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JD Sports Forum! / NBA 2014-15
« on: October 28, 2014, 07:51 PM »
Let's do this, JD Sports Forum!

Does everyone know that LeBron James left Miami and signed with Cleveland during the off-season?

Division and playoff predictions to follow.

2 Exclusive! Original, Unaltered Cut Of Star Wars Trilogy To Be Released On Blu-ray By Disney

For a long time Star Wars fans have been clamoring for Disney/Lucasfilm to re-release the original, unaltered cut of the first Star Wars trilogy, and has now confirmed with two independent reliable sources that just such a plan is under way.

According to our sources, Disney has plans to release the original cut of the Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray. Our sources indicate that the project has been under way for quite some time, but it’s been challenging because of some damage to the original negatives they are utilizing. The goal is to release A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of Jedi in their complete, unaltered, original form without the redone special edition SFX.

Our sources did not have an exact date as to when the original cut of the Star Wars Trilogy would be released on Blu-ray, due to the challenges Disney has encountered in pulling everything together. However, our sources indicated the goal is to have it ready and released before Star Wars Episode VII is released in theaters.

I refused to buy the 2011 Blu-rays so no SW on Blu for me, but I'd be down for this.

If it pans out.

The Wookiee Arcade / Visceral's unannounced Star Wars game
« on: April 3, 2014, 02:28 PM »
Visceral's mysterious SW game is, to me, the most-intriguing one to come out of the EA deal. Even moreso than DICE's Battlefront. This hire may provide a little insight into what kind of game we might be getting:

Polygon: Amy Hennig joins EA's Visceral Games to work on Star Wars

Steve Papoutsis, vice president and general manager at Visceral, made the announcement in a post on EA's The Beat blog.

"Amy has long been recognized as one of our industry's top visionaries, and is coming off an amazing run as the Writer and Creative Director of the Uncharted franchise," Papoutsis wrote. "But her contributions go beyond the games she helped create at Naughty Dog and at Crystal Dynamics, where we worked together many years ago. As both a colleague and friend, I've always admired her approach to creative development — focusing on nailing down the soul of a game first, and then making sure the writing, the gameplay, the design and the art comes together to form a unified, interactive experience for the player. This fits in perfectly with what we're trying to do here at Visceral and Amy's going to help us continue in our pursuit to make the most thrilling, immersive games in the world."

Hennig started her video game development career at Electronic Arts in the early '90s. On Twitter, she spoke of her desire to work on the Star Wars franchise at EA, saying, "It's a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to the Star Wars universe, after it's had such a formative influence on my life."

Amy Hennig was the head writer and creative director of the Uncharted series at Naughty Dog, and will be the creative director on the new Star Wars game.

Visceral Games is best-known for their Dead Space series. If their Star Wars game has anywhere near the quality of their first Dead Space game, we should be in for a treat. Dead Space is fantastic. One of the best games from the last generation.

The Wookiee Arcade / How LucasArts Fell Apart - Kotaku article
« on: September 27, 2013, 04:24 PM »
This entire generation has been a waste for Star Wars games. This article goes a long way in explaining why.

How LucasArts Fell Apart

It's long, so I won't quote the whole thing, just some most of it:

It’s impossible to pinpoint a single reason for the demise of LucasArts, but an outside observer might look at the revolving door of presidents—three in the four-year period between 2008 and 2012—and wonder how anything got done. Instability ruled the realm; every high-level turnover came with layoffs and cancellations and a total shift in company direction led by whoever would take over next.

Some ex-LucasArts staffers lay blame on the presidents themselves. Others finger executives at LucasFilm for refusing to take the risks needed to make games that people would consider worthy of the Star Wars name. A number of ex-LucasArts staffers pointed to Micheline Chau, who was president of LucasFilm up until September of 2012, as the main factor for the company's decline—and the explanation for the revolving door of LucasArts presidents.

Sources describe Chau as the gatekeeper for George Lucas, and two high-level ex-LucasArts employees both said she had a tight control on Lucas's schedule. She would run rehearsals with the staff before they could meet with Lucas, sources said, and she would micromanage what the team could say and when they could say it.

"[Lucas] understood the nature of play—and games—but we didn't have the time with him that we needed," said one person familiar with high-level meetings at LucasArts.

“It never felt like people at the top cared about making great games,” said another person connected to LucasArts. “A lot of awesome projects never went anywhere because, ‘it’s not gonna make enough money.’”

Although some saw 1313 as an Uncharted clone—and even today, that's how some people look at the cancelled game—one person familiar with development of the game emphasized that the newly-implemented jetpack changed the design entirely, adding a vertical element to the action and platforming that gave things a fresher feel. Even George Lucas was high on the project, especially after the E3 acclaim.

Then, in September 2012, everything changed. LucasFilm enacted a hiring freeze, according to four people who were there at the time. All marketing plans were halted, and the company went into silent mode. Production continued on Star Wars 1313, but without the capacity to continue hiring the staff they needed, the team was crippled.

The freeze also led to endless questions revolving around Star Wars: First Assault, a multiplayer shooter that had also changed shape multiple times since it first began development in 2010. Created because George Lucas wanted to compete with the gargantuan Call of Duty series, First Assault was originally a large-scale shooter set in a time period after Return of the Jedi, according to two people familiar with the game.

Then, following direction from executives at LucasFilm, the game moved back to the Clone War era. This was a common theme at LucasArts, sources say—First Assault, which was code-named Trigger, shifted and evolved because of ever-changing direction, just like 1313. The goal posts just kept moving.

Trigger eventually morphed from attempted Call of Duty killer to multi-step project designed to reintroduce Battlefront to the world. The first game, First Assault, was set to be unveiled in September of 2012 and released in the spring of 2013. The second step was a project called Version Two, designed to show off vehicle prototypes and other Battlefront elements that didn't make it into First Assault.

But when LucasFilm enacted the hiring freeze, they also put the brakes on those marketing plans. Nobody could talk about First Assault, even when the box art was accidentally revealed on Xbox Live at the end of September.

People were baffled. “Everyone took it badly when we were told we couldn't announce or do our beta,” said one former member of the First Assault team. They kept working, but ex-First Assault staff say they had no clue whether or not the game would actually come out.

A month later, it all suddenly made sense. On October 30, 2012, Disney announced that they had purchased LucasFilm. The acquisition had been in place for quite some time, and LucasFilm had enacted the freeze in preparation for the reign of Mickey Mouse.

Yet the hiring freeze didn’t end. And over the next few months, even as LucasFilm made public declarations that everything was "business as usual," staff started to leave the company, and morale was low.

When LucasArts shut down, both Star Wars 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault were cancelled. It was a heartbreaking experience for those still with the company. And it wasn’t the only one.

Canceled games mentioned:

  • Star Wars 1313
  • Star Wars: First Assault
  • Star Wars: First Assault Version Two, which according to one source grew from the remnants of a project code-named Wingman that was going to be a Wii U title modeled after the old TIE Fighter and X-Wing games.
  • open world GTA-style game set on Coruscant
  • Untitled Indiana Jones game, canceled in 2009
  • Caveland, a 2D physics-based shooter
  • Day of the Tentacle remake
  • Smuggler, a game designed for cross-platform multiplayer that would let you play as a customizable character within the Star Wars universe, smuggling and trading between Facebook, tablets, and consoles.
  • Outpost, the Star Wars take on Zynga's FarmVille that would let players build empires, one click at a time.
  • Death Star, the iOS game in which you'd get to control your very own version of the Empire's iconic space station.

There was the online service that would be LucasArts’ very own version of Origin, EA's network for distributing games and servicing online multiplayer. Like Origin for EA, this LucasArts-branded network would help the company distribute Star Wars games and in-app purchases. According to one person familiar with plans for this network, it would have launched alongside Star Wars: First Assault, which would have had some sort of microtransaction store.

All of these games were connected, and they were all part of one big ecosystem, according to people familiar with goings-on at the company. Eventually, as seemed to be a pattern at LucasArts, they were all axed. Of course, cancellations are not abnormal in the iterative world of game development, where projects shift and disappear all the time. What made LucasArts different was the studio's tendency to cancel finished projects—games like Death Star and Outpost had already gone through QA testing and were very close to being shipped, according to two sources.

"Projects get canceled all the time," a person familiar with LucasArts said. "You'd hope that your process can identify problem projects before they're finished."

So LucasArts spent most of their final years concentrating on two big games—1313 and First Assault—and the smaller project, Version Two.

“Every couple of years, George Lucas would get re-engaged for a period of time,” said another person connected to LucasArts. “The whole company would pivot around George’s interests. And then it would fizzle out.”

The Deal That Fell Through

Could LucasArts ever have been saved? Rumors came hot and heavy following the shutdown, and in April, I reported that EA had considered buying the storied studio up until a combination of factors—like the SimCity disaster and CEO John Riccitiello’s departure—led to the deal falling apart.

More people have come forth to corroborate those EA negotiations, and according to two high-level sources, EA's deal would have financed both 1313 and First Assault—LucasArts would've stayed where it was, working under EA supervision.

According to one person familiar with goings-on at LucasArts, other big publishers considered buying the company as well.

"There were various things on the table," said that person. "Buying 1313, buying the studio, just doing a deal for that game. Multiple people made offers to help finish and publish 1313."

One publisher made an offer that was "above the budget of 1313," according to a person familiar with negotiations, but LucasFilm wouldn't take the deal—licensing out a game like Star Wars 1313 just didn't mesh with their strategies for the upcoming movies, and some top executives were much more interested in putting together a next-gen Battlefront, which EA would go on to commit to.

In hindsight, it’s become rather clear that Disney never wanted to keep LucasArts as it was in 2012—on the day of the LucasFilm deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a conference call that his company would be “likely to focus more on social and mobile than [they would] on console,” referring to console video games like the ones made at LucasArts. Still, most staff remained with the company, swimming onward against the current.

Three different ex-LucasArts employees have told me that in March of 2013, staffers were told they'd "be taken care of"—that is to say, they didn't have to look for other jobs. This was because higher-ups at LucasArts were convinced that the EA deal was coming together, even when it became clear that Disney had no interest in financing their games.

Still, some saw that the end was near—especially when employees were told not to mention Star Wars: First Assault by name even after I'd published details about the game on Kotaku—but up until the last day, there was hope.

I'm hopeful that, say, five or ten years from now, we can look back and say that the Disney/EA acquisition was the best thing that ever happened to Star Wars games.

HuffPo: 'Star Wars' Prequels Were Mapped Out By George Lucas & Lawrence Kasdan In 1981: Exclusive Excerpt From 'The Making Of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi'

This is remarkably close to the final product in 2005, except for everyone being able to use The Force, Yoda not fighting, and the twins/Leia's real mom thing.

Participants: George Lucas, Richard Marquand, Lawrence Kasdan, and Howard Kazanjian
Location: Park Way House
Note: Many of the ideas here are conceptual only and should not be considered as canon in the Star Wars saga.


Lucas: Anakin Skywalker starting hanging out with the Emperor, who at this point nobody knew was that bad, because he was an elected official.

Kasdan: Was he a Jedi?

Lucas: No, he was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the senate and finally took over and became an imperial guy and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy. He sucked Luke’s father into the dark side.

Kasdan: The Force was available to anyone who could hook into it?

Lucas: Yes, everybody can do it.

Kasdan: Not just the Jedi?

Lucas: It’s just the Jedi who take the time to do it.

Marquand: They use it as a technique.

Lucas: Like yoga. If you want to take the time to do it, you can do it; but the ones that really want to do it are the ones who are into that kind of thing. Also like karate. Also another misconception is that Yoda teaches Jedi, but he is like a guru; he doesn’t go out and fight anybody.

Kasdan: A Jedi Master is a Jedi isn’t he?

Lucas: Well, he is a teacher, not a real Jedi. Understand that?

Kasdan: I understand what you’re saying, but I can’t believe it; I am in shock.

Lucas: It’s true, absolutely true, not that it makes any difference to the story.

Kasdan: You mean he wouldn’t be any good in a fight?

Lucas: Not with Darth Vader he wouldn’t.

Kasdan: I accept it, but I don’t like it.

Lucas: Well, anyway, Luke’s father gets subverted by the Emperor. He gets a little weird at home and his wife begins to figure out that things are going wrong and she confides in Ben, who is his mentor. On his missions through the galaxies, Anakin has been going off doing his Jedi thing and a lot of Jedi have been getting killed—and it’s because they turn their back on him and he cuts them down. The president is turning into an Emperor and Luke’s mother suspects that something has happened to her husband. She is pregnant. Anakin gets worse and worse, and finally Ben has to fight him and he throws him down into a volcano and Vader is all beat up.

Now, when he falls into the pit, his other arm goes and his leg and there is hardly anything left of him by the time the Emperor’s troops fish him out of the drink. Then when Ben finds out that Vader has been fished out and is in the hands of the Empire, he is worried about it. He goes back to Vader’s wife and explains that Anakin is the bad guy, the one killing all the Jedi.

When he goes back his wife, Mrs. Skywalker has had the kids, the twins, so she has these two little babies who are six months old or so. So everybody has to go into hiding. The Skywalker line is very strong with the Force, so Ben says, “I think we should protect the kids, because they may be able to help us right the wrong that your husband has created in the universe.” And so Ben takes one and gives him to a couple out there on Tatooine and he gets his little hideout in the hills and he watches him grow. Ben can’t raise Luke himself, because he’s a wanted man. Leia and Luke’s mother go to Alderaan and are taken in by the king there, who is a friend of Ben’s. She dies shortly thereafter and Leia is brought up by her foster parents. She knows that her real mother died.

Kasdan: She does know that?

Lucas: Yes, so we can bring that out when Luke is talking to her; she can say that her mother died when “I was two years old.”

I sure wish Lucas would have stuck to his guns on the Yoda thing.  One of the hokey-est things in the prequels.

The Walt Disney Company and EA Announce Multi-Year Star Wars Games Agreement

BURBANK & REDWOOD CITY, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) and Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: EA) today announced a new multi-year exclusive licensing agreement to develop and publish globally new games based on Star Wars characters and storylines.

Under the agreement, EA will develop and publish new Star Wars titles for a core gaming audience, spanning all interactive platforms and the most popular game genres, while Disney will retain certain rights to develop new titles within the mobile, social, tablet and online game categories.

“This agreement demonstrates our commitment to creating quality game experiences that drive the popularity of the Star Wars franchise for years to come,” said John Pleasants, Co-President of Disney Interactive. “Collaborating with one of the world’s premier game developers will allow us to bring an amazing portfolio of new Star Wars titles to our fans around the world.”

“Every developer dreams of creating games for the Star Wars universe,” said EA Labels President Frank Gibeau. “Three of our top studios will fulfill that dream, crafting epic adventures for Star Wars fans. DICE and Visceral will produce new games, joining the BioWare team which continues to develop for the Star Wars franchise. The new experiences we create may borrow from films, but the games will be entirely original with all new stories and gameplay.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

JD Sports Forum! / NBA 2011-2012
« on: June 24, 2011, 10:07 AM »
Sounds like the Lakers may have a new name on the roster for next season: Metta World Peace

Cleanup In Aisle Three

SEPTEMBER 15--What kind of a guy goes into Walmart, takes a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue from the magazine rack, heads to the store’s toy section, and proceeds to masturbate to completion in the aisle?

Meet William Tyler Black.

The 28-year-old Floridian, a substitute teacher, was arrested yesterday afternoon by Sarasota cops on battery and exposure of sexual organs charges, according to a probable cause affidavit, a copy of which you’ll find here.

A store employee told cops that Black “ejaculated onto the floor and wiped his hand on a toy along with rubbing his foot in the suspected semen on the floor.” Employees reported that Black “discarded the magazine behind some toys and proceeded to the front of the store.”

A police source told TSG that the toy in question was a light saber (apparently of the Star Wars variety), and that the magazine Black used was the 2010 SI swimsuit issue with model Brooklyn Decker on its cover. Though published in February, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue can still be found on sale months later at many retailers.

When cops confronted Black, pictured in the above mug shot, he said he was in the store “shopping for a toy for his daughter.” He was hit with the battery on a child count since investigators concluded that a “reasonable person would believe that a child would come in contact with the fluid on the toy being that it was left in the toy aisle of the store.”

The Original Trilogy / Gary Kurtz talks about why he left Lucasland
« on: August 17, 2010, 09:55 PM »
'Star Wars' producer Gary Kurtz speaks out

"Star Wars" was born a long time ago, but not all that far, far away. In 1972, filmmakers George Lucas and Gary Kurtz were toiling on "American Graffiti" in their San Rafael office when they began daydreaming about a throwback sci-fi adventure that channeled the old "Flash Gordon" serials as opposed to the bleak "message" movies that had taken over the genre.

"We had no idea what we were starting," says Kurtz, who was the producer of the first two "Star Wars" films and also a second-unit director. "That simple concept changed Hollywood in a way...."

There was a bittersweet tinge to Kurtz's voice and it's no surprise. This year is the 30th anniversary of "The Empire Strikes Back," the "Star Wars" sequel that many fans consider the pinnacle moment in a franchise that has pulled in $16 billion in box office and merchandising. But 1980 was also the year that Kurtz and Lucas realized the Jedi universe wasn't big enough for the both of them.

"I could see where things were headed," Kurtz said. "The toy business began to drive the [Lucasfilm] empire. It's a shame. They make three times as much on toys as they do on films. It's natural to make decisions that protect the toy business but that's not the best thing for making quality films."

He added: "The first film and 'Empire' were about story and character but I could see that George's priorities were changing."

This weekend, Kurtz steps back into the "Star Wars" world as a special guest at Star Wars Celebration V, a massive Orlando convention organized by Lucasfilm and expected to draw thousands of fans who will come to buy collectibles, attend panels, get cast-member autographs or even visit the event's themed tattoo parlor or wedding chapel.

Kurtz's presence speaks to his vital role in the franchise's history -- he is, for instance, the one who came up with the title for "The Empire Strikes Back" -- but the Lucasfilm leadership is already fretting about the Jedi expatriate's appearance. They may have good reason; during a recent visit to Los Angeles the filmmaker, who just turned 70, showed a willingness to speak out against the priorities of an old partner.

"The emphasis on the toys, it's like the cart driving the horse," Kurtz said. "If it wasn't for that the films would be done for their own merits. The creative team wouldn't be looking over their shoulder all the time."

No fan of conflict, Kurtz has remained relatively quiet through the years but over coffee on a sunny Southern California afternoon he spoke at length about his lightsaber days.

Like many fans, Kurtz was too invested in the "Star Wars" universe to skip the second trilogy: 1999's "Star Wars: Episode I -- The Phantom Menace," 2002's "Star Wars: Episode II -- Attack of the Clones" and 2005's "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." (Lucas retitled the three original movies as "Star Wars -- Episode IV: A New Hope," "Star Wars -- Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" and "Star Wars -- Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.") But as he sat in the dark with the follow-up "Star Wars" films, he squirmed in his seat.

"I don't like the idea of prequels, they make the filmmakers back in to material they've already covered and it boxes in the story," Kurtz said. "I think they did a pretty good job with them although I have to admit I never liked Hayden Christensen in the role of Anakin Skywalker. I just wished the stories had been stronger and that the dialogue had been stronger. It gets meek. I'm not sure the characters ever felt real like they did in 'Empire.' "

A spokesperson for George Lucas said he was unavailable to comment for this story.

The comments by Kurtz -- who characterizes his relationship with Lucas as "professional" -- speak to a churning pop-culture debate about the enduring legacy of Lucas and the trajectory of his still-unfolding "Star Wars" mythology. The first trilogy of films ended in 1983 with "Return of the Jedi" and the second trilogy brought a whole new generation into the universe but also left many original fans feeling sour or disengaged.

A seventh feature film, an animated movie called "The Clone Wars," was released in 2008, which, along with video games and toys, speaks to a young 21st century constituency that may be only vaguely aware of the 1977 film.

The same passion pulling fans to Orlando also stokes the debate about Lucas and his creation. Alexandre Philippe is the director of "The People vs. George Lucas," a documentary that just had its West Coast premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival. He says that Kurtz has become a figure of integrity to the fans who believe that Lucas has followed the wrong path.

Philippe said the departure of Kurtz was a major moment in "Star Wars" history and deeply unsettling to all involved. "The cast and crew were crushed when George and Gary went their separate ways," said Philippe, who added that Mark Hamill, who portrayed Luke Skywalker, later explained it in broken-family terminology. "He said it was like mom and dad getting a divorce. They were both equally loved and respected on the set."

For Kurtz, the popular notion that "Star Wars" was always planned as a multi-film epic is laughable. He says that he and Lucas, both USC film school grads who met through mutual friend Francis Ford Coppola in the late 1960s, first sought to do a simple adaptation of "Flash Gordon," the comic-strip hero who had been featured in movie serials that both filmmakers found charming.

"We tried to buy the rights to 'Flash Gordon' from King Features but the deal would have been prohibitive," Kurtz said. "They wanted too much money, too much control, so starting over and creating from scratch was the answer."

Lucas came up with a sprawling treatment that pulled on "Flash Gordon," Arthurian legend, "The Seven Samurai" and other influences. The document would have required a five-hour film but there was a middle portion that could be carved out as a stand-alone movie. Kurtz championed the project in pitch meetings with studios and worked intensely on casting, scouting locations and finding a way to create a believable alien universe on a tight budget.

"Star Wars" opened with a title sequence that announced it as "Episode IV" as a winking nod to the old serials, not to announce a film franchise underway, Kurtz said.

"Our plan was to do 'Star Wars' and then make 'Apocalypse Now' and do a black comedy in the vein of 'MASH,' " Kurtz said. "Fox insisted on a sequel or maybe two [to 'Star Wars']. Francis [Ford Coppola] … eventually got tired of waiting and did it on his own, of course."

The team of Lucas and Kurtz would not hold together during their own journey through the jungles of collaborative filmmaking. Kurtz chooses his words carefully on the topic of their split. After the release of "Empire" (which was shaped by material left over from that first Lucas treatment), talk turned to a third film and after a decade and a half the partners could no longer find a middle ground.

"We had an outline and George changed everything in it, "Kurtz said. "Instead of bittersweet and poignant he wanted a euphoric ending with everybody happy. The original idea was that they would recover [the kidnapped] Han Solo in the early part of story and that he would then die in the middle part of the film in a raid on an Imperial base. George then decided he didn't want any of the principals killed. By that time there were really big toy sales and that was a reason."

The discussed ending of the film that Kurtz favored presented the rebel forces in tatters, Leia grappling with her new duties as queen and Luke walking off alone "like Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns," as Kurtz put it.

Kurtz said that ending would have been a more emotionally nuanced finale to an epic adventure than the forest celebration of the Ewoks that essentially ended the trilogy with a teddy-bear luau.

He was especially disdainful of the Lucas idea of a second Death Star, which he felt would be too derivative of the 1977 film. "So we agreed that I should probably leave."

Kurtz went straight over to "The Dark Crystal," a three-year project with old friend Jim Henson, whom Kurtz had brought in on the creation of Yoda for "Empire."

After that he shifted into a lower gear as far as his career and, relocating to England, turned to British television productions. He's now working on a ramping feature-film project called "Panzer 88" that he says will begin filming as early as this fall and will feature visual effects by Weta, the same New Zealand outfit that populated Middle-earth in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

The producer said that huge films hold little allure for him now and that he is more interested in smaller, more nimble productions that put an emphasis on "human stories." That might speak to his alienation from the Jedi universe, but when he talks about Lucas and their shared history the stories are still tinted by nostalgia, admiration and affection.

On casting the 1977 film: "We had a lot of people, hundreds, that we saw. It was quick and dirty. You talk to each person, jot down a note or two. Are they a score of 'five' or higher? Do they deserve a callback? On those lists were a lot of interesting people -- John Travolta, Sly Stallone -- who were great but just not right. I went to New York to do an interview with Jodi Foster, for instance, but she was just too young for Leia. A lot of it comes down to luck and timing."

On Harrison Ford, who became a Hollywood icon after "Star Wars" but keeps the fervent fandom at arm's length: "He's always been somewhat cynical, since the beginning of his career, about everything. In a way he tried not to take notoriety or the fans too seriously. Movies are movies and real life is his ranch" in Wyoming.

On the moment he knew that "Star Wars" was becoming a pop-culture sensation: "On opening day I was on the East Coast and I did the morning-show circuit -- 'Good Morning America' and 'Today' …in the afternoon I did a radio call-in show in Washington and this guy, this caller, was really enthusiastic and talking about the movie in really deep detail. I said, 'You know a lot abut the film.' He said, 'Yeah, yeah, I've seen it four times already.' And that was opening day. I knew something was happening."

Kurtz isn't sure what to expect in Orlando but he says that "Empire" may be the shining moment of his career, the confluence of commercial and artistic success. His work as a second-unit director and his hands-on efforts with the visual effects make him especially proud.

"I took a master class with Billy Wilder once and he said that in the first act of a story you put your character up in a tree and the second act you set the tree on fire and then in the third you get him down," Kurtz said. " 'Empire' was the tree on fire. The first movie was like a comic book, a fantasy, but 'Empire' felt darker and more compelling. It's the one, for me, where everything went right. And it was my goodbye to a big part of my life."

Feedback / speedermike's feedback
« on: January 12, 2009, 03:15 PM »
In all my time here at Jedi Defender, never before have I dealt with anyone as friendly and prompt as speedermike. 

He's the best there is.  Bar none.

Thanks, Mike.

The Wookiee Arcade / Star Wars: The Old Republic
« on: October 22, 2008, 03:43 PM »

OCTOBER 21, SAN FRANCISCO – LucasArts and BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc. (NASDAQ: ERTS), today announced the development of Star Wars®: The Old Republic™, a story-driven massively multiplayer online PC game set in the timeframe of the Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™ franchise. Star Wars: The Old Republic, being developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts, represents an innovative approach to interactive entertainment, featuring immersive storytelling, dynamic combat and intelligent companion characters.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic, players will explore an age thousands of years before the rise of Darth Vader when war between the Old Republic and the Sith Empire divides the galaxy. Players can choose to play as Jedi, Sith, or a variety of other classic Star Wars roles, defining their personal story and determining their path down the light or dark side of the Force. Along the way, players will befriend courageous companions who will fight at their side or possibly betray them, based on the players’ actions. Players can also choose to team up with friends to battle enemies and overcome incredible challenges using dynamic Star Wars combat.

"Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic is the most critically acclaimed Star Wars game in LucasArts history and a preeminent example of our company’s interactive storytelling heritage," said Darrell Rodriguez, President of LucasArts. "For a long time, we’ve long wanted to return to the franchise in a grand way, and we felt that the best setting for it was an online world that would allow millions of people to participate in the experience together. We knew that the developer capable of working with us to deliver an engrossing story with a fully-realized online world was BioWare."

"Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars - combat, exploration and character progression," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe."

Added Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder and Vice President Development Operations, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts Inc., "Star Wars: The Old Republic is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, a timeframe that is completely unexplored in the lore. BioWare has been able to add to the Star Wars history in developing the game’s story and has created an overarching narrative that players can enjoy, regardless of their play style. Our goal is to offer players an emotionally rewarding experience that combines the traditional elements of MMO gameplay with innovations in story and character development."

Additional details on Star Wars: The Old Republic features, gameplay and release date will be announced at a later time. For more information about Star Wars: The Old Republic and to sign up for future product updates, please visit




RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 11, 2008 - Pre-order

LABEL: Concord Records

Produced by Laurent Bouzereau


01. In the Jungle
02. The Idol Temple
03. Escape from the Temple
04. Flight from Peru
05. Washington Men/Indy's Home *
06. A Thought for Marion/To Nepal
07. The Medallion
08. Flight to Cairo
09. The Basket Game
10. Bad Dates *
11. The Map Room: Dawn
12. Reunion in the Tent/Searching for the Well
13. The Well of the Souls
14. Indy Rides the Statue *
15. The Fist Fight/The Flying Wing
16. Desert Chase
17. Marion1s Theme/The Crate
18. The German Sub
19. Ride to the Nazi Hideout
20. Indy Follows the Ark
21. The Miracle of the Ark
22. Washington Ending & Raiders March

* Previously unreleased



01. Anything Goes
02. Indy Negotiates *
03. The Nightclub Brawl *
04. Fast Streets of Shanghai
05. Map/Out of Fuel *
06. Slalom on Mt. Humol
07. Short Round's Theme
08. The Scroll/To Pankot Palace *
09. Nocturnal Activities
10. Bug Tunnel/Death Trap
11. Approaching the Stones *
12. Children in Chains
13. The Temple of Doom
14. Short Round Escapes *
15. Saving Willie *
16. Slave Children's Crusade
17. Short Round Helps *
18. The Mine Car Chase
19. Water! *
20. The Sword Trick *
21. The Broken Bridge/British Relief *
22. End Credits

* Previously unreleased



01. Indy's Very First Adventure **
02. The Boat Scene *
03. X Marks the Spot
04. Ah, Rats!!!
05. Escape from Venice
06. Journey to Austria *
07. Father and Son Reunited *
08. The Austrian Way *
09. Scherzo for Motorcycle and Orchestra
10. Alarm! *
11. No Ticket
12. Keeping Up With the Joneses
13. Brother of the Cruciform Sword
14. On the Tank *
15. Belly of the Steel Beast
16. The Canyon of the Crescent Moon
17. The Penitent Man Will Pass
18. The Keeper of the Grail
19. Finale & End Credits

* Previously unreleased
** Includes previously unreleased material


01. Raiders March
02. Call of the Crystal
03. The Adventures of Mutt
04. Irina's Theme
05. The Snake Pit
06. The Spell of the Skull
07. The Journey to Akator
08. A Whirl Through Academe
09. "Return"
10. The Jungle Chase
11. Orellana's Cradle
12. Grave Robbers
13. Hidden Treasure and the City of Gold
14. Secret Doors and Scorpions
15. Oxley's Dilemma
16. Ants!
17. Temple Ruins and the Secret Revealed
18. The Departure
19. Finale



01. Raiders March (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)
02. Interviews with John Williams, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, Hosted by Laurent Bouzereau - (featuring Steven Spielberg/George Lucas/John Williams)
03. Uncovering the Ark ** (from Raiders of the Lost Ark)
04. Indy and the Villagers * (from Temple of Doom)
05. Secret Passage, The * (from Temple of Doom)
06. Father's Study * (from Last Crusade)
07. Marcus Is Captured/To Berlin * (from Last Crusade)
08. To the Blimp * (from Last Crusade) *
09. Blimp Turns Around, The (from Last Crusade)
10. Death of Kazim * (from Last Crusade)
11. Wrong Choice, Right Choice * (from Last Crusade)
12. Return to the Village/Raiders March * (from Temple Of Doom)

* Previously unreleased
** Previously unreleased on CD

Full-color booklet including more than 25 pages of behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards and other memorable images from the films.

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE (September 26, 2008):

Concord Records to Release Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection on November 11, 2008!

On November 11, 2008 Concord Records will release Indiana Jones: The Soundtracks Collection. This limited-edition boxed set will include all four of Oscar-winning composer John Williams' soundtracks for the Indiana Jones film series - RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and this year's summer blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Exclusive to this set are expanded and remastered versions of the original soundtracks for the first three films. The set will also include a bonus CD featuring additional previously unreleased music from the films, as well as excerpts from interviews with Williams, director Steven Spielberg, and executive producer/story creator George Lucas in which they discuss the making of the music for these historic films.

Produced by Laurent Bouzereau, the boxed set will be presented in a handsome, embossed leatherette slip case with a full-color booklet that offers more than 25 pages of behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards and other memorable images from the films. This new set reintroduces and expands the first three iconic Indiana Jones soundtrack albums, which have been collectors' items for many years.

"I've had the great honor and pleasure of visiting the behind-the-scenes of the four Indiana Jones films from several angles: first as a writer/director/producer of documentaries, then as a collaborator on a book chronicling the making of all four films," Bouzereau says. "I felt I had come full circle when I was asked to collaborate on assembling expanded CD soundtrack albums for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The result represents a unique musical experience for listeners and fans of the now-classic film series that stimulates the imagination and makes you want to watch the films again."

With 45 Academy Award nominations and five Oscars® under his belt, John Williams has composed many of the most famous film scores in history, and has collaborated with Steven Spielberg for the past 35 years on 23 films including Jaws, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler's List. Williams also composed the acclaimed scores for George Lucas' STAR WARS saga, Superman: The Movie, Memoirs of a Geisha, and the first three Harry Potter films.

Source: Concord Records.

FIRST PRESS RELEASE (September 4, 2008):

For the first time ever all four Indiana Jones soundtrack albums are available in this limited edition collectible CD boxed set! Included are expanded and remastered versions of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and exclusive to this set: Indiana Jones & The Temple Doom, and Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade. This set also includes the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull soundtrack plus a bonus interview CD with composer John Williams on the making of this historic music. Housed in a handsome embossed slip case and presented with a full color booklet, this set reintroduces the iconic original Indiana Jones film scores by Oscar-winning composer John Williams - out of print since 1995! A must for fans and collectors alike, all will rejoice in having all these soundtracks presented together expanded with previously unreleased music - along with this summer's blockbuster Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull available together for the very first time. Relive the musical adventure today!


ADDITIONAL DETAILS (September 8, 2008):
All three original soundtracks (Raiders, Temple of Doom, and Last Crusade) will be expanded and remastered, including material never before issued on CD. Track listings are not available yet. The box set will also include the standard Kingdom of the Crystal Skull soundtrack (released earlier this year, no bonus material added) plus an exclusive audio interview CD with John Williams.

The reissues of the three original soundtracks will only be available in the box set and will not be sold individually until later this year or early next.

Source: Concord Records.

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