Bothans

On the one hand, its a tad irksome  how many people are conflating the Rogue One team stealing the plans for Death Star I with the Bothan spies who stole the plans for Death Star II.

On the other hand, it’s a testament to the power of awesome world-building. The hushed intensity with which Caroline Blakiston delivered the line “many Bothans died” in Jedi – with no further explanation – still evokes a desire to know more.

It doesn’t matter how much narrative and logical sense the world-building makes, if we don’t care enough to want to know more.

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On the first pass, I just watch the short like a traditionally shot and edited scene from a movie: some Stormtroopers on Tatooine are on a search, C-3PO and R2-D2 are in hiding, and eventually Boba Fett shows up for a big reveal. But the quality of the visuals is arresting. It doesn’t just look like a CG cutscene; from the quality of the motion to the sunlight glinting off the droids, it nearly looks like a movie shot on film that I’m watching on an iPad. And it’s not a simple video file being played back either; the footage is being rendered in real-time on an ILM server and then streamed to the tablet (ILM later tells me they’ve run successful tests over LTE, as well). With a tap I can slow down time, change perspective, or watch the entire scene from a Stormtrooper’s point of view. In another mode I can use the iPad as a virtual viewfinder, scoping around the world to see whatever I like, or even join the droids before they even appear in the edited version of the scene. Instant prequel.

It’s all too easy to imagine going to a theater to see Episode VIII, then firing up an iPad to explore what happened just before some big climactic Sith showdown or lightsaber duel. “Instead of cutting a scene because the running time is too long — or only getting to see that on the Blu-ray release as a special feature — what if there was a version where it’s more like, ‘I still want to tell that story, it would just be better in VR?’” Bredow smiles. “Let’s let this show as a parallel story, let’s release this clip with multiple things you can explore and give the audience something that they can sink their teeth into if they want to engage in the movie in that way.”

Inside Industrial Light & Magic’s secret Star Wars VR lab | The Verge

I got to see this earlier in the year. It was MIND-BLOWING.

The Empire Strikes Back on Twitter Redux

Back in 2009, for the second #SXStarWars event, I did a complete adaptation of Empire for twitter.  63 accounts, almost 150 tweets, taking almost an entire day to play out. 

It was a lot of fun, but it was also really difficult to archive with the 2009 toolset. 

Since then, we’ve gotten some new toys to play with, and so I thought it might be a good time to see if I could resurrect it.

You can follow the whole story at https://twitter.com/sxstarwars/lists/empire