This entry contains mild spoilers and many GIFs!! Stuff like planet identification, nothing major, but stay away if you want to know NOTHING (in which case, why are you on a Star Wars news site (other than to ask why Star Wars isn’t on iTunes already)?).
Before I get into the (not so new anymore) news, I want to address my fellow EU/Legends fans:
I’m a bit sad about certain parts of my beloved Expanded Universe going from canon to “Legends” and having a completely new storyline written, yes, but I still think it makes a weird sort of sense. I hope people like me may find some comfort in what Han Solo said to Z. Ghent in Heir to the Empire: “Just remember that whatever you’ve heard has been hearsay. And that hearsay stories grow an extra leg every time they’re told.” Heir to the Empire has become one of those extra legs!
Now, the News!
From Jen Heddle’s article linked above, “A new government is forming to replace the Empire. But the galaxy is a big place, and the fallout of this cataclysm will affect different worlds in different ways. Does everyone accept the fall of Imperial rule? Has everyone even heard the life-altering news? What rushes in to fill the vacuum the Empire has left? And who will try to stop them?”
The author is Chuck Wendig, who has written a number of urban fantasy and horror stories such as the Miriam Black novels. Here is his Twitter and, if you want more information and opinions on his books, Goodreads. I have not read his work before so all I can really say is that I’m quite curious how he will write a space opera in general and Star Wars in particular.
For people familiar with Legends: this novel (or maybe a trilogy of novels?) will take the place in the Star Wars timeline of the now-Legends book Truce at Bakura at least, and may well go as far in time as The Courtship of Princess Leia and the Thrawn trilogy did. Aftermath should certainly answer the same questions that these previous books had done, whether in slightly or extremely different ways (in addition to Heddle’s questions above, there’s also whether the Empire left a vacuum at all — did it fall simply because Palpatine and Vader died or did it continue ruling; what happened to Coruscant; did the Rebel Alliance set up government if the Empire recedes or did someone else — actually I think Heddle did ask that; do Han and Leia get married and have children and when, would their hypothetical children inherit Force-sensitivity, what about a family for Luke, etc.). Also curious if any characters or situations will deliberately be taken from Legends and added in different form into the new canon. Maybe a crotchety old couple called Gilad and Callista Pellaeon? An incompetent lawyer named Mara Jade?
In fact I think Heddle’s questions are good ones, because the Special Edition ending to RotJ seemed to imply straightforwardly that the whole galaxy heard about the fall of the Empire (or at least Palpatine’s death) and the whole galaxy rejoiced. But is that realistic? Would everyone hear about it all the way to the Outer Rim? Would everyone be glad about it (aside from the usual imperial loyalists and Death Star construction workers)? Would everyone even care?
Other questions regard the characters — both the returning main characters and completely new ones. My concern is how believable they will be — will we recognize them from the movies? Will the new characters make sense? Will it still seem like Star Wars? The Thrawn trilogy’s popularity due to this is no secret: since the 1990s it was considered by many fans to be the honorary Episodes VII, VIII, and IX, which I’m sure is a challenge and a lot to live up to for both The Force Awakens and Aftermath. There are plenty of questions, plenty to say, and plenty to think about, but in terms of actual judgment I am taking a “wait and see” approach.
And just because, here is an interview with Kathy Tyers from last December about Legends and her own books.
Up next: Another Episode 7 trailer?!
The title of the first spin-off movie will be Rogue One and will star English actress Felicity Jones, who has appeared in many movies including The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and The Theory of Everything. Chris Weitz, screenwriter for the just-released movie Cinderella, replaces Gary Whitta as writer for Rogue One, while Gareth Edwards is still set to direct. The movie will be released December 16, 2016, almost a year after TFA.
Here is a news and rumors feed for Rogue One on IMDB. It gets updated periodically and is full of rumors, so there may be serious spoilers! Still no official word on what the plot of the movie will be, so for now I will subtitle it Further Adventures of the T-47 Pilot Who Got Superseded by Her Wingman and Totally Failed to Find Han and Luke on Hoth.
Image from Glamour magazine UK, from Golden Globes 2015 (click for bigger image).
Lots of recent news coming in, so I will start with this small update. Are you, like me, trying to read more or better books this year? Maybe some classic literature? Well, finish it up by the end of summer or put down that terrible translation of War and Peace, you don’t need it anymore! There’s no easy way to put it: there will be at least TWENTY new Star Wars books released this year before the December 18 premiere of Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The book series is officially called “Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens“. Some will retell the events of the Classic trilogy from the point of view of different characters, and some will foreshadow TFA. Keep in mind that not all will be full-length novels; “it also includes things like YA tales, vehicles guides and sticker books.”
Like other books released with the Star Wars Story Group, this will be part of the new “canon” and will continue to replace the old Expanded Universe.
Click the above Star Wars Official Site, Entertainment Weekly, and io9 links for more, including some authors and book titles!
Happy New Year! The biggest The Force Awakens news of December was the announcement by Entertainment Weekly of several character names using the style of vintage trading cards: Daisy Ridley’s Rey, John Boyega’s Finn, Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron, soccer ball droid’s BB-8, and whoever the heck’s Kylo Ren. Also confirmed is that this “Kylo Ren” is a male, and that the remaining ships and characters we saw are indeed “stormtroopers,” the Millennium Falcon, and so forth. Conspicuously not confirmed is Rey’s surname and parentage (is she a Skywalker/Solo? an Organa, for that matter?), and of course the actor playing the Sith-like character of Kylo Ren (possibly Adam Driver). Finn’s full name is also left out, making me wonder again if his family is also already known to us. Of course, we still have just under a year to go! Here is the page on the official site.
In similar news: There is another new character name reported but no actor or visual to go with it, so this Han Solo picture will do. Captain Phasma is rumored to be played by Gwendoline Christie, who seems likely to play a soldier (and therefore someone with a military title).
Saturday Night Live did a hilarious parody of the TFA teaser, this time focusing on our classic trilogy heroes (link has an embedded Hulu video).
Speaking of which, Mark Hamill did an awesome interview with Yahoo! Movies’s Gwynne Watkins, and not just about Star Wars; he was promoting his voice role in the animated Elf TV special. Hamill sounds grounded and genuine, as usual. Here is commentary by Screencrush.
What does George Lucas think of all this? According to the NY Post, not much. We Star Wars fans tend to have strong opinions about this, so I enjoyed this thoughtful essay about humans and their feelings and stuff.
Lastly, Andy Serkis, who did the voice-over for the teaser, was confirmed on EW to play only one character in TFA. So whoever he is playing is the type of person who knows enough about the Force to do monologues about its dark and light sides, but not confirmed is whether his character is associated with Kylo Ren (or is Kylo Ren, for that matter), or whether he is live action or motion capture (Screencrush suggests the latter because of his obvious skill set). Regarding information and spoilers, I think Serkis is worth quoting here: The secrecy is not about wanting to withhold from fans, “it’s about not wanting to spoil anything for anyone. The expectation is massive, and nobody wants to ruin it in any way. I think that’s right. No one wants to, by saying the wrong thing or being misleading, you don’t want to dilute it.”
Personally, I care a lot more about how an actor plays a character, how the story was written, and how the crew worked behind the scenes to make the movie the best it could be, than about getting more “news tidbits.” I recall watching an interview with an actor in a TV series with too many questions like “can you give us any hints about what happens in the next season?!” and nothing like “what problems did you run into when trying to create this character believably?” But in cases like this, until the movie comes out there’s only so much the cast and crew can say.
You can get official news from the official site and twitter feed and see the trailer there or anywhere, so I wanted to wait until a nice amount of commentary showed up on the crazy Internet. There will be spoilers (nothing too major, I hope) pictures, GIFS, and embeddings of teasers real and fake, so don’t click that link if you have a slow connection (like me!) or want to avoid spoilers.
Otherwise, plenty follows!
With principal photography having been finished up in London, the title was announced by Lucasfilm through Twitter and I agree with Screencrush, the best time to do this was just some random day, when I’m at work being busy and I get a breaking news e-mail from the fiancé. The title will here henceforth be known as TFA, or, Texas Faculty Association (you’re welcome — or sorry? — for the two or three strange website hits, Texas).
Here is Screencrush’s report (includes possible plot SPOILERS).
And some more of the usual amusing commentary and news from The Guardian.
Here are some fun rejected titles.
Is the title The Force Awakens as bland as they say? Awesome? Annoying? Not a big deal? My opinion is the same as with the Prequel titles: if the movies end up being bad, surely the titles are the least of our problems? If you didn’t like The Phantom Menace or Attack of the Clones movies, would a different title (and no other change) have made a big difference? Like the title or not, my level of optimism about the movie’s content and how much I will enjoy it has not changed, and I still look forward to it.
Also I’m not sure that this implies, as mentioned in the Guardian, that there will be either Jedi or Sith. Force-users most likely, but there can be kinds other than those two (those of us familiar with ex-canon know about “adepts” such as the witches of Dathomir; maybe there are similar types in the sequels. And you might consider Luke an adept before he became a Jedi. And he ended up being quite a different Jedi than the kind we saw in the Prequel trilogy. And so on.).
What I do have much stronger feelings about is my dashed hope that the title will be Jedi Nights, or, JN, a romance. But there are always the later movies!