Leaked Star Wars Episode VII pics aplenty!

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Giant pigs, Tatooine dwellers and THE MILLENIUM FALCON! [UPDATE: JJ Abrams officially responds!]

When we last got a peek behind the Star Wars: Ep 7 curtain, we all got to breathe a sigh of relief over what looked to be Double J’s production going the classic route with a living, moving creature. “A practical effect, wowzers!” said a Lucas-scorned nation, perhaps following an oddly-timed viewing of Inspector Gadget. But you cant stop the signal, and in the last few days, we’ve seen a flurry of leaked footage from the Episode VII set, and yeah, today’s is probably the biggest and the bestest. Let’s see that again:

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Oh yes, that looks to be a full scale Millennium Falcon! Or at least, the part of one required to be in frame. This is all extremely cool, and in absolute honesty, a truly exciting time to be alive. I am not joking. However, there’re two interesting things that got me thinking here, and I have a website so you pretty much have to hear them. For one, it feels incredibly surreal to see these images, doesn’t it? Why do you think that is?

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Well, here’s a dumb, thoroughly unresearched theory: The internet has been largely denied leaked or behind-the-scenes pics from any Star Wars set. Obviously, the web didn’t exist concurrently with the shooting of the Original Trilogy, but it hasn’t stopped it from playing catch up! Almost once a week, I feel like a new and recently unearthed images of Carrie Fisher smoking a cigarette, or Harrison Ford knitting a ham radio (bad, theoretical examples, but bear with me!) They’re always delightful to see, and they get shared far and wide thanks the net’s perfected methods of JPG distribution.

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But the internet was around when the prequels were being shot, right? Yes, but almost every image, leaked or otherwise, had nothing of note to rev the geek engines. Ewan McGregor on a soundstage. Jake Lloyd in a green screen cocoon! You couldn’t even snap a pic of Frank Oz post-Phantom Menace once Yoda no longer required a human fisting thanks and went full CG. Even the scant few pictures of actors on Star Wars sets, almost exclusively Liam Neeson cowering under a canopy in the desert next to some guy that would eventually become Jar Jar, where of an official variety, and usually only dispersed anywhere but the then-mighty medium of Print! Yes, actual magazines, who were once so powerful they could handily scare internet types into removing their images from unsanctioned domains, relegating even officially released assets to forums, private chats, and other underbellies of the web most dare not tread.

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Either way, as the prequel trilogy went on, these pictures because more and more boring. Hayden Christensen in front what ILM would eventually turn into a set after a lengthy post production. They weren’t even set pics, they were studio pics, and offered nothing for dorks to really latch onto and/or build any expectation for.

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These recent images are different, and it’s really quite amazing. This is the closest many of us will ever get to (feeling like we were alive while Empire Strikes Back was being filmed, and I’m loving every second of it… except for one aspect, which is my second point.

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Leaked set pics are as synonymous with internet as pornography and cats farting. Somebody on the inside, or a bystander on the outside, snaps a pic with their phone and uploads it to their Facebook, or one of their favorite sites. What’s bizarre here is that instead of getting revealed through a site of cinephile miscreants, like Ain’t It Cool News, these have come from one place and one place only: TMZ.com. It can’t be argued that Star Wars set pics, leaked or otherwise, are officially mainstream news, but it’s both odd and incredibly unnerving to me that they hail from an icky, celebrity gossip rag like TMZ.

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I recently read that TMZ paid the hotel security person $250K for the surveillance tape of Jaz-Z getting his ass kicked by Beyonce’s sister. From the perspective of someone who was long worked, and continues to work, on the internet… that is just an unfathomably enormous sum of money. Unless it’s solely to establish a precedent, I can’t even imagine a website that could handle the traffic required to make a quarter of that money back.

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I like the idea of photographers being reimbursed for good work. You could even call it one of the few remaining cornerstones of actual, pre-AOL journalism, and I understand that exciting images will go to the highest bidder. Otherwise, how could I continue to accept Peter Parker’s canonically quaint employ in the new Spider-man movies? But what legitimate movie site – nay, any website – could possibly outbid what TMZ is reportedly paying?

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Huffington Post? Amazon.com? PORN HUB?! Nothing against those sites, in all honesty. I don’t visit or even think about TMZ enough to have an opinion of it, other than the general knowledge that it appeals to the worst parts of humanity and is probably making a generation stupider. It’s not for me. So what I hate on a personal level is this: If TMZ establishes enough precedent as the highest-paying bidder for Star Wars set pics,  they’ll also set a precedent for people to go there expecting them. Yes, I despise the idea of sifting through upskirt pictures of Rosie O’Donnell or Lil’ Wayne’s arrest record just to see Muppets walking around on Tatooine.

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And if I may continue fear mongering, what’s next?! Will TMZ trifle in NeoGAF’s territory and start leaking video game sequels? Do you want to struggle to make out Smash Bros characters from beneath one of the gaudiest watermarks on the planet? Are we gonna read unreleased iPhone specs in the same place people go to see how fat Jessica Simpson’s gotten or admire Jon Hamm’s penis?!

Not if I’m elected President! Until then, head to TMZ for more Star Wars set photos

UPDATE: Via the Bad Robot Twitter, JJ Abrams has officially responded to the leaked photos and the resulting rumors. It’s really hard not to like this guy.]

 

7 thoughts on “Leaked Star Wars Episode VII pics aplenty!

  1. That Millenium Falcon shell is so fucking boss.

    Right now, my only concern is that there seems to be a lot of assets being build for a setting that’s clearly meant to be Tatooine. I’m perfectly okay with the film being in there for a bit, but I certainly hope it won’t be the main place the movie revolves around, aside from their scummy cantinas, it isn’t that interesting of a place 😛

    Also, yeah, the fact that all of these pics come courtesy of TMZ is kinda frightening, that site is fucking disgusting.

  2. Honestly, the biggest take-away is that JJ Abrams is well aware of the constant criticism of the prequels’ shameless overuse of CG. He’s building sets and puppets and costumes aplenty. I enjoyed his Star Trek movies, but they always did feel a bit more like Star Wars than Trek. Here’s hoping that he can continue that trend when he’s, y’know, actually working on Star Wars.

  3. Word. TMZ is one of the worst… things in human history. It pains me too see the overzealous watermark on EVERYTHING they even farted on.

    Fuck TMZ, but those pics look neat.

  4. Am I the only one who is terribly afraid of JJ actually making things worse in the wake of Episodes 1-3? I mean, seriously, what did this guy ever do to warrant becoming captain of the TWO BIGGEST SCI-FI FRANCHISES IN HISTORY???

    Lost? MI:3? Super 8? None of which were particularly bad, but none of which were noteworthy enough to grant him the keys to the freaking kingdom. Is it just me?

    And while I sort of enjoyed his first Star Trek movie (mainly because the prior movies had gotten SO BAD), Into Darkness pisses me off more and more every time I think about it. Seriously, I will not see a 3rd Abram-helmed Star Trek unless it’s accurately titled “Star Trek III: When Spock Stops Punching”.

    Like JJ would ever touch Star Trek again. After all, he’s leveled up to Star Wars! And he’s going to save it by giving us…more Tatooine?

    …MORE TATOOINE!?!

    For love of God can’t someone do something different PLEASE? I mean, there’s a whole galaxy out there! How is it that the planet clearly described as “the furthest thing from the bright center of the universe” keeps landing itself the lead role in these films planet-wise?

    For fuck’s sake it was in 5 of the last 6 movies – give it a rest!

    Or…make it the new freaking Coruscant! Why not? Everything happens there, might as well give it the attention it deserves. Tatooine – now OFFICIALLY the bright center of the universe!

    I feel like this whole “JJ directing Star Wars” fiasco has been a monkey’s paw situation aimed directly at me: At one point after the upcoming movies were announced I said to my friends “I don’t care who directs them, so long as it’s not Bay or Lucas”.

    (somewhere in the dark a sinister voice whispers…”you never said not JJ Abrams, heheheahahahahAHAHAAHA!!!”)

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