Wednesday, April 12 2017 10:27

#SWCO: Hasbro's Black Series Rey and Speeder

Star Wars Celebration Orlando is getting underway this week, and thus we're preparing for an onslaught of fresh news from around the Star Wars Galaxy to come rolling into Rock Father HQ... probably faster than I can keep up. One of the first reveals hit yesterday, with the debut of a new set from Hasbro - STAR WARS: THE BLACK SERIES REY’S SPEEDER (JAKKU) & REY (SCAVENGER) Figure. Set to hit retail this fall with a suggested price of $59.99, this gorgeous set features an all-new, highly-articulated figure of Daisy Ridley's Rey, alongside a detailed version of her speeder from JJ Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 

Star Wars 40th AnniversaryAnnounced today on ABC's Good Morning AmericaStar Wars: Force For Change has teamed up with Omaze to launch Star Wars “Past, Present and Future” — a new fundraising campaign to benefit UNICEF and Starlight Children’s Foundation — in honor of the saga’s 40th Anniversary celebration. The new initiative will give Star Wars fans a shot at winning three "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences, including an appearance in the upcoming untitled Han Solo Star Wars Story, tickets to the world premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, or an overnight stay at Skywalker Ranch. Each week, a new prize will be awarded to a randomly-selected winner, and at the end of the campaign, one randomly-selected grand prize winner will be awarded all three Force-filled experiences. Check out the announcement video featuring Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) below...

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We really need to find a way to get Josh Gad into a Star Wars film. While Han Solo: A Star Wars Story (probably not the real title) is lensing now, the follow-up to Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi should soon be ramping up with Colin Trevorrow at the helm. Gad is quite obviously Star Wars-obsessed (as most of us are), and that has certainly carried over into his work on Murder on the Orient Express, in which he stars alongside Daisy Ridley (whom I interviewed here), Rey herself. Over the past few months, he's pressed Ridley for answers - a quest that has been fruitless, and perhaps annoying.  Today, however, he didn't have any questions for Daisy. In fact, it was a familiar troupe of faces who had a few questions for one of The Last Jedi...

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Tuesday, April 19 2016 10:27

STAR WARS: Awakening The Force at Home...

When the original STAR WARS Saga (aka "The Old Trilogy") first rolled out between 1977 and 1983, it was a great time to be a kid, though one that seems archaic by modern standards. Back then, viewing STAR WARS was an experience that was reserved as a cinema-only event... unless you were among a very select few that were lucky enough to have an RCA SelectaVision player (video disks that were encased in a square plastic cartridge), or one of the early VHS machines. Even then, you couldn't watch 1977's STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE at home until the latter half of 1982. For our family, it was when HBO scored the rights to STAR WARS in 1983 that we'd get to see it at home on the small, square, screen. In fact, I distinctly remember eating Aurelio's Pizza while watching the film, the brightly-colored wicker paper plate holders still fresh in my mind. For us, the STAR WARS adventures were brought to life and continued daily through Kenner's STAR WARS collection of action figures, playsets and vehicles, with the films essentially recalled from memory. Being there the first time around, it's astounding to think that families in 2016 were able to enjoy J.J. Abrams' STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS at home... a mere four months after its theatrical debut. But like their parents before them, our girls are creating their own STAR WARS adventures daily with Hasbro's extensive collection of STAR WARS toys, and to celebrate the in-home release of THE FORCE AWAKENS earlier this month, our friends at Hasbro sent a box of goodies so we could have a slightly belated premiere party right here at Rock Father HQ. And we did it with pizza... just like back in '83!

When Hasbro relaunched STAR WARS action figures in the 1990s under the POWER OF THE FORCE banner, themed sets and "Cinema Scenes" were commonplace, often becoming sought-after for quite some time. In recent years there's been less of that, but that might be changing with the release of the STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Takodana Encounter Action Figure Set, a four-figure collection that made a huge splash as Toy Fair back in February. While it does seem a tad odd that John Boyega's Finn, Daisy Ridley's Rey, and the lovable Astromech Droid BB-8 would be paired-up since many people probably already have them in some form or another, the big draw here is that this set marks the action figure debut of Maz Kanata, the scene-stealing alien played by Lupita Nyong'o via motion capture. This set captures our heroes as they were in the film when Rey felt drawn to a curious trunk containing the lightsaber formerly owned by both Anakin Skywalker and his son, Luke. One of the coolest elements of the set is that the trunk itself is included, and it's now up for pre-order through my allies at Entertainment Earth!

"I was actually in film school when I saw STAR WARS for the first time," recalls Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy about her first glimpse into a galaxy far, far away. "So as you can imagine, it was just jaw-dropping, mind-blowing. Everybody in film school was talking about it. You realize that there was so much possible beyond anything you could imagine once we all saw that movie." Nearly four decades later, Kennedy's career has proven just that - that so much is possible. After working closely with Steven Spielberg and moving up the ranks in the 1980s, she became one of the most prolific producers in the film world, a driving force behind Amblin Entertainment, and later co-founding The Kennedy/Marshall Company with husband Frank Marshall. Kennedy's resume reads like a "Greatest Hits" of the movies that impacted my youth - titles like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Gremlins, The Goonies, Back to the Future, The Money Pit and dozens more. In 2012, Kennedy would be hand-picked by George Lucas to become his successor at the helm of Lucasfilm, to lead a rebirth of STAR WARS under the new ownership of The Walt Disney Company. At the Global Press Event for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS, I sat down with Kennedy for some insight into road that's led to here... The Legacy of The Force, if you will.

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