The Star Wars News Roundup – 4.25.14


The purpose of this roundup is to put the highlights of all things Star Wars from the last week in one location. If you read this each week, you should be able to converse fluently with any Star Wars fan on everything from the latest Star Wars: Episode VII developments to the latest toys. And maybe you’ll even share with them something that they might have missed.

Let’s get to it!

Episode VII and Spinoff News and Rumors

One big question among fans is when will Disney finally announce casting? Much speculation has been made that they will announce it on May 4th, aka “Star Wars Day.” What started as a pun among online fans as “May the fourth be with you” has since turned into a major marketing day for Lucasfilm. In fact, they have two Star Wars-themed episodes coming up on that date with “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Goldbergs.” Merchandising promotions will also take place at Disney parks on May 4th. So that has naturally led to speculation that they are holding out on casting information for an all out media blitz. We’ll see if it happens.

The other question has been about the title. In the past, the title has been announced rather late in the game. But for “Episode III,” Steve Sansweet announced the title at San Diego Comic Con and even started selling shirts with the title on it minutes after the announcement. That has led to speculation that Disney would announce it at SDCC this year:

Many thought Disney would make an announcement at their D23 Expo, but the next one isn’t until August 2015 and that’s too late to release the news So SDCC seems as good a guess as any. We’ll see.

Disney CEO Alan Horn started dropping more “Star Wars” information this week including confirmation that they are, in fact, shooting in Abu Dhabi, a possible release date for future sequels, and more.


Bloomberg – Disney Chairman Alan Horn Talks Star Wars, Captain America 3 and Pirates 5

“We’re not prepared to announce it yet but we will be very shortly announcing what we’re doing….We did some second unit work in Abu Dhabi and other places, because we have all these locations we have to film and we have to give it that “Star Warsian,” if I can use that as an adjective, look. So we needed to go to different places that give us the right look and feel and we did have second unit work shooting already but we haven’t commenced the main part of principle photography yet.”

“We actually don’t even have the completed budget yet. But it will be in that range. These large, tentpole kinds of movies, on the expensive side, are in the neighborhood of $175-200 million, that kind of a number — some are more, some are less. We need to give the audience, essentially, a full meal in return for their affection and devotion and love for these properties.”

IGN had a brief interview with Simon Kinberg, who spoke on how the Expanded Universe canon fits with the movies:

Making Star Wars got wind of a special “Star Wars” breakfast for Disney executives at Disneyland. Apparently at this breakfast, the Boba Fett movie was discussed. You can read details here, but here are the highlights:

From what we have heard about the event, there was a lot of discussion about Boba Fett at the breakfast. The executives are apparently enthusiastic about the rocket man. There are some minor problems going forward with a film about a villain, however. The general problem with Boba Fett is how to use him effectively without ruining his evil essence to make him the protagonist of a Star Wars Spin-off film. The executive was overheard (paraphrased) as saying

“Lucasfilm wants Boba Fett to remain menacing and scary but we have to make him the hero of the film and it is a real challenge.”

Lucasfilm is adapting the Marvel model for most of what they are doing but there isn’t a clear cut precedence for a Boba film to follow. So far, Marvel hasn’t been able to figure out how to make a villain into a hero while keeping the villain dangerous and evil outside of Loki’s antics through various Marvel films.

Visit the link for more. Speaking of Boba Fett…

Big Shiny Robot – A number of people heard the following interview with Jeremy Bulloch:

They mistakenly thought he was involved in a new Boba Fett film. Bulloch clarified his joke from the panel in the “Full of Sith” podcast. You can hear it in the link above.

The Guardian interviewed me for thoughts on “Episode VII.” My buddy and former Lucasfilm employee Paul Ens was also interviewed and had an interesting quote:

According to Ens, Abrams and scriptwriters Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt were given full access to Lucas’s notes for his original vision for Star Wars Episodes VII, VIII and IX.

“I still have friends who work at Lucasfilm and they told me that George had notes hidden in a safe somewhere for 20 years about his plans for the nine films, none of which anyone was privy to,” said Ens.

“The thing that excites me most is that JJ Abrams and his team had access to those full notes and had the opportunity to do some question and answer sessions with George about them, while also not being beholden to them. As a Star Wars fan, the thought that the world may never have seen those pages would have been very sad.”

Visit the link for more.

Jedi News – Harrison Ford has been spotted in London. Is it for “Episode VII”? Check out the photos here.


“Star Wars Rebels”: WonderCon 2014 Exclusive Clip

This special Star Wars Rebels preview clip, which premiered at WonderCon 2014, features an introduction from voice actress Vanessa Marshall and an exciting sequence from the upcoming animated series.

Hera, captain of the Ghost, pilots her starship during a battle with two TIE fighters. Chopper delivers a message from Kanan, currently engaging the TIEs in the top turret. The Jedi is apparently displeased with Hera’s maneuvering. In response, she takes matters into her own hands…

“Star Wars Rebels”: An Interview with Composer Kevin Kiner

Kevin Kiner, composer for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, returns to a galaxy far, far away with the upcoming Star Wars Rebels animated series. In this exclusive interview, he discusses his writing process, musical background, and previews the theme for Lucasfilm’s new show.

Looking back at his first involvement with Star Wars, Kiner says that it was daunting to follow John Williams. But it was invigorating, as well, and continues to be with his new work on Star Wars Rebels. He grew up playing rock n’ roll in garage bands, and melded that sensibility with classical on Star Wars: The Clone Wars — and will do so again on Star Wars Rebels. Tone-wise, the music for Star Wars Rebels “will have a different sound,” he says. “It’s going to be a little closer to A New Hope than Clone Wars was. Now, to be able to go back and start using John’s themes in different ways is exciting for me.”

Kiner also shows off some his own string-instruments, including the cello-like guitar viol, which he plans to use on the new series. Finally, he demos the Star Wars Rebels theme, which builds in complexity and incorporates classic Star Wars melodies. At the piece’s end, Kiner is excited, saying, “And we have a new generation of Star Wars.” – WonderCon 2014: Star Wars Rebels Panel Report

Making Star Wars – Disney XD’s “Star Wars: The New Yoda Chronicles – Escape From the Jedi Temple”

Around The Web

Star Wars: Bad Foley Edition

Cinemablend – Star Wars Was Offered To William Friedkin, But He Passed

Comic Book Resources – Movie Legends Revealed | Were ‘N Sync Members Nearly Jedi Knights?

Books and Comics

Lucasfilm issued an official statement on the future of the “Star Wars” Expanded Universe today:

In order to give maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience, “Star Wars” Episodes VII-IX will not tell the same story told in the post-“Return of the Jedi” Expanded Universe. While the universe that readers knew is changing, it is not being discarded. Creators of new “Star Wars” entertainment have full access to the rich content of the Expanded Universe. For example, elements of the EU are included in “Star Wars Rebels”. The Inquisitor, the Imperial Security Bureau, and Sienar Fleet Systems are story elements in the new animated series, and all these ideas find their origins in roleplaying game material published in the 1980s.

Demand for past tales of the Expanded Universe will keep them in print, presented under the new Legends banner.

On the screen, the first new canon to appear will be “Star Wars Rebels”. In print, the first new books to come from this creative collaboration include novels from Del Rey Books. First to be announced, John Jackson Miller is writing a novel that precedes the events of Star Wars Rebels and offers insight into a key character’s backstory, with input directly from executive producers Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Greg Weisman.

And this is just the beginning of a creatively aligned program of “Star Wars” storytelling created by the collaboration of incredibly talented people united by their love of that galaxy far, far away….

Here are the four new announced books so far:


Disney Park Blog – Past, Present and Future Galactic Stars Shine at Star Wars Weekends 2014

Here’s the lineup (*subject to change):
Weekend I: May 16-18

Ahmed Best: Jar Jar Binks (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace; Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones; Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Peter Mayhew: Chewbacca (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith; Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi; Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Vanessa Marshall: Hera Syndulla (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend II: May 23-25

Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Wald (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Jeremy Bulloch: Boba Fett (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Capt. Jeremoch Colton (Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith)
Tiya Sircar: Sabine Wren (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend III: May 30-June 1

Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
John Ratzenberger: Major Bren Derlin (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back)
Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend IV: June 6-8

Mark Hamill: Luke Skywalker (Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope; Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi); Darth Bane (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Ray Park: Darth Maul (Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace)
Billy Dee Williams: Lando Calrissian (Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back; Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi)
Taylor Gray: Ezra Bridger (Star Wars Rebels)

Weekend V: June 13-15

Dee Bradley Baker: Captain Rex/the Clones, Bossk and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Cat Taber: Padmé Amidala and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Tom Kane: Yoda, the series’ narrator and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Matt Lanter: Anakin Skywalker and several additional characters (Star Wars: The Clone Wars)
Steve Blum: Zeb Orrelios (Star Wars Rebels)

Video Games

Star Wars Pinball – Masters of the Force

Sith Lord or Jedi Knight? Pick your favorite Lightsaber from the Star Wars saga and become a Master of the Force as you fulfill the ancient prophecy.

Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within will release for digital stores starting April 29, 2014. Han Solo, Droids, Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope and Masters of the Force will be available on PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, Steam, iOS, Google Play, Amazon and the Mac App Store.


Geekologie – Kissing The Carpet: Han Solo In Carbonite Floor Rugs

Rebelscum – Photos from the Disney VIP event

Yakface.Com – New Disney Store Products – Star Wars Comes to the Disney Store

The Disney Store has summoned a group of fans, collectors, and media people to Glendale, CA to see a bunch of cool stuff – I’ll be writing some of it up later, but I was handed a USB stick with some photos of new Disney Store exclusive product – some of which is in stores now – and some of which is plastic.

Star Wars toys unveiled at Disney Store headquarters