Could The Force Awakens be the biggest movie debut ever? Well, if Celebration is any indication… The movie is going to open in at least 4,500 locations, The Hollywood Reporter says. As for total figures, box-office analyst Phil Contrino thinks it “will hit $1 billion without blinking.”
Celebration is winding down here in Anaheim, and it was just announced at the Closing Ceremonies that the next one will return us to London’s ExCel, the site of the first Celebration Europe back in 2007. It’ll be July 15-17, 2016, and tickets will go sale tomorrow.
We’re also seeing the return of Fan Relations, with Lucasfilm vet Pete Vilmur at the helm.
Big thanks go out to Mary Franklin and all the folks at Lucasfilm and Reed for bringing all this to us!
We got a decent look ahead at Rogue One today, as Lucasfilm gave us a description and a brief teaser trailer for Rogue One. We even got an official name for what we’ve been calling ‘spinoffs’ and ‘standalones:’ They’ll be ‘Anthology’ movies. The panel consisted of Pablo Hidaldo (doing his best Letterman act,) Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Story Group lead Kiri Hart, director Gareth Edwards and ILM’s John Knoll, who originated the idea.
The trailer isn’t online yet and isn’t likely to (not officially, anyway) but here’s the description:
A band of resistance fighters unite for a daring mission to steal the Death Star plans in Star Wars Anthology film, Rogue One.
Felicity Jones’ character is a Rebel soldier, and it’s set in the ROTS/ANH gap, though closer to ANH.
The teaser, which was produced by ILM since they won’t start filming until the summer, featured a pan across a forest, a TIE fighter, and a glimpse at the Death Star through the atmosphere. The voiceover was Obi-Wan’s lines about the Jedi from A New Hope, and “the absence of the Jedi is omnipresent in the film,” Edwards said. “It comes down to a group of individuals who don’t have magical powers that have to somehow bring hope to the galaxy.”
This will be very much a war movie, and the crew has people who’ve worked on Zero Dark Thirty, Saving Private Ryan, and Blackhawk Down. Edwards said he doubts he’ll ever be able to work with so many high caliber people again; Folks will drop anything to come work on Star Wars.
Pablo asked Edwards about his ‘geek cred,’ and Edwards revealed that he spent his 30th birthday going to Tunisia – even drinking blue milk at the Hotel Sidi Driss, where the Lars kitchen was filmed. There were pictures. They were adorable,
Josh Trank, who’s helming the next Anthology film, was “under the weather,” so we didn’t get anything for that.
A lot of fans have already seen the premiere here, but for the rest of us, here’s the season 2 trailer that dropped earlier in the day.
Alan Dean Foster is writing the novelization of The Force Awakens, Del Rey revealed today at their panel at Celebration Anaheim. It’ll be out in eBook on December 18, the day the movie comes out, with a hardcover to follow on an unspecified date in January.
Foster was the ghostwriter for the original Star Wars adaptation (credited to George Lucas) back in the ’70s, as well as the author of the first actual Star Wars novel, Splinter in the Mind’s Eye. This won’t be his first return to the franchise: He also wrote a prequel novel, The Approaching Storm, which came out ahead of Attack of the Clones.
This was already floating around, but it was confirmed that Del Rey is repackaging A New Dawn and Tarkin together as Rise of the Empire. We learned that that book will contain three new short stories, one of which ties into Chuck Wendig’s Aftermath. (Sadly, that’s just about the most we heard on Aftermath.)
That was just about the only real news out of the Del Rey panel that wasn’t already revealed earlier in the con.
As for Marvel, we got a few things: Greg Weisman will be writing the second arc of Kanan; They will be doing an adaption of The Force Awakens, but not anytime soon. Star Wars #6 is not John Cassidy’s last SW comic for Marvel… And Simone Bianchi will be drawing Star Wars #7, which is a one-shot Obi-Wan story on Tatooine.
The atmosphere here in Anaheim for the reveal of yesterday’s new trailer for The Force Awakens was amazing, perhaps the top Celebration moment ever for me. The crowds are insane, the Arena was huge and we were up on the third tier, but the excitement was palpable. And the trailer itself… Well, you saw it.
I doubt I’ll be able to put together any coherent thoughts about it while still at con, but thankfully there are plenty of others who’ve taken on the task. We also saw several behind-the scenes photos (Hitfix has the gallery) for the very first time.
For a general overview, check out Christian Blauvelt’s take over at the BBC, or the shot-by-shot analysis at Vulture. Meanwhile, Devin Faraci at Badass Digest is pretty sure that BB-8 will be the film’s breakout character, and I’d find it hard to argue with him – I don’t think anyone was disappointed when the droid rolled out on stage. Magnets, what can’t they do?
Another big draw here is The Force Awakens exhibit, which mostly features items we’ve seen the trailer, but is still amazing. And it reveals at least one thing that immediately caught the interest of supergeeks – new names for what has become of Empire and the Rebel Alliance. The Imperials of TFA will go by ‘the First Order,’ while the Rebels are now ‘the Resistance.’ Curious, no?
And as for Jakku, the desert planet we saw in the teaser? Well, the battle that downed that Star Destroyer is one “not long after the Battle of Endor,” and it’ll be downloadable for the Battlefront game on December 8.
And with that, we’ll leave word from John Boyega, who returned to Twitter yesterday:
— John Boyega (@JohnBoyega) April 16, 2015
A couple of quick updates this morning: We’ve learned at Celebration that Alexander Freed will be writing Battlefront: Twilight Company, the November novel from Del Rey.
(The actual Battlefront game was this morning’s big draw, but more on how that’s relevant to us later. )
Marvel has been dropping their news ahead of their panel as well. First we learned that a Lando Calrissian limited series will follow Princess Leia. It’ll be from Charles Soule and Alex Maleev and issue #1 comes out in July.
And this morning, some Shattered Empire details. The limited series will be written by (as we knew) Greg Rucka, with art and cover from Marco Chechetto. (Is the Phil Noto piece just a variant?)
The Del Rey and Marvel panels are tomorrow, so no doubt we’ll learn more then.
J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy’s “special guests” included the new trio – Daisy Ridley, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac – who confirmed some of what we’d already heard and/or guessed about their characters. We also got to see the (real!) BB-8 and Artoo, plus their makers, and of course Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Peter Mayhew also showed up. I’ll be back later with more, but for now just keep an eye on @clubjade, where I’ve been far more active than on the blog. (Sorry!)
In the meantime, you can backwatch the panel yourself!
And another video that StarWars.com dropped on us today:
Here’s just the BB-8 portion of the livestream:
Fans started picking up their badges in Anaheim today, and a sign pointing towards The Force Awakens Exhibit was soon spotted. Here’s the description: