I’m not much of a podcast guy, but last year at Salt Lake Comic Con, David W. Collins did a panel on the music of Star Wars. It was incredible, and one of the best panels I’ve ever attended at a convention. He did a deep analysis on parts of the A New Hope soundtrack, played some non-Star Wars pieces that were used as temp tracks while they edited the original film, and more.
During the panel, he mentioned that he co-hosted a podcast called “Star Wars Oxygen: The Music of John Williams”. As soon as I had a chance, I looked it up and started listening. He and co-host Jimmy Mac spend several episodes on each of the iconic film scores, and it’s amazing.
They started the show in November of 2013, before The Force Awakens hit theaters. The last episode that they seem to have recorded was done in December, 2016 – part one of an analysis of the music of Rogue One. I haven’t been able to determine why they stopped, but the 38 episodes that are there are a fantastic look at the Star Wars scores.
I quit listening for a while (just got busy) but now I’m finishing up. I’m currently on episode 25. It’s incredible stuff. Personally, I could do without some of Jimmy Mac’s rambling commentary, but David Collins has some great insight into the music. I’ve learned a TON.
If you’re a fan of John Williams, and specifically his Star Wars scores, I highly recommend you check out “Star Wars Oxygen”.
David also has a new show, “The Soundtrack Show” where he discusses soundtracks from many different films. He has several episodes on Star Wars on that show as well, including a commentary track that you play in sync with the movie. I haven’t listened to this show… yet.
There are those in the Star Wars fan community who claim that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has “ruined” Star Wars, and some of those voices have been calling for her to be replaced by Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige. They seem to think that (among other things) Feige can do no wrong, and Kennedy has pushed a feminist agenda that has killed “their” Star Wars. They further believe that Kennedy (one of the most successful film producers in the history of Hollywood) is inept and that she needs to retire or be fired. Additionally, many of them take credit for Solo: A Star Wars Story under-performing at the box office, claiming their boycott of the film killed it.
Well, let’s compare apples to apples then, shall we? Solo: A Star Wars Story recently left theaters (in fact, it’s still playing in a 2nd run theater in my town), while Marvel’s latest film, Ant-man and the Wasp, is currently in theaters. If you consider the idea that everything Feige touches turns to gold, then it should be a no-brainer that Ant-man and the Wasp would out-perform Solo: A Star Wars Story at the box office. Here’s the plot twist: It’s not.
For years, I’ve wanted a nice, all-metal replica of Han Solo’s DL-44 blaster. My Empire Strikes Back version is all metal except the scope and piston greeblies (the pistons were plastic on-screen as well), but my A New Hope version is resin and styrene. After seeing Solo: A Star Wars Story three times last week, I really decided now was the time. So I jumped out into the replica prop online world to see what was currently available.
In 1977’s Star Wars, you can see Han’s dice hanging in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon in (I think) just one shot. When Chewie first enters the cockpit to prepare to leave Tatooine, he bumps his head on these and they swing around. Behind-the-scenes, these were added by the crew as an homage to George Lucas’ American Grafitti.
Now, 4 decades later, they’re back. First on the cover of Vanity Fair for The Force Awakens:
And they showed up again in The Last Jedi:
And, now it looks like they’ll be showing up in Solo: A Star Wars Story:
This pair of dice was a gift from my wife this past Valentine’s Day. Yeah, I know, she’s awesome. And remember, “No one’s ever really gone”…
It’s built on a Denix metal replica Mauser Broomhandle pistol, with a metal scope mount bracket, resin-cast accurate scope, and a metal flash supressor that I machined on the lathe. I’d like to upgrade to a bit more accurate flash suppressor, at some point.
The opposite side of the blaster has accurate detail pieces from the Revell visable V-8 engine model kit.
This blaster has a nice heft to it. It’s one of my favorite pieces.
Yesterday, I once again had the opportunity to attend a model railroad operating session (or as my friend Vet likes to call it, “Transportation Simulation”) at Bob Davis’ home, on his INCREDIBLE HO Scale Pennsylvania Railroad layout. The opportunity to run trains on his world-class layout is something I really appreciate, and something I have dreamed of doing since I was about 12 years old, when I would intently study the Model Railroader magazines my great uncle had given me repeatedly until the covers were falling off.
It’s difficult to capture the size and beauty of his layout in photos or video. However, this video follows a coal train around the entire layout, starting as it descends from the branch line that is above his staging tracks, picks up a string of coal hopper cars from the coal branch, winds its way through the mountains and over a switchback that takes the train 2 loops to ascend/descend, and finally through town and into the yard.
There are a couple of shots I’m not happy with, and I while I took a handheld camera stabilizer with me, I forgot the quick-connect plate to actually mount the camera on it – so I shot this all handheld, sometimes walking backward at the same time. Excuses aside, I’m pretty happy with it and hope you enjoy it.
A special thanks to Bob for opening his home and his layout to us.
On March 21, Lucasfilm announced on The Star Wars Show and on starwars.com that newly remastered releases of the soundtracks from the first six STAR WARS saga films would be released on May 4 (see the announcement HERE). I was excited, so of course, I jumped right over to Amazon and pre-ordered them. Here are my thoughts…