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Comic(s) Relief: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir Wraps Up Clone Wars Storyline

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Maul1One of the results of the Disney/Lucasfilm buyout that stung many fans was the cancellation of the Clone Wars animated series as of season five. This was in spite of work already having begun on season six, leaving Clone Wars fans without any closure and with stories they would never get to see. Thankfully, Netflix eventually rode to the rescue and resurrected the show for one last season exclusively on their streaming service. But even with Netflix serving up the so-called Lost Missions, there were still storylines that the abbreviated sixth season didn’t have time to address. Now you can see one of them given resolution in comics form, courtesy of the four-issue Dark Horse miniseries Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir.

Written by Jeremy Barlow, Son of Dathomir picks up where The Clone Wars’ left Darth Maul at the end of season five. He’s been defeated by Darth Sidious, and his brother Savage Opress has been killed. Maul is now a prisoner of his former master Sidious, but if getting cut in half by a lightsaber didn’t keep him down, you know a little thing like being locked up is only a temporary speed bump. And Maul’s got bigger plans than just escaping. He’s pissed off, he’s got an army of Mandalorians, and he’s in the mood to stir up some trouble. To paraphrase Wesley Snipes, always bet on black (and red).

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J.J. Gives Fans A Chance To Be In Star Wars: Episode VII

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Production on Star Wars: Episode VII officially began last week, bringing us one step closer to seeing a new Star Wars movie in theaters for the first time since 2005. Episode VII is currently filming in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, and director J.J. Abrams took a moment to show off the location and offer fans a chance to win an onscreen appearance in the next Star Wars film!

We’ll get to the contest details in a moment, but there’s something worth pointing out in the above video. It’s that crazy-looking alien that walks past behind J.J., which is very obviously created using practical effects. Abrams and others had said previously that Episode VII would be using practical effects where feasible, which was a huge relief after the flashy but empty CGI excess of the prequels. If you look at the alien’s side profile, you can pretty much figure out how the rig works: it looks like the actor’s legs are in the alien’s legs, with his or her upper torso disguised inside the junk the alien is hauling on its back. It’s such a simple thing to create a great illusion, but it gives the creature a sense of life and weight that many CGI creations simply don’t have. Plus, the fact that they’re embracing old-school effects puts a big stupid grin on my face.

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Star Wars Spin-Off Film To Focus On X-Wing Red Squadron?

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XwingsBack in 2012, the news that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and was going to make a new Star Wars trilogy was jaw-dropping enough, but they took things to the next level by revealing plans for other Star Wars spin-off films as well. There’s been non-stop rumors and speculation about who or what those spin-offs will involve, with Han Solo, Boba Fett, and even Yoda named as possible candidates for a solo film (or a Solo film). Earlier this month Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that three standalone films were in the works, and that they would release in alternate years in between Episode VII, VIII, and IX. But while plot details are still being kept secret, details from a Hasbro event may have revealed Disney’s Star Wars gameplan, including a third spin-off film focused on the X-wing pilots of Red Squadron.

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Star Wars Rumor: Could The Original, Unaltered Trilogy Be Headed For Blu-Ray?

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HanShotWith all the hubbub over Star Wars: Episode VII and the de-canonization of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, there’s been plenty to dig into and debate about, but there’s one intriguing possibility that’s just floated back to the top of the rumor mill. When the big news came in October 2012 that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm (and thus Star Wars), once I picked my jaw up off my keyboard, one of the first thoughts I had was, “I wonder if this means they’ll finally re-release the unaltered, un-Special Edition-ed original trilogy?” So far there’s been nothing official on that front, but a credible-sounding rumor suggests that very thing may be on the horizon.

The rumor of the day comes from Bleeding Cool, who claim to have “intercepted” an email from within Disney’s marketing department, a message that suggests the Mouse is indeed planning the high-def home video release for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi that fans have been clamoring about for years. Up until now their pleas fell on the deaf ears of George Lucas, who seemed to have no interest whatsoever in giving the fans what they wanted. (That could be said about just about anything Star Wars after 1999 or so…)

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Star Wars: Episode VII Officially Starts Filming

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Star Wars: Episode VIIYesterday cameras officially started rolling on J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII. The action began at Pinewood Studios in London, England, and to commemorate the occasion, there are now a couple of pictures from the location. They’re not the most exciting things in the world, but that’s not really the news, the news is that PRODUCTION HAS FINALLY STARTED ON EPISODE VII!

This is the day we’ve been waiting for since October 30, 2012, when it came out that Disney bought Lucasfilm from George Lucas for billions and billions of dollars. That was when they first dropped the bomb that there were more Star Wars films on the way, and since that day, we’ve all been obsessed with every last casting rumor, potential plot detail, or possible location. While that’s been fun, it’s nice to know they were planning to make an actual movie at some point.

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Star Wars Bionic Arm Approved

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lukeDespite all the recent breakthroughs in prosthetics technology, I can’t say I’m one of those people who would elect to amputate a limb in order to receive a stronger cybernetic one (although exoskeletons are a nifty solution, as they allow people to keep their natural limbs but add strength-enhancing technology when they want). Still, I can’t help but wonder how many people would consider opting for a bionic arm modeled on the one Luke Skywalker receives after Darth Vader sends his hand flying.

The FDA recently approved the DEKA arm, the first prosthetic arm able to perform movements controlled by electrical signals emitted by muscles near the device. The arm system contains EMG (electromyogram) electrodes that send electrical signals from the muscles to a processor that converts them into as many as 10 different and simultaneous movements. A 2012 study also demonstrated the ability for wearers to use neural implants to control the device via their brains. One of the studies submitted to the FDA involved 36 veterans who were outfitted with the arms, 90% of whom experienced abilities beyond those of their current prostheses.