COUNTDOWN TO STAR WARS EPISODE SEVEN – 292 DAYS

star-wars-force-awakens

Counting down the 292 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday!  ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!

WE INTERRUPT THIS COUNTDOWN…

For a Tweet from The Force Awakens director JJ Abrams:

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And There Came A Farewell – Leonard Nimoy 1931 – 2015

Leonard Nimoy died yesterday.

Though every image of Spock on this t-shirt I own wears this same expression, this is how I am feeling today.

 

Over the course of the last 24 plus hours, I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve thought about his passing. I didn’t know Leonard Nimoy and I wouldn’t pretend that having spent countless hours watching him on television and in movies has given me any insight into his life. I’ve seen interviews, read them, poured over books about him (including both his infamous I Am Not Spock autobiography and its follow up I Am Spock), followed him on Twitter and, whatever window into who he was those pursuits may have opened to me, they are just glimpses into the person he must have been.

What I can say about him is that his work in Star Trek as actor, writer, director and producer has had profound influence on me.

“Profound” is a carefully chosen word. Just this past week, I was chatting with a group of teachers from Jesuit high schools talking about something all Jesuit leaders should share – a world view inspired by hope – and Star Trek sprang unbidden to mind. The original series and original films presented a future where the world hadn’t descended into chaos, where people of all races and creeds worked seamlessly together, where we’d solved all of our problems and were looking to help others solve some of theirs by learning from them.

Idealistic? Absolutely. Silly? Not in Nimoy’s hands.

Nimoy made his Spock a man of peace, an almost religious figure whose philosophy of life hinged on logic, harmony and diversity. Writers created Spock, but Nimoy brought him to life first as an actor and later as the shepherd of the Star Trek brand. It was Nimoy who was at the head of the franchise during the mid to late 1980s, Nimoy who championed the story behind Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home or “the one with the whales” as The Cinnamon Girl and every other non-Trekker calls it, Nimoy who helped bring the Glasnost inspired story-line of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country to life, Nimoy who spoke out for causes of justice, spoke out to protect the environment, spoke out about the possibilities of the future.

His last tweet is poignant:

His life was, too.

Leonard Nimoy embodied one of the most recognizable characters of all time. When I heard of his death yesterday and mentioned that to the folks I was with, they all immediately knew him. No explanation was needed. Though I primarily knew him through his work as Spock, he was so much more than that.

Here are a few examples of his impacts both from and beyond Star Trek from Variety HERE, from Mashable HERE and from USA Today HERE.

Is there a better tribute to the man than this?

American astronaut Terry Virts pays homage to Leonard Nimoy from space.

American astronaut Terry Virts pays homage to Leonard Nimoy from space.

 

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COUNTDOWN TO STAR WARS EPISODE SEVEN – 293 DAYS

star-wars-force-awakens

Counting down the 293 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday!  ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!

GAME ON!

One of the prized Star Wars possessions from my childhood was the Star Wars Electronic Laser Battle Game. Once plugged in, you and an opponent fired your lasers at the three-dimensional Death Star in the center of the game, which was perfectly designed. I really wish I knew what happened to mine… one of my sisters probably threw it away. I played that thing so much I can still hear the Authentic Star Wars Noises! and can still feel the game controls under my fingers.

Time to look at ebay???

electronic_laser_battle_loose

The game itself… a thing of beauty!

electronic_laser_battle_box_front

The box which, once opened, yields joy!

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COUNTDOWN TO STAR WARS EPISODE SEVEN – 294 DAYS

 

star-wars-force-awakens

Counting down the 297 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday!  ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!

A NIGHT AT THE IMPROV

On Valtentines Day, the Countdown discussed one of the most famous non-scripted moments in Star Wars history – Han Solo’s famous “I know” line. There were a number of other bits improvised on set in the course of filming the original trilogy including Chewbacca’s terrorizing of the Death Star “Mouse” droid, a moment conceived entirely on the set.

Take a look:

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COUNTDOWN TO STAR WARS EPISODE SEVEN – 295 DAYS

star-wars-force-awakens

Counting down the 295 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday!  ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE…

Prior to the opening of A New Hope, George Lucas gathered his film school compatriots together to screen the movie, sure that he had a disaster on his hands. Among the group were Brian DePalma (director of The Untouchables, Scarface and Mission Impossible I among others), John Milius (writer of Dirty Harry, Apocalypse Now and Clear and Present Danger) and Steven Spielberg (director of… come one, you all know Spielberg!).

DePalma thought the movie was “the worst film I’ve ever seen. A total disaster.” Milius agreed thinking Lucas was in big trouble.

Only Spielberg thought the movie would hit. Outside of 1941 and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, has he ever been wrong?

Spielberg. Scorsese. DePalma. Lucas. Coppola. Image from filmscreen.com.

Spielberg. Scorsese. DePalma. Lucas. Coppola. Image from filmscreen.com.

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COUNTDOWN TO STAR WARS EPISODE SEVEN – 296 DAYS

star-wars-force-awakens

Counting down the 296 days until The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

In the days leading up to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, And There Came A Day will present links, images, videos, art, memories, laughs, theories and thoughts leading up to the big day… which happens to be on my birthday!  ENJOY and may the Force be with you, always… or at least until 12.18.15!

SWINGERS

One of the fun set pieces from the Death Star escape in A New Hope was Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia’s swing across an open shaft when they couldn’t extend the “light bridge.” We all remember it as one of the creepy moments when the princess kisses Luke in something… more … than a sisterly way. What you may not know is that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher performed the stunt themselves in one take.

swing

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The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week : February 18 – February 24, 2015

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 10 comics last week: Batman Eternal #46, Avengers World #17, Batgirl #39, Justice League #39, Batman and Robin #39, Batman/Superman #19, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #10, The Multiversity: Mastermen #1, Superman/Wonder Woman #16  and Uncanny X-Men #31.

The best comic I read last week was Batgirl #39.

Batgirl 39

What a fun read this book is. As a former teacher (for 10 years!) at an all-girls high school, I think I know a thing or two about young women and, although Batgirl and her supporting cast are about 5-7 older than the girls I worked with, I can say that they read very, very real to me.

Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher are killing it. They are writing a Barbara Gordon who is endearing and vulnerable but tough and tenacious all at the same time. When she questions herself in this issue, the reader feels it. When she seeks out Dinah for her friendship, the reader wants the two to bury the hatchet. When she is confronted by the reality of her latest adversary, the reader is rooting for her. That’s a lot for comic book writers to inspire in their readers but Fletcher and Stewart deliver the goods issue-after-issue. From Barbara’s move to Burnside to her radically cool costume redesign, this book has been a great read for months. If you’re not on board, get there.

This is the book I would give a non-comic reader to introduce them to the medium. It’s that good.

Much of that credit has to go to Babs Tarr who is drawing something we don’t see enough of in comics: realistic women. Her characters, cartoony and fresh, look as though their analogues could actually exist in the real world. Both the women and the men she draws are distinct and clear representations of the genuine article. She knows how to capture expressions and, lately, her inclusion of illustrated side-thoughts are creative and compelling.

Batgirl is the second best Bat-Book on the market (after Snyder and Capullo’s Batman) and that’s saying something. I look forward to it each month.

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