John Boyega explains why Finn really is a ‘big deal’ in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

John Boyega's character shines bright like a lightsaber in the next "Star Wars" movie — at least in the eyes of his on-screen colleagues. The actor reprises his role of Finn — the Stormtrooper-turned-good guy who famously declared himself a "big deal" in the last movie — and Boyega says his character actually lives up to that nickname in the highly anticipated "The Last Jedi." "He is now a big deal. Imagine that — you get taken down by Kylo Ren," Boyega told Entertainment Weekly. "Think about what the gossip's going to be like in the Resistance. 'Oh, that's the guy that got slashed down by Kylo?'" "'How you doing, guys? How you doing?'" he says. "'Yeah, I was there. Then the Falcon picked me up… Oh yeah, I knew Han Solo by the way. We were pretty close.' All that kind of stuff. They have a fan moment when they see him." The last movie in the trilogy, "The Force Awakens," ended with Finn in a coma after getting struck by a lightsaber during a duel with the villainous Kylo Ren. The first trailer for "The Last Jedi" shows him unconscious in some sort of medical tube, but Entertainment Weekly reports he does eventually emerge from the coma. "It's a grounding injury. It's going to take him some time to get back on the ball," Boyega said. "But when he does… oh, he does." He added that Finn will work closely with Rose Tico, a Resistance mechanic and new character played by Kelly Marie Tran. “It’s a big mission they need to complete,” Boyega told EW. “The Resistance is under immense pressure, and it’s time for them to get a bit of help. That’s where Finn and Rose come in, and they’re thrust into a crazy adventure.” Boyega, 25, made his debut in a galaxy far, far away in "The Force Awakens" in 2015, helping to lead a new lineup of major "Star Wars" characters that also includes Kylo (played by Adam Driver) and Rey Continue Reading

Here’s the Luke Skywalker line in ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ that made Mark Hamill’s jaw drop

That's impossible! Mark Hamill couldn't believe it when he read the script for the upcoming "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and learned that his iconic and heroic character, Luke Skywalker, says, "I only know one truth. It's time for the Jedi to end." "When I first read it, my jaw dropped," Hamill told Entertainment Weekly. "What would make someone that alienated from his original convictions? That's not something that you can just make up in an afternoon, and I really struggled with this thing. "I mean, that's a pretty amazing statement for someone who was the symbol of hope and optimism in the original films," he added. The surprising line from Skywalker was included in the first trailer for "The Last Jedi," albeit without much context. The new film is expected to pick up right where the last one left off: With the new protagonist, Rey (Daisy Ridley), face-to-face with the long-missing Skywalker after discovering him on a secluded, mountainous island. Apparently, Skywalker isn't too happy that Rey, who had just witnessed the death of Han Solo, managed to locate him. Ridley says of her character meeting Luke: "'Oh my God, this other man that I lost within a couple days was somewhat of a father figure. Now he's gone, and instead I'm with this grumpy guy on an island who doesn't want me here.'" Hamill, 65, also explained in the interview that his character is wracked with guilt after the new trilogy's leading villain, Kylo Ren, betrayed him during training. Kylo, who is played by Adam Driver, is Skywalker's nephew and the son of Leia and Han. "(Luke) made a huge mistake in thinking that his nephew was the chosen one, so he invested everything he had in Kylo, much like Obi-Wan did with my character," Hamill told EW. "And he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that. "That's the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi Continue Reading

Gwendoline Christie says Captain Phasma will return in ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’

The First Order's chrome-plated stormtrooper will be reporting for duty in the next "Star Wars." Actress Gwendoline Christie confirmed she'll reprise her role as Captain Phasma — the coldblooded commander of the stormtrooper fleet — in "Episode VIII" after the fate of her character was left unclear in the last movie. "I will be in the next 'Star Wars' movie," Christie told People magazine. The last time we saw Phasma in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," she was held captive by Han Solo and Finn, one of her former soldiers turned traitor. The pair contemplate dumping her into a trash compactor like the one that nearly crushed Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca in the original "Star Wars." Likewise, she was never seen escaping the exploding Starkiller planet near the end of the movie. But apparently Phasma made it out alive — and that's good news for "Star Wars" fans who believe they didn't see enough of her in "The Force Awakens." The sleek-costumed character was promoted heavily in the months leading up to the latest movie, but she ended up only having a few lines and didn't appear in any of the pinnacle battle scenes. That said, Christie was still thrilled to play such a powerful woman — and one of the most authoritative new villains — in the newest "Star Wars" trilogy. "I was delighted when J.J. Abrams wanted to have me in the film and then wanted to cast me in this role that had originally been designed for a man," she said. Viewers still have to wait a while to find out whether Phasma has a bigger role in the new movie, as the release date for "Star Wars: Episode VIII" was recently pushed back seven months to December 15, 2017. Continue Reading

Benicio Del Toro in talks to play villain in ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’: report

The Force could be with Benicio Del Toro. The Oscar winner, 48, has received an offer to play the villain in “Star Wars: Episode VIII,” according to The Wrap. Rian Johnson is directing the sequel to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which Del Toro is in talks to join. This isn’t the first time the actor has been eyed for to play a major baddie in a sci-fi franchise. The "Traffic" star was also in talks for the role in Khan in 2013’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which ultimately went to Benedict Cumberbatch. Most recently, he made an appearance in a Marvel blockbuster, taking on the role of The Collector in last year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” If Del Toro joins the flick, he will be a part of a diverse cast that includes Oscar Issac, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, who are expected to reprise their roles from "The Force Awakens" in the sequel. “Star Wars: Episode VIII” hits theaters May 26, 2017. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Benicio Del Toro confirms he’s nearing ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ role

The Force is strong with Benicio Del Toro, but he’s apparently not a Jedi yet. The 48-year-old actor confirmed to ET that he’s closing in on the role of a major villain in “Star Wars: Episode VIII.” "I can’t tell you much about it but I think that it might happen. It looks like it’s gonna happen so I’m very excited," Del Toro, a Star Wars fan since the age of 10, told the outlet at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's Grants Banquet on Thursday night. Variety reported last month that Lucasfilm has been seeking an A-lister for the part, with Joaquin Phoenix also on producers’ wishlist. Exactly what the role will be is shrouded in mystery — and Del Toro showed a furtiveness worthy of a Sith Lord. "I can’t talk too much about it. The script is hard to get. They told me they’d cut my finger if I talk about it," he quipped to ET. After sticking to indies and prestige picks for much of the last few years, Del Toro is fresh off a high-profile role in last year’s superhero blockbuster, “Guardians of the Galaxy.” He’d be in a whole different orbit, though, if he signs on for “Episode VIII,” which is scheduled for release on May 26, 2017 — or a day after the 40th anniversary of the first "Star Wars" film in 1977. Directed by Rian Johnson ("Looper"), the film is the second part of the new trilogy being launched with "The Force Awakens" this December. ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE. Continue Reading

Adam Driver in talks to play ‘Star Wars: Episode VII’ villain: reports

The Force was stronger in "Girls" star Adam Driver than previously imagined. The 30-year-old actor is all but officially signed up to play the villain in "Star Wars: Episode VII," Variety first reported. Sources told the industry trade publication that the biggest stumbling block to a deal had been Driver's commitment to HBO's "Girls." Driver is also currently filming the sci-fi drama, "Midnight Special," co-starring "Star Wars" alum Joel Edgerton. The casting news is a bit of a surprise considering Michael Fassbender had previously been rumored to be considered for the role in director J.J. Abrams sci-fi epic. Also expected to make the Kessel run back to the big screen are original trilogy stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher - though there has been no official announcement. Location scouting and preproduction has begun on "Star Wars: Episode VII," with filming set to begin this spring at London's Pinewood Studios. The eagerly awaited sequel, set after the events of "Return of the Jedi," is set to hit the big screen on Dec. 18, 2015. "Girls" creator Lena Dunham seemed to confirm Driver's casting with a congratulatory tweet: But she backtracked minutes later: Continue Reading

Whether in Star Wars or SEC battles, Georgia’s Chris Conley is a force

ATHENS, Ga. — Sitting inside the Georgia football offices on this humid July afternoon, Chris Conley is, sadly, not dressed up as a Sith Lord. He's not wearing fiery colored contacts or holding a lightsaber.But that part of Conley is never too far from the surface these days.The Georgia wide receiver pulls out his laptop and opens up Celtx, a collaborative script-writing software. He's working on directing his second Star Wars-inspired film, this one with a staff of professionals and a $10,000-$15,000 budget (and a Kickstarter). He calls it an action drama, and says the script currently fills 30 pages. He and his colleagues are working on trailers and promos right now, and they'll begin filming in earnest after football season ends.It's a far more ambitious project than Conley's last, but he hopes it will be as well-received.Conley wrote and directed a 26-minute Star Wars fan film titled Retribution, which was released last week and already has been viewed more than 350,000 times on YouTube. The film includes a plethora of fight scenes, taking place in Sanford Stadium and around the University of Georgia campus, with Conley himself starring as the villain. Georgia running back Todd Gurley makes a cameo, as does football coach Mark Richt (who is shown listening to classical music, beautifully oblivious to a battle happening behind him)."I'm not a film major," Conley says. "When I was writing the script (for Retribution), I didn't write in the correct script format. I didn't know about being a director, how you go about doing film. I took a crash course from November to March in being a filmmaker. No film school. I read things online. Magazines, books. I said, 'If I want to do this, I want to do it well.' From there, I had to learn a lot, had to make a lot of mistakes."Before this, I wasn't really thinking about this industry that much. Now that I've had a little bit of work in it, I really like it."Conley is in a unique position; he sits at perhaps the most Continue Reading

Darth Vader’s back in ‘Star Wars Rebels’

(SPOILER ALERT: The following article discusses in detail the season finale of Disney XD's Star Wars Rebels.)​Monday night's Star Wars Rebels season finale sent one Imperial villain down a fiery chasm to his apparent death but also ended with the arrival of the biggest baddie in the galaxy.An intimidating Darth Vader strolled onto the scene of the Disney XD series before the credits rolled on a half-hour that saw an epic lightsaber duel between the show's heroes and the evil Inquisitor (voiced by Jason Isaacs).Viewers also saw the reveal of former Jedi padawan Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars: The Clone Wars as the woman under the hood of Fulcrum. (In honor of the season finale, Hasbro is releasing action figures of Ahsoka and Vader in Rebels styling this fall.)The episode nicely sets up the upcoming second season (expected later this year) of Rebels, says executive producer Dave Filoni, and shows there are more folks battling the Empire than just the crew of the Ghost, which includes Kanan Jarrus (Freddie Prinze Jr.), Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), Hera Syndulla (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine Wren (Tiya Sircar), Zeb Orrelios (Steven Blum) and their droid pal Chopper."Our Rebels have now been brought into a larger world and are aware of a larger rebellion they're connected to," Filoni says. "That will come with all sorts of exciting moments and characters."The Inquisitor had been a thorn in the side of the Ghost's crew for most of the season, and Kanan and Ezra taking on their enemy with lightsabers flying all around was a throwback to Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Maul in the first prequel movie, 1999's Star Wars — Episode I: The Phantom Menace."We felt like we needed something definitive to happen, something that really showed an evolution of our characters," says Filoni.While Filoni jokes there's now a moratorium on lightsaber fights on bridges and catwalks, the Inquisitor losing and sending himself to his apparent doom "is greatly symbolic of the Continue Reading

Exclusive excerpt: Boba Fett rides again in ‘Star Wars’ short story

Not many in the Star Wars galaxy have the cool factor of Boba Fett. His Western gunfighter look and mysterious aura, like an armored Clint Eastwood, hooked writer Paul Dini from the start. "The narrow, T-shaped visor gives him a look of constant scrutiny, as if he's always sizing up a target just before he draws on him," Dini says of the infamous bounty hunter he writes about in the new 40th-anniversary anthology book Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View (Del Rey, out Oct. 3). "You're always guessing who he really is under the helmet, simply a hired gun for the highest price, or is there something more to him? What's going on inside his head? Do we even want to know?"It's those questions Dini, a lifelong Star Wars fan, loved exploring doing the Fett tale "Added Muscle" for From a Certain Point of View, featuring 40 tales by 40 different writers. The collection is filled with iconic moments starring sideline players who drift in and out of the original 1977 Star Wars. You can read an exclusive excerpt from Dini's story below or listen to the audio version read by Mad Men's Jon Hamm."As Don Draper, Jon excelled at playing a character who was ruthless, cunning, and yet undeniably charismatic. There's a lot of that in Fett," Dini says.Fett technically first appeared in 1980's The Empire Strikes Back but was later digitally inserted by George Lucas into the 1997 special edition of the original Star Wars."Added Muscle" is a "wink to that," Dini says, a day in the life of the galactic bounty hunter that happens to be the same day Luke Skywalker joins forces with Obi-Wan Kenobi."Boba is stopping over on Tatooine when he's called on by his old associate Jabba the Hutt to help collect a debt. Naturally this is the money owed to Jabba by Han Solo. The story is a monologue going through Fett's head while he backs up Jabba and stares down Han and Chewie."Fett shares similarities with another fan-favorite Continue Reading

Idris Elba eyed to play villain in ‘Star Trek 3’ … and it may be a Klingon!: report

If it's not a Klingon proverb, it should be: the only way to follow-up a performance like Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan for "Star Trek 3" is to cast another acclaimed British actor. Idris Elba is being eyed for the role of the main villain in the upcoming installment of the hit sci-fi franchise, Variety reported. The casting is not a slam dunk, however, since just last month FilmDivider reported that "Breaking Bad" alum Bryan Cranston was in consideration for the part. No matter who will be plotting as the film's big bad, he'll face off against the returning crew of the USS Enterprise — led by Chris Pine's Capt. Kirk, Zachary Quinto's Spock and Zoe Saldana's Uhura. While filmmakers are keeping details from being beamed to the public, speculation is mounting that the film's baddie will be a Klingon — a popular warrior race in Star Trek lore that has been mostly absent since J.J. Abrams rebooted the franchise. Abrams has left the helm because of his duties on "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," leaving the bridge to incoming director Justin Lin. Simon Pegg, who plays the engineer Scotty in the new "Star Trek", will be pulling double duty, co-writing the script with Doug Jung. Elba has plenty of fanboy cred in the bank already after turns as Thor's Asguardian compatriot, Heimdall, in the Marvel movies and as humanity's leader against a kaiju invasion in "Pacific Rim." "Star Trek 3" is scheduled to reach theaters on star-date July 8, 2016, in time for the 50th anniversary of the original TV series' debut. Continue Reading