There have been more rumors about Star Wars Episode VII than Jabba the Hutt has rolls of fat. But the fact is we still know next to nothing about J.J. Abrams' film. So to scratch our itch to see something — anything! — about the new movie we asked four of the most prominent Star Wars fans in all of Star Wars fandom to share how they'd like to see Episode VII open: James Floyd (@jamesjawa) of ClubJade.Net (@clubjade); Eric Geller (@ericgeller) of TheForce.Net (@TheForceNet) and Hollywood.com's Get Thee to the Geek Google Hangout series; William Devereux (@masterdevwi), Stephen Rice, & Tom Christopher of the We Talk Clones podcast (@WeTalkClones); and Tricia Barr (@fangirlcantina) of FanGirlBlog.com. We then got illustrator Terry Mack to render these suggested openings as four storyboard panels. Click on each of the photos to get a close-up, hi-res look at each of the images and check out what the fans had to say!
JAMES FLOYD Writer, ClubJade.Net & BigShinyRobot.com
After the scrolling text fades into the distance of the inky starfield, the camera pans down across the star-filled blackness of space to reveal an arc covering the bottom of the screen, a view of the top part of a large yellowish planet, shown in the day, lit from an offscreen sun.
The world has no pronounced surface features, though some patches are slightly darker than others, as if there was weather over the world. Other parts seem to shine, but overall, it's not quite in focus.
We hear a familiar cheerful beep-whistle, and the camera pulls back to reveal that the 'planet' is the back of Threepio's head as the droid floats in space. He slowly rotates around to face the camera, and as the camera continues to zoom out, Artoo and some debris also appear floating in space beside him. Both droids are intact, but are covered in patches of grime, dust and soot, explaining the 'weather' patterns on Threepio's less-than-shiny body.
Threepio, not liking weightlessness: "No, Artoo, THIS was not a good idea."
ERIC GELLERCo-host of The ForceCast, Social Media Director for TheForce.Net
We see the massive reconstructed chamber of the Galactic Senate on Coruscant. It is filled mostly with senators and their aides, but Luke Skywalker sits in one of the Senate's floating pods with several Jedi Knights from his academy.
A Senate official calls for silence in the room and announces the arrival of the Supreme Chancellor. Luke eyes the center of the chamber, where the Chancellor's platform will rise into position, looking anxious.
We cut to a lavishly decorated hallway under the Senate chamber and see a set of legs from the knees down as someone strides briskly across the carpeted floor. This person is followed by two armored guards. We see the trio from the back as they reach the end of the hallway and an open doorway that leads onto a platform.
The guards remain in the hallway as the third person (whose face we still have not seen) strides through the doorway and onto the platform. We then cut to a close-up of an electronic sign on the wall next to the doorway that reads "SENATE IN SESSION." As the platform begins to rise into the Senate chamber above, the sign illuminates.
We then see an overhead shot of the Supreme Chancellor's platform as it rises into place, with Leia Organa standing on it, looking determined and in control.
The scene ends with a medium shot of Supreme Chancellor Leia Organa standing on the raised platform in the center of the Senate chamber. She says, "Members of the Senate, I come before you to discuss a grave matter that threatens the stability of our fledgling new Republic."
WILLIAM DEVEREUX, STEPHEN RICE, & TOM CHRISTOPHERHosts, We Talk Clones
Panel 1: Binary suns rise over a jungle planet (Ossus). A lone Jedi boot enters the panel.
Panel 2: Three-quarter shot over the left shoulder of Ben Skywalker (Luke’s son) looking at the sunrise.
Panel 3: The camera zooms out and Luke Skywalker enters screen right. He places his hand on Ben’s shoulder.
Panel 4: Cut to a shot looking at Luke and Ben, with the morning sunrise shining on their faces. It’s the dawn of a new era. A Jedi Academy is visible in the background, with dozens of Jedi apprentices and younglings training in the courtyard (practicing with lightsabers, using the Force to lift objects, etc.) just out of earshot.
This scene is the passing of the torch – literally for Luke and Ben and symbolically for the viewers. It echoes the famous Binary Sunset scene in A New Hope while providing a launching-off point for the new trilogy, complete with a rebuilt and thriving Jedi Order.
TRICIA BARRAdministrator, FanGirlBlog.com
1. Han and Chewie in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon. An overhead panel sprays out sparks while laser fire rips outside the front cockpit viewport. Han shouts, “Put your oxygen mask on, you big furball!” Chewie howls a protest. Han responds, “This old girl still has a few tricks left in her.”
2. A newer-model X-wing fighter swoops across the panel, firing on and blowing up the enemy starfighter tailing the Falcon. “Millennium Falcon, this trade lane is no longer safe. We'll escort you from here.”
3. The Falcon now parked in a hangar next to several of the X-wings. Han and Chewie walking away from the ship. Han says, “We need to find that hotshot who saved our tails and say thanks.” Chewie, arm raised, points across the hangar and growls something.
4. A female X-wing pilot hops down the ladder from the starfighter's cockpit, with Han and Chewie waiting for her at bottom. She pulls off her helmet and says, “All in a day’s work, Dad.”
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The finals on American Idol have famously separated the winner from the runner up. Two singers step onto the stage, and after an hour of Simon Fuller's song choices, the contestants' favorite song choices, and their brand new potential hit singles, we're given a pretty complete picture of each singer. And almost every single time, one singer rises to the top while the other floats nearby, but nearly as high as his or her competitor. However, when the votes fall, the results don't always make sense. That's why, even though Candice Glover was the clear winner at the end of Wednesday night's episode, we can't breathe easy just yet.
Kree Harrison pulled a bit of a dud when she won the coin toss to go first in her game of back and forth with Candice. While she got to close with her big, emotional number "Up To The Mountain," she had to do so right before Candice, the nortoriously incredible show-closer, reprised her incomperable rendition of "I (Who Have Nothing)." While I've not a complaint about Kree's country stylings, when compared to the sheer artistry of Candice's vocals, there's no comparison. It's Candice every single time.
So why am I shaking in my boots over Thursday night's big finale and the results it holds? Because, put simply, I don't trust Idol voters. While Candice is on another level, with talent so distinct that it transcends genre and style and simply is Candice, she's not speaking Idol fans' favorite language: Country. Kree is a perfectly great country singer. She proved that her level of soul can reach heights similar (though not as great) as Candice's with "Up to the Mountain" and her brand new single, while not earth-shattering, is exactly what the Carrie Underwood fan ordered. Kree could win, and if she does, it's because Idol voters have once again stuck to their vanilla guns and picked the girl who completes their predictable genre.
Of course, it's not that Kree, who's been through hell and back again in her personal life, doesn't deserve some shred of happiness. In fact, the loss of both her parents – as upsetting as it sounds – is a strength in a competition in which voters base much of their decision-making on feeling and backstory. But Candice has her own form of backstory strength as well, and it's why I have oodles of hope oozing from my every pore, that Miss Glover will be last singer standing.
While Kree's song was clearly a pick from the country superstar reject bin (sorry, Kree, but the song itself wasn't anything to write home about, no matter how beautiful that voice of yours is), Candice's couldn't have been more perfect. I'm a little concerned that she went with such a slow ballad, but her ability to make any song sound like a classic, instantly, showed on Wednesday night. "I Am Beautiful" perfectly connects to Candice's candid expressions of her past insecurities and turns it into beautiful, marketable pop music. Not unlike Christina Aguilera and Pink before her, Candice's message of inner beauty and beauty that doesn't quite fit the mold is the sort of message that could push her past the country vote right into the winner's seat.
It's a shame that I fear Candice's voice alone can't catapult her to the top, but if Kree could overtake Angie Miller – the clear frontrunner for almost the entire competition – we can't put it past her to overtake the woman who is arguably one of the most talented people we've seen on this show in years. If Candice doesn't win, it won't be for reasons that last year's vocal dynamo, Jessica Sanchez, missed the mark. Sanchez didn't deliver the way she should have in her final competitive performances and Phillip Phillips overtook her (granted, the cute boy card helped a little here, too). If Candice doesn't win, it will be because the Idol voters have become so predictable that they can't look past genre to see once-in-a-lifetime talent standing before them, asking them to understand her.
But should the voters choose correctly, and should Candice win on Thursday, it will be an immense victory, and not only because she was cast off during Vegas week in Season 11, making a victory sweet vindication. Not just because her body image issues have held her back until Idol boosted her confidence. And not because Randy Jackson and Mariah Carey all but said she should win. If Candice Glover gets that confetti shower on Thursday night, it will be a victory because despite the network's gripes with Idol, the judges, and its slipping ratings, if Candice wins, we will have proven that Idol can find talent and skyrocket that talent into the spotlight, where it belongs. Her victory would prove that as tired as many fans are of the old Idol model, it's still kicking, and when you give it chance, it's still got the power to deliver the covetted "moment like this."
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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S11E14: After a gruelling night of more viable contestants than we know what to do with, American Idol’s top 12 girls night was a stark contrast. With the guys, almost every performance had a hook. Even when a singer, like Eben Franckewitz, proved that he’s not quite ready for the competition, he did it without making us regret tuning in. But this evening’s offering of ladies’ tunes made me wonder if I’d been watching a different show all season and if I could somehow convince the judges to give two of the girls’ slots to our guys. That’s the problem with the Idol system: we have to see this equal split of genders in the top 13. Instead of sending through the top 13 best possible performers, we send through the best girls and the best guys. It just so happens that this year, the girls aren’t the group with the best crop of singers.
But I can’t just throw these claims around, so I’ve prepared some proof. If the fact that two singers chose to perform the same Adele song and the fact that the judges weren’t simply singing praises all night isn’t proof enough, here are our ladies from the mind-blowing revelations to moments we wish we could un-witness.
Jessica Sanchez “Love You I Do”
For someone who only really sneaked into the competition during group week, Jessica is suddenly a frontrunner. This girl delivered the best song of the night, hands down. She says her voice is sore, but if that’s what she sounds like when she’s sick, I hope she never gets better. She belongs on that stage. Jennifer praises her use of dynamics and her stage presence - she’s performing at an almost professional level. Randy continues on his comparison tirade, calling her a young Beyonce. While I appreciate the sentiment, these comparisons aren’t good for the contestants - it’s pigeon-holing and pressure all at once.
Shannon Magrane “Go Light Your World”
Here’s how great a singer Shannon Magrane is: she picked a song no one knows in a genre outside of the pop music canon and she’s still a top performer of the night. To put it simply, her voice is phenomenal for a 16 year old. Jennifer says Shannon feels it in her soul like something terrible happened to her at a young age - though I’d hope that great music isn’t only borne of tragedy. Randy is fully on board and Steven spends his allotted time struggling to keep from saying how attractive she is in front of her father...again.
Hollie Cavanaugh “Reflection”
When she started singing, I would never have guessed she’d make into one of my top slots. But I can now say, without a doubt, that she’s one of the strongest, most surprising contestants on the show. She started off a little unsure, but as the song built up, she suddenly broke out with a huge voice that we never saw in auditions. The judges all say they want to see her let her hair down - a delicious prospect after as performance like this - but Jennifer goes far enough to say that Hollie could win this thing. It’s probably a little early to make these claims, but I’m certainly excited to see what she does next.
Hallie Day “Feeling Good”
When Hallie hit the stage after a few mediocre performances from her peers, she was a bit of a relief. She’s got an old soul of a voice and she’s a joy to watch - even though she has trouble working the stage and maintaining her strength. And in truth, she’s a great singer, but when Steven compared her to Adele I had an almost allergic reaction. Adele is the biggest singer in the world right now, the last thing we need is a slate of copy cats. Even if Hallie turns out to be the next Adele, calling her that would only hurt her.
Elise Testone “One and Only”
I always forget about Elise and when she ended up singing the same song as Jen Hirsh, I feared the worst. First, like I said about little Eben on guys’ night: never, ever start with Adele. Why two girls did the same song by an artist no one should cover is beyond me. Good thing for Elise, she delivered the better performance. She makes it her own, taking it into gospel territory - a little more old school than Adele does it. Jennifer says Elise didn’t quite hit the notes she could have because her emotions got in the way - but her emotions are what made this rendition work. Randy says it wasn’t her best performance, but it was great. They say she’s one of the best people in the competition, and I think it’s too soon to tell, but she’s certainly intriguing.
Skylar Laine “Stay With Me”
I’ve liked Skylar since the beginning. She’s an old school country singer with strong vocals, but her stage presences is a little manic this time around. I love this girl, but the shaking arms and vibrations need to scale back a little. Jennifer says she’s what it would be like if “Tina Turner went country.” Randy calls her Reba McEntire/Kelly Clarkson/Tina Turner. Once again, the judges are there to help qualify and all they do is compare unique talents to already established singers. Skylar is Skylar - let’s not put her in a box from the start.
Erika Van Pelt “What About Love”
While she was a favorite throughout auditions, her first live show was not impressive. She played it so incredibly safe and didn’t make use of her character or smokiness. Once again, Randy makes an outrageous comparison, saying she’s got an Adele vibe, which, as I’ve said multiple times in this recap, isn’t helping anyone. She’s got a strong voice but she didn’t really use it, and it could cost her a spot in the competition.
Jen Hirsh “One and Only”
STOP SINGING ADELE SONGS. Jen’s rendition of “One and Only” precedes Elise’s, but that didn’t help her. It’s simply not strong, unique, or emotional enough to let us forget what the original sounds like. I simply couldn’t stop hearing Adele and comparing Jen’s subpar performance to Adele’s heart-breaking one. Jennifer loves it and says she let loose - but it’s not enough, all I can hear is how she tried and failed to sound like Adele. It’s disappointing because in Hollywood, Jen was one who stood out. That original sound is long gone, but if she sticks around maybe she can find it again.
Chelsea Sorrell “Cowboy Casanova”
Chelsea is another contestant I constantly forget, and this song doesn’t really help. She lets the Carrie Underwood tune do the work for her and Randy rightfully questions coming out of the gate with Underwood’s song. It’s true, she floats along with the help of the song and she really doesn’t have her own identity. Plus, when we strip away the bounce of the tune, we’re just left with a slightly nasally country gal. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and the other options are just so much better.
Brielle Von Hugel “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”
Brielle has a bit of an issue going into this competition because we watched her turn into a bit of a diva during Hollywood week. Her onstage bravado is tainted by the attitude issues we saw during that tense week, and to boot, she picks a song that dips out of her range and at times reaches to high for her. Steven loves it because he loves everything. But Jennifer and Randy praise her too. They say she’s a true performer - she’s a ham, but I wouldn’t call her a performer. And Randy says she has Janis Joplin swag. They go a little easy on the girl if you ask me, but maybe my judgement is just a little clouded.
Baylie Brown “Amazed”
She doesn’t belong in the top 24. Not only is the song a terrible choice, but she alternates between going flat and sharp. But hey, she’s gorgeous. The judges rattle off harsh - but not harsh enough - criticisms about everything from her song choice, to her shaky performance, to her lack of oomph. Of course they all manage to tell her how pretty she looks. If her Barbie doll appearance gives her a top 13 slot, I’m going to be a very unhappy camper.
Haley Johnsen “Sweet Dreams”
I’m still not sure what happened here. Haley has no control. She’s off key. The song owned her in the worst possible way. Jennifer says she has so much skill and a unique voice, but I have to assume she’s pulling that from past performances because this sad rendition held none of those things. Steven says she wasn’t perfect, but “who is?” proving his commentary is just a side show. Randy thankfully says it was a bit of a nightmare. Sorry, Haley. I’m going to have to agree whole heartedly with Randy on this one.
Who are your top five? Do you think anyone could win it all? Are you afraid your favorite might be sent home? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler
Happy, happy...joy, joy! That lovable animated cat Stimpy and his Chihuahua friend Ren are making a comeback on TNN. The cable network bought the rights to all 52 episodes that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991 to 1995 and will be restoring deleted footage to some of the originals, TV Guide reports. Series creator John Kricfalusi is also reportedly on board to create brand-new episodes for the gross-out cartoon, to be aired next year.
That's Dr. Schwarzenegger to you. Taking a break from filming Terminator 3, action star Arnold Schwarzenegger received an honorary doctorate degree Sunday from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. The degree, a Doctor of Humane Letters, recognizes Schwarzenegger and his work with the Special Olympics and the Inner-City Games Foundation.
The two men accused of blackmailing Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe were cleared of their charges Monday. Judge John Williams of the Coffs Harbor District Court in Australia ordered the jury to acquit the men because the prosecution failed to prove they demanded money from Crowe in return for destroying an incriminating video of Crowe in a brawl outside a bar.
And the Hollywood Walk of Fame grows. Director Martin Scorsese, Etta James, Kevin Bacon, Susan Sarandon and Kermit the Frog will be getting their own Walk of Fame stars next year.
Actor/director Forest Whitaker will be taking the reins of the supernatural thriller Selling Time. The story centers on a man who gets the chance to relive the worst day of his life with some unexpected consequences. Whitaker, whose acting credits include Panic Room, The Crying Game and the The Color of Money, has directed Hope Floats starring Sandra Bullock and Waiting to Exhale with Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett.
Donald Trump as the beauty pageant king inked a $50 million deal with NBC to broadcast three beauty pageants, including Miss USA, Miss Universe and Miss Teen USA. NBC replaces CBS, which sold its 50 percent stake in the Miss Universe Organization back to Trump, according to Variety.
The World Wrestling Entertainment's two signature primetime shows, Raw Is War and Smackdown, have lost a majority of male teenage audiences in what Variety has dubbed a "teen exodus." According to Nielsen numbers, Smackdown has lost 35 percent of its 12-to-17-year-old males compared with the same period last year, while Raw Is War shows a desertion rate in males 12 to 17 of 19 percent year to year.
The British Army said Sunday it is withdrawing a recruitment video that featured two Oasis songs, "Wonderwall" and "Hello," because it never had the group's permission to use the tracks, The Associated Press reports. The video, which depicted soldiers conducting exercises in Kenya to songs from Oasis' 1995 best-selling album (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, was being shown in schools and shopping malls. A Defense Ministry official told the AP the regiment did not realize it needed permission to use the songs.