Aspiring English actor caught on social media pretending to be man behind Star Wars mask, played by veteran stuntman Liang Yang

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Daily Mail UK (by Jaber Mohamed and Mark Nicol):

It was every young actor’s dream to land a starring role in the new Star Wars film.

But Alex Rolt bit off more than he could chew when he claimed he had played a stormtrooper who has become a fans’ favorite in the latest box office record breaker.

The 23-year-old hitherto unknown actor from West Sussex became an internet sensation when he revealed he had played the masked stormtrooper who shouts ‘traitor’ in an intense fight scene with John Boyega’s character, Finn.

Alex Rolt (pictured), 23, had a small part in the film but did not play the stormtrooper in the film as he claimedAlex Rolt (pictured), 23, had a small part in the film but did not play the stormtrooper in the film as he claimed

But Rolt was forced into a grovelling apology last night after he was unmasked as a fantasist who only had a bit-part as an extra in the hit movie.

Fans were impressed when Rolt said he had played the stormtrooper in an interview with his local paper.

The drama school graduate claimed he had been chosen to face off against Boyega because of his fencing experience.

He said: ‘They got me in the stormtrooper outfit but the prop didn’t have a clip or anything on the uniform, so I had to hold it in a certain way then deliver the line: “Traitor!”

Lucasfilm revealed the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was really played by veteran stuntman Liang Yang (above)Lucasfilm revealed the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was really played by veteran stuntman Liang Yang

The interview was picked up on social media, and Rolt was lavished with praise from fans around the world.

He tweeted: ‘Response I’ve had to playing this character has been phenomenal, thank you.’

But the young pretender was exposed by the film’s production company Lucasfilm when it revealed the role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens was really played by veteran stuntman Liang Yang.

Rolt apologized on Twitter, saying: ‘Sorry for doing this to all the fans.Was a joke that got out of hand. My career is tarnished.’

‘Star Wars’ x Uniqlo UT (Japan) 2015 Spring/Summer Collection

Twitter introduces #StarWarsEmojis

To celebrate the pending theatrical release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Twitter has partnered with Disney and Lucasfilm to create custom, Star Wars Twitter emojis that will allow users to “show their enthusiasm for the ever-evolving Star Wars universe.” The first three emojis debuted today at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, with a variety of emojis to be added as we approach the film’s release date including icons of both the legacy characters, as well as new characters from the new installment.

To incorporate into a tweet, all you need to do is post a hashtag representing keywords associated with specific Star Wars characters, and the emoji icon will appear at the end of the text.

Try out #C3PO #StormTrooper and #BB8 now, and watch for more emojis to be released as we approach the December 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The 2015 Sapporo Snow Festival

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RocketNews 24:

Every February in Hokkaido brings another amazing display of artful snow and ice carvings, and RocketNews24 brings a firsthand account of the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival.

This year has already brought a couple of exciting stories from the festival. Whether it was soulless snow sculptures or an imposing Sith Lord, the Sapporo Snow Festival always gives you something to talk about.

The Yubari Melon Mascot! The only terrifying mascot in Japan.

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Although the city of Sapporo is very large, the sites for the festival are not that far apart. Especially the two sites that feature most of the incredible snow and ice artwork are within minutes of each other, making a lot of the festival easily accessible.

Susukino Ice World 2015, was where the ice sculpture competition pieces were shown. With plenty of amazing entries this year, it’s a wonder how the judges were able to pick just four sculptures as winners.

Overall winner of the ice sculpture contest!

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Odori Park was home to all the major installation snow works, including the international snow carving competition. Representatives from many countries were working very hard to complete their sculpture within the three days allowed.

Indonesia

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United States (Oregon)

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New Zealand

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Darth Vader and his imperial Storm Troopers might be out to steal the show, but there were plenty of other really incredible sculptures on display in Odori Park.

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For the smaller sculptures, a quick glance at them revealed a few pretty obvious themes.

Yokai Watch

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Frozen

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Studio Ghibli

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Parasyte

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The third site of the snow festival, the Sapporo Community Dome, had its share of snow art as well, but people came here to play in and with the snow, rather than admire it. The standout winner was definitely the Nissin sponsored “tube sliding” with lengthy lines right up until closing.

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Travel between the sites was really easy, with a shuttle bus running to the sites that was cheaper than taking the subway.

Night time provided a unique opportunity to show off for the crowd, performances graced the stages in front of the huge snow sculptures until the closing of each day.  The Star Wars stage had its own light show which repeated every 15 minutes.

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The real winner of the night was the projection mapping upon the Kasuga Grand Shrine sculpture, though.

If you haven’t gotten enough of the snow festival yet, here are a few more pictures to make you wish you were able to be there yourself. Enjoy!

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The dark side of The Force featured at the Sapporo Snow Festival with gigantic Star Wars sculpture

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RocketNews 24:

Last week, we took a sneak peek at the upcoming Sapporo Snow Festival by checking out an icy rendering of an idol trio from hit anime Love Live! Freaked out as we were by their unfinished yet crazed expressions, it turns out Umi, Honoka, and Kotori aren’t the most intimidating characters showing up at this year’s event.

That title goes to the massive snow sculpture of fallen Jedi Darth Vader, who rolled into the largest city in Hokkaido with the sort of backup that’d you’d expect from the Supreme Commander of the Empire’s space fleet.

The installation is being exhibited in Sapporo’s Odori Park, and thanks to its huge size and outdoor venue, photos of the work-in-progress had been trickling in from local residents over the past few days.

Those aren’t rebel resistance fighters staging an attack on the giant-sized storm troopers, though. Seen in the pictures above is the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s 11th Brigade’s 1st Snow Sculpture Squad.

▼ This shot of the scaffolding they assembled gives a good impression of just how tall the sculpture is.

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The amount of care and detail that went into the project makes us think that at least a few of the squad’s members have seen the classic science fiction films. That’s not to say this is just a case of large-scale, high-grade fan art, though. The sculpture is officially endorsed by Star Wars production company Lucasfilm, as part of the festivities surrounding the 2015 release of the seventh film in the franchise. What’s more, the design itself was carried out under the supervision of parent company and distributor Disney.

 

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Vader isn’t just a dangerous opponent in single combat, though. His lofty position in the Imperial hierarchy means he also has hordes of minions at his beck and call. As such, he’s joined in the sculpture by three storm troopers, a TIE fighter, and even the Death Star.

 

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At 15 meters (49.2 feet) tall and 22.6 meters (74.1 feet) wide, the Star Wars snow sculpture is one of the largest ever to be exhibited in the park, and required a month’s worth of effort from a team of 2,000 working with 700 truckloads of snow. Not only was it a sight to see once finished, the 500-some attendees who braved the -3-degrres Celsius (26-degree Fahrenheit) weather of the nighttime opening ceremony were graced by an appearance from Vader and the three storm troopers themselves.

The displays are lit until 10 p.m. Odori Park is open around the clock, though, meaning that visitors can see all of its sculptures, including the Star Wars one, at any time between now and 10 o’clock on February 11, assuming of course that some cocky kid doesn’t stick a light saber into it and melt it before then.

 

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Diversity In Space: Tracking the first Asian pilot in the Star Wars movies

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Lieutenant Telsij of Return of the Jedi is one of just a handful of Asian characters in the Star Wars film series.

NPR:

There’s … too many of them,” a Y-wing pilot says as Imperial ships overwhelm the Rebel fleet in the climactic space battle in Return of the Jedi.

This scene is important because we’ve just learned that the Rebels have been lured to the forest moon Endor by the Emperor — it’s a trap! It’s also important for another reason: This is the first line spoken by an Asian character in the original Star Wars movies.

Later comes the final line spoken by an Asian character in those films: “I’m hit!” Then, a shower of sparks, and the cockpit bursts into flame faster than you can say “Jek Porkins.” Total time onscreen: approximately 4 seconds. (Brief, but enough to yield a Halloween costume idea, at least.)

So who is this Asian Rebel pilot? As it turns out, that’s kind of complicated.

First off, the role is uncredited, and while there are assorted Rebel pilots listed in the cast, none fits the description. For Star Wars knowledge this obscure, one must consult Leland Chee of Lucasfilm.

My title is manager of the Holocron,” Chee explains, “and the Holocron is a database of all Star Wars facts.

Chee says the Holocron holds over 66,000 entries: “characters, planets, droids — everything from the movies, from what we now consider ‘legends’ material, which is all the books that came out before this year, comics, games, trading cards, stuff we’ve done online, stuff we’ve done for role-playing games, stuff for toys — that’s what I’m tasked with compiling.”

The Asian pilot we’re looking for was made into a toy in 1999. Well, sort of.

That figure is a mess,” Chee says. “It’s wrong on so many levels. They made him red, which is the color of the B-wing pilots. They gave him a Y-wing helmet, but they gave him the name of an A-wing pilot.

This is exactly the sort of mistake Chee and his comrades on the Lucasfilm Story Group are now responsible for preventing. Peering deeper into the Holocron — the FileMaker database is actually “not that complex,” Chee says — he’s able to search it while talking on the phone with a reporter. That yields a better answer: Lieutenant Telsij.

The name Lieutenant Telsij first appears in a card game set released by Decipher in the year 2000. Like many minor characters, Telsij didn’t get his name until after the fact. In this case, about 17 years after the fact.

A lot of that information, like naming of background characters, especially from the films, came from that Decipher collectible card game,” Chee explains. “Most of their card sets were pre-Episode I, so it was mostly classic trilogy material, and they were naming every single background character. They were also pulling from the Star Wars Holiday Special as well, because they had image reference for that. But yeah, if someone wasn’t named, they would name them.”

The Lieutenant Telsij card even contains a bit of back story; he flew under the call sign Gray Two, and was “one of only four attackers who survived the raid on the Imperial Academy at Carida.”

Incidentally, Chee says he tracks pronunciation in the Holocron, “but it’s only as needed.” In the case of Telsij, “I don’t think we’ve ever used him in anything that required a pronunciation for his name,” he says. But, he adds, “If someone asked me, I would say ‘TEL-sidge.’ ”

So who played Telsij in the movie? Chee asked J.W. Rinzler, author of The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, to send him the call sheets for the Y-wing cockpit shots. Those include three names: Eiji Kusuhara, Timothy Sinclair and Erroll Shaker.

Kusuhara, who also appeared in Eyes Wide Shut, among other performances, died in 2010. But he’s the most likely candidate. Hilary Westlake, a stage director who was a close friend and wrote Kusuhara’s obituary for the Guardian, says Kusuhara never mentioned this role to her. But after viewing the clip, she says, “Albeit brief, I would say it is most certainly Eiji.”

So that’s that, right? No. “There are two different Y-wing pilots,” Chee says, “each with their own unique helmet, possibly voiced by the same voice actor.”

That second pilot — the one who cries out, “I’m hit!” — is Ekelarc Yong. His name comes from an action figure released by Hasbro. He has a bat on his helmet and flew under the call sign Gray Three.

We didn’t even know this character existed until we did that action figure,” Chee says with a laugh. “I didn’t know until recently that they were actually two different guys.”

Maybe they weren’t intended to be two different guys. Maybe the Ekelarc Yong character is the result of a continuity error.

There’s a lot of strange things that go on with those pilots,” Chee says. By way of example, he adds: “One of the pilots in the film is actually a woman, but she’s given a man’s voice. A-wing pilots are supposed to look a certain way — they’re the green ones; they’ve got a certain helmet — but then you go to the briefing room scene and some people are carrying the wrong helmets.”

So it’s at least conceivable that the same actor, possibly Kusuhara, could have accidentally donned a different helmet in subsequent takes. Watching the film, it’s difficult to tell whether there are two different actors — the pilot is grimacing in the second clip, and the explosion begins almost immediately, obscuring his face. Neither Chee nor Rinzler was able to find the name of the voice actor who seemingly provides the voice for both. So we’ll probably never know. But two helmets means two action figures, and that means two pilots.

Elsewhere in the Star Wars universe, there are more Asian characters than there might appear to be at first glance, though Telsij and Yong are the only ones who speak. Some have names, some don’t.

Some of the Jabba’s palace characters do,” Chee says. “They look Asian to me; let me put it that way.” Among those lurking in the shadows are Ardon “Vapor” Crell, Rayc Ryjerd and a mustachioed fellow named Jan Solbidder. And in Cloud City, one of Lando Calrissian’s guards is Corman Jeihn, possibly named by Hasbro — or, Chee says, “I think I may have named him.”

Then there’s the Jedi known as Selig Kenjenn.

Since there was such a dearth of reference for ‘Asian Jedi,’ ” Chee says, “there was an action figure pack that Hasbro did that featured an Asian male Jedi — who, surprisingly, looks like me.”

Chee says he provided photo reference for the character, who was “offscreen at the battle of Geonosis,” and that the idea for the action figure might have come from an illustration that accompanied a Wired story about Chee, which depicted him as a Jedi.

That guy’s definitely Asian,” Chee says of Selig Kenjenn. “And that one, I definitely named myself.”

So does the name carry some special significance?

Ummmmm, not that I’m going to say,” Chee demurs. “ ‘Selig’ comes from one of my other fandoms, I’ll say that.

Whatever the case, the relative dearth of Asian characters remains. Beyond the classic trilogy, there’s the Chinese-born actor Bai Ling as Senator Bana Breemu, but her scenes were cut from Episode II. And there’s a Jedi woman named Bultar Swan.

Then there’s probably a bunch of background guys that don’t have names,” Chee adds. “Hopefully we’ll see some more in Episode VII.”

Hopefully, indeed. Christina Chong has reportedly filmed her scenes already, so can the Holocron Keeper say anything about her role in the forthcoming J.J. Abrams-directed sequel?

Actually, I can’t,” Chee says. “I don’t have any information on that.”

Not yet, anyway.

Steve Haruch is a writer, and a contributing editor at the Nashville Scene. You can follow him on Twitter @steveharuch.

 

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