The Wookiee Wins

Actor Peter Mayhew, who is best known for his role as Chewbacca in the Star Wars films, was recently stopped at a TSA inspection site at Denver and had his cane, designed to look like a light saber, examined by TSA Agents. According to the TSA, the cane deserved special attention because it was heavier than a standard cane. The cane was released back to Mayhew within five minutes, according to a TSA spokesperson.

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Star Wars Auditions

Auditions will be held on May 3 and 4 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizonia for a project to dub Star Wars into Navajo. Additionally, casting will take place in Burbank on April 29. Five Navajo speakers worked to translate the script into their language with the approval of LucasFilm. The film is set to debut over July 4 weekend at Window Rock, following which it will tour the reservation and cities with large Navajo populations.

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Star Wars Sequel Details

Disney has announced that J. J. Abrams will direct Star Wars episode VII, scheduled for release in 2015. They’ve also announced that in addition to the sequel trilogy, they will be releasing films based on individual characters, with the first two films following a young Han Solo and Boba Fett, respectively. The Solo film will be set prior to the events of the original Star Wars film while the Fett film will take place concurrent with the original trilogy. No actors or directors, have been announced for either project, but Simon Kinberg and Lawrence Kasdan are involved in the scripts for both the trilogy and stand-alone projects. Kasden was also involved with the script for The Empire Strikes Back.

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Disney Acquires LucasFilm

The Walt Disney Company has purchased LucasFilm for 4.05 billion dollars in cash and stock. The deal gives Disney the rights to not only Star Wars, but also Indiana Jones and other LucasFilm properties. Disney has already announced plans to release a new Star Wars trilogy, beginning in 2015. The new trilogy will take place after the original trilogy and Disney says it will continue to release new Star Wars films every couple of years after the new trilogy is completed.

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Star Wars at the Louvre

The Louvre Museum in Paris is hosting an exhibit on Star Wars memorabilia through March 17. The exhibit spotlights the collection of Arnaud Grunberg, a toy collector who has loaned 450 items, ranging from action figures to light sabres. The exhibit also includes scenes recreated from the movies using action figures. Grunberg began his collection after he saw Star Wars in 1977, when he was 11.

Obituary: Ralph McQuarrie

Artist Ralph McQuarrie (b.1929) died on March 3. McQuarrie is best known for providing the original concept art for the Star Wars films and also worked on the original Battlestar Galactica, E.T. The Extraterrestrial, and Cocoon, for which he won an Oscar. He got his start illustrating air and space craft designs for Boeing in the 1950s and was commissioned by George Lucas to create paintings which could be used to help sell the studio on the idea for Star Wars in 1975.

Obituary: Bob Anderson

Fencer Bob Anderson (b.1922) died on January 1. Anderson represented Great Britain at the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki and later served as a fencing master on numerous films, including The Princess Bride, The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. Although uncredited, he portrayed Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi in the light saber duel scenes.

Star Wars in Montreal

LucasFilm has announced that a new Star Wars exhibit, Star Wars: Identities, will open at the Montréal Science Centre on April 19, 2012. The interactive exhibit will examine the biological and social forces which determine identity and will also include numerous iconic props and costumes for the Star Wars series.

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Lucas Changes Star Wars

Lucas Film has confirmed that changes will be made to the Blu Ray releases of the original Star Wars trilogy, including a re-dubbing of the sound made by Obi-Wan Kenobi when he first approaches Luke Skywalker and the Tuskan Raiders and having Darth Vader scream “Noooo!” when the Emperor is attacking Luke in the third film among other changes. Purists have already indicated their displeasure with the decision.

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Obituary: Grant McCune

Special effects designer Grant McCune (b.1943) died on December 27 of pancreatic cancer. McCune got his start with the design of the great white shark in the film Jaws and went on to design R2-D2 for Star Wars, a film for which he won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. He was nominated for a second Academy Award for his work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. After setting up his own company, he worked on films such as Spider-Man, Batman Forever, Spaceballs, and Ghostbusters II.