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Star Wars: Episode VII’s Villains Step Out Of The Shadows

star-wars-episode-vii-logo-600x339-578x326The last day or so has been big for news on the Star Wars: Episode VII front. We get a look at a redesigned stormtrooper helmet, as well as an idea of what Han Solo might wear on his adventures come December 18, 2015. And now we’ve got some potential details about the villains of the upcoming return to that far, far away galaxy, which also confirm, or at least coincide with, some earlier reports we’ve come across.

Potential SPOILERS follow for Episode VII, and, as always, these reports are unconfirmed, so take them with the proverbial grain of salt. Odds are we won’t know if any of these are real until we actually see the movie.

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Star Wars: Episode VII Photos Show What Han Solo Could Look Like

Star Wars Episode VIIAt this point, we don’t know much about J.J. Abrams’ upcoming >Star Wars: Episode VII, and odds are we won’t get much concrete detail until the movie actually opens on December 18, 2015. One thing we all suspect, however, is that Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, that loveable rogue, that scruffy looking Nerf Herder, will play a major role. And now, thanks to some concept art that has leaked onto the internet, we have a better idea of what he might look like.

Yesterday we got our first look at a possible stormtrooper redesign, and these come from the same source. There are a couple different looks in these pictures that, at least on the surface, tell us a little about what we could encounter in Episode VII. If this first image is any indication, we’re going to go somewhere cold, like Hoth cold. You’ll need a sturdy, fur-lined coat in a place like that.

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The Walking Dead’s Daryl Just Might Be Gay

the walking deadWatching AMC’s The Walking Dead will bring to mind a lot of questions, such as, “What’s Rick going to yell at now?” and “When is Carol’s luck going to run out?” Less likely are questions about these characters’ sexualities, since this is a series with a severe lack of bone zones. One Walking Dead comic reader openly pondered if Norman Reedus’ Daryl Dixon was gay or not, and creator Robert Kirkman’s answers seem to imply it’s a definite possibility.

In the fan-favorite letter column in The Walking Dead #130, reader Nick Muller compares Daryl to the comic character Jesus, another loner-type badass who was revealed to be gay quite a few issues after he was introduced, and wonders if Daryl will see a similar outing in the future. And Kirkman, never one to just blatantly reveal anything, is pretty up front about how he and AMC execs have been looking at the issue. Here’s part of his response:

All I can say is that it’s been discussed. We have very specific ideas about Daryl’s sexuality (or the seeming lack thereof), and if there’s ever a quiet period in the show where he’s not constantly distracted by crossbowing…we’ll tackle it on the show.

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Scientists Program The Biggest Group Of Robots Ever

kilbotsSwarming robots — on the ground, in the air, even in a swimming pool — are nothing new, and DARPA put out a call back in May for robots to work together in a hive-mind sort of way. Still, all of those developments put together didn’t quite prepare me for the massive swarm of robots that scientists have recently programmed.

The robot is called Kilobot — a name that makes sense metrically, but also has some unfortunate connotations, especially when spoken out loud. It was created by researchers at Harvard’s Self-Organizing Systems Research Group. It’s roughly the size of a penny and has three toothpicks for legs. The parts to build a Kilobot cost about $14, and by itself it doesn’t seem all that commanding or impressive. But when amassed with 1,000 other Kilobots, the tiny robots transform into a collaborative mass that can assemble itself into pretty much any two-dimensional shape it wants.

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Star Wars: Episode VII Leaked Images Show Alleged Stormtrooper Redesign

Trooper1Even with director J.J. Abrams’ penchant for secrecy, it’s inevitable that a production as high-profile as Star Wars: Episode VII is going to have some leaks. And it has, ranging from pictures of sets and aliens to the ever-revolving door of story rumors. The latest comes in the form of pictures purported to be of Episode VII’s redesigned Stormtroopers. And while the unidentified source for the pics does leave us a bit dubious, there are other details that suggest this might — might — be the real deal. The pic up top is the first of two shots posted today by the site Indie Revolver.

Indie Revolver doesn’t say who their source for the images is, instead just claiming that they have “very reliable information that the images below represent how some of the Imperial Forces will appear in JJ Abrams’ Star Wars film.” That’s the sort of thing that would normally have us reaching for our Salt Lick of Skepticism, but in this case the look of the alleged stormtrooper helmet does seem to line up pretty closely with the following drawing, which was posted by artist Tom Hodges on Instagram earlier this week.

StormtrooperDrawing

While not involved with the Episode VII production, Hodges claimed to have gotten a look at the stormtrooper designs via somebody who is, and the drawing was Hodges’ attempt to illustrate what he claims to have seen. Hodges later pulled the image down from his Instagram account, but he has since reposted the image from Indie Revolver on Instagram and confirmed that it is what he saw and based his drawing on, saying:

So I missed A LOT of details. My second view of it, I just was scratching the surface. But I told you it was freaking awesome! #starwars #episodevii #stormtroopers

In addition to the standard-issue stormtrooper helmet, Indie Revolver also shared this second image, which they speculate is an updated version of the “snowtroopers” seen on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back.

Trooper2

The “snowtrooper” helmet also fits with the description provided in a Making Star Wars story from earlier this summer, and both images are evocative of existing trooper designs by Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston, as seen below.

McQuarrieTrooper

JoeSnow

If the pics are legit, the stormtrooper design is a nice evolution of what we saw in the Original Trilogy, and the Clone Troopers that preceded them. Hopefully we’ll see something official from the Star Wars camp in the months to come. Episode VII is currently slated for release on December 18, 2015.

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League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen Fan Video Suggests A Far Superior League

It’s no secret that notoriously cranky comics writer Alan Moore is no fan of movies being made of his books, and I can’t really blame him for that. His tomes such as Watchmen and From Hell are complex and ambitious works that defy easy condensation into a two-hour movie narrative, so I can understand why he might be irked that Hollywood has repeatedly adapted his books, whether he wanted them to or not. I’d argue that many of the resulting films, such as Watchmen and V for Vendetta, are more of a mixed bag rather than outright failures, but if there’s one case where Moore’s disdain is absolutely justified, it’s the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie, a truly terrible film that looks all the worse when compared to the tantalizing alternate version dreamed up by the video above.