Semi OT: Star Wars - University of Michigan Connections

Submitted by WhoopinStick on December 26th, 2016 at 11:27 AM
Since the board has been slow lately, there are a lot of Star Wars fans on this blog, and Rogue One is now out, I thought some might find this interesting.
Rogue One was written and produced by John Knoll. John Knoll is an alum of Ann Arbor Huron High and son of Glenn Knoll, the former chair of the University of Michigan's Nuclear Engineering department. John is a visual effects expert and in addition to writing and producing Rogue One he was head of the film's visual effects team. John has also been involved with the visual effects of other Star Wars films. (As a side note : John, along with his brother Tom - a Michigan grad, is also known for developing Photoshop!)
Lawrence Kasdan was a screen writer for The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. Lawrence is a Michigan grad and is also know for having written and directed The Big Chill.
And of course Darth Vader is voiced by Michigan alum James Earl Jones.
Any others that I've missed?
Its been a family tradition for the last few years to go to the movies after Christmas dinner. This year we went to see Rogue One and sat in the D-Box seats (seats move and vibrate in snyc with the action on the screen). Thoroughly enjoyed the movie and the visual effects were outstanding!
For those that have not seen Rogue One yet, no spoilers please!



December 26th, 2016 at 12:46 PM ^

I like D Box seats for movies with a lot of flying through the air. They do great with the pods in Hunger Games and the helicopter shots in Jurassic World. They aren't as cool for running or hand to hand fighting scenes.

They would have probably been perfect for Independence Day.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


December 26th, 2016 at 12:00 PM ^

Thought Rogue One was great, am not suprised to learn it was created by Michigan men.
For any star wars fans out there i would also recommend a podcast called Blue Harvest. It can be found on iTunes. It is not PG so its not for you if you have sensitive ears.


December 26th, 2016 at 12:09 PM ^

While I did enjoy Rouge One, I do have a complaint. With a whole galaxy to choose from, is it too much to ask to get a storyline that is NOT about a Death Star? Just seems like they could (should) come up with a new, original storyline.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad

901 P

December 26th, 2016 at 1:46 PM ^

I don't know--I thought The Force Awakens seemed to be pretty well-received when it first came out, but after it was out for awhile I think people started to lower their opinion of it a bit. I'd say the general appraisal that I heard was that it was good, but mostly because it was so similar to Episode IV (and wasn't as bad as the prequels). 

Moonlight Graham

December 26th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

gets worse and worse and worse with every viewing. If you liked the movie and want to maintain a high opinion of it, I would not watch it again, except perhaps just before seeing Ep. 8 next year. I didn't realize this until the third or fourth time and realized that despite those efforts it was not getting any better. 


December 27th, 2016 at 9:23 AM ^

and it was great to have another Star Wars movie, but yes, the new planet death star thing was over the top. Not only does it destroy planets and multiple planets at that, but it sucks a nearby star dry and if things go wrong the entire planet used to make the weapon implodes/explodes.

How are they going to out do that in the next movie?  Blow up the entire galaxy?


December 26th, 2016 at 12:57 PM ^

The second, brief CG was poorly done, almost intentionally so. The main CG character was unbelievably realisitc -- people who didnt know he was CG'd couldnt tell, even with all of the close-ups.

I have no idea how much effort it was to create that CG character, but it doesnt bode well for the SAG. Their members are now obsolete. Done. Gone. Over. Well, except Jessica Alba and Margot Robbie.

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


December 26th, 2016 at 2:47 PM ^

Totally agree. There was another one from the original bar scene who made an appearance in passing and said the exact same line as in the original -- I thought he was pretty good. And I could have sworn that some of the rebel pilot shots in the cockpit were the same shots from the original movie. I loved the ending, and the connection to the original, but wished they had somehow used original footage of the end person whose name we shall not say because spoiler. They could have shot that person leaning over the droid - a take on the original shot. That would have been great. 

Bronco Joe

December 26th, 2016 at 3:59 PM ^

I said the exact same thing when leaving the theater regarding actors being in trouble. The computer generated actors are just getting too close to the real thing. Soon, it'll be very hard to tell the difference. I stared at the General quite a few times to try to see something that would give it away, and I was really impressed at how well it was pulled off. 

The movie "Looker" from 1981 by Michael Crichton was about this type of a situation. Will be interesting to see if extras go to being CG, if other previous film stars will be brought back to life, or if a younger version of a actor / actress will be kept to maintain their stardom. Maybe instead of getting older and having less acting roles available (this still happens to aging actresses) an older actor or actress could continue to act and be CG'ed to appear younger?

Some amazing techology in those films.  

Swayze Howell Sheen

December 26th, 2016 at 12:41 PM ^

luke skywalker: BA in womp rat biology

han solo: taught as guest lecturer with john u bacon

leia: treated for heart problems in Umich hospital (too soon?)

chewbacca: PhD in alien kinesiology; also pursuing MBA

r2d2: developed on north campus, escaped

c3p0: worked as senior assistant to the provost

darth vader: dropped out, didn't feel that the school appreciated his talents


strangely, all were at UM a long time ago, and (somehow) in a galaxy far far away...


You Only Live Twice

December 26th, 2016 at 12:55 PM ^

Undecided about whether to see it or not.  I liked TFA quite a bit especially as a setup for the next installment, which apparently, Rogue is not.  I've heard it's a good stand alone film.

Part of me hates seeing this annual Disney "Cha-Ching!!" treatment of the original trilogy.


December 26th, 2016 at 12:56 PM ^

My first day off after working 7 straight. Nice to know the Michigan connection with Mr. Knoll. I remember waiting in line to see the first Star Wars in the summer of '77. Star Wars and the Empire Strikes Back are my favorites out of the series. The last Disney one was OK, I hope this one is better.


December 26th, 2016 at 1:04 PM ^

Everyone here who has seen the other Star Wars movies has seen Rogue One, at least peacemeal. In other words, Rogue One, to me, is merely a re-packaging of stories, battle scenes, events, bots, and people from other Star Wars movies. It checks all the boxes. But they've all been checked before. I actually fell asleep during the endless battle scenes. 

Gucci Mane

December 26th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

I wish y'all could understand everything that was in Rogue One ! When you have watched every Star Wars and the clone wars and rebels tv shows then you can really appreciate Rogue one.
This was easily the most emotional I have ever got watching a movie, I was practically ready to join some sort of fighting cause walking out of the theatre.


December 26th, 2016 at 2:00 PM ^

For those who haven't seen Rogue One: Don't bother to see it if 1.) If you can't appreciate any Star Wars episode/story outside of the OT or 2.) Have no idea what the general synopsis of the story and where the story falls on the timeline.

It's been my experience those who disliked it fell within those two groups, despite how much they deny it.

I loved it. Last 10 minutes were fantastic.