BIGJIMSLATE writes: "Maybe these should be considered quickies due to the number of them, but they're all Star Wars. *Warning* There may be spoilers here for some of you, so read at your own risk. Anyways, here I go." Read on below for an interesting, eclectic (not to say, oh, I dunno, "obsessive") pile of links. Sheesh, the next one won't even be out for a while!
"First off, I'm sure many of you noticed that the Official Star Wars site has been completely redesigned. In addition to the Episode II Select picture number #40 (finally) being released, there's also some new pictures of some of the characters, specifically Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan, Hayden Christensen (as Anakin), and (yowza!) Natalie Portman (as Padme Amidala). There are also small pics for Christopher Lee (as Count Dooku) and Temuera Morrison as "a bounty hunter" (read: Jango Fett).
"The official site has the first (of what appars to be many) "Making of Episode II" shorts. Although it mainly shows George, Rick, and some others talking about minor stuff, as well as "the camera" and the "Courscant street set".
"TheForce.net has some nice concept pictures of what the Clone troopers look like with a doctored pic, a fan-made rendering, and painting that looks almost like one of Ralph McQuarrie's.
" Also, The Criterion Collection is releasing Akira Kurosawa's classic, The Hidden Fortress (also known as Kakushi toride no san akunin) on May 22nd, with an anamorphic 2.35:1 transfer. What does this have to do with Star Wars? This IS Star Wars. George Lucas has (admitidly) taken this film, added some touches of Flash Gordon and WWII dogfighting films, world religions, and *bam*, Star Wars: A New Hope. It also contains an interview with George Lucas (or as I like to call him, "The Plaid One") describing the influence of The Hidden Fortress on Star Wars.
"One final bit is still a rumor at this point, but its by far the best rumor, from the most reliable sources. The Episode I DVD rumors have been kicked around for a while, but we finally have unofficial confirmation from the top "spies", as well as Rick McCallum himself!. I usually wait for the official press release myself, but these rumors are coming from the best of the best, and even Rick himself implied that they've been completed. Still no word on the "classic trilogy" or Special Editions though...
"Hope that'll keep you busy until the trailer is released (estimated by November)."