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Star Wars: Carrie Fisher claims she had affair with Harrison Ford

Actor who played Princess Leia in both sets of trilogies writes about brief fling

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Star Wars 7: how to get tickets for The Force Awakens

15 December

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is opening in cinemas across the UK on Thursday, but people have been booking tickets to see the film since as early as October.

With the new Star Wars chapter geared up to be one of the biggest cinema events of the decade, cinemas are doing everything they can to show the film as frequently as possible.

So how can you get hold of a ticket?

"Cinemas will be very busy in the run up to the New Year and days immediately after," warns the Daily Telegraph, but for your average local cinema, there should still be a number of tickets available on most dates. Booking in advance is still advised and checking on your local cinema's website would be your best bet. Although should you want to get the full cinematic experience and see the film at an IMAX, you may have to wait a while. For example, as of Monday afternoon, the first showing you can book tickets for at London's BFI IMAX is at 3.15am on Sunday 27 December. A more reasonable viewing hour appears to be unavailable before mid-January. If booking in advance isn't your thing, a spontaneous trip to a cinema in late January may produce positive results.

What are the viewing options?

The film is available in IMAX, 3D and plain old 2D for those who may feel nauseous at the thought of inter-galactic battles in the third dimension.

When will the screenings end?

With the film seeming to have all the hallmarks of a classic, expect the clamour for repeated viewings (and of course the rampant ideology of capitalism) to ensure The Force Awakens remains in screens right up until Valentine's Day 2016. Perfect for the romantic wookie in all of us.

Star Wars 7 premier: queues, a wedding and an opaque tent

14 December

The world premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due to take place in Los Angeles later today and fans have been camping out – and even staging a wedding in the queue – but can the film live up to such high expectations?

The Force Awakens, the seventh instalment in the Star Wars series, is directed by JJ Abrams (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III) and reunites original stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

British newcomers John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Game of Thrones' star Gwendoline Christie are all expected to join them on the red carpet on Hollywood Boulevard.

The film is due to be shown at three venues – the TCL Chinese Theatre, the Dolby Theatre (home of the Oscars) and the El Capitan Theatre – reports the BBC. The TCL, formerly Grauman's Chinese Theatre, hosted the premiere for the first Star Wars movie in 1977.

Fans were told they had to spend at least 24 hours in the queue to be eligible to buy a pair of tickets, reports The Guardian. The dedicated group – who have called their efforts 'The Line Awakens' – was organised by liningup.net.

They are raising money for a charity, the Starlight Children's Foundation, reportedly one of the first charities that Mark Hamill contributed to when Star Wars made him a household name.

About 150 campers have gathered, and although the rules allow them to sign out to take a shower and go to work while keeping their place in the queue, many have chosen to stay put.

But tickets weren't enough for one couple of mega-fans who have planned an elaborate Star Wars themed wedding, adds the newspaper.

Australian Caroline Ritter and her fiance, Andrew Porters, have been outside the TCL cinema since 5 December. The couple will be married just before The Force Awakens is screened, in a ceremony orchestrated by the venue.

The star-studded premiere is one of the largest and most secretive Hollywood premieres ever, says the Daily Mail. Workers have busily erecting a mammoth opaque tent lining four blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, and keeping the exact details of the occasion under wraps.

An invitation sent to members of the media on Friday afternoon also requested that they refrain from issuing any spoilers in their reviews.

If it all sounds like a lot of fuss for a movie, that's because there is a lot riding on this release, as Daniel Miller notes in the Los Angeles Times

When Disney put up $4bn to buy Star Wars creator Lucasfilm in 2012, Wall Street wasn't sure it was a good bet, says Miller - but three years later, many analysts think that Disney got a bargain.

The Force Awakens opens to general release on Friday, and is expected to earn $1.5bn to $2bn in global box-office returns.

With a further four films over the next four years, box-office receipts, merchandise, video games, theme park tie-ins and DVD sales, analysts say it could top $25bn over the next five years.

But that all depends, adds Miller, on whether The Force Awakens delivers.

Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens - is this how Han Solo dies?

11 December

The rumour that Han Solo dies in the new Star Wars chapter, The Force Awakens, has been given extra force from the latest trailer for the movie.

A new promo for The Force Awakens, which is released next week, features Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) at the controls of the Millennium Falcon. Elsewhere, a shot features the craft crashing, sparking a tidal wave of speculation among fans that Solo dies.

Writing on SlashFilm, Ethan Anderton remarks of the crash scene: "That's the part that literally made me wince and react audibly to myself. I could have done without seeing that moment."[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_original","fid":"88204","attributes":{"class":"media-image"}}]]Speculation that Solo will pass away in the film has circulated for nearly a year. "Many of us have heard that Han Solo will die in JJ Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens," commented CinemaBlend earlier this year.

Adding weight to the theory is Ford's unsuccessful plea with George Lucas to kill his character off during the original trilogy. Could it be that the Hollywood legend has finally got his way?

The speculative plot thickens when we recall that the original Solo death theory did not involve a crashing spacecraft. Instead, it was suggested that Kylo Ren would murder Solo "on the ramparts of The Evil Castle", in a scene also involving Chewbacca, Finn, Rey and BB-8. Solo, so the original theory went, would confront Ren in an attempt to buy time for the others to escape.

The loveable rogue is not the only character rumoured to be killed off in the upcoming instalment. Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca and Poe Dameron have also been rumoured to bite the dust. All will be revealed when the film finally hits the big screen.

Star Wars 7: Darth Vader will be resurrected… and 6 other crazy fan theories

10 December

As the full cinematic release of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens edges ever closer, new outlandish fan theories about the film continue to emerge.

Warning: possible spoilers ahead

The most recent notion doing the rounds is that Darth Vader may be alive in the new film.

But how could he be when we have already seen him slain, burnt and reappear in ghostly form? Easy, the theory suggests: cloning.

According to analysis by io9, Kylo Ren wants to either clone or resurrect Vader in The Force Awakens.

Kylo Ren's obsession with Darth Vader were laid out in interviews JJ Abrams gave to EW.

"The movie explains the origins of [Kylo Ren's] mask and where it's from, but the design was meant to be a nod to the Vader mask. [Ren] is well aware of what's come before, and that's very much a part of the story of the film.

"He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren.

"He is not your prototypical moustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way."

The resurrection theory itself rests on details in the new novel Star Wars: Aftermath.

"An Interlude chapter set on the planet Taris features a character selling a red light saber he believes to be Darth Vader's to a group calling themselves 'Acolytes of the Beyond.' These 'fanatics of the dark side' and collectors pay dearly for the saber with the plan to return it to 'its master in death.' Creepy. Also, what's on the wall? 'A stencil of a familiar Sith Lord's helmet with the phrase beneath it reading VADER LIVES.'"

Several other offbeat fan theories that have been doing the rounds have been collated by USA Today. The paper highlights the following six intriguing frontrunners.

Jar Jar Binks is a Sith lord

Director JJ Abrams has explicitly denied this one, but it continues to be popular, largely because of how hated the character is.

Luke Skywalker is Kylo Ren

In the absence of any appearances of Luke throughout Disney's promotional campaign, fans have been left to come up with their own explanations for Skywalker's absence. One popular theory is that Kylo Ren and Luke Skywalker are one and the same.

Boba Fett is back

Well this is more like it. "Did you notice in the first trailer that there was a glimpse of a banner emblazoned with Mandalorian symbols?" USA Today asks. "Well who else hails from Mandalor but Boba Fett, the fan favourite bounty hunter who sadly met his demise in Return of the Jedi. Or did he?"

Finn is Lando and Leia's son

This theory emerged due in part to "slight racism" and partly because of poorly labelled Star Wars merchandise, Screenrant says, but it refuses to disappear due to Abrams cryptic statement on why Finn and Rey's surnames are not yet known: "I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that their last names aren't public record."

Rey and Kylo Ren are twins

This idea suggests Rey and Kylo Ren were the twins of either Luke or Leia, USA Today says, "lost as children and separated – Rey on the desert planet Jakku and Kylo Ren with the First Order. Rey spends her life scavenging for pieces of wreckage, and for clues about her family, while Kylo spends his life idolising Darth Vader."

So which theories are correct? All will be revealed when the film comes out next week.

Star Wars 7: 'I don't care who shot first', says Harrison Ford 

7 December

In a candid interview about the forthcoming new Star Wars film, Episode 7: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford told Fox News that he really doesn't care about a controversial scene that has transfixed Star Wars fans for years.

In the much-discussed scene from the first Star Wars film, A New Hope, Ford's character Han Solo appears in a tense Western-style standoff with an alien in a bar.

In the original version of the scene, released in 1977, Solo is cornered by a bounty-hunter named Greedo and shoots him dead. The controversy emerged after the 1997 Special Edition was released in which director George Lucas inserted a frame in which Greedo shoots first at Solo and misses, before being gunned down.

In 2012, Lucas commented that he made the change because the original version depicts Solo as a "cold-blooded killer".

Asked in an interview with Fox News ahead of the release of Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens how he feels about the change, Ford replies: "I don't care. I think it is interesting that people are so interested in that and discuss it among themselves. It doesn't make any difference to me. If George [Lucas] cut it that way then that's the way it should be."

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The comments were made during a wide-ranging interview with the cast of the new film, in which director JJ Abrams revealed the second spoken word in the film. The dialogue opens with someone speaking the words "This will…"

Dedicated fans may be hoping to hear the rest of the opening phrase ahead of the film's full release. For those who are a little more patient, they will be able to hear it for themselves when The Force Awakens is released in just under two weeks.

Star Wars 7: will Luke join the dark side in The Force Awakens?

3 December

As anticipation about Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens continues to build, the actor who plays the original trilogy's young hero Luke Skywalker has offered some new hints about the future of his character, leading some to speculate that Luke may end up as the forthcoming trilogy's arch-villain.

Warning: possible spoilers ahead

According to Mark Hamill, Luke will not be returning to the series as the "innocent farm boy" he was in Star Wars IV: A New Hope. "Obviously you're seeing him in a very different time in his life, there are lots of surprises in this movie. You're going to love it," Hamill told Empire Magazine (via SlashFilm).

Hamill also said that while shooting scenes for the new movie in Ireland he felt as though he was inhabiting the Star Wars universe. "It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia on the salt flats. If you could get into your own mind and shut out the crew and look at the horizon, you really felt like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I had that same wave of emotion happen to me when I was on Skellig Michael in Ireland. I wasn't anticipating it."

Fans are still in the dark about why Hamill hasn't appeared in any promotions for the new film. The most recent trailer for Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens - released last week to coincide with the US Thanksgiving holiday - features a lot more of villain Kylo Ren, but nothing at all of Luke.

The character has been notably absent from all promotions related to the forthcoming sci-fi film.

Hamill is billed second in the credits for Star Wars 7, right after Harrison Ford and before Carrie Fisher. But according to the film's director JJ Abrams, "it's no accident" that the actor doesn't appear in trailers, posters, official photos and merchandising.

So where is Luke? Asked recently by the Sydney Morning Herald why the Jedi has been absent, Abrams responded cryptically: "These are good questions to be asking. I can't wait for you to find out the answers."

In the absence of the original trilogy's old hero, last week's Thanksgiving trailer for Star Wars 7 has plenty of the series' new arch-villain Kylo Ren. The minute-long trailer starts with a close-up of Ren, played by Adam Driver. The now familiar voice of Supreme Leader Snoke can be heard on the background saying: "There's been an awakening. Have you felt it?"

Later in the short clip the voiceover says: "Even you have never faced such a test," while the camera focuses on Ren standing in the rain holding a lightsaber.

In an interview with Howard Stern this week, JJ Abrams explained further why he did not want to talk about Luke's absence ahead of the film's release.

"Here's the thing: I really want to make sure that we're not ruining the movie for people, that they're not seeing too much of it before it comes out. I hate when I go and see a trailer and think that I've just seen the movie in encapsulated form ... I'd rather be asking questions than feel like they'd been answered for me."

One of the more fanciful theories from Looper.com has it that Kylo Ren is in fact Luke Skywalker. The site supports its argument with the following evidence: the pair have never been seen together, they have the same fashion sense, Kylo Ren's voice is "obviously fake", Luke likes to make custom lightsabers and that Kylo has Darth Vader's head.

Other sites have suggested that Luke may become a villain, but that he is more likely to emerge as the Supreme Leader Snoke.

Andy Serkis, the performer behind Supreme Leader Snoke's physical movements says that the character has a "huge agenda" and has "suffered a lot of damage," EmpireOnline reports. Serkis said that his character is "quite powerful," but exhibits a "strange vulnerability".

Cinema Blend offers four alternative explanations for Luke's absence from pre-screening hype for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

First, it is possible that he may die in the forthcoming movie. This would be a "huge secret that Mark Hamill would be forced to keep" the site suggests.

Alternatively it might have something to do with the next generation of the Skywalker family. "The only time we've heard the voice of Luke Skywalker so far was in the second trailer," Cinema Blend notes. "His voice over talks about how the Force is strong in his family, and he speaks of his father, himself, his sister, and somebody else. While it's not clear who he's talking about, he is almost certainly talking to another member of the Skywalker family."

Another plausible explanation is that Luke is hiding from the First Order. This theory was popular around the time the first Star Wars 7 trailer emerged, but seems to have lost currency more recently.

Finally the site suggests that Luke's absence may simply be because he has a fairly small role in the new film. "Several months ago the word was that Luke Skywalker is missing from much of the film because he was busy protecting something of great power and keeping it from falling into the wrong hands."

All will be revealed when the film opens in two weeks.

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Star Wars 7: 'I am Princess Leia' says Carrie Fisher

25 November

In an interview with Time magazine about her decision to return to the Star Wars franchise, Carrie Fisher says that she "long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia."

In a Q&A about the eagerly anticipated forthcoming Star Wars film The Force Awakens, which goes on general release in mid December, the 59-year-old actress said that it wasn't a difficult decision to come back.

"I'm a female and in Hollywood it's difficult to get work after 30 – maybe it's getting to be 40 now. I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia. I have that as a large part of the association with my identity. There wasn't a lot of hesitation."

Asked if her character Leia had changed over the years, Fisher replied: "Oh my God, she got so much older. I tried to stop her, but apparently that includes death so that didn't seem like a good solution. Along with aging comes life experience so in every way that is consistent with even being human, Leia has changed."

In the new films, Fisher's character is referred to as General Leia, indicating that her role within the Rebellion – now known as the Resistance – has grown since her adventures in the original trilogy of films. Some fans have speculated that Leia might now control the group aligned against the evil New Order, the group spawned from the defeated Galactic Empire.

Asked whether she brought aspects of her own life experience to the role, Fisher replied: "Probably, but I try not to. I mean, one hopes that I at least indicate that I have wisdom. Whether I'm successful with that indication or not remains to be seen. And I wear less makeup and I need it more."

 

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