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Turmoil fails to put dent in Tom Cruise’s popularity

Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 1:00 AM
Updated: Saturday, January 12, 2013 @ 1:00 AM

Just turned 50, Tom Cruise is eligible for membership in the American Association of Retired Persons. Just split from third wife Katie Holmes, Tom Cruise is the object of told-you-so cynics who simply knew that romance wouldn’t last. Just finished with his stab at something really different as a heavy-metal rock god in “Rock of Ages,” Tom Cruise is coming off one of the lowest-grossing movies in his career.

Yet just out with his latest action flick, “Jack Reacher,” Tom Cruise remains one of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

He’s weathered ridicule, intense speculation about his family life, bumpy stretches at the box office brought on by audience disdain over his personal antics and some ill-considered movie projects.

And Cruise is right where he was when 1986’s “Top Gun” vaulted him to superstardom: On top. Maybe not the same level of on top as the 15-year stretch that began in the early 1990s, when practically every Cruise film was bound to be a $100 million hit.

But for a guy his age, with his baggage, in a business that deifies youth and excommunicates talent when it goes off the deep end, Cruise still prospers.

“None of us can stay in the spotlight that long without some issues and some controversy. Tom has stayed committed all along to finding great projects,” said Rob Moore, vice chairman at Paramount Pictures, which released “Jack Reacher” on Dec. 21. “What you see over time is that Tom has been in such a great list of movies that are of such high quality, that ultimately, people come back to the work and the talent.”

Fans seem to agree. In a poll of nearly 1,000 people buying movie tickets at Fandango.com, 82 percent said Cruise’s personal life does not influence whether or not they will see his movies.

“The target audience for ‘Jack Reacher’ probably doesn’t care whether he’s married, separated or divorced,” said Fandango.com chief correspondent Dave Karger. “As long as teenage guys tell their friends that they liked it, that’s all that matters. These aren’t people that are reading Us Weekly. They just want to know how the action is.”

Arriving amid a pre-Christmas rush of films, expectations are modest for “Jack Reacher.” The film was made on a moderate $60 million budget, about $100 million less than Cruise’s last “Mission: Impossible” installment, and Paramount executives hope holiday crowds will give “Jack Reacher” an extended shelf life after opening weekend.

Adapted from “One Shot,” part of Lee Child’s series of best-selling books about a mysterious ex-military investigator, “Jack Reacher” features colder, crueler violence than the typical Cruise action film, which could hurt its prospects after the school shootings in Connecticut.

Cruise’s Reacher is a fairly merciless lone wolf, while the movie opens with gruesome slayings as a sniper randomly scopes out victims to shoot.

“No question, for any of these types of movies, it’s a raw nerve,” said Paul Dergarabedian, an analyst for box-office tracker Hollywood.com. “Violent imagery of any kind may be a bit of a tougher sell right now.”

Yet for the long haul, Cruise’s prospects look steady. Despite derision his private life has brought him, Cruise has suffered only bumps and bruises professionally. At the height of his bizarre romance with Holmes, when Cruise was jumping up and down on Oprah Winfrey’s couch to proclaim his love, he bewildered, annoyed and even infuriated fans.

Yet they have kept coming. A month after the 2005 couch trip, Cruise scored one of his biggest hits ever with “War of the Worlds.” The following year, after alienating many people with his suddenly public sermonizing about his Scientology beliefs, damage was evident as “Mission: Impossible III” seriously underperformed the franchise’s earlier installments.

He went five years without a huge solo smash, though he did delight fans with a twisted supporting role in the comedy hit “Tropic Thunder” and defied expectations by earning respectable box office and reviews as an eye-patch-wearing German officer in the Hitler assassination thriller “Valkyrie.”

Paramount, Cruise’s long-time studio home, dumped him in 2006 over his odd behavior, and the actor went on to a failed attempt to revive the United Artists banner that resulted in the 2007 war-on-terror dud “Lions for Lambs.”

Then Cruise and Paramount realized what a good thing they’d had together. He rejoined the studio for “Tropic Thunder” and last year’s “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” which restored Cruise to the blockbuster ranks and generally is regarded as the franchise’s best installment.

No matter what anyone thinks of his personal life, Cruise has a reputation as one of the hardest working men in show business, with an unparalleled work ethic.

“He’s very focused,” said Emily Blunt, his co-star in the upcoming sci-fi thriller “All You Need Is Kill” that is now shooting.

“Tom has always been nothing but professional and sweet and open and a lot of fun for me to be around,” Blunt said at last July’s Comic-Con fan convention, where she was preparing for the start of production on the film after months of preparation with Cruise. “I’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

Paramount is squarely back in the Tom Cruise business with “Jack Reacher,” a solid action tale with decent reviews. If fans turn up, it could be another franchise for him and Paramount, where a fifth “Mission: Impossible” film also is under consideration.

For the near future, there are no deviations from the sort of movies that have worked for Cruise in the past, no “Lions for Lambs” or “Rock of Ages.” Next year, Cruise stars in the sci-fi yarn “Oblivion,” playing a repairman fighting aliens on a decimated Earth. “All You Need Is Kill” is another Cruise-against-creatures tale, about a soldier caught in a time loop in which he relives his death over and over in a battle with aliens.

“Tom Cruise can viably continue to do these action films if only because he looks better than any 50 year old I’ve ever seen,” said Karger of Fandango.com. “The one thing you hear the most about Tom Cruise as an actor is that this is the guy who commits. From ‘Rock of Ages’ to ‘Tropic Thunder’ to an action-heavy movie like ‘Jack Reacher,’ this is the guy. It’s superhuman, the energy he puts into a performance. As long as that remains his work ethic, he can do things like this for a long time.”

Watch the newest trailer for Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’

Published: Monday, October 16, 2017 @ 3:55 PM

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 23:  (L-R) Director Ryan Coogler, actors Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael B. Jordan from Marvel Studios’
SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 23: (L-R) Director Ryan Coogler, actors Danai Gurira, Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o and Michael B. Jordan from Marvel Studios’ "Black Panther” attend the San Diego Comic-Con International 2016 Marvel Panel in Hall H on July 23, 2016 in San Diego, California. ©Marvel Studios 2016 (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)(Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Marvel has released the first full-length trailer for “Black Panther.”

Chad Boseman-led film has a who’s who cast of actors, including Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan and Angela Bassett as Wakanadans. Boseman plays the title character.

>> Read more trending news

The two-minute trailer give a look at visuals by director Ryan Coogler and a live look at Boseman transforming from T’Challa to Black Panther, and Michael B. Jordan as his rival Erik Killmonger. Glimpses of Basset as the Queen Mother of Wakanda and Black Panther’s mother, and Nyong’o as Nakia and Danai Gurira as Okoye are also shown in the clip.

Related: New photos of Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ released

There are also clips of a car chase action scene with Black Panther leaping from car to car in city streets.

Watch the trailer below:

“Black Panther” will be in theaters Feb. 16.

Why actress on this HBO series will be in Dayton this weekend

Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 3:01 PM

Jill Alexander is featured in the film ” Sensitivity Training.” Here she is pictured (left) with actress Anna Lise Phillips. Submitted.
Staff Writer
Jill Alexander is featured in the film ” Sensitivity Training.” Here she is pictured (left) with actress Anna Lise Phillips. Submitted.(Staff Writer)

Imagine how excited LBGT Film Fest committee members were when they learned that the actor featured in one of their favorite films had grown up in the Miami Valley and was happy to accept their invitation to attend this year’s festival.

Jill Alexander, best known as Patrice in Mike Judge’s acclaimed HBO series “Silicon Valley,” also played Peggy’s secretary, Marsha, in the final season of “Mad Men.” She regularly pops up in sketches on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and is one of the stars of “Sensivity Training,” one of the 17 new films being shown at the 12th annual festival focusing on LGBT-themed films from around the world.

Actor Jill Alexander will come to Dayton for this year s Dayton LGBT Film Fest. A Miami Valley native, she is featured in festival film, “Sensitivity Training.” Photo credit: Theo & Juliet photography.(Staff Writer)

The selected films, chosen from more than 100, range from comedies and documentaries to serious dramas.

The special weekend, slated for Oct. 13-15, will also include guest appearances by writers, producers, actors and directors. The screenings are held at The Neon movie theater in downtown Dayton.

WHAT TO EXPECT

This year’s films range from a short film directed, produced and starring Danny DeVito entitled “Curmudgeons” that centers around a potty-mouthed octogenerian residing in an assisted living facility, to the first-ever feature documentary, “Rebels On Pointe,” celebrating the world famous Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The all-male, comic ballet company was founded more than 40 years ago on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots and and has a diverse cult following around the world. The film will be shown at 3:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

>> 8 reasons to take PRIDE in Dayton’s LGBTQ community

The “Freak Show” cast includes Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, AnnaSophia Robb and Laverne Cox. Submitted photo.(Staff Writer)

The weekend kicks off on Friday evening with “Freak Show” a film about Billy Bloom, a high school student who decides to run for Homecoming Queen. The movie stars Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, AnnaSophia Robb and Laverne Cox. A comedy entitled “Pushing Dead,” featuring actor Danny Glover, will be shown on Sunday afternoon and is the story of a man who’s been HIV-positive for decades and accidentally deposits a $100 birthday check from his mother — resulting in the loss of his government assistance. His only options are both long shots: take on an impossible bureaucracy, or somehow come up with $3,000 a month to buy his own medication.

Actors James Roday and Danny Glover are featured in the LGBT Film Fest movie, ” Pushing Dead.” Submitted photo.(Staff Writer)

Jennifer Kroot’s documentary, “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” is slated for Saturday afternoon and focuses on the creator of the popular nine ‘Tales of the City” novels. The film offers a look at a journey that took Maupin from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of ’70s San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war. The film includes some of his friends — Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Sir Ian McKellen and Amy Tan.

Seven shorts, including DeVito’s film, will be featured on Saturday afternoon.

>> Get to know the manager of the Neon Movies

Well-known actor Danny DeVito directed the film “Curmudgeons.” He’s also featured in the film that takes place in a Brooklyn assisted living facility. Submitted photo.(Staff Writer)

COMING HOME

Alexander says she’s delighted that there is now a flourishing LGBT community in Dayton and that her film was chosen to headline the festival. “I hope to see lots of familiar faces in the audience!” she says.

A 1993 graduate of Beavercreek High School, Alexander says that out of a student body of around 1,500 students, she knew only one who was out as gay. “Of course, many of my classmates came out further into adulthood. It’s just a shame that an environment of acceptance didn’t exist when they were younger.”

Her film, “Sensitivity Training,” will be shown on Saturday night of the festival and was shot entirely on location in L.A., Alexander’s current home. “I play a bubbly, overenthusiastic life-coach. My character is a Ph.D. with a rich home life who happens to be a lesbian,” Alexander says. ” The fact that she’s gay only comes into play when another character wonders if she’s attracted to my character.”

Alexander thinks it’s awesome that the storytelling her writer/director Melissa Finnell is offering up is not focused on a character whose sexual identity creates obstacles for her. “It just happens to be part of who she is.”

Having access to the arts in Dayton during her formative years, she says, instilled great interest in the arts. “When I was at Beavercreek there was no drama program, just a musical and a Shakespeare play each year,” she recalls. “I gained most of my exposure to contemporary plays through the BHS Speech & Debate program — and awesome coach/teacher Becky Harding, who helped to cultivate my interest in comedy.”

Known for her improvisational skills, Alexander has fond memories of staying up late at night to watch stand-up comics on Letterman or VH1. “My parents were cool enough to take me to see Paula Poundstone at Joker’s or Wiley’s — I can’t remember which one — for my 16th birthday. I heckled her and she heckled right back. She was like the coolest lady in comedy back then. I still love listening to her on ‘Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!’ on NPR!’”

Aleander’s involvement in Muse Machine provided a ticket to see every show in town “including the great work done by the Human Race Theater Company.” As a participant in Muse’s annual musical, she had the opportunity to perform at the Victoria Theater. “That was thrilling,” she says.

She’s be on hand for the Festival’s opening night film and party and will participate in a Q&A session — along with director Finnell — after the screening of her film on Saturday night. “My folks still live in the area and I do have a 5-year-old and 3- month-old, so besides hanging with the grandparents we’ll definitely fit in a trip to Young’s as well as some pumpkin patch and hayride action,” she says. 

>> Some of our favorite Dayton celebrity spottings

WANT TO GO?

What: 2017 LGBT Film Fest

When: Friday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 15

Where: The Neon movie theater, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton

Tickets: Although weekend passes are already sold out, individual tickets are $8 each and may still be available. It’s suggested that you call The Neon at (937) 222-8452 to see if any tickets to a specific film are available for purchase. Those without tickets may join a “Rush Line” to purchase any unclaimed tickets up to one hour before the screening.

Free parking across the street from the theater. For a complete list of films and special guests, see www.daytonlgbt.com or call THE NEON at (937)222-8452.

HERE’S THE LINE-UP

7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 13: “Walk for Me” ( a short film by Elegance Bratton, USA) and “Freak Show” (a feature film by Trudie Styler) ALSO: An After Party at Mudlick Tavern, 135 E . Second St.

12: 30 p.m., Sat. Oct. 14: Top Drawer Shorts from the U.S., France, the U.K. and Austrailia.

2:30 – BAYARD & ME – Matt Wolf, USA – 17 minutes. THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN – Jennifer Kroot, USA – 91 min

7:30 – sponsored by Greater Dayton LGBT Center

ETAGE X – Francy Fabritz, Germany – 14 minutes

SENSITIVITY TRAINING – Melissa Finell, USA – 87 minutes

9:45 – sponsored by MJ’s On Jefferson & Johnny

ALASKA IS A DRAG – Shaz Bennett, USA – 83 minutes

Sunday, Oct. 15

1:00 – sponsored by Equitas Health & David Lauri

PUSHING DEAD – Tom E. Brown, USA – 110 minutes

3:30 – sponsored by Square One Salon and Spa

REBELS ON POINTE – Bobbi Jo Hart, Canada, Italy, Japan, USA – 90 minutes

5:30 – sponsored by Marion’s Piazza

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY – Francis Lee, UK – 104 minutes

FREAK SHOW –When others call Billy Bloom theatrical, he takes it as a compliment; when his classmates feel provoked by his drive to be different, it only motivates him further. “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down,” his father warns him. That does not deter Billy from deciding to run for homecoming queen. Somewhere in-between David Bowie, Lady Gaga, Freddy Mercury and Oscar Wilde in the transgressive space of pop culture – we get a film with wit, heart and a dazzling cast. Starring Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler, AnnaSophia Robb and Laverne Cox.

WALK FOR ME - Hanna Kendricks is set to make her Femme Queen debut under the shimmering lights of New York’s Ballroom scene.

SOMETHING NEW - After a break up, Jonah struggles to open up to a new relationship with awkwardly, hilarious results.

HAYGOOD EATS - A bickering husband-and-wife catering team (or is it husband-and-beard?) is shooting a cheesy TV ad, and we get to see the hilarious outtakes.

CURMUDGEONS - A potty-mouthed octogenarian in an assisted living facility gets a big-time surprise engineered by his daughter

THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS - Set in mid-19th-century France, a trainee school teacher in a young girl’s convent suffers unbearable pains.

IMAGO - A 15-year-old makes the life-altering decision to never again let anyone bully them; not even their own father.

BOOTWMN - A heart-warming, intimate and endearing portrait of the queering of a traditional art form.

PICKING UP - Nathan is being ignored at the local gay club, but when he is taken under the wing of a drag fairy godmother, he finds that his self-image gets a much needed makeover

THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN – Jennifer Kroot’s documentary about the creator of Tales Of The City moves nimbly between playful and poignant and laugh-out-loud funny. With help from his friends (including Neil Gaiman, Laura Linney, Olympia Dukakis, Sir Ian McKellen and Amy Tan), Maupin offers a disarmingly frank look at the journey that took him from the jungles of Vietnam to the bathhouses of 70’s San Francisco to the front line of the American culture war.

BAYARD & ME – Bayard Rustin was the organizer of the March on Washington and one of the leaders of the civil rights movement. In the 1980s, Bayard adopted his younger lover to obtain the legal protections of marriage – a little-known phenomena with connections to the civil rights movement.

SENSITIVITY TRAINING – Serena is a misanthropic microbiologist, great with bacteria but horrible with people. After crossing a line with a colleague, Serena is forced into sensitivity training with Caroline, the bubbly woman assigned to be her coach. Caroline and her sunny disposition represent everything Serena hates, but she is determined to make Serena an acceptable human. While Serena does her best to get rid of Caroline, she may have finally met her match.

ETAGE X - An accidental meeting in an elevator at a department store leads two older women to their limits and forces them to improvise.

ALASKA IS A DRAG – Tough, but diva fabulous, Leo, an aspiring drag superstar, is stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska. He and his twin sister are trapped in the monotony of fist fights and fish guts. Out of necessity, Leo learned to fight back, which catches the attention of the local boxing coach. When a new boy moves to town and wants to be his sparring partner, Leo has to face the real reason he’s stuck in Alaska.

PUSHING DEAD – When a struggling young man—HIV-positive for 20+ years—absent-mindedly deposits a $100 birthday check from his mother, he loses his government assistance. His only options are both long shots: take on an impossible bureaucracy, or somehow come up with $3,000 a month to buy his own medication. A comedy about the serious world we live in.

REBELS ON POINTE – Exploring universal themes of identity, dreams, family, loss and love, Rebels on Pointe is the first-ever feature documentary celebrating the world famous Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The all male ballet company was founded over 40 years ago on the heels of New York’s Stonewall riots and has a diverse cult following around the world.

GOD’S OWN COUNTRY - Johnny Saxby works long hours in brutal isolation on his family’s remote farm in northern England. He numbs his lonely existence with nightly binge-drinking and casual sex. When a handsome Romanian migrant worker arrives to work on the family farm, Johnny suddenly finds himself dealing with emotions he has never felt before.

“Rebels on Pointe” is the first-ever feature documentary celebrating Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. The all male, comic ballet company was founded over 40 years ago. Submitted photo.(Staff Writer)

7 movies with unusual connections to Dayton

Published: Thursday, August 21, 2014 @ 7:21 PM
Updated: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 5:45 PM

“Sunset Boulevard”, Gloria Swanson
“Sunset Boulevard”, Gloria Swanson

In honor of the Eichelberger FilmDayton Festival set for Friday to Sunday, Aug. 22-24, we compiled the list below of films connected to the Dayton area with the help of Jonathan McNeal The Neon and FilmDayton board member Shaunn Baker. 

Festival preparation is in full swing.

Organizers promise weekend of film screenings, professional workshops, contests and celebrations.

See schedule below.

Most screenings are $10 and will be held at The Neon, 130 E. Fifth St., Dayton.

The festival showcases nearly 30 feature-length and short films, including nine short films in the “Ohio Block” set for 4 to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

“Filmmakers are going to be in town for that,” Beth DeVilbiss, FilmDayton’s interim director said. “Families are coming. Moms and dads and are coming to seeing those films that are close to this area.”

It is the festival’s sixth year.

Organizers say 800 people attended the first year. Last year’s event drew more than 1,300 people.

“We are starting to get a name for ourselves,” DeVilbiss said. “Even thought it is small it is very recognizable.”

Dayton is among city’s hoping to build film industries. Tools like the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit have helped draw film makers to Cincinnati and Cleveland.

Here are 7 films with ties to the Dayton area

How about that Close Up

“Sunset Boulevard”, Gloria Swanson

Joe Gillis played by William Holden in the classic film “Sunset Boulevard” makes reference to his time at a Dayton newspaper.

“The time had come to wrap up the whole Hollywood deal and go home. Maybe if I hawked all my junk there’d be enough for a bus ticket back to Ohio. Back to that $35 a week job behind the copy desk at the Dayton Evening Post if it was still open. Back to the smirking delight of the whole office. ‘Alright you wise guys, why don’t you go out and take a crack at Hollywood.’” Source: Screenwriting from Iowa

It is far less known than the Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) line: “Alright Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Wildcats

Part of the 2007 film “Across the Universe” is set at fictional Dayton High School. The movie’s plot revolves around Beatles lyrics. Prudence (T.V. Carpio) is from Dayton and pines for a fellow member of the Dayton High Wildcat cheerleader squad.

Alien invading

Screen shot from the movie “Super 8” shows map of Dayton region. Movie is set to be released in June. It is set in a small Ohio town and also mentions Wright Patterson Air Force Base.(screen shot)

A map of Dayton was used in the trailer for the 2011 sci-fi film “Super 8.”

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is mentioned in the film that follows a group of Ohio kids who witness a train derailment while filming a zombie flick with a Super-8 camera.

Gummo

The 1997 film Gummo was filmed in Nashville but set in fictional Xenia, Ohio. The film about the bored residents of a tornado-strucken town was made by Harmony Korine.

It is all good

2001 Stivers graduate Djuna Wahlrab on location for her film We re Doing Fine. (Contributed photo by Ellenmarie Cronin Wahlrab)

“We’re Doing Fine” shot at several Dayton locations in November.

Written and directed by 2001 graduate of Stivers School for the Arts grad Djuna Wahlrab, the indie movie is about two friends, one who moved from Dayton and the other who stayed.

Read: Filming wrapping for “Dayton movie” shot in Dayton 

Jazzy

Miles Davis music helps soothe babies.(Submitted)

Actor and director Don Cheadle used the former Dayton City Jail earlier this month for a portion of his Miles Davis biopic.

Read: Actor filming scenes from Miles Davis movie in Dayton area

How blue 

Directed and written by Karen Moncrieff, the 2002 film “Blue Car” about a gifted and troubled teenage girl from Dayton, was filmed here.

Contact this blogger at arobinson@DaytonDailyNews.com or Twitter.com/DDNSmartMouth


Highlights of activities for Eichelberger FilmDayton Festival

Friday, Aug. 22

7 p.m. “The Infinite Man”

9 p.m. “Flick My Clip”

Saturday, Aug. 23

12 noon: International Shorts

12:30 p.m. Life to Narrative at ThinkTV

2 p.m. “Give to Live the Movie”

2:30 p.m. Comedy in TV/Film at ThinkTV

4 p.m. Ohio Shorts Block

7 p.m. “Zero Motivation”

9 p.m. “Pitch It! & Party,” venue to be announced

Sunday, Aug. 24

12 noon: ‘The Critics Perspective’ at ThinkTV

12:30 p.m. U.S. Shorts Block

1:45 p.m. “Auditioning for Actors”at ThinkTV

3:15 p.m. “Stomping Ground”

5:30 p.m. “This Time Next Year”

8 p.m.: FilmDayton Awards, The Neon

Mr. DeMille, Dayton is ready for its close up.


Ron Howard hints at the Empire’s role in the Han Solo movie

Published: Thursday, August 17, 2017 @ 10:33 AM

It's the 40th anniversary of Star Wars: A New Hope! Let's take a look at some of the numbers that this film shattered.

The upcoming Han Solo movie may find the smuggler crossing paths with a familiar enemy.

Ever since Ron Howard signed on to direct the untitled Han Solo prequel, replacing original directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller, he’s been sharing secretive teaser photos from the set. So far, he’s given us sneak peeks of an uncooperative astromech droidsome colorful costumes, and a couple of Wookiees. But his newest photo teases the appearance of at least one Imperial baddie.

» Ron Howard tapped to direct Han Solo stand-alone film

Howard shared a pic on Twitter of a shiny, black Imperial helmet — a helmet that looks a lot like the ones worn by Death Star troopers in the original trilogy. Even more interesting: that control panel sure looks like the one Han blasts apart while rescuing Princess Leia from the Death Star detention center.

» Alden Ehrenreich will play young Han Solo in upcoming 'Star Wars' film

So does that mean the Han Solo movie will feature an appearance by everyone’s favorite moon-sized battle station? What we do know is that this is the first suggestion that young Han will have at least one run-in with the Empire during the film.

Alden Ehrenreich is on board as the young Han, with Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca and Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Thandie Newton, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge round out the cast.

The Han Solo movie will hit theaters May 25, 2018.

» This is the ‘Star Wars’/Pink Floyd mashup you’re looking for

Time Inc.(Time)

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