In this nearly 16-minute featurette, George Lucas, Ben Burtt, and Mark Hamill talk about the aim, origins and uses of the iconic weapon throughout the saga.
Well, this isn’t the news we’ve been expecting… It looks like Episode VII has said goodbye to screenwriter Micheal Arndt. StarWars.com has announced that J.J. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan are now penning the script for Episode VII.
“I am very excited about the story we have in place and thrilled to have Larry and J.J. working on the script,” Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “There are very few people who fundamentally understand the way a Star Wars story works like Larry, and it is nothing short of incredible to have him even more deeply involved in its return to the big screen. J.J. of course is an incredible storyteller in his own right. Michael Arndt has done a terrific job bringing us to this point and we have an amazing filmmaking and design team in place already prepping for production.”
It’s unclear if any of Arndt’s script will be used, but I don’t think it looks likely… Whatever the case, I’m sure the rumors will be coming momentarily.
The announcement confirms a number of other production roles, including sound designer Ben Burtt and many others. (/Film has a nice rundown.) It also says “location scouting, production design, casting, and costume design are already underway” and states that “shooting is scheduled to begin Spring 2014″ for “an expected 2015 release.”
Can’t end the year without a list, can we? Here are our staff’s picks for the ten best books of the year.
Be sure to check out more favorites at StarWars.com. They asked us to do the literature portion, but other contributers include Kyle Newman, Ashley Eckstein, TFN’s Eric Geller, Steve Sansweet, and Bonnie Burton!
10. Star Wars Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle by Daniel Wallace, Pablo Hidalgo, Gus Lopez, and Ryder Windham
Rounding out the list is the one book that has it all. Expanded Universe history? Check. Oddball merchandise? Check. Museum exhibits? Early versions of Yoda? Mark Hamill on Broadway? Check, check, and you better believe it. Star Wars Year by Year compiles over four decades (yes, four) of highlights, lowlights, and trivia – think of it, perhaps, as The Essential Franchise Chronology. But its scope goes beyond Lucasfilm productions. The authors also spotlight various milestones in science, pop-culture, and politics, giving readers a sense of the events that helped shape Star Wars, as well as how Star Wars changed the world. – Stooge
9. The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams
Setting the stage for the eventual release of The Old Republic MMO, Fatal Alliance builds up the worlds and character types, and then throws them all into the fray against a new threat. Sean Williams captures the look of this era, and brings together some new enjoyable characters. It’s a heist caper that unfolds into a tale of espionage and war. It takes a little while to set up the players, but the endgame is well worth it. - James
8. Millennium Falcon: A 3D Owner’s Guide by Ryder Windham
The saga’s most iconic ship is revealed! Ryder Williams’ text is sparse but clever, the illustration work by Chris Trevas and Chris Reiff shines, and the layer-by-layer design is icing on the cake. Kids will love it and adults will delight in the technical specs and (in-character!) modification notes. It’s a just plain fun book – certain to entrance even the most jaded fan for at least a little while. – Dunc
7. Fate of the Jedi: Vortex by Troy Denning
With Luke and Ben and their new Sith allies having defeated a more sinister evil, you’d think that Troy Denning would take it easy on the Jedi Order, but Abeloth’s demise in Allies is just the beginning of a series of explosive events. Faster that you can say “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal”, the Sith bring it. Chief of State Daala brings it. The Mandalorians bring it. Tahiri’s prosecutor brings it. So it’s up to a couple of Jedi, and Han and Leia to strike back – and when they bring Lando and droids to help, you know it’s going to get heavy as the Jedi shake things up against their adversaries. - James
6. The Sounds of Star Wars by J. W. Rinzler and Ben Burtt
A book that needs a volume button? Not to worry, this is more than just a gimmick. To fully explore the audio awesomeness of Ben Burtt, The Sounds of Star Wars has a built-in soundboard which plays over 200 (unmixed!) effects from that galaxy far, far away. So you can read about the crazy ways he made these sounds, then listen to the fantastic end results! Plus, Mr. Burtt has enough behind-the-scenes stories to fill ten volumes – and for a quadruple Oscar-winner, he’s remarkably humble. - Stooge Continue reading
Anamayhem. Seth Green talks Robot Chicken: Star Wars III and the comedy show that he and Matthew Senreich are doing with Lucasfilm. Which we’ll hear about in two years. Yay?
The audience is listening. A ten-minute segment on NPR this weekend featured J.W. Rinzler and Ben Burtt on – what else – The Sounds of Star Wars. You can listen or read about it! Oh, glorious text!
And in your gaming corner… EA CFO Eric Brown said at a gaming industry event that they hope Bioware’s upcoming The Old Republic MMO will last ten years. With even the less-than-wildly-successful Galaxies still (technically) up and running 7 years on, TOR making it a decade can’t be that far-fetched.
No comics, but you shouldn’t have to look too hard to find The Sounds of Star Wars, which I’ve been seeing in stores for few weeks now. (Your mileage may vary, but Amazon is shipping it.)
Also, if you’re looking forward to The Force Unleashed II (out October 5,) there’s an excerpt. (Also Dynasty of Evil, an odd choice seeing as it’s been out for a while, but there’s a paperback imminent and I suppose they’re trying something new..?)
The con is over, but with so much going on there’s still a lot of coverage coming out from StarWars.com and the fans. (Like the video above.) Here are a few highlights
- The ForceCast did several shows at Celebration, but you don’t want to miss the one where they interview Mark Hamill.
- Ben Burtt talks The Sounds of Star Wars
- Video: Time-lapse of Eric Maruscak’s Clone Wars chalk mural.
- A recap of Bryan Young’s wildly popular ‘Why We Love the Prequels’ panel.
- See all the happy couples who tok the time to get (non-legally) hitched at the Commitment Chapel. (Yes, Lucas Online’s Bonnie Burton does explain why she married R2-D2.)
- Video: A very Disney Last Tour to Endor.
- Miss out on a print? StarWarsShop has some left!
- Were you at the Fandom 140 panel? Did you tweet at the panel? You may be a winner!
Your moment of zen: “I was sitting in the middle of the Force Unleashed 2 panel when I saw you from across the room.”
Slave Leias are always a hit, so it’s not surprising that LFL persuaded Amira Sa’id, the belly dancing slave Leia, to perform and teach at Celebration.
14 days to go!
- Ben Burtt to talk sound.
- WOTC seminars on Miniatures and the new RPG.
- 501st Droid Hunt mini-site launches
Star Wars’ own Ben Burtt will be hosting a special session called “The Sound Behind the Image” with a panel of Star Wars alum on May 17th.
So if you’re in town extra early for Celebration IV, you should check it out!