Darth Vader The Imperial Flight ... Hot Air Balloon Soars Over England

The Empire is striking back again, but not in a galaxy far, far away ... Darth Vader's in action high above the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the UK.

The hot air balloon is repping the Dark Side on the first day of the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta in Bristol, England. The event is Europe's largest annual gathering of the big-ass gasbags, attracting more than 130 hot air balloons from around the world.

Clearly, Vader stands out among the pack ... and has us clamoring for many more 'Star Wars'-themed balloons to battle it out in the sky.

It looks like that's not going to happen, though ... so we'll settle for the other cool hot air balloons in the shape of bears, owls, and koalas.

But, we all know who their father is ... and Mark Hamill agrees.

Carrie Fisher WOF Star Won't Replace Trump ... Despite New Push From Mark Hamill

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Carrie Fisher is still years away from getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame despite a massive push from Mark Hamill and "Star Wars" fans ... but when she does, she won't be replacing Donald Trump's star.

Mark ignited the movement to get Carrie a star to replace Trump's ... tweeting Wednesday morning in favor of the West Hollywood City Council approving a proposal calling for the removal of the President's star.

Luke Skywalker's stance quickly gained traction, but we're told Carrie finally getting a star is still gonna take some time.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce tells TMZ ... they would love to consider Carrie for a star on the Walk of Fame, but because it didn't happen before her death ... the process is a little complicated.

In most instances, a celeb can be nominated by anyone, but the application has to include a written statement from the celeb stating she or he wants the star and will attend the ceremony if approved.

But, in the case of a deceased celeb ... the Chamber of Commerce can only give out a star on the 5th anniversary of their passing, and with the written consent of their family members ... and only one deceased nominee gets approved each year.

Trump's star has been targeted by vandals time and time again ... being defaced by fake blood, a golden toilet and a pickax.

BLOOD SPORT
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While some want Trump's star scrubbed forever ... the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce tells us that ain't happening ... and they say they would never replace any celeb's star in favor of someone else's.

Trump received his star in 2007 for his work producing beauty pageants ... and Hamill got his star last year, with Harrison Ford paying tribute to Carrie during the ceremony.

The Chamber of Commerce tells us they're still hoping Carrie's family will contact them during the 5th-anniversary of her death so she can finally get her star.

Katy Perry Goes Berserk in a Galaxy Far, Far Away ...

Katy Perry went into full geek mode at Disneyland ... just like the rest of the world visiting the park's newest attraction.

Katy and her fam hit up Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Tuesday and there was no shortage of fandom explosions. She was there with her fiance, Orlando Bloom, who challenged her to a lightsaber duel ... though Katy wanted no part of it cause she was in the middle of Instagramming the scene.

SPACED OUT

Check out the pics and vid ... you see Katy -- donning an orange jumpsuit and Mickey Mouse Nike hat -- doing a terrible job behind the Millennium Falcon. It's not us saying that. Her fam's the one busting her chops.

Pretty cool moment when they all made it to the famous watering hole, Oga's Cantina ... where they showed off their bubbly and foggy drinks. Bottoms up!!!

'Star Wars' Disneyland's Galaxy's Edge Launches with Hamill, Ford, Williams & Lucas!!!

Disneyland is bringing the galaxy far, far away closer than ever ... and Luke Skywalker, Lando Calrissian and Han Solo simply couldn't miss it.

The famed California theme park is launching a new Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge attraction, and 3 of the biggest stars from the franchise -- Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Billy Dee Williams -- joined creator George Lucas to cut the ribbon on the hyped up fantasy world.

The 4 'Star Wars' legends took the stage together Wednesday to welcome the first guests to the planet Batuu ... with the Millennium Falcon as a fitting backdrop.

Disney CEO Bob Iger introduced Lucas first to speak to the crowd about Galaxy's Edge ... which he referred to as "Star Tours on steroids." Star Tours was the first 'Star Wars'-themed ride at the park -- it opened a long time ago ... in 1986.

Williams and Hamill spoke after that, with Mark saying this was the first time he's been to a grand opening event since Star Tours.

Then it was time to fire up the Falcon, but there were technical difficulties ... which was Ford's cue to enter. Harrison gave the space ship a couple hard whacks to get it going ... and gave a shout-out to the late Chewbacca actor, Peter Mayhew.

Phase One of Galaxy's Edge opens Friday -- which includes the Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run ride and all the shops and restaurants. Another major ride, Rise of the Resistance, will open later in 2019 as part of Phase Two.

Disney World in Florida will launch its own Galaxy's Edge on August 29.

'Star Wars' Blueprints for Original Vehicles Hit Auction Block

EXCLUSIVE

George Lucas might wanna pay close attention to this -- original design blueprints for 3 major vehicles from his 1977 sci-fi classic are up for auction, and we know he's got a spot for 'em.

The folks over at RR Auction are handling the "Hollywood Auction" bids featuring blueprints for the iconic vehicles in "Star Wars: Episode IV -- A New Hope." First up ... Luke Skywalker's X-34 Landspeeder.

The blueprint features the first design for the desert cruiser used by the Alliance to Restore the Republic.

There's also the super famous TIE fighter, the Imperial fleet's main ride. If you're more of a Rebel Alliance type ... they've got the Y-wing starfighter blueprint.

BTW ... the designs are the work of Steve Gawley, a model builder who worked on the film. Dude is super famous -- he went on to earn an Oscar nom for Best Visual Effects on "Back to the Future Part II."

The 'Star Wars' blueprints are pretty amazing, and super fans can place bids now. The auction ends May 23 ... long before Lucas' $1 billion museum in L.A. is completed.

The joint's slated to open in 2021 and will feature his personal Norman Rockwell art collection, as well as 'Star Wars' items like Darth Vader's original mask -- and maybe some original blueprints???

'Star Wars' Cast 'Memba Them?

It's 'Star Wars' day and there is no better way to honor the universal phenomenon than by journeying back into the galaxy!!!

Travel in time to see some of the faces you may not recognize today ... From Anakin Skywalker and Darth Maul to young Boba Fett and C-3PO, there are plenty of characters from the franchise that have completely transformed over the years.

Take a good look at what the cast members looked like back in the day, and then cruise through our gallery of the some of the cast to see what they look like today!!!

May the fourth be with you ...

Peter Mayhew Chewbacca Actor Dies at 74

Chewbacca's howling in heaven today ... Peter Mayhew -- the man behind the mask of the iconic 'Star Wars' character -- has died ... according to his family.

We're told the actor died from a heart condition Tuesday at his home in North Texas, and was surrounded by friends and family. Peter played Chewie in all three films of the original 'Star Wars' trilogy, and did it all over again decades later in 'The Revenge of the Sith' and in 2015's 'The Force Awakens.'

His family says Peter fought his way back from being in a wheelchair to star in 'The Force Awakens' before retiring. However, he served as a consultant to Joonas Suotamo -- the Finnish basketball player who took over the role in 'The Last Jedi.'

Mayhew's survived by his wife and 3 children. His family is asking fans to donate to the Peter Mayhew Foundation -- which benefits families around the world in crisis situations -- in lieu of sending flowers or gifts.

They add ... there will be a memorial service for family in June, but in December ... they're planning to hold a service fans can attend in Los Angeles.

Peter was 74.

RIP

Jar Jar Binks Actor George Lucas' Approval Is The Beginning Of Healing For Me

EXCLUSIVE
A MOVING EXPERIENCE
TMZ.com

Ahmed Best -- the man who played the most despised and ridiculed 'Star Wars' character -- says George Lucas naming Jar Jar Binks as his favorite character is helping him heal lasting wounds.

Ahmed tells us George's surprise pick is putting him on a really strong path to healing ... after dealing with thoughts of suicide following the enormous backlash he faced over his role in the 'Star Wars' saga.

In case you missed it ... the famed director raised eyebrows among even the most die-hard 'Star Wars' fans earlier this week, when he called into a fan event marking the 20th anniversary of "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace" and named Jar Jar as his all-time fav.

Critics teed off on Jar Jar for years ... calling the amphibious alien creature a terrible exercise in child-pleasing, who perpetuated racist stereotypes with a strange Caribbean accent.

Ahmed says the backlash wreaked havoc on his career ... because his movie offers dried-up and he was never approached to play different roles in the new 'Star Wars' movies. Ahmed says being black didn't help his cause either, and other black actors were stigmatized as well.

But, now that George has come out in overwhelming support of Jar Jar .. Ahmed thinks people will start looking at the character in a new light and come to appreciate just how much Jar Jar helped influence a new generation of movies and filmmakers.

'Star Wars' 'Rise of Skywalker' Trailer Debuts ... Emperor Palpatine's Back!!!

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IN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY ...

The end of the last Star Wars trilogy now has a name -- 'The Rise of Skywalker' -- and the world just got its first look at the trailer with a spectacular premiere in a galaxy not far ... from Lake Michigan.

Director J.J. Abrams and much of the cast were at Star Wars Celebration Chicago -- think Comic-Con strictly for 'Star Wars' -- when they pulled the curtain back on the highly anticipated trailer. Aside from revealing the title ... it also had Mark Hamill's voice and at least one scene with the late Carrie Fisher.

One of the bigger surprises is the creepy laugh at the end of the trailer ... signaling the return of the Emperor, as in Palpatine.

When the trailer ended ... Ian McDiarmid, the guy who plays the Emperor, was standing on the Chicago stage -- and delivered a message in character.

Watch ... the crowd went wild, and the Force was definitely with them.

Jamie Foxx Wait, Malibu Ain't a 'Star Wars' Set ... WTF is That?!

Jamie Foxx must be thinking J.J. Abrams is shooting a movie on the streets of Malibu -- 'cause why the hell else would he run into a real-life robot working security at the beach??

The actor was out for lunch with a pal at the Malibu Village shopping center Wednesday afternoon when he came upon the K5 Knightscope -- an autonomous surveillance machine, and possible distant cousin of R2-D2 ... we're checking.

Anyway, Jamie was pretty astonished by K5.

The Oscar winner gave the security guard a once over and even busted out his phone for a photo, 'cause y'know ... pics or it didn't happen!.

K5 is pretty new to the area, but spokespeople for the shopping center have said its purpose is to keep the community safe by thwarting criminal activity and assisting police officers.

The machine is capable of securing large outdoor areas like parking lots, malls, campuses, etc ... it's also great at making famous friends.

If only it could host the Oscars!

Hollywood Memorabilia Auction Han's Coat, McFly's Hoverboard ... Other Props Up for Auction

Han Solo's 4-pocket black blazer in the OG 'Star Wars' movies -- as well as other real props from some of your fave flicks -- can now be yours ... for a boatload of cash.

Prop Store -- a well-known auction house -- is about to host the UK's largest live auction of film and TV memorabilia for the 5th year in a row late next month. The public can place their bids on over 600 iconic original movie props starting September 20 in London.

Just to give you an idea of how epic this thing will be, here are some of the items hitting the auction block:

-- Han's jacket (expected to fetch up $1.3 million).

-- Indiana Jones' original fedora (up to $397k).

-- Marty McFly's 'BTTFII' hoverboard (up to $66k).

-- The "Jumanji" game board (up to $13k).

-- The "Edward Scissorhands" costume (up to $105k).

There's loads more as well. All in all, we're told all of the memorabilia is expected to haul in upwards of $4.6 million. In other words ... that's about what the latter half of the 20th century's pop culture is worth.

Jar Jar Binks 'Star Wars' Actor Says Backlash Almost Made Me Kill Myself

Ahmed Best -- the man who played the most widely loathed and mocked 'Star Wars' character -- says the wave of negative reaction was so hard on him, he considered suicide.

The Jar Jar Binks actor made the revelation Tuesday, by tweeting a pic of himself and his son on a bridge with the caption ... "This was the place I almost ended my life. It’s still hard to talk about. I survived and now this little guy is my gift for survival."

Although he doesn't name "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" specifically, but a reference to "20 years" ago makes it pretty clear he's referring to that Jar Jar role.

He's previously said the negative reaction from the public included death threats.

Best has also been posting about performing a one-man show next year, which will mark the 20th anniversary of 'Phantom Menace.'

Ron Howard 'Solo' Made Disney Halt Spin-offs? ... Don't Believe Everything You Read

EXCLUSIVE
BOTTOM LINE IS ...
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Ron Howard is taking issue with reports Disney is putting future 'Star Wars' spin-offs on ice after his flick fell short, money-wise.

We got the director of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" Tuesday in Bev Hills just days after it was reported Disney was suspending all pre-planned 'Star Wars' story movies because 'Solo' failed to deliver the studio's desired box office numbers. That includes the Obi-Wan movie. Ron seems to say there are inaccuracies in the reporting, but he's not specific.

You'd think Ron would take the news to heart, considering his flick is being blamed for the rumored decision, but that ain't the case. As far as he knows, 'Solo' got good reviews and a generally decent turnout in ticket sales. Maybe not what Disney wanted ... but he's satisfied.

When you've got a track record like RH ... you can afford to hit a double now and then.

Natalie Portman My Disneyland Muscle's Outta This World

Natalie Portman knows how to make an entrance at Disneyland -- Cute kiddo in tow? Check. Stormtrooper as your muscle? No doubt!

Natalie and her family hit up The Happiest Place on Earth on Sunday where they got the royal treatment. The entire family was there ... hubby Benjamin Millepied, 1-year-old Amalia and 7-year-old son, Aleph.

They hit up It's a Small World and Big Thunder Mountain, but with Queen Amidala in town, it was a no-brainer that she also sit in for a 'Star Wars' show. Some of the kids, including Aleph, took the stage for a lightsaber show against Amidala's grandson, Kylo Ren.

But no doubt stealing the scene was baby girl Amalia ... who couldn't look any cuter avoiding the sun with her pink floppy hat. Adorbs!

Donald Glover This is Lando's America

Donald Glover's keeping it Gucci leading up to the release of "Solo: A Star Wars Story" ... perfectly in tune with his character in the movie.

The new Lando Calrissian was spotted looking cool on a hot NYC day while walking with his girlfriend/baby mama, Michelle, back to their hotel Thursday ... all he's missing is a stylish cape.

The highly anticipated 'Solo' film features Glover as young Lando and Alden Ehrenreich as young Han ... and opens tonight worldwide.

Donald doesn't seem like he's sweating it.

'Star Wars' Stand-Alone Obi-Wan Movie Near-Immediate 'New Hope' Prequel

EXCLUSIVE

The next movie in the 'Star Wars Story' franchise will feature Obi-Wan Kenobi -- but it ain't an origin story ... far from it actually.

According to a newly released production bulletin -- obtained by TMZ -- Disney's next foray into their spin-off series appears to be called "Obi-Wan: A Star Wars Story," with a working title of "Joshua Tree." "Return of the Jedi" also used a code name ... "Blue Harvest."

The synopsis reads as follows ... Obi-Wan is on Tatooine being an elusive hermit and stuff, but secretly watches over an infant Luke Skywalker, whom he delivered to his uncle, Owen. Tensions between the local farmers and a tribe of Sand People -- headed by a ruthless war chief -- eventually brings Obi outta hiding ... and into Jedi kickass mode. Scene.

The bulletin lists Stephen Daldry as the director -- he'd been rumored to be in talks for the film, and now it looks like he's attached. The movie's shooting in London at a well-known 'Star Wars' studio, recently used for 'The Last Jedi.' Production is set to begin next spring.

Here's the kicker (maybe) ... fans have been clamoring online for Ewan McGregor to reprise the role of (then-young, now-older) Obi, and he recently said he'd be open to it, but hadn't heard a peep from Lucasfilm ... yet. *These aren't the theories you're looking for.*