned that off. The last shot you see of the Star Destroyers crashing down through the gate — it’s a very subtle thing, and it would probably be hard to tell this – but the lifeboats are all gone on the Hammerhead. It’s my story that the Hammerhead crew got into the life boats and made it out.

So there you have it! The crew of the Hammerhead didn’t crash with the Star Destroyers!

Rogue One Highly Sucessful, Save China

Sticking with Rogue One news, Rogue One has officially become the second highest grossing Star Wars film in the franchise (in the US)! It just passes Episode 1 in numbers. So major congratulations to the cast and crew for their great job on the film. Possible disappoint though was that the film hasn’t taken off in China. Despite two of the stars being from China, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, the film pulled in 32.2 million in it’s opening weekend. Not what Disney was hoping for I expect but the film is still killing it. This past weekend took the film over 900 million worldwide. Not bad for second place!

George Lucas Narrative Art Museum to Open in LA

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With Star Wars off his hands, what has Mr. Lucas been up to lately? It appears he’s opening a narrative art museum in LA. The museum will feature his Hollywood collection including memorabilia from (of course) Star Wars, The 10 Commandments and more. He’s funding the 1 billion dollar museum himself. You can check out our coverage of it here. Retirement’s treating him well.

Final Vader Scene Wasn’t Always There!

Back into Rogue One news. Thought you were free of it, eh? SPOILERS AHEAD for those who still haven’t seen Rogue One. And if you haven’t yet – WHY? Anyways, it appears that the dreaded reshoots brought about the most badass scene of Darth Vader ever. Yahoo spoke with editor John Gilroy who admitted that the final Vader scene was “conceptualized later”.

What was added — and it was a fantastic add — was the Vader action scene, with him boarding the ship and dispatching all those rebel soldiers

And we thank the stars above for that being added because it was wonderful to behold.

Pablo Hidalgo Talks Rogue One Aliens

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That’s right, everyone’s favorite story group member and question punching bag was interviewed by StarWars.com where he spoke about the aliens of Rogue One. We’re only going to share a few quotes so you should definitely read the full interview!

StarWars.com: Thanks a bunch for taking time to talk to us about the aliens of Rogue One, Pablo! After seeing Rogue One, I, like I’m sure many others, had so many questions about those new guys roaming in the background. There’s one in particular that I recall from the first trailer — he’s lying in the bed across from Jyn in prison and he has these glorious tentacles protruding from his face. Who is this guy and what can you tell us about him or his species?

Pablo Hidalgo: Well, one thing to clarify that he is actually a she. The novelization of Rogue One by Alexander Freed clarified that Jyn’s cellmate calls herself Nail. In prison, I guess it’s worthwhile to have a tough nickname. Turns out everyone else calls her “Kennel” because she’s got parasites. Her “real” name is Oolin Musters. And she is played by Kiran Shah (a man, but hey, that’s acting for you).

StarWars.com: One of the aliens that was getting a huge buzz, particularly afterStar Wars Celebration Europe, was Bistan, or “Space Monkey,” as we lovingly called him. I, for one, did not expect he would make actual monkey noises, so that was a pleasant surprise. The planet Iakar is described as a jungle where Bistan would swing from tree to tree. If we visited Iakar, would there be a bunch of swinging monkeys or are the Iakaru more human-like on the day-to-day? Since Bistan wears a sweet space suit I could imagine they at least wear clothes while they’re swinging?

Pablo Hidalgo: Though they’re not a space age people, I don’t see them as primitives. They’re beyond Ewok technology but maybe not as technically inclined as Wookiees. Also, I think Bistan is probably wilder than the average Iakaru. By the way, I named the Iakaru after the Amazonian uakari monkey, but in doing so, I created the potential for the most misspelled alien name ever, since people are inclined to read that capital “I” in Iakaru as a lower-case “L”. Sorry, everyone.

StarWars.com: Aside from the new guys, we see the return of some familiar alien faces, as well. There are both Twi’leks and Mon Calamari in Rogue One. We talked a bit about the new Mon Cals in a previous post, was there any specific reason for making them the new polar variety?

Pablo Hidalgo: The color design came from production; I rationalized it by making it specific to an environment. But I love the idea of diversity within an alien species. We’ve seen a wider variety of Mon Cal colors in The Clone Wars than just the red ones. I think having the colorful ones be from tropical environs and the black-and-white ones be from colder extremes work with Raddus’ no-nonsense personality. It also allows for someone to make “cold fish” jokes.

StarWars.com: It’s hard to miss Moroff trudging through the crowded streets of Jedha. We know this guy’s a hired gun. Is that common for the Gigoran species or are they ever gentle giants, too?

Pablo Hidalgo: For Moroff’s species, I reached back to the old Expanded Universe lore and plucked a very obscure alien from the old roleplaying game. There was a character named Rollos who was a Gigoran in a 1994 story. They have a lot in common with Wookiees in that they’re often exploited for their strength, but a few tough ones have found a way to make that work for them by becoming brutes for hire. So the ones you’re more likely to run across in the galaxy are thugs, as we saw in the Doctor Aphra comic.

StarWars.com: On Jedha, we see some crazy looking civilians. Some of them are wrapped in cloth and don’t even show their faces, like the Central Isopters or the Lorrdians. Is it safe to assume there are humans under these cloaks, or can they be any sentient species?

Pablo Hidalgo: Their cultural identifiers indicate their faith, but not their species. So it can be anything under there, I suppose (provided it fits humanoid proportions).

Do check out the full interview and check out Pablo Hidalgo’s visual guide for Rogue One in stores!

RELATED: Miss last weeks Geek Girl Cantina? Check it out here!

Episode 8 Filmed in Bolivia

Holy beautiful, Batman. This is going to get convoluted but bear with me. Spanish Star Wars fansite Presna Imperial looked into a month old rumor about filming and may have hit the jackpot. A translated portion has been provided by StarWarsNewsNet.

A new rumor adds to the string of headline news for Star Wars Episode VIII, this time from a Bolivian fan pageAccording to the report, a reliable source revealed that a few months ago a filming unit made recordings for a film of the saga in the well-known Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia. The informants, who were part of the production, did not specify for what movie the filming was for, but considering the date, they would have been made for Episode VIII since we did not see such places in Rogue One. The place, recognized all over the world, has a characteristic landscape that would fit perfectly in the list of exotic landscapes that has in its history the saga, those that come to reaffirm the intentions of Lucasfilm in filming the greater amount of sequences in scenes to avoid excessive use of computer effects.

Now if you had to look Salar de Uyuni up like I did, you are in for one gorgeous surprise. The location is absolutely stunning and it’s true, you would need very little effects in that place. It’s almost like a mirror at certain times a day, it’s wonderful. And of course very alien which would fit right in to Star Wars. If this rumor isn’t true, I’ll be a little upset because man, what a place to film. StarWarsNewsNet clarified more news regarding the apparent shooting there.

Prensa Imperial would later confirm that the rumors of filming were accurate (they specifically occurred in June 2016) and that the scene filmed was indeed included for a sequence in Episode VIII. Their report suggests that filming lasted for two days and involved none of the main cast, though a local of the area mentioned that he saw several Stormtroopers running. Some kind of special lighting was used during the scene to make the visuals of the scene stand out.

Here’s hoping that it makes it into the film!

Rian Johnson Talks Episode 8 Some More

Bring on the Episode 8 talk! USAToday spoke briefly with Rian Johnson about Luke and Rey’s relationship in an article. We covered and spoke about it here. Well it turns out that he spoke with USAToday a bit more regarding the film and gave us some more insight! Very exciting things here, people! ‘5 Things We Learned About Episode 8’ gave us our first real look at Episode 8 and the mind behind it. Here are some of the things he covered.

Episode 8 will be fun in tone. Johnson says I want it to be a blast and to be funny and to be a ride the way The Force Awakens and the original Star Wars movies were.

We’ll find out more about who our heroes are as people. I wanted to know more about each of them, and that doesn’t just mean information or backstory. Figure out what’s the most difficult thing each of them could be challenged with now — let’s throw that at them and dig into what really makes them tick by seeing how they handle that.

Rey and Luke Skywalker develop a strong connection. [Rey will be] having a lot of expectations in her head about how this is going to go. It very much feels like what we all go through in adolescence, the dawning of this new chapter of our lives. The director adds that the deepening of familial themes in Episode VIII is a huge part of especially Rey’s character, something that was a really powerful part of her setup and something I really wanted to dig into with this.

Luke is the emotional entry point in Episode 8. “What’s going on with Luke Skywalker?” is the essential question at the heart of the new film. I’m approaching it with a take that I hope feels honest and real and is going to be interesting to folks and make sense.

Episode 8 has had a title since the beginning. It was in the very first draft I wrote.

And there you have it, folks! Straight from the horse’s mouth, Episode 8 will not be a dark chapter but fun. These are films made for children, as it turns out – even if the children happen to be a lot of adults. So a gritty Star Wars saga film isn’t in the cards. But we have heard from cast that overall it is a darker film so keep those Empire Strikes Back comparisons going! Or don’t. Don’t do it.

No Plans For Digital Leia

In the highly unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher, rumors have been flying about what Leia’s role will be and what Lucasfilm could do to continue Leia’s story in the final two saga films. Luckily, the Star Wars website made an announcement that cleared the air and hearts of worried fans.

We don’t normally respond to fan or press speculation, but there is a rumor circulating that we would like to address. We want to assure our fans that Lucasfilm has no plans to digitally recreate Carrie Fisher’s performance as Princess or General Leia Organa.

Carrie Fisher was, is, and always will be a part of the Lucasfilm family. She was our princess, our general, and more importantly, our friend. We are still hurting from her loss. We cherish her memory and legacy as Princess Leia, and will always strive to honor everything she gave to Star Wars.

Thank you, Lucasfilm, for making this statement. While we saw it happen in Rogue One, it’s too difficult to think about a digital recreation of Carrie. Her loss still stings and it’s heartening to hear that there is nothing planned. I hope that they continue to keep their word and don’t ever digitally recreate her again. Her legacy should be her own work.

Bad Lip Reading

In your Star Wars funny this week, I bring you a classic. Bad Lip Reading has made some of the funniest videos online and they have done well by Star Wars. So here is their bad lip reading of the original film.

 

And that’s it for this week! Did we miss anything? Let us know and be sure to check back next week for more Star Wars!

Erin Lynch