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Han Solo as a lizard? The inside scoop on 'The Star Wars' from Dark Horse

The Jedi universe wasn’t built in a day and the construction process had some strange stages. If you thumb through the 1974 draft of the George Lucas script for The Star Wars (as it was called then) you’ll see a funhouse version of the most famous space epic that includes a warrior named Starkiller and a reptilian alien named Han Solo.

That version of Star Wars has been a relatively obscure artifact, but now it will get a spotlight of its own in a major adaptation by Dark Horse Comics that maps out a tale that’s both familiar and totally alien.

For the Oregon-based comics company, the project may be the great farewell to the Jedi mythology. Star Wars comics have been a core part of the Dark Horse’s indie publishing empire since the early 1990s. Now, after the Disney purchase of Lucasfilm, Dark Horse is likely to lose the license in the months ahead. We caught up with Mike Richardson, founder of Dark Horse, and Randy Stradley, the Dark Horse editor who has been the architect of the brand’s Dark Horse success, to talk about rediscovered universes and losing Empires. READ FULL STORY

Disney to shut down game maker LucasArts

Bad news for Star Wars game fans: Disney, which purchased the LucasFilm empire late last year for a cool $4.05 billion, has announced that it is closing its LucasArts game-making subsidiary.

The Mouse House will no longer develop LucasArts games internally and will instead license its brands, including Star Wars and Indiana Jones, to external developers.

Dissecting Harrison Ford's bee-zarre interview with 'Entertainment Tonight' -- VIDEO

Harrison Ford is not a funny actor. He doesn’t do funny movies. But he certainly made us laugh in a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, talking about two upcoming roles — as the man behind Jackie Robinson in 42, and a small part in Anchorman 2. The latter film, as we learn, stars “Applesauce Girl” and “Whatshisname.”

Poor Christina Applegate. At least Ford’s character won’t be like his jowly turn as a newscaster in 2010’s Morning Glory. “I hope it’s a little different. One hates to repeat themselves. They asked me to do it before they knew I had done Morning Glory,” Ford said. Then he made a bunch of faces and mispronounced “bizarre.”

Oh and about Star Wars? His lips were literally sealed. Watch below.


Comic-Con 2013: The Course of the Force strikes back

Popular podcaster and affable funny guy Chris Hardwick and his company, Nerdist Industries, are taking another run at Jedi fun this summer with the second annual Course of the Force, the fundraising relay where fans and celebrities take turns running with a lightsaber that they will eventually deliver to Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Modeled on the Olympic torch tradition, Course of the Force was a big hit last year and we caught up with Hardwick for a quick email interview about the miles covered last year and Episode II’s expanded route. (Instead of repeating the 2012 Santa Monica to San Diego route, the 2013 edition will start up in Marin County, more than 500 miles north of San Diego.)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What’s a defining memory you have from Year One?
CHRIS HARDWICK: It’s sort of a mash-up of images. We had hoped that some people would run in costume. We had no idea how many people actually would. My memory is a flash of all the amazing cosplay — some Boba Fetts, father and son Stormtroopers, an unreal General Grievous, and even a Marty McFly (we had stressed that all cosplay was welcome) among many others, running down the I-5 Freeway while being led by Jabba’s Sail Barge, which we had built to be our pace vehicle. True story!

People run with torches, people run with batons. You guys run with lightsabers. That’s pretty fun. Is there any movie weapon cooler than lightsaber?
It’s hard to top the lightsaber. I love proton packs from Ghostbusters, the Highlander blade, Deckard’s gun, and those flip-action repulsor rifles from Minority Report. Still, the lightsaber was a sci-fi weapon that ushered in a new era. (My girlfriend’s dad, John Dykstra, brought it to life in the original Star Wars.) It’s perfect — a sword made of light. You can use it for offense, defense, as a deflector or just to look really cool for no reason. And I DEFY you to swing one without going “vvvvvv vvvvvvv VVVVVVVT.” It’s impossible.


'Star Wars: Return of the Jedi' back on big screen at EW's CapeTown Festival


The Jedi are returning.

On May the Fourth, now celebrated far and wide as Star Wars Day, Entertainment Weekly’s CapeTown Film Festival will bring the greatest deep-space saga of them all back to the big screen for a special one-day event: a 30th anniversary revival of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi that takes the classic back to the site of its May 1983 world premiere, the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

We’ve scheduled four Jedi screenings (10 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m., 10p.m.) on May the Fourth as well as special appearances by some famous faces and beloved characters from the Jedi universe. The anniversary and location add a special sparkle to the day, but the event is also energized with the intrigue of the future with a new planned Star Wars, which will, for the first time on screen, take the tale chronologically beyond the fiery funeral of Darth Vader, one of the most iconic villains in the history of Hollywood popcorn.

Celluloid history infuses every corner of the Egyptian Theatre, which opened in October 1922 by introducing a new Tinseltown tradition — the very first Hollywood world premiere. The storied movie palace is an amazing site for the inaugural edition of the CapeTown Film Festival, which shares its name with the EW.com section that launched early this year. The brand has already become a powerhouse presence as the hub for EW coverage of pop culture’s most vivid corners: sci-fi, superheroes, fantasy, horror, comics, video games and animation.

NEXT: How to get tickets…


The ultimate 'Star Wars' character tournament: We call every match in the bracket

It’s been literally days since the last bit of Star Wars franchise news was cast into the pit of the Internet, the nesting place of the all-powerful Fanboy, who slowly digests every new piece of Star Wars information over a thousand years, like some kind of purely theoretical pit-dwelling epicurean tentacled arthropod. Fortunately, the good people at the LucasFilm/Disney/Sheinhardt empire have saved us from boredom by launching a new Star Wars Character Tournament. You guessed it: It’s bracket time! The tournament lets you vote for 32 of your favorite Star Wars characters in a whole series of one-on-one matchups, beginning on Monday. Read on as we boldly call every single match in the bracket. (Check out the full bracket here.) READ FULL STORY

George Lucas says that Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford are definitely in the next 'Star Wars' movie, maybe

Star Wars creator George Lucas took a break from his retirement project to speak to Bloomberg Businessweek about his decision to sell his galaxy to Disney, which if nothing else surely counts as the largest fake real estate deal in history. The piece is filled with plenty of behind-the-scenes intrigue for anyone interested in how one gigantic pop culture empire merges with an even-more-gigantic pop culture empire, but the boldfaced takeaway comes when Lucas tells Bloomberg that, even before the Disney deal was financed, the original-cast trio of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford were already onboard. “We had already signed Mark and Carrie and Harrison — or we were pretty much in final stages of negotiation. So I called them to say, ‘Look, this is what’s going on.'” READ FULL STORY

Players must use the Force -- and flippers -- in 'Star Wars Pinball': REVIEW


After bringing comic book nerds and pinball wizards together with their Marvel-based tables, Zen Studios again works their magic with new flipper-mashing entries set in a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Pinball—which includes tables based on Boba Fett, The Empire Strikes Back, and The Clone Wars—piles the Force-fueled fan service high, while delivering a pinball experience that wouldn’t feel out of place in your local pub.

Like the Marvel tables before them, this fresh trio of boards (played with the free-to-download Pinball FX 2) does an amazing job of mining its source material. The Empire Strikes Back table features R2 unit heads to bounce balls off of, a revolving Cloud City skyscraper, an AT AT appearance, and plenty of familiar sound effects and licensed music from the film. Releasing the plunger even triggers a satisfying “What is thy bidding my master?”, while letting balls slip past the flippers results in a “You’ve failed me for the last time, Admiral” reprimand from a heavy-breathing Vader. READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars' and 'Star Trek' mashup memes take off after J.J. Abrams announcement

May the meme be with you.

That didn’t take long. Upon news that Star Trek director J.J. Abrams is reportedly also now set to direct the new Star Wars, fans expressed their excitement/dismay/jealousy that one guy was set to inherit all of nerd kingdom on social media last night, and it turned out there was mainly one way to annouce all of your feelings: Gifs and Memes.

How did people communicate about Star Wars ideas in the 1970s (or even the early ‘00s!)? We rounded up some of our favorites from Twitter; check them out below (hat tip to Mashable). READ FULL STORY

14 ways of looking at J.J. Abrams' 'Star Wars'

News broke this afternoon that geek-franchise uber-producer J.J. Abrams has officially signed on to direct the next episode of Star Wars, therefore making him the official onscreen shepherd of not one, but two science-fiction mega-franchises — the equivalent of owning Coke and Pepsi, with Mission: Impossible playing the role of Dr. Pepper in this metaphor. Details are still scarce, as Disney and Lucasfilm have yet to release an official statement, but the news set our minds racing. Abrams’ participation is exciting news for many reasons. But a good Star Wars geek is also a skeptical Star Wars geek. Follow along as we track our 14-step reaction to the news about a J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Wars.

1. First takeaway, neither positive nor negative: This is confirmation that Disney is not going to scrimp on the Star Wars sequels. They need a reboot, and they went straight for the Reboot King. It’s a remarkably simple idea. The thinking goes: “J.J. Abrams took one decades-old franchise with the word ‘Star’ in it, rescued it from box office oblivion and fandom purgatory, and transformed it into a multi-demographic-baiting modern blockbuster hit. Why not let him do that again?” Indeed, it’s an idea so simple that pretty much everyone else on the Internet thought about it, but then dismissed it: What would Abrams do with Star Wars when he already had Star Trek? (By comparison, the rumors about Matthew Vaughn were a bit disappointing: Vaughn is a stylish director, but he’s a far more mercenary talent — you imagine him directing an off-brand Star Wars spin-off, not an epic three-part trilogy.) In a sense, this new Star Wars looks like a companion piece to The Avengers. In both cases, Disney didn’t just pick a beloved director: They picked a guy whose name is synonymous with the whole millennial rise of geekdom as a cultural force. READ FULL STORY

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