Where Have They Been?

On Friday IGN reported on the Movie site opening here. Generally it's a pretty clueless news brief. Most of the stuff they claim is new was reported here and at Dan's weeks ago. They even say they were the ones who made the trailer available. While I'm mentioning the trailer, there a three other news sites we never got around to crediting for mentioning it: Regenerated Forces, Wrecking Crew and FreddyPrinzeJr.com.

Magazine Mentions

Celina Tam has found two mentions of Freddie Prinze (Chris Blair in the movie) in recent magazines. The first shot is from the March 1999 issue of Teen and talks about his zodiac sign. The second is from the March 1999 issue of YM and gives a postal mail address to contact him.

Chris Roberts Live

Anyone out there attending Austin's South by Southwest film festival on Tuesday, March 16th can hear Chris Roberts speak at 3:00. I'm actually going to Austin and leaving right before that! Damn the luck...

More Commercial Locations

Keep watching ESPN and ESPN2 for movie advertisements... and hey, I just saw one in primetime (after the Simpsons) here on my local FOX affiliate, FOX5.

Tentative UK Date?

TARANTULA reports that theaters near him (in the UK) report that they don't believe Wing Commander will reach England for about 4 to 6 months. Nothing has been set, yet, however.

Toys, Toys, Toys

Someone over at Dan's Wing Commander MESSAGE BOARD apparently called X-Toys to ask about the figures. They should be available in Walmarts and possibly Toys R Us's, as well as the previously reported software stores and comic shops. Apparently X-Toys is going to wait to release the vehicles (Rapier & Dralthi) until fall, to judge whether or not there's a market for them. I'm going to try calling them tommorow and getting some information... wish me luck!

Another Con

This years StellarCon, a science fiction convention in North Carolina, will feature guest William Forstchen. If anybody out there is heading to StellarCon next month, be sure to ask him what's up with Wing Commander for us...

PC Gamer...

Jon DeVore reports that the the April issue of PC Gamer has an article about Origin (on page 48) which reports that they are henceforth going to be online only, and specifically mentions Wing Commander. If anyone out there subscribes to PC Gamer and has a bit of extra time, could you please type up or scan this article so we can post it here? Thanks!

Another Spot

I was flipping channels last night (there is nothing on TV Friday at 8) and chanced to run accross the Wing Commander ad on Nickelodeon. Maybe they are trying to appeal to another audience... on a related note, this was the first time I'd seen the commercial on a really big TV, and it looked even better than before!

PC Gamer Update

Here's the actual PC Gamer article itself...
As we were researching this month's cover story on Jane's World War and US Air Force, we uncovered some very interesting news regarding the future of both the Jane's Combat Simulations line of games as well as a new direction for Origin's evergreen series', Wing Commander and Ultima.

According to Origin, all future gaming in the Wing Commander and Ultima worlds (after the pending release of Ultima: Ascension) will take place in an online, persistent universe, similar to the company's already established Ultima Online world.

One of the motivating factors for this move seems to be simple business sense; Ultima Online has proven to be quite a cash cow for the company, raking in close to $1 million dollars per month. Origin feels that this is the future of interactive entertainment, and as such, has assigned Andy Hollis, executive producer of the Jane's line, to concentrate on developing the new Wing Commnader online universe after he completes his work on Jane's A-10 (see our cover story). Hollis' entire entire Austin, TX, Skunkworks team will be getting out of the hard-core simulation field to devote its talents to the new venture.

We had a chance to ask Hollis about this new direction for both him and his company. We did have some converns about this changing of the guard, however, in the past, Hollis' team focused on single-vehicle sims that really nailed the realism, while Paul Graco's Baltimore, MD, team produced less heavyweight, multiple aircraft sims. Does this mean that the hard-core sims will die away now that Hollis has flown the Jane's coop? According to Hollis, not at all. "Remember, Paul has overseen production of hard-core products before, like 688 (I) Hunter/Killer, as well as those of a survey nature," he says. "Also, it is the same creative leadership within the team itself that ultimately dictates the feel of the game. Rest assured that the Baltimore Skunkworks team will carry on its traditions and grow from there."

We wondered if one of the reasons for this move was because Hollis had become burnt out working on the hard-core simulation titles that he has become known for.

"I'll never tire of doing hard-core sims," says Hollis. "That said, there is not much opportunity for growth in that type of product when compared to other alternatives. Yes, you can get even more hard-core, but that's only interesting

Origin Replies

And here's Origin's response to the PC Gamer Article, from an Ultima Forum...
I did read the article now, btw.. and I can see why you are all upset. As I explained on the official boards, it *is* true that Origin is pursuing a focus of online games currently, for both the Ultima and WC series. However, the standalone market for these two brands has been very successful in the past, and to say that a singleplayer game for either of these properties will never be made again just isn't true.

The fact is that the multi-player online market is very exciting right now. Origin has some really good experience with it (made some advances, and made some mistakes). There's a fantastic opportunity for this company to pursue this type of game right now. So, for the time being, the focus is on multi-player games for both Ultima and WC.

However, it just doesn't make any sense to say that there will never be another single player Ultima or Wing Commander after the proven successes in that market. Never say never, you know. :)

Hope this helps, at least a little, cheers, Carly aka LadyMOI

More Locations

Additions to the list of places to find the movie commercial: USA & the Cartoon Network.

First Poster!

Jess was kind enough to report in great detail his discovery of the first reported Wing Commander Movie poster... here's the story!
I hope this goes through to you guys. Its not clear on the site where to send news.

At any rate, I am the Projection Manager at the Wynnsong 12 theater in Orem Utah. This morning we recieved a posted tube from Fox, with both the Wing Commander movie and Entrapment.

The poster features Blair, Maniac and Angel on the cover in their red pilot suits, and a number of Rapier fighters flying out from the bottom center, along with another craft I cant identify. (Stocky, brick like fighters, definately not kilrathi)

Title reads "At the Edge of the Universe, All Hell is About to Break Loose"

I was so excited I ran downstairs and posted the poster in our main poster case behinds the doormans post. If anyone is in Utah, feel free to stop in and take a look.

We are also booked to get the movie. Not gurenteed, but it looks good for us.

Jess
Projection Manager,
Carmike Wynnsong 12

Not Just Early

It's been noted that Fox's commercials for the movie are the "complete" official trailer. The most obvious difference from the first commercials are the short highlights of Saffron Burrows and Tcheky Karyo (with Prinze and Lillard) near the end.

Soundtrack Information For All!

Sonic Images updated their web site with LOTS of information about the Wing Commander Movie soundtrack! There's a track list, more sample music, screenshots, credits, a letter from Chris Roberts, and more! Check it out...
1.Overture3:36 10.Briefing/Tricked2:15
2.Pod Scene1:53 11.Hot Dogs1:21
3.Torpedo Kilrathi3:3112.Diligent Arrives2:34
4.Pilgrims1:50 13.The Gift/Skipper Missile3:26
5.Rescued0:55 14.Kilrathi Battle1:40
6.Into the Quasar2:45 15.The Big Battle2:27
7.Bad Decision/Blair1:27 16.Kilrathi Into Scylla2:28
8.Angel's Story1:47 17.Big Damn Ending2:09
9.The Fleet1:07 Total:38:22
And then here's Chris Roberts, regarding the soundtrack.
When I set out to make "Wing Commander," I en-visioned a classic World War II film as its model. Except that it was set in space, 500 years from now. This motif played strongly in the design and look of the picture. I also wanted it to play strongly in the score. I wanted the music to evoke some of the glorious old war film scores; full of heart, melody and heroic acts. "633 Squadron," "The Dam Busters" and other such classics came to my mind. When I first talked to David and Kevin about the score, they were in tune from step one.

In fact, my first conversation with David had him citing classic war film scores as a jumping- off point - and that was before I'd even pitched him on my 'WWII' in space concept! From that point on, I am happy to say I was in good hands. From hearing the first temps to being blown away by the orchestra on the scoring stage at Air Lyndhurst, I was constantly surprised and impressed. The sound they've managed to capture evokes epic movies from the fifties and sixties. It's some of the best space music I've heard, right up there with the classics we've all grown up with. The film required many things of the score, bravery, guts, youthfulness, mystery, danger, loss and redemption. David and Kevin delivered all that and hummable melodies into the bargain! (I guarantee you'll be whistling the title cue as you leave the cinema.) The film grows as a result. Bravo! Here's to working together again.

And the credits...
Catalog No: 8905002

Score produced by David Arnold and Kevin Kiner
Album produced by Kevin Kiner and Mark Evans
Executive Producers for Sonic Images - Ford A. Thaxton and Brad Pressman

Orchestrated and conducted by Nicholas Dodd
Orchestra conductor - Isobel Griffiths
Music editor - Dina Eaton
Score recorded and mixed by Geoff Foster and Mark Evans
Recorded at Air Lyndhurst, London

CD mastered by James Nelson at Digital Outland (Tacoma, WA)
All Tracks BMI

Design - Wolfgang Fenchel
Computer images by Digital Anvil
"Wing Commander" logo courtesy of 20th Century-Fox

PR Alert!

In proving that you can put a positive spin on anything, Digital Anvil has released a press release about the new Wing Commander movie website. Lemme be sure and thank Raven (of Gameworlds) for forwarding it to me!
Digital Anvil, Inc., the Austin, Texas-based entertainment company led by computer gaming pioneer Chris Roberts, and Twentieth Century Fox launched the Official WING COMMANDER Movie Web Site last week and already the site has received more than 174,000 hits.

Features on the site include the highly-anticipated WING COMMANDER trailer; profiles and pictures of the cast and crew; in-depth "making-of" features about the film's special effects sequences; exclusive interviews with the people behind the film; contests; and a message board and chat room for fans to discuss the film. The film, based on the first four installments of ORIGIN System's successful Wing Commander computer game series, will be released on March 12th.

WING COMMANDER combines science fiction settings and state-of-the-art special effects created by Digital Anvil, with the story and creative elements of a grand adventure film. The film follows the exploits of rebellious rookie space pilot Christopher Blair, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("She's All That"). Carrying an encoded message about an invasion from an alien race, Blair, his fellow maverick pilot Maniac (Matthew Lillard of "Scream" and "She's All That"), and their beautiful superior officer, Deveraux (Saffron Burrows of "Circle of Friends"), mobilize to evade and ultimately repel the alien attack. Tcheky Karyo, David Suchet, David Warner, Ginny Holder and Jurgen Prochnow also star. Chris Roberts directed the Wing Commander film.

WING COMMANDER is a No Prisoners/Digital Anvil production in association with ORIGIN Systems Inc. and Carousel Picture Company, with Todd Moyer of No Prisoners serving as producer, and Jean-Martial Lefranc and Romain Schroeder as executive producers. WING COMMANDER is rated PG-13.

Toys R Soon

Someone over at agwc mentioned that Babbages will be stocking the Wing Commander Movie figures starting March 5th. A quick call confirmed the same for Babbages in my area... the race is on! (Betcha I get sued over the topic header). Babbages web site reports that the figures will ship on the 26th.

Dating Tips

There's been a lot of convtroversy over the date of the Wing Commander Movie (the fictional date, not the release). Just to clarify, the year is 2654. Not 2564 (as accidently reported at the official site), or 2456 (from the unreleased trailer) or even 2554 (a FOX press release).

Mark Hamill Can Write?

The people who produce the RibMan online comic strip report that former Wing Commander actor Mark Hamill has written the storyline for a series of strips which debuts March 12th. Something to check out while not at the theater that day...

Soundtrack Review/Sample

Those guys over at AICN get everything... they've posted a review of the Wing Commander Movie Soundtrack. A GOOD review. Check it out... You can grab a 28 second sample of the music in mp3 format here, thanks to Smily. It's rather... epic, I'm really looking forward to March 9th.
Wing Commander is, simply, a score which is likely to go on long after the movie itself has faded into oblivion. It's not a tremendous score, but it is huge, energized and propulsive - drawing on many of the sensibilities which make its two composers so good to begin with.

The Wing Commander score is richly textured and incredibly layered, various melody lines dodging in and out of (and running beneath) action motifs create a sense of both consistent style within the score, and an ever changing tapestry in it's presentation. It's got a specific sound, but it's varied enough so it doesn't become boring.

Wing Commander's theme was composed by David Arnold (who, I am told, also served as something of a "supervisor" for the rest of the score). One may remember Arnold's work from Stargate, Independence Day, and the amazingly suave and cool score for Tomorrow Never Dies. In fact, Wing Commander's score manifests many of Tomorrow Never Dies' better sensibilities - if you dug Arnold's work in TND, you'll probably get a kick out of WC.

Arnold associate Kevin Kiner is credited with composing the WC score itself. Kiner has scored the Emmerich and Devlin series The Visitor (for which Arnold wrote the theme show's music and score for the first episode) and Stargate SG-1 (Arnold's theme is cannibalized and used throughout the series). In other words, Kiner knows how to work with Arnold as a guideline, and how to integrate his own "sound" with Arnolds' unique style. The result is a nice mix between the two composers, as Kiner's work is not entirely imitative, but recognizable enough as not to clash with with the efforts of the composer he is trying to complement.

Richly textured and densely layered, Arnold and Kiner's Wing Commander score should hit stores on March 9. Having not seen the film, I can not vouch for how well this score will work with the imagery it's meant to accompany. But on its own, this is a fun and exhilarating listen which may well become a cult favorite in the not too distant future.

More on Galactica

JB007 pointed me to two quotes regarding the fact that DA is not doing Battlestar Galactica over at Movie Salvage... sounds like there's no love lost between No Prisoners and Digital Anvil.
"The information reported that Digital Anvil is attached to the visual effects for Battlestar Galactica, is not true. The project is being developed by No Prisoners Productions which is the parent corporation of No Prisoners 3D FX, a visual effects facility formed by the VFX production staff of 'Wing Commander' after it's completion. The producer of 'Wing Commander' Todd Moyer will also be producing "Battlestar Galactica".

"Perhaps someone actually talked to those people and they want to create a buzz about themselves (whether they should or not), but more likely, the rumor is taking on a life of its own as it is re-circulated (making it look more like fact). Obviously nothing OFFICIAL has been released, or else EVERYONE would be circulating the press release of a Big Studio who is developing the property (and who would ultimately hire an effects shop). Hands down, that type of Official Release would fast-become widespread."

Old Man's Still Got It

In an unusual turn of events, Gamespot has posted a new review of Wing Commander IV. TPOF was given high marks (8.8), and you can read the review here.

The Webmaster's Tale

(Get it?) Anyway, Dan has posted a lengthy story about why his design for the Wing Commander Movie site was canned at the last minute. It's a sad story that basically proves what everyone's already known: FOX is evil. You can read this story here. For the record, I've seen two different designs Dan prepared, and both were far superior to what exists today. Although, on a similar note, I must praise the current webmaster for fixing several problems with dates that everyone pointed out to him... who knows.

Chasing Commercials

Word from around the US is that Wing Commander Movie commercials will begin airing on local FOX affiliates on March 1st! For those of you still trying to catch a glimpse of the amazing advertisements, they've been reported as seen on the American Sci Fi channel and the Canadian MuchMusic - as well as those already mentioned.

Austrailian Release Date

Bad news for those of you who share a homeland with "Hunter" St. John - reports from several sources indicate that the Wing Commander Movie will not be released until September. This MAY still be subject to change, so if you're as excited about the movie as I am, I reccomend you start harassing your movie people.

Soundtrack Confirmation

CIC reporter Cpl Hades was kind enough to contact Sonic Images asking them to confirm/deny the Wing Commander Movie soundtrack... and so they did!
Sonic Images will be releasing the orchestral score for the upcoming Twentieth Century-Fox film "Wing Commander" (SID-8905) on March 9, 1999. Watch our website for further information: www.sonicimages.com.

The Full Article

Dundradal was kind enough to type up the MCV article mentioned the other day... check it out.
Wing Commander Movie Merchandise

Production house Digital Anvil, in conjunction with Creative Licensing Concepts, secured a lineup of merchandising deals for the upcoming Wing Commander movie.

Movie-related merchandising deals were made in conjunction with Creative Licensing Concepts. The items include: action figures and spaceships from X-Toys, which were shown at Toy Fair in New York; novels for adults and children from HarperCollins; a collectors magazine from Starlog; signed and limited edition art posters from Hasson Fine Art; masks and costumes from Cinema Secrets; children's bicycles and backpacks from Rand International; t-shirts and hats from Atlus Sportswear; and jewlery from United Cutlery.

Based on the game from Origin Systems, a unit of Electronic Arts, Wing Commander is being directed by Chris Roberts, the creator of the first four Wing Commander titles. Roberts also co-wrote the script for the sci-fi adventure film, which is slated to hit theaters from 20th Century Fox on March 12.

Matthew Lillard Poll

They're running a poll over at Matthew Lillard's official site about which of his upcoming movies people are most interested in. Right now Wing Commander is in second place -- go make us proud!

ORIGIN Saves the Day!

Chris Graf, Origin web guy extraordinare, was kind enough to point out that there's some exciting new content over at the formerly-empty WingCommander.com. It's been set up to help familiarize moviegoers with the Wing Commander universe! Check out the cool new movie pictures -- but head over to the actual site, you can use 'em as electronic postcards!

Just Because They're Different

I'm sure some people have had their fill of news sites that mention the new trailers, but these two were rather unique. We've found two more non-English news sites. The first is from Taiwan (GameClub) here and the other is probably Spanish or Portuguese (contenido) here.

Magazine People Get Confused

Dundradal reports that Issue 009 of Market for Home Computer and Videogames has a small article on the Wing Commander Movie, reporting about its merchandise and such. He also reports that it includes a picture of Blair and Casey from WCP with the caption "Mark Hamill could be in the Wing Commander Movie". Sheesh!

More on the Soundtrack

Fordat1 again posted Wing Commander Movie soundtrack information at agwc. This comes from MovieScore On-Line's daily newsletter.
WING COMMANDER SCORE
TO BE RELEASED BY SONIC IMAGES
99-02-22 (MovieScore On-Line) Sonic Images ( http://www.sonicimages.com ) is going to release Kevin Kiner's original score for the up-coming action sci-fi epic WING COMMANDER. The lagre orchestral score incorporates a main theme by STARGATE/INDEPENDENCE DAY/GODZILLA composer David Arnold whose regular orchestrator/conductor Nicholas Dodd conducted the whole score in London ("that was a very large score" Dodd commented in the interview published in the latest issue of Music from the Movies - see below). Kevin Kiner, whose previous credits include LEPRECHAUN (available on Intrada), has also worked with Arnold on the sci-fi TV serie THE VISITOR. The CD will be available on March 9th from Sonic Images. The film opens in USA on March 12th.

Emergency Archive!

Due to the high bandwith being consumed by all the new movie pictures from the other day, we've decided to archive early. If you're looking for information on the movie trailers or the new pictures, check out the February archive. Thanks!

Dubious Dates

Nighthawk brought to our attention the Ultimate Gaming Resource. In their Release Dates section they report here that both Privater III and Wing Commander VI are scheduled for a third quarter 1999 release. Bear in mind Origin has not announced any future game, so seeing even one of these titles in approximately six months is questionable at best.

Movie Site Mini-Review

Here's my take on the new Wing Commander Movie site, in standard form...

The Good: It's finally here! There's lots of cool pictures and behind the scenes information - plus a whole lot of great background on the film.

The Bad: Flash! Why flash? I understand the flashy intro, although its purpose is meaningless, but of all things why is there a flash menubar? It's worth noting that it's nowhere near as cool as Dan's original two designs for the site.

Extra: Paladin's log entry is a bit of coolness worthy of being placed with your archived SecretOps & WCIV PSX fiction.

More Movie Pics!

As countless people have pointed out (thanks!) there are a bunch of Wing Commander Movie pictures from wcmovie.com that never got used! Check 'em out... especially the first one -- if that's not reason to see the WC movie I don't know what is!

Up To Date Mirrors

Here's the latest mirror list for the various Wing Commander Movie trailers! Anyone interested in providing links to the trailer may want to copy this list...

Stranger Than Fiction

Jibbo noticed a rather odd easter egg in the Confederation Handbook. Turn to page 116 and find the image captioned "View of Savant's deep layers of brain tissue between brain stem and left frontal lobe." Now compare that picture of Pilgrim brain tissue to the below image of the Lagoon Nebula, taken in 1995 by the Hubble Space Telescope. Eerie...

German Translation

Following up on the news update from this morning, CIC visitor Maik Knopf has translated the German news updates mentioning Wing Commander at gamers.de and rivazone.de. He sent us this snippet.

Gamers.de
Wing Commander Movie-Trailer released
The trailer for the Wing Commander-Movie was released recently. The result was that many download sites broke down due to heavy traffic. WCNews offers a list of mirror sites.

Rivazone.de
As reported on gamers.de, the Wing Commander Movie trailer is out now. You can download it here.

Commercial Airtime

Tiburon reports that he's seen a Wing Commander Movie commercial on MTV! Thanks, Tiburon, we hope your knee is better soon! I'm taping random things on MTV now in the hopes that I'll catch the commercial... will report back soon.

WingCommercial

After learning that Wing Commander Movie commercials are being shown on MTV now, I popped in a tape and recorded whatever I could find. I was able to catch one - here's exactly what's in it. If someone can make a realmovie of one of these commercials, it would be much appreciated!
20th Century FOX Logo
Obutu talks into a microphone.
Obutu: "Battle Stations".
Rapiers approach the screen.
Out the Tiger Claw's bridge windows.
Offscreen: "Kilrathi ships are closing!"
The Tiger Claw's broadside is hit.
Shot of the empty Tiger Claw flight deck.
Narrator: "To fight a new breed of enemy."
The back of Blair in marine gear.
Kilrathi armor in the darkness.
Blair in marine gear raises his gun.
Blair: "What is this thing?"
Shot of a Kilrathi face.
A Rapier flies through asteroids.
Rapiers cockpits close in prepration for launch.
Techs prep a Rapier.
Narrator: "Earths last hope is a new generation of warrior."
Gerald and Blair.
Blair: "Lieutenant Christopher Blair".
Maniac saluting.
Maniac: "Todd, Maniac Marshall".
Int. Rapier Cockpit - a Dralthi rams it.
Offscreen: "Two bogies, coming in hot!"
An explosion.
Angel in cockpit.
Angel: "Lets do it".
A lever is pulled.
A Rapier shoots off the flight deck.
A Rapier heads into fire.
Maniac is sucked accross the screen, yells.
A Kilrathi fires his Dor-chak.
Int. Rapier Cockpit - twists towards asteroids.
A Rapier passes the under the screen, leaving an explosion.
Rosie and Maniac freeze during jump.
Blair on the flight deck.
Narrator: "Freddie Prinze Jr."
A Rapier twists towards a crash landing on the flight deck.
Maniac on the flight deck.
Narrator: "Matthew Lillard."
Int. Rapier Cockpit - heading towards a battle.
Massive explosion.
'Wing Commander' appears onscreen.
Narrator: "Wing Commander".
Blair in a Broadsword turret.
Blair: "Whoo, I love this baby!".
Film block.
Narrator: "Rated PG-13. Starts March 12th, only in theaters."

A New Trailer

The new 'official' trailer has been released! It's much shorter and VERY similar to the commercial currently found on networks everywhere. It has a few significant changes, though: it reports that the movie is 'now in theaters', and shows short scenes to include Burrows and Karyo with the cast members mentioned in the narration.

Movie Soundtrack!

Fordat1 over at agwc reports that Sonic Images is producing a Wing Commander Movie soundtrack. Check out the release below.
WING COMMANDER OST on SONIC IMAGES RECORDS

Sonic Images is releasing the original soundtrack to WING COMMANDER, which is based on the the popular CD-ROM game.

The Film is scored by Kevin Kinder with the WING COMMANDER Main theme composed by David Arnold.

Kiner and Arnold worked together last on the sci-fi TV series "The Visitor".

The score was orchestrated and Conducted by Nicholas Dodd and performed by a 70 piece London Orchestra.

The CD will be available on March 9th from Sonic Images.

FYI, the film opens on March 12th and will have on it the extended five minute trailer for the new STAR WARS film.

Go to www.sonicimages.com for more information

Trailer Update!

As many of you know, the low-res versions of the Wing Commander movie trailer were taken offline last night (leaving only the two minute long, 33 MB, high-res trailer the CIC carried). This was because they are considered the "unofficial international trailer." The CIC has relocated all of them now and looks forward to the release of the official thirty-second trailer hopefully tonight at wcmovie.com. The new mirrors of the two minute "internatonal trailer" are below. Many thanks to Dan from Dan's Wing Commander movie page for this information.

A big thanks again to Dan's Wing Commander movie page and the Killer Bees for carrying the various versions of the "International Trailer."

Review #4

Coming Attractions posted a review of the Wing Commander Movie. Having read the script & novel, I'd have to say that I disagree with a whole lot of what this guy says -- but decide for yourself! (Oh, thanks go out to Geoffrey Elbo for finding this).
"Since no one's managed to put two-and-two together, I'll mention the only reason Wing Commander is getting a theatrical release and not headed straight-to-video is because She's All That (starring Freddie Prinze, Jr.) opened to such big numbers. That's the only thing that saved this movie from oblivion.

"Fox is now also planning on tagging the flick with the new 4 1/2 minute Star Wars trailer exclusively for its opening weekend. Given how weak WC is, they figure on grabbing all the loot they can the first weekend, since the grosses will plummet drastically based on bad word of mouth once people see it. But with Prinze, some competent marketing, and the Star Wars trailer, the film could double its budget back before vanishing from theaters in a month (which would only take about $50 million to do).

"As for the movie, well... it's basically the indulgence of a cocky, inexperienced first-time director. It has all the usual mistakes, just magnified onto a larger-than-usual canvas. Most of the problems should've been caught (and could've been fixed) at script stage. For instance, the film doesn't even know who its main character is! It's too bad there wasn't a strong, experienced producer on board to steer this film where it should've/could've gone. There's some nice work here and there, but it's mired in a mess. For example, there's some decent visual effects (cool space battles), but the Kilrathi make-up is just... sad.

"The cast is basically split between 'older' and 'younger' actors. The 'older' ones are good, though limited by their material. Tcheky Karyo really shines, and you can't help but wonder what he could have done with a real script. (Personally, I think he should have been the main character.) Suchet and Warner are solid, but don't have a lot to do. Quarshie is only glimpsed. Jurgen Prochnow is sorta surreal, actually, given the oh-so-obvious Das Boot rip-offs the film makes at every turn.

"An aside: Prochnow's character keeps obsessing (somewhat irrationally) about the fact that Blair is a 'Pilgrim,' over and over, ranting and raving. It's annoying and meaningless, because his prejudice isn't based on anything rational. It's thinly explained way too late in the film to matter, and is one of many examples of poor writing and shallow character development the film is strewn with.

"The younger cast is uniformly bad, except for Saffrom Burrows -- but she's grossly miscast. As the Wing Commander herself, she commands no authoritative presence. She just has pouty lips. Prinze, Jr. (Blair) is vacuous, dim and distant. He doesn't have the magnetism or charisma of a 'leading man.' In fact, it feels like he doesn't even know he's the lead in the film. Matthew Lillard (Maniac) is atrociously grating and annoyingly out-of-control, chewing scenery with reckless abandon. You want to shoot him. Ginny Holder (Rosie) doesn't exude any depth, nor inspire any interest -- which can be said of all four of these actors.

And, of course, we're subjected to ridiculous 'romance' subplots, pairing Prinze with Burrows, and Lillard with Holder. It's so absurdly stupid it's offensive. I mean, it comes out of nowhere, it isn't even marginally developed, and serves no constructive purpose for the plot. In fact, it often stops the film dead in its tracks (which doesn't take much).

"Another example of the film's poor writing and shallow character development has to do with the gimmick of how pilots deal with the loss of a comrade. They just say 'they never existed' as a coping mechanism. This is played out with self-conscious, high melodrama. It's ridiculous, and is a lame attempt at giving the characters depth and building resonance, but it's a cheap, paper-thin gimmick that undermines any possible emotional investment in them.

"Overall: while the film is quite an accomplishment for $27 million, it is an exercise in frustration. Fans of the video game who are satisfied with the level of storytelling they get from the CD-ROM's are in for a treat, with lots of solid effects work. Sci-fi/action film fans seeking a satisfying movie experience should probably just get up and leave after the new Star Wars trailer."

Get Ready

The below article was sent to Cinescape by FOX to help prepair non-initiates for the Wing Commander Movie. Note: this is the second time in as many days that FOX has proven that they can't remember the simple number '2654'.
"Earth year 2564. The Confederation is engaged in a brutal war with the vicious, bloodthirsty alien race, the Kilrathi. The Kilrathi have captured a computer navigation device, which they plan on using to jump behind enemy lines and attack Earth.

"Only three brazen young space pilots and their elite fighter squadron stand in the way of their planet's destruction.

"Christopher Blair (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) is fresh from the Academy, but his inexperience belies his incredible navigational skills. He has a genetically inbred gift – an innate feel for the stars and for space-time itself.

"Blair's buddy, Todd 'Maniac' Marshall (Matthew Lillard), is a brash, irresponsible fighter jock with a slightly crazed gleam in his eye. He likes to do things his way, and if he breaks a few rules, so much the better.

"Their wing commander is the strong-willed and beautiful Jeanette 'Angel' Deveraux (Saffron Burrows), the leader of the fighter squadron. Deveraux's laser-like focus and leadership skills mask her growing attraction for Chris.

"With nothing but their own rebellious ways in common, Deveraux, Blair and Maniac will come together to face a seemingly invincible enemy…with the future of mankind at stake."

Stress Relief

You might have noticed that the CIC is running quite a bit slower than normal today. Fortunately Jumpstart from the Killer Bees has graciously offerred to mirror our 33 megabyte version of the Wing Commander movie International Trailer (the main cause of today's traffic problems). We would appreciate it if some people tried getting it off KB to lighten the load on the CIC. The Killer Bees also carry the CIC's RealMovie version of the Wing Commander Academy animated television series. You can find the high-res International Trailer on Killer Bees here and the other trailer mirrors here.

Stress Relief Part 2

Unfortunately the intense demand for the trailer has been causing problems for the CIC's server (and the other web sites hosted by it) -- forcing us to remove it. Here's an up-to-date list of trailer mirrors- (We'd like to thank everyone mirroring the trailer - if you have space to do so and can help, please contact us.

Spoiler-Free

Author Chris McCubbin sent us another note about the Confederation Handbook.
It would never occur to the publisher to mention this in marketing materials, but it might be important to long-term fans, especially with the movie still a few weeks away. It should be known that the Confed Handbook is about 95% spoiler free. It doesn't reveal any of the major plot twists of the movie, just sets up the situation and characters as of the movie's start.
So if anyone out there was worried about spoilers, the Confederation Handbook is clean.

Trailer Available!?

The Wing Commander Movie trailer is available! Grab it in various forms below. Thanks to an anonymous tipster you can view this amazing trailer in a much higher resolution than is available from wcmovie.com. Grab it below...

A Quick Fix

Some people may experience difficulty viewing the new trailers. If you're one of those people, our Media Specialist, Hadrian, has come up with a fix.
This problem appears to occur in Voodoo Banshee cards, but it may be present in other cards as well. What happens is the following:

When the trailer is played, the video does not appear to update correctly and it flickers, here is the remedy:

Windows Media Player 5/6:

1) Open the video and right click on the playback window
2) Go to properties
3) Click on the "Advanced" Tab
4) Select "Video Renderer"
5) Click on the Properties Button
6) Click on the "DirectDraw" Tab
7) Under the "DirectDraw options" box, deselect the following:
YUV Flipping
RGB Flipping
It should look like this: (Show picture here)
8) Enjoy the Trailer!

Movie Review #3

Well, looks like we've found another Wing Commander Movie review from that screening they had a while back. It's better than the first, and worse than the second... check it out. (It's from the IMDb).
Wing Commander: The Movie is not what I expected it to be. I never played the game, but you don't have to know the game to understand the movie. What really caught my attention at first, was Freddie Prinze Jr., Matthew Lillard, and Checky Karyo. They gave a good performance. Though, the plot really leaks. I didn't like it at all, though humor was good. The fighting scenes were low cuz there was no laser guns or nothi'....no they still had bullets in 2261 or whatever year it was playing in. The performance's were fairly good, the humor was the best, the directing was decent, and the action elements were disappointing. With it's 90-minute running time, you can't expect too much. Freddie Prinze Jr. and Matthew Lillard make a good team. They should star together in more movies like She's All That. But despite the things I said, one may love it, one may hate it. You check it and decide.

More, More, More!

Intwydamalu was kind enough to send the below article from MPlayer. It's pretty much the same as the Gamcenter article from a few days ago, but I figure it's good to have a copy of it in the archive for future generations of WingNuts...
The wait for the Wing Commander movie is almost over.

Twentieth Century Fox will release Wing Commander on March 12, announced Tom Sherak, chairman of Twentieth Domestic Film Group, in a statement to the press. The movie is based on the popular series of games of the same name. The series was created by Chris Roberts while he was at Origin. Roberts now heads Digital Anvil, but signed a deal with Origin that allowed him to direct the movie, his feature film debut.

Wing Commander will center around Christopher Blair, the "star" of the first four Wing Commander games. Blair is played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. Other roles being reprised from the game include Maniac, played by Mathew Lillard; and Deveraux, played by Saffron Burrows. Other stars in the movie include Tcheky Karyo, David Suchet, David Warner, Ginny Holder, and Jurgen Prochnow.

In an interview today, Roberts discussed the movie with Gamecenter. "The story is loosely based around the events of the first game; Maniac and Blair are fresh out of the Academy," he said. "The Kilrathi capture a vital piece of the jump technology and the TCS Tigerclaw is the only ship in a position to slow them down. It's a 'defend the earth' type of story."

Roberts drew inspiration for the movie and the original game from World War II, specifically the war in the Pacific. "I wanted to make an old-fashioned World War II film and set it in space," Roberts said. "The Kilrathi are like the Japanese in World War II and the Confederation are like the U.S. There are a lot of interior scenes--kind of a submarine feel. I wanted a distinct look and feel for the film."

Roberts and Digital Anvil have film and television rights to the first four Wing Commander games, so if this movie is successful, gamers may see additional movies. "We want this to be our first entry in the film business," Roberts said. "Down the road we hope to be doing a fair amount of film work. If this film is successful we will probably be doing another, but we want to do other films besides Wing Commander."

So what was it like making a feature film as opposed to a game? "The scale was bigger--there's a lot more money involved," said Roberts. "If you want to think about something for 10 minutes you're burning money as you have 150 people waiting for you." He added, "You really have to be prepared because there isn't a lot of budget for reshoots." Roberts also noted the different storytelling pace of a movie compared to the Wing Commander games: "There is an inherent difference between the 20 hours you get in a game to tell the story and the limited time you get in a movie."

Roberts hasn't forgotten his gaming roots, though. He's heading the development of Freelancer for Digital Anvil, a "massively multiplayer" space game set in an entirely new game universe. "It will be space adventuring, trading, and much more, with elements like feudal houses for players to be a part of," Roberts explained.

Freelancer is a game that Roberts has been itching to do ever since he played Elite and designed Privateer. "I was a big fan of Elite," he said. "With Privateer, we never fully realized some of what I wanted to do." So that's one of the reasons why Roberts wants to do Freelancer--to finally make the game he really wanted to create. He added that the game has been in development for two years now, and will be released in 2000. Roberts also mentioned that there's a possibility of doing a film set in the Freelancer universe as well.

Roberts completed Wing Commander more than two months ago, which allows for it to be released before the highly anticipated Star Wars prequel.

On The Next WC

Wow, can't believe I missed this -- Boomer posted the following over at the WOO Board regarding the next Wing Commander game... The moral of the story is, of course, be patient and we'll find out eventually.
Actually I can't comment on unannounced products, but I will say there is 'something in the works' that should please both WC and Privateer fans. Don't look for it (or info for that matter) anytime soon however... it's in the very earliest stages of definition.

The Love Arrow Loves You!

Happy V-Day everybody (not to be confused with VK Day). Just a reminder to tell that special someone (or in the case of the staff, that special force feedback joystick) how much you care about her/him.

X-Toys Advertises

The latest issue of ToyFare (April 1999) features a full page advertisement for the Wing Commander action figures from X-Toys! It reports that the figures will be on the 3 3/4" scale, like the popular Star Wars toys. New information includes the fact that the figures will come with "multiple accessories" and a "trading card included with each figure". I can't wait...

Different Press Release, Same Process

Much like various sites did in regards to the original Fox Movie Press Release, various sites are now reporting on the announcement about movie merchandise. Here's GamesMania's take below. Thanks to Chris LaRoche.
Digital Anvil, the company formed by Wing Commander creator Chris Roberts, has secured a licensing deal for the upcoming Wing Commander movie.

DA will work with Creative Licensing Concepts to create WC-themed merchandise including toys (Action Figures and Space Ships), limited-edition posters, bicycles and jewelry. There will also be hats, t-shirts, adult and children's novels, and even masks and costumes.

The move opens in theaters in North America on March 12, 1999. Chris Roberts himself will be directing, and the cast including Freddy Prinze Junior as Blair (I Know What You Did Last Summer), Mathew Lillard as Maniac (Scream), Saffron Burrows as Angel (Circle of Friends) and David Warner as Tolwyn (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). The movie will be rated by PG-13.

Minor Mention

According to the official Matthew Lillard web site an article in Time Out New York entitled "99 People to Watch in 99" lists Matthew, and mentions his upcoming Wing Commander role.

Lillard Bows Out

Matthew Lillard's official web site also reports some disappointing news: Lillard (who plays Maniac Marshall) won't be promoting Wing Commander (on talk shows and such) because he's busy filming Love's Labour Lost.

AVault's Take

AVault, which I've never liked much, had a nice article on the Wing Commander Movie. I guess I should consider changing my opinion of them...
Digital Anvil Secures Licensing for Wing Commander Movie

Digital Anvil, in conjunction with Creative Licensing Concepts, have announced a selection of Wing Commaner movie-themed merchandise, including toys, limited-edition posters, bicycles and jewelry. This licensing deal follows on the heels of 20th Century Fox's recent announcement that the sci-fi adventure film will be released to theaters nationwide on March 12th.

The movie marks a first in both the computer game and film industries, as the film's director, Chris Roberts, is also the creator of the first four of computer games on which the movie is based. ORIGIN Systems, an Austin-based entertainment software developer, granted the movie rights to Digital Anvil in late 1997. In addition to directing the film, Roberts, CEO of Digital Anvil, also co-wrote the script with Kevin Droney and Mike Finch.

"Since its inception, I have treated the Wing Commander computer game series as a cinematic production with the firm intention that my creation would someday make its way to the big screen," said Roberts. "With the movie releasing in March, moviegoers will be able to get caught up in the emotion and compelling characters that made the games so popular."

Cinescape's Take

And here's the same thing, from Cinescape...
'Wing' Release Details
20th Century Fox is so pleased with a recent screening of Wing Commander's final print, that they intend to push the film in a big way. Obviously, early word of the long Star Wars: Episode One – The Phantom Menace trailer being attached to the film's prints won't hurt too much when it hits screens on March 12. According to Variety, Fox also intends to get the film placed on as many as 1500 screens. The trade also reports that besides the good screening buzz, a rival distributor was at one time interested in giving the film full theatrical release. Sensing they may have another franchise on their hands, Fox has decided to take additional risk with Wing Commander. Fox originally intended to give the film a limited theatrical release, and then larger exposure through home video distribution.

Variety Reports

Geoffrey Elbo was kind enough to send us this article from Variety (which he found at Yahoo!). Very interesting...
Friday February 12 8:20 AM ET
Fox winging CD-ROM picture
By Chris Petrikin
HOLLYWOOD (Variety) - After viewing the final print of ``Wing Commander,'' 20th Century Fox liked what it saw and is moving forward on a wide theatrical release of the sci-fi adventure picture -- now slated for a March 12 release. While a studio spokeswoman could not give an exact screen count for the release, it's understood Fox intends to get the picture on as many as 1,500 screens. Based on the top-selling, live action CD-ROM game, the picture stars Freddie Prinze Jr. (``She's All That''), Matthew Lillard (``Scream'') and Saffron Burrows (``Circle of Friends''). Fox originally intended the pickup to be a video title that would have only a limited theatrical release. But after seeing the completed picture (and after interest from a rival distributor) Fox brass decided the PG-13 film could be a viable entry in the sluggish days of March. Chris Roberts, who directed two of the CD-Rom games, made his feature directorial debut on ``Wing Commander,'' from a screenplay he wrote with Kevin Droney and Mike Finch.
Reuters/Variety

The Coolest Press Release Ever

Whisper, of Origin fan club WOO & uber cool gaming news site Game Worlds, sent me a copy of what can only be described as the above. It's all the info you could want on the Wing Commander Movie products...
DIGITAL ANVIL SECURES LICENSING DEAL FOR WING COMMANDER MOVIE PROPERTY

be Released Nationwide on March 12 by 20th Century Fox

Austin, TX, February 11, 1999 – Attention WING COMMANDER™ shoppers: prepare for a full retail assault! Digital Anvil, in conjunction with Creative Licensing Concepts, today announced a 'stellar' selection of WING COMMANDER movie-themed merchandise including toys, limited-edition posters, bicycles and jewelry. This licensing deal follows on the heels of 20th Century Fox's recent announcement that the sci-fi adventure film will be released to theaters nationwide on March 12th, 1999.

The WING COMMANDER movie marks a first in both the computer game and film industries, as the film's director, Chris Roberts, is also the creator of the first four of ORIGIN Systems'™ WING COMMANDER computer games on which the movie is based. ORIGIN Systems, an Austin-based entertainment software developer, granted the WING COMMANDER film and movie rights to Digital Anvil in late 1997. In addition to directing the film, Roberts, CEO of Digital Anvil, also co-wrote the script with Kevin Droney and Mike Finch.

"We've had a great response from retailers wanting to stock WING COMMANDER merchandise in anticipation of the movie," said Marten Davies, president of Digital Anvil. "Millions of people have already experienced WING COMMANDER through the computer game series. With the movie and our merchandising efforts, we are hoping to turn others on to the great universe that Chris Roberts created."

WING COMMANDER merchandise includes:

  • Action Figures and Space Ships (X-Toys) (Now being shown at the X-Toys howroom at Toyfair in NY, #307)
  • WING COMMANDER Adult and Junior Novelizations, Fact Book, and Continuity Novels (HarperCollins)
  • WING COMMANDER Collectors Magazine (Starlog)
  • Signed and Limited Edition Art Posters (Hasson Fine Art Corp.)
  • Masks and Costumes (Cinema Secrets)
  • Collectible Pilgrim Cross Jewelry (United Cutlery)
  • Children's Bicycles and Backpacks (Rand International)
  • T-shirts and Hats (Altuf Sportswear )
  • Posters (Scipubtech and Scorpio Poster)

WING COMMANDER combines science fiction settings and state-of-the-art special effects created by Digital Anvil, with the story and creative elements of a grand adventure film. The film follows the exploits of rebellious rookie space pilot Christopher Blair, played by Freddie Prinze, Jr. ("She's All That"). Carrying an encoded message about an invasion from an alien race, Blair, his fellow maverick pilot Maniac (Matthew Lillard of "Scream" and "She's All That"), and their beautiful superior officer, Deveraux (Saffron Burrows of "Circle of Friends"), mobilize to evade and ultimately repel the alien attack. Tcheky Karyo, David Suchet, David Warner, Ginny Holder and Jurgen Prochnow also star.

"Since its inception, I have treated the WING COMMANDER computer game series as a cinematic production with the firm intention that my creation would someday make its way to the big screen," said Roberts. "Now with the movie releasing in March, moviegoers will be able to get caught up in the emotion and compelling characters that made the WING COMMANDER games so popular."

WING COMMANDER is a No Prisoners/Digital Anvil production in association with ORIGIN Systems Inc. and Carousel Picture Company, with Todd Moyer of No Prisoners serving as producer, and Jean-Martial Lefranc and Romain Schroeder as executive producers. WING COMMANDER is rated PG-13.

Since the 1990 launch of the first title, the WING COMMANDER series has spawned four full sequels and numerous derivative products combining to generate sales of more than five million units worldwide. In that time, the WING COMMANDER series has consistently broken new ground. WING COMMANDER III was one of the first interactive movies and marked the first extensive use of full-motion video in a computer game. WING COMMANDER IV was the first game to use 35-millimeter film for its linear narrative. ORIGIN released WING COMMANDER: Prophecy, the fifth installment in the series, to critical acclaim in 1997.

ORIGIN Systems
ORIGIN Systems develops and publishes state-of-the-art entertainment software. To date, the company has released more than 50 titles, including the award-winning Ultima, WING COMMANDER, Privateer and Crusader series of games. ORIGIN also develops titles under the Jane's® Combat Simulations brand. ORIGIN is based in Austin, Texas, with additional offices in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Electronic Arts (NASDAQ: ERTS). More information on ORIGIN products can be found on the Internet at http://www.origin.ea.com

Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

No Prisoners
No Prisoners is a production and visual effects company specializing in producing visual effects driven, cutting-edge motion pictures. Todd Moyer serves as President of No Prisoners Productions and CEO of No Prisoners 3DFX. Moyer is a long-standing entertainment executive and film producer. Next up for No Prisoners is BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA, which is scheduled for a late summer start in Luxembourg. Moyer is also producing the high-concept action/adventure update of JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS for DreamWorks Pictures. Also on the No Prisoners slate is a motion-picture adaptation of Philip K. Dick's A SCANNER DARKLY, which Moyer is producing with Jersey Films for Universal Pictures. No Prisoners 3DFX, which comprises numerous members of the effects team responsible for the stunning visual effects for WING COMMANDER, is presently providing the special visual effects for the upcoming FORTREESS II.

Digital Anvil
Headquartered in Austin, TX, Digital Anvil is an entertainment company specializing in the fusion of silicon and celluloid. In addition to creating innovative, bleeding-edge, interactive computer games and movies with star power and mass-market appeal, Digital Anvil is also a digital production house creating state-of-the-art visual effects. Founded by Chris Roberts, creator of the best-selling WING COMMANDER series, Digital Anvil has a top creative team from the game and film industries, and key marketing and equity partnerships with industry leaders Microsoft and Advanced Micro Devices. Digital Anvil can be found on the Web at http://www.digitalanvil.com

# # #

Digital Anvil is a trademark of Digital Anvil, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

ORIGIN, ORIGIN Systems, WING COMMANDER, Ultima, Privateer, WING COMMANDER: Prophecy, and Electronic Arts are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts in the U.S. and/or other countries. Jane's is a registered trademark of Jane's Information Group Ltd.

HarperCollins Updates

Semi-humerous update -- HarperCollins has updated their page with more detailed information about the three currently available Wing Commander Movie books. Check out the novel, the junior novel and the handbook. What's so funny? Listen to the plot description for the movie - I suppose Pegasus Naval Base is the peaceful planet...
The egomaniacal alien Kilrathi have struck again, savaging a peaceful planet at the edge of space. And worse, they have captured a NAVCOM device that will lead them straight to Earth!

Attack of the Super Models!

No, it's not the title of that movie Byydo and I made, it's what we've decided to dub some incredible WC 3DSMAX renderings done by Mihai Vladu. It's really, really sweet. You can grab this incredible Arrow at WC3D or right here.

Trailing Rumors

Cinescape posted the below about the Star Wars "B" Trailer yesterday, and it made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside (as if I'd eaten a caterpillar)...
The Insider hears from a reliable source that recent speculation that Fox's Wing Commander feature, to be released on March 12th, will play host to the expanded trailer for Star Wars: Episode One -- The Phantom Menace may very well be on the nose. The odds at this time are extremely good that things will turn out that way, my source indicated. After all, what better way to get sci-fi fans to stampede to theaters across the country for the release of Wing Commander? Maybe more people will actually stick around for the feature presentation this time too, which just might help Fox jump-start a new genre franchise.

Poking Fun

Wow, PCXL had something to say about the Wing Commander Movie -- and it wasn't offensive! Check it out...
Wing Commander: All Systems Go!

Film To Offer "Movie-Quality Sound And Storytelling"

The long-awaited Wing Commander movie will be blasting into theaters beginning March 12th, announced Twentieth Century Fox. The Mark Hamill-less picture is based on the popular Wing Commander series of PC games.

"We are thrilled to announce our plans for a wide release of Wing Commander. The film has all the elements of a fun movie-going experience, an exciting cast, big special effects and lots of science-fiction action," said a spokesperson that has yet to see the movie or play the game upon which it is based. The film and any possible sequels are hoped to employ Malcolm McDowell for the foreseeable future, saving him from the embarrassment of starring in future lame sitcoms with Rhea Perlman or remakes of cheesy '70s Aaron Spelling dramas.

For optimal enjoyment of the film, a Voodoo 2 card and a SoundBlaster Live! are required.

Disclamer!

I noticed that yesterday's GameCenter article had a little Wing Commander Movie picture attached to it - this is NOT the movie artwork! It's some cool fan art that somebody did a while ago, which seems to be oft-confused for actual movie stuff. Also, isn't it odd that Chris Roberts called the WC Movie carrier TCS?

More Of The Same

Speaking of press-release fueled may-hem, my bro (literally) Gavin sent me the below clipping from 'Zentertainment'.
An official release date of March 12th has been set for the WING COMMANDER feature film, bringing the long-running space combat video game franchise to the big screen. The film is directed by WC creator Chris Roberts, and anyone that has seen the effects work done by DIGITAL ANVIL would rave about them if they could get their jaw off the ground. It's cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr., (She's All That) as Christopher "Maverick" Blair, Matthew Lillard (Scream, She's All That) as Todd "Maniac" Marshall, and Saffron Burrows (Hotel de Love, Deep Blue Sea) as Jeanette "Angel" Devereaux. Plus... Seeing as how this is a FOX film being released in March, and a sci-fi one to boot, it's almost a certainty that the STAR WARS - EPISODE 1: THE PHANTOM MENACE full trailer will premiere before it.

Film Footage!

Well, we're all still waiting for the trailer, but you can see a whopping two seconds of lowqual Wing Commander Movie footage in this realmovie of a segment from a January 7th E! Daily News. It's from ubercool Matthew Lillard official site, which hopefully won't mind if we distribute it here.

Rumors Resurface

Wizard reports that the current issue of Hacker (a Croatian magazine) says that Origin told them the following concerning Privateer 3: "For now we do not want to confirm any speculations, but still we can say that there is a secret project in progress." Is it true? Who knows, but I have a hunch we'll find out what's coming soon.

Oops...

Rip, who was an extra on the WC Movie site, sends the below correction with interesting information to the cast pictures page.
One other thing, the picture of Rosie Forbes you have on the cast pics page- I'm almost positive isn't her. The girls on that picture are just extras, one was from Ireland and the other was French, they both lived in Lux. Rosie's hair was bleached and she was way better looking.

See the Movies

Lars was kind enough to send in an update version of his Wing Commander 3 movie editor. Grab it here. The tre extractor now extracts WC4 files as well.

FOX Tells Press

For those of you skeptical about the March 12th date for the movie, skepticize no longer: here's the official press release from FOX (which came from Yahoo! Finance).
Monday February 8, 2:20 pm Eastern Time

Company Press Release

20th Century Fox to Release ``Wing Commander'' in Theaters Nationwide On March 12

LOS ANGELES--(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)--Feb. 8, 1999--Twentieth Century Fox will release the science-fiction adventure film ``Wing Commander'' in theaters nationwide on March 12, it was announced Monday by Tom Sherak, chairman of Twentieth Domestic Film Group.

``Wing Commander'' combines state-of-the-art science-fiction special effects and settings with the story and creative elements of a grand adventure film. Based on the best-selling, legendary computer- game series of the same name, the film follows the exploits of rebellious rookie space pilot Christopher Blair, played by Freddie Prinze Jr. (``She's All That'').

Carrying an encoded message about an invasion from an alien race, Blair, his fellow maverick pilot Maniac (Matthew Lillard of ``Scream'') and their beautiful superior officer, Deveraux (Saffron Burrows of ``Circle of Friends''), mobilize to evade and ultimately repel the alien attack.

Tcheky Karyo, David Suchet, David Warner, Ginny Holder and Jurgen Prochnow also star.

Chris Roberts, the creator of the ``Wing Commander'' computer games, makes his feature-film directing debut. The film is produced by Todd Moyer. The screen story and screenplay are by Kevin Droney, based on a story and characters created by Roberts.

Executive producers are Joseph N. Cohen, Jean-Martial LeFranc and Romain Schroeder. ``Wing Commander'' is a No Prisoners Productions and Digital Anvil presentation in association with Origin Systems Inc. and The Carousel Picture Co.

Sherak commented: ``We are thrilled to announce our plans for a wide release of `Wing Commander' on March 12. The film has all the elements of a fun moviegoing experience -- an exciting cast, big special effects and lots of science-fiction action.''

``Wing Commander'' producer Moyer added, ``We enjoyed great freedom making this movie, and I'm thrilled that Fox is taking on the film and releasing it in March.''

``Wing Commander'' is rated PG-13.

Twentieth Century Fox is a unit of Fox Filmed Entertainment, a unit of Fox Entertainment Group.

Odds And Ends

After four days of downtime, my phone lines are back up. US West promises to have new lines in my neighborhood and into my house in about three months to permanently fix the problem. On another note, in regards to yesterday's report that mentioned the 'Confederation Oath of Service', the cover was indeed not designed by the author of the book. However, Mr. McCubbin sent us a note a while back telling us to look out for that and apologized for the oversight.

A Date With A Doll

Eight dolls.. Super Software (owned by Software Etc./Babbages) reports that they'll be receiving the Wing Commander movie action figures on February 22. Unfortunately they'll only be getting the figures (no vehicles). Super Software lists them at $7.99.

New Mini-Review: The Wing Commander Confederation Handbook

Well, it's only fair to judge the handbook as what it is - a new continuity, so here's my new review.

The Good: It's colorful, it's full of information and it's layed out in a cool manner. This book establishes an incredible new background for the Wing Commander Universe, which is all very well done. The format, various WC-era documents viewed via some sort of web browser, is great. Everything from scientific thesis' on jump technology, to extracts from Joan's to "In step with... Admiral Tolwyn"!

The Bad: There are a few internal inconsistancies, which aren't even worth mentioning. You won't notice them. The only real problem with this book is the cover - for some reason it, in large letters, proclaims "Contains Confederation Oath of Service!". I'm left confused as to why this is so important, and why it says this - the Oath is nowhere to be found. I'm betting the people who wrote the book didn't design the cover...

Extra: On a rather nifty note, the guide does NOT go into the actual story of the WC movie - simply the elements around it. You can buy this book and still be surprised by the movie itself.

Telep Reports Too

Well, I'm just happy that these people actually read the CIC. Peter Telep comments on the Confederation Handbook and how it relates to his upcoming books... I think this situation is probably just fine, and since I'll have extra time tommorow (no braille on Fridays!) I'll do a new review of the handbook, assuming that the movie and the games are completely seprate. And now...
Just read Chris McCubbin's response to your remarks and have one of my own:

Chris writes:

For example, take the ship stats. Now, Peter was working without having seen even an early draft of the movie, and with very limited photo reference, so he pulled some things from the games. I was working a bit behind him, and had some better information, particularly about special effects and design. Therefore, my ship stats are MORE accurate -- to the movie continuity -- than the novels.

Peter responds:

Chris is absolutely right on this point. I weekly bugged the production people for materials and received some stuff, but materials regarding the ships seemed hard to get. I didn't even see a picture of the Tiger Claw until AFTER I wrote the novel and had to go back and make adjustments. But this is par for the course with tie-in work. They gave me about eight or so weeks to write the book, so I couldn't wait for them. Also, I was instructed to use as little material as possible from the games because of licensing restrictions. This seemed ironic to me, but I did what I could. I knew fans would appreciate some crossover between the games and the novels, but what we're really trying to do here is, as Chris writes, create another continuity.

With that in mind, my next two novels will rely on Chris's book as a bible of sorts. I'll be drawing from it liberally to maintain continuity and because it's one hell of a text. I'm certain that the next two novels will remain faithful to the movie continuity and to what Chris has done. I've taken measures to correct things like time (Zulu is gone, replaced by the digital clock), ship names (it's not TCS in the movie continuity; it's CS), and I've more accurately described the components of the ships like "rotary barrel neutron gun" instead of "barrel-shaped rotating laser cannons," which was my naive first attempt at describing them. The changes will, I'm sure, spark heated debate--but that's a cool thing itself.

Finally, I must confess that I felt a little awkward taking this job. William Forstchen's work looms over this material. I knew comparisons would be made (they shoulda got Forstchen to write the movie books instead of this Telep loser) and that I would simply have to deal with that. It's actually not fair to Bill either since he'll be exposed to the comparisons as well--and I do admire his work a great deal. He pays much more attention to the language than many others working in this genre and has produced an amazing body of work, both tie-in and original material.

When I get time, I'll fill you on the Merlin stuff and whatever else strikes me! Go ahead and post this if you choose.

Oldziey's Article

Wow, I finally found a copy of the January issue of Film Score Monthly - featuring an article by George Oldziey (who did the scores for WC3-WCP). Here's the article, which is rather well written and very interesting... there's a picture of the man himself at the bottom.
Wing Command Diary
One composer's experience writing in the Wing Commander Game Universe
by George Oldziey

I was living the quiet life of an Austin, Texas freelance musician during the spring of 1994 when a friend told me about a job opening for a composer at Origin Systems, a leading producer of interactive entertainment software. Since I've always been one to seek new musical challenges, I quickly sketched a piece in the best tradition of action films (and slightly reminiscent of that "galaxy far, far away"), sequenced it with a borrowed computer and synthesizer module (with a lot of help from a friend) and recorded the piece to a cassette tape which I delivered a few days later. Two days after I submitted the tape I was hired. Unbeknownst to me I would be composing the music for the cutting-edge CD-ROM title, Wing Commander 3. The next six months turned out to be one of the most exciting and rewarding periods of my life.

Mission Background

Wing Commander, the popular interactive space-flight simulator series, has been known as an industry leader in the computer gaming realm for its use of cinematic-style graphics, video and sound since its inception almost four years prior to my arrival at Origin. Chris Roberts, the multi-talented creator, producer and director of each installment in the series, had always had the vision of blurring the boundaries between gaming and cinema. With Wing 3 this "interactive movie" concept would be pushed to its limits. It was to be the first interactive title to feature full-motion video with Hollywood stars Mark Hamill, Malcolm McDowell, John Rhys-Davies and Tom Wilson, and it would require an actual film score to enhance its ground aspirations. That's where I came in.
   When I first arrived at Origin I was a neophyte to the computer game scene. I had been making my living as a performer (classical trumpet and jazz piano), composer and music teacher, both in New York City and Austin. Having just bought my first computer a year earlier, and having used my sequencing program just prior to submitting my Origin demo, I had rarely played any computer games and had never heard of Wing Commander. Nevertheless, I was literally thrust into a maelstrom that was the Wing Commander 3 production schedule.
   Chris Robert's vision for the music was that it have an orchestral, film score quality. Having had conservatory training (Manhattan School of Music) and the opportunity to perform regularly in orchestras in New York City I felt prepared for that particular challenge. However, when I found out that all of the music had to be arranged for the General MIDI format, I really had to put my arranger's hat on. While General MIDI music definitely has its place in the computer game music world, trying to achieve that big film-score sound can be a daunting task given the polyphony (number of notes that can be heard simultaneously) and patch choice restrictions involved.

Indoctrination

My initial assignment was to compose 30 minutes of "gameplay" or space flight music which would be heard while a player was within what the game programmers called an "action sphere." In other words, certain pieces would be grouped together and individually triggered by an event or level of intensity set in motion by the player. I was given an extensive list of short pieces ranging in length from five-second "jingles" which would be triggered by certain events such as blowing up a Kilrathi (big, cat-like bad guy) ship to three-minute "mission tunes" which the player would hear while cruising around the galaxy looking for action. Each piece, except the "jingles," had to be able to musically and seamlessly loop back to its beginning. They also had to be able to transition into any other piece that could be heard while in that particular action sphere. As a composer, I felt that this necessitated having music that did now establish a tonality, or key, for very long, if at all. All the music turned out to be tonal, and very thematic, but I kept it modulating frequently so that the ear did not perceive a sudden and awkward change when one piece would segue into another as the intensity level changed.
   It took a month of trial and error to find the exact sound that Chris was looking for. After I found that sound, I enthusiastically dove into the task of completing all the gameplay music. Then, at one of our weekly team meetings, I Heard discussion about Chris and several team members heading out to Los Angeles for the "shoot." I was a bit confused. I thought we were working on a computer game. No one had told me that there was to be an actual movie in the game - over 3 1/2 hours of picture as it turned out. I leaned over to a co-worked and quietly asked what they were talking about and if there was going to be music for all this. He looked at me strangely and said, "Yes. Aren't you going to compose it?" I told him, "Yes, of course" - still not knowing for sure. It was later confirmed that I had in fact been hired to compose for the game's interactive movie portion. My first reaction was apprehension, because I had never had the chance to compose music to picture before. It quickly turned to excitement when I realized the scope of what we were undertaking. I ran out and bought a book on how to compose using SMPTE and then readied myself for the first reel.
   Fortunately, when that first reel arrived, I was close to having completed my work on the gameplay music. Consequently I had a wealth of themes ad my disposal to use in the movie, to create a sense of continuity when going from playing the game to watching the flicks. The decision had been made to include a digital soundtrack to be synched with the digital video. This enabled me to go beyond the constraints of General MIDI and utilize some bigger sounds which I did with great joy.
   During an early spotting session I was puzzled that many of the movie scenes seemed to end very abruptly and were then followed by several different possible conclusions to the same scene. This was the "interactive" part of the movie. The player would come to this point in certain scenes and then be given a choice about which path to take. As the composer I had to figure out a way for the music to branch off into several different paths, of which the player would hear only one at any given time. This was less problematic than I originally thought. I used similar transitional material to get from the main storyline to each individual branch and would then take the music for each branch to a separate logical conclusion based on where that particular dramatic ending would go - such as success, failure, death or total annihilation of the human species.
   After coming to grips with the technical issues involved, I hunkered down for the remainder of the production and post-production schedule. Because of the sheer volume of picture involved, I usually had to begin working on a real before it was locked. I would received a locked reel weeks after I had finished composting to the unlocked version, which is nothing new to most film composer. Eight weeks and nine reels after I had composed over 2 1/2 hours of music to picture. A lot of work, but definitely a labor of love.

Mission Accomplished

When I first arrived at Origin I literally had no idea how much excitement Wing Commander 3 was generating in the entertainment industry. During the course of production I was interviewed by various journalists who were doing stories on the progress of the game. I was being asked questions such as "How does if feel to be working on Wing Commander 3?" After all, we were doing things that hadn't been done before. I usually managed some appropriate answer, still wondering what all the fuss was about.
   Looking back at what I was doing before Wing 3 and what I've been doing since, I realize that it was a big deal, especially on a personal level. It's not often that a composer gets such a huge project for his first credit. That definitely is not the norm in the entertainment industry. I've since completed two other Wing Commander titles for Origin, the epic Wing Commander 4 (which featured over five hours of pictures shot on film and over 3 1/2 hours of music!), and the recently released Wing Commander Prophecy. Each of these titles has received a lot of awards and critical acclaim for their groundbreaking visuals, sound and technology. I couldn't have hand-picked a more exciting and fulfilling opportunity to get started composing music for games and film.

More from McCubbin

I asked Chris McCubbin, author of the Confederation Handbook, why he had to move the Kilrathi war up to starting in 2638 - his response makes a lot of sense, here it is...
OK, since you asked.

It's the damn Pilgrims' fault. EVERYTHING is the damn Pilgrims' fault. If they hadn't decided to make Blair Pilgrimerific, the continuity could have been a LOT closer to the games'.

Specifically, re. the date of the Iason incident ... OK, Blair's in his early 20s. His parents were both killed in the Pilgrim war when he was a toddler (actually, the script implies he was a bit older, but I fudged). If I stuck with the games' chronology, this means that the Pilgrim affair either *immediately* preceeded the Kilrathi dustup, or they actually overlapped.

So why is that a problem? Well, to me at least, one of the central themes of the whole Wing Commander milieu has always been the resonance with real-world history. Call it the "Pearl Harbor" metaphor. (Bill Fortschen has carried this metaphor sometimes to extremes in the game novels.) The assumption has always been that when the Kilrathi attacked, Confed was big, peaceful, reasonably enlightened and more than a bit complacent - just like the US when the Japanese attacked Pearl. If the Kilrathi had immediately followed the Pilgrim thing, Confed would have been a bit more battered but a LOT more ready. Like America going into Korea. That just seemed wrong, so I juggled the timeline to give Confed a few years' buffer between the wars. (And let's emphasize here that if I hadn't changed the dates, the Pilgrim thing would have still introduced discrepencies into continuity, they just might have been a bit better camoflaged.)

Basically, it was a choice between sticking closer to the chronology of the games, or to the central themes of the games. I decided that theme was more important to keeping the book a "real" Wing Commander experience.

That was my main reason, anyway. I think it's a lot better substantiated than making Angel English and Paladin French (although I think both actors are great).

Again, use this however you want.

Non-WC Kinda Update

Although this has nothing to do with WC, CZ poster Cav asks that we mention that Games Domain is running a petition to save the recently cancelled Star Trek game, Secret of Vulcan Fury. You can go fill it out here.

FOX Fights

Apparently FOX, source of both good (Wing Commander) and evil (Ally McBeal) decided to balk at the prospect of releasing the movie of the year before that new Star Wars film. So those intelligent people over at Digital Anvil did the only thing they could - looked for a new studio which would satsify their pre-Phantom Menace needs. Apparently some other studio thought that the WC movie would be a wonderful thing to put out right now -- possibly Sony, who showed an interest in the film long ago. This scared FOX into getting things right, and it now looks like the WC Movie will be out very soon. (This exciting rumor comes, of course, from Dan's Wing Commander Movie Site).

Previewing an Interview

SXGlory knows everything. Well, he knows a lot of stuff. In particular, he knows that the February issue of Previews says that Starlog #263 will have an interview with Freddie Prinze Jr. on the WC Movie. We'll get it to you as soon as it's available -- wow, this'll be the third Starlog in a row I'll have bought. Isn't it cool how Starlog (of which Sci-Fi Teen is a division) is so keen on promoting the movie?

It's a Date

It's official - the release date for the Wing Commander Movie is March 12th, 1999. Let the countdown begin. (The CIC Countdown is thanks to the amazing Trelane).

Conventional Standards

Sivar, of agwc, reported some interesting news. Apparently Peter Telep (WC novelist extraordinaire) will be appearing at a pair of sci fi conventions in Orlando: MegaCon (March 5-7th) and Tachy10Con (May 28-31). Don Perrin (who created the Wing Commander Card Game) will be at that second one. Anyway, I'm interested in heading down south for one of those... if there's enough interest maybe we can get some WC fans together for it.

McCubbin Reports

Chris McCubbin was kind enough to drop me a line to explain some things about the Confederation Handbook -- everything he says makes a lot of sense for those of you who care about continuity with the games and such. Let me just mention that I realized a lot of the below, and apologize if I made it seem as though I thought he'd actually forgotten things. Here's the note...
Just read your review on the CIC. Thanks for the kind things.

I must take exception to one of the main points you made - that I disregarded, forgot or altered continuity in the book. It's not the Confed Handbook that changed continuity, it's the movie itself. Everything in the Confed Handbook follows RELIGIOUSLY from the continuity of the MOVIE. However, that continuity is deliberately, extensively and consistantly DIFFERENT from the continuity of the games.

I like to explain it by reference to Batman. Batman has a comics series, a series of movies and an animated series. Each one uses the same characters, basically the same motivations, and all have certain benchmark events in common. However, things fit together differently - they are different, although related -- realities. That's the way it is with the movie and the games (and the animated cartoon too, for that matter). They are not part of the same story, they are different stories about the same people.

If you can find anything in the book that contradicts the script, then I'll humbly apologize for my inattention, but if things are different between the game and the handbook, that's because of choices the moviemakers made, not choices I made.

For example, take the ship stats. Now, Peter was working without having seen even an early draft of the movie, and with very limited photo reference, so he pulled some things from the games. I was working a bit behind him, and had some better information, particularly about special effects and design. Therefore, my ship stats are MORE accurate - to the movie continuity - than the novels.

Anyway, sorry if I seem to be carping. I do appreciate your opionion.

Feel free to repost the above however you might think appropriate (as long as it's used as a whole, of course)

Pretty Pictures

Yes folks, it's time the CIC added another section! You want fan art? We've got it.. in the Fan Art section! Go marvel at the art, and then when you're done, why not create something of your own and send it in?

Prophecy Like You've Never Seen It

Rumors of the long awaited Prophecy DVD have surfaced: Sherman reports that CompUSA in his area has been using Prophecy DVD to show of Creative's 3rd generation DVD drives - maybe the next Creative DVD will ship with WCP?

MiniReview: Wing Commander Junior Novelization

I did, however, get my copy of the Wing Commander Junior Novelization from B&N. Here's what is sure to me my standard nifty review format...The Good: It's the same as the excellent Wing Commander Adaptation... only younger! Some of the details (and all of the sex) have been cut to make it suitable for a younger audience, and I can see giving it to my little sister to read in a few years. Right now, however, I enjoyed reading it, and the fact that it has nice larger print (and bigger pages) is a godsend...

The Bad: I'd complain about the lack of sex, but that'd be hypocritical. Actually, we should start campaigning to get it on middle school reading lists or something, so as to create converts. Honestly, nothing bad. I think it still calls Bossman Vince instead of Kien, but all the movie products seem to do that...

Extra: Same 8 page photo suppliment, HarperCollins has gone all out lavishing all three WC movie books with such treatment. It doesn't have the bonus chapter of the WC movie book (presumably the second book won't have a Junior counterpart), but it does have one interesting bonus: the list of books in the front lists "Wing Commander Book 1" and "Wing Commander Book 2" as 'coming soon'.

MiniReview: The Confederation Handbook

Well, after it didn't come from B&N on time an exciting trek into our nation's capitol located me a copy of the Wing Commander Confederation Handbook... here's what I thought! (Be warned, this review may contain SPOILERS).

The Good: Ask anybody, they'll tell you that one of the coolest things about Wing Commander has always been the cool in-depth manuals - WC1 had it's Claw Marks, WC3 had Victory Streak and so on. The Confederation Handbook is essentially a manual for the Wing Commander Movie - and it's got to be the most beautiful manual ever. Full of color and wonderful graphics, this book does an excellent job of explaining a lot of things WC fans have been wondering about: the pre-war history, the ships of the movie, character backgrounds, etc. The format is great, designed as if someone were browsing an online service (complete with banner ads). It also has all the stuff fans of the more popular sci fi series' have grown accustomed to: deck plans, nose art, scientific papers explaining the history and principles of jump technology -- basically any cool stuff they could cram into it.

The Bad: You may or may not be familiar with the fact that I'm a stickler for continuity (also, an inside joke). This book at times either delights me or infuriates me. It has the most obscure references, and then it changes some of the most obvious. For example, a letter from Blair's Academy instructor to the XO of the Tiger's Claw actually mentions the events from Red & Blue [Ed: the first Wing Commander Academy episode]... but then the book changes the date of the beggining of the Kilrathi war by some nine years. Its ship specifications are also a bit odd - while Peter Telep's WC novel stuck to the traditional WC specs (for the Concordia, for instance), the handbook creates new ones. It's actually not that bad, though, and shouldn't ruin your enjoyment of the book - hell, after a long chat with Crid last night, I'm all ready to explain all the changes during the sure-to-follow arguments in agwc.

Extra: What else could it possibly have? One odd note - why is it that the only pilot who's fighter has a scantily clad woman painted on its nose is Angel? You have to wonder...

LOAF Makes A Visit

This week ace, Byydo and special guest star LOAF answer intelligent questions about the WC Movie, WC novels and make absolutely no mention of WC4 vs WCP. Check out the February 1 edition of the Mail Bag here.

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