The Star Wars News Roundup – 3.22.13


Episode VII News Summary

On the Star Wars: Episode VII front this week, Harrison Ford was in Chicago promoting his new movie 42. He was asked about the new Star Wars movie by WGN TV and if he was indeed on board. He replied, “I’m looking forward to it… I think it’s going to happen.” You can see the original report in the video below. Thanks to Star Wars Report for the alert.

Meanwhile, the website Cosmic Booknews talked to a source who claimed the following:

A disciple of Emperor Palpatine aims to rebuild the Sith Armies of the Old Republic and destroy the Jedi where the Skywalker children will be thrust into battle and face their inner demons of their Skywalker lineage.

Our take? Only Lucasfilm and Disney’s inner circle has probably seen the story synopses at this point, so it seems unlikely that story details would have leaked far enough to make it online. Maybe in a year from now, but this report seems dubious at this point. Thanks to TheForce.Net for pointing it out.

To Spoil or Not to Spoil? Confessions of a Spoiler Junkie

As “Episode VII” comes closer and closer to becoming a reality, Star Wars fans are going to have to ask a big question – “Should I read spoilers?” Spoilers for the sequel will inevitably come, but every fan will have to answer that question for themselves.

As one of the people who were responsible for distributing many of the spoilers on the Star Wars prequels, I have some unique perspective on the whole thing. I’ve thought about it quite a bit and wanted to share my conclusion with you so it might help you make your decision.

When we and the other founders of TheForce.Net started our site, we never, ever thought we’d learn as much about the prequels as we eventually did. The spoilers initially came in little bits and pieces. We’d hear casting rumors. We’d hear rumors about the title. We’d hear rumors about filming locations. Then, as production started, we started getting more details like character names, alien descriptions, planet descriptions, and descriptions of fight scenes. Then there were paparazzi photos from the sets. Then the big spoilers like bits of the scripts, lines of dialogue, and more. Eventually we got actual audio from the film, production stills, and other things that whet everyone’s appetite. By the time each of the prequels actually hit theaters, we had pretty much pieced together the entire films for fans. When we started the site, none of us ever thought we’d learn that much about one of the most anticipated films in history, yet there was all the information sitting in our inboxes.

Spoiling the prequels for ourselves and everyone else had some good aspects and some bad aspects. On the positive side, it helped the fan experience for me personally. Let’s be brutally honest – the prequels weren’t that great. But for the three years leading up to each of the films, opening my mailbox or website every morning was like Christmas every day. You never knew what surprise was going to be in there. Believe it or not, we got super excited about the aliens in the background of the film. It was a big deal to learn about the most minor of cast members who only had one line or even no lines in the movie (or was even cut from the film!). Getting the first glimpse of a character photo that would eventually be on everything from Pepsi cans to Taco Bell toys was a big deal. In the end, the destination wasn’t as exciting as the journey to get there. The speculation, discussion, and community aspect of dissecting every little detail was a lot more fun than the movie itself.

The other positive thing about reading spoilers was that it prepared us for what was to come. We heard the voice of Jar Jar something like 9 months before he hit the big screen. We knew the mess that was coming and resigned ourselves to it long before we got in the theater. We also heard about midi-chlorians and the de-mystification of the Force well before it happened. That debate was old before the general public knew about it. We knew that Anakin was essentially going to choke his pregnant wife to death. So we really had our expectations in check well before seeing the film as opposed to people who went into the prequels cold expecting the best movie ever and then getting their enthusiasm completely shattered. Those of us that spoiled the films for ourselves, I think, were more accepting of the final product, warts and all.

On the negative side, though, the spoilers also took away from the experience. Watching the prequels was a lot like watching, say, a familiar play you already know the ending of. When you’re watching “Romeo & Juliet,” you’re not exactly surprised to see them both (spoiler alert!) die at the end. There is absolutely no suspense invested in the story. You’re just watching how the actors portray the familiar characters and execute the familiar plot. You tend to feel very disconnected from the movie.

The other thing I appreciate more now is how posting spoilers hurt Lucas, the cast, and crew artistically. They worked for years on the characters, creatures, and effects with the intention of it being seen on the screen in a theater for the first time. It took a lot of time, money, and effort to come up with it all. But instead, a lot of that stuff was seen out of context on a little computer screen on a website run by Star Wars geeks. Looking back now, that’s my main regret about posting the spoilers.

So as “Episode VII” begins production, will I be reading spoilers like with the prequels? I’m going to try not to, and here’s why. While we knew how the prequels would eventually end (Anakin as Darth Vader, Yoda on Dagobah, Padme dead, and Obi-Wan on Tatooine), the sequel films are a completely blank slate. J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and Michael Arndt can take the movies in any direction. Any character can be killed, including Luke, Leia, and Han. Anything can happen and I want to experience it fresh in the theaters rather than reading about it on a website. I’d like to recapture the shock I felt as a kid when Darth Vader revealed he was Luke’s father. If you didn’t experience it firsthand, it’s hard to describe what it was like. No film has recreated that feeling since for me, and I’d like to experience it again along with my kids and other moviegoers.

I also feel like J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilm, and Disney are better poised to keep secrets this time around than George Lucas was back in the ’90s. The internet and geek websites were relatively new back then, so neither Lucasfilm nor any studio quite knew how to handle them. Secrets leaked at an unbelievable rate. I think now they all have a much better handle on how to stop those leaks and maintain secrecy. And J.J. Abrams seems to know how to keep a tight lid on his projects as shown by his company’s work on “Lost,” “Cloverfield,” “Super 8” and “Star Trek.” I’m hoping they’re successful this time around.

All this leads to the question – what do I consider spoilers? And how can Lucasfilm and Disney keep them from leaking? Check back next week as I continue this discussion.

In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Will you be reading spoilers for “Episode VII”? Yes? No? Why?

Star Wars Television

If you were holding your breath hoping that “Clone Wars” would come back, your hope may be fading. TheForce.Net reports that the team is being disbanded:

In the aftermath of The Clone Wars’ cancellation, it seems that the team behind the series will not be a team for much longer. While the status of Season 6 story arcs is still unknown, reports indicate that Lucasfilm employees responsible for bringing the show to life are being reassigned or let go.

In addition, a number of people close to the situation have told me that there are no clean resolutions to the story arcs of fan-favorite characters like Ahsoka Tano and Asajj Ventress in the unaired Season 6 material. It’s also been suggested to me that, while last week’s statement on teased future “bonus content,” it’s far from certain that fans will ever see that content.

IGN also talked with Obi-Wan voice actor James Arnold Taylor about the status of the series and the unaired sixth season:

Obviously, everyone was assuming we’d see a Season 6 in the traditional sense, right?

Taylor: Yeah, we recorded Season 6, basically, the whole season. So yeah, your assumption is, “Okay, it’s going to run as a season.” But now knowing all of the things that we did, I just really want to make sure that all those get out there. I think my biggest — I don’t even know the right word — but maybe “issue”, was calling it “bonus content.” I think that could really make people feel like, you know, bonus content we think of as extras on a DVD or little snippets on the web. But we don’t think of it as maybe a full episode or as a DVD release on its own or a season anywhere. So I think perhaps if they consider changing the wording of it to just “more Clone Wars” and “finishing the saga of The Clone Wars,” that will appease fans maybe a little bit more than just the name that they came up with immediately.

Visit the link above for more.

Meanwhile, the hyped “Star Wars Detours” series is also apparently being mothballed. Star Wars Report states that all Detours related content is being removed from online, including previews on the YouTube page.

Around The Web

Was Luke Skywalker blowing up the Death Star an inside job? Conspiracy theorists discuss the topic in the video below. Thanks to Neatorama for the heads up.

Neatorama – This Jawa cake is better than any birthday cake you ever had.

Bloomberg – THX is apparently suing Apple:

Apple Inc. (AAPL) was accused by THX Ltd., a company founded by “Star Wars” producer George Lucas, of stealing speaker technology used in iPhones, iPads and iMac products.

THX holds a 2008 patent for a speaker unit that can boost sound output and attach to computers or flat-screen televisions, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in San Jose, California.

Apple products that incorporate the speaker units infringe the THX patent, causing the company “monetary damage and irreparable harm,” according to the lawsuit. The complaint seeks a court order to stop the alleged infringement and a reasonable royalty, or damages to compensate THX for lost profit.

Visit the link above for more.

BBC – Jedi can now perform wedding ceremonies in Scotland. So now you can get Obi-Wan to officiate your wedding.

Neatorama – March Madness as explained by Star Wars

Neatorama – A tattoo featuring Yoda as a Borg. Do not question it.

Star Wars Rock – Unpack Your Adjectives!

Guardians of the Galaxy!

Telegraph UK – Dennis Muren talks about how “Willow” changed movies forever.

Book & Comic News

Comic Buzz – Star Wars #1 sold out of it’s 3rd printing and now a 4th printing is set.

Bleeding Cool – Star Wars Legacy #1 came out this week featuring Han Solo and Princess Leia’s great, great grandchild. Check it out in comic shops now!

Club Jade found descriptions on a couple of upcoming Star Wars books:

Martha Wells’ still-untitled Leia novel:
Nebula Award finalist Martha Wells makes her Star Wars debut with a brand-new classic Star Wars: Rebels adventure starring Princess Leia and her new friends, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, in the time just after the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope!

Princess Leia Organa is on a mission for the Rebel Alliance when Imperial forces attack. Now she, Han, and Luke are on their own, working with pirates and dealing with traitors as they race the clock to protect the secrecy of a crucial meeting of Rebel conspirators!

John Jackson Miller’s Kenobi also gets a blurb:
In this original novel set between the events of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Episode IV A New Hope, Obi-Wan Kenobi comes to the aid of the residents of Tatooine during his exile. But he struggles with his new mission when he realizes that protecting Luke Skywalker-the last hope of the galaxy-means setting aside his compassion and his Jedi warrior training, for the future of the galaxy lies not with Obi-Wan Kenobi, but with a mystical desert recluse known only by the name of Crazy Old Ben.

Knights Archine – New information on William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (yes, you read that right).

TheForce.Net – Christine Golden will be writing an upcoming novel set post-Return of the Jedi.

Knights Archive found an update about the upcoming Darth Maul novel:

The follow-up to Star Wars: Darth Plagueis is a Darth Maul prison novel set before the events of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.

From the mind of Joe Schreiber, New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Death Troopers, comes the delirious follow-up to last year’s Darth Plagueis. In a tale of retribution and survival set before the events of The Phantom Menace, Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious dispatch Sith apprentice Darth Maul on a secret mission to infiltrate a criminal empire operating from inside Cog Hive Seven-a hidden prison teeming with the galaxy’s most savage criminals. There, he must contend against the scummiest and most villainous in gladiatorial death matches while carrying out his masters’ clandestine commands. Failure is not an option; success will ignite the revenge of the Sith against the Jedi Order.

USA Today – Get a look at the upcoming “LEGO Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles” which also includes an exclusive LEGO figure.

Random House – Del Rey just approved the cover to “Star Wars – Dawn of the Jedi – Into the Void.”

Event News

TheForce.Net – Check out details for the show “15th Generations Star Wars & Science Fiction Show” in France April 27 – 28.

Slashfilm – Disney is apparently surveying customers about whether they’d be interested in a Star Wars-themed section of their park. Visit the link for all the details!