Having swept aside the vast majority of the stories that unfolded over the past couple of decades in books and comics, Star Wars is creating a whole new, more closely policed “canon” for George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away. The six live-action films are at the heart of it, but the events of the Clone Wars animated series are considered official as well. Leading up to the December 2015 release of J.J. Abrams’ Episode VII, the new Star Wars canon will be unfolding primarily in two forms: in the new Disney animated series Rebels, and in the new Star Wars novels coming from Del Ray. But while Disney make be looking to the future of their Star Wars universe, there are still some stories to be told about the past. Enter the upcoming novel Dark Disciple, which will tell a story originally intended to unfold in The Clone Wars.
As you can probably imagine, the job of directing a new Star Wars movie is a pretty damn big deal, but still, while J.J. Abrams got the gig at the helm of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII, he wasn’t the only person in the hunt. David Fincher, whose latest film Gone Girl is opens this Friday and is getting fantastic reviews, met with Lucasfilm executives about the job, but ultimately said he didn’t want it.
The Fight Club director was one of the early names connected to Episode VII, and as he revealed recently, there was some truth to the rumors. Granted, Lucasfilm probably contacted just about every big name filmmaker out there (and he was an assistant cameraman on Return of the Jedi), but Fincher did meet with president Kathleen Kennedy. It makes sense that he would turn down the project, he was connected to Disney’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea remake for a long time, but friction with the studio dragging its feet ultimately caused him to walk away from that.
How come adults don’t get meals that come with prizes? Some of my favorite rituals from childhood involved being elbow-deep in a box of cereal, feeling around for the prize, or dumping all the food out of my Happy Meal just so I could get to the toy. So how come we don’t get a grown-up equivalent? After-dinner mints and fortune cookies don’t count, damn it. I want to be able to finish my snazzy, five-star meal, and then have the waiter bring me out a Rocket Raccoon action figure on a silver platter. Sadly, I will probably never live in such a world, but at least pretending is a little bit easier thanks to these faux Happy Meals that were ripped right out of my Happy Place.
These awesome fake Happy Meals are the work of Los Angeles digital artist Newt Clements. (He mostly comes out at night. Mostly.) His Pinterest is full of a wide variety of crazy projects, but his Happy Meals collection is one of the most extensive. He’s got over 100 of the things by my count, and they’re all incredibly well done. Designing Happy Meal boxes to tie into Doctor Who, Aliens, or Escape from New York would have been worthy of a story in and of itself, but Clements goes the extra mile by imagining what toys might be included with each meal as well. And I don’t care what bounty McDonald’s has on offer, there’s no way it’s cooler than an action figure of Firefly’s River standing atop a pile of Reaver corpses.
As a child of the ’80s, my Star Wars action figures were some of my most cherished possessions growing up. They fought countless battles against the ranks of G.I. Joe and the Masters of the Universe, and they spent their down time chilling in a swanky case shaped like Darth Vader’s head. Sure, I could have sold the things for a bunch of money if I’d somehow had the foresight to leave them mint-in-the-box, but I cherish all those fond memories of childhood imagination. That being said, if my old Star Wars figures were as high quality as Hot Toys’ just-revealed Han and Chewie figures, I probably would have reconsidered all those times I pretended the garbage disposal was the Great Pit of Carkoon.
Hot Toys doesn’t make toys for kids, or at least not for kids who don’t have wealthy parents or full-time jobs. Their catalog includes gorgeous recreations of characters from flicks like Back to the Future, Predator, Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy…the list goes on. The Han and Chewie figures don’t disappoint, maintaining the same ridiculous level of detail as their other toys. Look at the scar on Han’s chin. Look at the wrinkles on his knuckles, for crying out loud!
Star Wars: The Clone Wars found itself in a peculiar position after Disney purchased Lucasfilm — and with it, the Star Wars franchise — back in 2012. As many suspected, Disney would soon begin streamlining and culling back much of the franchise so that a cohesive, official multimedia canon could be established. The good news is that it was eventually announced that The Clone Wars would, along with George Lucas’ six films, be part of this new Star Wars canon. The bad news was that the show was ending, and before it had completed all the stories its creators had hoped to tell. Thankfully, many of these stories have since come to light in one form or another, and now Clone Wars fans can get a glimpse at a few more unfinished episodes, courtesy of a series of “story reels” just released on StarWars.com.
With the new regime of the Star Wars about to launch their plan for take over the TV and cinematic world with the debut of their animated series Star Wars Rebels, it’s as good a time as any to look to the past. And what better way to do that than to explore the heritage of the last effort of the old guard. In this case, we’re talking about Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and this video, conveniently enough titled Star Wars: The Clone Wars Legacy, does just that.
Clone Wars was the last piece of that galaxy far, far away to come directly from franchise creator George Lucas, and as the series ties directly into the much maligned prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith), it has a place of significance and prominence in the family. One of the things they talk about is how this series connects to the history of cinema, as Lucas was fond of doing, and mention the elements of Hitchcock and Kurosawa figure into the design and the stories.