The Cast of Star Wars: Episode VII

 A few days ago Disney and Lucasfilm and director J.J. Abrams announced announced the key cast members of Star Wars: Episode VII - 19 long months after the new Star Wars trilogy was originally announced back in October of 2012.

The biggest news is the return of the trio of actors that defined Star Wars for a generation: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford as Han Solo, and Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa. However, many of the performers Abrams has assembled for Episode VII aren’t household names and I had to look a few up on IMDb. These are the faces we’ll see wielding lightsabers on  on December 18th, 2015.

John Boyega

 

Adam Driver

Most people know Adam Driver as Hannah Horvath’s erratic boyfriend on HBO;s ‘Girls‘. According to the latest rumors we’ll be seeing him as a villain in ‘Episode VII.‘ (Photo courtesy of HBO.)

Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac earned rave reviews for his performance in ‘Inside Llewyn Davis,‘ which I have yet to see, but the actor has been working his way up the ranks for years, snagging smaller roles in movies like ‘Sucker Punch,’ ‘Drive,’ and ‘The Bourne Legacy,‘ which I have seen and thoroughly enjoyed. (Photo courtesy of CBS Films.)

Daisy Ridley

Daisy Ridley has just a handful of credits to her name – namely UK TV shows like ‘Casualty‘ and ‘Silent Witness‘. More so than any other actor in the cast, she’s a mystery!

Max von Sydow

Max von Sydow simply needs no introduction. He;s a veteran and has appeared in everything from ‘The Seventh Seal‘ and ‘The Exorcist,’ to ‘Shutter Island‘ and ‘Minority Report.’ No one knows what role he’ll be playing, but I recon he’d be the most menacing Sith Lord this side of Christopher Lee! (Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.)

Domhnall Gleeson

Domhnall Gleeson is an Irish actor who has recently caught people’s attention with his performance in Richard Curtis’ latest film, ‘About Time.’ He’s also appeared in movies like ‘True Grit‘ and, of course, ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows‘ as the  eldest Weasley brother.  (Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures.)

Andy Serkis

You may not know his face, but you know Andy Serkis. He’s Hollywood’s go to motion capture performer and the guy behind Gollum, King Kong, and Caesar in the new ‘Planet of the Apes‘ films. When it comes to bringing CG characters to life, there’s simply no one better and I assume he will be bringing a CG character to life, rather than acting directly. (Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore / Flickr.)

Harrison Ford

For many, the key ingredient that made ‘Star Wars‘ work was Han Solo. The confirmation of Harrison Ford’s return is some of the best news — let’s just hope it turns out better than ‘Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.’ (Image courtesy of Summit Entertainment.)

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher had all but confirmed that she would return as Leia Organa months ago but now it’s official. We already know that ‘Episode VII’ won’t be following the expanded universe novels, so where Leia and Han are 30 years after ‘Return of the Jedi’ is anyone’s guess. (Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore / Flickr.)

Mark Hamill

Since ‘Star Wars,’ Mark Hamill has made a name for himself as a prolific voice actor — including an iconic take on The Joker – as well as a rather creepy stint in ‘Criminal Minds‘. (Photo by Sascha Steinbach / Getty Images.)

Anthony Daniels

Seen here in a promotional still from ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ Anthony Daniels has been the man behind C-3PO since the very beginning. This wasn’t a shock casting. (Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm.)

Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker has worked with everyone from Terry Gilliam to Jim Henson over the years, but for ‘Episode VII’ he’s returning to his most iconic role: R2-D2. (Photo by M. Tran / FilmMagic)

Peter Mayhew

Peter Mayhew and his 7-foot, 3-inch frame, have always been behind Chewbacca’s mask. Here we see the actor — now 69 — in a publicity still from ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ (Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm.)

This last photo is from the ‘Star Wars: Episode VII‘ table read at the legendary Pinewood Studios. I would have loved to be there!

Clockwise from writer-director J.J. Abrams we have: Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew, producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, Adam Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. (Photo by David James, courtesy of Lucasfilm.)

Zack Snyder to direct a ‘Justice League’ movie

It was announced today that a Justice League movie will follow Batman vs. Superman, and Zack Snyder (300WatchmenMan of Steel) is on board to direct again. Warner Bros’ president of worldwide production Greg Silverman told The Wall Street Journal that plans are in motion, with Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, and Gal Gadot set to reprise their roles as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. “It will be a further expansion of this universe,” Silverman added. “Superman vs. Batman [sic] will lead into Justice League.”

Justice League

Justice League film that would unite several DC superheroes has been rumored for some time, but this represents the first official confirmation. Comic book action fans may have a while to wait, with Batman vs. Superman delayed until May 6th, 2016, the Journal reports that the Justice League movie may not come until 2018. The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, has sources that suggest a 2017 release date, and claims that Snyder will shoot the pair back-to-back.

The question is, will we see Aquaman, Flash and the Green Lantern and who will play them? Ryan Reynolds’ Green Lantern was pretty poor and Aquaman seems like a bit useless and my only experience of Flash is Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory!

And as for possible spin-offs in the DC cinematic universe, there are, sadly, no solid plans as yet. President of worldwide marketing Sue Kroll at Warner Bros reportedly said that execs are “warm to the idea” of a Wonder Woman movie, but they’re waiting for the right script.

Leica’s new camera is beautiful

This week Leica unveiled their new Leica T camera. It’s an all-new mirrorless camera with an aluminium unibody design and its unlike anything Leica has ever made before, in fact it’s unlike any camera I’ve ever seen before. Audi’s design team helped Leica design this little beauty and I think it looks fantastic.

Leica doesn’t launch new cameras all too often — it’s been two years since it released its M model a firm favourite on Flickr — so a new camera, and one that is so startlingly different, is a pretty big deal. The Leica T will be available worldwide next month, costing anywhere from £1,500-2,000 – pretty cheap by Leica standards (the M costs around £5,000!)! However, it’s a further £1,500 for a zoom lens and £2,000 for a prime lens. At that price, and given Leica’s tradition of crafting quality, exclusive and long lasting cameras, expect to see a lot of these around.

Peruse the shots below and I dare you not to consider ordering one!

Famous Landmarks Zoomed Out Tell a Bigger Story

One thing I’ve learnt from all of my travels is that travel guides paint a very rosy picture of everything and everywhere. A photo compilation over at PolicyMic’s shows 15 iconic tourist attractions and their typical postcard photos as well as the lesser seen zoomed-out portraits.  Some of these famous landmarks look even more awe-inspiring when you view them in their natural surroundings (Mount Rushmore and Santorini), but others look a little less impressive, often lost in their less impressive surroundings (Taj Mahal, Stonehenge, St Basil’s Cathedral).

The full set can be viewed here. Enjoy!

 

Taj Mahal


The Great Pyramids of Giza

 

Stonehenge

 

The Brandenburg Gate


The Parthenon

 

Mount Rushmore

 

The Forbidden City

 

Hollywood


Santorini

 

St. Basil’s Cathedral


Pretty Cool New Landsat Satellite Images

The Landsat 8 satellite was launched just over a year ago and has been taking incredible images of Earth.

Image: NASA

The Landsat program, in its 42nd year, was launched by NASA and is operated by the USGS with the goal of recording the state of the Earth’s surface. The longevity of this dataset is unparalleled and has helped us to develop our understanding of our planet.

Landsat 8 is the eighth satellite in the program and is the most capable and technologically advanced of its siblings and it takes some beautiful images.

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Facebook, in numbers

I’m not a huge fan of Facebook, but I appreciate that it is a big deal to some, a source of income to a relative few, and a never-ending distraction for most.

Facebook - Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

So, in honour of Facebook turning 10 this week I present (thanks almost entirely to the Guardian) some interesting facts about the social networking behemoth.

1.23billion

The number of monthly active users, 170 million more than last year.

24 million

The number of Britons who log on to Facebook each day.

4,481,025

The number of ‘likes’ Family Guy has on Facebook.

6,337

The total number of employees Facebook has as of December 2013, across 37 offices throughout the world.

200

Half of all Facebook users have more than 200 friends.

$61.48

The current Facebook share price.

29

The age of Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder, chairman and CEO of Facebook, with a net worth of $19bn as of September 2013, according to Forbes.

Found, National Geographic’s new Tumblr

This week National Geographic unveiled a new Tumblr site completely devoted to showcasing some of the obscure photographs in its extensive archive.

Titled Found, the Tumblr was launched in celebration of the magazine’s 125th anniversary.

Dancing men brandish spears and palm-leaf shields in Fiji, November 1958.Photograph by Luis Marden, National Geographic

As you would expect from National Geographic, the photos published on Found cover all manner of cultures and eras.

The initiative is led by William Bonner, the curator of National Geographic‘s extensive photo archive in Washington, DC. Bonner has spent years rummaging around the magazine’s basement and said he is constantly finding new and fascinating images — many of which had been lost to history.

A Highland cow is bid on at an auction, May 1970.Photograph by Kenneth Macleish, National Geographic

Many of these photos have never been published and are rarely seen by the public,” the publication explains on its Tumblr. “We hope to bring new life to these images by sharing them with audiences far and wide. Their beauty has been lost to the outside world for years and many of the images are missing their original date or location.”

The magazine plans to add more “voices, stories, and artifacts” to Found over the months and years.

A grouper is examined by three kittens at Marineland in Florida, 1938.Photograph by Luis Marden, National Geographic