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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Ten Biggest Star Wars Blu-Ray Changes

We all knew there were going to be some adjustments, or "embetterments", to the Star Wars films with their Blu-Ray release on September 16th. In his infinite wisdom the great creator, George Lucas, has constantly refined his original releases over the years in an effort to create the definitive version of the Star Wars universe. In his quest for perfection, Mr. Lucas will not stop until every character has been replaced with CGI, every line re-dubbed and every special effect re-rendered in jaw-dropping 5D.

io9 has revealed that one of the biggest changes in the Blu-Ray version is that Darth Vader will now scream, "NNNNOOOOOOOOOOO!" when he throws the Emperor down the shaft in Return of the Jedi.

The fact is, that's only the beginning. The Death Star PR team can now exclusively reveal the ten biggest Star Wars Blu-Ray embetterments:

LOADS more crazy crap in every scene!
Because everyone knows that the absolute BEST way to improve a movie isn't about the script, acting or directing, it's how much CRAZY CGI stuff you can totally unnecessarily cram into the background of Every. Single. Scene. of your films.


In an effort to improve the realism of the original trilogy, Chewbacca will now be replaced with ChewbaccARGH - an actual, genetically engineered, giant carnivorous killer bear with crossbow paws and a taste for human flesh. Unrelated: Han Solo has a cyborg leg now! How COOL is that, maybe?!

Ewoks blink now.

Ewoks have always been scary. They may look cute from a distance but up close they have the cold, soulless, dead eyes of a homicidal sociopath who just stabbed somebody to death because they didn't stir the sugar into their coffee clockwise three times before drinking it. But now they blink. Oh, you don't think that's pants-wettingly terrifying, Mr. Big Man? Then just imagine sitting in a kid's room filled with teddy bears when all of a sudden you realise they're all blinking at you.
            Wait for it.
                                         Wait for it.
                                                                               There you go.


The true hero of both Star Wars trilogies, R2-D2, will receive some big time upgrades in the new old trilogy. The plucky astromech droid will now save the crew of the Millenium Falcon from certain death in Death Star Hangar Bay 327 by flying around shooting rockets at the Stormtroopers before transforming into a giant warrior robot with a flaming sword and a jive talkin' "edgy" African-American voice. (Image found here)

Catchphrases for EVERYONE!
In keeping with the addition of Vader's trademark "NNNNNOOOOOOO!!!" to the Emperor's death scene, all of the main characters will now have a catchphrase which they say incessantly. Luke will respond, "But I was going in to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters!" (Classic!) every time somebody asks him to do anything. Leia will now address everyone as a "Scruffy looking Nerf Herder" (ZING!), and Obi-Wan will constantly remind everyone that what he's saying is right, "From a certain point of view".

Anakin Begin Again

One of the bigger changes in Return of the Jedi's Special Edition was the change of Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost to Hayden Christensen. To really tie in the prequel and original trilogies, Hayden will also replace Sebastian Shaw in Darth Vader's unmasking scene. And, because YOU demanded it, Jake Lloyd will now play the role of Force ghost Anakin. He will smile cutely, wave and inexplicably shout, "Now THIS is pod racing!" before winking at the audience as we star wipe to black.

New, improved fight scenes

There's nothing quite as thrilling that audiences can totally emotionally invest in as watching completely computer generated characters fight, race, or make sweet blue alien love to, one another for extended periods of time. To that end, Darth Vader's lightsaber duels with Obi-Wan and Luke will now be entirely CGI and involve lots of crazy flips and shit because hey, it worked for Yoda, right?

Ultra-cool post-credits sequence!
You thought Return of the Jedi ended with Rebels smiling and Ewoks happily drumming on Stormtrooper helmets while they feast on Darth Vader's chargrilled corpse, didn't you? Oh, you. A new post-credits sequence shows the ghost of Emperor Palpatine laughing maniacally before flying up the reactor shaft towards the camera whilst shooting lightning from his hands. Did somebody say... TRIquels?!!

Newer, betterer actors

The original films were released a long, long time ago. So long ago that younger generations of viewers have absolutely no idea who, or what, a Carrie Fisher or a Mark Hamill is. In his infinite wisdom, the great creator has digitally altered the original trilogy so that the main characters are now played by the best, hippest, culturally relevant, totally actors of the modern era. Robert Pattinson as Luke Skywalker! Matthew McConaughey as Han Solo! Megan Fox as Princess Leia! And Will Smith as Lando Calrissian!

Han doesn't shoot at all

The famous Mos Eisley Cantina scene has been through quite a few revisions. In the original, Han Solo shot Greedo before the Rodian Bounty Hunter could shoot him, thus immediately and beautifully establishing Han as an anti-hero. In the Special Edition, Han shoots a fraction of a second after Greedo, thus immediately establishing Han as... a kind of anti-hero ... with great reflexes? In the Blu-Ray version, the scene reaches its inevitable conclusion: Han doesn't shoot at all. Rather, he delivers a devastatingly rakish smile and Greedo simply dies of a tragic, completely unconnected heart attack.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The 20 Most Famous Forcesquare Oustings

Living a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, it can be hard to keep up with all of your friends' comings and goings. But it's nice to know that even when you're busy ruthlessly hunting down magical space monks, or controlling armadas of evil spaceships with the power of your mind, there's an easy way to stay connected.

Use the Forcesquare! 

Forcesquare, the original location-based social networking site, allows users to "check-in" to popular locations all over the galaxy, earning points, achievement badges and even major bragging rights by becoming mayor of places like your local cantina or Galactic Senate.

Today, Forcesquare's front page features the 20 Most Famous Forcesquare Oustings. Click to enlarge:

What are you waiting for? Check-in with Forcesquare today! (Particularly if you're a Jedi)

Words/Concept: Robbie Boland. Mind-blowing Art: Scott Morton.

Planet Vader

Normally we're in the business of destroying planets, so today's news presents us with something of a conflict of interest. Earth astronomers have discovered the darkest planet known, a planet made of midnight, cloaked in shadow, blacker even than the blackest of hearts.

The planet TrES-2b, a gas giant some 750 million light years away, is so dark that it reflects back less than 1% (0.01) of the light from its nearby star. As NPR's report states, "That means the planet is blacker than coal. Seen from space, TrES-2b would barely be visible."

As yet, there is no clear explanation as to what makes TrES-2b so dark, though it could be its close proximity to its star, or even, as co-discoverer David Kipping has speculated, due to the presence of a previously unknown chemical.

On Earth, at least. Poor, pathetic Earth scientists. You haven't even invented real lightsabers yet, it's no wonder you can't figure this one out. As usual, it falls to the benevolent Galactic Empire to explain things to you and help you understand how REAL science works.

You see, WE made "Planet Vader" (as it shall be known from now on). Right after Padmé died of totally natural causes, a young Darth Vader was not quite as happy to have been turned into a bachelor and a kick ass evil cyborg as one might expect. In fact, he was a bit depressed. Okay, he was a LOT depressed. The guy cried ALL the frigging time. He cried whenever he heard Celine Dion songs on the radio and wrote a lot of horrible, horrible poetry. Like, HEAPS. Poetry so bad it made Vogon poetry seem like Shakespearean sonnets.

So Emperor Palpatine found the planet responsible for relaying the Celine Dion songs, set the giant laser to 'Extra Crispy' and dedicated the "new" planet to his best bro.

Once Vader got after the post traumatic stress-induced night terrors of being taken to another molten hot planet, he was actually quite appreciative of the gesture.

Story via NPR. (Tip via Dr. Rubidium)

The PR Team is Expanding

We're getting busier here in a Galaxy Far, Far Away. It seems that since Alderaan "mysteriously disappeared", the PR Team fields more and more inquiries by the day. This morning we had seven emails. SEVEN! Okay, four of them were from incredibly naive Nigerian princes whose money will shortly be put towards funding more Death Stars, but still, we've been swamped.

To that end, the Emperor has drastically increased our funding, thereby allowing us to massively expand the Death Star PR blog team by one. Who will work for free, like the rest of it. And enjoy it. (Hey, when your boss can shoot lightning out of his hands, that's a pretty good deal).

The old team:
Words and ideas - Robbie Boland.
Photoshopping wizardry and (im)moral support - Bec Boland.
Logo creator, Death Star PR comic strip maker and industrial designer - Kristian Aus. Follow him on Twitter and marvel at his design skills at autumnproducts.com.au/.

New addition:
Artiste extraordinaire - Scott Morton. Follow him on Twitter and gasp at his graphical prowess at www.scottwearspants.blogspot.com.

Below are some samples of Scott's art. Click for larger versions.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

At least we're not as bad as Apple

This might surprise you Sithizens, but the Galactic Empire has a bit of a bad reputation in some parts of the universe. Apparently some people think it's "evil" to oppress an entire galaxy for its own good, or have your Stormtroopers set fire to people's homes and/or the people themselves because they refused to obey the law and sell out their only child, even though he's adopted.

Well, if streamlining people's political choices or using unorthodox but effective methods to expedite police inquiries is wrong, then we don't want to be right. Next you'll be saying that Darth Vader didn't bring balance to the Force by lightsabering the Jedi in the back, or that building a moon-sized doomsday laser isn't the best way to make people feel safe and help them sleep at night.

Right. And we guess people want "equal rights" and "freedom" and "not to have their children forced into slavery to build apocalyptic death weapons"? Pshaw! We laugh maniacally in your general direction! Ahahaha! HAHA! MWAHAhahaHAHAHA!

Anyway, what were we saying? Stupid required by evil law monologues. Ah, yes. Apple. We've told you already that Steve Jobs is building the Galappletic iMpire. What we didn't know then is that he's already several steps ahead of us in evil stakes. You see, Jobs isn't content with blowing up a planet or two. Recently, Apple deleted an entire galaxy.

Here's proof:


According to Tom's Guide, one of several new wallpapers in Mac OS 10.7 Lion features an extremely altered image of the Andromeda Galaxy, in which the M110 Galaxy is completely gone (original and Apple version above).

So next time you're thinking of accusing the Galactic Empire of being "evil", concentrate on fighting TRUE EVIL instead: take your iPhone and go and throw it at an Apple Store instead.

Thanks to Sith Lord Steve Higgins for the tip.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fool Me Once


Fool me once, shame on me.

Fool Darth Vader once, shame about your home planet.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 Reasons Why the Dark Side is Just Plain Better

Some people would have you believe that the Dark Side is "evil", just because you have to murder the occasional person or blow up a planet or two. But really, what's so good about being good? Here are ten reasons why turning to the Dark Side is just plain better.

10. Great Benefits

Forget stuffy suits and striped ties. On the Dark Side, you can wear a cape to work! You'll also get your choice of oversized helmet and form-fitting durasteel battle armour, all in a wide variety of flattering shades of black. Plus, as a Sith Apprentice you get to work one-on-one in a collaborative team-oriented environment with a highly experienced and enthusiastic industry expert. And when it comes to taking care of yourself, well, how many other jobs offer total cyborg limb replacement and full body cloning as part of their health benefits scheme?

9. Better theme music
Seriously, do you want the theme music of your life to sound like this:

Or this:

The first says, "I stare at binary sunsets whilst weeping over my family problems and/or the fact that I've never touched a girl's boobs and/or unspecified moisture farm-related problems." The second says, "I'm such a massive badass that I have severe asthma, no legs, arms, or private parts to speak of and I'm STILL the most feared person in the entire galaxy."

8. Choose your own name
Who wants to be called Albert, or Pauline, or even... *shudder* Luke? Once you turn to the Dark Side you can choose your own awesome fear-inspiringly-evil-yet-incredibly-literally-summing-up-your-modus-operandi evil name, e.g. Darth Ba'dazz, Darth Vill-I-An, or Darth Murd-r Err. See? COOL.

7. "Good is dumb"

Spaceballs' Dark Helmet summed it up best when he said, "Evil will always triumph because good is dumb." Good is dumb. Name one good guy who ever invented an amazing moon-sized doomsday weapon or who had the intellect and determination required to take over a galaxy. Or name one bad guy who accidentally made out with his sister. You can't. Still not convinced? In the time it took the entirety of the Jedi Council to not at all figure out that Palpatine was a Sith Lord, EVEN WHEN THEY WERE IN THE SAME ROOM, Palpatine orchestrated an entire series of star wars, created 60,000 clones, manipulated an entire galaxy into legally declaring him ruler, turned the most powerful Jedi ever into his apprentice, organised for the rest of the Jedi to be killed, built a Death Star and still had time to create reality TV and send it to Earth.

6. Make your own rules
Is it just us, or did the Jedi have rules for everything? "Don't fall in love." "Never be afraid of anything." "Don't kill people, even if they can't tell the difference between "your" and "you're"." "Don't feed Yoda after midnight." They were so busy making up rules that they forgot Rule Number #1: When you have a lightsaber and magic super powers, THERE ARE NO RULES (Except "Point Lightsaber away from body before activating". That's actually a pretty good one, particularly if you value your genitals/limbs.)

5. Live forever

We know what you're thinking: "But the bad guy always dies in some horrific way at the hands of the murderous orphaned magical prophecy child!" WRONG. Don't you know anything about MATHS, stupid hypothetical straw man? Check it:
Sith Lord deaths in Star Wars Episodes I - VI: 4
Jedi Knight deaths in Star Wars Episodes I - VI: 87, 641.
That means the odds of you dying once you become a Sith Lord are 27,910:1. And that's not even taking into account the assorted clones, robot bodies and malevolent floating ghost consciousnesses you'll have lined up on the off chance that you actually DO get dismembered or thrown down a reactor shaft (unlikely).

4. Force choke annoying co-workers

We don't really need to go into detail on this one, do we? Just think about it for a moment. Consider how much more enjoyable this would make your average work day. Best. Job Perk. EVER.

3. Make out with Natalie Portman

If we know one thing about science it's that ladies love a bad boy. Nobody wants to date a guy named Roger who shows up at your door with flowers wearing his best polo shirt and wants to take you out to a moderately priced Italian restaurant for dinner. Really, Roger? Really?! That's the most exciting thing you could come up with? Just give up, Roger. Nobody likes you anyway, certainly not beloved Hollywood Academy Award Winning Natalie Portman. Natalie Portman wants to go out with a brooding bad boy who dresses in black, rides a landspeeder, has cool scars, eyes that glow with hatred and a cyborg hand, who may or may not go mental dismembering Sand People if given half a chance. FACT.

2. Evil superior, good inferior
There's literally nothing good that's better than its evil version. Not one single thing. Does anybody ever want an apple for dessert when they could be having a triple-decker chocolate sundae? Is diet soft drink (shudder) ever better than the real deal? Would you ever date the good twin when you had the option of the sexily evil, moustached twin with a horrible foreign accent? Of course you wouldn't. Face it, every single one of us chooses evil over good every single day of our lives. Why? Because it's easier, tastier, more fun AND more exciting. Plus we have cookies.


From. Your. Fucking. Hands.

If this list was relevant to your interests, you might also enjoy 10 Reasons Why You Should Work For the Galactic Empire.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Dark Side of the Grid

One thing we get asked all the time here in the PR Department is, "Why did you blow up my planet?" The answer is that there are complex geopolitical and socioeconomic considerations that-- LOOK, A WOOKIEE IN A BIKINI!

Another frequently asked question is, "What does Darth Vader do inside of that egg of his?" Firstly, it's not an egg, it's a hyperbaric medical and meditational chamber, duh. Get your facts straight before you ask a question next time, hypothetical question asker person we just made up. Secondly, the answer is important stuff. Really important... galaxy ruling and mystically mysterious Force-related... stuff.

As well as playing the occasional video game.

Here's artist Roderique Arisiaman's impression of Darth Vader's TRON avatar. When the Dark Lord of the Sith isn't helping rule our galaxy with a cyborg fist, he's turning the Grid to the Dark Side.

Via Robot Mutant.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Many Bothans Died to Bring You These Coins

The small Pacific Island of Niue may only have 1,400 inhabitants, three computers and one McDonalds but it's already a step ahead of wherever you live. Why? Because Niue has made the forward-thinking decision to switch to from dollars to Imperial Credits ahead of the Death Star's arrival sometime in the near future.

The collector's edition silver coins will feature full coloured images of Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, the Death Star (obviously) and a Stormtrooper, amongst other... more dubious choices.

Citizens of Niue, you will be happy to know that your blatant attempt to toady up to the Galactic Empire has succeeded. In the event of the "unfortunate" destruction of the planet Earth, you will be spared and a place reserved for you on the Death Star.

Well, some of you will be.

Okay, really, we're just taking the coins. Darth Vader wants to add them to his "Things That Look Like Me" collection.

The Star Wars-themed coins are legal tender and have been coined by the New Zealand mint to appeal to Collectors. They have a limited mintage and will be sold in two sets of four coins, the Darth Vader Dark Side, or "cool", coins and the Millenium Falcon Light Side, or "totally lame", coins. Individual character coins are also available. Full details and pricing available at the NZ Mint site.

Thanks to Steve Dimitrio and Samoznai Maitaper via email for the tip.

Monday, August 8, 2011

"Death Star PR" the Webseries

Ever wondered why Luke and Han got a medal for blowing up the Death Star, but when the Galactic Empire blew up Alderaan we were suddenly “evil”? Why is it that everyone knows all about the Rebel Alliance, but next to nothing about the unsung heroes of the other, slightly darker, side?
Isn't it about time that the hardworking, honest folk who call the Death Star home get to tell their side of the story? "Death Star PR" the webseries will do exactly that, giving you a glimpse into what life working in the Galactic Empire's PR Department is really like.

The PR Team's aim is to film a series of “Death Star PR” webisodes in September, to be released in November. Unfortunately, beaming them to your galaxy is expensive and the Empire has too much money tied up in building Death Stars to make it happen. We need your contribution to make the newest addition to the Star Wars saga a reality.

Rest assured evil minions, there are a wide variety of perks on offer for your generosity... not least of which is the continued existence of your planet.

Oh, and make sure to share the campaign with your fellow Sithizens... or else.

Han Shot First


What happens on Hoth in a tauntaun,

stays on Hoth in a tauntaun.

What Doesn't Kill You

Sometimes what doesn't kill you makes you limbless and face down in lava listening to another stupid lecture.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Is Steve Jobs Building the Galactic iMpire?

It was announced this week that Apple now has more money than the US Government. As its financial woes continue, the US Treasury's cash balance fell below $US74 billion, dropping below Apple's cash store of $US76 billion. But what does this actually mean? The answer is clear: Steve Jobs is building the Galactic iMpire on Earth.

Death Star PR charts the rise and rise of iMperor Jobs.

Early days
Like most powerful wizards, Steve Jobs was orphaned at an early age. He was raised in California, a desert, by adoptive parents who never told him his true parents were actually still alive, or that he had a sister. He dropped out of college after only one semester in the early 1970's and began work for Atari, assumedly building annoying protocol droids from junk parts. He then travelled to India and became a Buddhist (Brown robes? Check. Impossible ethical standards? Check. Junk about being one with everything? Check.)

Rise to power
But how does a college drop out become ruler of a planet-wide evil Empire from such humble beginnings? We know that Jobs took his first step down the dark path when he cheated his partner, Steve Wozniak, out of $2150 in an early deal with Atari, before they founded Apple Computers together. Having had his first bite of the Apple taste of the Dark Side, Jobs began a Machiavellian rise to the top of the computing game, using a convoluted plan involving purchasing Pixar (previously owned by none other than Lucasfilm) and some incredibly boring stuff about space taxation.

Even in his youth, Steve Jobs reached for the Death Stars.

iMperor of Apple
After a hiatus from Apple to work on other evil projects, Jobs returned as CEO, turning it into one of the most successful IT companies in the world. One of his first acts as CEO was to make it impossible for anyone to make Macintosh Clones, thus ostensibly ending the Clone Wars. However, behind his public persona as a charismatic, highly persuasive leader was an aggressive and demanding personality who caused widespread fear amongst his employees by Order 66'ing many of them. With no one to stand in his way, Jobs triumphantly announced himself undisputed iMperor of Apple at the 2000 Macworld Expo.

Personal fortune
As well as holding more than 5 million shares in Apple, Jobs sold Pixar to Disney (an evil corporation whose sole reason for existence is to take as much money from small children and their parents as possible) in exchange for becoming its largest individual shareholder, with a whopping 7% (almost 6% more than anyone else).

Now with wealth and power beyond measure, Jobs was finally free to begin turning people to the Dark Side in earnest. His devices were temptingly attractive, seductively powerful and incredibly easy to use, but they also came at a high price, in that they literally cost a crapload of money. Most importantly of all, short battery life, inability to synch with anything except that one specific version of iTunes you have on your old computer and antenna issues caused countless many consumers to give in to their anger in violent fits of rage.

 Look familiar?

An Apprentice and an army
A Sith Lord is nothing without his apprentice to kill off the competition and iMperor Jobs was no different, yet he was not content with one black-clad evil magic cyborg to do his bidding. Instead, Jobs made millions, and an army of familiarly white-and-black armoured iMperial troopers to go along with them. Together, they conquered the world.

Health "concerns"
More recently, Jobs' appearance changed dramatically and he appeared to be suffering from health concerns supposedly caused by "cancer". The reality was so much simpler: through countless years of study, dedication and the occasional cold blooded murder, Jobs had mastered the arts of the Dark Side.

It's now only a matter of time before his patented "Stevenotes" become even more exciting.

Building an iDeath Star
Of course, no Galactic iMpire would be complete without building a Death Star and iMperor Jobs has already taken the first steps towards ensuring the iDeath Star's construction. Apple's proposed circular "spaceship" headquarters in Cupertino, California, is undoubtedly the skeleton for a spherical moon-sized doomsday laser that will one day be used to blow up planets and ensure that iMperial rule lasts forever.

And so it begins.

So enjoy your freedom while it lasts, Earth. It's only a matter of time now before iMperor Jobs rules you all with a sleek, feature-packed next generation iRon Fist (v.4).

The Galappletic iMpire: Think Sitherent.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This Death Star Cosplay Dress is Fully Armed and Operational

On the Star Wars Official Blog this week, the incomparable Bonnie Burton brought our attention to the greatest costume based on a moon-sized doomsday device the Galaxy has ever seen.

At this year's San Diego Comic-Con International, actress, Star Wars fan and YouTube vlogger Jennifer Landa sported a Death Star dress with a TIE Interceptor hairband.

Before you ask gentlemen, we can assure you that Jennifer's costume is based on the Death Star v.3, which is certified as having no known structural flaws, external shield generator problems or feral teddy bear infestations whatsoever. So don't even think about it.

Suffice it to say, this kind of dedication to the Dark Side has melted our black hearts. Jennifer, if you ever want a date with Darth Vader (okay fine, or the PR Team), send us an email.

Read Bonnie's full interview with Jennifer and see more pictures on the Star Wars blog.

Pictures by Bonnie Burton.