"No one is ever really gone," says the voice of Luke Skywalker in the first teaser trailer for "Star Wars: Episode IX," which audiences finally learned will be called "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" Friday at a fan event in Chicago.
The closely guarded film from director J.J. Abrams will put an end to the Skywalker saga that began over 40 years ago, but even as characters and actors have passed on, the footage shown at Star Wars Celebration suggests that as with all "Star Wars" films, death is just a technicality a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Mark Hamill's Skywalker may have died at the end of the most recent installment but his voice dominates the teaser trailer, telling someone, possibly Daisy Ridley's Rey, that, "this is your fight now." And audiences got a tantalizing tease from another figure from the past: Emperor Palpatine from the original and prequel trilogies, whose ominous laugh closes out the promotional spot.
Carrie Fisher's Leia Organa is back as well, despite the actress's untimely passing in Dec. 2016, thanks to unused footage from "The Force Awakens" which Abrams was able to craft into its own narrative for this new film.
"You can't just recast and you can't just have her disappear," Abrams said. "The idea of having a CG character wasn't even an option."
He's currently in the process of editing and adding visual effects to the film which will hit theaters on Dec. 20 and said that despite Fisher's death, "We're working with her every day."
"Princess Leia lives in this film in way that is mind-blowing to me," Abrams said.
Abrams was joined on stage at the event by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and actors and droids alike including Ridley, Oscar Isaac (Poe), John Boyega (Finn), Kelly Marie Tran (Rose), Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), newcomer Naomi Ackie, who plays a character named Jannah, Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and even Billy Dee Williams, who reprises his role as Lando Calrissian in the new film after decades away.
"How did I find Lando again?" Williams said. "Lando never left me."
"Star Wars" superfan Stephen Colbert moderated the panel, doing his best to get the tight-lipped cast and creators to reveal anything about the film. Although no one cracked under pressure, Abrams did reveal some previously known details, like the fact that "The Rise of Skywalker" will pick up "some time" after the events of "The Last Jedi."
"This is an adventure that the group goes on together," he teased, although he wouldn't reveal whether or not that meant the group on stage or some other combination.
"This movie is about this new generation and what they've inherited, the light and the dark," Abrams added. "As they face this greatest evil, are they prepared?"
Besides Hamill, another person who wasn't in attendance was Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver. Ren is the son of Han Solo and Leia, making him and his mother the only known Skywalkers left.
When prodded about what will happen with the complex relationship between Kylo and Rey, Ridley demurred, "I guess the Kylo and Rey thing, we'll have to see."
She added: "I think I can confirm there are no more semi-naked Kylos." That's a reference to the scenes of a shirtless Driver in "The Last Jedi" that surprised fans.
Although fans are salivating for any morsel of information, the panelists stayed as vague as possible, and kept things light-hearted debating questions like "who's a better pilot: Poe or Han" and even taking a break so that the audience could sing an unprompted Happy Birthday to Ridley, who turned 27 on Wednesday.
Kennedy, quoting George Lucas, said however that "Episode IX" is indeed the third act of a three-act structure.
But, predictably, there are still more questions than answers when it comes to "The Rise of Skywalker," especially what will come after.
The Lucasfilm and Disney collaboration has proved to be a lucrative one since Disney purchased the company in 2012 for $4 billion. Disney's first two "Star Wars" films, "The Force Awakens" and "The Last Jedi" and its spinoffs, "Rogue One" and "Solo," have already grossed more than $4.8 billion at the worldwide box office.
As of now, there is a future for "Star Wars" on the big screen, but details are sparse and dates are non-existent. "The Last Jedi" director Rian Johnson is working on a new "Star Wars" trilogy and "Game of Thrones" showrunners D.B. Weiss and David Benioff are also at work on a "movie series."
Lucasfilm is expanding its small screen universe too beyond "The Clone Wars" with the Jon Favreau-directed series "The Mandalorian," which will be available on Disney's streaming service, DisneyPlus, when it launches on Nov. 12, and there will be a "Rogue One" spinoff series focused on Diego Luna's character Cassian Andor. With the company's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment properties, too, Lucas' original trilogy and prequels will also be available on the service.
But who's got time to think about the future when there are over two minutes of brand new footage from "The Rise of Skywalker" to dissect?
Munshiganj, Apr 7 (UNB) – Renowned film actor and comedian Tele Samad who passed away at a hospital in the capital on Saturday was laid to eternal rest at his village home in Sadar upazila on Sunday.
He was buried by the graves of his parents at their family graveyard at Noyagaon following fifth namaz-e-janaza after Asr prayers.
The body of the noted actor arrived at the Dr Iajuddin Ahmed Residential Model School and College ground from the capital around 3pm. His fifth and last janaza was also held at the field.
Earlier, the fourth janaza was held on the Bangladesh Film Development Corporation (FDC) premises around 12:30pm. The body was taken to the FDC premises around 11am.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud, Information Secretary Abdul Malek, noted actors, including Akbar Hossain Pathan Farooque, MP, Alamgir, Zayed Khan, Aliraj, Amit Hasan, Samrat, Anjana and Nasrin, film director Mushfiqur Rahman Gulzar, producer Khorsed Alam Khashru and singer Fakir Alamgir, paid their tributes to Tele Samad.
The Information Ministry, FDC, Producers’ Association, Artists’ Association and some other organisations also paid their homage to the actor by placing wreaths at his coffin.
Speaking on the occasion, the information minister said the government will take steps to posthumously honour Tele Samad.
After the fourth janaza, his body was taken to his ancestral village for burial.
Tele Samad breathed his last at Square Hospital in the capital around 1:30pm on Saturday at the age of 74.
On Saturday, his first janaza was held at Dhanmondi’s Taqwah Mosque after Maghrib prayers while the second one at West Rajabazar Mosque after Isha prayers and the third one at Dilu Road, Moghbazar around 10:30pm.
Tele Samad was born in Munshiganj on January 8, 1945. In his glorious career spanning over four decades, the actor performed in over 600 films. He made his debut in 1973 with the film, ‘Kar Bou’. He last acted in the movie, ‘Zero Degree’, released in 2015.
New Delhi, Apr 5 (AP/UNB) — The planned release of a Bollywood biopic on Prime Minister Narendra Modi days before the start of Indian elections has run into trouble with a court challenge pending and the censor board yet to clear its opening in theaters.
Opposition parties are protesting that the film's release would unfairly advantage Modi's Hindu nationalist party as it seeks reelection.
The Supreme Court set a Monday hearing date for a Congress party petition demanding the movie's release be deferred until voting concludes in mid-May.
The Hindi movie couldn't be screened as planned on Friday because the censor board hasn't certified it for release.
"This is to confirm, our film 'PM Narendra Modi' is not releasing on 5th April. Will update soon," film producer Sandip Ssingh tweeted late Thursday.
Vivek Oberoi, who plays the title role, said the Congress party was trying to block the movie's release because it was scared of Modi's popularity.
Oberoi, 42, said in an interview with the New Delhi Television news channel that the screening of the movie would not violate the code of conduct for national elections.
India's autonomous Election Commission is expected to rule next week on separate complaints filed by two opposition parties protesting the launch of a NaMo (Narendra Modi) television channel named after the prime minister.
The Congress party and the Aam Admi Party said the channel was started by the BJP and it violated the code of conduct that barred political parties from starting such channels after the announcement of the election schedule.
The channel started broadcasting Modi's election campaign and a compilation of speeches highlighting his government's achievements three weeks after the voting schedule was announced by the commission on March 10.
The voting for India's elections will be staggered over seven days, beginning April 11 and concluding May 19. Counting will begin May 23.
Paris, Mar 29 (AP/UNB) — Filmmaker Agnes Varda, a trailblazer of the French New Wave and feminist activist who later won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, has died. She was 90.
Her production company Cine Tamaris confirmed her death on Friday after French media first reported the news.
Varda's rich filmography includes movies such as "Cleo de 5 a 7," ''Sans toit ni loi" ("Vagabond") — for which she won the Golden Lion in 1985, "Jacquot de Nantes" and "Les glaneurs et la glaneuse" ("The Gleaners and I").
Nicknamed the Grandmother of the New Wave, Varda was a fixture for years at the Cannes Film Festival, where she presented more than a dozen films from 1958 to 2018. She took part in two Cannes juries, and the festival gave her an honorary Palme d'Or in 2015 for her life's work.
Varda, was the first woman to receive such an honor, and regularly sought more recognition for women in the industry.
At last year's Cannes festival, she joined jury president Cate Blanchett for a bilingual speech against sexual misconduct in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
"Women are not a minority in the world, and yet our industry says the opposite. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let's climb," she said.
The Cannes Festival tweeted that Varda's death was a cause for "immense sadness."
"For almost 65 years, Agnes Varda's eyes and voice embodied cinema with endless inventiveness. The place she occupied is irreplaceable. Agnes loved images, words and people. She's one of those whose youth will never fade," the tweet continued.
With her distinctive half-red, half-gray hairstyle, Varda was instantly recognizable on the European film circuit, where she was often one of the few female directors in the crowd.
Varda was honored last month at the Berlin Film Festival with the Berlinale Camera award for lifetime achievement. The festival had its highest number of women directors yet, some of whom named Varda as an inspiration.
Varda's 2017 documentary with street artist JR, "Faces Places," was nominated for an Oscar — making Varda, then 89, the oldest person ever nominated — and won best documentary at the Independent Film Spirit Awards.
"There is nothing to be proud of, but happy," Varda said after the Oscar nomination. "I love my own work and I've done it for so many years, so I didn't do it for honor or money. My films never made money."
When she couldn't attend the Oscar nominees' luncheon, JR brought a life-sized cardboard cutout of her onto the red carpet with him.
Born in Brussels on May 30, 1928, Varda started as a photographer after studying literature and arts. In 1951, she was appointed official photographer of the Theatre National Populaire, and remained in that position for the next decade.
In 1954, well before Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut became the emblematic figures of the New Wave, Varda's first movie, "La Pointe Courte," followed a couple going through a crisis in the small port of Sete on the Mediterranean coast.
She made several documentary shorts, but inadequate funds prevented Varda from making her next feature, "Cleo From 5 to 7," until 1961. She came to prominence with that film, a real-time movie about a young woman who may have cancer.
Backed by French businessman Georges de Beauregard, who had supported Jean-Luc Godard's "Breathless," the film studied Cleo's evolvement from a shallow pop star to an authentic human being capable of understanding pain in herself and others.
"Cleo" was again praised by critics and was a commercial success as well, building anticipation for "Happiness," which won the Silver Bear award at the 1965 Berlin Festival.
Varda continued to explore the themes of illness and life as a couple later in her career. Her biggest success came in 1985 with "Vagabond," starring Sandrine Bonnaire, who plays the tragic role of young marginal wandering to her death.
Varda was married to French director Jacques Demy, who died in 1990. She is survived by her two children, Mathieu Demy and Rosalie Varda, themselves both involved in French filmmaking.
Jahangirnagar University, Mar 28 (UNB) - The drama “Srabon Tragedy” was held on the last day Wednesday night of three-day-long “Mukti Sangram Uthshab” on the Jahangirnagar University campus.
The Teachers and Students Centre of JU organised the festivals marking the National Day and Independence Day.
The drama was staged at Selim Al Deen Muktaamancho by the third year students of Drama and dramatics department of the university. The play was written by Drama and Dramatics department teacher Anan Jaman and directed by another faculty of the same department Mohibur Rouf Shaibal.
The drama is about the history and background of the killing of the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, where the director tried to show the plot behind the killing and the stand of the then military backed administration.