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Happy Monday

The Last Jedi trailer is here…

I think a few people will see Star Wars: The Last Jedi in movie theaters this Christmas. The film’s director and screenwriter Rian Johnson continues to show that he’s the real deal within the beloved fictional cinematic world of Star Wars.

Is it Christmas yet?

Have a Better Week Than Last Week. 

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iPhone: Episode VIII

Which beloved entity has the more influential following in modern culture:

Apple or Star Wars?

Apparently, to those closest to both, it’s a virtual tie of sorts?

Apple’s earbuds were inspired by the dark side, or more specifically, the stormtroopers from Star Wars, according to an interview with Apple’s chief designer Jony Ive in The Wall Street Journal. Ive reportedly told Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams he had the “look of the original Stormtroopers in mind when he designed Apple’s earbuds.”

It’s also interesting to note that the costume designer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Michael Kaplan, told Vanity Fair in 2015 that Apple itself inspired the new stormtroopers of the First Order. “With the Stormtroopers it was more of a simplification, almost like, ‘What would Apple do?’” Kaplan said at the time.
–Thuy Ong, The Verge, “Apple’s earbuds were inspired by the dark side, says chief designer Jony Ive”

As a reference, here’s a stormtrooper in The Force Awakens.

With iPhone 8 on the horizon for release later this year, Apple will likely begin to slowly work its way back towards the top of our news feeds. And particularly since the iPhone 8 will be the 10th anniversary iPhone, the speculation (never-ending with Apple products) concerning this forthcoming version of the globally popular mobile device is focused on a wide variety of game-changing features for an Apple phone. This includes rumors of a borderless screen, wireless charging and the potential removal of the physical home button (not the home button feature, but just the actual button).

Interestingly enough, those rumors almost pale in comparison to what’s been revealed in the quotes above from brilliant designer Jony Ive and the costume designer for The Force Awakens.

As a newspaper editor would say, “That’s the lead.”

Even more is the fact that Apple is great at storytelling, specifically the customized story of each of its consumers by providing them the opportunity to define a phone, tablet or computer through countless apps and user photos, music, videos, etc. The surprisingly awesome news that key figures from both Apple and Star Wars influenced each other in profoundly cool ways makes an Apple-Star Wars crossover promotion seem like a pop-culture slam dunk.

So, The Last Jedi is the eighth Star Wars major motion picture set for release this Christmas and Apple is set to sell its eighth iPhone at the end of this year.

Hmmm…

(Please re-read the headline of this blog post).

Luke: Are You the Father?

The above title’s desperately sought-after inquiry regarding Luke Skywalker and Rey aside, does Vanity Fair’s newly printed cover story of Star Wars: Episode VIII reveal any mind-blowing clues about the conclusion of the new trilogy’s ongoing title, “The Force Awakens The Last Jedi…”?

Well, no.

Although, that’s actually a good thing. It’s encouraging to know that, in the era of trailers that can practically reveal everything about a forthcoming film, some movie studios still believe in only teasing audiences with just enough footage and details to inspire a visit to a local movie theater for the ultimate artistic form of escapism. And let’s face reality (with a saga about fantasy) that with any film called Star Wars, more than a few people will see that movie regardless of any marketing or promotion.

Returning to the original Q&A from the top of this blog post, there was plenty of fascinating tidbits in the Vanity Fair article surrounding the ultra-secretive Last Jedi production and story (aside from Episode IX’s climactic title). This included golden nuggets that involved things in front of the camera, as well as goings-on behind-the-scenes. Plus, this article written by Vanity Fair’s David Kamp was visually spotlighted with the assistance of the incomparable, world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Exhibit A: The late Carrie Fisher, Episode VIII screenwriter, and director Rian Johnson, Mark Hamill and super producer (and Spielberg favorite) Kathleen Kennedy captured below taking it easy on the set of The Last Jedi.

(Photograph by Annie Leibovitz)

This blog post will elaborate on a couple of the highlights of this engrossingly extensive article on the highly-anticipated (to put it lightly) Last Jedi that will pack theaters around the world and dominate the box office this Christmas.

Speaking of a highlight from the cover story, here’s a quote from the aforementioned article with the last two sentences bolded by myself…for a very specific reason.

Fisher completed her part in Episode VIII late last summer, when principal photography on the film wrapped. “She was having a blast,” said Kennedy. “The minute she finished, she grabbed me and said, ‘I’d better be at the forefront of IX!’ Because Harrison was front and center on VII, and Mark is front and center on VIII. She thought IX would be her movie. And it would have been.”
–David Kamp, Vanity Fair

The natural reaction of this quote by Kathleen Kennedy is that Episode VII (in terms of the story arc) was intended to focus on Han Solo, with Episode VIII focused on Luke Skywalker and Episode IX focused on Princess/General Leia Organa. This intriguing revelation only adds additional tips of the cap to the new trilogy’s writers and directors J.J. Abrams, Rian Johnson, Colin Trevorrow and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. What better storytelling structure than to simultaneously honor and interweave the original and beloved trio of Star Wars characters with the new, young cast of Star Wars for the fresh and innovative chapters to this franchise for generations of fans, original and new?

There isn’t. That strategy was thoughtful, seamless and right.

Sadly, though, Carrie Fisher died on December 27, 2016. The only light surrounding her death at this moment is that her legacy will live on and her force as an actress and, most importantly, as a good person, remains as strong as ever.

On a practical level, since Mr. Kamp’s Vanity Fair report revealed a Leia-centric Episode IX, that means that writer and director Colin Trevorrow has the uneasy task of making some unfortunate edits that will no doubt bring tears to his and the entire Star Wars family’s eyes.

Fisher’s death doesn’t change anything about The Last Jedi except make it more poignant: the film farewell of both the actress and the character. But it does change Episode IX, for which, as Fisher hoped, a central role for Leia had been planned. Kennedy, Trevorrow, and the Lucasfilm team have been compelled to swing from grieving into pragmatic mode, working out how to reconceive the next film in the saga, which is scheduled to start shooting in January.
–David Kamp, Vanity Fair

For now, the question on everybody’s minds, concerning Episode IX, is how this trilogy will end? Later, after people see Episode IX, fans will, with sincere passion and admirable tenacity, ask demand what the original plan was when Carrie Fisher was presumed to reprise her beloved role as Princess/General Leia Organa?

Regardless of the answer, Carrie Fisher’s signature character, celebrated spirit and iconic cinematic femininity will live on forever.

Remember when it was mentioned above that Annie Leibovitz took exclusive photographs on the set of The Last Jedi? Below are a couple pictures of the many she took that will generate even more buzz for Episode VIII, if that was even possible.

Exhibit B: Annie Leibovitz captures a wealthy gathering in the Star Wars universe that will be featured in The Last Jedi. Can you spot costume designer Michael Kaplan?

(Photograph by Annie Leibovitz)

Exhibit C: Laura Dern’s role in The Last Jedi has been tightly under wraps. On that note, here is the first look at Laura Dern in character as Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo in her Star Wars universe wrap.

(Photograph by Annie Leibovitz)

Oh, there’s also this awesome, exclusive behind-the-scenes video to check out.

Despite the secretive nature of The Last Jedi, Ms. Kennedy and Co. at Lucasfilm are ensuring that fans feel they are always part of this timeless, yet evolving story.

The expression goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Just try and restrain Star Wars fans to only a thousand words thanks to the work of the Jedi-like photographer Annie Leibovitz.

Luke is Skywalking the Line Between Good and Bad?

Why wasn’t this clip from a Mark Hamill interview attached to the first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi?

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s clear as a glass of water that Star Wars is kind of a big deal. Even if you aren’t a fan, the cultural impact of Star Wars has and will cross your path somehow, someway. If you follow Jimmy’s Daily Planet (thank you if you do!), then you saw the very first teaser trailer for The Last Jedi last Friday just minutes after 12:00 p.m. ET right here on this blog immediately after it debuted and was officially posted online. The teaser trailer appropriately followed a Last Jedi panel discussion at the 40 Years of Star Wars celebration.

Writer and director Rian Johnson and superstar producer Kathleen Kennedy knew how to treat their audience.

The Last Jedi teaser trailer is awesome. And in the Star Wars mania surrounding this trailer, Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) recently did a joint interview with ABC News. The teaser trailer revealed limited details while the aforementioned interview, well, just watch below.

That’s what you call the second teaser trailer for The Last Jedi.