‘Star Wars XIII’: Supreme Leader Snoke is Ready for His Close-up

As the release of Star Wars: Episode XIII — The Last Jedi draws closer, more and more information is leaking out, and the latest “reveal” relates to the appearance of Supreme Leader Snoke, the shadowy power behind the villainous First Order: He looks exactly like we figured he would.

An official trading card from Topps gives the first clear view of the Big Bad, seen in 2015’s The Force Awakens only as a bluish hologram. We can see that he has a giant scar on his head and a rather thin and drawn face. We don’t know if this is his species’ natural appearance or whether his face has been distorted by the Dark Side of the Force, as with Emperor Palpatine in the earlier films.

However, while his face has been drawn out of the shadows, Snoke himself will remain behind the scenes for one more movie. (This is only the middle part of a trilogy, remember.)  Director Rian Johnson told Empire magazine that Kylo Ren is main villain of Episode XIII and Snoke will remain a mystery for a while longer.
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Disney Finally Confirms ‘Star Wars’ Release Schedule

balldroidJust about every Star Wars fan has Dec. 18 circled on the calendar as the release date for J.J. Abrams‘ Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, but what will happen after that? Well, there’s the mysterious standalone movie slated for Dec. 16, 2016.  But then what?

Thanks to Disney’s annual shareholders report, we now know for sure that Star Wars: Episode VIII (directed by Rian Johnson) will be released in 2017 and Episode IX (probably also to be directed by Johnson) in 2019.
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Disney Loops in Rian Johnson for ‘Star Wars’ Sequels

rianjohnsonCelebrated indie director Rian Johnson – known for his time-travel action film Looper, starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as well as Brick – has been chosen by Disney to direct the next two Star Wars sequels, Episode XIII and IX. He will also script XIII and write at least a treatment for Episode IX if not the actual screenplay.

This move reinforces the trend of choosing bright young directors on the rise to rebuild Lucasfilm’s franchise, such as the previously announced Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four), who will oversee so far unspecified spin-off movies.

Is This Animated ‘Looper’ Trailer Truly Loopy?

The wait is almost over for Rian Johnson’s time-traveling mind-bender Looper (It opens Friday), but the producers are determined to make that wait seem as long as possible by introducing a unique animated trailer for the flick.

I know that anyone without prior knowledge of the film will not be able to make heads or tails of this trailer, but by incorporating a lot of different animation styles and constant motion and conflict, the wordless trailer gives the impression of a wild action movie with stunning visuals. I hope the real thing turns out to be just as good as this makes it look. I can hardly wait for the weekend!

New Pictures Offer Looper Clues

Huzzah! Some new photos promoting Rian Johnson, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s twisty sci-fi noir flick, Looper! And this time, we get to see a glimpse of co-star Piper Perabo (Annie, COVERT AFFAIRS) looking sexy!

Looper is about Joe, a hit man who takes kill orders from mobsters in future who send their victims back in time to be executed in the past, where no evidence will be recovered. Then, one day, Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is ordered to kill his future self, played by Willis!

Why the time-travel gimmick? Johnson summed up the appeal of temporal tampering:

“One of the basic appealing things about time travel is being able to step out of this tiemeline we’re all chained to, of birth to death and “this is the time you’ve got and that’s it.” So there’s soemthing about cheating that’s at the heart of the appeal that makes time travel this shiny object that we love considering in our heads. So there’s something illicit about it, something that feels at its core like you’re cheating something, like you’re getting out of what you’re supposed to have. It also is just the perfect way to steal something, from Time Bandits onward, to drop out of the sky and grab Napoleon’s shit and then disappear again.”

Looper doesn’t open until Sept. 28, but I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Will Looper Tie Us Up in Knots?

The international trailer for this fall’s time-travel thriller Looper makes the movie look a little more complicated than it seemed before by adding a trite element seen in most “assassin” movies: Old Joe is supposed to kill his boss, the capo di tutti capi. Sigh.

I expected a little more from director Rian Johnson and collaborator Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But then again, perhaps they will come up with a unique twist on the clichéd plotline and it was used specifically for that goal. “A double-cross like you’ve never seen before!”

I still like the premise of trying to kill your future self — especially as the younger Joe specifies that what happens/happened to the older version of himself (played by Bruce Willis) doesn’t necessarily have to happen to him. Meaning that his own future isn’t set, and Old Joe’s past can be altered. That’s a very fluid situation!

(Sorry about the ad, but MSN is being very proprietary)

One thing we cannot change: Looper will not be released until Sept. 28.

Looper Trailer Will Hook You In

After a week of teasing from star Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Rian Johnson, the first full trailer for the time-twisting gangster movie Looper has been released, and I think it does a remarkable job of making the complicated premise easy to understand. Also, the action scenes look exciting, so this clip is really effective.

And it accomplishes all this without including even a single Bruce Willis wisecrack!

The only downside to all this is that we have to wait until Sept. 28 for the movie to open. Because time travel hasn’t been invented yet.