11 Things You Should Know Before Going to the San Diego Comic Con

Every year, we are astonished at the number of people who enjoy San Diego Comic Con. This year's convention will be held July 20-23 at the San Diego Convention Center. If you've decided this is the year you're finally going, you may as well be prepared. And there's no one better to prepare you than Neatorama author and annual SDCC attendee Jill Harness. Learn how to negotiate long lines, what to buy, who to see, where to eat, and how to plan your days at the con to get the most enjoyment and memories out of them. For example,

Hall H is the biggest waste of time and one of the most awful experiences in all of Comic Con. As I mentioned, you have to wait FOREVER to get into the panel, then even if you make it before the cutoff, you’ll still likely be in the back of the room where you’ll just be watching everything on a giant TV screen anyway because the hall is so big you can’t even see the people in front of the room from the back.

Some people will still justify it by pointing out that they got to learn all the amazing stuff about their favorite show or movie before anyone else, but the difference is literally the length of the panel itself because as soon as the panel is over, everything that just happened will be put up on the internet -so you just gave up AT LEAST half of your day at Comic Con just so you could see stuff on a screen happen an hour before the general public.

That makes sense. A first-time attendee would do better to get an overall feel for everything that is Comic Con than to use a whole day for one activity. There's a lot to do, so spend your time well. Check out the rest of the Comic Con tips at Rue the Day.

And whether you're going to SDCC or not, we'll have pictures of the cosplayers from Jill and Zeon the next week, as we do every year

(Image credit: Flickr user Kevin Dooley)

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Delightful Geeky Planters That Are Perfect for Your Desk and Shelves

Etsy seller RedwoodStoneworks specializes in making small plaster creations -particularly planters. Their geeky designs are particularly lovable and feature franchises like Star Wars and Guardians of the Galaxy.

There are also geek games and toys like D20s and LEGO.

If you're more of an animal nerd though, don't worry, they'll still have you covered with dogs, cats, squirrels, pandas and more.

While most sit flat, there are even some hanging designs available to adorn your walls as well.

Don't miss the rest of the seller's designs over on Etsy.

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Meet Mankind's Mechanical Successor In This Animated Short

I still can't put my finger on why seeing a lonely robot wandering around after mankind has gone extinct makes me feel bad for the bot, but I'm pretty sure it's not the "mankind going extinct" part.

Perhaps it comes down to how much I and others like me we relate to that feeling of loneliness we take with us wherever we go, or maybe I'm just a sucker for a lonely robot story.

Whatever the reason, Redone by David James Armsby made my engine purr, even though the conceptual short introduces us to mankind's doom...

(YouTube Link)

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The Ultimate Shot-For-Shot Remake Of Revenge Of The Sith

Shot-for-shot remakes are often the most boring kind of remake, because fans try so hard to actually remake the original film they lose sight of what makes a remake fun, namely originality and a sense of humor.

When fan filmmaker Tim Hoekstra and his buddies created this shot-for-shot remake of Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith they put effort in to making sure the dialog and the shots were just right- and that's about it.

(YouTube Link)

-Via io9

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Split Decision Harkens Back To The Good Old Days Of Disney Shorts

Disney Studios experienced a creative dry spell a while back that ceased production of their short films for decades and made fans long for the good old days of Disney cartoons.

But since Disney started making 2D shorts again they've been going at it full tilt, reimagining Mickey and the gang with a sketchy retro look that's classic enough to be classic and new enough to be new.

I'm truly torn on what I like best about Split Decision, but in the end I settled on how happy I am to see Donald allowed to truly quack up again like he used to in the good old days- he's my anger hero!

(YouTube Link)

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An Adorable Animated Short About A Hungry Fox And The Shadow Folk

Foxes must possess some sort of magical powers because so many different cultures feature magical foxes in their mythology that it cannot be a coincidence.

The Japanese are especially sweet on foxes, which is why they figure prominently in both Japanese myths and their pop culture, because who doesn't love to see a cute little fox character in a cartoon, comic or video game?

This particular cartoon is called Kagemono but it wasn't made in Japan- it was animated by Sabrina Cotugno back in 2012, when she was a student at CalArts. Kagemono is truly a mini masterpiece, so tune in and fox out.

(YouTube Link)

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Actors Who Were In Both Star Trek And Star Wars

The top two sci-fi franchises of all time continue to divide the geek community like the Death Star divided Alderaan, and for decades fans have been either team Star Wars or team Star Trek.

Now that's not to say you can't like them both fairly equally, but forced to choose in a "desert island" scenario fans will always choose one over the other.

And while the actors don't see a problem appearing in both franchises, especially when they're just doing voiceover work for an animated Star Wars series, the fans always have some gripe about their crossover appearance.

(YouTube Link)

As this Looper video shows Trek alumni George Takei, Simon Pegg and Brent Spiner don't care if they catch heat from the fans about working in both universes. And Ron Perlman and Deep Roy don't get any grief about appearing in both franchises because they're too awesome to criticize.

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LeVar Burton's New Podcast Is Like Reading Rainbow For Adults

Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as hiiiigghh, take a look, it's in a book, a reading rainbooowww.... Did reading the lyrics put the theme song in your head?

Then you grew up watching Reading Rainbow, and you probably miss hearing LeVar Burton read books to you, knowing like I do that any audiobook he doesn't narrate is missing that LeVar magic.

If this describes you then you're going to be psyched to hear LeVar Burton is back and reading short stories for adults on his new ART19 podcast LeVar Burton Reads!

Here's the intro to get you hooked on LeVar again-

-Via Nerdist

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The Quests You'll Embark On In Every RPG You Play

Every roleplaying game series is set in a different world, and each game in the series tells its own story within that world.

But for all the differences between franchises the nature of the genre makes it nigh impossible to create an RPG that doesn't include fetch quests, grinding for quest items and those sudden boss battles you cannot win.

Andy Kluthe and Tristan Cooper created this fun tribute to those schlocky quests included in every RPG, which are somehow both comfortingly familiar and totally hackneyed.

-Via Dorkly

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Martin Scorsese Discusses Filmmaking In This Animated Interview

The characters in Martin Scorsese's movies are always worried about getting pinched, whacked, ratted out, iced and/or framed, but the director himself is only concerned with one of these things- framing.

As a director Scorsese takes framing very seriously, along with credit sequences, storyboarding and Westerns, all of which he discussed with T.J. English in the 1990 interview cartoon-ified by Patrick Smith for Blank On Blank.

(YouTube Link)

-Via GeekTyrant

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Simone Giertz Presents Her Best Invention Yet: A Wearable Mattress So She Can Nap Anywhere

Geniuses come in many forms, but the most important type of geniuses are those brilliant folks who affect positive change in the world and therefore make life better for us all.

And while many geniuses strive to create groundbreaking inventions and formulate scientific breakthroughs inventor Simone Giertz has set her sights on healing the world with humor.

If you've seen Simone's videos before then you know her inventions don't always go according to plan, but this time she has come up with a real winner- a wearable memory foam mattress, complete with blanket cape, so she can nap always.

(YouTube Link)

-Via Geekologie

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Watch Neill Blomkamp's Experimental Sci-Fi War Short Firebase

Neill Blomkamp is one of those fortunate filmmakers who is able to bring their stories to life just as they see them in their minds, which he's been doing one short at a time lately through his experimental film venture Oats Studios

His first Oats Studios release was called Rakka and starred Sigourney Weaver, and now Neill shows us war is hell with Firebase, a gory NSFW short film not for the faint of heart:

Firebase ultimately centers around an American solider who finds himself at odds with a mysterious enemy in the Vietnamese jungle. On the surface, the foe appears to be that of combatant soldiers, but when peeling back their flesh, it’s clear these things are anything but human.

(YouTube Link)

-Via HighSnobiety

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Take A Flight Of Fancy With "Johanne"

The fantasy genre  is home to many strong female characters, and the stars of these fantasy tales inspire girls to dream about being something far better than a prissy princess or a scullery maid turned royal.

In this conceptual animated short by Anna-Ester Volozh et al we meet Johanne, a young girl with an armed posse who takes to the skies to fight for honor.

Inspired in part by Joan of Arc, Johanne is a visualization of a fantastic daydream with a wonderfully retro 2D animation style that made my heart soar.

(YouTube Link)

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If Movie Characters Had Poor Eyesight

People with poor eyesight can do most everything the perfectly sighted can, with the exception of easily reading stuff, but pop culture characters must have perfect eyesight unless poor eyesight is part of their character.

That's because characters like Indiana Jones and Luke Skywalker rely on their keen eyesight to get the heroic job done, and without their prime peepers they wouldn't have lived to see the sequels.

These comic strips by illustrator Wren McDonald for Visian ICL are the first in a silly series that shows what movies would be like if the main characters had poor eyesight. Who says heroes don't wear glasses?

-Via Geeks Are Sexy

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The Suicide Squad Reimagined As Cartoon Characters

I must admit to having disliked the Suicide Squad movie for too many reasons to list here, and yet I loved the original comic book series back in the 80s and even enjoyed reading the more recent New 52 reboot.

So that tells me the problem with the movie is the fact that it was live action and starred real people instead of cartoons, which was a mistake.

Instead the movie should have been done as an animated feature, because check out how cool the characters look when drawn in a cartoon style by illustrator Brandon Pike.

Joker still doesn't look Joker-y enough for me but at least he looks 100% less douchebag-y!

-Via GeekTyrant

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Artist Replaces Jurassic Park Dinosaurs With Those From the Show Dinosaurs

Since Jurassic Park has been out for over 20 years, we all know exactly what those dinosaurs look like. But what if they weren't quite so accurate and instead looked like those lovably goofy dinosaurs from the 90s TV show, Dinosaurs?

Artist Jen Lewis took the steps neccessary to make the crossover none of us realized we needed. Personally, I just wish someone made this into a full video because that would be all too brilliant.

You can see the rest of the pics on Jen's Twitter.

Via Geek Tyrant

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Some Of The Strangest Products Endorsed By Famous Musicians

(Image Link)

It totally made sense when Chubby Checker endorsed the game Twister, or when Sammy Hagar started making his own tequila down Mexico way.

But it's strange to see musicians endorsing brands like Overstock, Country Life butter and Sour Patch Kids, and we can't help but feel like they've lost their edge when we see them schilling such normal products.

1. Andrew W.K. for Playtex Fresh + Sexy Wipes-

(Image Link)

Andrew W.K. gets really, really sweaty during his high octane stage performances, so he probably uses a towel or wipe to clean up after the show- which must be how he came to endorse Playtex Fresh + Sexy wipes.

Still, Playtex is associated almost exclusively with feminine hygiene products, so it was brave of Mr. W.K. to bridge the gender gap and show the world Fresh + Sexy wipes are for every sweaty one of us...oh wait, they're labeled "intimate wipes", so they're for a different kind of sweaty....

(YouTube Link)

2. Bret Michaels for Overstock-

(Image Link)

When Bret Michaels was the lead singer of Poison he had an insatiable appetite for booze, drugs and groupies, but Bret has come a long way from those hard rockin' days- and now he sells stuff through Overstock.com.

This may seem like a strange partnership, since Overstock is more soccer mom than rocker chick, but one of the things Bret sells on Overstock is his own line of luggage, something he'd know a thing or two since he's done so much touring.

(YouTube Link)

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Death Buy Lemonade

It seems like the Grim Reaper would be a pretty thirsty entity considering all the traveling and soul transporting they do, and having no skin to cover those old bones of theirs must give them a serious case of dry mouth.

But according to Death Buy Lemonade by Kyu-bum Lee the Reaper don't care about thirst, lemonade or supporting small businesses- they just want to grab the soul and go, so they probably prefer fast food.

(YouTube Link)

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A Kooky Compilation Of Chuck E. Cheese's Animatronic Malfunctions

The killer robots in the Five Nights At Freddy's franchise are loosely based on the animatronic characters found at theme restaurants like Chuck E. Cheese's and Showbiz Pizza Place, but the real robots don't eat people.

However, it's easy to imagine Chuck E., Helen or Mr. Munch going crazy on the patrons when they start having uncontrollable robo-spasms that look like the stuff of nightmares.

Luckily they're usually bolted to the stage, giving kids a head start when the animatronic characters turn into psycho killing machines...

(YouTube Link)

Never mind the countdown, these animatronic characters look creepy whether they're functioning properly or not!

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A Ska Version Of The Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Theme Song

It's safe to say the Scooby Doo, Where Are You! theme song is one of, if not the, most iconic theme songs in television history, and we can't hear the words "Scooby Doo" without having that catchy song come to mind.

And once you watch The Holophonics cover the Scooby Doo theme song you'll hear their ska version of the song in your head instead of the original!

(YouTube Link)

-Via Laughing Squid

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Comical Lowbrow Paintings Of Disney's Bastards

Disney's cartoon characters are drawn to be visually appealing, cute and charismatic, in other words they're supposed to look good so audiences will want to watch them and root them on.

But French artist Gilen Bousquet has dispensed with all likeability in his lowbrow art series Disney's Bastards, turning childhood favorites like Dumbo, Ariel and Mowgli into dark degenerates.

Gilen's twisted versions of Disney characters still retain some of their visual appeal, but their bad habits have definitely taken a toll on them and now they're begging to be redrawn.

See more from Disney's Bastards- The Provocative Paintings By Gilen Bousquet here

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A Breakdown Of The Silicon Valley Intro Sequence

If you've seen Mike Judge's latest comedy series Silicon Valley then you've seen the amazing animated intro sequence featuring tech company buildings populating the valley Sim City style, with a roster of companies that change every season.

This amazing looking title sequence is full of small details that are easy to miss, and yet it only gets about ten seconds of airtime so you have to pause and rewind to see it all.

Or better yet just watch this video by Shots Fired which gives us a more in-depth look at this ever changing sequence created by Garson Yu et al at yU+co.

(YouTube Link)

-Via GeekTyrant

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Failed Auditions That Cost Actors Major Roles

We're constantly hearing about how so-and-so auditioned for a role and got it, or how whats-their-name turned down a chance to play a character who became a pop culture institution, but it's rare to hear about failed auditions.

Which is why this somewhat erroneously titled video by Looper is pretty cool- it includes footage from failed auditions including Seth Rogen's audition to play Dwight on The Office and young Scarlett Johansson's audition to play Judy Shepherd in Jumanji.

It also has a few auditions that would be considered oddities more than failures, like the time Tom Selleck tried out for the role of Indiana Jones, a role he would have gotten had he not been stuck in paradise filming Magnum, p.i.

(YouTube Link)

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Amazingly Detailed Warhammer 40K Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Cosplay

(Photo by Csaba Szecsei)

Creating costumes based on artwork from the tabletop game series Warhammer 40k can be mighty hard, especially when you choose to cosplay a character with intricately detailed armor rather than yet another Space Marine.

So I'm always blown away by cosplayers who rise to the challenge and create killer WH40K costumes that look like they stepped right out of the pages of the book, like this jaw dropping Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor costume by Ildiko Jobbagy, aka Okkido Cosplay.

(Photo by Morgoth Photography)

Ildiko made the armor and accessories out of Worbla thermoplastic, but surprisingly she says the hardest props to make were the books:

“One of them is hand-written (more than 300 pages) and the other one is printed. It took months to finish these hand-bound books,” she said, “The weapons were also an interesting challenge to make, as they really ‘work.’ The plasma gun gives shooting sound and light as I pull the trigger, the power mace has breathing lights. I love building electric circuits and these were the most complicated systems I have built so far.”

(Photo by Csaba Szecsei)

You can see a full WIP folder of the build here

-Via Nerdist

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The FBI Kept A List Of Dungeons & Dragons Players As They Hunted The Unabomber

(Image Link)

I used to think religious zealots and talk show hosts trying to make a name for themselves were the only people who thought Dungeons & Dragons was a threat to America, but back in 1983 the FBI believed D&D was bad news too.

But their reason didn't involve Satan or the corruption of souls- it involved cocaine trafficking, and they even had the game's creator Gary Gygax on their list as a possible suspect:

The first, dated 1983, has to do with “significant cocaine traffickers in the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area.” The birthplace of D&D was, and still is, a sleepy lakeside town just over the Illinois border. An FBI agent rooting around there for drug traffickers seems pretty far fetched, but the report appears to be genuine.

D&D co-creator Gary Gygax is named in the document, but whatever the FBI’s interest in him was has been redacted. It ended with a note that the FBI would proceed to “review corporate records for TSR, Inc. in effort to identify corporate officers and attorney of record.” A second document, dated March 1984, seems to show the FBI doing its due diligence to make sure that TSR was a publishing company and not a front for cocaine trafficking.

Twelve years later TSR, the makers of D&D, were the focus of another FBI investigation, but this time Dungeons & Dragons players were investigated in connection with The Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski:

The document also mentions an FBI visit with a gaming group in Fresno, California. Members of the group were shown pictures of one of the Unabomber’s explosive devices and asked if they recognized an individual from a “composite drawing.” This is likely the iconic image of the man in a hood circulated for more than a decade prior to Kaczynski’s arrest.

The final document, the most heavily redacted of the bunch, is dated April 1995. It seems to focus on an interview with a single individual at TSR, and centers around that person’s relationship with another individual in their gaming group.

“Many of the members of the group became paranoid,” the agent writes, “and began pointing fingers at one another. [The interview subject] indicated that he believes this is based on the suspicious nature of the individuals that were in the gaming group [and] indicated that he is quite sure that some of the members of the group fantasized about the possibility that maybe one of their members was responsible for the bombings.”

Read The FBI Kept A List Of D&D Players As Part Of Its Hunt For The Unabomber at Polygon

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SpongeBob and Patrick Would Be Nightmarish in Real Life

Whenever SpongeBob characters are shown "in real life" in the show or movies, they always appear as their real-life counterparts, be it a kitchen sponge, a starfish, a squirrel or a squid. But what if the characters were real with the same physical characteristics as the cartoons?

Well that's what artist Miguel Vasquez dreamed up in his incredible 3D creations. As you can see -the result is absolutely horrifying.

You can see more of the artist's work on his website.

Via Nerd Approved

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The Mechanics Of Being Big Bird

Big Bird is a character who helps connect the puppets and humans who live on Sesame Street, so he's human enough to hang out with people on the street all day and puppet enough to be happy about street life.

But he's also a very advanced puppet, one which legendary puppeteer Caroll Spinney operates like a second skin as he becomes one with Big Bird.

(YouTube Link)

This clip from I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story shows how Caroll operates the revolutionary 8-foot-tall Big Bird puppet/costume, and how being Big Bird can cause long-term injuries to a puppeteer's arm.

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An Animated Tale Of The Underwater Panther

Underwater Panther is an animated short created by French artist Tony Darsonval which is based on Native American mythology, and if that all seems confusing don't worry- it'll all make sense after you watch the short.

For the underwater panther in question is a mythological water being the Algonquins thought of as "the most powerful underwater being", the French dialog has English subtitles, and the 2D art is very appealing.

Plus there's a battle between the Underwater Panther and the Thunderbird that looks like something straight out of Final Fantasy or Pokemon, so dive in and enjoy!

(YouTube Link)

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An Oral History Of Crash Bandicoot

Crash Bandicoot got just as much attention for the character designs as it did for the groundbreaking gameplay, and since both elements of the game were a cut above the rest Crash quickly became a big hit.

But the game's developers had no idea their fun indie platformer would come to redefine the genre, nor did they have a clue that Crash would become the unofficial mascot of the Sony PlayStation.

They just knew that they'd been hired to create a game for the Sony PlayStation by Universal Picture's new video game division, Universal Interactive, but they had to move to Hollywood to get started.

Polygon's Blake Hester spoke with Andy Gavin and Jason Rubin, the creators of Crash Bandicoot and founders of game studio Naughty Dog, to discuss the birth of a bandicoot and the making of an epic game studio.

During this interview we learn, among other things, how the duo picked up and moved from Boston to Hollywood to make Crash Bandicoot:

We didn't have everything we owned in that car, but we had everything we owned either in that car or the truck that was following us. We were moving from Boston, where Andy was [working on] his master's degree at MIT, to Hollywood. And we didn't know Hollywood because neither of us had [been] there, but we were going to work on Universal's backlot, so a lot of what we were talking about is what Hollywood would do to video games. ...

[We] drove it straight. I've done it three times in my life. It's long. It's about 36 to 40 hours, depending on how you drive. So we probably slept once, maybe, in there.

How their time on the Universal backlot influenced their games:

There [were] celebrities everywhere. I have a thousand anecdotes of having some celebrity walk by us or something. This is one thing about it: Part of our deal with Universal was that we got to bring our dog on the lot, and there was no other dog allowed on the lot. The gentleman that brought us to Universal, Skip Paul, still one of my best friends, managed to get us a badge. So I had a dog on the backlot of Universal. She was an amazing dog; my daughter is now named after this dog. [She] was huge. She cornered Sylvester Stallone in an elevator. ...

We were next to "The Suzanne Somers Show," so Suzanne Somers gave me a signed Thighmaster, which was stolen by somebody because it was such a cool thing to have. It's crazy times. The stories, they're just insane from back then.

And how it felt to make their epic debut at E3 1996:

[Twisted Metal] was supposed to be the front of [Sony's] booth for the 1996 E3. It would have been Twisted Metal, and they booted Twisted Metal to put Crash there, which they had just signed weeks before E3. And it was Crash, and right next to Crash, it was Mario. From that point on, it was legendary. There are photos online of Miyamoto playing Crash Bandicoot and that was, like, the moment, right?

I was standing right behind him for the whole time. It was like an hour and a half as [he and Mark Cerny] were chatting in Japanese. ... Yeah, it was definitely a cool moment, because he was one of our icons.

Read Crash Bandicoot: An Oral History here

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Poster for Kenobi

Since Disney is doing standalone movies in years between episodes of the main Star Wars saga, fans are itching for one about Obi-Wan Kenobi. After all, he spent almost twenty years on Tatooine waiting for young Luke to grow up enough to take up arms against the Sith. Tom Lathom-Sharp (SirJediPanda) pictures it as a spaghetti Western in a poster he designed for Kenobi, directed by George Miller and starring Ewan McGregor.

It makes plenty of sense. Obi-Wan would have started out his exile on the inhospitable desert planet in a fury of frustration over the destruction of the Jedi order. We can picture him drinking his sorrows away in a wretched hive of scum and villainy until some injustice causes him to lash out in anger with his lightsaber and Jedi training. Since George Miller directs, there would be a manic chase scene across the desert or two. There could even be a romance somewhere. Obi-Wan could have had all manner of adventures before settling down to become the strange old hermit Ben Kenobi. If you want to see who else stars in this film, you can see the poster full-size at imgur.

I want to watch this movie now. Alas, we don't yet know what standalone movie will come after the Han Solo prequel in 2018. -via Boing Boing

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