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The emperor summons Darth Vader and the grand admiral in this Thrawn: Alliances excerpt - exclusive

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Thrawn and Vader must join forces -- even if they don't want to. The Emperor's dark-side enforcer and one of his greatest military commanders: not a bad bad-guy tag team.

Thrawn: Alliances, Timothy Zahn's highly-anticipated follow-up to Thrawn, arrives July 24, 2018, and finds Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader joining forces for a secret mission. In StarWars.com's exclusive expert below, we find out just a little bit more about this mission - including its surprising location - and learn that this alliance may not be an easy one.

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The Force is strong with Gibraltar's Skywalk

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Mark Hamill, the actor who plays Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars film series, has opened the Skywalk at the top of the Rock of Gibraltar.

Daredevil' Season 3 adds Jay Ali to the cast

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With the third season of Netflix's 'Daredevil' approaching, we've just learned that they've added Jay Ali ('The Fosters,' 'Bloomers') to the cast. In the show, he is set to portray Rahul "Ray" Nadeem who is "an honest, but ambitious FBI agent willing to go to any length for his family."

For those who need to know everything about a character in advance, there aren't any known ones that go by this name in the comics.

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Disney yanks rumoured 'Last Jedi' royal stormtrooper clip

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Weren't they a little tall to be stormtroopers?

British princes William and Harry played Imperial stormtroopers in a small scene in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," but their battle royal never came to our theatres.

John Boyega, who plays Finn, revealed the royal roles back in November, but in a crowning bummer of a move, later said the princes' scene was cut.

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Cryonics - still between science and science fiction

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Walking over to the law office of Oh & Son through the bustling streets of downtown Seoul, CEO Han Hyeong-tae of Human High Tech casually explained how he brought KrioRus, a cryonics service provider, to Korea. Initial contracts with the Russian company seemed to be no less casual.

"During the talks, I didn't get to see them in person, but we talked online. We signed a five-year contract in November," Han said. "And we launched the service in Korea on Feb. 1."

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The daring Strugatsky brothers, practitioners of outwardly Soviet, covertly Jewish science fiction

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Idolised by their Soviet readers, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are beginning to find increasing numbers of readers in America.

Deified by their Soviet readers from the 1960s on, the Strugatsky brothers-Arkady (1925-1991) and his younger sibling Boris (1933-2012) were not only the most popular and prolific Russian writers of science fiction, a highly respected genre in post-Stalinist Soviet culture, but its most daring practitioners.

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Why we imagine aliens the way we do

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When you picture an alien, what do you see?

No one really knows what aliens look like, but we all have similar ideas about them. It's often a creature with a big head, long arms and legs, and big, buggy eyes. We see these common images of aliens depicted in movies, books, and on TV shows - which are made by us.

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The final frontier: how female directors broke into sci-fi

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Critical reactions to Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time may have been mixed, but there's no denying it is a cinema landmark. DuVernay is not just the first woman of colour to direct a $100m (£72m) movie, but a member of a very exclusive club - female directors of big-budget science fiction.

It is sobering to realise that Kathryn Bigelow's $42m sci-fi noir Strange Days was released nearly a quarter of a century ago. It was a resounding flop, which no doubt convinced studios that women should not be allowed to direct the genre at all.

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Watch Tom Hardy's very weird Star Wars: The Last Jedi deleted scene

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Tom Hardy's cameo in Star Wars: The Last Jedi has become the stuff of legend. It leaked well before the movie's release last year that the Peaky Blinders actor had filmed something for director Rian Johnson's sequel, apparently alongside John Boyega and surprise set visitors Princes William and Harry.

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Laura Dern said "pew" every time she fired her blaster in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

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Charming evidence has emerged of Laura Dern saying "pew" every time she fired her blaster while filming Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

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Bestselling science fiction writer Robert J. Sawyer talks Mary Shelley, the rise of Trump and what he'll be reading in 2030

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Robert J. Sawyer is one of the bestselling science fiction writers of his generation - and he's from Toronto. He's the most decorated such writer in the country - being the only Canadian to win the sci-fi trifecta: Hugo, Nebula and John W. Campbell awards. The Star spoke to him about his latest honour, the Order of Ontario, science vs. fiction and Mary Shelley.

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Celebrate Women's History Month with a science fiction focus - Telling My Stories: the pioneering fiction of Octavia E. Butler

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Join Natalie Russell, Assistant Curator of Literary Collections at the Huntington Library and curator of the recent Huntington exhibition, Telling My Stories: The Pioneering Fiction of Octavia E. Butler, for a lecture in celebration of Women's History Month and in conjunction with the new exhibition Dreaming the Universe.

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Actress Meryl Streep as Princess Leia? We don't know what you think, but someone's got a petition up. See below.

Welcome to another issue of StarWarrior where we have the usual mix of Sci-Fi and Star Wars reviews and previews, along with other quirky science, and science-fiction news. Enjoy!

And if you have any related news you'd like to share, perhaps an upcoming Cosplay event, please let us know. Email: news@starwarrior.space

We really look forward to hearing from you.

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Thomas Austen

This Week's News

Long range tracking: 'Solo: a Star Wars story'

* SW-May-release.jpgWhat to (reasonably) expect from Disney and Lucasfilm's second STAR WARS anthology film: 

For the first time since Revenge of the Sith in 2005, a new Star Wars movie will open in May - just in time for Memorial Day weekend, which can often be a very lucrative time for the film industry as schools begin their summer break. In fact, Solo's release date will mark the exact 41st anniversary of the original Star Wars: A New Hope's theatrical release on May 25, 1977.

The Star Wars franchise has prospered about as well as anyone could have imagined since the Disney ownership era began five and a half years ago. Kathleen Kennedy has successfully led Lucasfilm and the entertainment industry's top tier brand name through the course of three films thus far, amassing nearly $2.1 billion in North America and over $4.45 billion worldwide.

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Now Amazon is spending $1 billion on a science fiction show

* Amazon-sci-fi.jpgLast week, we learned that e-commerce giant Amazon, headed by $125 billion man Jeff Bezos, was going to spend $500 million on making two seasons of a Lord of the Rings TV show. Shocked and appalled, we stared with mouths agape, marveling that HBO only spent $100 on season 6 of Game of Thrones, its most expensive yet, and that only after the show had been around a while and proven its worth. What excess! What vanity! Surely it was not to be borne!

Well, it ends up that Amazon was just getting started. Now, the Financial Times reports that the company is going spend freaking $1 billion on a three-season adaptation of The Three-Body Problem, a popular science fiction novel series by author Liu Cixin. We were so naive last week.

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Could people really live on Titan? Netflix's new sci-fi film isn't that far-fetched

* Titan-science.jpgNetflix has been launching a barrage of new science-fiction content lately, with original series like Stranger Things and Altered Carbon and new movies such as The Cloverfield Paradox and Mute pretty much taking over the channel. And they're continuing that trend with their next blockbuster, The Titan, which sees an attempt to colonize Titan, a moon of Saturn, after the Earth's resources become depleted. But could people really live on Titan, or is this purely the stuff of science fiction?

The film doesn't really make the case that Titan could support human life; at least not without some modifications. The movie stars Sam Worthington as an Air Force pilot who is chosen to undergo a military experiment that will turn him into a superhuman capable of surviving on Titan; since the climate the

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The Titan review - unexciting Netflix sci-fi squanders its premise

* Sam-Worthington.jpgSam Worthington is a lifeless protagonist in a film about a government genetics experiment to evolve man into space. The 41-year-old Australian actor, has become something of a sci-fi mainstay. And despite his unimpeachably good looks, directors keep turning him into aliens, or quasi-human hybrids, or terminators.

Most recently, in the new Netflix release The Titan, Worthington plays a military man who's subject to an insane government-funded genetic experiment, causing him to lose his hair, shed his skin, and acquire, among other strange metamorphoses, bat DNA.

By the end of the film, he looks a lot like his character in Avatar, in other words far from the chiseled handsome actor he actually is. I have an idea why he seems to constantly be utilized - effaced, really - in such a way, and it's because Sam Worthington is perhaps the blandest actor alive.

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China's golden-age of science fiction pushes new boundaries at Hong Kong conference

* HK-sci-fi.jpgAI, DNA editing and life beyond Earth on the agenda at Melon, an event that blurs the line between fantasy and reality

Last November, Amy Leung Yuk-yiu began writing a science-fiction novel. She divided it into 80 episodes, each about 1,000 words long, and wrote one or two a day until January. Although it's set in Hong Kong, it's written in simplified Chinese because, as she explains, "Hong Kong is under Chinese control and I'm trying to target my audience".

Leung, a tutor in an international school, was inspired by Ni Kuang, Hong Kong's most famous science-fiction writer. Ni, who fled China in 1957, is probably best known as the creator of Wisely, his mystery-solving and alien-battling adventurer, whom he introduced to Hong Kong readers in a March 1963 column in newspaper Ming Pao. A constant theme in those stories is life as we know it being in danger of a hideous transformation by hostile invasionary forces. Some Hong Kong readers consider him highly prescient.

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Star Wars petition wants to cast Meryl Streep as Princess Leia

* New-Leia.jpgAfter the loss of Carrie Fisher, some fans believe the acclaimed Oscar-winning actress should step into the pivotal role. No one can truly replace Carrie Fisher, who played Princess and then General Leia Organa in the Star Warssaga. Fisher died at age 60 late in 2016, and filmmakers have already said they won't digitally re-createFisher's performance in Episode 9, due out in 2019.

But now there's an online petitiontrying to generate support for recasting Leia's character with Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep. On Friday, more than 7,900 supporters had signed the petition, which is aiming for 8,000 signatures.

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Mark Hamill prefers watching Star Wars in order of release

* SW-episodes-poster.jpgMark Hamill has weighed in on the great Star Wars viewing order debate. Since its humble beginnings in 1977, the franchise has grown exponentially over the past four decades and is now releasing movies on an annual basis under the Disney umbrella. To date, there are nine live-action instalments in the series with several more still to come. As of this writing, we're only two months away from the theatrical premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story, and Episode IX follows shortly after.

With several films that explore various points in the timeline, every fan has their own preferred method when they sit down to marathon the movies. One way is to start with The Phantom Menace and work your way through the different eras of galactic history from the very beginning of the story. The "Machete Order" (which excludes Episode I and jumps between the originals and prequels) is also a popular option for viewers. In Hamill's mind, though, the best way to do it is to start with the movie that started it all.

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Debbie Lee Carrington dead: Total Recall and Star Wars actress dies aged 58

* Carrington.jpgActress Debbie Lee Carrington - a little person who starred in the original Total Recall as one of the Martian rebels and in Star Wars as an ewok alongside other TV and film roles - has died at 58.

According to Deadline, Carrington's death was confirmed by her sister Cathy Ellis who said she passed away in her sleep from "undetermined causes." Born on December 14, 1959 in San Jose, California, Carrington found a passion for acting after playing Sancho Panza in the play Man of La Mancha during her junior year of high school.

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Now you see it: Invisibility material created

* Invisibility-duo.jpgBased on fictional dinosaurs and squid, technology could protect soldiers and structures. Materials inspired by disappearing Hollywood dinosaurs and real-life shy squid have been invented by UCI engineers, according to new findings in Science magazine.

The thin swatches can quickly change how they reflect heat, smoothing or wrinkling their surfaces in under a second after being stretched or electrically triggered. That makes them invisible to infrared night vision tools or lets them modulate their temperatures.

"Basically, we've invented a soft material that can reflect heat in similar ways to how squid skin can reflect light," said corresponding author Alon Gorodetsky, an engineering professor. "It goes from wrinkled and dull to smooth and shiny, essentially changing the way it reflects the heat."

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Science Fiction: better not to know

* Charles-Soule.jpgIn a dream, a man is given 108 accurate predictions about the near future-but no forewarning of the disaster that awaits him. Everyone knows that if someone should appear from nowhere and hand you a magic lamp, you better think very carefully before you rub it. This is the problem confronting Charles Soule's hero in "The Oracle Year" (Harper, 402 pages, $21.99).

Will is a struggling musician, struggling because although he's good, he's not New York good. One night, he has a dream in which he is given 108 predictions about the future. And they start coming true. Some of them are trivial: a surprising turn-round in a football game, the number of babies to be born on a particular day in a Texas hospital, a hold-up at a given time at a particular...

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Previous News

Star Wars open-world game in the works at EA, according to Job Listing

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Electronic Arts is at work on a new open-world Star Wars game, if a newly discovered job opening is any indication. Although the publisher has shared little information about what to expect from the rebooted version of Visceral's game following the studio's closure, we may now have a clue as to what form it will take.

The job listing in question was recently published on EA's jobs site. It's for the position of lead online engineer in Burnaby, at EA's Vancouver studio, and it makes no attempt to hide what applicants will be working on. The opening sentence reads, "Lead a team to deliver Online features for a Star Wars Open World project."

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The tech entrepreneur turning science fiction into reality teaches his kids 3 lessons to help them dream big

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Not many people can say that they've made a career of fulfilling their childhood dreams, but Peter Diamandis likes to see his 9-year-old self as the driving force in his life.

Diamandis is a serial entrepreneur who's founded the XPRIZE entrepreneur competition series, the tech research center Singularity University, and the life-extension company Human Longevity, Inc. - all companies essentially making science fiction reality.

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Twelve sci-fi rules for life

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Like so many other scribes, I have been inspired by psychologist Jordan Peterson's fascinating book to sketch my 12 rules of life. But mine are different, because each is drawn from canonical science fiction. Why? Maybe because this is the literature on which I grew up, or maybe because I have never lost the taste for it. Or maybe because the sci-fi canon really does have a lot to teach about the well-lived life. Here, then, are my 12 rules. I cannot pretend that I always follow them, but I certainly always try.

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Bridges to Science Fiction and Fantasy: outstanding essays from the J. Lloyd Eaton conferences

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Despite the flourishing of courses devoted to fantastika in the groves of academia, its seems to me that actually, in any given year, very few scholarly volumes emerge.

Most of the non-fiction books-the candidates you see on the awards ballots, whether dedicated to contemporaneously studying or historically researching the genre-are produced by folks whose primary concern is something other than pure scholarship.

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Star Wars firm Lucasfilm must pay 'failed' Darth Vader film damages

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A film-maker who sued Stars Wars producers Lucasfilm for blocking plans to make a film about Darth Vader has won almost £39,500 in damages. Marc John, 46, of Buckinghamshire, claimed he was stopped from beaming a live interview with actor David Prowse to 1,200 cinemas. He claims the film would have made about £3m, with his share worth £1.35m.

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The 'Game Of Thrones' spinoff budgets plan to go big or go home

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With 'Game of Thrones' coming to a close in 2019, HBO is looking toward the future and what to do about the potential prequel spin-off shows which are in the works. While both the network and actors have confirmed that they wouldn't be reprising their roles, that doesn't mean we'll have a complete drop in the budget for these shows as the production costs alone will be huge. Thankfully, if HBO plays their cards right, they could potentially re-use some of their sets and filming locations to help cut costs.

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Roundup of new science fiction and fantasy books, March 18

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There has been no shortage of Jane Austen-based literary mashups and sequels, from P.D. James' "Death Comes to Pemberly" to Seth Grahame-Smith's "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." Austen's novels provide a solid armature on which to hang a plot from another genre or time period.

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The latest major 'Star Wars' game finally dropped its most controversial aspect - but it may be too late

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* Nearly six months after launch, "Star Wars Battlefront 2" is finally addressing its controversial "loot box" system.
* After an update scheduled for March 21, virtual prize boxes in "Battlefront 2" will only contain "credits or cosmetic items, such as emotes or victory poses, but nothing that impacts gameplay."
* When it launched in late 2017, "Battlefront 2" became the most egregious example of an ongoing trend where paid video games charged players extra money for so-called "loot boxes."

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York faculty member's first book is science fiction

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"When I Opened My Eyes - The Dwovian Encounter" is a new science fiction book by Karl "Kip" P. Trout, a faculty member at Penn State York. Trout's book, released in late 2017, is a story about scientists on Earth struggling to save life on two planets from extinction.

A lecturer in mathematics and physics at the York campus, this is Trout's first book. He has taught at the campus since 1987, including courses in physics, mathematics and astronomy.

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Are we now suffering from 'Star Wars' overkill?

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Thursday morning's announcement that "Jungle Book" director Jon Favreau has been hired by Disney DIS, +0.67% to executive produce and write a new live-action "Star Wars" TV show raises the question: How much is too much?

From six "Star Wars" movies being made between 1977 and 2005, there has been, and will be, at least one movie released every year between 2015 and 2019. "Solo: A Star Wars Story," the Han Solo spinoff movie, will be released on May 25, five months after "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

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Here's drone footage of what Disney's Star Wars Land looks like right now

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If you stand in juuuust the right spot in Disneyland - or if you turn your head at certain times on certain rides - you can get fleeting glimpses into Disney's upcoming Star Wars Land (or "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge," as it's more officially known) as it's being built. You can't see a lot, of course; just enough to say "Yep, that's some scaffolding alright."

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