Wednesday, July 31, 2013

John Williams to Score Episode VII

This past weekend, Star Wars Celebration Europe (Lucasfilm’s official European SW convention) was held in Essen, Germany. One of the announcements to come out of this event was that legendary composer John Williams has been confirmed to score Episode VII. Williams has scored all six Star Wars films and has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra for the recording of all of the soundtracks. For those who were concerned about Episode VII being under the control of someone other than George Lucas, this news should provide some comfort.
It would be hard to imagine a Star Wars film without the music of John Williams. The resounding Star Wars theme that explodes with a crash of cymbals and a blast of horns and plays during the opening crawl, the unforgettably playful cantina song, and the ominous Darth Vader Imperial march are all products of Williams’ musical genius. All of them have transcended the realm of movie music and become indelible components of our pop culture soundtrack thanks to the Maestro, John Williams. While most that score films remain relatively anonymous beyond the seconds that their names appear in the credits, John Williams has cemented his status as legend in the film industry by composing some of the most memorable scores to some of the biggest blockbusters in film history. An over-exaggeration? You be the judge. 

Beyond his work on all six Star Wars films, John Williams
darthmaz314.comwrote the score for Jaws, Superman, all four Indiana Jones films, ET the Extraterrestrial, the first two Home Alone films, Jurassic Park, and the first three Harry Potter films, just to name a few. Those films combined have grossed over $12 billion dollars worldwide. John Williams has won five Academy Awards, four Golden Globes, and 21 Grammys. Including his five wins, he has been nominated for a total of 48 Academy Awards, second only to Walt Disney. If you are under 50, John Williams has written the music to nearly all of the landmark moments in movie history during your lifetime. A legend, case closed.

A few months ago, we featured an Episode VII post that speculated on whether or not journeying back to he galaxy far, far, away was a smart move for the Star Wars franchise. With George Lucas gone and Disney now controlling the Force, many Star Wars fanatics are skeptical about the future of the franchise. However, in my humble opinion, many of the puzzle pieces appear to be falling in the right places. Star Wars has been left in very good hands with Kathleen Kennedy at the helm of Lucasfilm. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher have signed on to reprise their roles in Episode VII. Lawrence Kasdan (screenwriter of The Empire Strikes Back) is on board to assist with the story development. And now, John Williams has been secured to score the film. All good news those who want to see Star Wars regain its former glory.

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Walt Disney World Trivia: Round IV brings you Round IV of the Walt Disney World Trivia Challenge. Good luck!

1. What actress and former girlfriend of Martin Scorsese
    plays Aerosmith’s band manager in the pre-show for
    Rock 'n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith at Disney
    Hollywood Studios?

A. Illeana Douglas

B. Jessica Lange

C. Amy Adams

D. Jodi Benson

2. Prior to the Fantasyland expansion, Mickey’s Toontown Fair in the Magic Kingdom featured a location where Mickey Mouse character greetings took place continuously for nearly the entire time the park was open. Where did these character greetings take place?

A. The Character Spot

B. Mickey’s House

C. The Judge’s Tent

D. Mickey’s Photo Spot

3. What mythical creature makes his home in the Himalayan
     peaks of Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest?

A. The Loch Ness Monster

B. The Yeti

C. The Banshee

D. The Kraken 


4. Which of the following is not one of the “best kept Disney secrets” that you can do at Disney World?

A. Surfing Lessons

B. Parasailing

C. Scuba Diving

D. Ziplining

5. What was the park icon for Disney Hollywood Studios before the giant sorcerer’s hat at the far end of Hollywood Boulevard was built?

A. The Earful Tower

B. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

C. The Great Movie Ride

D. The Crossroads of the World Mickey Globe


6. Name the main character whose journey guests follow on Splash Mountain?

A. Mowgli

B. Brer Rabbit

C. Brer Fox

D. Mickey Mouse

7. Which of the following is NOT a country featured in Epcot’s World Showcase?

A. Mexico

B. Canada

C. Switzerland

D. Norway

8. What is Catastrophe Canyon?

A. The Death Star Trench that guests must navigate in

     Star Tours: The Adventure Continues

B. The line for lunch at noon in Cosmic Ray’s Starlight CafĂ© in

     Magic Kingdom

C. The section of the Studio Backlot Tour in Disney

     Hollywood Studios where a gas tanker ignites in flames
     and falls toward the tour vehicle

D. The last drop of Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom

9. In what year did Walt Disney World open?

A. 1955

B. 1971

C. 1972

D. 1951

10. Which castle is the park icon of Walt Disney World?

A. Sleeping Beauty Castle

B. Cinderella Castle

C. Beast’s Castle

D. Ariel’s Castle


1.   A. Illeana Douglas


2.   C. The Judge’s Tent

3.   B. The Yeti

4.   D. Ziplining

5.   A. The Earful Tower

6.   B. Brer Rabbit

7.   C. Switzerland

8.   C. The section of the Studio Backlot Tour in Hollywood 
         Studios where a gas tanker ignites in flames and
         slides toward the tour vehicle

9.   B. 1971

10. B. Cinderella Castle

Check out the other rounds of darthmaz314's Walt Disney Trivia by clicking on the links below:

Walt Disney World Trivia: Round I

Walt Disney World Trivia: Round II

Walt Disney World Trivia: Round III

darthmaz314 always welcomes your comments and shamelessly asks you to share this and all our posts with your friends (or enemies) if you like what you see. Also, please visit, follow, and like our new facebook page...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Batman vs. Superman Movie Coming in 2015
At this past weekend’s San Diego Comic-Con (a huge comic book [and more] convention for those who may not know), Man of Steel director Zach Snyder hit the main stage to formally announce that there will be a sequel to his summer Superman movie. Really? This is probably not an earth shattering shocker to many in this sequel-drenched world of modern movies. It is even less shocking when you consider that Man of Steel has raked in over $650 million worldwide at the box office in the last month. The part that wowed the Comic-Con crowd and sent ripples through the world of comic fandom was that this sequel would also feature another comic legend…Batman. 

Rumors have been swirling since the announcement this
darthmaz314.comweekend about how the two superheroes would be intertwined in a movie that featured them both. Many fan boys have been waiting decades to see their favorite DC Comics characters teamed up on the big screen, fighting side by side. However most likely, they will have to wait a few more decades to see this. The odds are that the Man of Steel sequel, slated to hit theaters in 2015, will pit Superman and Batman against one another. While this may sound like eating a salami and jelly sandwich to most folks, comic book devotees who are familiar with Frank Millers “Dark Knight Returns” comic book series will know that the two faced off in that storyline almost 30 years ago. Elements of Miller’s plot were tapped by the creative team of the last Batman movie, including the idea of having Bruce Wayne come out of retirement to once again don the bat suit.
Henry Cavill, who played Superman in this summer’s franchise reboot, will be reprising the role in the 2015 sequel. However, the part of the Caped Crusader has not yet been cast, which has set off a flurry of casting and plot rumors. The Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, which concluded with last year’s Dark Knight Rises (read's Dark Knight Rises post here), leaves the position of Batman vacant as Bruce Wayne retires to life in Europe with Selina Kyle, while leaving a breadcrumb trail to the Batcave and all its secrets for John (Robin) Blake. The film’s conclusion leaves the audience wondering if Blake would be the next to don the cape and cowl or whether he would create his own crime fighting alter ego based on his “real” name…Robin.
How will Warner Brothers handle the return of Batman to the big screen? Will they reboot the Batman franchise again and start fresh with a new Batman and a different back story cleanly breaking from Christopher Nolan’s vision? If so, one challenge in a film that features both characters will be devoting adequate time to telling a new Batman back story without the film running longer than a session of Congress. A second possibility is that Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Blake steps in as the new Batman of Gotham. After all, in the seven plus decades of Batman comics, Bruce Wayne has not been the only man to wear the bat suit. Another option (although a bit hard to reconcile after Dark Knight Rises) would be for Gordon Levitt to take on the role of Bruce Wayne in a franchise reboot.
Still another option and probably the most popular, would be to bring Christian Bale’s Bruce Wayne/Batman out of retirement (again) for the Man of Steel sequel. Frank Miller’s Dark Knight comic series brings a 55 year old Bruce Wayne out of retirement to take on the once again rising tide of crime in Gotham City. So although he would be coming out of retirement a second time, bringing Christian Bale back for a fourth film is not completely beyond the realm of possibility plot wise. A fifth option would be to start completely fresh and recast the role of Batman with an actor so far not associated with the character. Some names that have been floated are Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Channing Tatum.

Who would come out on top in a battle between Batman and Superman? Who should play Batman in this upcoming film? Let us know what you think by posting a comment.

darthmaz314 always welcomes your comments and shamelessly asks you to share this and all our posts with your friends (or enemies) if you like what you see. Also, please visit, follow, and like our new facebook page...


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Where Will Disney Build the Future Star Wars Land?

As indicated in our post at the end of June, (Is Star Wars Land Coming to WDW?) the timing could not be better to build the rumored Star Wars Land in Disney World. So the question becomes, where will they build it? Avatar Land is already in development at the Animal Kingdom, so we can cross that much maligned park off the list. Magic Kingdom recently unveiled the Fantasyland expansion, which will conclude with the opening of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train Ride in 2014, so we can safely assume that Star Wars Land is
not being built in Disney's most popular park. Although Epcot could use some new additions, Star Wars Land would really not fit the theming of Disney World's second oldest park. The remaining park already hosts a Star Wars attraction and an annual Star Wars themed event, is themed toward movies, and seems like the most obvious park in which to develop it. Hollywood Studios, get ready for a Star Wars Land!
As mentioned in our last post, Hollywood Studios was the first Disney park to feature an attraction themed after a movie not released by Disney, so the recently updated Star Tours: The Adventure Continues would provide the perfect anchor for this rumored Star Wars Land. But where in the park would Disney plan this expansion? With many citing that the Indiana Jones Stunt Show has seen its better days, it is possible that the expansion could extend to the left of the current Star Tours and include the site of this show’s theater, performance stage, and backstage areas. The Indy show was (almost) an original attraction (opening a few months after the park's official opening) and it is one the most
entertaining of Disney's shows, so it would be sad to see it go. However, in the fourteen years since its debut, the show has remained essentially the same and there are those detractors who say it is out of date and needs to go. In addition, the fact that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did little to revitalize the franchise leads one to believe that Indy's best days may be behind him.

Situated between the Indy site and Star Tours is the Backlot Express counter service restaurant, which would also have to be replaced or reconfigured as a Star Wars themed restaurant if this area is to become part of the new Star Wars land. While the footprint of the Indy Stunt Show and the Backlot Express make up a significant portion of Hollywood Studios, one wonders if it is enough space on which to develop an entire “land.” Some internet rumors speculate that the
expansion could extend in the other direction (to the right of Star Tours’s Tatooine Traders merchandise shop, where it would displace Muppet Vision 3D, which has also been accused of having seen its better days, and perhaps the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, which is certainly not a must see attraction for anyone over the age of ten.

Could a possible expansion go further than those boundaries? Would Disney expand beyond the current guest accessible areas and not replace one or both of these attractions? It's possible, and it could be a combination of replacement and expansion beyond the current boundaries. Although, if the decision is to remove one attraction, the Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure is the more likely choice.

There have also been numerous internet rumblings about an Orlando version of Cars Land, the expansion that has
revitalized a fizzling Disney California Adventure park in Anaheim. Where would Carsland be situated if it too is an eminent reality in the House That Walt Built? Rumors have it replacing the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show (click the link for our post on this attraction Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at Disney Hollwood Studios ) and the Studio Backlot Tour. While the Backlot Tour may not be a can’t miss attraction at the Studios as is it is currently constituted, portions of it, do have their appeal, These attractions consume a significant amount of park space, so it easy to imagine that there is room to build Cars Land on their current footprint.

So it seems that the 2010's will be a period of growth and expansion not only for Disney's film releases (with Disney, Star Wars, Pixar, and Marvel all tripping over each other at the box office in the coming years), but also at the Disney Parks, particularly Walt Disney World. There are a lot of great projects on the horizon (if the rumors are to be believed) and that is great news for WDW fans. On the flip side, for WDW veterans, it may be time to part with some attractions that they grew up loving and are as comfortable now as an old broken in shoe.

Which of the attractions that we referenced above as possibly being replaced would you be most upset to see go? Leave us a comment. We would love to hear from you. 

darthmaz314 always welcomes your comments and shamelessly asks you to share this and all our posts with your friends (or enemies) if you like what you see. Also, please visit, follow, and like our new facebook page...


Walt Disney World Trivia: Round III brings you Round III of Walt Disney World trivia, this time with a multiple choice format.

Answers can be found after the jump break following Question 10. Good luck!


1.  Which of the following scenes is not featured in The Great
     Movie Ride? (Hint: This question does not refer to the
     clips in the movie montages.)

A.  Alien

B.  Raiders of the Lost Ark

C.  The Wizard of Oz

D.  Back to the Future

2.  Name the two cranky senior Muppets who sit in the
      balcony during Muppet Vision 3D.

A.  Waldo and Mickey

B.  Waldorf and Statler

C.  Wilson and Simpson

D.  Bert and Ernie

3.  Which of these is one of the images projected on the 

      waterfall in Pirates of the Caribbean just above the small     
      drop in  the track on which your boat travels?

A.  Jack Sparrow

B.  Davey Jones

C.  Captain Hector Barbossa

D.  Walt Disney

4.  What do riders of the Magic Carpets of Aladdin have to
      be wary of during their journey on the enchanted carpet?

A.  The water-spitting camels that surround the attraction

B.  The unseen drop that occurs just after the carpet car
      reaches the pinnacle of the track’s height
C.  The animatronic Jafar that appears one minute into the 

D.  The line that forms in the afternoon under the hot Florida

5.  What Disney film inspired the Splash Mountain

A.  Mary Poppins

B.  The Aristocats

C.  The Jungle Book

D.  Song of the South

6. What is the name of the fireworks/pyrotechnics/laser 
     show held nightly at Epcot?

A.  Wishes

B.  Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

C.  Fantasy in the Sky

D.  Fantasmic 

7.  Walt Disney was alive to see the opening of Walt Disney

A.  True

B.  False

8.  Name the annual celebration of international cuisine that
      takes place every fall in Epcot.

A.  Epcot Food and Fun Celebration

B.  Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

C.  Epcot Fill Your Face Around the World Festival

D.  Epcot International Culinary Celebration

9. Who was the character paired up with Figment as host of
     the original Journey Into Imagination attraction?

A.  Dreamcatcher

B.  The Wizard of Imagination

C.  Dreamfinder

D.  Mr. Magorium 

10. Which of the following has never voiced the narration for Spaceship Earth?

A.  Dame Judi Dench

B.  Walter Cronkite  

C.  Orson Welles

D.  Jeremy Irons

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man Sequels Confirmed: Marvel Madness...Thanks to Disney

The Marvel machine is revved up and cranking at full speed, with no sign of stopping or even slowing down. Last year’s super heroic performance of The Avengers at the box office, coupled with a very strong reboot of the web-slinger franchise with The Amazing Spider-Man, have convinced the powers that be at Disney and
Marvel that comic book super heroes are a good investment (understatement of the year.) Not only will Disney/Marvel bring us the Avengers 2 and 3, as well as new Captain America and Thor installments, but Sony (currently filming the follow-up to the Spider-Man reboot) recently announced release dates for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 AND 4! 

Speaking of sequels, The Avengers 2 has been slated for a May 2015 release date. Although it would have taken a colossal bomb by the sequel to prevent an eventual third film, any doubt was erased with the recent news that Robert Downey Jr. would reprise his role as Iron Man in both the second and third installments of Disney/Marvel’s newest cash cow. Downey Jr.’s contract to portray playboy billionaire Tony Stark and his not so secret identity, Iron Man, expired after his appearance in the third film in the series, which has grossed over $1 billion worldwide through the end of June.  

Although Robert Downey Jr. was by no means a guarantee to return as the iron clad superhero in future films, it was hard to imagine that Disney would let him walk after his starring role in four films as Iron Man generated nearly (wait for it…) $4 billion in revenue. It was also hard to imagine any actor in Hollywood being able to replace Downey in this role, which he has truly made his own. In fact, while some may have been concerned about how the character would play amongst the other superheroes in The Avengers and whether Downey’s performance would suffer when not solely in the spotlight, I believe that Downey’s Iron Man was better than ever playing off his co-stars, who more than held their own in the biggest movie of 2012.

On the other side of the Marvel spectrum is the (Amazing) Spider-Man franchise, whose films will continue to be released by Sony Pictures, due to contractual agreements in place before Disney’s acquisition of the comic book conglomerate. Last year’s reboot of the Spidey franchise scored big with moviegoers, raking in over $750 million worldwide and assuring Sony/Columbia of one, maybe two sequels, right? Wrong! Sony has announced release dates for the next three sequels to hit theaters as follows:

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 May 2, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 3 June 10, 2016

The Amazing Spider-Man 4 May 4, 2018

So it appears that Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man will be visiting your neighborhood every two years for the foreseeable future. And he will have plenty of company with his Avenger friends most likely filling in the odd numbered years (2014, 2017, etc.) Let's not forget the X-Men and a grumpy old chap named Wolverine who bought a huge plot of land in that neighborhood a bunch of years ago.

So thanks to Disney and Sony, Marvel fans will be able to continue enjoying new movies one after another featuring their favorite comic book characters for years to come...or at least until they stop making big bucks at the box office. In the words of the father of Marvel comics, Stan Lee, "Excelsior!'

Which Marvel movie are you most excited about? Leave us a comment. 

darthmaz314 always welcomes your comments and shamelessly asks you to share this and all our posts with your friends (or enemies) if you like what you see. Also, please visit, follow, and like our new facebook page.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Walt Disney World Trivia: Round II

Ready for round two of Walt Disney World trivia?
Then, on with the show...

1. Name the family that calls the "The Haunted Mansion" their home.

2. Who currently does the narration for the Spaceship Earth attraction?


3. Who disguises himself as Waldo, “The Spirit of 3D” in 

     Muppet Vision 3D at Disney Hollywood Studios?

4. Who provides the voice of the Haunted Mansion’s “Ghost 
    Host?” This legendary voice actor also provided the voices 
    of several pirates in the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, 
    including the auctioneer who delivers the classic line, 
    "Shift yer cargo, dearie. Show 'em your larboard side..."



5. What is the name of Disney’s indoor interactive theme park?

6. Name the mischievous purple dragon that brings life (and chaos) to Epcot’s “Imagination!” attraction.


7.  What does EPCOT stand for?

8.  Which Toy Story character appears as a carnival barker in 
     the queue of Toy Story Midway Mania?

9. Who are the current hosts of the show at The  
    Universe of Energy?


10. What is the name of Disney’s official time share program?