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‘Phantom Doctrine’ Tackles Turn-Based Tactics Without Dice Rolls

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:20 PM PST

Set in 1993, Phantom Doctrine takes us back to the Cold War for spy vs spy tactics. It’s a time before the internet ruled everything, and stealing valuable files required a body on-site. Think XCOM, but with a big focus on story and some original tweaks to gunplay.

Embracing alternate history in a Cold War setting creates the blurriest of lines between reality and fantasy. Some of what is accepted history might be rejected by some as too outrageous to suspend disbelief. So how do you embellish and extrapolate when the truth is already stranger than fiction?

“The limit is the realism of Cold War lore in that things that were actually considered. Things that were rumoured to be true but never proven,” I’m told by Blazej Krakowiak, head of marketing and business at CreativeForge. “We're still uncovering flies that are being declassified. There have been a couple of very good cold war history books published recently that give you a completely different perspective.

Phantom Doctrine breach into room with guards
Breach without intel at your own risk

“They don't have to be James Bond level things. For example, the Russians tried to use the brain of a cat to guide missiles, or how the US trained seals and dolphins to fight… This is the level of ridiculousness that's actually realistic. We're not against using that, but we're trying to be pretty serious about it and stick to the plausible, not sci-fi.”

Krakowiak walks me through a system of doping up your agents with very 1980s chemical cocktails. The idea is to minimise the side effects of different drug combinations while maximising the effectiveness. You’ll want to be careful though. Your agents are your most valuable long-term assets.

Phantom Doctrine intel puzzle game
Connecting the clues you've obtained will gain you actionable intel

“Then you’ve got MK ULtra, of course. The inevitable conspiracy theory brainwashing machine,” says Krakowiak. “This is your own opportunity to play with both enemy agents and your own. Here we have a captured enemy operative. We could kill them, and the enemy would be one agent down for a while. Until they recruit a new agent, their effectiveness is affected.

“But you've got more interesting options, like the Manchurian Drill. This plants a control phrase in the enemy's mind. So you do that, and release them, and the next time you see them on a mission, you say the phrase and you've got an extra agent. Or you can place a locator implant inside their head and release them, and hopefully they give away the enemy base of operations.”

These deceptions can flip an encounter on its head. Skillful play in the information war will net you definitive gains. I soon find out this is absolutely necessary, because taking damage in Phantom Doctrine‘s combat is almost a certainty.

New Takes on Tactics

We’re playing through a mission, and our character is strolling through a building among ignorant foes. Thanks to a few researched skills, we’re incognito until something makes the guards suspicious.

“There is a console we can use that disables CCTV cameras, or lasers inside the target building.” says Krakowiak. “If you wanted to just use it right away, in view of the agent, that would probably raise the alarm. But we can use a silent takedown to get rid of the enemy.

“We can carry bodies, we can hide them. The game fully supports stealth, so you can complete entire missions without ever raising an alarm.”

There have been turn-based stealth tactics games before, like Invisible, Inc. But it’s an element that’s always been missing from the big players like XCOM.

Phantom Doctrine is playing with the usual formula for a turn, too. Whereas taking a shot or performing an action will end your turn in many RPGs, here you can make three moves and perform one action every turn — in any order.

“Since we support stealth, people might want to scout ahead carefully.” explains Krakowiak. So if you only had one movement, you'd move and end your turn over and over. That would be tedious.”

Krakowiak opened a door to illustrate how you could peek through it before entering, and it revealed an outer room that would prove quite tough for our one person to shoot through. You’re always outgunned and outnumbered, he tells me, but there are some clever tricks — on cooldowns, of course — that can turn the tide.

Phantom Doctrine warehouse headquarters hideout
Allow the enemy to steal enough info, and you'll have to find a new hideout

“Before the battle here we have placed some snipers in the east,” says Krakowiak. “It actually matters which side of the battlefield we place the snipers. So from the eastern side of the map, you have a sniper who can take down enemies for you quietly. They are outside of the play space, but they have the normal rules of line of sight. So you can shoot through glass, but not the wall.”

Or, as was just illustrated, we could open the door for our far-away sniper to see through. That got the job done.

The stealth element, the battle being larger than the play area, and story aspects are all things that could attract players from other games in a very time-consuming genre. But when it comes to potential poaching, Phantom Doctrine has an even bigger card to play…

Death to Die Rolls (…Almost)

What some fans of the genre will find most interesting is Phantom Doctrine‘s almost complete eschewing of die rolls for its combat solutions.

Characters have both a health bar and a bar for “awareness,” which represents a person’s finite reserves of stoicism during a firefight. This awareness resource is both used to perform special abilities and to dodge incoming attacks. Crucially, every shot is considered a hit that is mitigated to a certain degree.

Krakowiak explained the philosophy to me:

We're trying to assume that because they are professionals, they will usually hit. So there is no RNG for whether you hit or not. There are only mechanics that dictate how much damage is applied.”

Phantom Doctrine patrol paths guards spies operatives
Maps aren't randomly generated, but don't expect to see the same guard routes again

Whereas in XCOM you’d see a percentage chance to hit, here you’ll see a range of damage. Say, between 80-100. You’re guaranteed at least 80 damage, unless the enemy is in cover, which mitigates it further.

If the target has enough awareness, they’ll automatically undergo a chance-based check against their awareness. If they succeed, some awareness is spent and they mitigate more damage. This can be used to your advantage, though — an enemy with a troublesome special attack will never be able to use it if you constantly drain them of awareness.

The Meta Map

This eschewing of RNG applies to the meta level as well. Just like XCOM, there’s an AI controlling enemy movements and strategy, though this is more complex. It’ll set up ambushes for your operatives, and perform its own missions out in the world.

There’s an intelligence, and governance, behind its orders. But if none of that is visible to the player, it might be as good as random. I asked if it would be possible — given a smart enough player — to predict the AI’s movements.

“I would say it's more about building up your intel, and the capabilities of your agents, gaining knowledge about your enemy, and that will give you more info about what the AI is up to.

“Upgrading your hideout, investing in your agents, and the better your capabilities are, the better insight you get into the enemy's actions. You learn certain options. You learn that if this is an enemy base, you can raid it but if you leave it there, the enemy can sabotage your operations in that area more easily. Things like that.”

You’ll be given the option to start as a CIA or KGB operative at the start of the game, and after beating NG+ and seeing both sides of the story, you’ll unlock a playthrough as a Mossad agent.

True to the genre, this is looking like a massive time sink. And Krakowiak is hoping the three different perspectives will be enough to keep players interested for three playthroughs or more.

The post ‘Phantom Doctrine’ Tackles Turn-Based Tactics Without Dice Rolls appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

Play ‘Splatoon 2’ With FANDOM #GitGud2018

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 11:43 AM PST

New Year’s resolutions are mostly total BS, but it’s good to have goals to better yourself. And while everyone else is starting new diets and promising to get rid of their bad habits, we’re setting our sights on something a little more doable, and that’s why in 2018 our resolution is to…


To achieve this lofty goal and fulfill our #GITGUD2018 dreams we’re committed to playing Splatoon 2 every week (maybe more than once) until we get into the tiers of proper ranked players. How far will we get? Will Splatoon 2 even survive long enough for us to do it? We’ll see!

Hey Sounds Fun, Can I Play?

Hell yes! To join in you simply have to add us as a friend on Nintendo Switch. Peep this friend code:


When we’re live, Splatoon 2 makes it easy to jump into a match and play with us. As we progress we’ll even start adding people into voice chat so we can really turn this into a party. If you want alerts on when we go live you can follow us on Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook, we stream to all three!

The post Play ‘Splatoon 2’ With FANDOM #GitGud2018 appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

5 Must-See Anime to Watch This January

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 10:17 AM PST

It's the first month of 2018 and there are a ton of resolutions we need to keep. And for anime fans, one such resolution is to start watching a boatload of fresh new anime series and movies. That's why we have compiled a list of anime series that you need to check out this January.


  • Premiere date: January 7, 2018
  • Studio: Passione
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, School, Shoujo Ai

Saburo Uta's yuri romance manga, Citrus will premiere this January. The TV anime follows Yuzuko Aihara who unknowingly transfers to a strict all-girls school after her mom remarries. However, things get a bit worse for Aihara as instead of fantasizing about a school romance, she butts heads with the stern student council president, Mei. And worst of all, Mei happens to be Aihara new step-sister. Could these two girls get along and form a meaningful relationship?


  • Premiere date: January 13, 2018
  • Studio: Diomedea
  • Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Drama, Romance

In the distant future, society has grown dependant on robots, also known as hIE. One of these AI advancement is Lacia, a hIE equipped with a black coffin-shaped device. And like any other romance anime series, a 17-year-old boy named Arato Endo encounters Lacia, but their affair raises many topical and important philosophical questions, such as what is the real purpose of these AI.

The sci-fi anime series, Beatless, will premiere January 13 and will stream internationally on Amazon.

DARLING in the FranXX

  • Premiere date: January 13, 2018
  • Studio: A-1 Pictures and Trigger
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Mecha

From the studios that brought us Aldnoah.Zero and Kill la Kill comes the original sci-fi mecha anime series, DARLING in the FranXX. The TV anime follows a group of children who have not known anything of the outside world. However, they know that their duty is to fight the mysterious creatures known as Kyoryu. They can fight these unseen monsters by operating giant robots known as FRANXX.

Among the children, there's a boy named Hiro who was once considered one of the best FRANXX pilots. Now his peers regard him as a disappointment. However, Hiro’s life changes when he meets a mysterious girl with horns.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni (After the Rain)

  • Premiere date: January 12, 2018
  • Studio: Wit Studio
  • Genre: Romance, Seinen

After an injury, high school student Akira Tachibana has to leave her track and field dreams behind. To fill the void, she starts working part-time at a family restaurant, where she falls in love with her manager who is significantly older than her. The manager even has a young son.

Despite this, Akira is captivated by the manager’s kindness and compassion towards others. And soon she musters the courage to tell him how she really feels. But, will he reciprocate her feelings?

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens

  • Premiere date: January 13, 2018
  • Studio: Satelight
  • Genre: Action, Mystery

Based on the crime light novels written by Chiaki Kisaki, comes Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens. The mystery anime series takes place in the fictional city of Fukuoka. However, this peaceful town has a seedy underworld that consists of thieves, killers, and other deplorable characters. There's also a rumor going around that a vigilante or sort of "killer of killers" is setting shop in Fukuoka.

On the case is private detective Zenji Banba, who uncovers a dark scheme that could shake Fukuoka to its core.

14 Anime We’re Most Excited For in 2018

The 15 Best Anime of 2017

The post 5 Must-See Anime to Watch This January appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

‘Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire’ in VR Made Us Feel Like Rebel Spies

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 09:36 AM PST

It’s not every day you walk into a shopping centre and end up taking on the Empire. But if you take a stroll down to London's Westfield, that's exactly what can happen. Hidden in between your usual high street chain stores, a few thin walls in the atrium of Westfield Sheperds' Bush carefully conceal a portal to a galaxy far, far, away.

We are of course, talking about Secrets Of The Empire — a brand new cannon Star Wars virtual reality experience. Made as a collaboration between Lucas Arts, The Void, and IMLxLab, this intriguing video-game-meets-theme-park-ride simply has to be experienced to be believed.

Taking players to Rogue One's lava planet of Mustafar, up to four rebel troops can work together to help infiltrate this heavily-guarded Imperial facility. It's essentially laser tag meets VR. And in short, it's a total freaking blast.

We've done our fair share of VR experiences, but none have left us grinning like this. Thanks to a large scale real-world space that has been mapped to perfectly match your digital surroundings, its quite simply a jaw-droppingly immersive thrill ride. With hefty feeling replica guns in hand, Secrets Of The Empire offers 30 minutes worth of action-packed fun.

So how does an entirely one-on-one VR experience work, you ask? Well, that largely comes down to the powerful laptop that you lug about on your back. Upon entry we were strapped into a cool-looking breast plate with shock sensors, put on our laptop backpacks, and then were given a suitably cool sci-fi-esque visor.

Once we entered the holding room, we were impressed to see that our real-life motions were synced perfect with our digital avatars. Looking down at our virtual bodies, my colleague and I were both suddenly seeing our movements replicated by some seriously high resolution looking Stormtroopers. Impressively though, unlike most virtual reality experiences, its not just your body that is tracked by the sensors.

Thanks to the use of Leap Motion gesture sensors, Secrets Of The Empire also read our hand movements perfectly, allowing my video producer and I to compete in a tense (and very futuristic) game of rock paper scissors.

While we don't want to give too much away, Secrets Of The Empire does some incredibly cool things.  Whether its having you stand on platforms that actually move beneath your feet, tasking you with pulling real world levers mapped to their VR counterpart, or even just being blasted by heat as you get too close to the lava, Secrets Of The Empire makes you briefly feel like you’re playing a role in the ultimate Star Wars fantasy.

The good news? This brilliant little outing is still ready to be experienced in both London and a few select locations in the US. Secrets Of The Empire is on now at Westfield Sheperds Bush until March 2018 and at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World in Florida. The west coast gets to join in on the intergalactic fun on January 5, when Secrets of The Empire opens at Downtown Disney near Disneyland

The post ‘Star Wars: Secrets Of The Empire’ in VR Made Us Feel Like Rebel Spies appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

Which Characters Will Appear in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Season 2?

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:13 AM PST

One of the things fans most love about A Series of Unfortunate Events is the array of colourful characters that populate the weird and wonderful Lemony Snicket universe. The successful Netflix series has done a brilliant job of bringing some of these to life.

A Series of Unfortunate Events
Joan Cusack appeared as Justice Strauss in Season 1 – but who will appear in Season 2?

Throughout Season 1, we saw some popular characters from the books make welcome appearances. These include Josephine Anwhistle, Justice Strauss, Dr. Georgina Orwell and Sir. All portrayed by some stellar acting talent – namely Alfre Woodard, Joan Cusack, Catherine O'Hara and Don Johnson, respectively.

We interviewed series producer Barry Sonnenfeld, who also directed four of the first season's eight episodes: he told us that they're planning to bring all 13 books to the small screen. The first season covered the first four books. Season 2 will cover the next five across 10 episodes with the final four books split across eight episodes in Season 3.

As the trailer for Season 2 drops and the release date is announced — March 30 — we take a timely look at which characters from the books we could see introduced to the series. And with Season 3 already greenlit, there will be even more to follow when the final season eventually hits screens.

Beware, though, what you’re about to read contains POTENTIAL SPOILERS!

Carmelita Spats

A Series of Unfortunate Events Quagmires
Isadora and Duncan Quagmire make an appearance at the end of Season 1 – pupils at the same school as Carmelita Spats and the Baudelaires

We were introduced to the Quagmire siblings in the finale of Season 1. But as we go into Season 2 and book number 5, The Austere Academy, which the first two episodes look set to focus on, we're hoping that Carmelita Spats might make an appearance. The book covers the Baudelaire children's time at Prufrock Preparatory School where they are sent to board, and where they meet the Quagmires.

This means that they might also run into Carmelita Spats, a nasty, mean little girl at Prufrock with a fine line in insults. She refers to the Baudelaires as "cake-sniffing orphans". She is a spoiled child and is arrogant, rude and even violent, according to Lemony Snicket.

Vice Principal Nero

A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Baudelaire children wind up at a boarding school, where they come up against Vice Principal Nero

The vice principal at the school, Nero is a bad violinist who forces the students to watch him play on a nightly basis – six hours at a time. And if they fail to attend, he punishes them by making them buy him a big bag of sweets and watch him eat them. He's a strict taskmaster who ties students' hands behind their backs at mealtimes as another form of punishment.

He favours Carmelita Spats, and hates the Baudelaires. He expels the siblings for 'cheating' on their exams.

Mr Remora

Mr Remora is a teacher at Prufrock Preparatory School. His first love is bananas, which led directly to his retirement after he choked on one. He makes his students write tedious short stories which he then reads aloud in class. After his retirement, he was replaced by Kit Snicket, sister of Lemony and Jacques.

Jerome Squalor

Moving onto Episodes 3 and 4 which looks set to feature the plot from book six, The Ersatz Elevator, Jerome Squalor becomes a guardian of the Baudelaire children.

A Series of Unfortunate Events Count Olaf

Though he is on the Baudelaires' side, he doesn't believe them when they try to tell him about Count Olaf. He is married to Esmé, who leaves him to join Count Olaf's troupe. Jerome is trusting, and rich, and Esmé takes advantage of him.

Esmé Squalor

Esmé is a key player in the Unfortunate Events universe. She is obsessed with fashion and status, and eventually gets into a relationship with Count Olaf. Who ends up leaving her because of her slavishness to fashion.

She is all about money and appearance, and what's in fashion, even if that means turning to crime. At first, she refuses to take in the Baudelaire orphans because orphans are 'out' then declares she took them in because they're now on-trend. She sees Carmelita Spats as a daughter figure and as a sort of mini-me, lavishing her with stylish gifts.

Jacques Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket, played by Patrick Warburton in the series, is the brother of Jacques Snicket

Jacques is a member of the V.F.D., which stands for Volunteer Fire Department. And although its primary purpose is to put out fires, it's actually a secret society that carries out humanitarian acts.

He is the elder brother of narrator Lemony Snicket, and twin to Kit. He wrote a couple of incendiary articles for The Daily Punctilio, the City's main newspaper, about the truth behind a fire at the Royal Gardens.

He pops up only briefly in The Vile Village, where he is mistaken for Count Olaf. He is murdered by Olaf, who blames the Baudelaires for his death.

Geraldine Julienne

A journalist at The Daily Punctilio, which largely deals in fake news. Geraldine is one of the chief originators of its erroneous stories. A fan of Esmé Squalor, she is behind headlines such as 'Murderer Attempts to Murder Murderer' and 'Count Olaf Thinks Up Idea For Lion Show'.

She first appears in the eighth book, The Hostile Hospital, but is referenced before this in its predecessor, The Vile Village, when the Baudelaires read her newspaper articles.

Olivia Caliban

Count Olaf in A Series of Unfortunate Events

Cropping up in the ninth book, The Carniverous Carnival, Olivia Caliban is a fraudulent fortune teller at Caligari Carnival, which she is also the proprietor of.

She is also the Baudelaires' ninth guardian. Calling herself Madame Lulu, she gets fortune-seekers to close their eyes while she researches the answers to their questions.

Count Olaf consults Madame Lulu to track down the Baudelaires and seems to believe in her psychic abilities.

There are plenty more characters from the next five books that could make an appearance – and beyond that another four books worth of material to draw from. We’re excited to see where the series will go next, which characters will appear and which actors will feature. But in the meantime, if you haven’t yet caught the first season, all eight episodes are currently available on Netflix. Check out the trailer below for a taster.

This article was originally published on February 2, 2017. It has been updated to include the trailer and release date news for Season 2.

The post Which Characters Will Appear in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ Season 2? appeared first on Fandom powered by Wikia.

UPDATE: Ron Howard Tweets New ‘Solo’ Pic, Plus John Williams Now Involved

Posted: 02 Jan 2018 03:00 AM PST

It might not be hitting screens until May 25, 2018, but news about Solo is already emerging. And with principal photography now underway, we’re expecting announcements to be made at regular intervals over the next few months. The following feature is, therefore, everything we know about the film thus far, which we’ll be updating as and when news breaks, with the oldest info at the bottom of the article and the most recent at the top.

Ron Howard Tweets New Behind-the-Scenes Pic

January 2, 2018 – We don’t have a trailer for the Han Solo movie yet, which is a bit odd as it’s slated to hit screens in May. What we do have however, is a brand-new behind-the-scenes photo. Coming courtesy of Ron Howard’s personal Twitter, it’s a picture of a gloved figure driving some kind of speeder, and looks less like Star Wars, and more like Back to the Future. Howard Tweeted the pic alongside the message: “Happy New Year from Team #Solo. We're pretty pumped for 2018.” As are we Ron. Now where’s that trailer?

John Williams to Write Han Solo Theme

Star Wars maestro John Williams. On the right.

December 30, 2017 – With the release of Solo fast-approaching, we’ve got exciting news on the music front. According to Variety, Star Wars legend John Williams will be writing a special Han Solo theme for the movie. John Powell — whose previous credits include Happy Feet, How to Train Your Dragon and United 93 — is writing the full score. But Williams — who previously won an Oscar for his work on the original Star Wars movie — will be crafting a special piece of music for the title character. And we can’t wait to hear it.

Production Wraps, Watch Ron Howard Reveal Film’s Title

October 17, 2017 – Production has wrapped on the Han Solo film and director Ron Howard took to Twitter to announce the news. He also revealed the name of the film as Solo: A Star Wars Story. Watch the above video for a comical bit between Howard and an off-screen Chewbacca.

Paul Bettany Wraps

September 18, 2017 – Paul Bettany has finished up work on the Han Solo movie. The British-born actor joined the cast less than three weeks ago, as part of reshoots for the film’s new director, Ron Howard. The pair had previously worked together on A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code.

There’s still no word regarding who Bettany will be playing. But rumours that it would be a fully CG character may very well be incorrect, as the outfit he is wearing in the above photo looks like something a live-action character would wear in the Star Wars universe.

Paul Bettany Joins the Cast During Reshoots

September 1, 2017 – Ron Howard is hard at work taking the helm from Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, and it looks like he’s going to be adding to the cast when it’s necessary. Paul Bettany has been brought on as a new character. Howard confirmed the addition with the above tweet.

No word yet on what role Bettany will be playing, but it’s possible he is replacing the role that Michael K. Williams had to give up due to scheduling. If that ends up being the case, there could be some problematic issues with this last minute addition. If not, we’ll have to see how Bettany will be featured in the new film.

Michael Kenneth Williams Cut From Movie

Michael K. Williams in Hap and Leonard.

August 23, 2017 – With Ron Howard taking over directing duties on the Han Solo movie and reshoots currently happening, there was bound to be comings and goings. And Michael Kenneth Williams is the first casualty, the actor – who was apparently playing a half-human, half-animal in the film – being cut out of the movie due to scheduling issues with the film he’s currently shooting – spy thriller The Red Sea Diving Resort.

Speaking to Deadline, Williams said “When Ron Howard got hired to finish out the film, there were some reshoot issues that needed to be done in regards to my character, in order for it to match the new direction which the producers wanted Ron to carry the film in. And that would have required me on a plane a month ago to London, to Pinewood, to do reshoots. But I'm here, on location in Africa. It's scheduling.”

Williams says he’s disappointed as he felt great about the work he’d done with the film’s original directors – Phil Lord and Chris Miller. But adds that he hopes it isn’t the end of his Star Wars journey. “I don't think that me not being in the Star Wars family is final," Williams told Deadline. "I left with a very good taste in my mouth about the whole family, and I hope that I left a good taste in their mouth. They're a great group of people."

First Look at Chewie in Action. Kinda.

July 31, 2017 – Emilia Clarke has shared a video of Chewbacca raging on the Han Solo set. To celebrate reaching 10m followers on Instagram, the Game of Thrones star posted a video of the Wookie running from side-to-side, then appearing to attack. Joonas Suotamo now plays Chewbacca in the Star Wars flicks, while we STILL have no idea who Clarke is playing in the movie which STILL doesn’t have a name.

Vader Appearing at School Rather than in Han Solo Movie

Seems Darth Vader WON’T be appearing in the Han Solo movie. Spencer Wilding – the actor who now plays Vader in the Star Wars movie – recently pulled out of a convention, sparking a flurry of rumours that he would be donning the big black helmet for the prequel. But turns out that isn’t the case – rather Wilding will be visiting a couple of schools in Australia that week. Writing on his Facebook page, Wilding said

“Just to let u all no I am 💯 % not filming on starwars… the comic con promoters of the show put 1on1 together and got 69 lol and they just try to guess y I canceled and came up with that … so sorry guys defo not true they have removed it of there site now . Star Wars is such s huge show and it’s amazing how a rumor like that can spread so fast so we have nipped it in the bud . I can’t wait to see HanSolo as much as u lot so for now.”

Han Solo Movie is Now a Willow Reunion

Ron Howard (l) and Warwock Davis (r) on the set of Willow.

July 27, 2017 – Warwick Davis Tweeted that he was on the Han Solo set on May 4th, suggesting he was visiting old friends, or actually had a part in the movie….

Now the latter has been confirmed, via a Tweet from Warwick’s old Willow director – and current Han Solo director – Ron Howard…

Followed by one from Davis himself…

Davis has of course appeared in previous Star Wars movies, playing Wicket in Return of the Jedi and the Ewok movies, a whole bunch of characters in The Phantom Menace, Wollivan in The Force Awakens, Weeteef Cyubee in Rogue One and Rukh in Star Wars Rebels.

There’s no word yet regarding who he’ll play in the Han Solo movie, but here’s hoping it’s some kind of Willow throwback.

Rogue One Darth Vader Actor May Join Cast

Darth Vader in Rogue One.

July 26, 2017 – Spencer Wilding, the actor who played Darth Vader in Rogue One, may be joining the Han Solo movie. According to Star Wars News Net, Wilding recently canceled a convention appearance stating that “he will be filming the newest film in the Star Wars Universe.”

If true, this could mean Vader will be making an appearance in the Solo spin-off. That’d be big news, but it’s not all that surprising considering Vader and his likeness have become a cornerstone of the new Star Wars films, even the ones he’s not actually in.

First Look at Woody Harrelson On Set

July 10, 2017 – TMZ has posted some on-set photos that feature Alden Ehrenreich’s Han Solo and Woody Harrelson, our first glimpse at the latter in character. Slightly younger Chewbacca – who looks a lot like old Chewbacca – also features, as does a woman, who may well be Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke. The grainy photos were apparently shot while Phil Lord and Chris Miller were still directing the prequel, and don’t give much away, though TMZ claims the scene is taking place in some kind of space station.

Ron Howard Directing

Ron Howard has landed the biggest gig in the galaxy.

June 23, 2017 – It’s official – the artist formerly known as Richie Cunningham will be directing the remainder of the Han Solo movie. Kathleen Kennedy made the announcement via the following statement: "At Lucasfilm, we believe the highest goal of each film is to delight, carrying forward the spirit of the saga that George Lucas began forty years ago. With that in mind, we're thrilled to announce that Ron Howard will step in to direct the untitled Han Solo film. We have a wonderful script, an incredible cast and crew, and the absolute commitment to make a great movie. Filming will resume the 10th of July."

Ron Howard Directing?

Could Ron Howard be about to take the reigns on a Star Wars movie?

June 21, 2017 – Big, BIG news on the Han Solo front. Phil Lord and Chris Miller are no longer directing the movie due to “creative differences.” You can read our full article on their departure here, but the statement from Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kenned reads as follows: "Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it's become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we've decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon.”

Who that new director will be is now the source of wild speculation, with The Hollywood Reporter claiming that Ron Howard, Joe Johnstone and Lawrence Kasdan are the current frontrunners to land the gig. Watch this space…

The Title Might Be ‘Solo’

han solo star wars shirt

June 14, 217 – Some leaked photos of a film crew shirt have made their way online and they could reveal the title of the movie. The shirt simply says, Solo. Is it possible that this is the finalized title? Another shirt – from the stunt team – does call the movie Han Solo so this isn’t an official confirmation yet. But, short titles often go over well with audiences and marketing executives. And using Han’s iconic blaster as the L in his name? Cute. It is worth noting that the crew shirt has a picture of a movie camera with the phrase, “We shot first,” underneath it. Even cuter.

Thandie Newton Says Han Solo Shoot Defied Her Expectations

June 7, 2017 – Speaking to Oprah Winfrey as part of Variety’s ‘Actors on Actors’ series, Thandie Newton discussed landing a role in the Han Solo movie, but wouldn’t be drawn on specific details. Though Newton did reveal that the experience was different to what she was expecting. "I just had these ideas of what it would be, you know, and it was completely different to everything I imagined and I'm so thrilled. But I've signed a non-disclosure and can't say a word, which is frustrating because you know me – I like to chat it up."

Is This Tatooine?

June 3, 2017 – Leaked photos might give us our first glimpse at Tatooine in the Han Solo movie. The pictures – which StarWarsNewsNet found via Canarias7 – feature a desert landscape filled with damaged and abandoned buildings and huts. The Spanish site claims the location is Corellia – Han Solo’s home – but with that planet featuring forests and jungles, it seems unlikely. We know Tatooine is a desert planet – one where Solo spent time in the Cantina and did business with Jabba the Hutt – so the evidence points to young Han spending time there in the new film.

The First Photos of the Han Solo Movie Set Are Crazy

May 19, 2017 – The shifty crew over at TMZ have posted some spy photos from the set of the Han Solo movie. In them, you can clearly see Alden Ehrenreich in a costume which is very different from Han Solo’s OG outfit. Additionally, there are a few shots of some odd vehicles, including one that Han appears to drive that’s reminiscent of the classic Adam West-era Batmobile. There are wheels visible on the vehicles, but we’re pretty sure those are going to be taken out using visual effects.

First Look at Han’s Hair?

May 15, 2017 – Alden Ehrenreich was hanging out with Woody Harrelson and Jennifer Lawrence in London over the weekend, and a pic that Woody posted on his Instagram might have given us our first glimpse at Han Solo’s hair-do in the film. And it looks suitably retro and Han Solo-esque. So bravo to whoever has been chopping those locks.

We Might Have the Names of Two New Characters

Do we now know who Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is playing in the film?

May 4, 2017 – The following could be SPOILERS, so tread carefully. But, if MakingStarWars is to be believed, two new characters in the movie will be called Mother Proxima and Val. Mother Proxima will apparently be some kind of puppet, operated by one of the guys responsible for BB-8, Dave Chapman. If the character also also has an element of performance-captured CGI, this could be the role that Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge is playing. As for Val, the site knows little about the character other than the fact that he/she gets “top billing” so the smart money is on this being Emilia Clark’s role.

Han’s Solo’s Name is DEFINITELY Han Solo

Han Solo = Han Solo.

April 17, 2017 – As we thought might be the case below, Disney boss Bob Iger didn’t literally mean that Han Solo is not his name. Speaking to MTV at Star Wars Celebration, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy cleared up the confusion by saying "I'm not sure that that's entirely what Bob meant. There's more to Han Solo's name, but it's not that it's not his name. It's obviously his name. It will always be his name.”

Case closed.

The Name Game

Harrison Ford as Han Solo.

March 24, 2017 – While speaking at a USC business event, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the following: “We’re actually shooting now an origin story of Han Solo, which will come out in 2018, that picks up with Han Solo when he was 18-years-old and takes him through when he was 24. There are a few significant things that happen in Han Solo’s life, like acquiring a certain vehicle and meeting a certain Wookie, that will happen in this film. You will discover how he got his name.”

Now Iger might just be talking about Solo gaining his reputation as the galaxy’s greatest smuggler. But if he’s speaking literally, it sounds like the film will explain how he came by his name. Intriguing.

Han Solo Cast Unveiled

February 21, 2017 – The first pic of the cast has been posted from the film’s set. It features directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord at the controls of the Millennium Falcon alongside stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and Joonas Suotamo, who is in his Chewbacca costume. There’s no sign of Thandie Newton, but a press release on confirms that she’ll be in the film.

The release states that principal photography kicked off February 20, with the co-directors quoted as saying: "Watching such inspired people from all over the world, with such unique voices, come together for the sole purpose of making art, is nothing short of miraculous. We can't think of anything funny to say, because we just feel really moved, and really lucky."

The following crew members were also confirmed: Chris Dickens (Editor), Dominic Tuohy (SFX Supervisor), Rob Bredow (VFX Supervisor), Brad Allan (Action Designer), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Neil Lamont (Production Designer), Dave Crossman and Glyn Dillon (Co-Costume Designers), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Lisa Tomblin (Hair), Amanda Knight (Make-Up) and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).

Thandie Newton May Join the Cast

February 10, 2017 – Westworld actress Thandie Newton may join the cast in an undisclosed role. Because Newton is a woman of color, there’s been some fan speculation that she’ll play Sana Starros, though we don’t think she’s quite a match for that character. Expect to hear more soon.

Also up for a part is Phoebe Waller-Bridge, star of Amazon’s Fleabag. Again, nothing known about her possible role as yet, but Variety  reports that she’s in the running for a motion capture performance-related part.

The Movie Won’t Be Called ‘Red Cup’

January 30, 2017 – Co-director Chris Miller posted the above Tweet to herald the start of principal photography on ‘Red Cup’ together with the words ‘Han First Shot’, in reference to the Greedo debacle. And while we won’t get into that controversy here, we will state, for the record, that this name is just a placeholder and the film won’t be called ‘Red Cup.’

Woody Harrelson Might be Playing Garris Shrike

January 11, 2017 – Rumours had been circulating that Woody Harrelson would appear in the movie, and in early January 2017 we got confirmation, with making the announcement and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller stating, “We couldn't be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody. His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong."

But which character is he playing? Speculation was rife that it would be some kind of mentor role, akin to his character in the Hunger Games movie, Haymitch. And as Garris Shrike fits that bill in multiple Star Wars books, fans started to put two-and-two together, prompting Variety to ask him if he was indeed playing Shrike in the movie. And having squirmed in his chair for a few seconds, Harrelson said yes.

Though with Lucasfilm’s Pablo Hidalgo Tweeting the following, there’s a chance he might have been answering the ‘mentor’ portion of the question rather than referring to the name:

Either way, if you’re interested in finding out more about Garris Shrike, he has an extensive page on Wookiepedia, which includes details of his rescuing Solo from the streets, raising him, training him to be a thief and con-man, and ultimately falling out with him.

Emilia Clark is in the Film

Emilia Clarke kicking ass and taking names in Terminator: Genisys.

November 18, 2016 – London-born actress Emilia Clarke– who shot to fame as Daenerys Targaryan on Game of Thrones – has been cast in the film, though we don’t yet know who she’ll play. Maybe a love interest for Han or Lando? Or maybe the pair of them, with both scoundrels competing for her affections.

That said, having played the ruthless ‘Mother of Dragons’ in GOT and Sarah Connor in Terminator GenisysClarke has proved her mettle onscreen, so don’t be surprised to see her following in the footsteps of recent Star Wars heroines Rey and Jyn by giving the boys a run for their money.

Donald Glover is Lando Calrissian

Donald Glover in Atlanta.

October 21, 2016 – 2016 was a big year for Donald Glover, who until that point was best known as Troy Barnes on Community. Not only did this jack-of-all-trades create, write, produce, direct and star in acclaimed TV comedy drama Atlanta, he also released a brilliant Childish Gambino album and landed a role in Spider-Man: Homecoming. To cap it all off, he was cast as Han’s pal Lando in the forthcoming flick.

The film will apparently depict Calrissian “in his formative years as a scoundrel on the rise in the galaxy’s underworld.”

"We're so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us," Lord and Miller said at the time. "These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we'd like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever."

Bradford Young is Shooting the Film

Bradford Young on the set of Arrival. Credit: Jan Thijs © Paramount Pictures.

September 22, 2016 – Acclaimed cinematographer Bradford Young will be shooting the Solo flick. Young’s previous credits include Arrival, Selma and A Most Violent Year.

Speaking to Collider about collaborating with Miller and Lord on the film, Young said: “These cats are subversive, don't let it fool you. They are prepared to say exactly what they wanna say and it's complex, it's layered, it's smart, it's visual, it's dramatic, it's funny, it's uneasy, it's unexpected. These cats are—I'm honored to have them in the list of directors I've worked with, that's for sure.”

It Might Turn Into a Trilogy

The original Lando and Han.

July 24, 2016 – The New York Daily News states that Alden Ehrenreich has signed up for three Han Solo pictures. And while this is common practice on blockbusters, they also quote an anonymous source who claims that a trilogy is planned…

“There is a real sense of excitement around the Han Solo movie and its potential," says the insider. "Given that Han's early adventures do not need to be tied to the Empire, it leaves storylines open with the opportunity to really give fans something different. They can explore new galaxies and crazy creatures and bring in a wide array of new characters. They feel that his character has the right potential to become a central figure in several movies.”

Alden Ehrenreich is Han Solo

July 17, 2016 – Disney and Lucasfilm reportedly looked at more than 3,000 actors for the role of young Han Solo, with early frontrunners including Taron Egerton, Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Blake Jenner, Jack Reynor and Jack O’Connell.

But ultimately, Alden Ehrenreich landed the coveted role. The California native has appeared in the likes of Beautiful Creatures, Stoker and Blue Jasmine, and at this point is probably best known for playing Hobie Doyle, the intellectually challenged actor who struggles to say ‘would that it were’ in the Coen brothers’ Hail Caesar!.

The announcement was made at Star Wars Celebration in London, where Miller and Lord said that Ehrenreich was pretty much the first actor they auditioned, and Alden revealed that he screen-tested inside the Millennium Falcon.

Chewbacca Will Feature

Chewy and Han in The Force Awakens.

March 8, 2016 – We kind of assumed that young Han Solo would be hanging out with young Chewbacca, but Disney boss Bob Iger confirmed that fact at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference. Speaking of the forthcoming Star Wars spin-offs, Iger said, “We have others in the works, including one, which is an origin story about Han and Chewy.”

The Kasdans are Writing

Director J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan on the set of The Force Awakens. Credit: David James ©Lucasfilm.

July 7, 2015 – The screenplay is being written by Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon. The Force is strong in Kasdan senior, the Hollywood veteran having co-written The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. His other writing credits include Raiders of the Lost Ark, Grand Canyon and The Big Chill. Kasdan junior wrote and directed indie features The First Time and In the Land of Women.

The story will apparently focus on how young Han Solo became the smuggler, thief and scoundrel whom Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi first encountered in the cantina Mos Eisley.

The pair also released a statement when the announcement was made, saying, "We're so excited to be working with Chris and Phil, who will bring a fresh new dimension to the Star Wars universe. They're two of the smartest, funniest and most original filmmakers around, and the ideal choice to tell the story of Han Solo, one of the coolest characters in the galaxy."

The LEGO Guys Are Directing

July 7, 2015 – Longtime collaborators Phil Lord and Chris Miller have been charged with the task of bringing young Han Solo’s journey to life onscreen. The pair have had a pretty meteoric rise to prominence, meeting in their freshman year of college at Dartmouth, landing a development deal at Disney Television Animation soon after, and then making the transition into movies with apparent ease.

Their first film – Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs – was a critical and commercial hit. The pair then directed the big-screen version of 21 Jump Street, which was also a hit with critics and audiences alike. And their third film – The LEGO Movie – was a bona fide smash, grossing more than $450m worldwide.

That success helped Lord and Miller land the Star Wars gig, with the pair posting the above Tweet and releasing the following statement when the announcement was made: “This is the first film we've worked on that seems like a good idea to begin with. We promise to take risks, to give the audience a fresh experience, and we pledge ourselves to be faithful stewards of these characters who mean so much to us. This is a dream come true for us. And not the kind of dream where you're late for work and all your clothes are made of pudding, but the kind of dream where you get to make a film with some of the greatest characters ever, in a film franchise you've loved since before you can remember having dreams at all.”

Untitled Han Solo Anthology Movie will be released May 25, 2018.

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