Why I’m Worried About The Force Awakens


Before you read this, understand one thing.


I will be openly referring to things that might actually happen in the film.

Run away now if you don’t want to know what MIGHT happen in The Force Awakens based on internet rumors and such.

A lot of this is probably incorrect and based on rumor, so don’t get too upset with me or the film until you actually see it.

Last Warning…

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Star Wars Newsbones: Dec. 2013 (Shopping; Attack Squadrons; Mythbusters; Episode VII)


Star Wars is the Keith Richards of Movies. The only difference being that one day, Keith Richards will actually die (for real) and Star Wars will live on. Just when you think interest in Star Wars is waning or going away, something happens to bring it right back to life. News is more frequent and now that Disney owns the whole mess, expect the merchandising to get even bigger. Whatever you’ve seen from Marvel in the last few years, that’s what you’re going to get with Star Wars and Lucasfilm. You’ll see new films, TV shows, comics, games and much much more. Here are a few recent news bits I thought you might enjoy and Happy Holidays! Read More

Episode VII Speculation: Darth Vader Returns!?


There are always going to be rumors surrounding any Star Wars production. That’s a given, and that’s actually part of the fun. I’ve posted a lot of speculation on this site over the years, some of which actually came true; some, not so much. When it comes to Star Wars films, much of the speculation falls within the bounds of what we know or expect, but what would a new Star Wars film be without a few new twists and turns that no one has really thought about yet? That’s where the fun lies.

So let’s talk about Darth Vader for a minute, shall we?

Yes, I said Darth Vader. You can call him Anakin Skywalker if you want, but like it or not, he’s always going to have that Vader stigma attached to him.

I remember reading a rumor a while back that said Darth Vader might appear in Episode VII. This was probably the spawn of nothing more than a fan with an internet connection, but I remember saying to myself, “Good God! If they jump that shark, I’m off the Star Wars train for good. If they come up with some lame way to bring back Darth Vader… I’m done!”

Then I did a little more thinking and thought of something that blew my mind a little, and will maybe blow yours a bit. Who knows? Read More

To Spoil Or Not To Spoil?


In 1996, I started this site. The “Special Editions” were just gearing up and everything in the Star Wars Universe was fun and nostalgic. Then the Prequels were announced and everything went crazy. News started to leak out in all directions and Lucasfilm went bananas trying to plug all the holes, quite often just denying stuff and calling the Internet rumors “crazy.” Well, they weren’t so crazy and while a bunch were quite ridiculous, a LOT of them were on the money.

In my case, I didn’t quite expect to be in the “spoiler” game. It sort of just fell into my lap. There were many sites posting information on Episode I before it came out but there were only 3-5 reputable ones and without sounding too smug, I think this site was perhaps one of them. It’s up for debate but I did receive a LOT of information. I was sent tons of material and in the end almost all of it proved to be legit. In fact, just the other day I was going through some old boxes and found all my old printed materials and notes. The stuff I had was surprisingly accurate and was in my hands over a year before the film was released, if not earlier. I had shooting schedules, artwork, character descriptions, scene-by-scene summaries, and lots more. At the time, I couldn’t really be 100% sure what was real but when things started coming in from multiple and unrelated sources, it became easier to draw conclusions.

In any case, the site became wildly popular and the more popular it became, the more sources sent stuff to me and/or other sites. It was hard to not just blanket-post stuff. Lucasfilm was pretty tough and they were threatening the site here and there. They almost took my domain name once. They asked for things to be removed on a regular basis. We got past it all and the film came out and did amazingly well. So their worries that spoilers would kill ticket sales were unfounded. I always maintained that (spoilers or not) the fan sites did nothing but drum up even more anticipation for a film and gave the studio TONS of free promotion/advertisement.  If things leaked, it was really their fault, not mine. Don’t blame me for posting it. Go after the leak.

For Episode II, things changed a little. I moved the site around a bit. I was associated with sites like Fandom.com (now gone) and Cinescape magazine and things got a little more complicated. Sources were still keen to come to me (many were the same ones so it was easy to trust them) but the site was under a different banner and if I posted anything crazy or too “over the line” for Lucasfilm, the Lucas lawyers went right to the top of the food chain. Many times my posts were removed before I even knew what happened.

So after a while I went back to my own server and had some more freedom but after all the Episode I spoilers (most of which I was under the radar for) they knew who I was and were watching even closer now.  Cease and Desist e-mails were a regular thing.  I still got away with posting a lot of textual stuff (rearranging spoilerish material in my own words), plus lots of sketches and images, many of which had to be removed before I was shut down.

Again, the film came out and did well, but not as well as Episode I. However, I don’t attribute that to the fan sites. I attribute that to the horrible backlash that Episode I received. Some would argue that Jar Jar Binks alone was to blame. You can make that call.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d even be in the game for Episode III. I thought that all the sources had moved on and nothing much would come my way. I was very wrong. While the amount of stuff wasn’t as large in total, the stuff I was sent was VERY revealing. I remember one incident where I broke the news that Lucas himself was doing a cameo in the film. I had the name of his character (Baron Papanoida) AND a photo of him in costume. I posted this on the site and a bunch of other sites picked up on it. Within hours I was forced to remove it and got lots of nasty e-mails. Someone on the inside told me I was very close to being sued (not sure if that’s true) and shut down (probably true). I was told that Lucas himself found out about it and got pissed which was why it was such a big deal. Can you imagine the internal e-mails flying around Lucasfilm? Remember, no one knew about this cameo yet. Anyway, just about everything else I had was solid and with a few little hiccups turned out to be legit.

So I had a good run for the prequels and the site was VERY popular around that time. I was pretty happy but I’m guessing that Lucasfilm wasn’t too happy with me because when it came time for them to start including fan sites at their press junkets and so on, they never once asked me which was kind of cool in a way. Wear it like a badge and all that. Ironically, years before, I was one of the first ones out there saying that Lucasfilm should have included fan sites from the start instead of demonizing them. But that’s all over now. I don’t have any regrets and it was a fun ride. History is judging the prequels as lackluster in comparison to the originals and that has absolutely nothing to do with fan sites posting spoilers on the Internet.

So the next question is: What happens with this new trilogy?

Once again, I’m at an impasse. I really don’t think any of my old sources are still “in the game.” I have no expectations. I don’t think I’ll be receiving anything spoilerific about these new films.

But what if I do?

It’s a tough call. I’d want to share it but I also want to see if Lucasfilm is going to make good on a recent promise made by Kathleen Kennedy about the fans to “…recognize they’re important to the process and acknowledge there are things you’re gonna want to make sure they get to know. So I think that’s something we’re going to monitor, pay attention to and think differently about.”

She’s obviously referring to Internet leaks here which is something this site has been known for in the past. Am I still relevant enough to be included in their list of trusted fan sites? Are they just going to stick with the top dogs who play ball that they can easily control? Will they include fan sites at all in their marketing and press efforts?  Lucasfilm was always a little behind the curve on that. They ignored most fan sites right up until the end when they realized they couldn’t all be ignored.

Let’s be honest here for a minute. People (fans and otherwise) are not at all beaming about the Prequel trilogy, box office numbers aside. The general consensus seems to be that it’s a lackluster effort with wooden acting, horrible dialogue and was a bit of a missed opportunity to really go back and explain a few things. I have always maintained that Episode II should have been Episode I and Episode III should have been split out into II and III. Lucas wanted you to see little innocent Anakin  and his mommy but in the end, people weren’t interested in THAT much back story, much of which could have been done in flashbacks or something. But it’s not our baby – it’s George’s. Well… now it’s Disney’s but you know what I mean.

So while Lucasfilm will probably deny this for all time, Star Wars took a pretty big hit. Sure, they tried to over-saturate with cartoons and other stuff but as for the films themselves, people might have “liked” them but they’re not going to go down as timeless classics like the first three seem to have. No one’s going to be saying, “Oh that Jar Jar… so funny!” thirty years from now.

So yes, even with something like Star Wars, there’s a lot riding on these new films and a lot to potentially lose here. This new trilogy has to be up to snuff. If the first one doesn’t really blow people away, people are going to just move on and the brand will suffer. I think Lucasfilm should really reach out to the fans and fan sites and come up with a good marketing strategy that keeps the sites happy and less inclined to just reflexively post anything and everything that comes into our hands.

Here’s an example which will probably never happen, but should provide a little perspective. If Lucasfilm came to me today and said they wanted to include me in their marketing strategy for promoting the film by sending me some weekly updates, maybe a once-a-month super cool exclusive that no one else would get, and perhaps some way to get other access like an interview now and then or something, I might be willing to go that route for the duration and not just blanket post things sent to me that are probably spoiler -laden and would most definitely result in me being removed from any and all contact inside Lucasfilm, thereby blowing my good standing with them (which I don’t have anyway, based on prior history, I assume.)

Alternatively, I could just ignore all that and post whatever I wanted hoping to not be shut down or sued or whatever.

Will they do it? Will they extend the olive branch to some of the popular sites? I’m sure they’re going to work with a few of the bigger ones. Those are the sites that have full working staffs and LLC statuses. But what about the smaller guys who might not get 19,000,000,000 hits a day but have been pretty successful in the past and have a decent following? I guess we’ll see what they decide soon.

The film’s being written. The director’s on board. I’m sure casting has begun. Things are going to start leaking very soon.

Get ready!



What do you think? Leave some comments and let’s talk.

The Millennium Falcon’s (and Lando’s) Demise?


Was there originally another fate for Lando and the Millennium Falcon at the end of Return of the Jedi? The answer is no, but let’s examine the origin of this urban legend.

Rumor has it that in an early rough draft of the script or treatment, Lando contacts Wedge while trying to get out of the Death Star II. He regrets not being able to return the Falcon without a scratch and that he hopes Han will forgive him. Then KABOOM!

There’s a little foreshadowing of this in the film when Han is looking at the Falcon from the shuttle cockpit. He says that he feels like he’s never going to see her again. Not much, but it makes you wonder how the ending celebration might have been different.

1284There was once a site called B Squared’s STAR WARS Stuff that was quite informative. There was one section in particular that I’d like to reference and it deals with the subject of the Falcon’s rumored demise. It’s quite interesting, though I have to say I very much disagree with some of it. Robert Brown, the author, seems to be very sure that this scene was filmed and even tested with audiences! I have found very little proof of this. I was always under the impression that this idea was something possibly written into one of the early drafts but was written out almost as fast.

1285Robert  posted an image which he claimed to be the Falcon blowing up (which I think was doctored by the source). I’m not sure how Robert meant to explain the pictures on the page but he implies that this picture of the ship exploding was cut from the film and not just a fan-made picture sent in by a guy named Tim Ketzer. If he is in fact claiming that this picture is a deleted still, then I have to disagree.

1286 I overlaid the two images in Photoshop with the fiery shot at 40% transparency. As you can see, they are the same exact still. If the shot in question was in the film at all, even moving one frame at a time there would be some kind of movement,  especially in the background.

I don’t think that this scene was ever filmed, never mind test screened.

To further debunk this rumor, on June 9th 2000, the Official Star Wars Site posted an article in their Urban Legends of Star Wars section dealing with this idea. Here’s an interesting excerpt that proves this was never filmed.

One definite culprit in this legend’s longevity is a revised plot synopsis treatment entitled ‘The Revenge and Return of the Jedi’. Dated July 6 1980, (though undoubtedly printed at a later date), this concise retelling of the basic story — with notable changes — is a fake. It describes Luke taking over the Death Star (re-christening it the Life Star), Vader being the ‘other’ Yoda spoke of, and Leia and Han marrying at the film’s end, with Wicket one of the attendants at the wedding. It also contains the following passage:

‘Meanwhile, the Death Star ray begins destroying Rebel ships. Lando and the Rebel Forces unsuccessfully attempt to penetrate the force field, and the efforts on Endor have failed. Lando sees many of his comrades dying for the Alliance. He feels that the Alliance might die itself if something is not done soon. Lando makes a final decision to plow the Millennium Falcon through the force field in a self-sacrificing gesture for the Rebel Alliance. Lando and the Falcon explode in a beautiful burst of energy and color.’

An excerpt from the screenplay that has Lando and the Falcon destroyed and Han looking up, quietly voicing his loss, has shown up on the Internet, but it too is a fake. Also untrue are tales that footage of the Falcon made its way into test screenings of Return of the Jedi, but was ultimately left out of the movie because it didn’t score well with the audience.

Given the weight of this evidence, it appears there is no truth behind the rumor that the Falcon and Lando were originally to have perished. It is possible the idea may have been thrown around during undocumented brainstorming sessions, but the legend that it actually was committed to film is false.

It’s a burning question that has gone unanswered for a long time but at least they confirmed that it was never filmed. I’d still like to know if it was a glimmer in Lucas’ eye at one time.

Just for kicks, Greg Rossiter, was having some fun going through the Google archives that go back into the early 1980’s, before the Internet was really around in full swing. There was much discussion back then on the BBS and such. One post caught his eye. Return of the Jedi had been out less than a month and someone was already claiming that their friend saw the “Lando dies” ending. Now you can see just how far back some of these rumors go.

Now a friend who’s seen an unreleased version of RotJ tells me that in that version, the Falcon was consumed at the last moment as it was escaping from the exploding Death Star, presumably killing Lando and co-pilot. This seems like a much more dramatic (though perhaps less mass-appealing) ending. My friend says that there are other differences from the released version, as well.

Millennium Falcon Prop In Yuma?


When the Internet was still young and new, there was a certain picture that was circulated among fan circles that caused much controversy. I think you’ll agree that this picture is a fake.

Ryan Silva writes:

We’ve discussed this before but have never come to a consensus as to what this picture is: a miniature or full-built Falcon; for ROTJ or one of the previous films; somebody’s model trainset, etc, etc. Is there anything you can tell us as to where it was first published or the context of what is being shown?

Alec can chime in if there are more details to tell, but I believe it was sent to him from an anonymous source when he was heading the AOL Star Wars area. We, unfortunately, were never able to unearth any information regarding it or its legitimacy. I’ve read the behind the scenes books for ESB and ROTJ and the photo doesn’t seem to fit in with either shoot; the sandstorm scene was shot on a sound stage.

Everything about the image makes very little sense to me, and for the life of me, I can’t remember why we originally determined that it was Yuma in the first place. Probably just bad research on my part. In the bibliography on my now-defunct web site, I changed the listing to “Falcon prop in unknown outdoor location from the collection of Alec Usticke (original source unknown)” so I must have begun to suspect something. That’s probably why I stuck the image in the Bibliography rather than the ROTJ section.

Alec Usticke writes:

As Ryan said, this image was sent to me by someone when I ran the Stars Wars area on AOL. Who that person was is lost to the ages. Back in the day, we had a few thousand members, and I communicated with several “insiders,” so the image could have come from anywhere. (The properties of the image are dated 12/17/1994, so that’s probably when I first downloaded it.)

JediSluggo writes:

After much thought, I have divided the arguments into pro’s and con’s of it being real or fake.


  1. The biggest thing for this being faked is that a full sized Falcon doesn’t belong on a giant tower in the middle of nowhere. Logic points to this being a model photoshopped onto the platform.
  2. The Falcon looks just like the MPC model kit that has been around forever.
  3. The construction of a falcon anywhere other than what has been documented by LFL is dubious. Especially a full sized version.
  4. It doesn’t fit any the movies and surely wouldn’t be constructed by Lucas at such a huge expense.

To counter these, I have the following counter arguments:

  1. The photoshopping is very good.
  2. The MPC model (I have one here at Sluggo Central) looks alot like the Falcon anyway.
  3. Just because something is filmed for a Star Wars movie, or for that matter any movie, doesn’t mean it is documented. Or if it is, it just might not have been released by LFL (kind of like the scene where Luke puts his saber in R2 and sends them out of the cave to Jabba.)
  4. It could have been used for an overhead shot from the tower on the left and had a sandstorm or whatever matted around it.

Thinking about more, however gave me more arguments against it:

  1. It seems that somebody shot a pic of their Falcon model in the driveway and airbrushed it onto a pic of the tower. They likely included the models shadow as well, because it looks authentic. However, the Falcon seems slightly crooked on the platform (especially the back half,) like one of the real landing gear was slightly crooked or had a rock under it, or most likly, was at a slightly different angle than the photo of the ramp was taken. Then the photo was made grainy enough that you couldn’t tell it was faked.
  2. The model kit is missing a few bars of the cockpit canopy that the ILM models have. The falcon on the platform looks like it is missing those bars.
  3. Something this size surely would have SOME kind of documentation somewhere. Smaller barely known scenes, like the cut on-set gags that A NEW HOPE had remained mostly unknown (and who knows what is still out there) because it was usually the director going “wouldn’t it be funny if…” and after a take of two, they finish the shot and move on, getting back to the script. For such a huge prop to be built by LFL had to have a major purpose, but none of them exist. Which leads me to…
  4. If they needed a Falcon for a composite shot or who knows what, they would have used a model or a matte painting, like they did in the hanger bay of the Mon Calamari ship Home One.

Fake-ity fake fake. Why? Perhaps it was some kids high school photography class assignment. Maybe for a hoax to trick all of us fanboys. Maybe just for fun until someone else got a hold of it and sent it in. It does look pretty cool, you have to admit.

Skot writes:

And here’s what I’d consider the biggest argument against it: It was widely touted that the Yuma Sail Barge set was among the biggest (was it THE biggest?) ever built for a film. This “thing” the Falcon appears to be sitting on in this picture is *way* bigger than the Sail Barge set. There’s no way this would have been constructed or used without it being mentioned as well. On top of that… the Falcon was *never* constructed completely at full scale, and this picture shows it in full. Plus, we have been told the Falcon was constructed only once in RETURN OF THE JEDI, on an indoor sound stage, with a 360 degree “sandstorm” backdrop all around it.

Along with the arguments you guys had against it, I’m definitely of the opinion this picture is a fake. I think somebody found a picture of some huge outdoor platform and thought it would look cool with the Falcon superimposed on it. They did in fact do a pretty good job making it look convincing, especially for those lower-resolution days.

1287Merledog86 found a picture that looks like it’s from the exact same location. It’s from a page at http://www.brook.edu. Jan Hagelskamp got in touch with someone who worked at the The Trestle Electromagnetic Pulse Simulator on the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, where this picture was originally taken. Here’s a copy of the e-mail he received after enquiring about the photo in question:

Good Morning,

I’ve lived here most of my life and the Millennium Falcon was not at Kirtland. It looks like the photo has had a Gaussian Noise brush used on it. This is a graphics tool used to give the appearance of age and uniformity to doctored photos.

Kirtland AFB

On top of all this, I received an e-mail from a guy who was actually on the set at the time. His name is Dave and he is part of the “Blue Harvest Gang” that showed up on the set wearing Blue Harvest shirts, letting the crew know that the secret definitely wasn’t safe about the film’s incognito shooting title. He confirmed that there was never a Falcon prop there although he said that he spotted some out-of-place speeder bikes.

Another rumor put to rest.