Tag Archives: Star Wars

‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue One’ teaser trailer arrives

UPDATE (4/7): As promised, here is the first teaser trailer for Rogue One! It debuted on Good Morning America this morning, and it packs quite the punch even for a one-minute forty-second tease. John Williams’ iconic score has a new edge here, blending his classic keys with something entirely new. It introduces Felicity Jones’ character, who we now know is named Jyn Erso. “This is a rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel,” she says and just like that she immediately wins the hearts of Star Wars fans everywhere. Ben Mendelsohn looks to be channeling his inner evil he commands so well (see Bloodline) as an Imperial villain, and Forest Whitaker comes to Jyn’s aid in stealing the Death Star plans with a warning: “If you continue to fight, what will you become?” Also, be on the lookout for exciting callbacks to the original trilogy; Mon Mothma and the AT-ATs are back, and is that The Emperor underneath a black robe? Enjoy!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theatres December 16, 2016. The initial teaser for the teaser has been moved under the fold.

PREVIOUS (4/6): Yes, it’s a teaser for a teaser but… STAR WARS! Tomorrow Disney drops the first official teaser trailer for the Star Wars spinoff movie, Rogue One. To get your blood pumping, the studio’s released this 10-second teaser of the teaser and even it cannot disappoint. You’ll hear TIE Fighters whizzing, you’ll catch a glimpse of a stormtrooper dressed in all-black armor, and that’s pretty much it! Just enough to raise the hairs on every Star Wars fanboy and fangirl out there who are surely still high off The Force Awakens. Be sure to check back here Thursday morning for the full teaser.

So here’s what we know so far about Rogue One. READ MORE ‘Star Wars’ spinoff ‘Rogue One’ teaser trailer arrives

‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ comes home in April with bonus content galore

Chewie, you’re coming home. Disney’s announced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens will become available to own next month. It initially rolls out across digital platforms on April 1, followed by Blu-ray and DVD releases on April 5. A 3D version is also in the works for those of you with capable living room setups. Both the Blu-ray + DVD Combo Pack and DVD releases will come packaged with lots of bonus content including a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary including exclusive interviews with the cast and filmmakers. For the full breakdown of bonus content, which also includes deleted scenes and featurettes on building BB-8 and an inside look at John Williams crafting the iconic score, pop after the break.

Now here comes some more good news (or sour news), depending on your perspective. Disney is teaming up with retailers Target, Walmart, Best Buy, and its own Disney Store to offer fans even more exclusive bonus content. Each retailer offers unique collector’s packaging and special goodies inside. For example, Target’s includes 20 minutes of new content including exclusive interviews with the cast and a special look at the movie’s costumes and weaponry. The Disney Store, on the other hand, is including a limited lithograph set inside. All of this extra stuff is welcome, but retailer-exclusives pretty much forces fans and collectors to hunt down various copies of the same movie! Be sure to click after the break where you’ll find images of these bundles and links to order them.

J.J. Abrams latest resurrection was a box office smash, breaking records left and right. It’s most significant record has to be outpacing James Cameron’s Avatar to become the highest grossing domestic film of all time. It raked in $928.79 million in North America (compared to Avatar‘s $760.51 million). It could not, however, steal the golden crown from Avatar. Cameron’s technological marvel performed better internationally and that amounted to a worldwide gross of $2.79 billion. The Force Awakens ended up resting at a still wildly impressive $2.05 billion overall gross. READ MORE ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ comes home in April with bonus content galore

Cameras roll on ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ as principal photography begins (Announcement video inside!)

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is smashing box office records, currently banking $2 billion in worldwide gross and rising. More importantly, its director J.J. Abrams managed to successfully reignite the aging, iconic franchise by infusing the classic characters and tropes from the original trilogy with fresh protagonists and exhilarating, awe-inspiring storytelling.

The saga continues with Star Wars: Episode VIII. Abrams is handing the reigns to Rian Johnson, and the Looper director initiated principal photography on the highly anticipated sequel at Pinewood Studios in London today. Disney and Lucasfilm welcome  Benicio Del Toro, Laura Dern, and newcomer Kelly Marie Tran into the Star Wars universe. They join the talented cast from The Force Awakens including Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. In typical Star Wars fashion, the new trio’s roles are being kept tightly under wraps.

Now, skip after the break to watch the exciting “Episode VIII Production Announcement” video. From the looks of it, we’ll be picking up right where we left off in The Force Awakens, (spoiler alert) cliffside with Rey offering a bearded Luke Skywalker his familial lightsaber.

Star Wars: Episode VIII, originally slated for a spring 2017 release, hits theatres December 15, 2017.
READ MORE Cameras roll on ‘Star Wars: Episode VIII’ as principal photography begins (Announcement video inside!)

‘Star Wars’ drops theatrical poster and trailer ahead of ‘Force Awakens’ December release [Update: New character posters]

The new Star Wars is just a little over a month away from hitting theatres–can you believe it?! To satiate fans’ eager anticipation, Disney and Lucasfilm have released the official poster for J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens as well as the official full-length theatrical trailers that clocks in at 2 minutes and 35 seconds. Eye the poster above, and watch the new trailer after the break.

On a slightly depressing note, said poster is surprisingly not illustrated by iconic artist Drew Struzman. Special effects master and my friend Greg Aronowitz says it like it is in his latest blog post titled, “You disappoint me, Disney.” Though I didn’t grow up with Star Wars, I empathize with Greg’s ultimate grief over Disney attempt at replicating Struzman’s work as opposed to simply using it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18.

Update (11/4): Today a slew of new posters hit the ‘Net, each featuring a major player from The Force Awakens. Newbies Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) look fiercely confident with their respective staff and blue-bladed lightsaber. Kylo Ren’s (Adam Driver lightsaber emits a sinister red hue. And then, of course, we have our returning franchise veterans, Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford); thanks to some fancy photoshop, they both have aged incredibly well. All in all, I’m definitely digging the design motif here–the left side of each poster draws a distinct vertical line. What can it mean? Also, where’s Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill)? Here’s not here, and he isn’t even positioned in the official theatrical poster posted above even though everybody else is. Abrams certainly has a trick up his sleeve here, and I can’t wait to get to the bottom of this mystery. Eye the new character posters in the gallery below.

Update 2 (11/6): Another new trailer–this one’s international and is targeted towards the Japanese audience–has landed and it features new, never-before-seen footage. What are you waiting for–it’s embedded after the break!

Update 3 (12/5): A sixth character poster starring the third hero newbie is here! Eye Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron in the gallery below. Notice that the X-Wing fighter’s portrait does not mimic the others; he prefers flying machines to lightsabers, after all.

READ MORE ‘Star Wars’ drops theatrical poster and trailer ahead of ‘Force Awakens’ December release [Update: New character posters]

BB-8 by Sphero is the droid you’re looking for

We’re a mere three months out from stepping into a new chapter in the Star Wars universe. In an effort to ramp up anticipation of The Force Awakens (as if everything else hasn’t already), Disney Consumer Products and Lucasfilm have branded today “Force Friday,” a day to celebrate all things Star Wars with officially licensed products including toys, collectibles, gadgets, you name it. Retailers nationwide are selling brand new Star Wars stuff, and perhaps the most coveted of them all is the app-enabled droid BB-8 from Sphero.

Sphero, the company behind app-controlled spherical robots, was chosen by Disney and Lucasfilm to imagine and produce an interactive iteration of everyone’s favorite Astromech Droid, BB-8. Though little is known about this cute little droid who’s set to make his debut in The Force Awakens, Star Wars fans worldwide immediately embraced BB-8 following its impressive stage presence at this summer’s Star Wars Celebration. BB-8 is director J.J. Abrams’ shining example of how he’s following in George Lucas’ early footsteps using practical effects above CGI ones where possible. BB-8 looks like a giant soccer ball with an R2D2-like head magically balancing on atop its body. The droid stunned the crowd at Celebration, and now, thanks to Sphero’s handiwork, you can call BB-8 your own.

The BB-8 toy is significantly smaller than its movie character counterpart, fitting in the palm of your hand. Pair it with your phone via Bluetooth and you’re in control of its movements. A free companion app on iOS and Android allows you to guide it around, a patrol mode makes it roam around your space autonomously, and a message mode lets you create, send, and share holographic videos (the droid does not actually beam out holograms, mind you; you’ll see the augmented reality images displayed on your phone or tablet). Gyroscopic propulsion and magnets make the magic happen. Be careful, though; BB-8’s head will fly off if you slam it into a wall hard enough or accidentally drop it from an elevated surface. Battery life is listed at an hour, and it comes bundled with an inductive charging cradle. The coolest bit? Sphero says its BB-8 has an “adaptive personality that changes as you play.” Its got a range of expressions and sounds, and it’ll perk up when you give voice commands.

Simply put, this is the droid you’re looking for. See BB-8 in action after the break.

What will all this tech cost you? Sphero’s newest robotic toy is a pricey $149.99, and it’s available today. Good luck tracking one down, though. BB-8 is the new Tickle-Me-Elmo, if you know what I mean. Sphero sells it on its website, and major retailers carry it, too.

Happy Force Friday!

[Via Sphero 1, 2] READ MORE BB-8 by Sphero is the droid you’re looking for

‘Star Wars’ @ D23: ‘Rogue One’ cast, ‘Episode IX’ director, theme park lands, ‘Force Awakens’ poster & more!

This weekend, Disney hosted its fourth D23 Expo in Anaheim, California celebrating all things Disney, Pixar, and the like. Saturday was dedicated to Star Wars and man oh man were fans in for a treat. With The Force Awakens opening this holiday season, Disney and Lucasfilm are ramping up anticipation for the massive return to George Lucas’ timeless creation. At D23, many exciting announcements were made regarding Rogue OneEpisode IX, and new theme park attractions.

It’s all packed inside, so what are you waiting for? Dive in! READ MORE ‘Star Wars’ @ D23: ‘Rogue One’ cast, ‘Episode IX’ director, theme park lands, ‘Force Awakens’ poster & more!

Comic Con: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ brings together entire main cast & the fans get a concert (Behind-the-scenes video inside)

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It’s a funny thing, really. Though little was divulged in terms of new announcements at the Star Wars panel at San Diego Comic Con 2015, it turned out to be the most amazing Con experience and one I will never forget.

A packed Hall H chants “Let’s go Star Wars!” and claps as if we were at a sporting event. Only at Comic Con, am I right? In time, moderator Chris Hardwick (the Talking Dead host and Nerdist leader was everywhere this year!) came out to introduce producer Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm, director J.J. Abrams, and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan. Abrams talked up Episode VII‘s reliance on practical effects over CGI, and he made a point by bringing out a new character named Bobba Joe. The creature, operated magically by five people, managed to walk across the stage twice without falling over or bumping into anything. The oversized puppet really impressed the audience with its finesse. Abrams says to expect many characters like this in the film.

“We aren’t ready to show you scenes from the movie or a new trailer, but we wanted to bring something that was as unique and unexpected as we could,” Abrams told the crowd. The behind-the-scenes reel shown to panel attendees brought tears to many eyes–it encapsulates the sheer force of the Star Wars franchise and does a great job of sharing the level of detail and blood, sweat, and tears that Abrams and co. are putting into this thing. Also, Simon Pegg pops up in a surprise cameo! You can watch nearly 4-minute clip after the break.

The cast came out next. Our three heroes John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey), and Oscar Isaacs (Poe Dameron) and then the villains Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), and Gwendolyn Christie (Captain Phasma) and then the legacy players Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), and Harrison Ford (Han Solo). And yes, the crowd went more than wild at the sight of all this talent, especially when Mr. Ford entered the scene. He received the biggest standing ovation by a mile. Gleeson accidentally leaked the name of the villains’ base: Starkiller Base. Beyond that, nothing new was announced here. A handful of first-looks at practical effects characters were displayed, and you can see those in the gallery.

Just as the panel felt like it was wrapping up, Abrams said this: “Who wants to go see a live Star Wars concert right now? We only have room for all of you. We are literally all going to walk to a location together and experience a Star Wars concert tonight.” It’s hard to describe the rush I felt along with everyone else there. It was like a wave of excitement crashed into the crowd and all of sudden we were all high on life all at once. And with that, the entire Hall H–over 6,000 people–proceeded to collect their belongings and follow a procession of Stormtroopers to the Embarcadero Marina Park South where the San Diego Symphony was waiting to perform selections from the iconic Star Wars score. The walk took about 45 minutes or so, but that wasn’t a problem for anyone. With our exclusive lanyards we walked proudly behind the convention center and slowly made our way to the secret venue on the water. Once everyone was situated with free colored lightsabers, Abrams and the entire cast came out again to introduce the symphony. Composer John Williams wasn’t on hand, unfortunately, but he did pre-record a message wishing the fans a good time and “May the force be with you.” The sun set, the music played beautifully against a backdrop consisting of classic scenes spanning all six films, and just when we all thought it couldn’t get any better, fireworks exploded in the sky just as the Star Wars main theme kicked in at the end of the concert. A rainbow of lightsabers showered the symphony with love.

This was truly a shared experience to cherish for a lifetime.

READ MORE Comic Con: ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ brings together entire main cast & the fans get a concert (Behind-the-scenes video inside)

It’s official: Han Solo spins off in his own ‘Star Wars’ pic coming in 2018

The Star Wars universe is growing. Today, Disney made official a second Star WarsAnthology Series” film that will focus on the early days of smuggler-turned-hero Han Solo. “The story focuses on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief, and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina at Mos Eisley,” reads the press release. I guess that puts the kibosh on Harrison Ford reprising his iconic character in this untitled prequel spinoff.

Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, the witty and wickedly funny directors behind The LEGO MovieCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, and 21 Jump Street, and TV’s The Last Man on Earth are locked in to direct the Han Solo feature. Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon are penning the script together; the elder Kasdan is a Star Wars veteran having co-written the screenplays for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and the upcoming The Force Awakens. And of course, Lucasfilm mainstay Kathleen Kennedy is producing.

“This is the first film we’ve worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with,” said Miller and Lord in a statement. “We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you’re late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you’ve loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”

“We’re so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the Star Wars universe,” added the Kasdans. “They’re two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy.”

Kennedy also shared enthusiasm for working with the now-prolific directors. “It’s not just any filmmaker who can tell the story of such a beloved icon like Han Solo, and I’m excited to say we’ve found the perfect team to handle the task. Larry and Jon know all there is to know about the character, and Chris and Phil will bring their wit, style, energy and heart to tell Han’s story.”

The Han Solo adventure sets its sights on a May 25, 2018 release. But first there’s J.J. Abrams’ The Force Awakens out this December 18, Gareth Edwards’ Anthology entry Rogue One out December 16, 2016, and Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII out May 26, 2017.

[Via Star Wars]

Vanity Fair scoops inside look at ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ with photos galore

Stars Wars has been taking over the Internet lately; from the spectacular teaser trailer for The Force Awakens, to concrete details about the war-themed Rogue One standalone film as well as a fresh look at EA’s Battlefront video game, the hype train for Disney’s lucrative acquisition isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Just in time to celebrate Star Wars Day–May the Fourth be with you all–Vanity Fair has pushed out its cover for their upcoming June issue and look above to see who’s adorning it: from L-R there’s John Boyega as Stormtrooper Finn, the completely real and not-CGI new droid BB-8, Daisy Ridley as scavenger Rey, Peter Mayhew’s Chewie, and Harrison Ford back as Han Solo. Famed celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz was invited to the Force Awakens‘ set to snap the pic.

For more, head over to Vanity Fair. At the bottom of the page you’ll discover a photo gallery packed with never-before-seen looks at Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, 12 Years A Slave‘s Lupita Nyong’o as CGI’d character Maz Kanata, Girls‘ Adam Driver as baddie Kylo Ren, and more. The preceding article is also worth a read; in it, director J.J. Abrams teases an Easter Egg death for Jar Jar Binks, and he also reiterates his reliance on practical effects. Also, there’s video following Leibovitz on set!

Want a copy of the Star Wars-themed Vanity Fair to display on your coffee table? The June issue hits newsstands nationwide on Tuesday, May 12. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theatres December 18.

Star Wars stand-alone pic ‘Rogue One’ details surface; ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ game trailer inside

The Star Wars Celebration convention continues. Mere days after unveiling the universally enjoyable second teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a second panel packed with franchise fans would parcel fresh intel regarding one of the two upcoming Star Wars stand-alone films. Today’s panel was originally supposed to feature Gareth Edwards and Josh Trank, but the latter director was a no-show due to an illness. So, only Edwards’ Rogue One spinoff film was discussed, and Trank’s still untitled Star Wars pic wasn’t brought up. Moving on!

Godzilla director Edwards was joined on stage by Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Kiri Hart. First and foremost, we’ve got a description for Rogue One: “A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans,” spills Star Wars’ official Twitter feed. At the panel, it was confirmed that The Theory of Everything‘s Felicity Jones will star as a Rebel soldier.

A brief teaser was screened at the panel; Lucasfilms has yet to post a clean copy of it online, but that never stopped the Internet before. You can search YouTube for cell phone recordings but be quick about it–they’ll be pulled before long. In case you can’t find it, here’s a quick description of the action. It opens with narration from Alec Guinness who played Obi-Wan Kenobi in the original Star Wars film. The dialogue pulled from A New Hope went like this: “For more than a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times. Before the Empire.” The visuals start on a planet teeming with lush forestry. As the camera starts panning towards a bright sky, a TIE Fighter zooms by heading for what appears to be the planet’s nearby moon. As we follow it fly away, we realize that’s no moon–it’s the original Death Star hanging beyond the clouds. The teaser goes black, and just as solider radio coms chatter starts to get hectic, the Star Wars Rogue One title card appears.

Be mindful that this footage was made in collaboration with the folks at Industrial Light & Magic specially for this reveal. Edwards and his team are currently in pre-production with shooting set to begin this summer. The clip is a mere taste of what’s to come. In addition to the footage, concept art was also displayed for the rabid crowd; it depicts soldiers storming onto a rainy, muddy planet.

Edwards briefly expanded on Rogue One. “It’s the reality of war. Good guys are bad. Bad guys are good. It’s complicated, layered; a very rich scenario in which to set a movie,” he said. Don’t expect the film’s main set of characters to bring down their enemies with The Force or other mythological powers, because they won’t. Edwards says, “It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.” Sounds like a much more grounded, realistic approach to the franchise, one we haven’t yet seen. Edwards’ spinoff is very much a war movie; the director cited Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down as inspirations. “It’s called Star … Wars,” he reminded the crowd. In terms of where it fits in the Star Wars timeline: Edwards confirmed Rogue One takes place after Revenge of the Sith and before A New Hope.

Expanding Star Wars‘ inherently sci-fi tendencies and pushing the franchise’s genre in new directions is, in fact, the point here. “The idea behind these movies is that Star Wars, as much as it is a set of stories and characters we know, it’s also a place–a place we can explore in terms of character and time,” said Hart. Edwards’ Rogue One will showcase a heist story set in a gritty, war-torn environment with relatable soldiers who wield no magic. Though we don’t have information to go on yet about Trank’s spinoff, his film is also set to play with the genre and inject new storytelling elements into the franchise.

We should stop using the term “spinoff films” at this point, since Kennedy and Hart introduced a new branding term for all non-trilogy franchise films. All spinoff/standalone movies set in the Star Wars universe are to be referred to as films in the “Star Wars Anthology Series.”

Star Wars Rogue One, the first Star Wars Anthology Series film, is slated to hit theatres December 16, 2016.

An incredible look at Electronic Arts’ video game Star Wars: Battlefront waits after the break. READ MORE Star Wars stand-alone pic ‘Rogue One’ details surface; ‘Star Wars: Battlefront’ game trailer inside

A memorable new teaser for ‘The Force Awakens’ arrives at Star Wars Celebration, plus new character details

Today at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim, California, director J.J. Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy unveiled the latest teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Tons of fans present at the event exploded in excitement over the new one minute fifty-nine second teaser, and now you can too; go on, don’t hesitate, mash play above and let all of its glory wash over you! Done? Watch it again.

A few things to note. That is original Star Wars star Mark Hamill providing voice-over during the first half of the teaser; his lines are directly plucked from Return of the Jedi when he’s revealing to Leia that Darth Vader is his father. “The force is strong in my family,” says Hamill’s Luke Skywalker. “My father has it. I have it. My sister has it.” The line that comes next is new: “And you have the power, too.” We’re left to assume here that Luke is talking to a next-generation Skywalker in The Force Awakens, but neither Abrams nor Kennedy would confirm. Seeing Darth Vader’s utterly maligned helmet here is a striking image that I know will sit with me for some time.

What else? Referring to the desert world that made its debut in the first teaser, Abrams confirmed it is not Luke Skywalker’s home of Tattoine, but instead an entirely new world called Jakku. These expansive, beautiful sequences were filmed in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.

The latter half of the panel introduced new franchise stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac. Respectively they play a scavenger named Rey, a Stormtrooper named Finn, and an X-Wing pilot named Poe Dameron. Though plot details are still being tightly kept under wraps, Abrams allowed each of them to briefly let some character details fly.

“We discover Rey on the desert planet Jakku,” Ridley shared with the crowd. “She is a scavenger in a ship graveyard. She’s completely self-sufficient and does everything for herself, until she meets another character and an adventure begins.” Boyega picks up and says, “When we find Finn, he’s in incredible danger. The way he decides to react changes his life and launches him into the Star Wars universe in a unique way.” Issac goes on to describe Dameron like this: “He’s the best fricking pilot in the galaxy, that’s who he is! He’s been sent on a mission by a certain princess. He comes across Mr. John Boyega’s character and their fates are forever intertwined.”

Making fun surprise appearances today were R2-D2 and the new droid BB-8. Though The Force Awakens admittedly uses lots of green screen for its special effects, Abrams reiterated his film’s reliance on practical effects and BB8 is a prime example of that. “We talked about how having a CGI BB-8 would be easier,” Abrams noted. “But we thought it would be better for the actors and the performances to have the real thing.” The director is taking a cue from Star Wars creator George Lucas’s playbook here; the original trilogy took advantage of robotics and advanced puppetry to pull off some of the most inventive and impressive stunts in cinematic history. Sounds like J.J. is on board with that, too. Watch BB-8 in action on stage right here.

The trailer ends with perhaps the most exciting bit yet: Han Solo and Chewbacca return in fleetingly grand fashion and ignite the nostalgic part of our collective brains. “Chewie, we’re home,” Han positively snarls, which is then followed by the lovable Wookiee’s signature roar. Though Han’s portrayer Harrison Ford wasn’t on hand at the event, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, and Peter Mayhew showed up to express their ultimate gratitude for the generations of passionate Star Wars fans. “I have a simple message: a simple thank you,” Hamill gushed. “If it weren’t for all the UPFs—Ultra Passionate Fans—we wouldn’t be here. It never ceases to amaze me.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18.

[Via EW 1, 2]

Disney confirms ‘Star Wars’ stand-alone film, ‘Episode VIII’ & ‘Frozen’ sequel

Today, Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger led a shareholder meeting and made some exciting announcements regarding a couple of his company’s most lucrative franchises.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams, is coming December 18–we all know this. Now what comes after? Details about the future of Star Wars just got a bit clearer. Sandwiched between Episode VII and its direct followup Episode VIII, Disney is releasing the first stand-alone Star Wars film. “Rogue One is the title for the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga,” reads a press release. Gareth Edwards (GodzillaMonsters) is confirmed to direct Rogue One, and Chris Weitz (Cinderella, About a Boy, Antz) is penning the script. Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything) will star. The idea for the stand-alone came from John Knoll, an Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor and chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic (that’s the visual effects company created by George Lucas in 1975). Production on Rogue One begins this summer and it’s slotted to hit theatres December 16, 2016.

Iger went on to confirm that Rian Johnson (LooperBrickBreaking Bad) will direct Star Wars: Episode VIII, “which continues the saga after the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Ep8 releases May 26, 2017.

In other Disney-related news, Iger made an unsurprising but still incredibly exciting announcement about the future of Frozen. A sequel is most definitely in the works! Frozen co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck are working on the followup to the top-grossing animated film of all-time.

“We enjoyed making Frozen Fever so much and being back in that world with those characters,” said John Lasseter, Pixar chief creative officer. “Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck have come up with a great idea for a sequel and you will be hearing a lot more about it and we’re taking you back to Arendelle. We are so excited about that.”

That’s all there is to know for now. But now I bet you’re craving Frozen like Olaf craves summertime. Don’t fret–you can experience a brand new Frozen adventure starting tomorrow when the Pixar short Frozen Fever hits theatres; it’s playing in front of Disney’s new live-action Cinderella.