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Episode VII Casting: Crystal Clarke & Pip Anderson

From, (via Making Star Wars) it looks like we have to latest members of the Star Wars VII cast have joined the crew! Are they “Rachel and Thomas”? It looks that way.

Having hunted high and low for young and undiscovered talent, the filmmakers are delighted to announce that two actors from the open call call have been cast.


Crystal Clarke is an American actress studying in Glasgow, UK, who has both stage and screen acting experience and is soon to be seen in her first feature, The Moon and the Sun (to be released in 2015). British actor Pip Anderson is a skilled practitioner of parkour, a discipline that involves propelling oneself through any given environment with incredible grace and agility. Pip recently demonstrated this remarkable skill in a Spider-Man adfor Sony.

“The Star Wars universe has always been about discovering and nurturing young talent and in casting Episode VII we wanted to remain absolutely faithful to this tradition. We are delighted that so many travelled to see us at the open casting calls and that we have been able to make Crystal and Pip a part of the film,” said producer and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Abu Dhabi shooting is now wrapped and it looks like Principal photography continues at Pinewood. However, there will be a two week break in August while Harrison Ford recovers from his peg-leg-causing injury.

Most importantly: The release date stands firm! See ya in theaters in Dec. 2015!


Gungans: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em?

Though they may not be first to mind as an integral species in in the universe, Gungans have appearances in four of the six Star Wars films. With a particularly important role to play in The Phantom Menace, and several main characters in the film, no Star Wars fan can deny the Gungans; role in the films. This is the start of a short series exploring Gungans and some of my feelings about the species.


Before expressing some of my opinions, I’ll first give a brief overview of the species and history in Star Wars.

Gungans are native to the planet Naboo. They are an amphibious , humanoid species that typically live in the swamps of Naboo. They tended to be isolationist, existing primarily within their own socio-political community structures. Their underwater capital is Otoh Gunga, where the Gungan council sits led by a Boss (like Boss Nass in The Phantom Menace).


After The Phantom Menace, Gungans worked more closely with the Naboo government. Though typically a peaceful species, the Gungans do have a warrior culture, and utilized their energy field technology for effective warfare. They maintain an army called the Gungan Grand Army.



Gungans spoke a type of modified Galactic Basic with a mix of Gungan words. This, with their appearance, underwater lifestyle, and use of animals as beasts of burdens probably led to the view by many others that Gungans are a primitive species. However, with their biotechnology, and blue plasma energy, they are a technologically advanced society. Plus, their cultural structure is a complex one, with a combination of that warrior subculture yet isolationist policies that eventually changed to working more with the human Naboo society and participating in the Galactic Republic. Their political structure works well. Though it seems a little bureaucratic at times, the Gungan council and Boss usually work well to regulate and protect society. They would follow strict cultural rules, for which a Gungan could be exiled from society for breaking (as the Gungan Jar Jar Binks was). This strictness though seems to be what has kept their unique culture intact. Plus, the events of The Phantom Menace see the Gungan people more open to interaction with other societies.


Gungans, while perhaps odd looking and sounding to the viewer, are actually an advanced species with a culture, biotechnology, and war fighting capabilities to be respected.

If you could live in an underwater city, would you?

~ Bethany Blanton



Three Star Wars Characters I have an Irrational Love For

Tastes vary and tastes change, but it is often our first impressions and earliest preferences that stick with us. I can’t tell you the number of times I have seen the Star Wars films, but I can tell you that the characters that drew my attention most as a child are still the ones that make me smile every time I watch the films. If you are like me you probably have your own set of supporting or background characters that you love. I thought I would share with you three characters from the original trilogy that I have an irrational love for.

A New Hope: Kabe

A number of thoughts pass through my mind when I see Kabe, the diminutive female Chandra-Fan sidle up to the bar. If the cantina is such a rough-and-tumble place, what is this little critter doing in there? Just how much butt must Kabe kick?

I also am impressed with the eagerness to imbibe that drink of whatever concoction Wuher cooked up. The contrast of large appetite and small stature provides a note of humor in stories.

Finally I am struck with the irrepressible urge to say, “awww, how cute.”

The Empire Strikes Back: Toryn Farr

In the male dominated originally trilogy, Rebel communications officer Toryn Farr sticks out. We learn next to nothing about her, but two things make me always cheer her appearance.

Toryn has some of the coolest toys in the galaxy. The sensor screens that she operates are one of my favorite pieces of set in the entire trilogy.

More important than her tech is Toryn’s courage. She is one of the last to evacuate the Hoth base, even after the Imperials have made landfall and the whole base is shaking she stays in the command center to make sure her comrades can get away.

Return of the Jedi: EV-9D9


Prior to Return of the Jedi we had seen droids that where obstinate, cranky, sarcastic, helpful, brave, and even quietly menacing. When we enter Jabba’s Palace we meet a whole new set of sadistic and evil droids in the bowels of the palace.

Of these droids my favorite is EV-9D9. A supervisor and interrogator droid EV was just plain nasty. Now it is hard to tell if EV is one of my favorite characters because of her appearance in the film or because of how awesome the action figure was.

I received a case of loose Star Wars action figures and accessories from my cousin Joe and EV was one of my favorite figures because of her articulated mouth. I don’t know why I was so tickled by that feature but playing with EV is something I still remember today.

Do you share my irrational love of Kabe, Toryn, and Ev-9D9? Are there other characters you irrationally love? Let me know on Twitter:


How I Found out that Darth Vader is…


Luke’s father.



It seems that everyone has a story about how they discovered the terrible truth: Darth Vader is Luke Skywalker’s father. I

I’ve heard stories varying from the range of figuring it out from Robot Chicken, to discovering it in the film itself at young age. Regardless, if you’re a star Wars fan, this is likely the single most shocking revelation the entire Saga.

The following is the tale of how I personally made this terrible discovery.

Growing up, when my family would have to leave back here in the United States, (I grew up overseas) I had the opportunity to spend quite a bit of time at my Aunt and Uncle’s house. My older siblings would often participate in grand and epic water balloon fights that I remember all too well mainly because I was too young to participate in them. I had two cousins in this family, and they were both very much into Star Wars. In fact, a lot of my earliest memories of Star Wars exposure was through these two cousins. I remember playing Star Wars Episode I Racer on their N64, among many other things. Anyway, one day while visiting my Aunt and Uncle’s house, I was given free reign in my cousins room. (Probably a bad idea) He had quite a few amazing collectibles & toys that I occupied myself with. However what caught my fancy was a stack of Star Wars trading cards. I still remember vividly, rifling through them being fascinated by the pictures of different characters, and reading brief summary that described the various aspects of the saga. And, as I’m sure you can guess by now, I came across a card describing Darth Vader and Luke from The Empire Strikes Back.

What’s funny is the fact that I hardly knew anything about the Star Wars films at this time. I just kind of knew what the movies were. I think I may have known some of the main characters and perhaps a very skeletal understanding of the plot, but that was it.

There it was, Luke Skywalker was the son of Darth Vader. Even having not seen the film, I still remember this coming to me as a complete shock. I think I may have been about 10 or 11 years old at this time, and the idea of the ultimate villain being the father of the hero was very striking to me at the time. So yes, when I saw the film a few years later for the first time, I was not surprised at the reveal. However, the resonance of the moment was still intact, and still as compelling to me.

Riley Blanton

Host of the Star Wars Report podcast, Tech enthusiast, AFROTC. Opinions are my own and do not represent those of… well… other people.

Rumor: Rian Johnson To Write and Direct Episodes VIII and IX

Wow, if true, this is big news. I’m just feeling like I’m getting to know J.J.

According to Deadline:

In a bombshell move, I’m told that Lucasfilm is making a deal with Looper writer-director Rian Johnson to write and direct Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.


What does this mean for the saga? Will we get official confirmation? Stay tuned…